Clutch Has No Resistance...need Help!! - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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#1 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 03:31 PM
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Came out to my car this morning and when I pushed the clutch pedal in it just fell to the floor, wouldn't come off until I lifted it back up with my foot, so the Clutch WILL NOT disengage.

The clutch itself is doing fine at 119K miles, no slipping.

I took off the underpart of the dash and noticed the pedal is attached to what looks like a hydraulic shock....maybe there is no more fluid in there???

I don't know a whole lot about these cars but i'm an engineering student and am pretty competent as far as mechanical repair in general, so I just need some guidance.

My first thought is "oh shit there goes my tranny", but it's never had any problems until this morning, so i'm thinking it has to do with hydraulic pressure. I noticed i've been leaking some fluid that I just found out was tranny fluid, however, I just had the fluid checked about a week ago and they said it was fine.

I CAN'T FIND THE TRANNY FLUID DIPSTICK....where is that located???

Basically my question is what could theoretically fail to cause this symptom?? Once I get a list i'll just go down and systematically check everything.

Thanks again everyone!
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#2 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 03:44 PM
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UPDATE:

Was told it is most likely the clutch slave cylinder. However (don't know if this makes a difference or not) I notice my car leaked some fluid over night, it leaked from the front area of the car (engine bay) and I can't figure out what kind of fluid it is. It's too clear to be motor oil, not red enough to be tranny fluid, not coolant as mine is clear, maybe its brake fluid???

I guess my question is: is it possible to just top off a fluid somewhere is am I definitely going to have to replace the clutch slave cylinder??
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#3 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 04:03 PM
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It is your slave cylinder fluid, my room mate just informed me that the color of the cylinder fluid is greenish brown, which sounds consistant with what you are describing. Sounds like the slave cylinder is the correct diagnosis. Sorry.

However, if it is really cold where you are, you might have cracked a seal, in which case, replace the seal and refill the cylinder and you are set to go.
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#4 (permalink) Old 01-17-2005, 04:09 PM
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I had the exact same problem with my 944. The kid is right, that fluid you lost was hydrolic (sp) fluid that came from out as a result of your dead slave cylendar. Not to worry though, you'll just need to replace that piece and bleed the system.

Since you say the clutch itself is going bad, it wouldn't hurt to do this all at once. Especially if you don't have a place to work on the car, it may be less to do them both, though it's not essential.

If you decide to tackle this yourself, or want to verify that's what happened, the slave cylendar will be on the firewall, and I'd imagine that there would still be some fluid on that surface as well.

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#5 (permalink) Old 01-20-2005, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SDSUe36@Jan 17 2005, 03:44 PM
UPDATE:

Was told it is most likely the clutch slave cylinder. However (don't know if this makes a difference or not) I notice my car leaked some fluid over night, it leaked from the front area of the car (engine bay) and I can't figure out what kind of fluid it is. It's too clear to be motor oil, not red enough to be tranny fluid, not coolant as mine is clear, maybe its brake fluid???

I guess my question is: is it possible to just top off a fluid somewhere is am I definitely going to have to replace the clutch slave cylinder??
[snapback]273435[/snapback]

The clucth on this car is hydraulic. You have a master cylinder behing the clucth pedal and a slave cylinder on the transmission.

First of all. Manual cars do not have dipstick for the tranny, not even on the automaci as BMW uses "lifetime" fluid,, that is another fix...

Anyway, your clucth went dead to the floor because the master failed, since you said you had oil leaking on the inside right? that is brake fluid, very corrosive to paint and much likely it did stain your carpet..

If you go at the engine compartment, look on th ebrake reservoir, there is a little, normally blue hose coming from the rear on the corner then goin down, that is the supply hose, it goes from the reservoir, to the top of the master cylinder inside the car, then out, on a pressurized line, to the slave cylinder on the transmission.

the reason why you had oil leaking the next day is simple, since the pedal is down, and the cylinder is broken, no pressure applied, the oil had to go somewhere, so it goes back to the brake resoervoir, and it got overfilled.

To fix this, i snot hard and with a basic set of tools, brake fluid and jackstacks it can be easily done.

Get new Master and slave cylinders, i know that the master was the one that onli failed, but this are parts that wear out pretty fast, so replacing them now together saves you trouble on the future...

The master cylinder, inside the car, is a question of removing the plastic trim on top of the pedals, then the knee protectinon device, is a metal with foam thing that is underneat the plastic trim, just uncrew it. then you have aesy acces to the clucht pedal. There are metal clips at the pivot point, just undo this clips and remove the pedal. then you see a black plastic thing, is hed in place by two bolts on the rear, is kind of tight, but be patienent is duable. remove the screws, once the cylinder is free, pull it up so you can take the hoses out and plug them on the new part, assembly is reverse of removal. Also to prevent more oil falling inside your car, i recommend getting a seringe or soemthing different and enptying the brake reservoir, so you dont have oil going down the supply hose while you have the line open.

then move to the bottom of the car once the inside is done, coming from the drivers side towards the center of the car you ll see the transmission, look on the side and you'll see a blck hose going form the cars body to a round metal thing on the transmission, that metal thing is your slave cylinder. the black hose looks like a brake line, but is the line comming from the master cylinder going to the slave.
then on the slave cylinder youll see two screw that how it on place on the transmisson housing, one on top one on botton, undo them, i believe 13mm.

once the slave is out, undo the line, then out, then put the line on the new slave cylinder, as on a brake line, the line is treated onto the part. once your done tightening the cylinder to the line, get out of there, leave it hanging. go to the engine compartment and using brand new DOT 4 brake fluid fill all the way up the brake reservoir, since the clucth system is dry oil hydraulic oil, you will need to keep adding as needed. ATTENTION, DO NOT STEP ON THE CLUCTH PEDAL WITH THE SLAVE CYLINDER BEING OUT OF THE TRANSMISSION, NOT INSTALLED ON PLACE. the rason for this is because inside the slave cylinder there is a spring that pushes the piston out, so when the cylinder is not installed the piston is already all the way out, stepping on the clucht pedal like this will make the piston fly away out of the housing, Ive done it and i know hoe stupid it feels.

How to bleed the clucth system, take air out,

if you have acces to the pressure bleeder then follow the instruction to preperly use it on the brake resorvir making sure you dont put much pressure on the system, mak is 20psi i believe. Once is pressurized, go to the bottom of the car, the slave cylinder has a bleed valve on the back, just like a brake caliper, loosen the valve, point the rear of the valve on the upwards position, the idea here is to make the place where air escapes the higest point on the cylinder, so when oil starts to flow out of the valve you can tighten it up, and so this will ensure no air on the system. I recommend doing this bleed with the clucth pedal on the rest position, upright, not being used position. this makes the piston inside the master cylinder to be out of the way and so the oil can flow better towards the bottom of the car.

if you dont have acces to the pressure bleeder, well then you can make the slave cylinder into a suction device, and here is how.

As with a syringe, when you pull the piston out it creates vaccum, and so it will suck air into it,.
on the slave cylinder the principle is the same.
after making sure the resorvoir is full, hold the valve of the cylinder on the upright position, so that it is the highest point, an dby doing this, the air will stay at the top and will go out trough the valve, just like the procedure above, but to make the cylinder suck oil to it, this is what you do. Open the bleeder valver, press the slave cylinder piston in with your hand, hold it, with the other hand close the bleeder, finger tigh, let the piston go out, it has a spring remember, since the bleeder is closed and the piston is moving out, vaccuum is created on the inside, sucking oil into it. Once the piston is out, open the valve, compress the piston, close the valve, let the piston go. repeat the procedure until you get a consistent amount of oil coming out of the bleeder valve, by consistent i mean with no air, or air bubbles.
This procedure above is described on the bentley service manual, I;ve done myself several times and it works like a charm.

when done bleeding, coat the tip of the slave cylinder piston with grease, this is a friction point between the piston and the clucth fork. then push the cylinder to the same place, put the bolds in and check to make sure verything is tigh and no leaks.

also, on the inside of the car, there is at least one swicth on top of the clucth pedal, this is for the cruise control, make sure the swicht is clicking when you press the pedal, this is to ensure that the swicht works and consequently your cruise control.

And since you have to remove the clucth pedal for the job, i recommend you to get delrin clutch bushings, this is a much tighter and stiffer bushing to fit on the clucth pedal to prevent squeaky noise that it does sometimes, if it did not do it, it will at one point.. just look for e36 clucht pedal bushings on google.


if need of more help let me know..

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#6 (permalink) Old 08-05-2008, 04:41 AM
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Unhappy Clutch has no resistance......

I have the same problem, but for me, mine started a few days ago. One day when i was on my way home i noticed that the gears where not sounding or feeling like they should. For example, my 2nd gear felt like i was in 4th gear(took a while to take-off), but 2nd gear also sounded like i was in 1st gear(loudness). All the gears seem to be that way as i was shifting, so i took it too a mechanic to look at it and he said that it couldnt be the clutch already, that it was because of the heat pressure build-up in the silencer right before the muffler. That it wasnt responding so quickly. So all of a sudden after he drove it a bit, it went away and i was driving fine for the next few days until last night when i was driving home once again it was doing the same thing with the gears. I drove it for a bit, to see if it would stop, which it felt like it had stopped. So i parked it at home and got up this morning and started it up, tried putting the clutch down and there was nothing, no resistance what so ever. I checked the brake fluid and its above minimum, but below maximum. I didnt see any leakages as of yet, but im still investigating with a few mechanics. If someone has any good troubleshooting techniques, suggestions, and/or ideas, please let me know. Very much appreciated. Thanks.
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#7 (permalink) Old 08-07-2008, 01:47 AM
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Ok, i guess it was leaking, but was washed away. The mechanic added some fluid and bled the line back at the slave cylinder letting all the bubbles come out while bringing back the clutch to its normal resistance. We test drove through traffic and around that night, i even drove it to work and back in traffic. I even drove it that night as well, which was last night, this morning i wake up with a puddle of fluid back by the slave cylinder. I was told that the rubbers on the cylinder could just be worn and can be replaced if its just the rubbers, but is it recommended to just replace the whole unit even though its just the rubbers? If anyone has any suggestions and/or ideas or input, please let me know. Thanks.
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#8 (permalink) Old 08-08-2008, 09:23 AM
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We have replaced the whole slave cylinder unit already, but the mechanic is thinking there is some damage to the clutch plate which is giving it that delayed response and power that it should have when going up hill.
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#9 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 12:43 AM
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i'm new to this whole forum but my clutch has no resistance as well i just replaced the master cylinder and i tried bleeding it out no bubbles came out or air pockets and it still is loose as a goose can someone please help me
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-04-2008, 05:43 PM
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hi just replace the slave cylinder which is located on the side of the gearbox,they dont cost alot of money,and bleed the system
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#11 (permalink) Old 02-18-2009, 11:09 PM
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can you bleed the slave cylinder or clutch master without removing anything like the slave cylinder? its on the e36, and the problem is that the clutch doesnt engage until about 3/4 of the way out on the pedal..it might be a bad clutch but i wanted to try and bleed it first since i just swap the engine and had the slave cylinder out..im thinking maybe that could be the problem..plus its the cheapest thing to try out first.thanks in advance
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#12 (permalink) Old 02-20-2009, 04:36 AM
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First off all brake fluid is not the same color. ie super blue, DOT 5.1, DOT 4 etc. the fluid i currently use is crystal clear

to trouble shoot
press clutch pedal. if it goes down and stays down, check fluid level. if resevoir is filled bleed system. If problem persists after bleeding conduct manual actuation test.

If clutch pedal does not move, remove slave cylinder and manually actuate. if cylinder actuates replace master cylinder. if cylinder does not actuate replace slave cylinder

Most often then not the system just needs a bleeding. i would attempt a bleed before replacing just because its cheaper. if the bleed doesnt work i would simply purchase a rebuild kit vice buying a whole new cylinder.

yes you can bleed the clutch system without removing anything. there is a nipple on the back end of the slave cylinder that needs to be loosened while the clutch pedal applies pressure to the system or using a pressure bleeder then closed before the pressure is released.

heres the steps

*note during this entire process ensure clutch fliud resevoir does not become empty.
** recommend using a small length of vacuum hose on the end of the nipple/bleeder submerged in appropriate brake fluid to ensure no air is consumed during the process.
*** recommend removal of CDV valve which is a cause of premature clutch wear when vehicle is used for racing or aggressive driving.

1. person one steps on clutch pedal and holds it down.
2. person two loosens nipple fitting (zerk fitting) on back of slave cylinder by about a quarter-half a turn so that fluid flows out.
3. person two tightens nipple
4. person one releases pressure on clutch pedal, possibly pulling clutch pedal to top by hand
5. repeat until no air bubbles escape from nipple fitting and clean fluid is flowing(easy to see if the tube in brake fluid method is used)

I would bleed the entire system before replacing the slave or master cylinders. if the clutch fluid resevoir is full and there is still no pedal pressure you may have a Hydro locked assembly. (air bubble on either side of piston assembly in Master cylinder) to fix a hydro lock one can use a pressure bleeder system or apply suction to the clutch line while giving the clutch pedal a few pumps. once the air bubble has begun to move the hydro lock should be clear and continue the bleed process till there is no air.
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#13 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 02:53 PM
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Question No pressure!

So I've got a 93 325is and I just replaced the motor and tranny with a newer younger motor and tranny. Everything went well it starts and runs like a beast, however when we went to test drive it the clutch pedal just went to the floor with no pressure behind it. When we unbolted the slave cylinder from the tranny for replacment the piston and the retaining plate fell off so we just took the slave off the new tranny and replaced it and bled it like any other hydralic system. Now I've read all of the posts and I'm still unsure. It cant be the master because the brakes still have pressure, the clutch worked just fine before the motor and tranny swap. We tried manually bleeding and gravity bleeding last night with no success. I have a constant fluid stream with little to no pressure behind it. Can a slave cylinder go bad without a leak? The next step will be a vacuum bleeding kit but I'd rather just nip this in the bud and find the issue before I spend more money on usless fixes.
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#14 (permalink) Old 03-25-2011, 03:51 PM
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I replaced the master cylinder in my e30, and it cured my problem. On my M my slave cylinder went out but I replaced the master and the slave. Just makes sense, the slave is the cheapest, the master is about 70 bucks. Just replace both, you have fluid, it bleeds. You can follow my thread in the M listings. Also the master cylinder for the clutch is on the clutch pedal, it has nothing to do with the brakes besides sharing the same fluid. Thats about all I have, bleeding is very much like the brakes, just don't have to hold the clutch pedal. Advance auto parts has the cheapest slave cylinders, Also master cylinders.


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#15 (permalink) Old 03-28-2011, 11:28 PM
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IT LIVES!! so I just bled the piss out of the clutch and we finally got some pressure and I just took it out for a ride, what a beautiful car to drive
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