The clutch is a vital part in the operation of manual gear box automobiles. The clutch enables the gear box to disengage from the motor, allowing the driver of the BMW to change gears.

To operate properly, the clutch requires the correct amount of free play in the link between the foot pedal and the clutch operating lever. If ever the amount of free play or clearance is low, it causes a slipping clutch. In the event that there is excessive free play, the clutch may be dragging.

As time go on the clutch wears down and needs adjustments, the same applies to BMW clutches. The clutch free play should be checked as well as readjusted at every 10,000 km or as indicated in the BMW’s manufacturer’s service schedule.

Newer BMW vehicles make use of a hydraulic clutch and slave cylinder which are self adjusting and do not need adjustments. Earlier cars make use of a clutch cable and clutch lever that need adjustments at regular service intervals in order to keep the clutch wearing uniformly and in good working condition.

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Caution: Incorrect clutch adjustment may cause the clutch to slip which will cause premature wear and tear on the clutch plate or even cause uneven wearing of the clutch, which may cause the clutch to shudder. Make sure that you observe the manufacturer’s specifications while adjusting the clutch and refer to the owner’s handbook of your vehicle for the correct procedure.

Measure The Clutch Pedals’ Free play

The first step in adjusting a clutch is to assess the clutch pedal free play. This measurement will provide you a baseline to return to and you can easily then adjust the clutch pedal free play to fall in the manufacturer’s specification range for your vehicle.

bmw clutch parts measuring

Step 1: Measure the original clutch position. Place a block of wood down next to the clutch pedal. Mark the height of the clutch pedal without depressing it at all.

Step 2: Press the clutch pedal down until you feel resistance, (this is where the clutch is starting to engage) then mark this position on the block of wood. Repeat this measurement a couple of times to get an average distance.

Step 3: Calculate the clutch pedals’ free play. Once you have the two measurements of the clutch pedal height when it is in its normal position and then once it is depressed, you can now calculate the free play.

Calculate the free play by subtracting the depressed measurement from the normal position measurement. Now consult the user manual to compare measurements.

Step 4: Find the clutch lever and the adjustment locations on the clutch cable. Depending upon the make and model of the car, you might need to remove components such as the battery and air box to access the clutch cable.

Many automobiles are going to have a lock nut and an adjuster nut. The initial step will be to loosen up the lock nut and adjuster nut a little.

showing adjustment

Step 5: Next pull up on the clutch cable and make certain the lock nut and adjuster can be rotated by hand.

Step 6: Adjust the clutch lever. Once the adjustment nut and lock nut are loose, pull up on the clutch cable once more.

You will feel a place in which the clutch lever engages. This is where the clutch cable must be readjusted too.

Step 7: While maintaining continuous tension on the clutch cable, place the lock nut and adjuster so the clutch lever engages fully and smoothly without have any over-travel. This may take a few attempts to get the adjustment just.

Step 8: Tighten the clutch cable lock nut and adjuster in place as soon as you are happy with the position.

Checking the clutches free play after adjustment

Step 1: Check out the freeplay after adjustment. After the clutch cable has been adjusted, get back into the vehicle in order to check the clutch feel and free play measurement once again.

Step 2: Depress the clutch a number of times and check the feel of the pedal. The clutch ought to engage smoothly. This will also seat the clutch cable completely after a couple of depressions.

Now measure the clutch pedal freeplay as described in part one. The free play ought to be within manufacturer’s range specs now. If it is not within specifications, you will need to readjust the cable one more time.

Step 3: Reinstall any parts removed. Replace any parts that were removed to gain access to the clutch cable.

Take the car on a test drive once repair work is complete, to check for correct operation of the car. Now that you have adjusted your clutch pedal, you can enjoy the smooth clutch while driving.

Images courtesy of yourmechanic.com