Project E46 M3: Part 14 – Short Shift Kit and Lightweight Clutch Testing!
In our last installment we featured the Clutch Masters FX400 single disc clutch with aluminum flywheel. While some enthusiasts may be a little apprehensive about using an aluminum flywheel (versus a steel one, or simply retaining the dual mass unit), I’ve had no issues in recent years running a similar setup from Clutch Masters in my last E36 M3. That said, I do know what people are referring to when it comes to clutch rattle, having had aluminum flywheels in two other E36 M3s. A couple of those units did make significant noise at idle or low RPM, especially with the AC turned on. This one from Clutch Masters, however, hasn’t been a problem. But more on that later—let’s finish the job, shall we?
I’ve always found it best to start with a new basline, and in our case I’m glad we did. Given that this test was conducted in the heat of August, it didn’t surprise me to see less horsepower than what the car tested two winters ago. Had we not baseline-tested again, I’m sure we could have otherwise convinced our readers that this clutch and flywheel combination produced a loss in power, when this shouldn’t be the case. Still, 311whp @ 7900 RPM and 255 lb-ft @ 4200 RPM is pretty stout for this 3.2-liter.
It should be noted these are SAE numbers, whereas we used to use STD correction with this project (the new Dynojet Winpep8 program limits us to SAE). In any case, notice how the engine sustains up to 234 lb-ft of torque before dropping, and all the way up to 6700 RPM. That’s how these cars make good power for a 3.2-liter six-cylinder in the top end. It’s a great combo of maintaining cylinder pressure, while providing excellent flow characteristics.