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Torquewrench
09-18-2006, 06:44 PM
Another weekend, another maintenance adventure. Had this Friday off and I decided to tackle some projects on the E46 2001 BMW 330i. Did an engine oil and engine oil filter change, engine air filter change, cabin air filter change, and fuel filter change, but the main event of the day was automatic transmission maintenance. I did a lot of homework before I felt comfortable tackling this service, but I’ll save you the trouble and just give you the good stuff.<o></o>
<o></o>
To give an overview of the transmission service, you’re doing three things:<o></o>
Changing out as much of the automatic transmission fluid as possible<o></o>
Replacing the automatic transmission filter located inside the transmission<o></o>
Cleaning the transmission pan and magnets of metal and sludge<o></o><o></o>That’s it!<o></o><o></o>

A little background:<o></o>
Prior to 1994-1995, BMW recommended transmission maintenance on both automatic and manual transmissions every 60,000 miles. This involved changing the MTF or ATF; and on the automatic: dropping the pan, changing the internal filter and cleaning the magnets inside the transmission that collect metal debris. In 1994-1995, BMW started offering free maintenance to keep up with the Benz’s (and Luxus’, Infiniti’s and Acura’s), and at the same time stopped recommending the 60,000 mile transmission service on all but the M cars. Coincidence? I think not. BMW began to refer to the transmission fluid as “lifetime fill”. Recently, BMW re-introduced optional transmission maintenance at 100,000 miles, which I take as them backing off from their position on lifetime fluids.<o></o><o></o>

I understand two causes of slippage and failure in automatic transmissions. The first is accelerated wear of clutch mating surfaces caused by metal particles suspended in the fluid. The second is the fluid itself wearing out and transmitting hydraulic forces less effectively. Over time, shear forces on the fluid’s long-chain hydrocarbons break into shorter molecules that transmit shear forces less effectively. As a result of this cracking, worn out ATF contributes to slippage. Put together a murky, silted mix of metal particles and worn out ATF and it’s only a matter of time until you end up with a slipping or non-functional transmission.<o></o><o></o>

Manuals are a little simpler, but suffer the same fate. Metal in the fluid will grind away at the gears, introducing slop. The synchros use fluid viscosity just like an automatic transmission to spin up the gears to matching speeds. Broken down fluids won’t work as effectively at spinning up gears and as a result, you won’t able to shift as quickly or smoothly.<o></o><o></o>

Bottom line, if you plan on keeping your car longer than 100,000 miles, then it makes sense to maintain the transmission. Most people recommend doing the service at 60,000 miles, I was at 55,000 and decided to go for it.<o></o><o></o>

Let’s do it!<o></o>
Let me say before I even start that you will be under the car and on your back a LOT for this job. A creeper will make this job much, much easier. I picked up a 36-in. Torin Big Red creeper at Advance Auto for $20 on sale. Definitely the best purchase I ever made.<o></o><o></o>

Drove the car onto the four 2x10’s that allow my jack to fit under the car. Emergency brake and chocks for the rear wheels. Jacked the front of the car at the central jacking point, placed jack stands under front jack pads and lowered carefully. Jacked the rear under the differential, jack stands under the rear jack pads. <o></o><o></o>
Remember, whenever you’re working under the car, have someone nearby, and try your best to rock the car off the jack stands BEFORE you get under it to make sure it’s stable. Life is precious should be long, and nothing of this sort is worth injuring yourself over. <o></o><o></o>
I had driven about a half-hour before I started, but before I got to the transmission I changed the oil and the fuel filter, so the transmission pan was warm to the touch, not hot. This is important because to fill the transmission accurately the transmission must be between 30-50C, or 85-120F. Skin temperature is around 85F and 120F is too hot to maintain steady contact without pain, so as long as the fluid and pan are warm, you’re in the correct range.<o></o><o></o>

Opened the FILL plug of the transmission pan. It is a horizontal, large diameter plug towards the rear of the car that takes an 8mm Allen wrench. I couldn’t get my breaker bar into the confined space. Maybe I could have if I’d had a ½-in. drive 8mm hex driver, but I didn’t, so I was using a ½-in. to 3/8-in. drive adapter, which made the whole thing longer, causing it not to fit. Next, I tried beating on the Allen wrench with a rubber mallet. Maybe a deadblow hammer would have worked, but the rubber mallet didn’t. Next I fit a 6-inch long 3/8-in. drive socket extension on the end of the 8mm Allen wrench (well it sorta fit!) and beat on that with the mallet, and the bolt moved. Before it came off I put a 5 qt. painters measuring container under the plug, and out came about 3 qts. of nasty dark grey fluid, filled with metal particles. <o></o><o></o>
Next, I opened the drain plug, which is on the bottom of the pan towards the front of the car. It takes a 6mm Allen driver and in this case I used the 18-in. breaker bar which made it much easier. Another 1-1.5 qts came out. <o></o><o></o>

Finally, I cracked all 22 pan bolts using a T-25 Torx driver on the end of the breaker bar. They’re only torqued to 6 N-m so the bar was probably overkill, but it didn’t hurt anything. I left four in place, one at each corner, and remove the rest. There is still another 1.5 qts of fluid left in the pan, so I recommend removing two from the front corners first. This will allow you to pour the remaining fluid into a waiting container. ZF says the transmission holds 9.2 qts including the torque converter and 6.5 qts not including the TC. Since you’re not removing the TC (nor should you bother), 6.5 qts is all you’re going to get. I wish I’d had a larger diameter catch container than the paint container. I spilled a good bit of fluid on the ground and even some in my hair (My wife smelled the stuff on me later, saw it in my hair, and asked me if I’d seen the episode of In Living Color chronicleing the invention of the Jerry Curl).<o></o><o></o>

Some folks have disconnected the lines that run from the transmission to the transmission fluid cooler at the front of the car, put the output into a bucket and connected the input to a gravity feed container of fresh fluid. In this way you can exchange all of the fluid, but the lines looked mighty inaccessible to me, so I opted to just drain as much as I could. This might be one of those things that’s much easier with a lift (what isn’t?). <o></o><o></o>

With the pan off, I set it aside and removed the AT filter. Two flathead Allen bolts secure it, but you only need to remove the one towards the front of the car to remove it. Make sure the pink sealing ring comes with it. Have a container ready because it contains holds a good bit of fluid. Get the new filter and install it, making sure to seat the sealing ring properly. If the filter is horizontal, good chance it’s seated properly.<o></o><o></o>

Now it’s time to clean the pan. There are 8 rare earth magnets in the pan that collect metal bits. Mine were covered in fine grey sludge, which is a very good thing. Every bit of sludge on these magnets was not grinding away at the rest of the transmission. You should use lint free cloth to clean all of these parts so as not to introduce foreign particles into the transmission. I used paper towels and brake cleaner and I expect to be smitten by the transmission gods with a lightning bolt any minute now. With the magnets clean of sludge, the pan nice and shiny, and the gasket surface free of any residue, I coated the whole thing with a thin layer of fresh ATF and brought it back to the car. <o></o><o></o>

Back under the car I had three or four bolts facing the wrong way in the pan to keep the new gasket in place. Getting the first couple bolts in while holding the pan above my head was probably the hardest part of this job. A couple of times I touched the gasket with grimy hands and had to undo the whole thing, clean the gasket, and start all over again. I finally got it, and tightened up all 22 bolts in a rough star pattern to 6 N-m. Maybe you can do a perfect star pattern, but not being able to see all of the bolts at once and the fact that the pan is somewhat squarish meant close enough was good for me. Next, torque the drain plug to 35 N-m. <o></o><o></o>

Once the pan was on it was time to pump in some fresh fluid. To do this you need some sort of fluid pump. Mine looks like a giant liquid soap pump. I attached it to empty windshield washer liquid container and filled it with 3 qts of Valvoline Mercon V ATF. The original fluid in this transmission is Esso ATF LT71141, a synthetic blend that BMW sells in 20L barrels for $28/L (yes, you read right, $560 bucks a barrel). If you bring your own container, some dealerships will sell you smaller quantities. 7 L at $28/L is still $192, so if you insist on sticking with the OEM fluid, VW, Audi, and Porsche use the same ZF transmissions that use the same fluid and you can get it for $16/L from their dealerships and a couple of web sources (see p/n and links at the end). VW also sells a Pentosin substitute that can be had for $8-9/L. Valvoline has certified Mercon V as compatible with Esso LT 71141, as has Castrol with their Multi-Vehicle Synthetic ATF. Plenty of folks have also used the Redline D4 ATF product, and some have also tried Amsoil’s synthetic ATF with success. If you’re still under warranty I’d stick with the OEM fluid (VW stuff is fine, it’s the same thing). If anything were to happen I think you’re position would be better if they couldn’t blame it all on different fluid. Being out of warranty, I felt comfortable using the Mercon V. It doesn’t hurt that it goes for $4/qt, 1/7 the price of the BMW juice and ¼ the price from VW. I purchased 7 qts. and used about 6-1/2, together with the filter ($23.25) and the gasket ($13.75), both from Pelican Parts, the total cost of materials for the service came to $66.26.<o></o><o></o>

At this point I was able to pump in about 3 qts. I inserted the fill plug finger tight and started the car, shifting through the gears slowly ten times to get the new fluid in all the nooks and crannies. Placed the gear selector in neutral, shut off the car, and pumped additional fluid through the fill plug until overflow. Have your catch container ready! Reinserted the fill plug finger tight.<o></o><o></o>

Now the tricky part! Started the car in neutral and left it running. You have to crawl under the car and top off the fluid with it running, then screw in the fill plug and torque it to spec. I stayed clear of the exhaust, no burns, but I will admit I was a little tense and wanted to be out from under the car ASAP. Getting the fill plug in was a b*tch. My fingers were covered in oil, I was sweating, nervous, and you can’t see where the allen wrench has to go. Just as there was no way to get the breaker bar in to loosen the fill plug, there was no way to get a torque wrench in there either. Once I finally got it in there I just whacked the 8mm allen wrench solidly with the mallet a couple of times and called it a day. If you’re able to get a torque wrench in there, the spec is 30 N-m.<o></o><o></o>

I wish I had cleaned the exhaust and pan with a degreaser. The fluid on my arms got on there and I can smell it every time the car has been running for a while. I’ll clean it next time I have the car up, but do yourself a favor and clean everything up while you have access to the underside of the car.<o></o><o></o>

Well, that’s it! I was doing everything for the first time and the transmission took me 4 hours start to finish. It’s been three days and I think it feels smoother, but it felt pretty darn smooth beforehand, so that might just be wishful thinking. I will say confidently that the shifts do happen faster, but again, they weren’t slow before either. Changing 6.5 qts. out of 9.2 gives a 71% change, 6.5/9.2 = 71% . Changing another 6.5 qts. puts the new to old fluid ratio at 91%, [(9.2-6.5)*71%+6.5]/9.2 = 91%. I might do a drain and fill again in 30,000 miles without dropping the pan just to get some fresh fluid in there.<o></o>

My Car: 2001 330i ZSP<o></o>
Transmission: ZF 5HP19 (BMW A5S 325Z), green plaque on transmission<o></o>

Lessons Learned:<o></o>
I wouldn’t do this without a creeper.<o></o>
Jack the car as high as possible.<o></o>
Use a larger catch-pan than I did to avoid spills<o></o>
Have kitty litter ready in case you spill some ATF (I sure did)<o></o>
For the fluid pump, if you can find a squat bottle with the proper threads this will make the job easier since room under the car is limited.<o></o>
A ½-in. drive 8mm hex driver would have helped with the fill plug<o></o>
Degrease the exhaust, cat, and AT pan while you have the car on stands<o></o>
<o></o>
What You’ll Need<o></o>
<o></o>
Tools I used:<o></o>
Safety glasses<o></o>
Monkey suit<o>
</o>4 24-in. long 2x10’s<o></o>
2 wheel chocks<o></o>
Floor jack, Craftsman bargain basement model<o></o>
4 jack stands<o></o>
3/8-in. and ¼-in. drive metric socket set
T-25 3/8-in. drive Torx socket driver<o></o>
8mm 3/8-in. drive hex socket driver (1/2-in. drive recommended)<o></o>
6mm 3/8-in. drive hex socket driver (1/2-in. drive recommended)<o></o>
18-in. ½-in. drive breaker bar<o></o>
In-Lb torque wrench<o></o>
Ft-Lb torque wrench<o></o>
5 qt. painters measuring container<o></o>
Manual fluid pump<o></o>
Empty washer fluid container<o></o>
Creeper<o></o>
5 gallon bucket with lid (for used fluid)<o></o>
<o></o>
Supplies:<o></o>
Paper towels (lint-free cloth is better)<o></o>
Solvent (I used brake cleaner)<o></o>
Scotch-brite pad (for cleaning gasket surface)<o></o>
<o></o>
Materials/Parts:<o></o>
7 qts Valvoline Mercon V ATF $3.98 each<o></o>
AT Pan Gasket (BMW p/n: 24-10-1-423-380) $13.75<o></o>
AT Filter (BMW p/n: 24-34-1-423-376) $23.25<o></o>
<o></o>
Useful Links<o></o>
<o></o>
ZF Transmission Guide (http://www.taligentx.com/passat/maintenance/atfchange/BMW_ATF.pdf) <o></o>
<o></o>
Transmission Fundamentals (http://e38.org/transfund1.pdf): Explanation of How the ZF and GM ATs Function<o></o>

<o></o>Alternate ATFs (in order of my preference):<o></o>
<o></o>
1. Valvoline Mercon V (Valvoline Compatibility Letter (http://www.e38.org/Mercon%20V%20ATF%20Letter.pdf), what I used)

2. Redline D4 ATF<o></o>
3. Amsoil ATF<o></o>
4. Castrol Multi-Vehicle ATF (Castrol Compatibility Letter (http://www.castrol.com/liveassets/bp_internet/castrol/castrol_usa/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/m/MultiVehicle_ATF.pdf))
5. Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF (some Subaru users reported slipping, but these weren’t ZF ATs so who knows)<o></o>
<o></o>
Sources for Esso LT 71141 ATF (BMW p/n: 83-22-9-407-807)<o></o><o></o>
Peter Schmid (http://www.peterschmid.com/)<o></o>
JIE (http://www.jie.com/) <o></o>
World Impex (http://www.worldimpex.com/) <o></o>
Any VW, Audi, or Porsche dealer (VW p/n: G-052-162-A2)<o></o>
<o></o>
Other DIYs:<o></o>
VW ATF Drain & Fill (same AT) (http://www.taligentx.com/passat/maintenance/atfchange/) <o></o>
<o></o>Pelican Parts BMW E36 AT drain & fill (http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Tranny_Fluid_Auto/E36-Tranny_Fluid_Auto.htm) <o></o>
<o></o>Another 2001 330i owner’s drain & fill experience (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=489319): <o></o>
BMW owners weigh in on Redline D4 ATF vs. OEM (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=180663) <o></o>
Amsoil ATF Replacement Guide (http://www.amsoil.com/faqs/ATF_and_Filter_Change_Procedures.pdf)

<o></o>Misc. BMW AT Links<o></o>
Unofficial statistics on BMW automatic transmissions and Lifetime ATF (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=494219)<o></o>
E38 ZF 5HP24 ATF Service DIY (good pictures) (http://home.comcast.net/%7Evicent/trannye38.html)<o></o>
<o></o>TechDrive Vol. 3 No. 2 (http://webpages.charter.net/mikekohlmann/TechDrive%20-%20Fluids.pdf), Independent BMW Service Mag, recommends using only BMW OEM fluids (blah!)<o></o>
<o></o>Mixing Esso and Castrol? (http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/229437)<o></o>
Diagnosing Transmission Whine (http://www.bimmerboard.com/forums/posts/29693) (usually low fluid level)<o></o>

Seattle
09-19-2006, 04:14 PM
Great write up. I goingto do the same thing.have all the parts already,just need to find time.
costco sells a aluminum jack that just fits under the car in the center. this is the only jack i have used that does,even the one with the big roller end can't.

I'm going to do a brake fluis flush also while I have it up on stands.

keep us updated if any problems arise

Torquewrench
11-06-2006, 08:18 PM
A little followup and a question.

Apparently I got some ATF on the cat and exhaust pipes. I assumed it would burn off but it hasn't Now anytime I've been driving a while and come to a stop I smell ATF.

I tried GUNK Engine Degreaser and it smelled like that for a while, but the ATF smell was still there. My next thought is brake cleaner with steel wool.

Can anyone recommend a product and/or method to remove the ATF completely from the exhaust?

z0lt3c
11-06-2006, 10:23 PM
A steel brush on the end of a drill or dremel and some brake cleaner should work well.

How has the transmission been performing since you switched to the Valvoline Mercon V?

Torquewrench
11-07-2006, 05:44 AM
With the wire brush, should I be concerned about removing the rust-proofing (galvanization or whatever is used)?

As for the Mercon V, I haven't noticed any ill effects, and perhaps slightly faster shifts, but it could easily be wishful thinking. I'm thinking of dropping the pan and changing it out again, just to make sure I don't have a weeping leak from the gasket that might be depositing a tiny amount on the CAT periodically. I'd never think of doing that with the Esso because of the cost, but with the Mercon V, it's just $28 at $4 quart and $14 for the gasket. If I do I'll take some pictures this time and add them to the DIY.

Lbert
11-29-2006, 10:10 AM
torquewrench, thank you for the excellent write up. I decided to go with Valvoline MerconV as well, especially now that it is written on the bottle that it is compatible with the LT71141.

I do have a question for you or anyone else.

I have a 2001 E46 325i sedan manufactured in 12/2000. The transmission label is color green with "5HP-19" printed on the same label. According to the Bentley manual, use Texaco ETL 8072 B if the tag is green. Bentley manual also indicates that 5HP-19 is a ZF transmission that use Esso LT71141. Most likely I'm reading things incorrectly. I'm leaning on the Esso but confused because the label is colored definitely green. Should I go with the Esso LT71141 designation?

thanks!

Torquewrench
11-29-2006, 11:00 AM
My tranny is the 5HP19 as well. When I looked at mine I thought it looked green too, but when I cleaned it off and looked more closely it was a shade of blue and had Esso LT71141 written on it.

Also, the ZF transmission manual clearly states that 5HP19's are filled with Esso, see page 4 at the following link:

ZF Transmission Guide (http://www.taligentx.com/passat/maintenance/atfchange/BMW_ATF.pdf)

Lbert
12-15-2006, 04:30 PM
I finally found the label at the bottom, it was covered with mud. It did specify the use of Esso LT71141 equivalent. Ah yes, it too is a green label.

I did the trans oil changed over the weekend. Although the oil drain stopped, there was still quite a bit of oil in the pan and filter. It was hard to hold the pan and remove the bolts at the same time. A big catch pan is a must for this job. I had a hard time looking for a stubby 8mm hex bit to take out the fill plug due to not much clearance. Settled on Lisle 12560 8mm 3/8" socket to do the job.

I used Valvoline Mercon V. Hopefully it is compatible as Valvoline claimned; time will tell.

My favorite degreaser is Simple Green. I have it handy on a squeeze bottle. I used it extensively on this job. Best of all, it does not have harsh chemicals and it's biodegredable. I also use it on plastic and rubber parts doing an engine clean. Gunk is great on metal and heavy thick oil accumulation but leaves a strong after smell for awhile.

Torquewrench, thanks again for the write up.

bimmerZ5
12-29-2006, 06:39 AM
this is an awesome thread and write-up!! i started what you call the "unofficial statistics" thread at bimmerforums. I hope you don't mind, but i'm going to post a link to your thread here over there. all this information is going to help clear up all the misinformation that has been going around about maintaining these transmissions.

thank you for taking the time to do this write up and i hope perhaps you'll be able to post some pictures too.

Torquewrench
12-29-2006, 08:50 AM
I found your thread very, very useful and it was part of what made me comfortable going ahead with this.

Thanks again,

TW/Phil

chiefpo
01-11-2007, 11:08 AM
What are y'all thoughts on Royal Purple ATF?

Seattle
01-18-2007, 06:07 PM
Its been 4k since I did mine. when i first did it I must have installed the gasket wrong as I got a leak. I remove the pan again and I had missed the holes in the gasket. But instead of getting a new gasket I just used gasket maker. no problems so far. the car shifts well and smoothly. I used valvoline merc v.

This is a advanced DIY job. needs some tools not usually found in the adverage kit.

Aslo did the brake flush and diff change at the same time.

yodamel
01-27-2007, 07:52 AM
I have a 540i with Automatic Transmission with 64,000 miles.

should I check this when it's hot or cold?

most cars want the fluid checked hot and the transmission in Park.

right now with it Cold, the is no fluid in the reservior, and it smells burnt inside the chamber.

Maybe it's my imagination, the car runs and shift fine.

Thanks.

bwik
01-28-2007, 11:58 AM
My local dealer says it will cost over $800 to change my ATF -- 2003 330ixA, delivered 11/2002. He said the ATF costs over $100/quart.

Is this right? How can I be sure which fluid I need, and can another shop handle it? I am not quite ready to undertake the job.

The car has about 108k on its original fluid. It is not shifting that well IMO. The buttery, quick shifts are now kind of soggy. And when very cold, the unit misses shifts / delays.

So I am definitely in the mood to change fluid, but what is the best approach, other than $800 to Motorwerks BMW?

livfstdrivhrd
02-07-2007, 06:29 PM
i am considering doing this also i have a 2000 323ci with 59k on it. Any suggestions besides the great write up already? Also i have heard great things about ROYAL PURPLE has anyone tried it? Or is it not something i should use?/

livfstdrivhrd
02-13-2007, 02:51 PM
I did the atf change today and have some pictures if you want to post them...just a few pics of the magnets and what not. I took a pic of how i dropped the pan slowly with only the four corner bolts in and let the fluid drain out the top...let me know if your interested in pics

bimmerZ5
02-13-2007, 02:54 PM
post the pics

livfstdrivhrd
02-13-2007, 08:05 PM
Ok guys here are some of the pictures.
First picture is of the label to identify the trans you have.


Second picture is of the pan with only the four corner bolts left in it, they are broken lose and the two on the back of the pan are unscrewed more then the other to to give the pan a bit of a lean back to allos remaining fluid to drain out.

third we have a picture of the magnets after dropping the pan..
fourth how dirty my magnets were..nasty!

A clean pan...

then a coupld pictures of the bolts holding on the filter...only the one has to be removed to take it off.

And last is the way i filled my trans without having to sit under the car the whole time while it was running...second filling to top it off

livfstdrivhrd
02-13-2007, 08:09 PM
Hope those pictures can help i would have takin more but i had some dirty hands!!! I snapped shots between me washing my hands to get the phone or something to drink or whatever else... Great write up though it helped out a lot. Only this i messed up on following the write up is where the fill plug was...there is another horizonel bolt on the back side of the trans..this bolt is incorrect the proper plug is on the drivers side near the rear of the trans...and it is tough to get at with a ratchet...mine got stuck in there and i had to tighten the bolt back up and figure out a different way to get it which is much like the one described...

Alpinerunner
02-28-2007, 01:15 PM
Great write up Torquewrench!! I have a question though. I want to change the auto tranny fluid on a 2001 330xi and I called TMS to buy the fluid and to make sure Redline D4 ATF was compatible and they said it cannot be done without a special machine that feeds the fluid at a specific temperature and pressure! I would expect the dealer to feed me this BS but not TMS, unless it were true. Any insight? Thanks!

Torquewrench
02-28-2007, 01:28 PM
According to the ZF Transmission Guide (linked in my original post) the 2001 330xi uses a GM5 (A5S 390R) transmission. This is a different transmission than the ZF transmission in the 2001 330i, and it uses different fluid (Texaco ETL8072 B). My DIY was written specifically for the ZF tranny in the 2001 330i, so you need to figure out what's different about your transmission's fluid change.

Do you have a Bentley service manual for the car? Mine is at home, but that would be the first thing I would check. It's possible the procedure is different, but the ZF also requires the fluid to be at a specific temperature while you measure/add fluid.

As to specific pressure, I can't say. They may have a machine they use that does a great job, and it's possible this is the only way, but it may be that since they never did it without the machine they don't know how.

I would recommend doing a search for people changing the Texaco fluid in the GM5 transmission on this site, Roadfly, e39.org, and other BMW messageboards to see if/how people have done it.

Post what you find out!

bimmerZ5
02-28-2007, 03:34 PM
Great write up Torquewrench!! I have a question though. I want to change the auto tranny fluid on a 2001 330xi and I called TMS to buy the fluid and to make sure Redline D4 ATF was compatible and they said it cannot be done without a special machine that feeds the fluid at a specific temperature and pressure! I would expect the dealer to feed me this BS but not TMS, unless it were true. Any insight? Thanks!
I call it BS. And GM transmissions can use any high quality Dexron III(h). Just don't expect to use Dexron III(h) for more than 50,000 miles.

Torquewrench
02-28-2007, 06:59 PM
Bentley doesn't say anything special about the GM transmissions in the xi models other than the different fluid and different bolt torques.

Alpinerunner
02-28-2007, 08:07 PM
Thanks for the info! Does the Bently manual give a good writeup on the procedure? Is it similar to what you found in your research and experience? My thinking is that if the Bently manual follows what you have found for the 330i, then they probably have good info and I will trust that they are correct in not specifying a different procedure for the 330xi. I know I need to finally bite the bullet and get the manual.

mitchell172
04-28-2007, 04:31 PM
Great write-up but I think I did something wrong. I did everything correctly up to filling the auto trans to the proper fluid level. I was on the final step of being under the car while it is running and for some reason, before I got under the car, I glanced at my Bentley service manual and it said to put it in park before doing that step, not neutral. So, I did. When I took out the fill plug (slowly) fluid starting going everywhere and I must have spilled 2-3 quarts on the floor before I could get the car shut off and the plug back in since the fluid was sooooo hot. I've now put back in the fill plug and turned the car off letting it cool down and I figure I'll try it again when it is not so hot.

Any ideas or advice? I think I only had about 5 1/2 quarts in it and I kept checking it trying to add more until that last move. I took out a bit over 6 quarts. Now I only have about a quart and a half of the special fluid I ordered from Bavarian Autosport left not including what managed to stay in the pan and I'm not afraid I won't be able to get this right. Part of me just wants to tell the dealer to finish it up. Motivation anyone?

Thanks,
Brad

lharvey16
06-15-2007, 07:26 AM
The only thing I would add to that write up is use versachem megablack gasket sealer (loctite blue equivalent) on the transmission pan bolts. Unless you use all new bolts (which have an embedded sealant) to put the pan back on with, the bolts can, and do, back out causing slow leaks. I found this out the hard way by doing the servicing without and several weeks later developing the leak. Several of the bolts were loose. I took them out one by one and applied sealant. I let it set overnight and had no more problem.
(I did the fluid change before I had received the bentley manual. In the manual it states you should use new bolts or sealant.)

ezbmr
07-03-2007, 10:29 PM
You are all going to shoot your eyes out.

I have a 99, and I have the GM tranny, the tranny guy didn't charge me much and I bought amsoil ATF, it seems pretty good, smoother than before. And yes, the ZF rec oil is expensive, a tranny guy told me he pays like 250 for 5 gallons or so, maybe even more, I was like ATF or WTF, he was making me nervous until he saw my tranny and said, yeah you can use this, but warned me like a mo fo when he thought it was a zf

Now why kind of magic oil are they selling.....I raise the bs flag on ZF and there texaco oil

bimmerZ5
07-03-2007, 10:44 PM
You are all going to shoot your eyes out.

I have a 99, and I have the GM tranny, the tranny guy didn't charge me much and I bought amsoil ATF, it seems pretty good, smoother than before. And yes, the ZF rec oil is expensive, a tranny guy told me he pays like 250 for 5 gallons or so, maybe even more, I was like ATF or WTF, he was making me nervous until he saw my tranny and said, yeah you can use this, but warned me like a mo fo when he thought it was a zf

Now why kind of magic oil are they selling.....I raise the bs flag on ZF and there texaco oil
what are you trying to say?

Chimera
07-04-2007, 06:09 AM
:dunno:

jamtuff
07-12-2007, 11:21 AM
Hey Torquewrench,
you stated changing your fluid and adding 6.5 quarts but you only drained out about 4-5 quarts. How is that possible?? i could only refill about 4-5 quarts (drain and refil) Mercon v does work.

Torquewrench
07-12-2007, 11:43 AM
Going back to my original post, I got ~3qts when I opened the FILL plug, ~1.5qts when I opened the DRAIN plug, and ~1.5qts when I dropped the pan.

Did you drop the pan, or just drain the through the FILL and DRAIN plugs? If you didn't drop the pan then the amount you were able to refill sounds about right.

jamtuff
07-13-2007, 09:42 AM
it was a drain and refill< first time was a pan filter the works. Thanks bud, i thought i was running my tranny low filling it 4-5 quarts when i was actualy overfilling it trying to get 5-6quarts, so i reduced it by 1/2 a quart and it runs like a champ.

Torquewrench
07-17-2007, 06:04 AM
After performing the service before I had a persistent smell of ATF, presumably from a very small leak that would blow back onto the hot exhaust. This smell went away but I wanted to make sure it wasn't because the fluid level had just dropped below whatever point it was leaking from, so I decided to open up the transmission again.

Just under 10,000 mi passed and the fluid came out looking dirty, maybe it had just mixed with the fluid that remained in the torque converter, maybe it got dirty on its own. There was some sludge in the pan and on the magnets, but not as much as the first time by far.

Used a new gasket, cleaned the pan bolts with solvent, and used blue Loctite to keep them from backing out. Filled with Valvoline Mercon V while running. Carefully cleaned everything up and even clean off the exhaust with brake cleaner to be sure, but I still had the ATF smell after a couple of days.

So I emailed Mike Miller, who writes Tech Talk for Roundel and he guessed it was leaking from the pan gasket. He recommended using Loctite and letting it set overnight. Also, he recommended torqueing the pan bolts to 12 Nm/9ft-lb/107in-lb instead of 6 Nm (he says the stock torque spec if too low).

When I get around to doing this I'll let everyone know how it turns out.

jamtuff
07-19-2007, 04:25 PM
i had the mercon v smell too, but realized it was from storing the containers in my trunk. Cleaned the carpet, removed the containers and rechecked fluid level and that fixed it. Remeber:
-Check fluid only when car is warm or neddle is a quarter mark (half way between COLD and operating temperature (MIDDLE).
-Fill fluid untill it TRICKLES or STREAMS vertically downwards at bottom of filler plug (that means full). Gushing out or flowing out horizontaly of filler plug at any presure means OVERFILL).
-If fluid is low, gas pedal is going to be hard to the step and downshifts will be hard to reach unless you floor the peddal. And car wont have much power at high speeds (60mph +).
-If fluid is overfilled, peddal will feel soft and act like its kinda searching for gears most of the time, and wont feel like it wants to accelerate either.

Torquewrench
07-19-2007, 08:51 PM
I checked my fluid level again and it is correct, just a trickle between 40-50C. I couldn't find any sign of fresh fluid around the pan seal, fill plug, drain plug, main seal, or transmission fluid cooler hoses, but I am still getting the smell.

Found out the hard way that the aluminum pan bolts won't take more than ~ 7 N-m, at least mine won't, and I managed to strip a couple. Mike Miller didn't realize the fasteners on this particular transmission were aluminum, and after I told him he agreed that not stripping the bolt heads is the way to go, so disregard the above torque recommendation and stick with 6-7 N-m.

I ordered some stainless steel M6x22 fasteners from McMaster-Carr to replace the aluminum ones. It's always important to use a torque wrench, even more if you go to this stronger bolt. I bet the reason the ZF engineers used the aluminum bolts is because they couldn't be overtorqued.

Any ideas where the fluid might be leaking from?

jamtuff
07-20-2007, 12:09 PM
Why do is suspect its probably the vapors excaping through and causing the smell> i will drive mine for a week longer (out of town) then see if the smell comes back. i doubt its got anything to do with pan screws but possibly the filler plug.

more add-ons on the 330i: http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=26&article_id=8438&page_number=1

Arby1028
08-08-2007, 02:27 PM
Torquewrench,

Incredible write-up on the fluid change! I have a 2002 330i (Steptronic) and am going to tackle this in a few weeks. I can't remember reading this, but do you have a Steptronic or Automatic and would the procedure be different? Also, can I use the Mercron on a 2002 330i? I'm sure I can since I have the ZF 5HP19 A5S 325Z Tranny.

TIA!

Torquewrench
08-08-2007, 06:14 PM
As far as I know all the automatics offered were steptronics. Mine is. If they are the same transmission they'll use the same fluid. You got it all right. Hope it goes well.

pietrab
08-16-2007, 09:50 AM
Quick question, im looking to do this diy this weekend on my 2002 330i. My question is, why when you remove the fill plug, 3+ quarts of fluid come out, but when you refill it, you only top it off till it slightly overflows. Wouldnt that mean your not putting enough fluid back in? :dunno:

bmwm3coupe
08-16-2007, 07:56 PM
Thanks much for the post. I am about to work on my 2000 540iA (5HP24 tranny). What is a good source of "lint-free" cloth/towels to keep lint from contaminating the working surfaces?

Will

Torquewrench
08-18-2007, 12:48 PM
When you open the fill plug the car isn't running, so the amount that is taken up by transmission flows out. When you perrform the final top-off the car is running, so that amount is being taken up by the transmission.

As for lint-free cloths (sp?), how about microfiber towels from Walmart? I think they're lint free.

pietrab
08-18-2007, 01:53 PM
Thanks alot torquewrench, the fluid change went very smooth. As for trying to get the pan bolts off, i was on my 7th one and managed to strip it. Any tips on how to remove this stripped bolt. Thanks Again!

bimmerZ5
08-18-2007, 06:10 PM
Thanks alot torquewrench, the fluid change went very smooth. As for trying to get the pan bolts off, i was on my 7th one and managed to strip it. Any tips on how to remove this stripped bolt. Thanks Again!

You need to get a "bolt out" tool. It's basically like an inverted drill bit and grabs on to whatever is left of the bolt and pulls it out as you turn it. If there isn't anything to grab onto, you'll need to drill into the center of the bolt, then use a reverse drill bit that pulls out the remaining bolt as you turn it.

If there's enough to grab on to with some pliers, I usually try to use a set of pliers and see if I can grab the stud and turn it. If that doesn't work, i use the tools mentioned above.

bmwm3coupe
08-19-2007, 06:46 AM
If you really beleive in BMW's claim of lifetime ATF fluid, might as well believe in ghosts, fairies, the boogie man, etc..

This is the so call lifetime ATF fluid after 87911 miles:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1541.JPG


This is how the pan looked like:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1548.JPG


That black stuff in the pan is not rust - it is more of the magnetic particles that is attached to the pan as well - the magnets could not pick up more stuff themselves (look at how heavy they are coated):
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1549.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1550.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1551.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1552.JPG


This is how one of those magnets should look like once cleaned:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1553.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1554.JPG


Here is the cleaned pan/magnets ready to go back:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1556.JPG


although I first cleaned/removed the remnants of the old gasket (before and after):
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1558.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1563.JPG


I then tackled the filter:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1572.JPG


It is just hard to believe how full of crap the element was:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1574.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1575.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1576.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1577.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1578.JPG


When putting the new filter back in, remember to have the new o-ring in place:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1580.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1581.JPG


Then the pan goes back:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1582.JPG


And fill with whatever your research tells you is adequate fluid for your particular tranny. Myself, I don't buy in the boogie man story that only ESSO works in the 5HP24 tranny, so I used one of the many approved fluids for replacing ESSO - Valvoline MAXLIFE.
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1583.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1584.JPG

http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1587.JPG


I am now going to wait about 3-4 weeks to get the new fluid to help clean everything inside the tranny, and then will repeat the drain/filter change/fill process. After this, I will probably just do a drain/fill (no filter change) on a yearly or every 18 months or so, changing the filter every other time.

The tranny was working perfectly before the fluid change, and it remains working perfectly after the fluid change (about 30 miles so far). I will report more as I put more miles on the new fluid (really a mix since I only got 6-7 quarts of the old fluid).

You will need the stubby 8mm tool (mine is a SnapOn), as well as new filter, filter O-ring, and new gasket.:
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1542.JPG


This particular site has a great summary and photos of the whole process, fill-up, etc.:
Notes/Photos for changing the transmission oil and filter on 1998 E38 ... (http://home.comcast.net/~vicent/trannye38.html)


I also want to thank Torquewrench and other members that helped by sharing their own research, photos, etc. - much appreciated.

blurin03
08-27-2007, 11:25 AM
Torquewrench, Great write up, thanks!!

bmwm3coupe,
Thanks for the pics!!

I'm planning to take on this project on my '01 330i with 79k. Still debating which fluid to use.

How are your tranys running now?

Thanks!!

bmwm3coupe
08-27-2007, 11:31 AM
You are welcome!

The 5-spd tranny in my 2000 540i is doing perfect after the service. I already got about 400 miles since the service :thumbup:

I am still planning on doing another pan drop/filter change, and fill-up in a couple of more weeks. I will post pictures of how everything looks at that time ;)

Torquewrench
08-27-2007, 01:54 PM
Running great. Smell that was bugging me has disappeared, maybe it was just fluid left on double-walled exhaust heat shielding. Next time I'll teflon tape the drain and flill plugs, but if you do this make sure to keep any teflon tape out of the inside of the transmission.

I used Valvoline Mercon V for the two changes I've done so far, but I think I'll try Redline D4 next time, just for kicks.

blurin03
08-27-2007, 03:17 PM
Thanks.
It's on my to do list.

bmwm3coupe,
I noticed you used Valvoline Max Life. Isn't that different from Valvoline Mercon V?

Has anyone here had any trouble using the Mercon V?

bmwm3coupe
09-05-2007, 05:56 PM
Thanks.
It's on my to do list.

bmwm3coupe,
I noticed you used Valvoline Max Life. Isn't that different from Valvoline Mercon V?

Has anyone here had any trouble using the Mercon V?

Yes, the MaxLife that I used is different than Mercon V, but if you look in the can/bottle, it also states compatibility with the ESSO fluid (LT 71141).

I now have over 700 miles since the change - everything still perfect. I am going to wait another week or two and try to get to about 1000 miles to do it all over again (drain, filter change, fill-up) with MaxLife again ;)

blurin03
09-06-2007, 08:10 AM
bmwm3coupe wrote:
Yes, the MaxLife that I used is different than Mercon V, but if you look in the can/bottle, it also states compatibility with the ESSO fluid (LT 71141).

I now have over 700 miles since the change - everything still perfect. I am going to wait another week or two and try to get to about 1000 miles to do it all over again (drain, filter change, fill-up) with MaxLife again

So you're going to change the filter again at 1000 miles?
It will be interesting to see how dirty it got.

I've been emailing Valvoline who said the Mercon V is now fully synthetic where before it was semi-synthetic.
(I think the LT71141 is semi-synthetic, is it?:dunno:)
They suggested MaxLife over the Mercon V.

Keep us updated.

Rob325i
09-06-2007, 10:43 AM
I changed mine this past Monday and my magnets were pretty much like the ones in the pics above. So far everything is doing great. Shifts seem smoother and before the change I thought I was noticing a little slip between 4th and 5th gears. I'm really interested to see pics after the 1000 mile change. When I was topping mine off while it was idling, the overfill of fluid that came out was a little dirty looking. I also used the Max Life fluid in mine. Awesome DIY instructions!! :thumbup:

bmwm3coupe
09-19-2007, 01:39 PM
The original plan was to do the initial fluid drain, install a new filter, and fill with Valvoline MaxLife; then wait 1000 miles or so, and do it all over again. This second post is about the second service after 1000 miles (actually, 1154 miles).

As before, get the car up high and support on 6 places (4 stands and two jacks):

http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1857.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1858.JPG


I am again sending a sample from this service (2/3 of which is new fluid with 1154 miles and 1/3 is the old 89K mile fluid using a new filter). Since my kit has not arrived, I am using something convenient:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1862.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1863.JPG


Getting necessary items ready:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1864.JPG


Collect the sample, which was definitely lighter in color than the first time around:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1866.JPG


If you look at the pan now, you can see the lighter fluid, which is now more "reddish" as it should be with 2/3 being MaxLife:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1869.JPG


The magnets again collected particles, but not nearly as heavy as the first time:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1871.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1872.JPG


For comparison, here is the pan and fluid color from the first service:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1548.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1549.JPG


The used filter element is also not as dark as before:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1877.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1878.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1879.JPG


Getting ready to put everything back together:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1880.JPG
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1881.JPG


I used almost 7 Qt's again, so I am still changing about 2/3 of the total fluid:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1886.JPG


This is why we should always use protective gear - safety glasses prevented ATF fluid from hitting me right in the right eye!:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1888.JPG


Sample labeled and ready to be sent out once the kit arrives:
http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/IMG_1889.JPG


I will update this thread once the fluid analysis comes back. My next step now is to wait about a year or 15K miles and do a simple drain/fill (no new filter, no dropping the pan). SO far MaxLife has been performing perfectly. I will update the thread as I get more information to share :-)

Torquewrench
09-19-2007, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the great detail and pictures. I might consider the Maxlife next time myself because I think the Mercon V is just slippery enough to get past the seals some of the time, and I hate the smell. Looking forward to the analysis. What lab are you using?

bmwm3coupe
09-19-2007, 04:51 PM
http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/scan0001.jpg

Look at how high the Aluminum and insolubles are!. The fluid is basically abrasive - the longer I keep it inside the tranny, the shorter the life of the tranny :eek:

I am using the same lab for the second sample I just collected. I will report in a few weeks when I get the results back :D

blurin03
09-19-2007, 11:06 PM
bmwm3coupe:
Another great writeup!! Thanks!!
I've ordered my filter kit and will be changing the fluid with MaxLife soon.

I was thinking of draining the fluid, filling, run for a few minutes.
Then drain again, remove the pan and replace filter, refill. Maybe I'll get close to 2/3rds change that way. I'll keep you posted.

bmwm3coupe
09-20-2007, 06:29 AM
bmwm3coupe:
Another great writeup!! Thanks!!
I've ordered my filter kit and will be changing the fluid with MaxLife soon.

I was thinking of draining the fluid, filling, run for a few minutes.
Then drain again, remove the pan and replace filter, refill. Maybe I'll get close to 2/3rds change that way. I'll keep you posted.

If you only drain and fill, you only change about 4-5 quarts, and with a total of 9Quarts or so, you are not quite doing 1/2 of the change, but since every time you do this you again do less than 1/2, even after you do the change twice, you still have a large percentage of oil fluid in there:

after first change: 1/2 of the old + 1/2 of the new = approx. 50% old fluid
after second change: 1/2 of the new + 1/2 of the old mix (which is 1/2 new and 1/2 old)
after second change: 1/2 of the new + 1/4 new and 1/4 old = appro. still 25% of the old fluid still remains.

When you change drop the pan and change the filter, you get substantially more out, and you are changing about 6-7 quarts, which is about 2/3 of the old fluid
after first change with filter change: 2/3 new fluid + 1/3 old fluid = approx 33% old fluid
after second change with filter change: 2/3 new fluid + 1/3 of the old mix (which is 2/3 new and 1/3 old)
after second change with filter change: 2/3 new fluid + 2/9 new fluid + 1/9 old fluid = approx only 11% remains, which is good enough for me at this point :)

So, as long as you are doing drop pan/filter changes, but the time you do the second one you will be in great shape.

Now, when you say running for a few minutes in between changes, the recommended procedure is to actually drive it off on the road, under load, for 30 minutes or so at various speeds so that you can really get the new fluid everywhere and so that you can give the new fluid a chance to clean up things inside the tranny. The best possible scenario or the "text book" perfect is what I did: drive it for 1000 miles or about 4 weeks in between your first and second service - look at how much more metal particles I accumulated from just 1100 miles!

If you just "run" it on its stands for a few minutes is probably OK, and although not ideal, it is surely much, much better than doing nothing and believing in life time fluids, right? :rofl:

Bottom line I think that your plan is reasonable and your tranny will thank you for it :D

blurin03
09-20-2007, 07:42 PM
bmwm3coupe;
Yes, you make good points. The way I'm thinking of doing it may give about 75% change.
Although it will not clean the trany as well.

Maybe I'll wait to see what your second oil analysis says.

bmwm3coupe
09-22-2007, 01:22 AM
bmwm3coupe;
Yes, you make good points. The way I'm thinking of doing it may give about 75% change.
Although it will not clean the trany as well.

Maybe I'll wait to see what your second oil analysis says.

75% change will be awesome for your tranny. I am still waiting for the official kit from the lab, then to send the sample to the lab, and then wait for the results, so I would expect that it will be about 2-3 more weeks before I get back the results from the second sample. I will of course share it once I get it :D

mahmoudh
09-23-2007, 05:40 AM
Hello, this is my first post but I have found this forum very useful and constructive.
Thanks to Torque Wrench and bmwm3coupe for their really comprehensive posts.
Yesterday I changed Auto Transmission Fluid and Filter at 96K miles on my E39 2001 530i.
Car was made after March 2001, had a ZF 5HP19 transmission with Green Label which specified replacing fluid with BMW p/n 83 2 29 407 807 which is the Esso LT 71141LT.
I used the ZF branded fluid purchased for $15/liter. The bottle describes it as Semi-synthetic and I did not want to risk other fluids since I plan to keep the car forever.
The fluids, magnets and filter condition were close to that in the pics in this thread.
The Fill Plug is a Vertical 8mm Hex at the driverside rear and the drain plug is a 6mm Hex at the bottom front of the transmission. BMW filter and gasket were also used.
Had some trouble with the paste for the gasket and ended up pasting gasket onto pan then coating tranny with paste and then mounting pan. Hoping it does not develop leaks.
Thanks to all on this board for their healthy posts and points of view.
Did the 100K tuneup a month ago with the Bosch O2 sensor, NGK Spark Plugs and BMW Air and Cabin Filter
Will tackle the Differential Fluid next.

gfeiner
09-28-2007, 10:30 AM
Thank you, thank you for this thread. :thumbup:

bmwm3coupe
09-28-2007, 12:41 PM
The Blackstone Labs kit came and I was able to send the second ATF sample to them this past Wed. It will be about 2 weeks before I get the results, but I am already looking forward to them.

And by the way, I now have over 500 miles after the second full service (now over 1600 miles since I started to remove the old ESSO fluid). The tranny is still working perfectly :D

TenzoR
10-01-2007, 11:01 AM
Would changing the ATF cause any Warranty issues (CPO)?

bmwm3coupe
10-02-2007, 02:55 PM
Would changing the ATF cause any Warranty issues (CPO)?
Short answer: If the change/work/fluid causes the tranny to fail, possibly.

Long answer:
I personally would not change the fluid before the original 50K mile warranty expires. I would simply wait for that warranty to end before opening the tranny up. This is in fact the case with my wife's 2005 330i - I am waiting before I will do the service on that auto tranny.

Now, on a CPO, "if" you intend to keep it past the CPO warranty, then you need to decide:
1) do nothing now, and possibly have to deal with the $3-5K to replace tranny right after CPO warranty expires
2) do the ATF service now, extend the life of the tranny, way past the end of the CPO warranty expiration.
3) if you do NOT intend to keep the car past the CPO warranty - I would imagine you would then do nothing, so this option is easy.

Assuming you want to keep your car for a "reasonably long time", I would pick #2, but that is just me :D

TenzoR
10-02-2007, 07:05 PM
Short answer: If the change/work/fluid causes the tranny to fail, possibly.

Long answer:
I personally would not change the fluid before the original 50K mile warranty expires. I would simply wait for that warranty to end before opening the tranny up. This is in fact the case with my wife's 2005 330i - I am waiting before I will do the service on that auto tranny.

Now, on a CPO, "if" you intend to keep it past the CPO warranty, then you need to decide:
1) do nothing now, and possibly have to deal with the $3-5K to replace tranny right after CPO warranty expires
2) do the ATF service now, extend the life of the tranny, way past the end of the CPO warranty expiration.
3) if you do NOT intend to keep the car past the CPO warranty - I would imagine you would then do nothing, so this option is easy.

Assuming you want to keep your car for a "reasonably long time", I would pick #2, but that is just me :D

That's the thing I'm not sure I want to keep it yet. I've been doing regular service (e.g. oil changing every 5000km, rust proofing, etc) Those are easy and fairly cheap so I don't mind. I wonder if it's safer to let BMW do a tranny flush ...

bmwm3coupe
10-03-2007, 11:17 AM
That's the thing I'm not sure I want to keep it yet. I've been doing regular service (e.g. oil changing every 5000km, rust proofing, etc) Those are easy and fairly cheap so I don't mind. I wonder if it's safer to let BMW do a tranny flush ...

Keep in mind that I spent a big $100 or so doing my full service which included a new fluid/filter/gasket, but the dealer might be more than willing to charge you $400-600 for a flush/service. You have to sleep on that one and decide what you want to do :eek:

bmwm3coupe
10-20-2007, 07:14 AM
This is the sample I took a 1000 miles after the first service - just 2/3 of the old fluid was changed.

Note how the older high amounts of Al and insolubles are now much smaller. And note that this was after I changed just 2/3 of the old fluid. Since then I have done the second service and now the fluid is 8/9 new and 1/9 old. When I do the next service I will then have a good point of reference to see how the 8/9 new fluid is doing (which so far has 2700 miles since the 2nd service - still working perfectly as before).

Note also how Iron, Copper, Lead, and other metals are now in a much lower concentration: the fluid is definitely a lot less abrasive now than it was before.

I asked Blackstone labs, and they mentioned that the higher numbers for Boron, Calcium, and Phosphorous are due to the different chemical composition of the new mix with a higher concentration of Valvoline MaxLife.

http://m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/sample2.jpg

blurin03
10-20-2007, 07:29 PM
bmwm3coupe,
Thanks for listing that, great info!!

I'm changing it as soon as I find the time.

jvcajita
10-21-2007, 03:58 AM
any updates so far?

bmwm3coupe
10-21-2007, 05:37 AM
any updates so far?

I just posted the second ATF analysis, just two posts above your question. Is this what you were asking about?

Torquewrench
10-22-2007, 05:35 AM
This fluid analysis and follow-up is tremendous information. Thanks again.

m5james
10-24-2007, 04:35 PM
Awesome information! I had a link up that I accidentally closed and cannot find now :( It was something like the BMW TIS or something where it had a coumn on the left asking like symptoms, recommended procedures, fluid types, etc.....anyone know what I'm talking about and willing to re-post that link?

blurin03
12-06-2007, 09:14 PM
I finally got around to changing the fluid on my ’01 330i with 80k.

First off thanks to Torquewrench and bmwm3coupe for the in-depth directions and analysis!!:thumbup::thumbup:


Following the above directions this is how I did it:

I used Valvoline MaxLife so the cost of using fluid was not an issue.

I drained and refilled the fluid 4 times without dropping the pan. Changed about 4 quarts each time. Only drove it about 2 miles after the second change. The other times I just ran it for a few minutes.
Then I drained fluid, dropped the pan, changed the filter, cleaned the magnets, pan, and refilled with using about 6 ½ quarts.
I think I changed about 75% of the fluid.

I was able to get pretty good at testing the fluid temp. and putting the fill cap on with fluid running out. The problem I had was getting the plug back on. With fluid on my fingers they would spin not turning the cap. I needed some grip.


Here is the only addition I would add to the directions:

The fill cap is smooth and needs some grip. I did this by taking a chisel and hammer to exterior of the plug. I put nicks and burrs all over the non-seating areas. I was then able to turn it with slippery fingers. Worked great.

Some notes:
1: I had the car off the ground with the rear wheels free enabling me to put the car in R and D spinning the rear wheels, (not while I was under it). This caused the DSC to intermittently activate. Well, after the 4th fluid change the DSC light came on and stayed on along with the ABS light. (Thinking back on it now, I should have turned off the DSC). It all cleared up after I had the car back on the road at about mile 2.

2: More fluid runs out the fill hole when the transmission is in Drive as opposed to Park.


I think that’s it for now.

Thanks everyone for your help!!!!

bmwm3coupe
12-07-2007, 08:19 AM
I finally got around to changing the fluid on my ’01 330i with 80k.

First off thanks to Torquewrench and bmwm3coupe for the in-depth directions and analysis!!:thumbup::thumbup:

.
.
.

I think that’s it for now.

Thanks everyone for your help!!!!

You are very welcome. Glad your tranny has new fluid flowing through its "veins" :D

BigCo540i
12-28-2007, 11:04 PM
[QUOTE=bmwm3coupe;2585250]If you really beleive in BMW's claim of lifetime ATF fluid, might as well believe in ghosts, fairies, the boogie man, etc..

QUOTE]

I see you used the Valvoline fluid when you did your ATF fluid change, how is it holding up?

bmwm3coupe
12-29-2007, 05:43 AM
I see you used the Valvoline fluid when you did your ATF fluid change, how is it holding up?

I am close to 93K miles, so I have at least 4-5K miles with MaxLife - still working perfectly, as it should :thumbup:

33beto
12-29-2007, 12:55 PM
So, a 1999 E46 with the "GREEN" label tranny. Which fluid is recomended besides the oem stuff? I like to do this tranny maitenance as well. Thanks in advance.

Lou.

blurin03
01-14-2008, 07:08 PM
I've got 1000 miles on the new fluid, no problems except for a minor one.

I noticed some fluid seepage. Turned out the pan bolts loosened up some. Most likely caused by heat cycles. I tightened them up. Should do the job.

bmwm3coupe
01-14-2008, 07:22 PM
I now have a little bit over 5K miles on the MaxLife - everything still perfect :D

33beto
01-14-2008, 08:02 PM
OK, got the oil at dealer for $8.00 a liter. According to the guy at the counter I need 7 lt for a pan drop. He missed by one more (8.lt), so I use a full quart of DEXRON 6.
I have the GM green label transaxle.........SO far so good a week later.

Lou.

jmay87
02-02-2008, 08:14 PM
Flushed my transmission on my 2001 325i with 115k on the original fluid today. The fluid wasn't as bad as I thought it might be but it was definitely in need of replacing. Other than one stripped Torx bolt and a little bit of tool hunting, all went smoothly. I refilled it with a little less than 6.5 L of the Pentosin ATF fluid from here. http://www.worldimpex.com/parts/pentosin-automat-transmission-fluid-1-ltr-pentosin_249116.html
Seems to be shifting smoother already, hopefully it stays that way.

shroomer
02-17-2008, 08:12 PM
I just changed the ATF. It shifts much nicer now, but the car is idling with a different pitch. She sounds different. I am not sure if this is normal. Has anybody else noticed a change in sound after the ATF change? I also changed the differential fluid.
I put in almost 6 quarts of ATF. (is the noise because of an incorrect fluid level?)
I put in about .7 quart of gear oil in the diff.

blurin03
02-17-2008, 08:31 PM
Now I have a fluid leak.
When originally I put the pan bolts on I did not have a torque wrench and I developed a small leak.
I checked the bolts with a torque wrench and found I was at about 3 ft/lbs so I tightened them to 7 ft/lbs, (I thought I was going to break or strip one). The small leak stopped for about a week, then started a small leak again.
I checked and found them loose again, so I removed them, applied lock tight and torqued to 7 lbs.
That lasted about one week, with no leaks, until a large leak formed.
Now I've got a new gasket and will replace it with lock tight and proper torque settings from the start.
All I need to do now is find the time between working and completing a home bath remodel.

Any suggestions?

Torquewrench
02-17-2008, 10:54 PM
I've had issues with leaks but I could never tell for sure where they were coming from. I used the Elring-Klinger brand gasket last time as opposed of the ZF OEM. The E-K was the same shape but in rubber instead of the thin green material of the ZF. It seems to be holding without leaks, so I ordered another. Pelican Parts of AutohausAZ both have great prices on gaskets.

For the next time I do a fluid change I've purchased button head cap screws in stainless steel with hex heads instead of torx, washers, and lockwashers from McMaster-Carr. I've had enough of stripping the aluminum screws and as long as you use a torquewrench you'll avoid stripping anything in the transmission housing.

shroomer
02-18-2008, 10:12 AM
so i should have put in about 6.5qts and not less than 6? is that why i am getting a 'whine' noise from the bottom of the car?

Torquewrench
02-18-2008, 11:24 AM
You should put in whatever is required to cause overflow when the car is running in neutral. If you did the procedure correctly and the fluid was at the correct temperature, then 6 is the right number. You can always put it up on jackstands, get it in neutral, then open the fill plug. If it needs more, add it.

shroomer
02-18-2008, 11:37 AM
You should put in whatever is required to cause overflow when the car is running in neutral. If you did the procedure correctly and the fluid was at the correct temperature, then 6 is the right number. You can always put it up on jackstands, get it in neutral, then open the fill plug. If it needs more, add it.

I thought it was warm enough. Now I am not too sure because of the noise. It is high pitched and doesn't sound like it used to. Also, most people seem to say they added about 6.5 quarts.
Did the sound of your car change at all? I think it is coming from the tranny. I plan on getting under it tonight after work. It drives great though.

bmwm3coupe
02-18-2008, 05:07 PM
Like Torquewrench stated, the key is to follow the "correct" fluid check/procedure for your tranny. The temp range for mine was between 30-50 deg C, preferably closer to 30 to get the most fluid in, and of course, the car has to be level, and running to do this check.

Will

shroomer
02-19-2008, 03:16 AM
Like Torquewrench stated, the key is to follow the "correct" fluid check/procedure for your tranny. The temp range for mine was between 30-50 deg C, preferably closer to 30 to get the most fluid in, and of course, the car has to be level, and running to do this check.

Will

I hear ya, guys. I am curious as to how you checked the temp though. Did you use a thermometer?

What I am really asking about is if you guys heard a change in the sound of your car, at idle, when you changed the ATF. I am pretty sure I did everything correctly. I didn't have a thermometer though. The pan was warm to the touch, but not hot.

bmwm3coupe
02-19-2008, 01:05 PM
My garage has a digital temp gauge, so I used it to get an indication of the temp. In my case, the garage temp was about 80F so I waited until the tranny was at room temp again before starting it back up. Then, after running for a few seconds I am already at the right temp :D . If your garage/car is not at the "right" temp, you can use one of those low-cost laser temp sensors and "point" the laser to the tranny case to get a temp reading.

Answering your question, no, the tranny never change its sound/behavior before/after the two full changes. If your tranny does sound different (seems like louder in your case), then yes, I still suspect something is not right.

Remember that you can always raise the car again, verify the temp, and re-do the fill-up part just to make sure. The other thing to do (if the level is alright) would be to try a different compatible fluid to see if the noise goes away.


Will

shroomer
02-20-2008, 12:08 PM
It was the differential....
The tranny is fine.

bmwm3coupe
02-20-2008, 01:48 PM
It was the differential....
The tranny is fine.

Excellent news - thanks for the update!

What fluid did you use in the diff?

Will

shroomer
02-20-2008, 02:06 PM
Excellent news - thanks for the update!

What fluid did you use in the diff?

Will

75/90 Redline
...and my car is awesome

shroomer
02-20-2008, 02:22 PM
There is some sort of obstruction in the diffy. On the end of the tube I was using there was a plastic spoutlike thingie. Because of the plastic thingie I could not put the tube all the way into the diffy. This prevented me from putting the tube far enough into the diffy, and the fluid would overflow prematurely, making me think it was full. So I just cut the plastic thingie off and put the tube in and now I have the right level....and life is good.

Mark_325i
02-27-2008, 11:27 AM
My question is this: I just ordered the filter kit and gasket from BavAuto. They say on their site that only 4 liters of Esso are required, but it seems from this thread that 7 is more like it. I ordered 8 to be safe. Why the large discrepancy? The BavAuto guy said that they were not getting complaints from people ordering too little of the fluid.

m5james
02-27-2008, 11:29 AM
Maybe that's just the fluid lost from dropping the pan and filter only:dunno:

Torquewrench
02-27-2008, 01:18 PM
That's a little confusing. If you just opened the drain plug and then filled through the fill plug I could see 4 being enough, but since they include the filter and gasket that implies dropping the pan, which in my case required ~6.5 qts. You did the right thing to order 8, I just wonder what their other customers are doing?

bmwm3coupe
02-27-2008, 04:37 PM
That's a little confusing. If you just opened the drain plug and then filled through the fill plug I could see 4 being enough, but since they include the filter and gasket that implies dropping the pan, which in my case required ~6.5 qts. You did the right thing to order 8, I just wonder what their other customers are doing?

Perfect answer - you took the words out of my mouth. There is no way you could just use 4 "if" you are also dropping the pan and changing the filter.

Will

Mark_325i
04-08-2008, 10:43 AM
I just had the fluid changed by my regular mechanic. I had ordered the kit and 8 liters of Esso fluid from Bavarian. They say that you only need 4 liters but I ordered more based on what I have read here and on other blogs.

The first problem I encountered was a phone call on Friday morning that the kit that I provided was wrong -- the gasket was too small and the filter was a different shape. A call to the local BMW parts depts was futile -- no gaskets or filters in stock. I called Bavauto. Turns out that even though I gave them my VIN, the order taker must have just ordered the kit based on the model year of the car -- 2003. The problem was that there are two kits for MY 2003 -- pre-Jan 2003 and post Jan 2003. If you call them to place an order for the kit MAKE SURE YOU SPECIFY THE VIN AND BUILD DATE OF YOUR CAR. They shipped me a new kit via UPS red and the job was completed on Monday.

The second thing really is not a problem. Turns out that Bavauto was correct about how much fluid my car would take -- 4 liters (4.5 if you include a little spillage). The mechanic measured what came out -- a bit over 4 liters (and it was pretty clean at 50,000 miles, with not too much crap in the pan, either) and put the same amount back in, tested it at the correct temp, and it was good to go. I think that some of the other posters here must have a different transmission than what is in my car. In fact, when I was calling around the BMW dealers to get the gasket and filter, I asked how much fluid my car should take and was told -- by BMW guys looking at their screens -- that it should take between 4 and 6.5 liters. Nice range, huh?

Anyway, this was just preventative maintenance and the car ran great before the fluid change and it runs great after. Based on what the fluid and pan looked like I will do this again at 100,000 miles.

blurin03
04-09-2008, 09:33 PM
Mark_325i

That is interesting that your transmission only took 4 liters with a filter change. Maybe your tranny is different.

If you look at my posting on: 12-06-2007, 09:14 PM, you'll see that my 2001 330i took 4 quarts when just draining and refilling without dropping the pan and changing the filter.

With a pan drop and filter change it took 6.5 to 7 quarts.

shroomer
04-10-2008, 07:39 AM
I recently changed the fluid and the filter. Two weeks later I drained and filled the tranny without dropping the pan and only drained about 4 quarts.
You can't drop the pan and change the filter and only need 4 quarts.
That is, with my car which is a 2001 330i.

Mark_325i
04-10-2008, 07:44 AM
Had my car up on the lift yesterday at my mechanic's to check the fluid level. It was perfect at the correct temp for checking. My car is a 2003 325i, which must have a different configuration than that of a 2001 330i.

cbv8
06-22-2008, 06:20 PM
Hi Phil,
What a brill and informative write up can you please tell me what transmission is fitted to my BMW 2001 pre face lift (118bhp) E46 318i se Steptronic? Ie does your fluid change procedure applie to my car as i really want to change my fluid asap thanks in advance oh and keep up the good work :thumbup:

fun2drive
06-28-2008, 01:02 PM
Have you looked under the car at the auto tranny to see if it has a lable stuck on it? When I did this my friends car which is a 325 had a green tag meaning Esso only so I would check that and then go from there. If it is green then you know what it needs...

classicE46
07-11-2008, 07:09 AM
Hi,

What a great thread! I have a question. My 01 330Ci has 137k miles on it. I'm the third owner and as far as I know has never had the ATF changed (you know, lifetime fluid :(). Anyway, the service engine light is flagging code P0741 (TCC circuit performance or stuck off). Although I am not experiencing any physical symptoms, this is keeping me from passing a TX state inspection.

So I've asked around, read several threads like this one, and taken it to a transmission place for their take ($65 for the analysis and estimate).

The transmission place says that they think it is an internal seal that is leaking, which results in the torque converter not locking up every time. He says he's seen two just like it in the past couple of months and this requires that they drop the transmission, pull the torque converter and rebuild it ($1400). Of course we wouldn't really know if he was right about the diagnosis until he's dropped the tranny and spent my $$$.

An online BMW mechanic seems to think it is the TCC solenoid, which I can access by dropping the pan. The transmission guy said that this is rarely the problem, but that he would ohm out the solenoid first before committing to the larger repair. He was actually trying to get me to bite on a full rebuild for $3100, so I'm thinking there was not much chance I'd get out of there with just a new solenoid.

A lot of the threads I've read say that just changing out the fluid may do the trick. With 137k miles on the car and no perceivable transmission problems when I'm driving it, I'm tempted to agree that the fluid viscosity may simply have broken down sufficiently that I am not getting an efficient lock.

The thing that the mechanic told me that doesn't wash is that he believed that the OEM ATF fluid (which he referred to as liquid gold) is still most likely good enough to be reused and told me that he intended to salvage as much as he could and put it back in. Really?? After 137k miles, I would think that the fluid is at least tired, if not worn out -- not to mention all the metal floating around in it.

I noticed that the viscosity of original ATF from bmwm3coupe's lab report (47.3 @88k mi) was still 4.3 above the min spec of 43, and that the viscosity of the second sample was considerably higher (50.1 @1.1k mi, or 7.1 above the min spec ). So if you consider valid range being 8SUS, then after 88k mi, the old ATF viscosity was approximately at mid range, while the new ATF was at ~90% of the spec'ed range. That implies (at least to me) that the viscosity breaks down with time and wear. Seems like the smart thing would be to spend the $80 or so bucks and the weekend to change out the fluid, go ahead and test the solenoid while I am in there, and see if the code keeps on getting set after I'm done. Does that sound sensible, or more like wishful thinking? Any thoughts?

m5james
07-11-2008, 08:18 AM
Since your mechanic intended on reusing the same fluid anyways, I'd rather spend th $80 to drain and fill the system myself and see if that fixes the problem before spending $3100. There won't be any harm done for you to do that first, and if it doesn't work out, at least you'll have new fluid in there after the mechanic has done his thing.

Torquewrench
07-11-2008, 09:17 AM
I agree wholeheartedly with M5james, go ahead and do it once, maybe twice if you're up for it, it may bad fluid or a particle that will get cleared out with some new fluid.

YT,

Torquewrench

Torquewrench
07-11-2008, 09:19 AM
Hi Phil,
What a brill and informative write up can you please tell me what transmission is fitted to my BMW 2001 pre face lift (118bhp) E46 318i se Steptronic? Ie does your fluid change procedure applie to my car as i really want to change my fluid asap thanks in advance oh and keep up the good work :thumbup:


Most of the procedure will apply even if the fluid and tranny are different, just be sure you're using the right fluid by checking the sticker and some of the attachments in my original post to confirm which transmission you have.

classicE46
07-11-2008, 10:56 AM
Thanks. So I've seen sort of an evolution of recommendations about what the best replacement fluid might be. It started out as Mercon V, but it sounded like that opinion might have changed. I've seen Redline D4 and MaxLife, among others. What do you guys prefer now?

gfeiner
07-19-2008, 02:09 PM
FYI,

I have a 2003 330i and a T-27 Torx is what is needed to remove the pan bolts. T-25 fits loosely and would probably work but, T-27 is a perfect fit.

Torquewrench
07-20-2008, 07:34 AM
Very interesting on the T-27 recommendation. I'll have to get one and try it. That would better explain some of the stripped heads I've seen.

Thanks!

gfeiner
07-20-2008, 01:15 PM
Also,

I noticed your write-up said you reinstalled/torqued the pan bolts in a star pattern. The official instructions from BMW (TIS) say not to do this. It says "Using torque wrench, do not tighten screws diagonally but once one after the other." I suppose it wouldn't really make a difference as long as your careful. I've attached the TIS document that says this as well as all the others relevant to this DIY.

bmwm3coupe
07-21-2008, 11:22 AM
By the way, as an update on using Valvoline MaxLife ATF on my 2000 BMW 540iA, I now have almost 101K miles (almost 14K miles since the ATF fluid change) - everything is still perfect :thumbup:

My long term plan is still to change to Amsoil Universal ATF this fall, to extend the fluid change intervals and have a little bit more protection from the very hot summers here in Texas :)

Torquewrench
07-21-2008, 12:20 PM
I was wondering if anyone has documented or anecdotal evidence of changes in fuel efficiency (mpg) when changing from the BMW OEM fluid. I still have a feeling I'm getting less mpg, perhaps due to the Valvoline MERCON V being lower viscosity than the BMW OEM fluid, but this is completely conjecture. I don't know the viscosities of the fluid and I don't keep track of mpg consistently. Does anyone else?

Thanks,

Phil/TW

bmwm3coupe
07-21-2008, 01:42 PM
Well, at least for me, my mileage has gone up from about 17/18 to 19/20, but I have done many of tune-up/upgrades to bring the car to a good state - prior owner took OK care of the car, but did not go the extra mile as he waited for the car's lights (Oil/Service) and/or waited until something broke before taking to dealer or BMW shop. Now that the gasoline is more expensive I am driving the car less agresivelly (but having some fun from time to time) and my mileage has gone up even more: my current combined conmute has gone from 17/18MPG when I got the car to about 21-22MPG today. On cruise control, at about 65, on flat highway, I get about 27-28MPG out of a 4.4L V8 !!!

Besides the Auto tranny service, I changed spark plugs, fuel filter, complete radiator/cooling system overhaul (Zionsville with electric fan), AFE CAI, 93-octane performance chip for the engine, Dinan performance auto-tranny firmware, new shocks/bushings/brakes front/back, etc. => The car runs much better/smoother today with 100K+ miles than when I bought it with 82K miles :D

So you see, I can't say that the tranny using Valvoline has giving me better gar mileage now, but I "know" my tranny has a much better life expectancy than before :thumbup:

Bking
08-15-2008, 10:04 PM
Great thread! Thanks for all the tips.

I have read everything I can find on the web about the fluid vs transmissions and see some issues with some postings.

I have one of the rare A5S325Z transmissions with the GREEN label indicating Texaco ETL8072B
The old BMW part number for this fluid is 83220024359.
The NEW number is 83220403249.

Bavauto.com will sell this for about $70 for 20 litre jug. Shipping for me was $30 more, just ordered it today.
You have to call them to order it, its not on the site, they order direct from BMW.
The other sources I have found were about 3 to 5 times this cost for the same fluid.

I would not mix anything else with this Texaco fluid. See post #27, the guy did not present his information very well but actually had a transmission mechanic warn him about this very thing.

It's not about what will work but rather what is compatible with the original install.
Other vendors claim compatibility for some fluids but none have listed the Texaco ETL 8072 as being one that you can add anything else to.


A bit of history on the "lifetime" fluid.
BMW did a study and found that almost all transmission failures were caused by mechanics allowing foreign matter to get introduced into the system during fluid changes. They decided it would be best overall to leave the system sealed. Then of course, they needed to be able to advertise "low maintenance costs" to compete with everyone else. Many BMW buyers were going to other makes due to the high maintenace costs. Not many actually work on their cars like we all do : )

Bking
08-16-2008, 08:19 AM
The edit feature is not working!

I just looked on my green label and it indicates 83229407807 fluid which is NOT the texaco as the Bentley manual says.

Please note this problem as seems to be rather common, THE color of the LABEL does not mean squat!
The PN on the label is the fluid you use.

RokChlk
08-19-2008, 02:14 PM
I looked up the transmission by using the VIN number - apparently I have a GM trannie (2002 325i). I've heard you guys talk about look at a "green label"? I've looked at my tranny pan and I don't see a green label? Is that where I should be looking for it?

Also, if I do have a GM trannie, what kind of oil should I get and how many quarts will I need?

bimmerZ5
08-19-2008, 02:29 PM
I looked up the transmission by using the VIN number - apparently I have a GM trannie (2002 325i). I've heard you guys talk about look at a "green label"? I've looked at my tranny pan and I don't see a green label? Is that where I should be looking for it?

Also, if I do have a GM trannie, what kind of oil should I get and how many quarts will I need?

If it is a GM, i would go for the new Dexron VI fluids.

shroomer
08-19-2008, 04:04 PM
Has anybody had any stalling issues after doing automatic transmission service? I get into low rms and it seems that the transmission wants to downshift, but the car stalls instead.

RokChlk
08-20-2008, 12:57 PM
I bought 8 quarts of Valvoline MaxLife Dex/Merc fluid - Does anyone see any complications in putting that in a GM tranny?

gfeiner
08-21-2008, 11:15 AM
Has anybody had any stalling issues after doing automatic transmission service? I get into low rms and it seems that the transmission wants to downshift, but the car stalls instead.


It's been a week since I did mine. No problems so far.

gfeiner
08-21-2008, 11:16 AM
The edit feature is not working!

I just looked on my green label and it indicates 83229407807 fluid which is NOT the texaco as the Bentley manual says.

Please note this problem as seems to be rather common, THE color of the LABEL does not mean squat!
The PN on the label is the fluid you use.

I noticed that too. Maybe the heat from the transmission and weather/environment causes the label to fade to green?? :dunno:

jblackburn
08-21-2008, 04:23 PM
I had my fluid and filter replaced a few weeks ago. The label was green, but it had the part number for the Esso fluid. I think the label color/oil type issues are pretty common. The transmission was positively a ZF. Since it will probably be the last fluid change that I own the car - I decided to get the Esso fluid.

I watched the mechanic do the work (good friends since we were 2 yrs old) and it was a pretty easy job. Hardest part was loosening the fill bolt - it was cranked pretty hard.

Bking
08-22-2008, 12:40 PM
Everyone needs to be aware that the smallest amount of grit allowed to drop on that clean pan while installing it can lead to a failure in the future.

diptenkrom
09-05-2008, 03:50 AM
anybody that has replaced the pan bolts with something stronger, what size bolt would i be looking for? any idea where i can get them? or do i just take one out and go to the hardware store?

i want to do this, but i want to have absolutely everything ready before i start. also i have a 95 325i if this is going to be different? i am going to do this twice. once in the next month of so and once in the spring.

and i was also planning on the maxlife. which i went to the store and looked at it. there were 2 different maxlife types, only one listed mercon VI on it and all teh other compatibilities listed on here. just figured i would throw that out there, to check the back of the bottle and mke sure you are getting the right maxlife.

bmwm3coupe
09-05-2008, 12:34 PM
There is no need to replace the OEM bolts with anything stronger. I have done the service twice now - the bolts still have "plenty" life in them - remember that the torque on them is fairly low.

I have over 10K on MaxLife now. I would use the one the shows on the label that it is compatible with the fluid for your tranny.

Lbert
09-10-2008, 05:50 PM
Apparently Valvoline Mercon V is no longer recommended equivalent to the LT71141. Valvoline took out the LT71141 equivalent designation out of the Mercon V container label when they went with multi-lingual labeling, and the designation is also missing when Mercon V went full synthetic. I received an email response from them that I should use MaxLife ATF and the MaxLife ATF is also full synthetic. Unlike the Mercon V that show on the bottle it is full synthetic, I do see that on the MaxLife bottle nor does it show on their web site. Someone please correct me if you have information to say otherwise.

Numba1goalie
09-17-2008, 01:11 PM
Bump for an awesome thread!

yogi799
09-19-2008, 06:38 PM
OK, posted in a new thread by mistake. I'll be doing the ATF change tomorrow and I'd greatly appreciate your help. Spent 30 minutes in front of the rack with ATFs after getting advice from the beginning of this thread and here is what I found: Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle ATF. Will this work for my auto tranny?

I have that green label on the pan bottom. Can't read what's on it, but it's green.

http://6pdrjw.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pUQLuDwWyANClTrZa2eRJBPLPcDanDuTY1TyQKi57VM-0v4B66ALJWs6oPepyVGJsQg81SutU6KQ/castrol.jpg

Torquewrench
09-20-2008, 08:31 AM
The Castrol bottle says it should work. I think I mentioned Castrol as an option in my original post, but hadn't heard of anyone using it at that time. Give it a try and report your results.

yogi799
09-20-2008, 10:19 AM
Now I'm totally confused as the designation number LA2634 and LT71141 DO NOT match the GM transmission chart you had posted for E46 - they are only good for some other models (coded black and blue on the chart). For E46 they CLEARLY specify fluid number 7045 (coded yellow).

What to do???


EDIT: Found out Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF is supposed to be compatible with the Texaco 7045E ATF which is recommended for most E46s with GM trannys.

http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Other_Products/Mobil_1_Synthetic_ATF.aspx

Torquewrench
09-20-2008, 11:32 AM
Sorry, didn't check the model of your car. For a 328i with the GM5 (A5S 360R) transmission you should use the Texaco 7045 or 7045E or something compatible. The Castrol doesn't claim compatibility so I would keep looking for something that does. Can anyone else on the thread provide any suggestions on compatible fluids?

yogi799
09-20-2008, 06:42 PM
Well, here is what I did today... After looking at this chart (http://www.taligentx.com/passat/maintenance/atfchange/BMW_ATF.pdf) and getting completely confused as to what ATF to use for the '99 E46 328i and whether I could use any of the popular (read: inexpensive) ATFs, I had called the dealer one last time to get some answers. He asked for my VIN and told me that his info shows that TWO ATFs will work for my tranny: the 7045 stuff or a Regular Dextron. Now, the tricky part: He said I have to look at the label on the pan to know for sure which one to use - because I HAVE TO use the same one that was used to fill my tranny by the manufacturer - and apparently the manufacturer back then in 1999 could have put either ATF into my tranny. According to him, if they used Dextron, I can use Dextron, if they used the 7045 stuff, I have to use that one as well. I told him my green label was damaged and completely unreadable and to that he said, there is no way to tell what was used on my E46, but I have to use the same one. He said absolutely no mixing, so if I serviced my car with them, they'd probably recommend complete flush. So interestingly, according to this dude, both ATFs will work fine with this tranny, as long as you don't mix them (which is true, according to several sources). Oh, by the way, the 7045 stuff is $35/litre...

I have decided to take my chances and drop the pan, hoping enough ATF will come out to consider this procedure non-mixing. And I'll do a drain and refill again next week to make sure it is mostly unmixed.

So when I started the job, everything went fine; I dropped the pan, took it out and amazingly was able to decipher the damaged label (after moistening it with some ATF LOL). And here, surprise.... It totally contradicts this chart (http://www.taligentx.com/passat/maintenance/atfchange/BMW_ATF.pdf) as my ATF according to the label is: part # 83220002121, which is NOT 7045 stuff as per the chart. Actually, this number is nowhere to be found on this chart so I'm starting to question the validity thereof. So, I happily filled up with Valvoline Max Life and will try to do a drain/refill again soon.

As to my experience with the pan drop 'operation', there were couple nervous moments.... All went great until the reinstall of the pan. I broke one of the bolts with a stupid torque wrench which apparently didn't work (unless I didn't know how to use it). I hope ATF will not be leaking because of this one bolt. Second b*itch was the refill of the ATF. I couldn't jack the car up high enough to get the 5-litre bottle underneath, so I did it with the jug tilted and soon enough my ATF started dripping all over the damn place... with me stuck underneath and no easy way to get out LOL. Made a huge mess and was able to put almost nothing in. Then, I got smarter... Used a long clear tube as the extension and plugged one end into my pump and the other comfortably deep into the pan. Then I was able to pump easily with no spileage untill overfill. Only about 1.5 litres went in as only the front of my car was jacked up and the fill opening is towards the rear so naturally it started spilling sooner. Tomorrow, I will try to jack up the rear high enough to make a good angle - hoping lots more ATF will go in.

Here is my label. Geees, these warning pissed me off... They made me feel like I'm doing all this stupid work only to damage my car...

http://6pdrjw.blu.livefilestore.com/y1p98kGplYQiTqOIS4seGuYX1NQoegeT2KbpMPBZ5MmzeYSefD LNUiQGX4R9Xb2mqkoLvzfuokpiNI/label%20green.jpg

yogi799
09-21-2008, 06:55 PM
Edit to the post above. The chart seemed to be printed in 06/2001 so probably the part # has changed since they printed my green label at the end of 1998.

I've done some more research into the 7045 ATF and from all sources, it just seems to be a Dexron III Synthetic fluid. So, today I have mixed it with non-synthetic one, which according to some sources is really bad, and according to some others it's ok... (making it a synthetic blend). Apparently almost all Synthetic ATF are compatible with Texaco 7045 ATF (for example Mobil 1 Syntetic: http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Other_Products/Mobil_1_Synthetic_ATF.aspx). So, i'll probably do a drain and refill again next week and put Mobil 1 Synth. in ($9/liter).

yogi799
09-21-2008, 07:18 PM
OK, so I finished the job today. I finally learned how to do this, so the ATF refill was a piece of cake. I can offer some useful advice, as some of us have seemed to struggle the most with this part.

Anyhow, to make the long story short, to make the refill worry-free and s******free, I recommend jacking up ONLY the rear of the car, just like you see in the pic. On my 328i E46, the refill plug is near the rear of the body, so lifting the rear will allow your pumped fluid to gather in the front of the transmission pan and therefore allow you to fill a proper amount with almost no dripping at all. Then, if you want, level the car by jacking up the front and open up the refill plug to make sure you have the proper amount. Anyhow, this is probably the easiest way to do this.

Yesterday, I have dropped the pan/changed the filter, which resulted in drainage of 6 liters (quart is almost a liter). Today, I pumped in 4 liters of Valvoline Max Life, then started the car, run through the gears several time. Went down, opened up the refill plug, and dirty fluid started coming out. So I drained the pan again, and it was really dirty (even despite 4 liters of fresh ATF). 1.5 liters came out (only, because only the rear of the car was jacked up). Refilled 2.5 more liters of fresh ATF, started the car, ran through gears again, did the drain. 1.5 more liters came out (still pretty dark unfortunately). Then put remaining 3.5 liters in with ease and hardly any spileage. All in all, I have drained ~9 liters (6 + 3) and refillled almost two jugs of 5 liter Valvoline Max Life (10 liters). So, I should be roughly +1 liter (give and take, I had some spileage the first day, too).

Now, I just pray the Valvoline mixed with scary sounding fluid part #83220002121 won't cause my tranny to explode.... That why I did those two extra drain/refills. Next weeks, I'll drain 6 liters again, first by jacking up the front of the car, so entire pan comes out and refill by jacking up the rear. That should do it. My car has 110k miles by the way... hope that change was not too late. First driving impression - shifts as smooth as hell! It did shif well before too, but I almost think it's better now (could be wishful thinking though...)

'99 328i E46 tranny after pan drop:

http://6pdrjw.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pfp9R1oksg9gcJ_NlOcJz8H0FGdePtTur0vPIizd08gMxpr2 U-vnKcYd-4tE7e2kw6Rk8jAO_5j0/tranny1.JPG

Easiest way to do a refill...

http://6pdrjw.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pUm1RKc4YTKNLb8-wxpUkI34drmbBGSIdYmj4Rmy8KR2Q0dSZMWNd1RkVHpFw7ogk6 SfpQDSQvaA/tranny2.jpg

almoula
01-22-2009, 12:48 PM
Thanks for the great write up, but I am stuck. It sees that the previous owner stripped part of the 8 mm hex fill bolt and I can't seem to be able to insert my 8 mm all the way so I can open it and if that***8217;s the case then I will cease work until the fill plug is open. I have 120,000 on my 2001 330i with the same exact transmission as mentioned on the write up. Just to let you know I can't drill anything because of the tight space. Can anyone help please? I am really frustrated and I am thinking that if I don***8217;t change the oil, the reverse gear or something will stop working. If someone can tell me if I open the drain plug and the pan can I see the drain plug from the inside of the transmission and then just buy a new plug. Any help is much appreciated.

shroomer
01-22-2009, 01:16 PM
Thanks for the great write up, but I am stuck. It sees that the previous owner stripped part of the 8 mm hex fill bolt and I can't seem to be able to insert my 8 mm all the way so I can open it and if that’s the case then I will cease work until the fill plug is open. I have 120,000 on my 2001 330i with the same exact transmission as mentioned on the write up. Just to let you know I can't drill anything because of the tight space. Can anyone help please? I am really frustrated and I am thinking that if I don’t change the oil, the reverse gear or something with stop working. If someone can tell me if I open the drain plug and the pan can I see the drain plug from the inside of the transmission and then just buy a new plug. Any help is much appreciated.

From what I remember, the trannys with the reverse issue were the 1999 and 2000 E46s. I hope that will put you at ease...somewhat.

If you really really want to go through with this, there is another bolt at the top of the tranny, for a total of 3. I think you can fill the tranny through this bolt. The problem is that you won't be able to get an accurate fill because it won't be able to trickle out of the correct fill plug. But if you measure exactly what you drain out and put exactly that much in, you'll be ok. If you do that, you shouldn't change the filter, because you don't know how much oil is trapped in the filter.

almoula
01-22-2009, 07:57 PM
Thanks for the quick reply. I was just able to purchase an 8mm hex wrench, for some reason its worked better but I had to really injure myself to get it to open. Finally I did get to open using the wrench not the socket. You see the socket dos not have groves at the start of it but the hex wrench dos. so it works, i am happy and magnets were really filthy. i changed everything accordingly and I am just about to put the pan back and found that if i use a little super glue just to attach the gasket to the pan instead of fiddling with it at the time of pitting the pan back and having the gasket fall while you are trying to screw it. I am a happy as hell and yes the tranyy issue you explained about the "trannys with the reverse issue were the 1999 and 2000 E46s" did put me at great ease.

I have been fixing my car since i purchase it from my uncle and spend three thousand dollars in parts so far and this is just the last part. Next i am doing a diffrentional oil and using the 90w140 for the non slip. Thanks to you shroomer and to all of those who post. YOU HAVE SAVED ME NO LESS THAN 5000 and i am grateful.

almoula
01-25-2009, 09:40 AM
I just finished the transmission and filled it correctly and change the fill bolt. FYI, if the fill bolt is stripped in the hex part, then after the opening of the transmission pan you can see it from inside of the transmission and yes you can drill it from the inside of transmission so as to open and then go to BMW and buy a new one for 19.99.

After changing the oil and refilling about 6.5 L of Esso oil. I Noticed that when I was doing the final filling procedure that the fluid that trickled is still black and not the clear esso I put in. maybe it got mixed with the torque converter or the fluid that was left but I m going to only do a flush in about 30,000 miles.

m5james
01-30-2009, 11:44 AM
For the record, I've changed the fluid in 3 7's now, and I used Castrol IMPORT fluid. which is Esso compatible. I don't remember the exact Esso number, but i'm assuming its the same Esso fluid used in all of these Esso filled transmissions.

blurin03
02-14-2009, 10:34 PM
Update on fluid change in Dec. 2007 now with about 14k miles, 94k total:
Still running great, (knock on wood).

I used Valvoline MaxLife in my ZF.

milobloom242
02-15-2009, 09:42 AM
Update on fluid change in Dec. 2007 now with about 14k miles, 94k total:
Still running great, (knock on wood).

I used Valvoline MaxLife in my ZF.

It's good for ZF too? Didn't know that. I used it in my GM step at first, then switched to Redline D4 which also seems to work in both.

adaseb
02-28-2009, 01:40 AM
I finally performed this job on my E46 with the ZF tranny. I used Redline D4 ATF for this job which wasn't smart because the fluid is not cheap $10/quart.

Anyways so last week I had a fun scary time jacking the entire car up on 4 jack stands. At first I was going to use Rhino Ramps but then I realized that my car is RWD so it might roll back down when I jack up the rear using the jack. So I decided to put all 4 corners on jack stands. At first I did the rear driver side and then front driver side, so far so good then came to do the other side. As I was jacking up the rear passenger side I was praying for the car not to slip sideways and crush me. Lucky it didn't however the whole process to get the whole car on jack stands seems unsafe to me.

Anyways so at first I took out the drain plug and spilled about a quart or so of fluid all on my garage floor. Then took out the drain bolt and even more fluid came out. Then took out all the 22 screws and the pan came off nicely. The magnets were exactly like the ones pictured above.

So all was well cleaned the pan and the magnets and used a new gasket with some "form a gasket" sealant to hold the pan gasket in place while I screw all the 22 screws back onto the transmission. I tried doing this in a star pattern and to my laziness I didn't use a torque wrench as I was planning on dropping the pan again in 1 month. So after all the screws were tight, I checked again TWICE if they were tight and they all were very tight. More on why I used the term "tight".

So at first I managed to get 6 quarts inside after turning the car off and on and leaving it in neutral. Then finally I drained the fluid again and this time only 4 quarts came out. So again I filled in the proper matter. Filled till overflow. Start car go through gears, leave in neutral and fill again. Then when overfill start car, make the fluid hot 30-50 and then add until overflows. All was good. Put all the bolts and fill plug on tight and called it a job well done.

So fast forward to 500 miles (1 week) later. I decide to again drain 4 quarts and re-fill 4 quarts without changing the filter/gasket. To my surprise I see some leakage. Then I decide to see if any of the bolts weren't "tight" and guess what? None of them were "tight" they all turned about quart to half a revolution. I drained slightly over 3 quarts fluid and added slightly over 4 quart fluid. So in that one week I must of leaked close to a quart of ATF. So I decided to check the pan daily for leakage until I drop the pan/filter/gasket in a couple weeks for a final job.

So after all that I have a couple questions.

First of all what can I do to prevent this leakage? I will use a torque wrench for sure however I doubt that the screws will stay tight. Should I use a special locking washer or just use some threadlocker compound?

Whats a safe way to put the car on 4 jack stands without s*itting bricks while doing it? I was thinking of using the Rhino ramps on the rear wheels and then using the jack and jack stands on the front wheels. This method seems faster and safer.

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone that performs this job which requires a lot of care and patience.

shroomer
02-28-2009, 09:45 AM
I finally performed this job on my E46 with the ZF tranny. I used Redline D4 ATF for this job which wasn't smart because the fluid is not cheap $10/quart.

Anyways so last week I had a fun scary time jacking the entire car up on 4 jack stands. At first I was going to use Rhino Ramps but then I realized that my car is RWD so it might roll back down when I jack up the rear using the jack. So I decided to put all 4 corners on jack stands. At first I did the rear driver side and then front driver side, so far so good then came to do the other side. As I was jacking up the rear passenger side I was praying for the car not to slip sideways and crush me. Lucky it didn't however the whole process to get the whole car on jack stands seems unsafe to me.

Anyways so at first I took out the drain plug and spilled about a quart or so of fluid all on my garage floor. Then took out the drain bolt and even more fluid came out. Then took out all the 22 screws and the pan came off nicely. The magnets were exactly like the ones pictured above.

So all was well cleaned the pan and the magnets and used a new gasket with some "form a gasket" sealant to hold the pan gasket in place while I screw all the 22 screws back onto the transmission. I tried doing this in a star pattern and to my laziness I didn't use a torque wrench as I was planning on dropping the pan again in 1 month. So after all the screws were tight, I checked again TWICE if they were tight and they all were very tight. More on why I used the term "tight".

So at first I managed to get 6 quarts inside after turning the car off and on and leaving it in neutral. Then finally I drained the fluid again and this time only 4 quarts came out. So again I filled in the proper matter. Filled till overflow. Start car go through gears, leave in neutral and fill again. Then when overfill start car, make the fluid hot 30-50 and then add until overflows. All was good. Put all the bolts and fill plug on tight and called it a job well done.

So fast forward to 500 miles (1 week) later. I decide to again drain 4 quarts and re-fill 4 quarts without changing the filter/gasket. To my surprise I see some leakage. Then I decide to see if any of the bolts weren't "tight" and guess what? None of them were "tight" they all turned about quart to half a revolution. I drained slightly over 3 quarts fluid and added slightly over 4 quart fluid. So in that one week I must of leaked close to a quart of ATF. So I decided to check the pan daily for leakage until I drop the pan/filter/gasket in a couple weeks for a final job.

So after all that I have a couple questions.

First of all what can I do to prevent this leakage? I will use a torque wrench for sure however I doubt that the screws will stay tight. Should I use a special locking washer or just use some threadlocker compound?

Whats a safe way to put the car on 4 jack stands without s*itting bricks while doing it? I was thinking of using the Rhino ramps on the rear wheels and then using the jack and jack stands on the front wheels. This method seems faster and safer.

Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone that performs this job which requires a lot of care and patience.

I used blue loctite on my bolts, and a torquewrench. All is well.

adaseb
02-28-2009, 04:38 PM
I checked today again ( a day later) and again it started to leak.

So I finally replaced every screw with a threadlocker and used a torque wrench this time.

Hopefully the damn leak will stop.

Lbert
02-28-2009, 10:25 PM
I checked today again ( a day later) and again it started to leak.

So I finally replaced every screw with a threadlocker and used a torque wrench this time.

Hopefully the damn leak will stop.


Did you reuse the old paper gasket?

Unless the the gasket is made from neoprene rubber of some sort, you will need to replace the gasket. Once a paper gasket leaks, tightening the screws only buys you a short time until it leaks again.

Use brake cleaner to clean the oil pan screw threads and the female threads of the transmission block. Wait for it to dry or air spary it dry. Make sure your contact surfaces (pan and block) are dry and clean prior to laying the gasket. Inspect the integrity of the gasket. Now you are ready to install the oil pan. Do a finger tight cross pattern first to get the pan into position. Do another half turn to a full turn or so, and another criss cross pattern for your final torque. Once you filled the pan with oil, do not go back and mess with the screws again.

adaseb
03-02-2009, 12:57 AM
Did you reuse the old paper gasket?

Unless the the gasket is made from neoprene rubber of some sort, you will need to replace the gasket. Once a paper gasket leaks, tightening the screws only buys you a short time until it leaks again.

Use brake cleaner to clean the oil pan screw threads and the female threads of the transmission block. Wait for it to dry or air spary it dry. Make sure your contact surfaces (pan and block) are dry and clean prior to laying the gasket. Inspect the integrity of the gasket. Now you are ready to install the oil pan. Do a finger tight cross pattern first to get the pan into position. Do another half turn to a full turn or so, and another criss cross pattern for your final torque. Once you filled the pan with oil, do not go back and mess with the screws again.

I didn't re-use the gasket I installed a new one.

I checked again today because yesterday I torqued it correctly and used loctite and it seems its leaking very slowly in one spot. Its hard to tell if its leaking from the gasket or from the screw hole.

adaseb
03-05-2009, 11:46 AM
I noticed that with the Redline D4 fluid some of the shifts when cold are rough. When the car is fully warmed up they seem to function perfectly. Anyone else nothing this trend?

adaseb
03-07-2009, 10:23 AM
I would like to add that after I put on loctite and torqured to the proper spec the leak was finally gone.

mugsy77
04-08-2009, 11:00 PM
I just flushed out my 5HP19 ATF at 91k miles, replaced gasket, and filter, and put in Mercon V ATF. I have about 100 miles or so using Mercon V and everything seems fine.

I see that the current recommendation is MaxLife ATF and have a question. Is this something I should put in my tranny asap? If so, then my next question is:

Since I am guessing I have about 1/3 of my old (Esso 71141) fluid in there (due to torque converter) and want to put MaxLife ATF in it. What are your thoughts on me flushing out the 1/3 Esso and 2/3 Mercon V and put in MaxLife ATF? Sounds like a mad mix to me and I want to make sure I don't dig a hole. Thanks!!!

Oh, and amazon.com has a case of MaxLife ATF for $45 and free shipping if you have their Prime membership.

mugsy77
05-05-2009, 06:54 AM
A response from Vavoline, for those who may encounter the same question I had which had been answered more or less in the past.

In regards to having some Esso 71141 left in the torque converter and mixing with Mercon V.

"Sure, the Mercon V product is 100% compatible with the BMW LT71141 specification for mixing or completely replacing the fluids. You may add this product to the transmission with no problems."

In regards to MaxLife vs Mercon V with 91k miles on my car and should I move to MaxLife?

"Either product will work for the BMW LT71141 specification. The MaxLife Dex/Merc product is a full synthetic and would be the highest recommended, but to answer your prior question, the Mercon V also will meet the specs."



So let me make some statements and see what you folks think as I want to get this straight. Regarding mixing 1-2 quarts of Esso torque conv oil:

1.) It's safe to say that going from Esso 71141 to either Mercon V or MaxLife is a safe and efficient bet for my 5HP19.

2.) What is the price comparison on those using Red Line ATF or Royal Purple ATF and doing a 3 stage flush to make sure all of the OEM fluid is exchanged vs going to BMW and them doing theirs for $400 and only needing a one time flush?

Thanks for your time and assistance.[/B]

bmwm3coupe
05-05-2009, 06:59 AM
From all of my extensive research on this subject for about 4-5 months, on all BMW boards, and lubrication-specific boards:

- MaxLife is not only compatible, but can be mixed with the OEM ESSO fluid. I did it as well.
- Besides MaxLife for shorter interval use (change every other year), the Amsoil Universal ATF is the only other fluid I would ever use, and it would of course allow for longer drain invertals.

I went the MaxLife route and have about 20K miles since the switch. Everything still perfect :thumbup:

mugsy77
05-05-2009, 07:36 AM
- MaxLife is not only compatible, but can be mixed with the OEM ESSO fluid. I did it as well.


I'll move to MaxLife. Quick question, with less then 100 miles on Mercon V, is it recommended to replace the oil filter and gasket again? My guess is yes. Thanks again.

bmwm3coupe
05-05-2009, 07:53 AM
I'll move to MaxLife. Quick question, with less then 100 miles on Mercon V, is it recommended to replace the oil filter and gasket again? My guess is yes. Thanks again.

I definitely recommend the following steps:

- change filter, gasket, and fluid
- drive for a short while (50-100 miles)
- change filter, gasket, and fluid again
- then you can wait a year or so to do the next fluid change (no need to change filter just yet).
- change the filter at every other fluid change.
- You can extend the intervals with the use of the Amsoil ATF Synthetic, but MaxLife is easy to buy locally, and doing the fluid change every other year is easy enough ;)

The goal of the second filter change is to catch and get rid off any debris that became loose with the first new fluid/filter change. I seen this advice being given time and time again, so I did it, and I recommend that others do it as well.

In fact, I am about due any time now to do my fluid change, and I will once again take a fluid sample to send for analysis.

Will

mugsy77
05-05-2009, 08:05 AM
I definitely recommend the following steps:

- change filter, gasket, and fluid
- drive for a short while (50-100 miles)
- change filter, gasket, and fluid again

Will

Will, thanks so much for the quick response and pointing me in the right direction.

Being as I replaced the ATF with Merc V 100 miles ago, as well as gasket and filter, is it safe to say when I replace the ATF again (but with MaxLife this time), this is the last time for about a year or so on this filter? Thanks, sir!

bmwm3coupe
05-05-2009, 08:45 AM
Will, thanks so much for the quick response and pointing me in the right direction.

Being as I replaced the ATF with Merc V 100 miles ago, as well as gasket and filter, is it safe to say when I replace the ATF again (but with MaxLife this time), this is the last time for about a year or so on this filter? Thanks, sir!

I don't know what you did before putting the Merc V 100 miles agao, so I have to make assumptions.

Assuming that the Merc V change was the first time you have done the filter change on this auto tranny, then when you go replace the fluid again with MaxLife, I would change the filter/gasket one more time along with the new MaxLife, and then wait for at least a year or 18 months before changing just the fluid again.

Basically I still strongly believe in the two back-to-back initial filter changes:
- first filter change
- drive for a while on new fluid/filter
- change filter/fluid again
- then wait a while before messing with it again

Will

mugsy77
05-05-2009, 08:54 AM
I don't know what you did before putting the Merc V 100 miles agao, so I have to make assumptions.

Assuming that the Merc V change was the first time you have done the filter change on this auto tranny, then when you go replace the fluid again with MaxLife, I would change the filter/gasket one more time along with the new MaxLife, and then wait for at least a year or 18 months before changing just the fluid again.

Basically I still strongly believe in the two back-to-back initial filter changes:
- first filter change
- drive for a while on new fluid/filter
- change filter/fluid again
- then wait a while before messing with it again

Will

Very logical. Thanks! The flush I did with Merc V 100 miles ago was the first I had worked on this tranny and I imagine anyone has, as I am the third owner. I'll be flushing it and putting in MaxLife based on your input.

Thanks for the clarification and the time. You've been a great help!

hmr
05-05-2009, 11:15 AM
Question: is there any way to drain the fluid in the torque converter, or is it a sealed unit? I know some transmissions (non-BMW) have a drain bolt on the torque converter.

jaydeep
06-21-2009, 11:40 AM
I am thinking to change ATF in my 1999 323I. I have GM A5S360R tranny. Can I use Valvoline MaxLife?

mikem2
08-14-2009, 02:11 PM
I have a 2003 325xi and 76K miles on it now. Was thinking of changing the ATF fluid. After reading this thread, yeah I could do it, but going to pass doing it myself. I live in Boston, MA and does anyone know of good mechanic who can do this. I would like someone whos about bmw's.

Bukarts
08-28-2009, 12:40 PM
It was much easier for me! My AT broke down so there was a need of compleat remove! :cry: Now I am waiting till the mechanic will find the propper part needed. Dont know how is it named in english The round thing attached to AT , the one which is attached to flier :)

blurin03
10-13-2009, 09:18 PM
Update:
I completed this DUI in Dec. ***8217;07 with Valvoline MaxLife at 80k miles. I estimated I changed out about 75% of the fluid.
Now have about 101K. Trany still working fine (knock on wood), thinking of changing it again.
The only thing I can say is that we have noticed is the transmission holds upshifting just slightly longer than it did before the change. Not a big difference, just a slight difference.

bmwm3coupe
10-14-2009, 08:21 PM
By the way, I just recently completed a 3rd service, and also got another fluid analysis. Here is a summary of everything:

Summary: Over two years ago I did a lot of research on the so called "Lifetime" Fluid claims by BMW and dealers, especially as it relates to the AFT fluid in out trannys. After reading all of the objective data, I decided to ignore the Boggie Man stories about the tranny self-destructing if using anything other than the ESSO fluid, and put my money/car where my mouth was and switched to Valvoline MaxLIFE AFT fluid. After two years and more than 20K miles of actual daily use, the results has been outstanding, and I definitely recommend others switching to the Valvoline, the sooner the better.

Fluid change #1: Sample of the original/OEM fluid with 87,911 miles was collected during my first ATF service, which involved fluid change and filter change.
Fluid Analysis: Fluid was extremely aggressive, with heavy amounts of metal. Definitely not good for the longevity of the transmission.
First Service (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/8573521-1.html)


Fluid change #2: After 1154 miles on new fluid/filter, I did another full service and change filter, fluid, and clean up the magnets again.
Fluid Analysis: Dramatic reduction in the damaging metal particles in the fluid. Definitely a great improvement, but only short term. More longer term data was needed.
Service #2 (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/8618599-1.html)

Fluid change #3: After almost exactly two years and 26, 143 miles of actual/daily use, I decided to do a fluid service (just emphty and refill pan with fresh ATF fluid). I took another sample to be analized – this would be the real valuable data point: was/is Valvoline MaxLIFE good on a long term basis?
Service #3 (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9349412-3.html)


I just got back the analysis of that fluid with 26K miles on it:
AFT Fluid Analysis #3 (http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/Oil_Analisys_2009.pdf)


As you can see in the area with the brackets, the metals remain low (compared to the fluid with just 1154 miles in service) and still dramatically lower than the original/OEM (so called Lifetime fluid). As you can read on the note from the lab, the fluid is in fact working properly, and the chemical analysis still shows the fluid in good shape after two years of service.


Conclusions:
1)There is no such thing as “Lifetime Fluid” for our automatic transmissions. Only regular ATF/fluid service will allow the tranny to work for many years, and the earlier you start, the better ***61514;
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.

dvsgene
10-14-2009, 08:52 PM
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.


Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.

bmwm3coupe
10-14-2009, 09:08 PM
Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.

If you click on the link above to "AFT Fluid Analysis #3 (http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/Oil_Analisys_2009.pdf)" you will get the PDF of the flluid analysis, which has all previous analysis data points as well.

Will

dvsgene
10-14-2009, 09:17 PM
If you click on the link above to "AFT Fluid Analysis #3 (http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/Oil_Analisys_2009.pdf)" you will get the PDF of the flluid analysis, which has all previous analysis data points as well.

Will

Haha, thanks Will for the "Ninja links", I thought those were topic headers. Sorry!

One other question, does the $22+ charge at Blackstone allow you unlimited analysis or only 2?

m5james
10-15-2009, 11:09 AM
By the way, I just recently completed a 3rd service, and also got another fluid analysis. Here is a summary of everything:

Summary: Over two years ago I did a lot of research on the so called "Lifetime" Fluid claims by BMW and dealers, especially as it relates to the AFT fluid in out trannys. After reading all of the objective data, I decided to ignore the Boggie Man stories about the tranny self-destructing if using anything other than the ESSO fluid, and put my money/car where my mouth was and switched to Valvoline MaxLIFE AFT fluid. After two years and more than 20K miles of actual daily use, the results has been outstanding, and I definitely recommend others switching to the Valvoline, the sooner the better.

Fluid change #1: Sample of the original/OEM fluid with 87,911 miles was collected during my first ATF service, which involved fluid change and filter change.
Fluid Analysis: Fluid was extremely aggressive, with heavy amounts of metal. Definitely not good for the longevity of the transmission.
First Service (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/8573521-1.html)


Fluid change #2: After 1154 miles on new fluid/filter, I did another full service and change filter, fluid, and clean up the magnets again.
Fluid Analysis: Dramatic reduction in the damaging metal particles in the fluid. Definitely a great improvement, but only short term. More longer term data was needed.
Service #2 (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/8618599-1.html)

Fluid change #3: After almost exactly two years and 26, 143 miles of actual/daily use, I decided to do a fluid service (just emphty and refill pan with fresh ATF fluid). I took another sample to be analized – this would be the real valuable data point: was/is Valvoline MaxLIFE good on a long term basis?
Service #3 (http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9349412-3.html)


I just got back the analysis of that fluid with 26K miles on it:
AFT Fluid Analysis #3 (http://www.m3coupe.com/E39/ATF/Oil_Analisys_2009.pdf)


As you can see in the area with the brackets, the metals remain low (compared to the fluid with just 1154 miles in service) and still dramatically lower than the original/OEM (so called Lifetime fluid). As you can read on the note from the lab, the fluid is in fact working properly, and the chemical analysis still shows the fluid in good shape after two years of service.


Conclusions:
1)There is no such thing as “Lifetime Fluid” for our automatic transmissions. Only regular ATF/fluid service will allow the tranny to work for many years, and the earlier you start, the better ***61514;
2)ESSO Fluid is nothing magical/special, and definitely not "REQUIRED" for our trannys. Any good modern ATF Fluid that lists LT71141 application compatibility, such as Valvoline MaxLIFE and others is plenty good for your tranny.

On one of your posts over in Roadfly, you said something about disconnecting the lines. Is that supposed to give you a better drain of the system? I've done tranny fuild changes on two 7's using Castrol Import, but it was only a drain and fill on one and tried draining what I could from the torque converter on the other. I still need to do my X5 since it's almost at 90k.

m5james
10-15-2009, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the update and sharing!

Where there supposed to be pictures of the lab anaylsis? Seems like you were referring to pictures in your udpate.

While Castrol Import Multi has LT71141 listed on the label, I think Vavoline is considered a synthetic blend like the Esso but Castrol is plain dino. So i think Valvoline is a better choice given they are usually about $1 difference in price.

Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that all ATF fluids that we had the option of putting in these cars is synthetic. What are the pros and cons of using synthetic vs mineral based in the transmission?

dvsgene
10-16-2009, 05:54 PM
Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that all ATF fluids that we had the option of putting in these cars is synthetic. What are the pros and cons of using synthetic vs mineral based in the transmission?


I'm pretty sure because if you go to Catrol's website (http://www.castrol.com/atf) and click the choices of ATF fluids the only one described as Premium synthetic blend is Castrol DEXRON®***8211;VI ATF. Given synthetic is a selling point nowadays, I would think Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle (http://www.castrol.com/liveassets/bp_internet/castrol/castrol_usa/STAGING/local_assets/downloads/p,q/pds_ImportMV.pdf)would be described in a similar fashion but is is not.

While this is not conclusive, I called Castrol and the receptionist said it was dino based. However, I am not sure the receptionist really knew the difference as I asked for the technical dept and got bounced around.

Whereas if you go to Valvoline and read the second line of Maxlife (http://valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/automatic-transmission-products/automatic-transmission-fluid/37), you see:

"Long-life friction modifiers and premium base oils help improve smooth shifting, eliminate slippage and shudder, prevent clutch wear and improve drivability longer than conventional fluids" which I take as synthetic blend.

The advantage, like any synthetic would be extended drain intervals and better viscosity in lower temperatures.

denvermgb
10-17-2009, 01:58 PM
Does anyone know if the auto tranny in my '04 X-3 would be similar to the 3 series in this discussion for the fluid change? Also, will the Max Life be suitable as well?

Thanks in advance.

Tallguy511
11-23-2009, 01:10 PM
We just did a friends 2004 325 xi with about 120,000 miles on it. Pretty sure this was first change of filter and fluid. All these writeups were a HUGE help. We used VIN number and got the right filter and gasket from dealer in kit, along with all new pan bolts. This vehicle has the GM transmission. Draining and pan removal was very straightforward. Removal of old filter also not too difficult. HUGE tip in earlier posts about getting the seals out of trans that come on the new filter. Removing old filter did in fact leave the two orange seals in the transmission, could feel them and got them out. Had trusty assistant (car owner) clean pan which had magnet covered in a grey mud. We reassembled without difficulty. We measured exactly 4 quarts being removed and had 4 liters of replacement oil of the special type needed. Pumping it in was the biggest challenge. There were some losses lets say and after we had put it all in it still was not overflowing the fill plug. Worried we buttoned it up, drove back to Import part store, got another two liters and went to friendly oil quick change shop who helped us pump another 3/4 liter in. BMW dealer quoted about $400. We did it in about 2.5 hrs for less than $200. Not particularly difficult to do, but messy without a good fluid pump and hearty assistent.

Larry F.
02-06-2010, 09:51 AM
Great original writeup, and following dialogue. This deserves a bump!

Thanks again, Larry F.

Torquewrench
02-10-2010, 07:24 AM
Larry, thanks, I appreciate that, let me know if I can help.

Phil/TW

jllnet
02-16-2010, 10:01 AM
Very helpfull write-up.

I just did my filter/fluid change over the weekend and let me tell you that in my case it did make a difference, smoother shifting for sure ! I got the fluid part number from the bottom of the pan and got the fluid and filter kit directly from a local BMW dealer.

I can say that the most difficult tasks were (1) getting the 4 jacks all line up, (2) removing the filler screw for which I used a T40 Torx Allent-type L shape because there is no room for a socket wrench, and (3) removing the old plastic O ring which are left behind when the old filter is removed. Other than that it was a breeze !

I followed all the instructions, taking the time, getting ready, and I thought that after warming up the transmissiong fluid it was going to be a shooting of hot fluid coming out of the filler plug, but it wasn't the case, once it is filled, it just overflow slowly. Make sure that you only slightly hand tight the screw for the 2nd check. (use surgeon, non slip gloves, .99 cents at CVS)

Cautions: making sure to have enough clearance, and place a wide plastic sheet on the floor if you care.
And the heat from the engine is not too bad as long as you are carefull, no major hazard. And the oil pump from pepboys ($12) is a must to make it very easy.

Other that it was fairly simple job even for me doing it for the first time !

pohsib
03-06-2010, 08:58 AM
Hey guys,

I tried to find info from Valvoline's site on Maxlife and Mercon V but in none of the PDF's does it say that the oils are compatible with Esso VT77141.

http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/automatic-transmission-products/automatic-transmission-fluid/37

bmwm3coupe
03-06-2010, 01:09 PM
Many of our BMW's call for Esso LT 71141, which is covered by Maxlife.

I don't know what Esso VT77141 is nor which cars use it, so I can't help you there.

Summary of all of my ATF "adventures" is here:
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/9360227-7.html

Will

pohsib
03-06-2010, 01:19 PM
Sorry. I meant LT 71141. I will check the local autoparts store and see if the certification is on the bottle because I cannot find it on the Valvoline product site for both Mercon V and MaxLife ATF

bmwm3coupe
03-06-2010, 02:35 PM
Sorry. I meant LT 71141. I will check the local autoparts store and see if the certification is on the bottle because I cannot find it on the Valvoline product site for both Mercon V and MaxLife ATF

No problem. If you follow my link above, and look at the first service, I have a close-up of the bottle that shows the LT 71141 on the back.

mike4mula
03-11-2010, 01:51 PM
This is a great write up and since my question is so late compared to when this was first posted, it may either confirm your good work, or bear out a fear that was planted by my transmission shop in town. When I first bought my 97 528 three years ago, I visited a transmission shop that has proven to be reputable, ssmart and has saved me a boatload of money of the many cars I've owned. I asked him about replacing this "lifetime" fluid since this car already had 200k miles on it and the fluid had never been replaced. His recommendation to me was to NOT replace it because in doing so, I would leave gaps that had previously been filled with varnishes, etc., and the transmission's life would be shortened considerably. His point was if it isn't broke, don't fix it. A question to all of you who have replaced your lifetime fluid: How has your transmission held up over these past few years siince you replaced the fluid?
I look forward to your feedback.
Thanks, MJP

Assimilator1
03-16-2010, 01:18 PM
Good thread this one, loads of info :)

I've got a 2000 325i auto with a ZF box, 79k on the clock.
A point I'd like to make, at least on my car, the pan bolts are not made of ally they are steel.

From all of my extensive research on this subject for about 4-5 months, on all BMW boards, and lubrication-specific boards:

- MaxLife is not only compatible, but can be mixed with the OEM ESSO fluid. I did it as well.
- Besides MaxLife for shorter interval use (change every other year), the Amsoil Universal ATF is the only other fluid I would ever use, and it would of course allow for longer drain invertals.

I went the MaxLife route and have about 20K miles since the switch. Everything still perfect :thumbup:

Why does the Amsoil oil have a longer life?

Am I right in saying that Maxlife is better than Mercon V & is now the preferred Valvoline oil?

MJP
Whilst I can't answer you directly I'll give you a general answer which explains why I will be doing my car's auto oil.

Any moving mechanical part wears, this sheds tiny metallic particles into the oil, the bigger ones are caught by the filter - NO mesh/gauze type filter has an indefinite life, it will get clogged eventually & that will eventually restrict oil flow.
Smaller particles not caught by the filter will act as a fine grinding paste!, that's not good for long term life! ;)
Also any build up of 'varnishes' etc in a auto box won't help it, if enough exists it could cause oil flow problems (probably fairly unlikely though) & could easily cause valves & solenoids to stick (much more likely).
Oh & in addition as already mentioned in this thread, no oil lasts forever, it will break down slowly but surely, losing it's correct viscosity.

I reckon when BMW say 'lifetime' oil they mean for the life of the gearbox as long as it lasts without oil changes!, it will last a lot longer with oil changes! (assuming no oil contamination of course).
I don't know how they ever had the nerve to do this!

rickyt31072
04-02-2010, 03:36 PM
hi there, this is great, I am going to try this very soon on my e39 535 with only 63K on it - runs like new, want it to stay that way till I retire or die! Cheers...

Assimilator1
05-20-2010, 12:15 PM
Well this is very frustrating, I wonder how many people here have tried to find alternate oils in the UK?

Out of this list:-

1. Valvoline Maxlife - Is the only one I can get at a semi-decent price (£8/ltr from Europarts (http://www.euro*************/ecp/c/Peugeot_405_1.9_1990/p/Car-Parts/Transmission/Transmission-Parts/Transmission-Oil/?522770262&1&75d5749885677209f8236bbbff671269bd556831&TRLU), bizarrely listed for Peugeot 405s!) & seems to be the only non-imported oil (it's sold in Lts not quarts)
2. Redline D4 ATF - Import only, cheapest I found was from Camskill for £12.20/Qt!
3. Amsoil ATF - Import only, found just one place that sells that at £14.50/Qt!! (Performance Oils)
4. Castrol Multi-Vehicle ATF (Now called Castrol Import Multi vehicle ATF btw) - Not available in the UK :(
5. Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF - Not available in the UK :(

Bearing in mind that I can get the Esso LT 71141 oil from VW at a trade price of £9.85/ltr I just as well stick to that!
Rip-off Britain strikes again :(, I can't get the cheaper good oils you guys in the USA can.

Now if someone has better searching skills than me then by all means post your results! Remember I'm in the UK.

Btw my car now has 82k miles on the clock...
Btw2 is bmwm3coupe still about?

mickey513
06-06-2010, 12:03 PM
I know some of you have used the universal atf fluid with no problems so far but I would caution against it. Even Mobil 1, with their universal synthetic atf could not guarantee their fluid met all the ESSO LT 71141 specs even though they said it was "suitable" for BMW ESSO LT 71141 use:

http://www.mobil.com/USA-English/MotorOil/Car_Care/AskMobil/Mobil_1_Synthetic_ATF_ZF_Transmissions.aspx

I suspect this applies to universal atf from, Castrol, Pennzoil, etc.,

m5james
06-06-2010, 12:26 PM
I don't know if it's been mentioned on this thread or one of the other 20 something threads through at just about every BMW messageboard...

You are correct, it's only considered suitable. Esso is an extended life type of fluid, so in terms of life expectancy, no, Mobil 1 is not as good in that aspect as Esso. Castrol Multi Import Vehicle fluid is also what some would call suitable, but being that it's not even synthetic, I don't use it anymore anyways. For the price, Valvoline MaxLife is compatible, just as good, and far cheaper.

In my opinion, both as an owner and a mechanic, this point is moot if people just change their fluid on regular intervals anyways. BMW knows and has since rescinded the lifetime fill policy on their transmissions, and in not so many words has revised their statements to 100k. Personally, I don't go over 50k for simple drain and fills with a filter. I don't ever power flush..drop the pan, change the filter, get it within operating temperature that is required for an accurate filling...next car please.

I have yet in my time to see a failed transmission under my servicing schedule. Just last week I installed the 5HP24 from my 98 740iL into a customer 97 740iL because their transmission failed at 160k. Mine has a 130k and runs perfectly, and I atribute that to ignoring what BMW recommended and instead went with shear common sense...ALL fluids fail over time, even the liquid gold BMW sells. :thumbdwn:

Assimilator1
06-08-2010, 11:08 AM
What happened to your 740?.....

Btw what do you mean by 'power flushing'? Running the engine to flush out the old oil from the cooler & torque convertor by disconnecting a cooler pipe?

mickey513
The assurances from Valvoline are considerably more robust. See links in 1st post IIRC.

m5james
06-08-2010, 01:38 PM
Nothing bad happened, im just finally getting off my ass and doing the 6spd conversion.

Power flushing meaning removing the lines from the transmission cooler (integrated into the radiator) and using a machine that pushes new fluid in vs a gentle drain and fill. Even though a drain and fill doesnt get 100% of the fluid, every 50k is a good enough interval that the old fluid will stay nice and dilluted with new fluid.

Assimilator1
06-11-2010, 11:12 AM
Ah good to hear it's still well :).

Hooray!
06-11-2010, 04:37 PM
Hey guys,

I tried to find info from Valvoline's site on Maxlife and Mercon V but in none of the PDF's does it say that the oils are compatible with Esso VT77141.

http://www.valvoline.com/products/consumer-products/automatic-transmission-products/automatic-transmission-fluid/37

MaxLife is the ONLY other ATF recommended by at least one of the 3 ZF authorized tranny guys here in the USA www.dosebmw.com. Steve Dose is great, done thousands of these ZFs and only puts in the Esso LT 71141 back in because he ships most of his rebuilt ZFs all over the country and feels that the brown Esso LT 71141 ATF makes sleeping techs think twice before putting in regular red ATF. Maxlife happens to be red, but it is the stuff he suggests putting in and is only $4/qt ($2/qt on sale). I've got code 48 TC seal leak so am planning to do 3x flushes, all set up now for first filter / ATF.

Assimilator1
06-11-2010, 06:23 PM
For anyone wanting confirmation from the horses mouth that the Audi/VW/Citroen/Peugeot oil is the same as the Esso LT 71141 (ZF now calling it LifeGuard 5) look at ZFs own site here (this took a lot of digging around!) http://www.zf.com/na/content/en/north_america/corporate_na/products_services_na/replacement_parts_na/corporate_replacement_parts_us/passenger_cars_replacement_us/service_portfolio_pc_replacement_us/literature_pc_us/Literature_pc_us.html & click on the 'List of Lubricants TE-ML 11'.
Direct link to List of Lubricants TE-ML 11 http://www.zf.com/na/content/media/united_states/corporate_replacement_parts_1/service_portfolio/passenger_cars/TE-ML_11_en0700.pdf ,strangely that list isn't as upto date as the one on at www.tsgparts.net site (Tech info>Trans fluids>ZF Lube List).

This old TE-ML 11 lube list from 2004 shows that ZF used to list it as LT71141 http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CDIQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftech.bentleypublishers.com%2Fserv let%2FJiveServlet%2Fdownload%2F35-13642-115357-1217%2FZF%2520approved%2520Transmission%2520Fluids .pdf&rct=j&q=zf+list+of+lubricants&ei=kt8STIS0LJ280gTJnP2LCg&usg=AFQjCNGjApQOZOXKiQa93u6FL37RXNsOaQ

For those of us forced or want to use Esso LT 71141 that is.

Btw re UK prices, the £8.38/ltr I mentioned earlier doesn't include VAT. So it's £9.85/ltr :(, yes the Valvoline oil is cheaper (£8/ltr) but not by a large margin as it is in the USA. Hence I've gone for the Esso oil.

Hooray!
06-11-2010, 06:46 PM
Hard call, after 75,000 miles the MaxLife has additives that I'm told help prevent issues that ESSO is not designed to do in a new tranny... over here it is a no brainer $4 vs. $20 especially if you plan to do a 3x filter / pan drop / ATF / ATF / ATF... even with the price getting close, from what I have read, I might still go with the MaxLife as aged bmw TC seals need TLC.

Assimilator1
06-12-2010, 08:44 AM
Interesting about the Maxlife additives, didn't know that. Where did you read that btw?
What do you mean by 'TC' seals?

Why drop the oil+filter 3 times? I thought twice was enough?
I probably won't even being doing that afterall anyway, as I may well be selling the car soon, can't afford the crazy fuel prices really :(. £1.20/ltr (=£4.56/US Gal = $6.64/US Gal). And I do ~14k miles/yr.

Btw with 83,225 on the clock I finally dropped the auto oil & filter today :), god the old stuff looked rough! It was nearly black!, looked like heavily used petrol engine oil! The magnets weren't too bad, they had a covering of metallic particles but I don't think they were 'saturated'. Didn't see any metallic particles floating around the pan :). Naturally the filter gauze was nearly black.

Because I'm a mechanic I had access to a 2 poster lift (I feel sorry for you guys doing it on the floor!), oil plunger, oil drainer & laptop diagnostics for the ATF temperature reading. I'd changed the O/S suspension arm prior to doing the ATF change, even so the g/box was still in temp range at 34C (which felt just luke warm on the pan). Inccidently it warmed up very quickly to the high 40s once I got to the running stage of the refill (didn't time it but I think it was 5-10mins), barely had to time to fill it to the level!.
I then saw that I still had a whole bottle left (1ltr) so I thought I'd flush it a bit by pumping most of the rest in (bar 200mls) & letting it drain out whilst it was running, it was still coming out a dark brown!. Still that should nudge the oil changed up a bit from ~71% :) (used 6.8lts). Although by then the temp had gone upto 55C, I'll check it again during the week to make sure the level is OK.

No problems really :), bar the plunger I was using to fill the box, it's pipe only just fitted into the drain hole!
Oh & for reference the level plug is on the rear left of the g/box, not the rear face as I mistakenly 1st thought.
I wasn't rushing & it took me ~2.5 hrs, but of course I had a lift & an air ratchet for all those screws ;).

Hooray!
06-12-2010, 10:22 AM
Interesting about the Maxlife additives, didn't know that. Where did you read that btw?
What do you mean by 'TC' seals?

Why drop the oil+filter 3 times? I thought twice was enough?


TC = Torque Converter, code 48 is the known BMW TC main seal issue. code 48 is the tranny sensing a slip at lock up in 3rd 4th 5th. Often caused by a small tear in the TC seal... apparently also caused by old ATF... the label on the MaxLife talks about the additives specifically designed for over 75,000 mile tranny's. I also called / emailed Valvoline to talk to a tech and get the scoop on their oil vs. ESSO.

The ESSO is an oil colored ATF so it would get browner with age, the red ATFs tend to stay red but they too brown.

If you are not going to flush the system, the idea is #1 pan drop / filter / ATF fill #2 after 10 miles of driving ATF drain / refill #3 after 1000 miles ATF drain / refill. Gets 90% of the old ATF out and what the heck by #3 you are an expert at it so might as well change it out with every other oil change, will only cost 6qtx$4 each time!

Assimilator1
06-12-2010, 04:22 PM
Yea I see, & I'd agree but Maxlife costs £8/ltr ($11.65) here, only £2/ltr cheaper than the Esso stuff, & I think I might be able to get that cheaper next time. So this batch of Esso oil cost me ~£68 (~$99). OK so the Maxlife would of been £56 but I thought the extra £12 was worth the extra piece of mind.

Going by the ops 1st post changing it twice changes 91% of the oil.
I think changing it every other oil change is rather excessive ;).

Nice car you've got btw :), 5 series E39s are one of my favourite bimmers ;).

Hooray!
06-12-2010, 06:40 PM
Yea I see, & I'd agree but Maxlife costs £8/ltr ($11.65) here, only £2/ltr cheaper than the Esso stuff, & I think I might be able to get that cheaper next time. So this batch of Esso oil cost me ~£68 (~$99). OK so the Maxlife would of been £56 but I thought the extra £12 was worth the extra piece of mind.

Going by the ops 1st post changing it twice changes 91% of the oil.
I think changing it every other oil change is rather excessive ;).

Nice car you've got btw :), 5 series E39s are one of my favourite bimmers ;).

ESSO here is $18-$20 @ qt! ESSO for one ATF is $120. Joking about changing the ATF every oil change but I am going to go onto BIMMER Mag's "old school" maintenance schedule with includes ATF changes every 30,000 miles. I'm going with MaxLife this time and will see how it works out but I do plan to do a 3x refill to get as much of the old ATF out as possible... for me, I'm hopeful the friction additives and seal conditioners solve my code 48 issue.

Assimilator1
06-22-2010, 10:53 AM
I'm gonna stick to the E36 auto oil change interval which IIRC works out to about 60k miles, although the likely hood is that I will sell the car soon & won't have to change it, that's also why I won't be doing a 2nd flush after 1000 miles as I'd originally planned.

didymos
07-03-2010, 08:15 PM
I am not sure if somebody wrote that but Pelican discontinued those good deals on ATF filters, they still list them on the web but once you put them to the basket, over $100 item appears. I called them up and yeap, no more. Some other places have it for $80 though (plus shipping).

didymos
07-07-2010, 07:39 PM
ha, I read the number from the trans pan, looked on websites, turned out it is Derxon VI type BUT when visited the dealer, they told me that is actually replaced every 100k, I am at 60k know and wonder what to do: drain it, change it all I can with the new filter or wait till 100k?

Assimilator1
07-09-2010, 10:12 AM
The E36s had a change interval of every 2nd Inspection 2 service, which on my car worked out to about 60k miles, I'd change it now if I were you.

Btw are you sure about the Dextron VI thing??? that's the 1st I've heard about that one, unless your box is not meant to have Esso LT 71141?

didymos
07-18-2010, 08:18 PM
well, the sticker on the pan lists 83 22 0 024 359 but dealer states that "Part number 83220024359 was superseded by part number 83220397114" and then next to it is "TRANS OIL DEXRON VI". Dealer added that if replaced, use only synthetic so seems that the only option, other than fluid from a dealer, is Valvoline Dexron VI Full Synthetic ($4 per gt from NAPA). So that is one thing.

Second, I wonder why some recommend to make three drains in short intervals and filer change with the first one, instead of the opposite. To me it makes sense to use as clean fluid on new filter as possible, especially that filter is the most expensive part in this service.

33beto
07-19-2010, 05:12 AM
You better double check on that statement from dealer. I know GM trannys use the DEXRON VI, but the ZF. They are two dufferent animals.

Kris Corpus
07-22-2010, 12:32 AM
Hi all, My 99 323i is in trouble, EML light is on, Transmission light as well... could changing the ATF really solve the Transmission trouble? My car really has a hard time accelerating from a full stop. And if I change the ATF, would the light on the gauge automatically turn off or do I need to bring this to the dealership? Thanks in advance! hope someone could help.

Assimilator1
07-24-2010, 03:00 AM
Rather unlikely, unless your box has sprung a leak (have you looked?) & is running out of oil! Or maybe if you've done a huge mileage & the oil has started to breakdown.
How many miles has it done?

Re the EML, in the unlikely event that an oil, filter & gasket change fixes your problem the EML may then go out (I'm not sure TBH), but if it doesn't you don't need to go to a dealership. Any decent independant garage should have the diagnostics to interogate the AT as well as the engine.

Btw I wouldn't be driving it if there's a tranny problem like that.......... although are you sure it isn't just the engine lacking power due to a fault on it? You really need the memory read to find out what the fault is, it's pointless guessing.

Hooray!
07-24-2010, 07:29 AM
Sorry. I meant LT 71141. I will check the local autoparts store and see if the certification is on the bottle because I cannot find it on the Valvoline product site for both Mercon V and MaxLife ATF

Valvoline MaxLife meets LT 71141 $4/qt at PepBoys locally... I emailed Valvoline to confirm and they said yes, only ATF with a legal liability clause too (per a ZF repair shop).

Hooray!
07-24-2010, 07:36 AM
Hi all, My 99 323i is in trouble, EML light is on, Transmission light as well... could changing the ATF really solve the Transmission trouble? My car really has a hard time accelerating from a full stop. And if I change the ATF, would the light on the gauge automatically turn off or do I need to bring this to the dealership? Thanks in advance! hope someone could help.

ATF change wont "fix" a broken tranny... if your SES light just went on, there is a chance an ATF change will stop it especially if you go with an ATF like MaxLife with friction additives... some ATFs are too slippery (RedLine, RP) for older transmissions hence why you hear the ATF destroyed my old tranny. The myth that BMW liftetime ATF "varnishes" is just that (per Steve Dose www.dosebmw.com). The second myth is that the old ATF is holding together the transmission... bunk. Having said that, if you have a mechanical failure (seal tear, gear wear, solenoid stuck), new ATF wont "fix" it unless better lubrication is all that is required... good luck.

Ps. I bought all new BMW pan torque screws, filler plugs, as well as a Filtran filter, new gasket, etc for my pan drop / change. The various parts are all cheap insurance that the next pan drop / filter will go easily.

Yogisurf
08-21-2010, 02:50 PM
Great write-up Torquewrench. My son and I are going to perform the ATF and filter change on his 2002 325CI next weekend. As a small-time DIY guy since ’71, who has always changed oil every 3-4k and gear oil every 30k on my Toyota trucks, I was skeptical of BMW’s ‘life time --- 100k’ ATF change interval. Certainly better fluids and filters extend intervals, but marketing appears to be the driver for a ‘lifetime; claim. I can’t find Mobil ATF anywhere but the dealer (at $30 per liter) so I’m paying it!

bluebee
10-14-2010, 10:25 PM
Great job Torquewrench!

If it helps, here's a writeup on transmission fluids we recommend (http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1922698&postcount=1)for the E39.

Note a lot depends on what is already in there.

- Manual transmission (yellow sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) BMW PN: 83.22.9.408.942 or MTF-LT-1 (manual transmission fluid, lifetime, I'm not sure what the "1" means) Bentley page 020-10 & 020-30. [Volume: See chart below.] Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6). A user-recommended fluid is "Royal Purple Synchromax 1512 manual transmission fluid" & Redline MT-90; the user-recommended replacement interval is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles.
- Manual transmission (orange sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) The Bentleys, on page 200-4, simply say "ATF" (aka ATF-Oil (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5255838&postcount=21)). Nothing more. Note: This orange sticker is not mentioned in the Bentleys page 020-10 & 020-30 but is noted on page 200-4. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles.
- Automatic transmission (green sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634 (this is extremely confusing, not only because these are cryptic "types" but also because the Bentleys list different fluids and volumes on page 020-10, 240-6, & 240-8). [Volume w/o torque converter/with torque converter, see chart below]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval for the fluid and filter is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles. Apparently Pentosin is the OEM oil but FEBI also works (http://www.eactuning.com/parts/product_details/83229407807) (ATF Auto Transmission Fluid equivalent to ESSO LT 71141). Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). My 2002 525i with the ZF 5HP19 (aka A5S 325Z) transmission (6.2 liters/8.9 liters or 6.6 quarts/9.4 quarts) has this green sticker.
- Automatic transmission (black sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) Dexron III ATF (realistically Dexron VI ATF) BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807 or Exxon LT-71141 which seems to also be called Esso LT-71141) (all this is extremely confusing, not only because these are cryptic "types", but also because the Bentleys list different fluids on page 020-10 than on page 240-6). [Volume w/o torque converter/with torque converter, see chart below]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval for the fluid and filter is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles. Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). Some users suggest Mobil1 Synthetic ATF.

See this thread for complete details on fluids, torques, volumes, locations, etc and to find which transmission is in your model E39: (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5291588&postcount=42)
Manual transmissions:
BMW 525i 2001-2002 M52TU, M54: Getrag S5D 250G, 1.2 quarts (1.1 liters)
BMW 540i 1997-2002 M62: ZF/Getrag S6S 420G, 2.0 quarts (1.9 liters)
BMW 528i 1997-2002 M52: ZF S5D 320Z, 1.4 quarts (1.3 liters)
BMW 530i 2001-2002 M54: ZF S5D 320Z, 1.4 quarts (1.3 liters)

Automatic transmissions:
GM THM-R1 (A4S 270R), 9.3 quarts/8.2 quarts (8.8 liters/7.8 liters)
BMW 528i to 9/1999 M52: GM THM-R1 (A4S 310R), 9.3 quarts/8.2 quarts (8.8 liters/7.8 liters)
BMW 528i from 9/1999: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 360R), 9.5 quarts/8.5 quarts (9.0 liters/8.0 liters)
BMW 525i to 3/2001 M54: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), 9.5 quarts/8.5 quarts (9.0 liters/8.0 liters)
BMW X5 GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), 10.1 quarts/9.1 quarts (9.6 liters/8.6 liters)
BMW 530i to 3/2001 M54: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), ? quarts/? quarts (? liters/?liters)
ZF 4HP22, 7.9 quarts/3.2 quarts (7.5 liters/3.0 liters)
ZF 4HP24, 8.6 quarts/3.3 quarts (8.1 liters/3.1 liters)
ZF 5HP18 (A5S 310Z), 8.2 quarts/3.4 quarts (7.8 liters/3.2 liters)
BMW 525i from 3/2001 (2.5L M54): ZF 5HP19 (A5S 325Z), 9.4 quarts/6.6 quarts (8.9 liters/6.2 liters)
BMW 530i from 3/2001 (3.0L M54): ZF 5HP19 (A5S 325Z), 9.2 quarts/6.5 quarts (8.7 liters/6.1 liters)
ZF 5HP24 (A5S 440Z) for 4.4 L, 9.5 quarts/5.7 quarts (9.0 liters/5.35 liters)
BMW 540i from 1/1997 M62 TU: ZF 5HP24 (A5S 440Z) for 4.6 L, 10.5 quarts/5.7 quarts (9.9 liters/5.35 liters)
BMW 540i to 1/1997 M62: ZF 5HP30 (A5S 560Z) 13.8 quarts/5.8 quarts (13.1 liters/5.5 liters)

Assimilator1
10-15-2010, 10:14 AM
Great write-up Torquewrench. My son and I are going to perform the ATF and filter change on his 2002 325CI next weekend. As a small-time DIY guy since ’71, who has always changed oil every 3-4k and gear oil every 30k on my Toyota trucks, I was skeptical of BMW’s ‘life time --- 100k’ ATF change interval. Certainly better fluids and filters extend intervals, but marketing appears to be the driver for a ‘lifetime; claim. I can’t find Mobil ATF anywhere but the dealer (at $30 per liter) so I’m paying it!

Modern engine oils & filters last much better than they did in days of old, changing oil every 3-4k is waste of money ...... unless you're only doing that mileage over 1-2yrs ;).

m5james
10-15-2010, 01:14 PM
Great job Torquewrench!

If it helps, here's a writeup on transmission fluids we recommend (http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1922698&postcount=1)for the E39.

Note a lot depends on what is already in there.

- Manual transmission (yellow sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) BMW PN: 83.22.9.408.942 or MTF-LT-1 (manual transmission fluid, lifetime, I'm not sure what the "1" means) Bentley page 020-10 & 020-30. [Volume: See chart below.] Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6). A user-recommended fluid is "Royal Purple Synchromax 1512 manual transmission fluid" & Redline MT-90; the user-recommended replacement interval is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles.
- Manual transmission (orange sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) The Bentleys, on page 200-4, simply say "ATF" (aka ATF-Oil (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5255838&postcount=21)). Nothing more. Note: This orange sticker is not mentioned in the Bentleys page 020-10 & 020-30 but is noted on page 200-4. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles.
- Automatic transmission (green sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634 (this is extremely confusing, not only because these are cryptic "types" but also because the Bentleys list different fluids and volumes on page 020-10, 240-6, & 240-8). [Volume w/o torque converter/with torque converter, see chart below]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval for the fluid and filter is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles. Apparently Pentosin is the OEM oil but FEBI also works (http://www.eactuning.com/parts/product_details/83229407807) (ATF Auto Transmission Fluid equivalent to ESSO LT 71141). Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). My 2002 525i with the ZF 5HP19 (aka A5S 325Z) transmission (6.2 liters/8.9 liters or 6.6 quarts/9.4 quarts) has this green sticker.
- Automatic transmission (black sticker): (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=462073) Dexron III ATF (realistically Dexron VI ATF) BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807 or Exxon LT-71141 which seems to also be called Esso LT-71141) (all this is extremely confusing, not only because these are cryptic "types", but also because the Bentleys list different fluids on page 020-10 than on page 240-6). [Volume w/o torque converter/with torque converter, see chart below]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6); but the user-recommended replacement interval for the fluid and filter is roughly 5 years or about 60K miles. Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). Some users suggest Mobil1 Synthetic ATF.

See this thread for complete details on fluids, torques, volumes, locations, etc and to find which transmission is in your model E39: (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5291588&postcount=42)
Manual transmissions:
BMW 525i 2001-2002 M52TU, M54: Getrag S5D 250G, 1.2 quarts (1.1 liters)
BMW 540i 1997-2002 M62: ZF/Getrag S6S 420G, 2.0 quarts (1.9 liters)
BMW 528i 1997-2002 M52: ZF S5D 320Z, 1.4 quarts (1.3 liters)
BMW 530i 2001-2002 M54: ZF S5D 320Z, 1.4 quarts (1.3 liters)

Automatic transmissions:
GM THM-R1 (A4S 270R), 9.3 quarts/8.2 quarts (8.8 liters/7.8 liters)
BMW 528i to 9/1999 M52: GM THM-R1 (A4S 310R), 9.3 quarts/8.2 quarts (8.8 liters/7.8 liters)
BMW 528i from 9/1999: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 360R), 9.5 quarts/8.5 quarts (9.0 liters/8.0 liters)
BMW 525i to 3/2001 M54: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), 9.5 quarts/8.5 quarts (9.0 liters/8.0 liters)
BMW X5 GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), 10.1 quarts/9.1 quarts (9.6 liters/8.6 liters)
BMW 530i to 3/2001 M54: GM 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R), ? quarts/? quarts (? liters/?liters)
ZF 4HP22, 7.9 quarts/3.2 quarts (7.5 liters/3.0 liters)
ZF 4HP24, 8.6 quarts/3.3 quarts (8.1 liters/3.1 liters)
ZF 5HP18 (A5S 310Z), 8.2 quarts/3.4 quarts (7.8 liters/3.2 liters)
BMW 525i from 3/2001 (2.5L M54): ZF 5HP19 (A5S 325Z), 9.4 quarts/6.6 quarts (8.9 liters/6.2 liters)
BMW 530i from 3/2001 (3.0L M54): ZF 5HP19 (A5S 325Z), 9.2 quarts/6.5 quarts (8.7 liters/6.1 liters)
ZF 5HP24 (A5S 440Z) for 4.4 L, 9.5 quarts/5.7 quarts (9.0 liters/5.35 liters)
BMW 540i from 1/1997 M62 TU: ZF 5HP24 (A5S 440Z) for 4.6 L, 10.5 quarts/5.7 quarts (9.9 liters/5.35 liters)
BMW 540i to 1/1997 M62: ZF 5HP30 (A5S 560Z) 13.8 quarts/5.8 quarts (13.1 liters/5.5 liters)

Dumb question, but what goes into the autobox of an 01 330xi? The xi seems to be the odd man out and I've looked around for information, but haven't found anything concrete other than treating it like a 5HP24 using Valvoline MaxLife fluid since it's Esso LT71141 compatible.

IlliniGM
10-17-2010, 01:00 PM
Does anyone have suggestions about how to remove/scrape the old gasket? Portions of mine is really stuck in hard to get at places. I appreciate any tips.

m5james
10-17-2010, 01:14 PM
Plastic scrapper, so it doesn't gouge or bent the metal.

bmwm3coupe
10-17-2010, 01:32 PM
Plastic scrapper, so it doesn't gouge or bent the metal.
+1

Hard plastic is your only real choice. You don't want to scratch the machined, flat surface where the gasket makes contact.

Will

Assimilator1
10-17-2010, 02:12 PM
Yea that may well do it, but not always, sometimes old gaskets turn rock hard & you'd have to use a steel scraper.
Personally I use a slightly blunt steel scraper for aluminium, but being a mechanic for some years I'm quite practiced at it ;).

IlliniGM
10-17-2010, 02:30 PM
Thank you. I'll try the hard plastic first. I bought a metal gasket scrapper but will use it carefully only as a last resort.

dalekressin
10-17-2010, 03:24 PM
I s the 530i and 330i transmission the same? I will check my bently but thought I'd use this write up if they are the same.

mylesM3
12-05-2010, 09:39 AM
Hello everyone new in this forum or site, anyway having a problem with the bimmer about transmission> should i used a rp if my car has 180k miles on it or can i just go ahead used maxlife. Also should i keep used of the filtran brand or can i go to a different brand of transmission filter but made in germany still. Also i did drop my tranny oil pan and found some very small pieces of metal like rice crispies sizes like 4 of them, filter was really dark of oil or oil with grinded powdered metal. I drove it and drives ok then one day shifts to 2nd gear light on the dash turns on like a gear design light with a (!) signy. This is a great forum i readed it all day yesterday. Great job guys for posting this forum not gonna mention any name but you know who you are ( 2 thumbs up). Hope you can give me an advice...more power for all the bimmer people out on the road...

Spucoly
12-08-2010, 04:19 PM
THIS DIY BUNK LOOK AT THIS AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK
http://bimmerinfo.com/e46trans.htm

Assimilator1
12-10-2010, 10:39 AM
Err not sure, don't recognise the photo properly, can you take a photo a little further out? (unless someone else can identify it).
Btw fill plug is on the left hand side of the box.

surpip
12-21-2010, 04:14 PM
I read this thread, and i dont see mention of my tranny, I have an '01 325i, the tag on the tranny is green, but the fluid P/N is 8322907807, and the tranny P/N is ZF0384117.
I didnt see the fluid mentioned in this thread, is it the same as the LT71141?
I bought the royal purple tranny fluid and want to make sure i can use it without killing the tranny.
thanks

Gigman
12-28-2010, 01:49 PM
Have enjoyed this thread very much. My question is, if it was possible, wouldn't power flushing the trans and lines on the first change be better than several changes in order to get to as close to 100% new fluid in the transmission?:dunno:

Hooray!
01-01-2011, 09:21 AM
Have enjoyed this thread very much. My question is, if it was possible, wouldn't power flushing the trans and lines on the first change be better than several changes in order to get to as close to 100% new fluid in the transmission?:dunno:

IMO yes, a power flush connected in-line between the trans cooler return and the transmission would allow you flush 100%. There is some myths out there about a power flush loosening debris in the transmission causing failure. This is incorrect as the pressure setting on the flush can be set low so your tranmission does not know that the return from the radiator is dumping into an old ATF tank and the intake to the transmission is nice fresh ATF... most of us dont have a power flush so we do the 3x drop/fill, drain/fill, drain,fill instead...

Gigman
01-01-2011, 10:31 AM
Thanks for that..and Happy New Year!
The suggestion came from a local trans shop (30 years in same location). Additionally (not to open another can of worms), he said that if the trans was a GM, he recommends using Dextron fluid. I plan on asking at least one other shop for their recommendations.

Hooray!
01-01-2011, 03:10 PM
I have an ZF 5HP-19 green label, from all the threads and research I went with Valvoline Maxlife $4@qt, 2nd choice would be VWs version of ESSO / Lifetime, 3rd BMWs OE ATF. There is some theorists out there that suggest leaving some of the old ATF (ie not flushing even if you had the flusher) helps an older transmission but it appears hard to back that up with any mechanics facts. I based my decisions on Steve Dose's info (ZF pro in So CA www.dosebmw.com)... good luck.

JmAbshire
01-23-2011, 06:27 AM
Ok at 46K I did a filter/esso fill and everything is still running great now at 110k. Tired however of dropping the cash for the "magic" fluid, I've got a load of maxlife waiting in the garage. Thanks Will for a great analysis and procedure, I no longer have that "BMW induced" fear of using anything other than Esso! As you all know this is primarily all about mental confidence if you know what I mean, I've converted!:)

lstratos
02-11-2011, 02:18 PM
Is maxlife still good? i found older specs that mention the lt 71141 compatibility but not on the current labels..

tblt44
05-18-2011, 07:16 PM
Maxlife or Amsoil
mine is a 2005 325i,Haven't checked the label yet

kmorgan_260
05-18-2011, 07:39 PM
Good writeup. I did this recently on my e90 and e36. The process is the same except for the integrated filter on the e90 and different fluid. As for the lingering smell, it should burn off in a couple of days. If it doesn't I would check for a leak.

Assimilator1
07-09-2011, 07:05 AM
VWs Esso LT 71141 oil is now nearly £11/ltr!, just changed the oil on my fathers VW Passat (also has a 5HP19 g/box).

Hmm, I should of seen if Citroen or Peugeot do it cheaper! :o

sfidelisrp
07-19-2011, 09:01 AM
Is maxlife still good? i found older specs that mention the lt 71141 compatibility but not on the current labels..

+1
I'm not seeing LT compatibility on their website either. Did the formula change? Is it still good?

becks!
11-03-2011, 08:03 AM
guys... what do you do when you cant get the fill nut off?

like it was too tight and got really warm and damaged the hole (using an allen key) i was able to get the bleeder off and even that was hard, can I fill from there instead?

the space to work with is too small i cant get a socket and ratchet in there (1/2in) :(

Assimilator1
11-03-2011, 01:24 PM
Got really warm??

What do you mean by bleeder? There's a filler & a drain plug.....

What about 3/8 ratchet & socket? (although I vaguely recall when I did my 325 that I could only get an allen key in, I think).

becks!
11-03-2011, 04:00 PM
well because I kept pushing back and forth as hard as i could so many times i think the allen key tip got hot from the friction and so did the nut and it eventually got damaged as i cannot get the allen key all the way in now :(

i dont have any 3/8 8mm hex socket, only the 1/2 which was too long by 2-3mm which was a shame :/

anyway the other nut im talking about is 6mm and it is behind the transmission further up it (that is what im referring to as the bleeder, but its probably something else) I opened this out and no oil came out, im wondering if i could shove the pipe down there and fill it up going by what people here have put in which is 6.5 qts?

tblt44
11-03-2011, 04:57 PM
always loosen the filler before the drain.
I hope you didn't drain all the fluid before you found this out

becks!
11-03-2011, 06:08 PM
yeh no i didnt take out the drain plug

ok so the filler plug is on the side facing the driver side right? now this other plug is on the transmission facing the rear of the car and is further up and is a 6mm hex as well, that is the one i am talking about using to fill since my fill plug is stuffed

becks!
11-04-2011, 05:21 PM
ok, this is the nut i am talking about, this is just a picture i found off the net so i cant see under there if the liquid falls directly into the pan, but what do you guys think? can I use that to pump the fluid in? (again I can't do the check while running thing, I was just going to pump 3qts, turn it on shift through gears, wait till luke warm then pump in 3.5 and that's it)

http://theeshucker.com.au/images/zf.jpg

kmorgan_260
11-04-2011, 06:34 PM
These transmissions are very expensive so I would recommend sticking with the standard procedure for the fluid change. BMW makes a big deal about getting the correct amount of fluid in these things.

You can improve access to the fill plug by removing the exhaust bracket and the transmission support. This should allow the tranny to drop down enough for you to get the appropriate wrench on the plug. If the plug is too mangled to accept the wrench I would check on getting something to extract it with.

Best of luck. These things are very annoying to work on.

Assimilator1
11-06-2011, 05:15 AM
well because I kept pushing back and forth as hard as i could so many times i think the allen key tip got hot from the friction and so did the nut and it eventually got damaged as i cannot get the allen key all the way in now :(

anyway the other nut im talking about is 6mm and it is behind the transmission further up it (that is what im referring to as the bleeder, but its probably something else) I opened this out and no oil came out, im wondering if i could shove the pipe down there and fill it up going by what people here have put in which is 6.5 qts?

Lol, you won't get it hot enough to melt the plug from friction ;), my guess is that either it already was partly rounded off (physical forces) from someone else not fitting the allen key all the way in (which can be tricky due to lack of space) or you've just done that :(.
If you've got a very small mirror & a torch look into the plugs hex & see if the base of it is still intact (might just be the top ~1/2 that is rounded off), if so see if you can hammer or lever in the allen key deeper into the plug, in which case you might be able to remove it. Oh & if your allen key itself is damaged hacksaw or grind the tip off, or get a new 1.

Re the other plug, you might be able to put fluid in there but you're not going to know the correct level are you? So no I wouldn't use that to fill from, 1 way or another you'll have to get the level plug out :(
I don't know what that other plug is either but they don't have bleed points. Inccidently before you're tempted to remove it anyway, sometimes plugs like that in g/boxes hold locking pins, ball bearings &/or springs etc!

becks!
11-06-2011, 06:47 PM
ha! thanks for the reply

yeah the top half of the plug is damaged and can't get the allen key all the way in anymore and even with removing the transmission mount bracket still can't get enough room to hammer it in, it sucks so bad i have tried 3 times now on 3 different days to get this off

i think i will have to go to an auto shop that can suck it out and do a full flush and fill

Shabba
11-10-2011, 05:27 PM
I just did this service in my garage. My car is a 2003 325i with the GM transmission. I'd like to point out a few things
-The fill and drain plug are both T-45 star bolts on my car.
-Pan bolts are all 10mm.
-Make sure you know which tranny you have. I ordered my parts from the local Bap Geon and was sent the filter and gasket for a ZF, not GM, tranny. That set me back a full day with my car up on jackstands.
-I used Dexron VI. The car shifts better, sounds better and is all around an improved transmission with 145k of use.
-I used cheap, plastic buckets to hold the fluid. Any local dollar store will have buckets for a buck a piece. I drained the tranny into one and filled another to make sure I replaced the same amount of fluid. I drained 6.25 quarts and replaced the same. It was a perfect match.
-Make sure you set aside plenty of time. Also make sure you have the correct stuff before you start. I ended up having to go get the Dexron VI as I had purchased Castrol multi-vehicle import. Stupid me.

glhx
01-16-2012, 07:27 AM
To start with, i did not drop my transmission pan.....i did drain and refill to the extent of 28 quarts of fluid till my transmission fluid was red instead of black with a red tint to it....my car has 110,000 miles on it and i felt a full clean flush would be better than mixing old and new...which probably would have been ok. after it was red, i then pulled the pan and changed the filter, cleaned the magnets...wiped it down with lint free cloth (lint gets in the filter and clogs it).....i then did 2 more drain refills.the first one was very clean....the second drain looked like it came out of the bottle....of course i shifted through the gears upon each refill....it took forever....with the cost of replacing this zf transmission it is nothing to spend a couple hundred on maintaining it.....now that i know whats in there...i will probably run 13 quarts and a filter change at another 60,000 miles. The old fluid was as thin as water, very broken down. I like the idea that the new filter i put in there is filtering clean fluid and not old contamination.

While i was at it i changed the power steering reservoir (it has a filter in it that I will do every 60,000) and ran valvoline max life in there as well.....next time ill probably switch to redline 4 for that as it is full synthetic...valvoline max life is synthetic blend but is still a replacement for the esso fluid that came in the car.
The compatibility is not on the website, but it is on the bottle. To make sure, i called them and asked first...when i got to the parts store i saw it listed.....keep in mind....it is a lot cheaper to buy this by the gallon instead of the quart....i also asked the guy at autozone if he would cut me a break because i was buying so much.....16 quarts cost me $40. The gallon was $15.99 and he sold it to me for $10.
I like the red fluid because i can read it myself without having a lab test it, which is an excellent option. The esso fluid was brown....bottom line, if red fluid is black its not good. If brown fluid is black i could just be slightly dirty.

as far as fill and drain plugs....I used a quality allen socket...not a allen wrench to break loose the fill and drain plugs. I was able to tightly get the 3/8 ratchet and socket in the fill hole plug. i put a piece of pipe on the end of the ratchet to make it into a breaker bar giving me a lot more leverage. After this i used allen wrenches or just put the plugs in finger tight to do the drain and refills....it wont leak out as long as its seated. the car was 4.5 inches off of the ground on all 4 wheels. I measured the frame to the floor to make sure it was even for the refill. Every time i drained it , i jacked the car up at the back to force the fluid forward to the drain hole. when i went to refill it i lowered the car back to the jack stands.

on the last refill i started the engine and topped off the fluid....then tightened the fill and drain plugs with the socket....It is good to use quality tools when using allen type tools. the metal is stronger and wont strip out as easily.

Assimilator1
01-16-2012, 11:03 AM
Wow that's a lot of oil you used! :eek
I bet you wouldn't use that much though if you were stuck with using the Esso LT stuff we stuck with over here (for the ZF boxes), £10+/ltr & that's trade price!

(1quart is about 1ltr isn't it?)

On the ZF boxes there isn't enough room for an allen socket & ratchet.

glhx
01-17-2012, 04:49 PM
no way if it was esso....but that's what I felt was necessary considering the cost of the transmission, its cheap insurance...I would have felt better if it was done at 60,000. Going back thrugh it again i probably would have run somewhere around 25 total with the same procedure. I reached my hand into the bucket and grabbed a hand ful of fluid...letting it pour out of my hand until it was pure red

1 liter is 1.05 quarts and i swear i got a craftsman 3/8 drive with an allen head socket in there....it was a tight fit and i had to wiggle it in diagonally but it went in there. This was just to break it loose and thats all. I would have done some grinding if it didnt fit so the next time it would have. its very close....would have been a lot tougher to break it loose with an allen wrench.

Assimilator1
01-18-2012, 12:12 PM
Yea you said you had a GM box though didn't you? I'm guessing they have more clearance seeing as you got a socket in.

kmorgan_260
01-18-2012, 03:49 PM
no way if it was esso....but that's what I felt was necessary considering the cost of the transmission, its cheap insurance...I would have felt better if it was done at 60,000. Going back thrugh it again i probably would have run somewhere around 25 total with the same procedure. I reached my hand into the bucket and grabbed a hand ful of fluid...letting it pour out of my hand until it was pure red

1 liter is 1.05 quarts and i swear i got a craftsman 3/8 drive with an allen head socket in there....it was a tight fit and i had to wiggle it in diagonally but it went in there. This was just to break it loose and thats all. I would have done some grinding if it didnt fit so the next time it would have. its very close....would have been a lot tougher to break it loose with an allen wrench.

I couldn't get the socket on my ZF so I used a standard 8mm allen wrench with a cheater pipe to break it loose.

morganj2003
05-23-2012, 07:36 PM
Hello,

So, I understand that these directions prescribe placing the car on 4 jack stands...2 in the front, and 2 in the back. Personally, given the slight angle the floor where I intend to work on my car, I'm uncomfortable putting the car on 4 jack stands. If I had a flat garage floor, I'd have no problem using 4 jack stands. My question, then: is there a way to change (and fill) the transmission fluid with only 2 jack stands? The car won't be level when jacking up only the front, so perhaps filling to the correct level will be impossible?

Thanks!
Jonathan

Torquewrench
05-24-2012, 10:02 AM
Doesn't sound like a good idea. Your drain will probably be fine, though you might have a little extra in the pan, but the fill needs the car to be level. Since the fill plug is towards the rear you will end up with low fluid level if you only elevate the front. What about driving the rear onto boards and putting the front on stands? Or driving the front onto ramps and using jackstands on the rear?

Assimilator1
05-24-2012, 01:26 PM
Yea the car's got to be level, no getting around that.

BMWer14
10-08-2012, 10:57 AM
First off...a big (make that HUGE!) thank you to 'Torquewrench' for the outstanding write up. Also, to all the others who have made a contribution to this thread. This write up gave me the confidence to do this diy...and saved me many many $$$. So well, done!
I was able to get my 2000 323i off the garage floor by about 18 inches. This made it fairly comfortable to get and work under the car. The car has 190,000 km (approx 120,000 miles) on the odo and had not had any transmission work done. The shifts before the fluid and filter change were smooth...howerver after the change the shifts do seem to be a bit smoother. I was able to loosen both the fill and drain screws/bolts with the help of a cheater bar on a allen key....and I did make sure I could get the fill bolt loosened before I even made an attempt on the drain bolt!! I did manage to strip one of the torx screws on the transmission pan...but was still able to get it undone and off. The specs on the screws call for a T-25 bit...I found that a T-27 worked better. The T-25 was the bit that stripped the one screw. I didn't replace the screws but will do so on the next change. My fluid was also a nasty dark (almost black) colour..and there was a lot of metallic sluge attached to the magnets in the pan. I cleaned everything up, replaced the filter and filled the tranny with new fluid. I did use the Castrol Import fluid that says it is compatible with the Esso fluid. I have to admit..it was a bit scary being under the car with the engine running, pumping fluid into the fill hole of the tranny.

I have only put on about 100 miles since the change...but the tranny seems to be working fine. I have already ordered another filter and pan gasket from Pelican Parts and will do another fluid and filter change.

Now a few questions...Do you think it would be OK to run on the renewed fluid until spring...probably about 2000 miles? Now that the weather is getting colder, I would like to wait until spring for the warmer weather to do the change...rather than in a cold garage in December.
I guess I should have read the whole thread before buying my fluid. Now, should I just stick with the Castrol or should I switch to the Valvoline MaxLife on the next change? Has anyone run the Castrol fluid for any length of time?
The bolts are M6 X 22...will using steel bolts have any reaction with the aluminum tranny housing? or should I stick with aluminum bolts?

Any other comments would also be appreciated. Again, a big thanks to all for making this a great and useful thread!

steve's mobil
10-11-2012, 04:57 PM
I have been a pro. gear head for 45 years. The most important fluid change is the 1st. one. The break in period is when 90% of metal will shed off.
I still beleve in 1,000 mi. for eng. 25,000 for trans and rear end. I have never herd of break down caused from fluid being to clean!!!

Assimilator1
10-12-2012, 12:47 PM
I will just re-iterate that the pan bolts are not made of aluminium, I can't remember who said that now but they are wrong.

They use steel bolts all the time to screw into ally, & yes sometimes you get corrosion problems, just as you do with steel into steel. Although AFAIR the bolts came out prestine clean from my 325s gearbox & my dads Passat (nearly the same gearbox).

BMWer14
Your tranny box oil is cleaner than it was :), it'll be no problem to leave it for 2k, or much longer.
Btw if a T27 bit fitted then that is the size they are :) (I can't remember what they were offhand), it's very easy to go 1 size too small on small torx screws.

tblt44
10-14-2012, 12:03 PM
I have put off my trany change because I just dont know what is a good fluid now that the original is not available. Amsoil, redline, maxlife or just a dextron VI. Now I here they just recomend dex VI to repllace my fluid