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1998 BMW 328is 5sp

A week ago the clutch was working "fine".

For the last week, it has been slowly starting to engage even with the clutch pressed, but just barely. There was a bit of resistance getting into gears, but it still functioned. I could also just barely feel the car hopping in the back like the clutch was grabbing when I had it in gear, clutch in.

Now, on my most recent drive, the clutch wasn't disengaging all the way even with the pedal to the floor. On some shifts it just straight up didn't want to go into gear, I couldn't move the lever into the gate. On other shifts, it would go in but with LOTS of resistance and a nice click. A couple times the shifter just slid in with almost no resistance like it normally should, but like I said only once or twice out of like 30 shifts.

The clutch pedal still feels the same as it usually does, it doesn't stick and isn't any more mushy than since I bought the car two months ago.

Speaking of the clutch pedal, here are it's issues since I bought the car; it vibrates when it's anywhere between 0-100, and is very stiff, like 1000hp race clutch stiff. Despite that, the clutch doesn't slip at all. There is an occasional grinding sound, almost like an impact doing some ugga duggas, when the clutch pedal is fully pressed on the floor.

It was very slowly getting worse until it very quickly became undriveable on my most recent drive, luckily I made it home. I was suspecting it was pressure plate issues causing a little bit of engagement, but now it's like 50% engaged with the clutch to the floor. Could it be my master or slave cylinder? There are no leaks, and the fluid is full. I already bought and received a clutch kit + flywheel and ordered the other "while you're there" parts like pivot pin, RMS, shifter bushings, etc. Not really excited to add a master and slave cylinder to that list, especially since it's quite annoying to replace the master in an E36.

I can't find anyone who has had an exact situation like mine, so I'm wondering if anyone can help make a good deduction based on my unique situation.

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    I had a similar issue many years ago. There were several bolts loose or missing from the clutch housing causing it to move when engaged, ultimately warping the pressure plate.
    – rtaft
    Apr 20, 2023 at 20:06
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    Possibly related to this Q&A although the progression sounds to have been a lot quicker than what I've experienced in the past - mechanics.stackexchange.com/a/79942/47220
    – Andy Hames
    Apr 21, 2023 at 12:03

1 Answer 1

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The problem is likely in one or more of the components you mentioned.

But first, check the pedal mechanism and the clutch master and slave cylinders for issues, leaks, and bleed the hydraulic line to ensure there is adequate fluid and no air in the system.

Everything else needs to have the transmission removed and is, obviously, a lot more labor. That includes the "throwout" bearing, the clutch and pressure plate, and the flywheel.

But from the sound of things, I believe you're going to find yourself replacing the clutch and it's associated components and probably refinishing the flywheel.

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  • I'm all for doing the simple things here, you should definitely bleed fresh fluid in, it would suck to spend all that time and money to find out your fluid had broken down.
    – GdD
    Apr 20, 2023 at 15:39

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