That is cool you have access to a shop like that to do your own work! I no longer have time, nor do my friends, to do the larger mait jobs on my car anymore (Married + 15mo old!)
Your description in post 34 makes total sense though on the source of the noise.
I revived an on old thread on the R32 forum about the same issue, and alot of those guys experience the clunk, and also believe it is DMF related:
It would still be good to hear from some people who did SMF conversions though!