I have a 2002 E39 BMW.

The car gives a rattling noise when rolling at low rpm with the clutch engaged in any gear.

The noise goes away if I add a little gas or depress the clutch any idea what could be causing this?


  • 1
    Have you ever replaced the clutch or throw-out bearing?
    – race fever
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:23
  • I bought the car like this, the previous owner did not Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:24
  • did not mention it* Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:24
  • Sounds like the throw-out bearing might is bad. The throw out bearing is what pressed the clutch plate and the clutch. Thats why the vibration goes away. I would take the car to a mechanic because this is a serious issue that could end up costing lots of money if not taken care of quickly.
    – race fever
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 12:30
  • @racefever - Does the E39 have a push or pull type clutch release mechanism? Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 14:02

2 Answers 2


Sounds like it's possibly involved with the transmission and/or clutch.

But first, I would check all the heat shielding on the car to make sure that's not a factor. When the transmission is engaged (when the clutch is not depressed) it can cause some NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) that will cause nearby heat shields to rattle and make it sound like a transmission problem. Once you've confirmed your Catalytic converter or exhaust heat shields are secured and/or not rattling, there are a few things that could be the case.

  • Throwout Bearing Failure
  • Clutch release fork is loose/worn out/misadjusted
  • Clutch diaphragm springs damaged/worn/bent/loose
  • Clutch hub springs loose/worn/damaged/broken (I don't think the E39 has these but I wanted to cover this for other readers who may have the same question)

The important thing is to isolate the sound to exactly your transmission. Loose heatshields and other motive parts can cause sounds and NVH can make it sound like it's coming from a different location.

Good luck!

  • Hi! Thanks for the detailed answer. I checked the heatshields and found one to be rotten a little, I welded it together just in case, but the noise did not go away. I am guessing that it is the clutch because the nosie reacts to movements with the clutch, and it is coming more from the engine of the car while the catalytic converter is under the first seat row. I'll have the throw out bearing replaced, and see if that solves the issue! Thanks again! Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 14:46
  • It certainly sounds like a bad throw out bearing in that case. While in there check the clutch pressure plate for any loose diaphragm springs (the tooth looking devices that the throwout bearing presses) these can get loose over time and when it's time to replace the clutch, make excessive noise. When replacing the throwout bearing, you may as well replace the clutch assembly. Just go ahead and get a full clutch job done. I hope this fixes your issue! Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 3:24

The noise goes away if I add a little gas or depress the clutch

This is a classic symptom of a bad throwout bearing.

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