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Thread: How can I tell I need a new clutch

  1. #1

    How can I tell I need a new clutch

    Iím on the verge of doing a drivetrain + suspension overhaul... Well, rear suspension (all the bushings in the back).

    I also wanted to do the clutch while iím at it.

    The issue I am faced with: I donít know if I even need a new clutch. Iím pretty good at shifting. The clutch is adjustable, and itís possible the previous owner replaced the clutch (got the car at 100k, have 170k now).

    I donít want to do work unnecessarily, but if pull the exhausts and the rear suspension only to realize I need a new clutch 10k miles later, I will be pissed.

    How can I tell the condition of my clutch? The clutch doesnít slip or show any other signs of problems.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
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    Raleigh, NC
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    You can't really tell on our self adjusting clutches unless I'm missing something. If you are good at shifting I've seen the original clutches last between 200-300k miles so I doubt you'll have any issues in the next 10k miles. Either way if you have the budget available, there's nothing wrong with replacing it now even if it still has some life left.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    You can't really tell on our self adjusting clutches unless I'm missing something. If you are good at shifting I've seen the original clutches last between 200-300k miles so I doubt you'll have any issues in the next 10k miles. Either way if you have the budget available, there's nothing wrong with replacing it now even if it still has some life left.
    This is my understanding.

    I think I’m going to pass on the clutch then. I think the rear suspension and some interior elements will be annoying enough as it is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Lexington, KY
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    4,362
    What is this self-adjusting clutch you guys are talking about?
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oli77 View Post
    What is this self-adjusting clutch you guys are talking about?
    Basically keeps the bite point consistent as the clutch wears. Seems to be a staple with BMWs of this era, along with dual-mass flywheels
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Lexington, KY
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    4,362
    Adjusting pedal travel you mean?
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  7. #7
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    May 2020
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    Toronto, ON
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oli77 View Post
    Adjusting pedal travel you mean?
    Not the length of pedal travel, but the point at which your clutch will start to engage throughout that travel. Some more info can be found here

    Also FWIW I'm at ~215k mi on the original clutch. Still grabs hard everytime I launch at autox
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Lexington, KY
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    Right, got it. But that would not interfere with finding out whether you're clutch is good or not. I've always been told to put it in the 4th at 20 miles an hour and push hard on accelerator, if rmps raise high and car doesn't, clutch is toast. If car slowly accelerates, however, clutch is good.
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Toronto, ON
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oli77 View Post
    Right, got it. But that would not interfere with finding out whether you're clutch is good or not. I've always been told to put it in the 4th at 20 miles an hour and push hard on accelerator, if rmps raise high and car doesn't, clutch is toast. If car slowly accelerates, however, clutch is good.
    The test you describe lets you find out if the clutch is worn at instant - if it fails that test, you have maybe <3k miles to replace it before it becomes very bad. If you want to find out approximately how much mileage is left if your clutch is still good, you can't do so with the self-adjusting clutch since the bite point is consistent from factory. Without a self-adjusting clutch, you can make a judgement call on how much life is left based off how high the bite point is.
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    4,362
    Yes, I understand your point, like in my 5spd 1993 Camry, when towards the end of its life, the clutch engagement was way up the pedal travel. I know that was a cable-driven clutch.
    This point can be modified or adjusted in a hydraulic clutch? I didn't realize that.

    Thanks T
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

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