318i (1996) Clutch Replacement

The other night my clutch became very light after a stop and only has pressure at the top end of it’s travel.

I have not gone under the car to check the slave, but my fluids are full so I am assuming the cylinders are fine. The clutch has slipped a bit when starting out at higher RPM’s.

The car has 220k on it and is running well (a few leaks here and there but nothing major, yet). I plan on replacing the clutch, should I purchace a flywheel as well? I don’t know when, if ever, it has been done. I am looking at a kit with a solid flywheel (rather than the dual mass that is probably in there now) for about $500. Most flywheels for the car are $700 -900 alone. I’m not sure if I will do it myself, so having it all together may aid the mechanic if I take it in.

Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


You’ll get more response on a BMW forum board.

I have replaced a lot of clutches but never a flywheel. The problem you describe does not point to replacing the clutch… Have a pro look at it…

I must agree with the OP its clutch time. I would use the solid flywheel kit I have used them with good results (really its hard for me to tell a car is equipped with a dual mass flywheel) Light pedal pressure at top of travel,some slippage,220K mileage ,I am convinced a clutch problem.

Thanks all.
I’ve been on the BMW forums, have the Bentley manual, etc. but I don’t have the horse power to keep up.
Caddyman, I am starting to agree. I went for a short drive (3 miles) and all worked like it should, except the feeling in the clutch.
Time to look at everything else before ordering a clutch kit . . . ?

I too read this as a worn out clutch. The reason you have pressure only at the top of the pedal travel is because as the clutch pads haev worn thinner the “contact point” in the pedal travel has moved up…the pedal has to release farther to allow the clutch pads to contact the flywheel.

Unless the flywheel face is badly scored or glazed I wouldn’t spend the time, money or effort to replace it. If it is, the BMW boards may be a better information source on whether a solid flywheel would be a good replacement and what the difference in feel and perormance might be. The dual mass flywheel absorbs some rotational shock, but unless you’re driving hard I can’t imagine that proper clutch technique wouldn’t suffice.

What you have is most likely original, if so, it is a dual mass flywheel. A dual mass flywheel improves drivability and fuel economy mileage on your car.

220k miles is about the right life for a vehicle driven in an urban area.

If you have not heard a metallic chatter or clunk right after turning off the key, I would not invest in a new flywheel. They list for about $700 online, so a new flywheel will double the cost of your clutch job.