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Thread: Clutch wonít engage when Z3 started

  1. #1
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    Clutch wonít engage when Z3 started

    Brought the Z3 out retirement and it worked for a few days. This morning before the car started I placed my foot on the clutch pedal and there was no resistance. The gear is always a left in neutral.

    I start the car and the clutch pedal will not engage and I cannot shift gears.

    When the car is off and I push in the non resistant clutch pedal I can change gears freely.

    What could it be?

    Thank you in advance

  2. #2
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    Sounds like the hydraulics on the clutch aren't working - seals in the slave or master cylinder, I'd guess. When the car is not running it doesn't make any difference if the clutch is depressed or not, as its function is to stop the gearbox being turned by the engine, which isn't running anyway.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmwcrocop View Post
    Brought the Z3 out retirement and it worked for a few days. This morning before the car started I placed my foot on the clutch pedal and there was no resistance. The gear is always a left in neutral.

    I start the car and the clutch pedal will not engage and I cannot shift gears.

    When the car is off and I push in the non resistant clutch pedal I can change gears freely.

    What could it be?

    Thank you in advance
    Clutch hydraulic system has failed, a hose, or one of the cylinders, hopefully the slave, its much easier to change.

  4. #4
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    What should I do for a repair? Order a slave cylinder and switch it out? How hard is it to do?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Inspect the hoses?

  5. #5
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    Also, I was messing with wires recently. Is the clutch hydraulic system powered and connected to wires?

  6. #6
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    No wires. Replacing the clutch slave is not hard, but bleeding these clutches is tricky. Many people have trouble and have to do it a few times. Also, you should replace the rubber factory clutch line with a SS line while you've got it apart. It's a very standard thing to do on these cars. Problem is, that is tricky also. And... it could be the master cylinder, which is inside the car so one has to be careful not to get fluid on the carpet. Maybe one of the pundits here knows how to tell whether it's the slave or master. I don't. I think I would bleed it first, because that is free and might tell me something. It doesn't sound like you have a lot of mechanic experience, so you have to decide if you're willing to get frustrated and learn, or take it to a mechanic ($$$). If you're willing, there are detailed instructions available on this site.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the info. I have done simple repairs on the Z3 and somewhat complicated ones on the S550. I will probably take this one to the local mechanic. Focus my time on fixing the sliding seat, sagging glove box and parasitic drain. I just had the mechanic replace two of the lower control arms.

  8. #8
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    One thing the mechanic might not know about is the SS clutch line. It's less than $30 , and makes a world of difference in how the clutch feels and operates. Also, if your clutch pedal acts weak in the future, you won't have to suspect that rubber line that comes on the car.

  9. #9
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    Replacing the rubber clutch line with a stainless steel (SS) line falls into the, "while I'm in there" category.
    Tony
    "Conceptually, I know how a plane flies, but that doesn't make me a pilot" - IUnknown

  10. #10
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    I checked the master cylinder clutch when I got home today. The rubber boot was been eroded in Mulitple places and fully cracked. Is it safe to say this place needs to be replaced? Also, break fluid/clutch reservoir was very low ó- please see pictures https://imgur.com/gallery/DhBKSv0

  11. #11
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    Sure, replace the boot when you can, but that ain't it. ..... In the reservoir, the line to the clutch is higher than the line to the brakes, because brakes are more important. So, the lost fluid went out somewhere ... find it. You may not have a clutch problem at all, just low fluid, which could have been leaked at the brakes somewhere. You can try filling the res and rapidly pumping the clutch pedal. If you're really lucky, you could get the air out. If not, you're due for a clutch bleed. Of course you still have a fluid leak to deal with.

  12. #12
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    Proper fluid was added and I rapidly pumped the clutch to no avail.

    I donít have a pump for bleeding. Is there anything else to try?

  13. #13
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    Is there a puddle under the car Drivers floor dry. No drips from bell housing. Maybe look underneath while someone depresses the pedal.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmwcrocop View Post
    Proper fluid was added and I rapidly pumped the clutch to no avail.

    I don’t have a pump for bleeding. Is there anything else to try?
    First, where is the leak? As just posted, look for fluid: on the ground, on the wheels, on the clutch and brake parts. If it's the clutch slave or master, no sense bleeding until you fix it. If it's in the brake system, then you can proceed to bleed clutch, but you still have a problem to fix. ..... I've had good luck with the "reverse bleeding" procedure. Get a hand pump oil can at auto parts store, around $10. Fill it with brake fluid. Get a hose that will connect it to the bleeder valve on the slave cyl. Pump it a little to fill the hose with fluid, even have the fluid dripping a little when you put in on the slave. Open the slave valve. Pump the fluid can but stop before it runs out, so you don't pump air into the slave. Close the slave bleeder valve. See whether the clutch pedal works right. If not , do it again.

  15. #15
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    Some say the slave must be removed and inverted to completely bleed its air:
    https://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/s...4#post27417074
    BMW MOA 696, BMW CCA 1405

  16. #16
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    Thanks for the good advice. No puddles under the car and donít see a leak. Must be a slow one. Iíll post findings.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmwcrocop View Post
    Thanks for the good advice. No puddles under the car and don’t see a leak. Must be a slow one. I’ll post findings.
    Well, you could just bleed the clutch and then check the fluid daily. Sorry for repeating myself, but that fluid went somewhere. Also, '42 is right about bleeding the clutch. That's why I said I got "lucky" reverse bleeding. It seems some are lucky, some not, and I don't know why. Reverse bleeding is convenient because one can do it without a helper to pump the pedal and you don't have to take the slave off.

  18. #18
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    The slave cylinder was replaced to no avail ó still no pressure. I believe the hose was replaced as well.

    Is the next step replace the master?

  19. #19
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    To me the first step would be to diagnose the issue. But that's just me.


    /.randy

  20. #20
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    Thank you for the obvious. Car is at the mechanic and they already diagnosed it and tried the slave cylinder. They are not familiar with z3s from 1997.

    My guess is the Next step is master cylinder. Maybe they didnít bleed it properly. Need some extra info from the experts.

    Thoughts?

  21. #21
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    Find a mechanic familiar with Z3s. Given the known difficulty of bleeding properly, and your statement that they are not "familiar", and the fact that they diagnosed it and "tried" the slave cylinder, that seems logical to me. You are right "maybe they didn't bleed it properly", but how would you know? I suppose you could take them some detailed instructions from this site, but success depends on their attitude and ability to learn.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by zellamay View Post
    Find a mechanic familiar with Z3s. Given the known difficulty of bleeding properly, and your statement that they are not "familiar", and the fact that they diagnosed it and "tried" the slave cylinder, that seems logical to me. You are right "maybe they didn't bleed it properly", but how would you know? I suppose you could take them some detailed instructions from this site, but success depends on their attitude and ability to learn.
    Itís PepBoys ó lol. I guess there is no harm to replace both master and slave ó only wasted money. Iím stuck with these guys as the car was towed there. They did a good job on the lower control arms.

    Iím going to try to instruct them on bleeding

  23. #23
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    The fluid went somewhere. If you don't see it in the engine bay or on the floor, then it is inside the bell housing. The bell housing doesn't "seal" against the block, so I imagine you'd see some wetness at that location at a minimum.

    The boot you show in your photos is a dust cover for the master cylinder input piston. It being cracked will have no effect on the hydraulic system.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bmwcrocop View Post
    Itís PepBoys ó lol. I guess there is no harm to replace both master and slave ó only wasted money. Iím stuck with these guys as the car was towed there. They did a good job on the lower control arms.

    Iím going to try to instruct them on bleeding
    I recommend getting the car towed somewhere else before these people who dont know how Z3s work rack up an immense bill...

  25. #25
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    You just need someone who is familiar with BMWs (or hydraulic clutches in general), I think the clutch works the same on almost all BMWs from this era and before. It's alarming that a mechanic would take more than an hour to diagnose this on a lift. It's just 2 pistons and a reservoir.

    Not to put negative mojo on your situation, but I had a very bad experience with Pep Boys working on my Scirocco 16V when I was younger and without a garage or tools.

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