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-   -   DIY - E39 525i Fluid Triple Play (PS, diff & tranny fluid change) (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=260725)

riro424 02-06-2008 12:26 AM

DIY - E39 525i Fluid Triple Play (PS, diff & tranny fluid change)
 
This is yet another data point for the growing number of E39 owners who have replaced the "lifetime" Esso ATF. There have been a number of threads that I have learned from, so I want to give thanks to those who have already shared their experiences. The details of this DIY are specific to the 525i, so 530i and 540i owners should verify any differences before proceeding.

WARNINGS:
* If you have not done a DIY oil change, please do not try this as your first fluid change.
* If you do not have jacks, stands/ramps (nor know how to properly use them) or if your head cannot withstand the weight of 3400 lbs, please do not try this at home.
* If you do not know that a running car in a garage without proper ventilation will kill everyone inside, please do not try this at home.

After gleaning wisdom from those who have shared their ATF change experience, I decided that at 51K miles (bought my 2003 525i at 49K miles) that it was time to purge the lifetime Esso. Since I was not using fresh Esso, I decided to do an immediate second drain & refill, getting about 85% new ATF compare to just 67% with just the pan drop and refill. There are some folks who drove another 1000 miles before doing a second pan drop, filter, & refill that will get them to 90% new ATF. Either approach is preferable than keeping the lifetime Esso in the tranny.

Since the differential and PS fluid changes require only an additional hour at most, I decided that a DIY Fluid Triple Play is the way to go.

NOTES
* The pictures were taken a couple days later since I did not have a clean third hand to take pictures while wrenching, cussing, screwing and moaning.
* I used the term "no visible wear" for the PS ATF and the diff oil only in visual comparison to the Esso ATF, and acknowledge that the fluids could have deteriorated.
* The times shown are estimates, not targets to beat. You are not practicing for a career at a 10-minute lube joint nor for a NASCAR pit crew slot. Take your time to do it right.

With a sunny, 50 degree forecast for Super Bowl Saturday here in central Virginia, I decided to go for it. Immediately after lunch, I took the E39 out for a 10-mile drive to get the fluids nice and hot before getting started. After getting the rear tires on the ramps, and placing jack stands on the front sides (with the jack on the front center lift point for additional support), I measured the temperature of the tranny (126 deg F) and diff (107 deg F) pans. The fluids inside would be a bit too hot to work with so it's best to start with the easiest job, replacing the PS fluid. By the way, the car should be as level as possible when placed upon jack stands/ramps.

The 525i has rack & pinion steering that uses ATF (Dexron III) instead of regular power steering fluid. The Bentley manual doesn't state the system's capacity, but given the collective knowledge of those who did the turkey baster drain/refills, one quart appears to be the magic number. The 540i has a different steering gearbox system.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_01.jpg

Changing the PS fluid first allows the tranny and diff to cool down a little (but I didn't think of it until afterwards...I actually changed this last). Purists would want to do a complete drain before filling with fresh fluid, but that requires a lot more time and increases the risk of getting a leak in the PS system.

This process mixes new fluid with the old, but that's fine by me since it's better than not changing it. If you agree that it's OK to mix the new with the old ATF, this is probably the most simple fluid change on the E39.

Use a couple towels to cover the areas where oil is likely to drip, and you can save a couple minutes of cleaning time.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_02.jpg

For $4 worth of ATF and an $8 suction gun, I probably save $100 compared to a dealer job. Then again, I might have extracted only new ATF the 2nd and 3rd time since there is no way to tell...

Now that my confidence is building, it's time for a slightly more difficult task of changing the differential fluid that also happens to be a magical lifetime oil. According to Bentley, it is a specially formulated synthetic gear oil (SAF-XO...cognac?) that is available through authorized BMW dealers. I picked up a filler spout with a 12" tube ($4) from Advance Auto that has a nice flow-lock device on the cap-screw. You'll need a breaker bar to get the fill/drain plugs out.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_03.jpg

The 525i's differential has a 1 LITER (1.1 quarts) capacity, and dog-gone-it, the bottles in the US come in 1 quart size. I couldn't find M22 aluminum crush washers at the auto parts stores around here so I just reused the old ones. The lifetime diff oil didn't have any visible wear.

After torquing the plugs, use Simple Green to remove oil off the diff housing.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_04.jpg

Well, wasn't that simple as well? Two quarts of M1 75W90 @ $9 each, $4 filler spout, $12 for the 18" breaker bar, $10 for a set of 3 large hex bits amount to a grand total of $44 for a job that a dealer might charge $150 for. The savings are adding up and paying for new tools. I even got to dust off my seldom used torque wrench for this job.

OK, my confidence is way up to the point of feeling like the 18-0 Patriots as a 14 point favorite in the Super Bowl. It is now time to do the tranny! Unlike the PS and diff fluid changes that are very straight forward, draining and dropping the tranny sump pan is quite a bit more involved.

The 525i steptronic has the ZF 5HP19 transmission (aka A5S 325Z) that is filled at the factory with a lifetime Esso ATF. If you decided to change the ATF, you probably don't believe in the tooth fairy either. To be absolutely sure that you have the 5HP19, you should check the stamped GREEN metal label on the back of the tranny. You will need a towel to wipe off the crud on the label.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_14.jpg

I've divvied up the ATF change into two separate processes: 1) Pan drop and reinstallation, and 2) ATF fill. Having the right tools makes the pan drop job much easier. Wally carries a large rectangular oil drain pan for ~$6, and I highly recommend getting an electric screwdriver with a clutch (Black & Decker $20 @ HD). Repeat after me: I will get a high-grade T-27 socket and driver bit, and not a combo bit that will waste an hour of my time by stripping the pan bolt.

BMW parts you will need (crownauto.com):
PN 24 34 1 423 376 - OEM Filter (Filtran) - $18.92
PN 24 10 1 423 380 - OEM Gasket (green paper) - $10.66
PN 24 10 1 423 273 - T-27 bolts with spring washer (order at least 4 extra) - <$1 each

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_05.jpg

Wait, there's more. A magnetic dish to hold (22) pan bolts will keep them from rolling throughout the garage as they are removed. The optional (in my case, mandatory) drill with a 7/32 bit and vice grip for removing stripped pan bolts.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_06.jpg

Some of the other posts recommended the purchase of an overpriced Snap-On stubby 8mm hex. However, another benefit to owning a 525i is that there is just enough clearance to use a regular 8mm hex bit, 3/8-1/2 drive adapter, and a breaker bar. Thus, 525i owners do not have to kill themselves trying to loosen the Fill Plug with just a ratchet.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_07.jpg

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_08.jpg

Before we get started with dropping the tranny pan, here's a quick change of scenery to get the adrenaline flowing.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_09.jpg

I had two objectives: 1) Don't make a mess, and 2) Don't strip any of the (22) T-27 pan bolts.

In step #4, be careful in loosening the T-27 pan bolts with the ratchet. Even with great care, I ruined the T-27 socket tip, stripped two bolts, and spent an hour trying to remove them. Ultimately, I drilled them out and used a vice grip to remove the bolts. So much for a perfect 19-0.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_10.jpg

I'm in the home stretch, and it's time to fill the tranny.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_11.jpg

If you use jack stands in the rear of the car, keeping your foot on the brake when running the tranny through the gears will keep the wheels from spinning. Allowing the wheels to spin without a load will trigger your DSC, and more importantly, be hazardous to anyone standing around the vehicle. Keep checking for leaks around the gasket whenever you crawl under the vehicle. Tighten the bolts where you see oil seeping along the pan seal and around the pan bolts.

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_13.jpg

Since I haven't put too many miles on the car, I couldn't really tell if the tranny is performing better. However, I definitely feel better knowing that I no longer have gray Esso and filthy magnets in the tranny. For less than $80 in fluids/parts and $150 worth of new tools in my garage, I easily saved $400-700 on the ATF change and knowing that I did the job properly. Well, that's all folks, and enjoy the Bean in Chicago's Millennium Park!

http://i248.photobucket.com/albums/g...nge/3FC_12.jpg

jvcajita 02-06-2008 02:49 AM

nice DIY...i love the eye catching graphics, lol...you should ask the mods to add this to the DIY section as well! =)

turbobladz 02-06-2008 03:22 AM

Nice man! Great DIY write-up you put a lot of time and effort into helping fellow bimmerfesters!

riro424 02-06-2008 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbobladz (Post 2988044)
Nice man! Great DIY write-up you put a lot of time and effort into helping fellow bimmerfesters!

Hopefully, my time investment will pay dividends by saving others a lot of time, money, and heart aches on this DIY. Again, props to those whom I learned from on these boards!

Quote:

Originally Posted by jvcajita (Post 2988032)
nice DIY...i love the eye catching graphics, lol...you should ask the mods to add this to the DIY section as well! =)

jvcajita, you were one of the guys who schooled me with your ATF change DIY on Willis (RIP). Your pics were extremely helpful, and I learned an importance lesson from your messy battle with the smelly Esso.

After reading posts on changing the diff oil and PS ATF, I decided that a new thread incorporating the best pactices from other 'festers would be useful.

spydrz 02-06-2008 07:32 AM

Awesome writeup for us 525ers!!

So when are you doing mine? :D:D

riro424 02-06-2008 07:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dnickels (Post 2988353)
Awesome writeup for us 525ers!!

So when are you doing mine? :D:D

Where in Richmond are you? I'm on the Nuckols Road corridor @ Pouncey Tract.

Get your parts and supplies ready, and I can bring over any tools that you don't have. With four hands, we can knock this out in three hours.

PM me if you're interested, neighbor.

spydrz 02-06-2008 07:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by riro424 (Post 2988420)
Where in Richmond are you? I'm on the Nuckols Road corridor @ Pouncey Tract.

Get your parts and supplies ready, and I can bring over any tools that you don't have. With four hands, we can knock this out in three hours.

PM me if you're interested, neighbor.

I'm near Collegiate School.

Actually, I'm thinking of doing the VANOS gasket repair. Have any interest in that?

riro424 02-06-2008 08:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dnickels (Post 2988426)
Actually, I'm thinking of doing the VANOS gasket repair. Have any interest in that?

That's next on my list thanks to Poolman's rants! :thumbup:

Jason5driver 02-06-2008 09:35 PM

Excellent write-up!
This should be put up in the DIY section FOR SURE!

Thanks again!
Jason

bull 03-02-2008 07:49 AM

Just want to say thanks Riro...just finished doing mine with no issues.

Bull

riro424 03-02-2008 12:40 PM

Bull, you're welcome!

For the purpose of data collection:
  • What ATF and differential fluid brands did you use?
  • Did you do an immediate 2nd drain/refill or will you wait until the 1000 mile mark?

bull 03-02-2008 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by riro424 (Post 3053941)
Bull, you're welcome!

For the purpose of data collection:
  • What ATF and differential fluid brands did you use?
  • Did you do an immediate 2nd drain/refill or will you wait until the 1000 mile mark?

Hi Riro,

1) MaxLife and RP 75-90

2) I'm going to wait on the second drain and refill (still trying to decide to go synthetic...and what kind)

For those interested...have 79K on my 03 525i. Got the trans filter from Napa for $35 and the Maxlife from Wally World for 3.58/qtr. The RP diff oil cost me $12/qtr. I bought a hand pump from Autozone for 10. Already had the other tools...so I spent approx $95 for doing the differential, trans and power steering.

The trans pan looked great...as many of the other pics I saw...maybe even a bit less in drudge on the magnets. The fluid was a light clear darkness...almost along the lines of dirty water. I did not break any pan bolts...although I tended to overtorch. This is definitely a job for a lift if one can get someone to let them use theirs.

Thanks again Riro...would not have tackled the trans without your DIY.

Bull

MMME30W 03-02-2008 01:14 PM

Excellent DIY. I think I saw a speck of dirt on one of your tools, though, sheesh. :rolleyes:

:bigpimp: j/k

riro424 03-06-2008 11:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wingspan (Post 3053995)
Excellent DIY. I think I saw a speck of dirt on one of your tools, though, sheesh. :rolleyes:

:bigpimp: j/k

No way! It must be dirt on your screen. If having clean tools is similar to having a clean desk... nope, my wife keeps complaining about my home office. :D

LickittySplit 03-13-2008 12:47 PM

Great write up! Does anyone know what fluids I should use for a 02 530? I don't have the trany code right now but can get it soon.

riro424 03-13-2008 11:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LickittySplit (Post 3085169)
Great write up! Does anyone know what fluids I should use for a 02 530? I don't have the trany code right now but can get it soon.

Your 02 530i has the same ZF tranny 5HP19 that uses Esso LT 71141. Here's another ATF change DIY that includes a list of Esso LT 71141 compatible ATF and a link to a ZF transmission chart:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=166135

LickittySplit 03-16-2008 07:02 PM

Thanks for the link. I have read that and did not know that the trans were the same. I also have a 00 323 that needs to have the trans fluid changed. I could not find any fluids that are specific to that trans. Any more help here?

riro424 03-16-2008 09:53 PM

1 Attachment(s)
According to the attached chart, your 323i E46 has the GM5 (A5S360R) tranny that uses TEXACO ETL 7045E (another lifetime fluid). Here's another DIY with plenty of pics for a 2000 528iT that has the same tranny as the 323i:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=239968

LickittySplit 03-17-2008 08:42 PM

Thanks for the info and the links. I have gone through all of them and I'm going with the ZF fluid from VW for my 530. I know it's not as cheap as the other stuff but I think it will give me the warm fuzzy feeling knowing that the right stuff is in there. From what I understand ZF builds both BMW and VW-Audi trans and they both use the "life time" fluid. I know in the VW product over time they will have valve body issues if you don't keep them up.

As for my 323 I want to know two things.
1. Does anyone know the best place to buy the Texaco fluid?
2. I there any VW fluid that will work in my trans?

I get a good discount but this stuff is still going to be expensive. I can get the ZF fluid for about $14.00/Lt. If I'm heading down the wrong path with any of these ideas let me know. I have worked in the car biz for years but still trust all of your opinions.

riro424 03-20-2008 09:54 AM

Others have used the VW Esso ATF in their ZF trannies so you should be fine.

As for your 323, you should visit the E46 boards, search using "ATF," and find a number of threads where you will get much better response to your questions that I cannot answer.

Fabian 03-28-2008 10:33 PM

Great DIY man. I have a 1994 325i what oil should I use in the diff??

riro424 03-29-2008 10:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fabian (Post 3131712)
Great DIY man. I have a 1994 325i what oil should I use in the diff??

Your E36's diff can use, in the word of the Pelican Parts Technical Article, a generic transmission gear oil (75W-90 for non-LSD).

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...Diff-Fluid.htm

What brand to use will be your biggest decision. You'll find other threads about ATF and gear oil brands that border on religion (that I chose to avoid in this thread). :yikes:

E39music 04-03-2008 03:01 PM

Just wondering
 
Is the Maxlife OK for our ZF tranny? I have seen people here are very careful about fluid being used on their ZF tranny (including me). I just spent $15 x 5 quarts = $75 on the Esso LT fluid only (from Bavauto.com)

Quote:

Originally Posted by bull (Post 3053993)
Hi Riro,

1) MaxLife and RP 75-90

2) I'm going to wait on the second drain and refill (still trying to decide to go synthetic...and what kind)

For those interested...have 79K on my 03 525i. Got the trans filter from Napa for $35 and the Maxlife from Wally World for 3.58/qtr. The RP diff oil cost me $12/qtr. I bought a hand pump from Autozone for 10. Already had the other tools...so I spent approx $95 for doing the differential, trans and power steering.

The trans pan looked great...as many of the other pics I saw...maybe even a bit less in drudge on the magnets. The fluid was a light clear darkness...almost along the lines of dirty water. I did not break any pan bolts...although I tended to overtorch. This is definitely a job for a lift if one can get someone to let them use theirs.

Thanks again Riro...would not have tackled the trans without your DIY.

Bull


riro424 04-03-2008 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by E39music (Post 3147402)
Is the Maxlife OK for our ZF tranny? I have seen people here are very careful about fluid being used on their ZF tranny (including me). I just spent $15 x 5 quarts = $75 on the Esso LT fluid only (from Bavauto.com)

Valvoline states that MaxLife is compatible with LT 41171. Some will stick with OE fluids while others are willing to try alternatives.

E39music 04-03-2008 04:30 PM

Thank you!
 
Oh! this is a totally new piece of information for me. I would have gone the cheap route, if I knew this earlier. Anyway, $50 more for piece of mind is not too bad. Will have to do a 2nd drain / refill though - I will plan to do this in about 1km after the 1st pan-drop.

Quote:

Originally Posted by riro424 (Post 3147479)
Valvoline states that MaxLife is compatible with LT 41171. Some will stick with OE fluids while others are willing to try alternatives.



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