BMW M3 Forum
BMW M3 Forum BMW M3 Gallery BMW M3 Reviews BMW M3 Social Groups BMW M3 Chat M3Forum Sponsors >>

Mobile M3forum
Go Back   BMW M3 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X) > M3Forum Garage > Faults, Fixes and DIY
Tire Rack Buy Winter Tires Now!
Not a member? Register Now!
Register Gallery All Albums Garage Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Calendar FAQ

Faults, Fixes and DIY Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix!

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old Mon, Feb-01-2010, 09:13:45 PM   #1
Registered User
sddynamix's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 647
Reputation: 0 sddynamix is on a distinguished road

Default DIY Guide: E46 M3 SMG Clutch

OK, I know there's a lot of DIY guides that exist for doign a clutch job on a BMW, but nothing specific to the SMG on an E46 M3. I spent a long time compiling this information, so I hope that it's useful to someone else considering this project. Let me begin by saying that this is a pretty massive undertaking, be prepared to set aside several days for this. It's nothing completely detailed (ie, I won't point out exactly where the screws/bolts/nuts are to remove, but they're all fairly straight forward once you start working on the car) but hopefully it'll serve as an overview/guide for those of you that are considering tackling this job.

A quick FAQ:

Can it be done w/o a lift?

Why, yes! I did mine with the car sitting on jackstands.

Do you need special software to reset anything?

YES, you do need to readapt the clutch afterward with software, so you will need access to a GT1, or AutoEnginuity Software w/BMW Enhancement enabled, or equivalent software.

How long does this process take?

It took me 5 days, working about 8 hours each day. It might take you more or less time, depending on the help you have available. Do not attempt this alone. You want to set aside as much time as possible to take things slowly and carefully. This isn't a project you want to rush.

Where are the pictures?

Sorry guys, I had a friend who wanted to take pictures of the whole process that ended up flaking. And I didn't exactly have any desire to gunk up my DSLR with my grimey hands. I'll try my best to describe everything here.

What resources did you have available?

I used the Bentley Manual, TIS, and the Pelican Parts DIY as guides. I also had a fellow forum member who was tremendously helpful, PeteyyPab, who had worked on his SMG clutch months earlier.

Rate the Difficulty Level, on a scale from 1-10.

This isn't a question. But if you put a gun to my head, I'd say 8/10, right on par with what Pelican says, with an oil change falling at 1, suspension replacement at 3, and engine rebuild at 10.

Should you change anything else in the process? Most definitely. Why? Because after you're done you'll likely never want to work on a car ever again. I changed everything on this list:

- OEM Sachs Clutch Kit (Clutch, Throwout Bearing, Pressure Plate) #21212282667
- Clutch Fork (1) #21511223302
- Pivot Pin (1) #21511223328
- Pivot Pin Spring/Clip (1) #21517570284
- Pilot Bearing (1) #11211720310
- Engine Mounts (2) #11812283798
- Transmission Mounts (2) #22322282340
- Guibo (1) #26112226527
- Rear Main Seal (1) #11142247867

In addition I ordered replacement nuts and bolts:
- Thrust Plate Bolts (12) #31106772199
- Flywheel Bolts (8) #11222243051
- Bolts for Guibo (6) #26112283795
- Nuts for Guibo Bolts (6) #07129900047
- Pressure Plate Bolts (6) #21207548052
- Header Bolts (4) #11621318568
- Header Nuts (4) #18301317898
- Header Gaskets (2) #11627830668

- Castrol TWS 10w60 (Motor oil, but you know this) (6) #07510009420
- Pentosin MTF-LT2 (Transmission Fluid), 1 litre bottle (3) #83220309031
- Pentosin CHF-11S (SMG Hydraulic fluid) (1) #82111468041

Special Tools and Misc:
- Clutch Alignment Tool
- Pilot Bearing Puller (Note about this below)
- Flywheel Holder
- Female Torx Socket Set (E6-E16)
- 32mm crescent wrench
- 12mm Hex Key, or Hex Socket
- PB Blaster
- White Lithium Grease
- High-Temp RTV Silicone (for Rear Main Seal)
- Several feet of socket extensions, and 2 u-joints
- AutoEnginuity Scantool with BMW Enhancement, or access to equivalent software
- Transmission Jack

My parts were acquired through Turner Motorsport, Tischer BMW, Pelican Parts. Speciality Tools and Misc. from Kragen, Autozone, Sears, and Harbor Freight.
Now, I'm already assuming you've got a relatively well equiped garage with tools. Air tools will be immensely useful, and if you don't have them already, here's your excuse. 6-point sockets are a must for me as well. I also had two torque wrenches (3/8 and 1/2 drive).

Let me warn you again, this is a pretty massive undertaking. You will need to remove the following major components, before you get to the transmission itself:
- Fan/Clutch
- Intake Manifold
- Underbody Paneling/Thrust Plate
- Exhaust System, from the headers back
- Exhaust Heat Shields

I was a little confused at first when I read that you had to remove the fan and Intake Manifold. I mean, afterall, the transmission is under the center of the car, why on earth would you need to remove the fan and intake manifold?

Simply put, you need access to the area behind the intake manifold to disconnect the transmission casing from the motor. Unless you're very skilled at snaking 3 feet of wobbly extensions whilst sitting awkwardly with your neck tilted funny under the car (this may be easier if you had a lift, I wouldn't know). And the fan? That's just insurance incase your motor tilts forward and crushes it, once the transmission is unloaded from the back of it. Remember, your engine is supported by two mounts (which you'll be removing, if you're replacing them) and WILL rock forward.

Okay, onward! (Let me warn you, this is by no means definitive. You're going to want to reference the Pelican DIY, a Bentley Manual, and even the TIS documentation for details.)
Jump to top sddynamix is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Register now and remove these ads
Old Mon, Feb-01-2010, 09:15:38 PM   #2
Registered User
sddynamix's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 647
Reputation: 0 sddynamix is on a distinguished road


(I also recommend you start bagging and tagging all the bolts/screws/nuts you remove from this point on).


STEP TWO - MAKE SURE YOU DID STEP ONE. I wasted a lot of time not having done this.

STEP THREE - Remove the Intake Manifold. Do this while the car is still on the ground so you have full access to everything without needing a step stool.

STEP FOUR - Remove Fan/Fan Clutch. This is where that nice, expensive 32mm wrench you bought comes into play.

STEP FIVE - Lift the car as high as you can, safetly. I had to use a block of wood on my floor jack to get it high enough on my jackstands.

STEP SIX - Make sure you're wearing eye protection. Unbolt front plastic shield, the thrust plate, along with all the other plastic behind it. You're gonna need all that stuff off for step seven.

STEP SEVEN - Drop the exhaust system from the headers back. You're going to need some PB blaster to break those bolts loose. You DO NOT have to disconnect section 1 and 2, drop it as a whole.

STEP EIGHT - Drop the heat shields. Still wearing that eye protection, right?

STEP NINE (why did I decide to spell out these numbers? oh well, too late to turn back now) - Unclip all the sensors going to the transmission casing. There should be one for the transmission oil temp. sensor, speed sensor, and reversing light switch. Now unclip the hydraulic lines, be careful not to bend them. Now is a good time to unbolt the slave cylinder from the transmission casing, and pull it out and off to the side. Did I mention not to bend the hydraulic lines?

STEP TEN - Support the transmission with the transmission jack. unbolt the transmission brace from the chassis. It'll drop down a little, but it is still supported by the motor (but the jack is still a good idea).

STEP ELEVEN - Unbolt the driveshaft guibo from the transmission. There should be three silver bolts and three black ones - the silver ones are attached to the transmission. If you followed step one, you should be able to rotate the drive shaft by hand to have access to all the bolts. If you want to replace the guibo, now is a good time.

STEP TWELVE - Unbolt the center support bearing on the drive shaft, which will allow the entire shaft to drop down. You may want to tie it off to the side with some twine or something.

STEP THIRTEEN - This part is a pain in the rear, so if it's beer:30, now's the time to take that break. On the shift actuator (look above where the drive shaft connects to the transmission, it is a rod with a hole in it that goes into the transmission). there is a linkage, that contains two rings covering two dowel pins. You want to remove the ring closest to you (away from the transmission). That wasn't too hard, right? Cuz that was the easy part. You're now going to have to drive that dowel pin out of there with a long rod that's got a 30 degree bend at the end (rod must be no thicker than the dowel itself). The BMW Special tool referenced in the TIS is #23 0 240.

STEP FOURTEEN - Congratulations! That was probably one of the hardest things you're going to encounter during this masochistic adventure. Now unbolt the actuator itself from the transmission casing. But before you do, there is a bolt holding the hydraulic lines onto the transmission casing on the driver's side. Unbolt these first. Afterward, there are two bolts on the back of the casing (where the drive shaft connects), should be fairly obvious. Now, this last bolt (that you can't see unless you feel around the top of the actuator itself) will require some dexterity. And some u-joints, and a lot of patience. After you get these off the actuator should be pretty loose, and you can move onward to step fifteen.

STEP FIFTEEN - This is where it gets fun, and why you've invited your buddies over for that beer. Remember those female torx sockets you bought? You finally get to use them! Unbolt the 9 torx bolts holding the transmission onto the motor. Transmission is still supported by the jack, right? You're going to want the diagram from the bentley manual, or TIS. If you're looking at it though, you're probably wondering why there are 11 holes. That's because one of them is a dowel pin that's connected to the starter, and the other is a tiny 10mm bolt attaching the heatshield to the transmission casing FROM THE OTHER SIDE, so make sure you get this off. It's particularly a PITA to get to, since you have to snake your hands around the headers. I've read a lot of complaints about the dowel pin connecting the starter to the transmission casing being a PITA - just hit it with a little - wait for it - that's right, PB BLASTER, and you'll be fine. Knock it out with a long thin screwdriver and a rubber mallet.

STEP SIXTEEN - Make sure the front of your motor is supported. I managed to get away with a block of wood wedged between my swaybar and motor. But the proper way would be to support it on its hoist points with a hoist. (no, there is no good way to get a floor jack up there). You're going to do a slow combination of lowering the transmission jack (did I say slow?), and pulling the transmission casing BACK (toward the rear of the car) to slide the input shaft off.

Be careful, you don't want to bend the input shaft! If you're not wearing a mask, now's a good time to put one on so you don't inhale clutch dust. I hear that stuff has pixie dust in it (the unfortunate kind). Be mindful of the hydraulic lines.

STEP SEVENTEEN - Casing is on the floor now, right? NOT - Unless you got a super low-profile transmission jack, you're probably going to have to lift it off the jack and onto a piece of cardboard and slide that sucker out. It's really not that heavy, I'm guestimating 80 lbs or so. Okay, so step seventeen - take a look at the inside of that bell housing. You're going to see the clutch fork and throwout bearing in the middle, with a little spring holding it on the side. Be mindful of how everything is attached. However, if your experience was anything like mine, everything has already fallen out before you had a chance to look at it. No worries, I'll cover the placement in reinstallation.

STEP EIGHTEEN - Remove and replace the clutch fork, pivot pin, retaining clip and throwout bearing in the bell housing. Oh crap are we on reinstallation already? Okay - the pivot pin is UNDER the clutch fork/retaining clip on the side where the slave cylinder isn't. Knock that sucker out with a screwdriver or punch, and a rubber mallet. The pivot pin has a grove that the retaining clip sits on, and the clutch fork goes under the clip and on top of the pivot pin. BEFORE YOU DO THIS, apply some white lithium grease to the back of the clutch fork that contacts the pivot pin, as well as the areas that contact the throwout bearing. Lube up the throwout bearing guide tube (the tube that surrounds the input shaft) as well, BUT NOT THE INPUT SHAFT ITSELF. If you examine your old clutch fork (which, if it was anything like mine, should have shiny worn spots on the face/back/between, these are all places on your new fork you should be lubing with white lithium grease. Let me say that again. WHITE LITHIUM GREASE. Keep that wheel bearing grease out of there, no matter what the guy at autozone tells you. The throwout bearing sits on the guide tube, sliding in between the hole in the clutch fork. Make sure the flat edges of the throwout bearing are in contact with the top/bottom of the inside of that clutch fork. I wish I had pictures, but this is why you have the bentley/TIS right?

You'll get the idea of how the transmission works (if you didn't know already) when you assemble this part. The slave cylinder presses on the back of the clutch fork which slides the throwout bearing forward, into the springs on the pressure plate, which will disengage the clutch. The throwout bearing should not rotate on the guide tube, so if it has any rotational play (aside from the bearings themselves, of course) you've installed it wrong.

STEP NINETEEN - Get back under the car, and remove the pressure plate. There are six hex bolts you must remove. The clutch will follow with it, so be wary. Still got that mask on, right?

STEP TWENTY - If you're replacing your pilot bearing, now is the time (WITH THE FLYWHEEL ON). Use a pilot bearing puller to extract the bearing. The "BMW Pilot Bearing Puller" from pelican straight up did NOT work for me, I ended up

bending the arms, so I ended up running out to Kragen and renting a beefy pilot-bearing puller. Tap the new one in gently.

STEP TWENTY ONE - Unbolt the flywheel and inspect it for damage/hot spots. Replace if necessary - mine was just fine at 95k miles. Now is the time to replace your rear main seal, if you're doing it. Pretty straight forward, unbolt what you see on the back, and bolt on the new one. You might need to use a couple screwdrivers to lever it off. You'll also want to use a little high-temp RTV silicone to seal the bottom of it to the oil pan.

STEP TWENTY TWO - Reinstall the flywheel. USE NEW BOLTS. Unless you've got freakishly strong hands/grip made of leather, you're going to want to use that flywheel holding tool to bolt up the flywheel. USE NEW BOLTS. The new bolts should already have threadlocker on them - if they don't, then you've bought the wrong bolts. Or if you some how ended up with aftermarket bolts that don't have threadlock on them, threadlock them. I've heard recommendations for Threadlock RED, but I think Blue will suffice. The torque spec for these bolts is 120 Nm (about 80 ft/lbs).

STEP TWENTY THREE - If you were like me, you probably bought the clutch alignment tool from turner, and there's a giant ring on the end of it that prevents you from putting the pressure plate over the clutch disk (since there's a locking plate on the pressure plate, that you do NOT want to release until it's been mated with the flywheel). I ended up bolting the pressure plate on, and slowly releasing the bolts until the clutch disk had some play, and inserted the alignment tool after removing the locking plate. Do not unbolt the pressure plate entirely. The torque for these bolts should be 25 Nm. For those of you that don't know, the clutch alignment tool aligns the clutch disc with the input shaft (infact, the alignment tool looks like a plastic replica of the input shaft from the transmission casing). So you might imagine why this is important to have.

STEP TWENTY FOUR - If you're replacing motor mounts, now is the time. I think there are plenty of DIY's available on how to do this, so I won't go into detail, but I ended up supporting the motor by the pan using a 2x4, and lifting it until it cleared the driver side mount. The passenger side mount required me to have someone rotate the motor to have enough clearance to replace it.

STEP TWENTY FIVE - Time to mate the transmission casing back onto the motor. This will require a bit of patience. Put the casing back onto the transmission jack and lift it up. Once you've mated the input shaft correctly, you'll have a half-inch (or so) gap between the motor and the transmission casing that's going to seem difficult to close. You can use the longer torx bolts to help you pull the casing/motor together.

STEP TWENTY SIX - Congratulations! The hardest parts of this job are over. Install everything in reverse order, taking time to ensure that you don't end up with any extra bolts/screws/nuts.

STEP TWENTY SEVEN - Consume at least one six pack of beer (your choice), and a large pizza.

That's all folks! If you have any questions about any specific step please feel free to PM me.

Last edited by sddynamix; Mon, Feb-01-2010 at 09:21:01 PM.
Jump to top sddynamix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mon, Feb-01-2010, 09:52:42 PM   #3
Established 1998....
0-60Motorsports's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,717
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 0-60Motorsports is on a distinguished road
Location: Al Manama, Bahrain



Nice DIY, no pics?
EURO 04 M3 Mods: GC DA's / Eibach Sways / PF RTABs / RE RCAs / INTRAVEE II / ///MFEST Badges / M5 SMG Knob / VCSL: Bumper + Race Lip, CF Trunk, CF Diffusor / DIETZ TV in Motion / SuperSprint: Stepped Headers, Cat Deletes, Res X-pipe, Sport Muffler / Z8 Starter Button / Lamin-X / STM Paddles / OEM CSL: Steering, Interior, Intake, CF Roof / Terra MSS54HP CSL Clone + TTFS Tune / BBS CH's, LIGHTWERKZ / ST40's / DINAN RSB / RE Race Brace / BW Oil Cooler / 3.91 gears / Radium OCC
Jump to top 0-60Motorsports is online now   Reply With Quote
Old Mon, Feb-01-2010, 10:05:32 PM   #4
The Dough
Registered User
The Dough's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,975
Reputation: 0 The Dough is on a distinguished road
Location: Manhattan

United Nations


Great write-up. Thank you!

Jump to top The Dough is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mon, Feb-01-2010, 10:51:50 PM   #5
Registered User
BrokenM3's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,066
Reputation: 0 BrokenM3 has much to be proud ofBrokenM3 has much to be proud of
Location: Chitown



This will come in handy for me. Thanks
Jump to top BrokenM3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Tue, Feb-02-2010, 12:23:06 AM   #6
So long M3, its been a trip!
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 452
Reputation: 0 PeteyyPab has disabled reputation
Location: Left coast



Great Write UP!!...

Also feel free to pm me for help as well
Jump to top PeteyyPab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Tue, Feb-02-2010, 04:41:12 AM   #7
"What a long time to be gone, and a short time to be there"
WkboardAtx's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,469
Reputation: 0 WkboardAtx is on a distinguished road
Location: Austin

United States


Great write up 5 days at 8 hours, That must've been pretty intense.
Daily Driver: E53 X5- Manual Transmission
TT Z @ 21psi 491rwhp
2003 E46 Convertible ///M3
6sp, Cold WX Package, Titanium Carbon Fiber Interior Trim,Hidden Valentine one with StealthONE, Dinan exhaust, Dinan Stage 2 Software, Time Attack 19" M6 Wheels, AFE intake, RPI Scoop, CDV Delete, Depo smoked corner lights, Black kidney grills, Black side grills, Smoked reflectors, ZHP knob, EAS aurora 2 angel eyes, more to come...

Jump to top WkboardAtx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Sat, Feb-06-2010, 05:30:46 PM   #8
Jeff M3
Super User
Jeff M3's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 2,057
Reputation: 0 Jeff M3 is on a distinguished road
Location: SoCal, Newport Beach

United States


it took my stealer 3 weeks to install my clutch lol

MODS: Some csl stuff, some stoptech stuff, and an intake plus a loud exhaust, oh also a cracked up chassis! YAY THANKS BMW! Repaired with Redish Plates and CMP reinforcement kit (Plates aren't enough people, get a Vince bar or CMP kit ASAP! Video series on the repair coming soon!
Jump to top Jeff M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Wed, Feb-24-2010, 03:36:57 AM   #9
Registered User
CRIIM44's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 258
Reputation: 0 CRIIM44 is on a distinguished road

United States


nice write up, ive gotten away with never taking intake manifold and crap off when doing clutch jobs/trans swaps

getting the trans off and on it can make it easier to jack the front up slightly to tilt the rear down, this will make it easier to slide the trans off and back on without getting caught on the firewall and insulation
Jump to top CRIIM44 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Thu, Apr-08-2010, 04:22:18 PM   #10
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 78
In the garage:
Reputation: 0 morrison_va is on a distinguished road
Location: Houston

United States


First I want to thank sddynamix for this write, very detailed and helped me through what was the worst 40 hours of my life!!! Never again.

For the life of me I couldn't get the actuator dowel pin out, I wasted so many hours smacking it. In the end I disconnected the hydraulic lines from the transmission and took the whole unit out with the transmission. Even with the transmission sitting on the ground that pin didn't want to come out very easy.

After getting the unit out the clutch was in pretty good shape, the throwout bearing on the other hand was in bits, the ball bearings fell out of the transmission housing when we lowered it out of the car.

Again, thanks for the write up Sddynamix and answering my PM. Would have been twice the pita without it

Jump to top morrison_va is offline   Reply With Quote


clutch, diy, e46, guide, smg

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 04:09:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. and is in no way sponsored, endorsed or affiliated by or with BMW NA / BMW AG or any of it's subsidiaries or vendors.
BMW and M3 (E90 M3 | E92 M3 | E93 M3 | E46 M3 | E36 M3 | E30 M3) are registered trademarks of BMW AG.
M3Forum Terms of Service
Copyright 1999-2017
Discussing DIY Guide: E46 M3 SMG Clutch in the Faults, Fixes and DIY Forum - Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix! at BMW M3 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)