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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I've had this odd issue with my X3 twice. It's a 2007 X3 3.0si with manual transmission.

The issue...
I drive to work fine, car seems good other than the usual oil leaks from everywhere.

I go to leave work and the car won't change gears. I can start it in gear but can't shift back to neutral (or any other gear, obviously). I can start in neutral but can't put it into any other gear. Car shifts and feels fine if the engine isn't running.

History...

Bought the car with about 176000 km on it on 2017-07-01 (YYYY-MM-DD).

Replaced the clutch at 176552 km on 2017-07-09 just due to age/probable wear. This was an AMS Automotive 03080 kit which I did not think included the clutch fork although it is showing included now so I'm not too sure. No issues with the old clutch but mechanic said I made a good call as the one he took out was getting very close to end of life.

The problem mentioned above happened sometime slightly before 2019-07-05 (this is the replacement date in my records which would be when I picked up the car) at 203508 km and since the hydraulics seemed fine (good pedal feel) the mechanic said it must be a failed clutch or flywheel. He took it all apart and found no problems. Had me return the flywheel and gave me the old friction plate because it still looked new. This was a Luk kit which included everything (made sure we got the clutch fork this time in case it was slightly bent, preventing full release). Old fork appeared fine but mechanic admitted he didn't do a side by side. Everything worked fine again after all was reassembled with no indication as to what the issue was.

Last week it happened again on 2020-02-14 (really messed up my Valentine's plans) at about 230000 (don't have exact mileage but I know it rolled over that like the week before). Towed it to a different shop this time. They said clutch again and wanted $2000 to change it ($3k if the flywheel is bad) so I had it towed back to the first shop. Both shops inspected the hydraulics and found them to be working fine. This new guy ruled hydraulics out as well by removing the slave cylinder and shoving some kind of bar in there to actuate the clutch as far as it would go. Still can't change gears while the car is running.

About a week before the failure I had 3 recalls done at the dealer and while they gave me a huge list with $6k worth of repairs they wanted to do, nothing has anything to do with the clutch or transmission. I did find it strange that the mechanic that pulled it out for me told me he didn't even know they made X3s in manual.

I must admit I drive this car very hard. Like smoking brakes when I get to work hard. I'm glad it survived a recent camping trip 5 hours up north where I took it on some slightly rough forest roads (just gravel with lots of snow, nothing too crazy) and did a few donuts in a snowy parking lot once. The tow and Uber home from there would've been way more expensive.

A coworker that used to work for a shop was just guessing and thought maybe synchros or that I overheated the clutch and then when I parked it the clutch became stuck to the flywheel. Mechanic is now wondering if there are known issues with the Luk pressure plate but I've never heard of any issues with Luk. Someone else thought a shifter linkage issue.

Anyone have any ideas other than my other coworker's suggestion of setting it on fire on the side of the highway? :rofl:
 

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I drive to work fine, car seems good other than the usual oil leaks from everywhere.

I go to leave work and the car won't change gears.
Is it stored in a relatively warm garage overnight, and then parked out in the cold while you are at work?

Checked/changed the transmission's fluid? If not, make sure the new fluid is the proper type of synthetic oil.

Don't have someone at your workplace, who is a BMW guru, messing with you, do you?

I'm not familiar with the manual shifter on these things -- anyone know if the shifter is connected to the trans by physical linkages, or through electrical actuators instead?

If I were there to try it, I'd be listening/feeling for a bad clutch-release bearing or input shaft. Or bad syncros.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
It's stored outside at both. Was hot weather in July. Cold weather now.

It's a physical linkage. No cables or actuators. I didn't even know there were manuals that use electronic actuators.

Fluid was Motul's recommended fluid. It was changed in July 2017 and fine until July 2019. Could be the problem, I suppose, but it wasn't changed out after the first failure either.

If it is a transmission issue I'd wonder why replacing the clutch last time fixed it without otherwise touching the transmission. But it could still be the problem.

Actually, now that I think about it last time it was discovered that the u-joint on the rear drive shaft had seized but it was thought to be unrelated. Could that somehow be linked and failed again? It seems unlikely to me that it would fail so fast again though and I wouldn't think it'd be related.
 

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The first thing that comes to mind is you're low on clutch fluid. Perhaps some of that oil leaking is clutch fluid leaking...

The second thing that comes to mind is your engine mounts are shot, and the shift linkage is binding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The first thing that comes to mind is you're low on clutch fluid. Perhaps some of that oil leaking is clutch fluid leaking...

The second thing that comes to mind is your engine mounts are shot, and the shift linkage is binding.
He bypassed the hydraulics and it still wouldn't shift while running. He also insists the mounts are fine. I actually have new mounts to be installed but I'm waiting for the day he stops saying they're good.

Thanks for the suggestion though, I'll pass it along.
 

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Because it is somewhat repeatable, drive it then have it put up on a rack. With someone brave inside to then repeat the problem while mechanics are underneath checking, carefully the movement of the clutch fork and shifter rods. Something is binding. I'm still _guessing_ it is a weird release bearing/trans input shaft problem.
 

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Your car uses an expensive dual mass flywheel which is what it needs if its driven hard. If somone used the cheaper SMF to keep the bill down...... well, now you cry twice.

Use a genuine BMW part here, and pay for it once.

At 200k km, I would do flywheel, plate disc, and hydraulics.
 

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I’ve replaced my clutch and pressure plate last year due to a failed output shaft on the transmission (check my thread on here for pics). So I’m familiar with the area down below.

The shifter uses typical linkages below same styles from the e36, e39 and e46 etc.. nothing special there. You may be able to access some but it’s very limited space if you remove your shift boot from inside the cabin.. but honestly I don’t think you’d be able to do much from the top.

I had odd noises before tackling my job that sounded like a throwout bearing turned out to be the small little pivot ($10) that the throwout bearing rests on... was only able to see it when I had everything apart.

What about your slave cylinder? There isn’t a whole lot with the 6speed x3 as it’s a traditional manual vehicle in many ways. start with basics. Did they use an alignment tool when they installed the pressure plate? I had 154k on my flywheel when I did this work and it looked perfectly fine so I did not replace it. It’s a $600+ part.

What kind of fluid did you put in the transmission?





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Yup slave is why I mentioned fluid leak; the one in my truck had a weep for 10 years but a year ago got so bad I was adding fluid every week. What finally gave me the impetus to get into it was when the clutch stopped working, and mostly unable to shift with engine running. The seals on the slave were gone. Shifting without the clutch or grinding is possible on these.

OP: how’d the mechanic bypass the hydraulics?


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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yup slave is why I mentioned fluid leak; the one in my truck had a weep for 10 years but a year ago got so bad I was adding fluid every week. What finally gave me the impetus to get into it was when the clutch stopped working, and mostly unable to shift with engine running. The seals on the slave were gone. Shifting without the clutch or grinding is possible on these.

OP: how'd the mechanic bypass the hydraulics?

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The fluid level is fine though.

Apparently he shoved a rod through the slave cylinder hole somehow after removing the slave. Explained in the first post.
 

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Ok.

So someone is under there mechanically moving the clutch while the engine is running? And it is visibly engaging/disengaging from the flywheel? You say you can shift with the engine off... is the shift action clunky or smooth?


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok.

So someone is under there mechanically moving the clutch while the engine is running? And it is visibly engaging/disengaging from the flywheel? You say you can shift with the engine off... is the shift action clunky or smooth?

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I don't know these details as it's at his shop. I believe he said it wasn't moving the clutch. He's going to pull it apart later this week so I guess we'll see what he finds then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Got a call from the mechanic. He said everything looks brand new inside. Only thing he can think of is the self-adjusting pressure plate isn't self-adjusting properly on both of my now-failed aftermarket clutches (one Luk, one AMS). He's recommending an OEM clutch kit from BMW. I'm doubtful this will last but I guess that's what I'm going to try.

Although it's pretty tempting to just drop another cheap LuK kit in (it's literally $300 CAD cheaper, or about half the price) and just sell it.
 

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Got a call from the mechanic. He said everything looks brand new inside. Only thing he can think of is the self-adjusting pressure plate isn't self-adjusting properly on both of my now-failed aftermarket clutches (one Luk, one AMS). He's recommending an OEM clutch kit from BMW. I'm doubtful this will last but I guess that's what I'm going to try.

Although it's pretty tempting to just drop another cheap LuK kit in (it's literally $300 CAD cheaper, or about half the price) and just sell it.
I installed the Luk Clutch kit last April and it works the very best (also in Canada if it matters). Your problem is not the self adjusting clutch unless by chance both places fubbared the install on it. Is it properly aligned, make sure they use a clutch alignment tool (comes with the Luk kit) and not just eyeball it. The Luk one is OE equivalent, your going to replace the stuff for nothing.
 

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Got a call from the mechanic. He said everything looks brand new inside. Only thing he can think of is the self-adjusting pressure plate isn't self-adjusting properly on both of my now-failed aftermarket clutches (one Luk, one AMS). He's recommending an OEM clutch kit from BMW. I'm doubtful this will last but I guess that's what I'm going to try.
Interesting! Let us know either way. These weird problems are the most interesting; it's getting tiring to tell folks their (frequently occurring) problem is just a bad coil, ground strap, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Well I don't really have much more information.

The clutch was replaced with the BMW kit from FCP Euro rather than a Luk kit. The pressure plate appears different according to my mechanic. He claims to feel a difference than previously but I can't tell.

In regards to the failure across both the Luk and AMS kit he is convinced that both of these kits used Luk pressure plates and is convinced there is some kind of design or manufacturing flaw in these that is making it not self adjust properly. I have no idea if this is accurate as I no longer have the pressure plate from the AMS kit and wouldn't know what to look for in the one that just came out to verify this claim. It would be surprising, though, as Luk is a fairly reputable clutch company as far as I'm aware.

Clutch and transmission are working fine now.

Completely off topic here but I did the valve cover gasket last weekend and changed the eccentric shaft sensor (previously had codes for this and oil is coming through the sensor's connector) but it turns out the "new" sensor I got on eBay (I know, bad idea) is actually used and completely dead so my car runs like absolute trash now.

New gaskets and sensor just arrived from FCP so I'll be doing the job again tomorrow.

One weird thing is the gasket showed up with speckles all over it. Almost looks like sand or dried salt. FCP says this is normal, though, so I guess I'll go ahead with the installation as I don't want to wait for a replacement to show up (car's been out of commission for months now due to COVID). I've never seen that before and neither has the guy that'll be helping me that has been wrenching on cars for 40 years.
 

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Its going to be tough love for the owner but if 300 delta in a price is important to the owner, then they should have a TOY-ota, not a BMW.

These are neithercheap-to-own cars nor cars-for-cheap-owners
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Its going to be tough love for the owner but if 300 delta in a price is important to the owner, then they should have a TOY-ota, not a BMW.

These are neithercheap-to-own cars nor cars-for-cheap-owners
I don't have an issue spending more if it's required. But when I did literally everyone (including FCP Euro, the retailer) told me I was buying exactly the same item but paying $300 more for a couple BMW logos on a Luk part.

Also, when it comes to costs, I have to keep in mind this car is worth under $4000 in perfect condition, which mine is not, so I have to weigh if it's worth investing much money into it.
 

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What "self adjusts" on a clutch, pressure plate, and/or flywheel?

Never tore into a BMW manual transmission/clutch set up but I've been in/out of the 4 speed muncie in my 81 Z28 and a couple Borg Warner 5 speeds in other GM products.

Does the BMW use a pilot bushing/bearing in the crankshaft to keep the input shaft/clutch aligned with the engine, flywheel/pressure plate?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
What "self adjusts" on a clutch, pressure plate, and/or flywheel?

Never tore into a BMW manual transmission/clutch set up but I've been in/out of the 4 speed muncie in my 81 Z28 and a couple Borg Warner 5 speeds in other GM products.

Does the BMW use a pilot bushing/bearing in the crankshaft to keep the input shaft/clutch aligned with the engine, flywheel/pressure plate?
As far as I'm aware it's the pressure plate but I could be wrong. Mechanic never figured out 100% why it was screwed either time and a BMW specialty shop was just going to do the same replacement at twice the cost of the other guy.
 
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