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Rest in peace, Coach
9,106 Posts
jordanLINY said:

My 1993 E36 (83,000 mi) has been developing some notchiness in the gearbox that, while not severe, could be an indication of some clutch wear.

Since I purchased the car used at 69,000 mi one year ago, I have no idea when the clutch was changed if ever. Pedal action is firm and take-up
is smooth. The only other manual transmission BMW I have driven is an E46, so I have no true reference point.

Last time I had the car inspected I had the transmisson fluid changed to redline ATF. Greatly helped shifting when cold, but there's still a bit of a "bump"/notch when first entering gear. Sort of like a "pins and needles" sharp bump with kickback. Anyway it's not severe, happens mostly when starting out cold, and does not impede engagement of the gear. Yet with a car at 83k I'm concerned that the clutch might start to drag and make engagement a bit fussy. Since the notchiness is most pronounced on the 2nd synchro I'm also inclined to believe that the gearbox is just aging and that I should learn to adapt to changes.

Besides juddering and lack of pulling power in higher gears, what should I look for in an aging/dying BMW clutch? I've heard that E36 clutches "last forever", but I bought this car to drive for as long as it can be driven.
I am not a clutch EXPERT but what you described sounded like a possible worn throwout bearing. Normal clutch wear in daily driving should last past 100,000+ miles, however other clutch components may not last as long. The throwout bearing pivots the mechanism that seperates the clutch pressure plate and if you (or the previous owner) tend to hold the clutch in fully while stopped at a light, this bearing may wear out before the clutch does.

This is not a simple to replace part in later bimmers. From what I understand it's enclosed in the clutch housing and REQUIRE the replacement of the entire clutch. However, it does sound like from your description it's only at the beginning phase of being worn out...It may not be a bad idea to replace the clutch housing now and upgrade to something better, like a lightweight flywheel AND an M3 clutch.

Hopefully other members of the board might give you some more help. Good luck.
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