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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-01-2008, 12:03 PM   #1
hoss
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Post DIY: Fitting a SAC clutch

Ok, so certain of the e46's have a Self Adusting Clutch
According to the Bentley manual, this requires several special (read expensive) tools to fit. Fortunatley i have found it's possible with some more common ones.

The SAC works by having a rotary plate inside the cover plate assembly that is pushed clockwise by springs. As the clutch wears, this rotary plate slowly moves clockwise to take up the wear.

NB. It seems that new clutches come with this SAC pre-reset in the anti-clockwise position with a shipping plate. But if you want to refit an existing clutch you need to reset it.

To reset the SAC you will need a large 3 legged bearing puller as in the picture (these are relatively cheap, i picked up a set of 4 for about $30).
Before the SAC can be reset the diaphram spring must be compressed. I made a cylindrical block on a lathe which just sits inside the spring fingers. If you dont have a lathe, some improvisation could be done.

1. Insert the puller as shown & compress the spring. Note that the silver SAC plate underneath can be freely moved now.
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2. Fit the clutch disc on to the flywheel with the normal centering tool.

3. With the spring still compressed (puller attached) fit the cover plate to the flywheel & tighten all the cover bolts.
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4. Using a screwdriver or similar, rotate the silver SAC plate fully anti-clockwise. Note there are alignment marks near the small springs to show this.
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5. Keep the SAC plate in the anti-clockwise position with the screwdriver while removing the pressure on the diaphram spring, and remove the puller.

6. Remove the centering tool.
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Old 02-21-2009, 12:41 PM   #2
RotaryBzzz
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great post, thanks for the writeup!
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Old 01-24-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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Wow, this is EXACTLY what i was looking for. Thanks a million, you are a good man.
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:16 AM   #4
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why dont you replace the pressure plate it self ?..
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Old 01-25-2010, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegito View Post
why dont you replace the pressure plate it self ?..
excuse me?
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:58 PM   #6
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Well if you want to replace your clutch than maybe it is also better to replace the pressure plate the SAC system self. If you buy a clutch set than you will get a new clutch with the pressure plate already setup. Only you have to do is remove the new diaphram when the installation is complete. This D.I.Y is great really but, its only comming handy if the installer want to re-use the pressure plate.
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
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This D.I.Y is great really but, its only comming handy if the installer want to re-use the pressure plate.
Well done sherlock, thats exactly what i put in the first post
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Old 01-26-2010, 02:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegito View Post
Well if you want to replace your clutch than maybe it is also better to replace the pressure plate the SAC system self. If you buy a clutch set than you will get a new clutch with the pressure plate already setup. Only you have to do is remove the new diaphram when the installation is complete. This D.I.Y is great really but, its only comming handy if the installer want to re-use the pressure plate.
There are situations in which you don't need to replace the clutch at all, but just need to remove it to get to the rear main seal, flywheel, pilot bearing, etc. And in cases like these, because the pressure plate locks when taken off, you have to buy a new clutch set. At least that's the proper/by the book way to do it. But some people don't need a new clutch so this method is perfect and very informational.
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Old 03-25-2010, 07:15 PM   #9
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This is great, I'm just hoping that it'll work for me. I'm converting my 740iL from an auto to a 6spd that I picked up from an M5 w/ 24k on the odo. I'm curious though, so bear w/ me and tell me if I understanding this correctly.

It seems that the SAC is a wheel that slowly spins clockwise as the clutch surface wears, so use that puller to just press the fingers, turn the wheel counterclockwise back to zero, then release the fingers and it'd lock the spinning wheel? I realize that I need to bolt on the flywheel, then the put up the clutch and pressure plate, but then how am I getting the alignment tool in there if the puller is in the way holding the fingers down on the pressure plate?
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Old 03-26-2010, 03:11 AM   #10
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Exactly.
For the centering tool, i made a short one that would go under the puller. but i guess you could also cut the top off of the plastic one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m5james View Post
It seems that the SAC is a wheel that slowly spins clockwise as the clutch surface wears, so use that puller to just press the fingers, turn the wheel counterclockwise back to zero, then release the fingers and it'd lock the spinning wheel? I realize that I need to bolt on the flywheel, then the put up the clutch and pressure plate, but then how am I getting the alignment tool in there if the puller is in the way holding the fingers down on the pressure plate?
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:34 PM   #11
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That makes sense. What about my idea of just resetting the SAC disc then just releasing the puller. Is my understanding correct and is that possible so I don't have to have the puller on while installing the clutch.
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:38 PM   #12
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wow
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Old 03-26-2010, 12:51 PM   #13
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Wow what?
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegito View Post
why dont you replace the pressure plate it self ?..
...wants to waste his time and be foolish at the same time? You need a new plate every time you do a disc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vegito View Post
If you buy a clutch set than you will get a new clutch with the pressure plate already setup. Only you have to do is remove the new diaphram when the installation is complete.
...exactly I suppose this is good if you had your clutch apart and didnt want to do a clutch, but then I think its ~300 for a clutch so best to replace it since you're in there.

Last edited by Brilliant; 04-14-2010 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Brilliant View Post
...wants to waste his time and be foolish at the same time? You need a new plate every time you do a disc.


...exactly I suppose this is good if you had your clutch apart and didnt want to do a clutch, but then I think its ~300 for a clutch so best to replace it since you're in there.
Rubbish. What if you need to get back in to do something shortly after fitting a new disc & plate, or have a very good condition unit to exchange.
@Brilliant, you obviously have more money than sense.
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Old 04-15-2010, 02:10 PM   #16
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Exactly...why replace my clutch w/ a brand new one when the one I have now only has 24k on it.

I'm still curious as to if I can just reset the clutch w/ the need to be installing it in the car at the same time. Can I just reset it on the bench and remove the clamp and it'll stay reset? I got a 3 finger puller set from Harbor Freight and we able to push the fingers of the pressure plate down, but I couldn't get anything to spin or find anything moveable.
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Old 04-17-2010, 04:08 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by m5james View Post
I'm still curious as to if I can just reset the clutch w/ the need to be installing it in the car at the same time. Can I just reset it on the bench and remove the clamp and it'll stay reset?
Maybe, but you would have to find some way to lock the mechanism in place while you fit it (like the transit lock the new clutch comes with)
Is it not easier to do in-situ as my photo's?
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Old 04-18-2010, 12:30 AM   #18
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I have no issue doing it the same way you did, I was just hoping to not have to go re-purchase the puller again. I stripped the 1st set I purchased trying to remove the CV Joint in my X5, so I returned them. I'll just buy them again when the time comes to install the clutch into the 7. Thanks Hoss.
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Old 07-12-2010, 02:14 PM   #19
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Thanks for the write up! I was wondering if there was another way without buying the expensive tools
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Old 03-26-2011, 03:00 PM   #20
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Is it possible to reset the sac without removing the pressure plate from the car?
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