Ground control to major….Mr.M Car?

Clutch and Transmission

I recently blew my clutch and also tore up my synchros on my M3.

The event happened in early November 2008 at NJMP Thunderbolt.  It was my 3rd out of the 4th sessions of the day and I was following some instructors and Tonggi.  I knew I was going to pass both of them in the coming portions of the track so I started to really push it.

It was the straight leading to turn one.  I was approaching probably 120mph and in 4th gear.  I just added the BBK the weekend before and I now know that I was not comfortable with the extra travel that a BBK affords one.  I thought I braked hard enough, and I punched the car into 3rd…at probably 100mph.   Now usually I think that the motor would give, but usually the clutch gives before the motor.  Thats what happened.  I coasted around turn 1 and around turn 2 and pulled off the track.  The car would not go into gear and I just was parked there thankful that I wasn’t dead, but sad that I most likely wouldn’t be driving my car home.

I had my car towed off the track and it remained where all of us had parked.  The car, once removed from the tow, would not start up.  I thought for the worst and thought the motor was done.  Eventually the car did turn on, would go into gear, but once in gear, when I attempted to release the clutch and get moving, terrible smell and gosh…  The clutch was done.

I had the car towed to Mr.M-Car.  Total of that was $450.  Normally I would of had AAA do it, but it would of cost me more as I am not in their “premium plan”.

I left the car there and had Mr.M-Car take a look at it.  3 days pass by.  Blown clutch and flywheel.  Need to replace both.  Decided to go to a JB Lightweight Flywheel and also a Spec Stage 1 Clutch.  The JB Flywheel is about 13 lbs lighter than the oem piece.  This translates into less rotational mass, and lets say you are going 40mph in 2nd gear, and you get on it…the car just REVS up like crazy! :bow:

Many people complain about the chatter noise that the flywheel makes.  it does make noise, but nothing too obnoxious as my car is loud, I am running no cats and my car smells, and my car has race seats.  To me it is not obnoxious, but to others it can be.  I will take some video recordings of the chatter and let you guys hear it! :thumbsup2:

The clutch is very stiff.  It will take some time to break in.  The one thing that feels weird is when I start the car up, and i reverse out of my parking spot and put it into 1st gear, the car shudders and almost is about to stall out.  That probably is me being a douche and not really giving the car enough RPM to move.  Either way I love it.  Def will be able to handle the pressure of the track 🙂

After I had the clutch and flywheel replaced, I thought i was done, but Mr.M Car asked me if I noticed that my car had some weird noise going from 2nd to 3rd or from 4th to 3rd.  I remember hearing like a gushing of fluid, which i thought was normal when doing those shifts, but I just nodded my head and he told me about the grind.  I got into the car and started it up.  The chatter kicked in, the tight clutch kicked in, and the car felt great again.

I was driving down the highway, following Lightwerkz, who was kind enough to drive my other car back home from South Jersey, and I shifted from 1-2-GRIND into 3rd.  I was confused.  This never had happened.  What was it?  I also had a tough time getting into 1st some times.  It felt like it was halfway into gear, and then would slide into gear.  Very weird.

I spoke to Mr.M Car about this and he said that it was a case of messed up synchros.  Could of happened jamming the car into 3rd gear in too high of a RPM or just without the clutch all the way in.  Different things could of happened, or just wear – which was the most likely culprit.  I asked him what fixes there were.

1) replace the tranny fluid with something that would MASK the noise

2) get a new transmission as BMW does not make tranny parts for the car.

3) don’t drive in 3rd gear…yeah right

What a bummer!  Either replace the fluid w/something that would mask the noise, but eventually lead to another catastrophic failure OR spend 2-3k on a used tranny.   I was **** out of luck.

Luckily I knew some people at Park Ave BMW, where I was told to speak to a Service Advisor that was a very good guy.  I also got to speak to the shop foreman and we discussed what was the issue w/the car.  All in all, I still am under CPO warranty and Extended Maintenance.  I got the transmission warrantied and I just picked up the car today.  What a relief.  I guess buying a CPO car paid for itself!

It has been a hectic few weeks, but I thank Park Ave BMW and Marcus the Tech for working on my car and helping me out. I also have to thank Lightwerkz and Tonggi for the rides and moral support, as well as Don Fields at Mr.M-Car who was the most helpful shop I have ever dealt with.

I got the car back today and was scared to shift into 3rd, but no issues. In addition to removing the Auto Solutions SSK, I bought back my Rogue Engineering SSK from the person I sold it to and put it back on the car. I have had my issues w/Rogue Engineering , but I must say I do love their SSK.  I felt that the AutoSolutions SSK was notchier and I found the RE one crisper.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

Pics of the blown clutch


Review of Stoptech and PFC-01

Although the day ended w/me on a trailer being towed, I did get 2 sessions in with the Stoptechs and the PFC and boy oh boy were they great.  It took some time for me to get used to the massive braking power that these brakes provide, but the pedal eventually became comfortable.

The pads are nuts and I can’t wait for next season on them.  For now, back to Axxis Ultimates 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: