Problems With Spec Clutch And Their Service... - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 06-28-2005, 10:47 AM
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I just wanted to post my situation I am having with SPEC clutches, www.specclutch.com, regarding my SPEC stage 2 clutch kit and lightweight flywheel purchase.

The situation is as follows:

I purchased a SPEC stage 2 clutch kit and lightweight flywheel about 45 days ago. Last week, I finally got around to taking my car in to my local mechanic (a BMW only service shop that also services race teams)to have the clutch and flywheel installed. The clutch worked fine for the first 4 days; on day 5 my car became inoperable. It would not go into any gear. It felt as if the clutch was not disengaging. I would push the clutch pedal in and the car would grind its way into gear and feel as if it were 'lurching' forward at a stop with the pedal fully depressed.

I took the car back in to my mechanic to have them examine the situation. They double checked the slave cylinder, which was fine, and pulled the clutch out. Of the 6 allen bolts holding the pressure plate together, 5 had backed out! The mechanic told me that the kit itself was different that any other kit he had seen in a sense that SPEC uses flat washers rather than lock washers for these bolts. Even when properly torqued, the bolts backed out in a few days. There were no special instructions stating to use loctite or to deviate from the standard BMW clutch installation procedure.

I also enquired as to why SPEC uses SAE standard bolts and fasteners rather than metric applications on their European car parts.

So I send an email to SPEC explaining my situation, requesting a reimbursement for $255 in discounted labor for the second install and this is the email I receive from David Norton at SPEC:

Dustin,

There is obviously no defect in the manufacturing of the kit. Pardon my haste, but any mechanic should understand that when lock washers are not used that loctite is a must, and loctite is recommended on race applications even when lock washers are used.

Secondly, lock washers are included in all our BMW kits-the shop just didn't use them. Hypothetically, if by some rare case the washers were left out why did the mechanic compromise your safety by not installing washers (or calling us to send him some) and deliberately not use loctite? There is no excuse.

Thirdly, there is no way the bolts backed off in 4 days if they were
correctly torqued in the beginning. And lastly, those are 10.9 grade premium race fasteners (the same ones we use in Grand Am Cup racing on the BMW's. (BMW fasteners are grade 8-). There are also helicoil inserts installed in the fastener holes, as well. Why do you think they are not good enough for your 540 and why do you think they should be metric? Your kit carries SFI certification and is rpm tested
to 14,000 for the ultimate in safety and performance. No BMW street/track kit on the market carries that level of safety. It is, however, imperative that a competent individual install the products properly. Maybe it's a great shop, but the mechanic didn't have his grape juice that morning.?? I know it's hard to say, but we did our job with the product. The product cannot be defective due to the install.

David Norton
S.P.E.C., inc
800-828-4379
205-491-8593-fax
sales@specclutch.com

Anyway, my suggestion is to stay away from companies that are unwilling to help and that give inappropriate advise.

-Dustin
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#2 (permalink) Old 06-30-2005, 08:18 PM
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Man, that sucks. As an owner of a 1999 540 6-speed with the original clutch and 115,000 miles, you can tell Mr. Norton for me that thanks to how you were treated, I am going to shop for my clutch kit elsewhere. These customer-vicious businesses just don't get it, do they?!?

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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#3 (permalink) Old 07-04-2005, 03:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Eric S.@Jun 30 2005, 06:18 PM
Man, that sucks. As an owner of a 1999 540 6-speed with the original clutch and 115,000 miles, you can tell Mr. Norton for me that thanks to how you were treated, I am going to shop for my clutch kit elsewhere. These customer-vicious businesses just don't get it, do they?!?
[snapback]358733[/snapback]

He was very defensive about their product. Anyone can make a mistake, including SPEC, and I was just asking him to cover the labor for the second install (which was a whopping $250). If they had done that, I wouldn't have been posting about a negative experience, but rather a positive experience.

Next time around, I'll spend the extra money and go with Rogue Engineering or UUC's kit.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-04-2005, 07:48 PM
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I have to disagree, I think the shop is at fault. I agree with everything David Norton said. Especially when he says that the bolts would not have fallen out so fast if properly torqued. The shop is obviously trying to cover up their mistake. I dont think it had anything to do with the washers myself but even so it is their job to assemble the car correctly regardless of what the manufacturer supplies. This is part of being a good technician. And all that aside... they just didnt tighten the bolts...thats obvious....it happens accidents happen.... but they should just fess up, and take care of it for you. My advise to you, is rather than going after SPEC, request their help with dealing with the shop and getting them to stand behind their work rather than passing the blame.


DT

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#5 (permalink) Old 08-09-2007, 12:20 AM
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david norton is absolutely correct. the bolts backing out are in no way spec's fault. how you could blame them i will never know. im not a fan of spec, but im even less impressed with bmw service personal. they all claim to be some sort of race mechanic.... what the proves? nothing really. there are lots of people that race, few that do exceedingly well.. most teams are plagued with mechanical difficulty.

if you build race cars you would know to ALWAYS loctite pressure plate fasteners reguardless if there is a lock washer included or not. further more if the factory bolts use lock washers, and the kit did not supply them why was the so called bad ass mechanic not pro active? surely he would have learned from his years racing that clutch problems can be easily avoided by using locking fasteners.. and a drop of loctite.

further more i can nearly guarantee the mechanic ran the pressure plate bolts in with a 3/8's impact. no torque wrench what so ever. also the sequence in which you torque the bolts matters greatly. if you go round in a circle the pressure plate gets tweaked and the first bolt by the time you get back around to it is loose again.

im sorry about your experience, but you should get a more reputable mechanic, or do it yourself. if you want a sports car do your own work. a repair manual, some hand tools and an afternoon are all thats required for changing a clutch. even for the most novice mechanic.

i dont know what flywheel you used, stock or aftermarket. but the only thing i can see here is if the flywheel was resurfaced and the correct step not maintained this could cause loss of clutch... but would still not make the bolts back out. the spring pressure of the pressure plate keeps the bolts from backing out typically. the lock washer and loctite are just extra steps.

ive never used any washer or loctite on any automotive clutch.and never had a problem. i do however use a real life torque wrench. on all the off road race cars i build we always use loctite and lockwashers... soley because when you break down in the desert, there is no pit lane half a lap away to pull into.



your mechanic sucks.
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