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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > ACT Clutch installed - driving impressions



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      02-18-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
tscdennab
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ACT Clutch installed - driving impressions

Hi,

I finally installed my ACT Street organic clutch BM8-HDSD (along with a new OEM flywheel) despite the still heavy winter outside. I don't want to be caught by the nice spring weather with the clutch not yet broken in

I must say that I was quite nervous about installing an aftermarket clutch because of driveability concerns: chatter, abrupt engaging, pedal stiffness, pedal travel, quality control issues leading to unexpected install problems, etc.

Fortunately the install went perfectly. The installer is a very experienced and inventive guy, and I also had the Bentley manual with me (by the way, this manual is indispensable if you do anything aftermarket to your car outside the BMW dealerships. No mechanic will ever know perfectly every aspect of your particular car. I don't trust guys that don't want to look up any kind of documentation. For example, there is no way to know the tightening torque of every bolt without the use of documentation).

I removed my BMS clutch stop and installed an OEM clutch stop because I read on the forums that the clutch begins to engage right at the floor. And indeed it is the case.

So how does it feel ? In a word, absolutely acceptable. Pedal is stiffer, like 50% stiffer than stock. It also feels less "refined" compared to the stock pedal, it's a bit non-linear in the force needed to push it, whereas the stock pedal feels like an absolutely linear spring. It engages like 5 maybe 10mm from the floor, which feels very natural in fact (I had some concerns about this). But this is nit-picking, the fact is that the pedal feel is absolutely acceptable.

The clutch engagement is 100% stock-like. No noise can be heard in any circumstances. No chatter or other unpleasant stuff. Basically, after 1 mile the clutch will feel perfectly familiar and you can finally be relieved that you did not screw up the driveability of your car

For break-in purposes, I switched the car to the stock map and I plan to drive it on the stock map for the whole break-in period of about 500km in order to avoid unnecessary torque stressing the clutch during this time.

Conclusion: I am VERY concerned about any modification to my car not affecting the daily driveability of the car and it seems that the ACT Street organic clutch (BM8-HDSD) fits the bill perfectly. It is probably the safest bet when it comes to aftermarket clutches on the N54 platform. Also the cheapest

PS: I bought the clutch from THMotorsports (clutchflywheel dot com). I had a really bad buying experience with these guys and I wouldn't recommend anyone to buy from them. They told me they had the clutch in stock and ready to ship, yet they actually shipped it after 3 weeks. They also messed up and did not include an invoice in the clutch package which caused me to pay more customs that necessary. Whoever you talk to from them, you can be sure that he does not actually control how things will end up, they will say anything to make you buy.

Last edited by tscdennab; 02-18-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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      02-18-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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Good to hear about more success with this clutch! Probably the way I'll be going here in the spring.
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      02-18-2012, 07:16 PM   #3
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^ +1, thanks for the review. I'm on the fence about this clutch or a stock replacement in the next year or two (I figure it's only a matter of time).
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      02-18-2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SneakyDeeky View Post
^ +1, thanks for the review. I'm on the fence about this clutch or a stock replacement in the next year or two (I figure it's only a matter of time).
I actually did a stock replacement about 4000km ago and regretted it dearly. The stocker does not slip in real world driving (pulling 2-3-4 to redline on highways, etc.) but if you go to the drag strip with some drag radials you will smell it...
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      02-18-2012, 10:06 PM   #5
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Wow, your OEM clutch was slipping after only 4000km's or you decided to change it anyway?
Is it not possible to keep.the clutch stop with just a single washer? I love to clutch into the exact engagement point...
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      02-19-2012, 09:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitehawk View Post
Wow, your OEM clutch was slipping after only 4000km's or you decided to change it anyway?
Is it not possible to keep.the clutch stop with just a single washer? I love to clutch into the exact engagement point...
Interested in this as well. I haven't taken a hard look at the schematics for our clutch but it seems like you could add/remove material from the clutch pedal or something to adjust the engagement point away from the floor.
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      02-19-2012, 09:50 AM   #7
tscdennab
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nitehawk View Post
Wow, your OEM clutch was slipping after only 4000km's or you decided to change it anyway?
Is it not possible to keep.the clutch stop with just a single washer? I love to clutch into the exact engagement point...
The clutch was not slipping, it just smelled after a few passes with drag radials. It's clear that the stock clutch cannot hold the FBO torque in drag racing applications. My car dynoed at 550Nm at the wheels on a Mustang Dyno. It's just too much for a stocker.

About the clutch stop: I had it with 2 washers before and felt perfect to me, I hated it with more than 2 washers, the travel was not right for me. Right now, the pedal engages like 5-10mm from the floor, but due to the leverage construction of the pedals, the clutch stop area of the pedal moves online 2-3 mm when the tip of the pedal moves 5-10mm. So I don't think that even a single washer will work, but I'm not sure. The OEM clutch stop is like 1-2mm thick, so MAYBE the BMS clutch can be used with one washer. But I don't want to risk my clutch slipping unnoticed during shifts, it would not be fun.
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      02-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #8
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I did a bit more driving today, completing 100 miles of city driving, and I *think* that the pedal softened up a bit, like 20% of what it was right when I installed the clutch. It's still a bit harder than stock though. I wonder if this is normal ? Clutch works perfectly though. Maybe I just got used to the pedal feel ? Anyone else has experience with breaking in non-self-adjustable clutches ?
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      02-23-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tscdennab View Post
I did a bit more driving today, completing 100 miles of city driving, and I *think* that the pedal softened up a bit, like 20% of what it was right when I installed the clutch. It's still a bit harder than stock though. I wonder if this is normal ? Clutch works perfectly though. Maybe I just got used to the pedal feel ? Anyone else has experience with breaking in non-self-adjustable clutches ?
yes, the pedal feel with definitely soften as you put more miles on teh car. when i first picked up my car from getting the ACT street clutch installed, it was pretty firm and had a quick engagement point. i loved it! after a few hundred miles, it went back to feeling just like stock
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      02-23-2012, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryce View Post
yes, the pedal feel with definitely soften as you put more miles on teh car. when i first picked up my car from getting the ACT street clutch installed, it was pretty firm and had a quick engagement point. i loved it! after a few hundred miles, it went back to feeling just like stock
Interesting, thanks. It is not in my mind then. Well, I don't mind a stock-like feel, as long as it is doing it's job properly
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      02-23-2012, 06:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tscdennab View Post
Interesting, thanks. It is not in my mind then. Well, I don't mind a stock-like feel, as long as it is doing it's job properly
it will hold a lot better than the stock clutch, that's for sure. mine was slipping very badly after a few weeks on the new vishnu maps. act clutch has been rock solid ever since installed in dec. i don't mind the stock feel either, but i really loved how the clutch felt right after install.
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      02-23-2012, 06:54 PM   #12
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Thanks and great review!

This is the route I'll go with so I'll keep an eye on this thread

Unless I sell my wife and get a new 991 911 first ! Those are awesome
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      02-23-2012, 06:57 PM   #13
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Bryce, what did you do for FW? And how did the stock look, miles?
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      02-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #14
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Great Review, my clutch will not last a longer especially after I switch to S2+. ACT is is going to be my choice (HPF is just too expensive)
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      02-23-2012, 09:13 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshboody View Post
Bryce, what did you do for FW? And how did the stock look, miles?
45k miles, normally clutches last me the life of the car; I've never had to replace a clutch. Then again, I've never ran the aggressive maps on my old 135i, or almost doubled engine torque output on the stock clutch.

I had the shop inspect my flywheel, with instructions to replace with a new stock one if necessary. They said it was in great condition, and surfaced/cleaned it and reused it. No issues at all.
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      02-23-2012, 10:07 PM   #16
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Probably the way I'll be going here in the spring.
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      02-24-2012, 01:29 PM   #17
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Great write up!

just as an FYI we carry/stock and use the ACT's in our cars... Great clutches for the N54 platform.

If any of you want pricing feel free to PM me, I would be happy to get your guys great pricing AND great customer service!
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      02-24-2012, 02:08 PM   #18
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which ACT clutch did you get, i know there is a few of them.
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      02-24-2012, 03:00 PM   #19
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      03-02-2012, 03:44 AM   #20
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@tscdennab any updates on this. how's your new clutch?

my clutch started slipping so I need to pull the trigger and this is what I'm most likely going with.
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      03-02-2012, 05:17 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marv85 View Post
@tscdennab any updates on this. how's your new clutch?

my clutch started slipping so I need to pull the trigger and this is what I'm most likely going with.
Clutch works and feels perfect, 600km of break-in period passed but I am still avoiding aggressive driving. However it feels strong and I just don't see anything wrong happening (until the drag racing season, that is ). Pedal still 20-30% stiffer than stock, which is good

However, if you change your clutch do everything in your power to have the flywheel resurfaced (task preferably handled by the same shop which does the clutch job). It will greatly increase the chance for a new clutch to work without issues.

I highly recommend this clutch at least for it's ability to maintain the car's almost stock feel.
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      03-02-2012, 09:30 AM   #22
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My ACT went in about a year ago, and I felt like you did about the "pickup" point was closer to the floor, and it felt stiffer, but as it broke in that point returned to the original spot (yes I bled the slave after instal)l, it just took some time to wear in.

X...

P.S. I have about 10,000 miles on the ACT now.
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