BMW E36 328 325 318 M3 Clutch Pedal Bushing Install Guide DIY
Squeaky Clutch Pedal Arm Driving You Insane?
Do you have an E36 3-series BMW with a squeaky clutch pedal arm driving you insane? Quite simply, it is well known that BMW’s original clutch arm bushings are the culprit for these annoying problems. You can lubricate, replace, curse, and even murmur obscure voodoo prayers – but none of that will work.
It is true the dealer will take care of the squeak under warranty, but they will NOT disassemble the dash, says my source. They just spray everything in sight, and wipe off the excess. This dealer “fix” will guarantee the unwanted return of the awful squeak sometime further down the road.
After I had the dealer do their lubing last year then me lubing this year I was discouraged to hear the squeak return after a few short weeks. Then I installed the UUC bushings about a thousand miles ago, haven’t heard a hint of a squeak yet!
The True Solution:
I agree it’s a problem you shouldn’t have to deal with – but for a little money and a couple hours work the squeak could be gone forever! And I absolutely despise rattles and squeaks so at least in my case it was money and time well spent.
By simply replacing the BMW crappy stock bushings with the Delrin UUC Motorwerks Clutch Arm Bushings, you can permanently get rid of that annoying squeak and most of the side-slop. For a little less than $30 with shipping it is an inexpensive way to keep your sanity.
The URL for the UUC Bushing Kit:
This is not a real difficult project but it is frustrating working in these tight and uncomfortable quarters. I found myself too cheap to give up the coin for the needed labor if I hired the job out.
I might also mention that the instructions that come with the bushings – well, in my truthful opinion could be described in one word: SUCK. I have accumulated the below tips from various web sites and some offered to me from other Z3 owners in addition to the notes that I added upon completing my own installation.
I apologize in advance as I have likely provided more detailed information than you really need to accomplish this job. But if you give it all a quick overview everything will likely go smoother. I should point out that this isn’t meant to be a total step-by-step instruction. If you are knowledgeable enough to do this project some of the obvious non-detailed steps will be, uh, obvious.
I understand some of the Z3 models have some variance in the design of these different parts. However these instructions should work with the various set-ups. It takes awhile to take apart the lower dash area for the first time, but in order to get at all the needed parts, there is no way around it.
It took me every bit of 2 hours to do this job, but I bet I could do the next one in about 60 minutes. Once you get to the crappy BMW bushings it will all make more sense. The under-dash work is a pain-in-the-butt, or more precisely a pain-in-the-back. Use a mirror where possible.
Please note I have referenced the various steps with a picture at the end of these instructions. At the end of each paragraph I have noted the figure # that addresses the step/s discussed. Furthermore the last few pages are from the BMW manual, as a general reference to the various parts in concern.
On the drivers side remove the lower instrument panels trim above clutch and brake pedal cluster – First remove the lower black pedal cover (lowest panel) which is easy to accomplish – simply remove the two plastic panel screws by turning 90 degrees. The panel can then be easily pulled out.
Proceed to the uppermost panel (lower dash cover) and pop off the 6 little black plastic screw covers – try not to abuse them too bad when removing them… I used a very small screwdriver to get them off and still ended up buying replacements for the ones I messed up. Remove the 4 Phillips screws on this lower dash panel and the 2 shorter Phillips screws that screw into the center console facing you. (*This lower dash cover is screwed to the center console section – make sure you remove these two screws before attempting removal of the panel.)
Then work the lower dash cover out from behind the center console. Removing this section is the hardest part. It comes out, but takes judicious bending of plastic and is like a difficult Chinese puzzle to remove. With extreme patience and enough effort it will come out without damage I personally found that profanity helped quite a lot at this point of the project. Make sure that the metal clip nuts that the screws go into from the center console come out, and remain attached to the tabs. (*When removing and installing this panel be careful not to scratch the center console panel with the clip nuts as I did.)
Next to be removed is the dash knee crash absorber (Styrofoam kneepad thingy). This knee bolster is held in by 6 10mm hex head bolts. One is hidden down near the steering shaft. Then this heavy knee bolster pretty much falls into your lap. Finally your work area is exposed.
Remove the clutch master cylinder (2 10mm hex head bolts) when you do this, take note of where the electrical switches are mounted, since they will drop when you remove the master cylinder.
Remove the three locking clips on the left side of pedal (by sliding off with a flat bladed screwdriver) then slide the pins to the right to remove. The uppermost pin is the fixed clutch pivot pin, so you simply slide the pedal off this pin. (*Prior to removing the clips at pin ends look over the clutch over-center helper spring assembly as to how it is assembled and attached. As these parts will likely separate during this procedure.)
Once you slide the clutch pedal off the pivot pin you will be able to remove the original noisy bushings. Then you obviously install the new UUC bushings. I would highly recommend applying plenty of lithium grease to the replacement bushings during assembly.
The UUC bushing kit should have two metal spacers (washers) – the idea is to take up the side-to-side slack on the main pivot rod where the bushings go. The washers go on the outside of each Teflon bushing when you put it all back together. Due to the fact that the rod is not always welded in the exact same position on each vehicle, you may not need but one, or maybe neither of the washers. However, you want to keep it as tight as you can (to eliminate most of the side-slop) so use all the spacers you can. My 1998 Z3 took both washers.
Upon assembly and you move the clutch pedal around, it is obvious where all the moving parts are. Take an aerosol can of white lithium grease with the little tube and spray anything that moves or should move, including the clutch over-center helper spring assembly, make sure you really get into both sides of the plastic pivot and bushings. DO NOT use silicone grease – while fine for the plastics, it is NOT a good lubricant for steel.
White lithium will not drip once applied, but it will splatter so use some rags to cover what you want kept clean. While at it, and your back is already hurting you might as well do the brake pedal and gas pedal spring.
Reattach and/or verify proper attachment of the clutch over-center helper spring assembly just prior to reinstalling the clutch master cylinder. From this point you will reassemble in basically the reverse order. (*Be safety conscious of the spring pressure while reinstalling these parts.)
Before installing any of the body/dash/kick panels you will want to verify that all parts are assembled correctly. Make sure all snap clips are tight and properly positioned. Additionally the electric switch sensors for the clutch and brake pedals will need re-adjustment. You really want this correct BEFORE installing any of the panels.
Reinstalling that last lower dash piece (uppermost panel) is believe it or not more difficult than the removal. Again be careful not to scratch the center console panel with the metal clip nuts. There are two hooks on this panel that must line up with the “hook holes”. One on the right side that hooks to the center console panel and the other one centered between the two body panel screws.