Clutch Decisions

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suspenceful

700HP Club (N54)
Aug 1, 2017
525
Very happy with my Spec Stage 3+ and MFactory SMFW so far.

My full write-up/review: http://my1series.com/2017/06/26/bmw-n54-clutch-upgrade-spec-stage-3-with-mfactory-smfw/

I used to have a 335is/550i clutch and the MFactory flywheel, but didn't want it to start slipping as I pushed for 700whp. It held up fine for 22k very hard miles with lots of racing, but I wanted a fresh start with a clutch that I knew would hold the power. The Spec Stage 3+ isn't that hard to drive either.
 
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Midshift

Private
Nov 30, 2017
38
Detroit
Thanks to all who have helped give some insight to this!

Just got off the phone with FCP Euro and confirmed that the SPEC #SPE-SB53S2 Steel Billet Flywheel is in fact a SMFW design. couldn't find any information online or on SPEC's website other than it was serviceable. I am leaning towards the steel design as I have heard the aluminum has too much chatter (although I am not expecting this steel one to be silent whatsoever). This flywheel will also work with the SPEC #SPE-SB533F2 Stage 3+ Kit available on the FCP website (they do not offer any other 3+ options aside from this one). What is most important to me is being able to have these items under warranty with FCP in the event that they need to be replaced. I know MFactory SMFW is the most commonly bought SMFW upgrade, but does anyone have experience with the SPEC Aluminum or Steel SMFWs? Thanks!
 

Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
Thank you for the heads up. Would the SPEC Billet Aluminum Flywheel (SB53A-2) be compatible? How would this compare to the steel SMFW in terms of chatter? I guess I would rather have these items on a warranty (thanks to FCP) as opposed to buying without.
Yes SB53A-2 would work. From what I have read the aluminum is MUCH louder. I bought my stage 2+ from FCP. I would call or email them and see if they would add or could get the SB53S-2. Also here is a useful tip with FCP. Log in to your account. Add items to the cart. Wait around 24 hours and they will email a 5% coupon off that cart.

Edit: just realized the sb53s2 is on their site. I assumed they didn’t have it when you asked about the aluminum flywheel.
 
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Midshift

Private
Nov 30, 2017
38
Detroit
Ultimately having second decisions about the near $1400 price tag for the SMFW and clutch compared to taking the chance on the 335is clutch. Thinking I may just keep the car stock turbo and go with the 335is clutch and send it on the oem flywheel for a while. On top of the numerous maintenance parts and bolt ons that I've done to the car, I just can't justify spending the money on the clutch given the type of driving the car endures. The car doesn't see any sort of track time or hard driving aside from occasional rolls with friends, and with that being the worst of it I don't particularly need the 675 tq/lbs rating (right now). Worst case the flywheel is done for and we go the expensive route ;) Really big thank you to everyone who helped sort this thread out. If things change I'll be sure to update it.
 

Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
Ultimately having second decisions about the near $1400 price tag for the SMFW and clutch compared to taking the chance on the 335is clutch. Thinking I may just keep the car stock turbo and go with the 335is clutch and send it on the oem flywheel for a while. On top of the numerous maintenance parts and bolt ons that I've done to the car, I just can't justify spending the money on the clutch given the type of driving the car endures. The car doesn't see any sort of track time or hard driving aside from occasional rolls with friends, and with that being the worst of it I don't particularly need the 675 tq/lbs rating (right now). Worst case the flywheel is done for and we go the expensive route ;) Really big thank you to everyone who helped sort this thread out. If things change I'll be sure to update it.
Just buy the 335is clutch from FCP so if you ever decide to upgrade to the spec just send the 335is and the will credit you.
 

fmorelli

Brigadier General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,536
Virginia
Just buy the 335is clutch from FCP so if you ever decide to upgrade to the spec just send the 335is and the will credit you.
What? Can you elaborate on what you mean by sending the 335IS clutch in and FCP will credit you?

Filipoo
 

Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
What? Can you elaborate on what you mean by sending the 335IS clutch in and FCP will credit you?

Filipoo
They have a lifetime warranty on everything they sell. I bought a 335is clutch and luk DMFW. I am getting false misfires and slight slip in cold weather. I called them and said I wanted to switch to the spec stage 2+. They said I could either send it in for a credit to put towards the spec or buy the spec and send the 335is clutch back within 90 days and they would refund the amount of the 335is clutch.
 
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fmorelli

Brigadier General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,536
Virginia
They have a lifetime warranty on everything they sell. I bought a 335is clutch and luk DMFW. I am getting false misfires and slight slip in cold weather. I called them and said I wanted to switch to the spec stage 2+. They said I could either send it in for a credit to put towards the spec or buy the spec and send the 335is clutch back within 90 days and they would refund the amount of the 335is clutch.
So I'm confused. You're suggesting the guy should buy the product from FCP and then, if he decides to upgrade in the future, return the working part to FCP for credit?

Filippo
 

fmorelli

Brigadier General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,536
Virginia
Just buy the 335is clutch from FCP so if you ever decide to upgrade to the spec just send the 335is and the will credit you.
I have been an FCP customer for a long long time. FCP Groton days. In the last 5 years I've ordered thousands of parts. Best parts supplier out there in my experience. Never once sent the wrong product. When I have issues with something, their tech guys can go deep - we've even had them compare OEM part to BMW OE in the warehouse when we had product anomaly issues. Their lifetime warranty is impressive, and they are very good with it. With that said, I recommend treating the company with respect. I wouldn't suggest sending in a part for "warranty" because you ran it well out of spec, then decided to upgrade to something else. Abuse of their customer-focused approach ultimately screws their customers.

Filippo
 

Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
I have been an FCP customer for a long long time. FCP Groton days. In the last 5 years I've ordered thousands of parts. Best parts supplier out there in my experience. Never once sent the wrong product. When I have issues with something, their tech guys can go deep - we've even had them compare OEM part to BMW OE in the warehouse when we had product anomaly issues. Their lifetime warranty is impressive, and they are very good with it. With that said, I recommend treating the company with respect. I wouldn't suggest sending in a part for "warranty" because you ran it well out of spec, then decided to upgrade to something else. Abuse of their customer-focused approach ultimately screws their customers.

Filippo
I am returning a product that is not working and spending more money with them. I called them and said I had a clutch slipping and they gave me an option for a replacement or money towards and upgrade. Their warranty clearly states they have no issues replaceing parts even on a track car. They also have advertised to send your old oil and filter back to them and they will send you fresh oil and a filter. I am not trying to pull a fast on one them.
I have bought tons of parts from them and never used the warranty.
 

fmorelli

Brigadier General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
2,536
Virginia
I wasn't referring to what you specifically did. I was referring to what you told the other guy to do. I just thought your original suggestion was for the other guy to use the FCP product and return it later if he wanted to upgrade. I obviously misread the intention of that comment you wrote, "Just buy the 335is clutch from FCP so if you ever decide to upgrade to the spec just send the 335is and the will credit you."

My apologies if that is the case, and you meant something different.

Filippo
 
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Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
I wasn't referring to what you specifically did. I was referring to what you told the other guy to do. I just thought your original suggestion was for the other guy to use the FCP product and return it later if he wanted to upgrade. I obviously misread the intention of that comment you wrote, "Just buy the 335is clutch from FCP so if you ever decide to upgrade to the spec just send the 335is and the will credit you."

My apologies if that is the case, and you meant something different.

Filippo
I apologize. I should have worded it a little better. When I meant upgrade it was if the 335is ever failed/slipped not just send it in if working correctly.
 

Torgus

Captain
Nov 6, 2016
1,409
Boston
I apologize. I should have worded it a little better. When I meant upgrade it was if the 335is ever failed/slipped not just send it in if working correctly.
If the clutch kit fails and slips because you are knowingly overpowering it, that is not fair to FCP...they expect this to be used in the factory application(Stock car, no tune, no mods).

Given the labor just do it once and do it right.
 
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Blaster3500

Corporal
Nov 5, 2016
229
SC
If the clutch kit fails and slips because you are knowingly overpowering it, that is not fair to FCP...they expect this to be used in the factory application(Stock car, no tune, no mods).

Given the labor just do it once and do it right.
Incorrect. This is their listing for the clutch
"Ideal for modified N54 powered models, stock equipment on 335is, features a heavy duty clutch for more power holding"

I expected it to hold in my application or I would not have used it.
 
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Torgus

Captain
Nov 6, 2016
1,409
Boston
Incorrect. This is their listing for the clutch
"Ideal for modified N54 powered models, stock equipment on 335is, features a heavy duty clutch for more power holding"

I expected it to hold in my application or I would not have used it.
Well look at that, thank you for correcting me. Seems like a dumb description for FCP to put as it means people will use this as a 'real' upgrade and they are going to be offering credits/replacements etc.

I'm still surprised so many people opt for the 335is clutch vs. a 'real' upgrade.
 
Last edited:
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Midshift

Private
Nov 30, 2017
38
Detroit
Well look at that, thank you for correcting me. Seems like a dumb description for FCP to put as it means people will use this as a 'real' upgrade and they are going to be offering credits/replacements etc.

I'm still surprised so many people opt for the 335is clutch vs. a 'real' upgrade.
I don't have an issue with the labor involved as I would rather do it myself and learn how my vehicle functions and operates than throw money at someone who can do the same job I can do. Clutch install in these vehicles truthfully isn't that difficult... in fact nothing is (in my opinion) aside from possibly and engine rebuild. These vehicles (again my opinion) are a great car to learn how to wrench on considering the vast amount of knowledge and DIYs available on the internet. Back to the topic at hand though... With the 335is clutch holding ~500+ tq/lbs and the stock really only holding ~400 tq/lbs, I would definitely consider it an upgrade. Sure, you could argue that it's the cheap route, but it's also proven to be adequate for FBO vehicles. You also have to consider though the cost invested into the vehicle (not trying so say it's an investment) but $1600 for a clutch and flywheel is a good chunk of cash... especially for a college student who simply just drives the car and occasionally has some fun in it. A 'real' upgrade (ie smfw and non-sac clutch) truthfully is only needed for upgraded twins or a single... which I was contemplating in the future - hence the reason for this post. Opinions and plans change though as life throws you punches.
 

Aaron

Lieutenant
Nov 3, 2016
544
Colorado
I love all this praise for the "is" clutch, and how it's proven to take anything OEM turbos can throw at it.

Fact is I'm FBO e85, not breaking any records, and slipping an "is" clutch.
 
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