BMW E46 M3
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      10-28-2019, 10:14 PM   #1
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Drives: E90 & E46 M3 E39 M5 E36 325is
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Quebec

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Think I just blew my clutch... Any E46 M3 clutch expert around? Video...

I decided go for one last drive of the season with my summer cars before storing them for winter. It was 7c outside (about 40f) when it was time to head out with my 2002 M3 6mt and as usual, I let the car warm up properly before giving it the beans. (Another relevant info: I barely used the car this summer, about 300km only since May).

Then I pulled out of a street which is at the bottom of a long hill where I usually like to go WOT. I punched 1st, got traction control to come in, then 2nd, all went smoothly, and when I tried to get it into 3rd, I couldn't for some reason. During that fraction of a second I firmly pressed the clutch and tried re-engaging 3rd but got a horrible grinding noise, which never happened to me in the E46. I immediately pressed the clutch and slowed down. I tried to put it in second and got that grinding noise again. At that moment, I knew something was messed up... and the clutch didn't feel the same as before, so I turned around to head towards home. The car got into 2nd without too much grinding and while being very gentle, I was able to go from 2nd to 4th where I left it.

Once in my driveway and out of the car, I got a pretty strong burnt smell. I opened the hood to see if anything was obviously wrong but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary, same for the undercarriage. No leaks or anything. I was able to engage reverse and backed the car in my garage, but the clutch pedal felt quite different. At idle, when I press the clutch, there's a grinding noise between 60 to 80% of the way down, then it stops when fully depressed. Coming back off the clutch, it grinds at the same spot then stops when fully off.

Now, that never happened to me on any car, so what do you think happened? To my knowledge, the manual trany and clutch in the E46 are reasonably solid... My car has about 105,000km or 68,000 miles only. Let me know what you guys think. Any clutch pros here?


08' M3 Sedan / 03' 996 Targa / 03' Z4 / 02' M3 coupe /
01' M5 / 01' 740i Sport / 94' 325is conv. to M3 / 91' 850i / 85' 325e coupe / 04' E55 AMG / 72' Citroen SM
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      10-28-2019, 11:42 PM   #2
Private First Class
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Drives: E90 M3
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Bay Area, CA

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hmm, maybe throw out bearing? Considering when you depress the clutch it makes the noise and you feel it in the pedal.
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      11-22-2019, 01:02 PM   #3

Drives: 05 M3, 04 M3iT , 01 M5, 17 i3
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: West Chester, PA

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Sounds like the throwout bearing from the symptoms you describe. Cheap part, but not cheap to get to.

That said, if you DIY with a friend it's a single day project.

And 68,000 miles, I wouldn't do anything else while in there other than maybe the pivot pin. I would use an OE BMW bearing.

Might not hurt to do the CSB and guibo while you're have the shaft dropped.
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