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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 06-12-2010, 09:33 AM
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What transmission fluid do you use (and how often do you replace it)?

This is the last of the dozen "fluids" to flesh out for the glove-compartment summary.
Many hours of research predated this post, e.g., I read all I could on transmission fluids for the E39 and summarized as shown below.

What else would you add for everyone's glovebox?
- What transmission do you have (e.g., I have the A5S 325Z automatic)?
- What color sticker is on your transmission (black, green, orange, or yellow)?
- What fluid did you put in your transmission (name, brand, type)?

Here's my summary after combing every single page of the Bentleys to combine the information into a single spot:
Note: This summary was constantly updated based on the information in this thread (so that the user saves time when reading this thread):
- Manual transmission (yellow sticker): 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): The Bentleys, on page 200-4, simply say "ATF" (aka ATF-Oil). 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): 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 (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): 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:
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)

REFERENCES:
All BMW fluids
ZF 5HP19 transmission facts
Ever change the ATF?
Lifetime fill? - I don't think so
Lifetime fill, part II
BMW Transmission Fluids
Transmission ZF or GM

BTW, here's an interesting excerpt from this web page:
Prior to the advent of BMW Free Scheduled Maintenance, approximate BMW maintenance recommendations were: automatic transmission fluid (ATF) and filter changes every 15,000 miles, manual gearbox and differential oil changes every 30,000 miles, annual brake fluid changes, and coolant changes every two years. Spark plugs, air filter, and fuel filters were typically replaced every 30,000 miles on most BMWs (this is a tune-up) except M cars up to 1995, which got new spark plugs and a valve adjustment every 15,000. Later advances in computer engine management and spark plug technology legitimately allow 60,000-mile spark plug life if not more.
...
But once BMW began paying for scheduled maintenance, lo and behold the "schedule" was revised. Now the cars hardly need any maintenance at all. The 1,200-mile break-in service was done away with except for M cars. Engine oil suddenly lasts 15,000 miles (dealers are supposed to use BMW synthetic oil). Manual gearbox and differential oil? No worries there – now BMW says they NEVER need to be changed; it's "lifetime fill." Brake fluid and coolant service intervals were doubled with no change in the original BMW brake fluid and anti-freeze dealers are supposed to use.
...
Manual Gearbox Oil
Only synthetic oil should be used in BMW manual gearboxes, drain interval 30,000 miles

BMW-specified factory synthetic gearbox oil changes often, but it is all good. I just wouldn't leave it in service forever, or for a "lifetime" – whatever that means.

Red Line products are also highly recommended (www.redlineoil.com). Questions or problems, e-mail me or dave@redlineoil.com.

All the BMW gearbox rebuilders I know use Red Line MTL exclusively, regardless of model year or gearbox. The general consensus is, MTL is the better lubricant. However, the D4ATF product will require less shifter babying during cold operation. I use Red Line MTL in manual gearboxes except where I can't trust the driver to shift properly when the gearbox is cold, in which case I use Red Line D4 ATF.

Red Line MT-90 as slightly higher viscosity than their MTL product, which can be useful in reducing gearbox rattle, which can occur in neutral with the clutch pedal out in vehicles that do not have dual mass flywheels. The rattle does not affect gearbox function.
...
Automatic Transmission Fluid
For older automatics using Red Line or other synthetic ATF, drain interval 30,000 miles. Old fashioned petroleum ATF, drain interval 15,000 miles

At various production dates in the mid-1990s, which vary according to model, BMW switched to their so-called "lifetime fill" ATF in automatic transmissions, as well as manual gearbox lubricant and differential oil. The reason for this, as far as anyone can tell, is marketing and not engineering – the idea being to foster the notion of the low-maintenance BMW.

There was no explanation of what "lifetime" meant, i.e., lifetime of the car, the component, or for that matter the driver. If it was the component, then obviously anything could be "lifetime fill". The factory's initial position is that these lubricants never need to be changed. Then, some time later, it came out that "lifetime" means 100,000 miles. Many dealerships are now recommending manual gearbox and differential oil changes be done at customer expense every 60,000 miles. Every independent BMW technician I know recommends a 30,000-mile interval, and many recommend Red Line synthetic oils (www.redlineoil.com), but not for automatics with "lifetime fill."

Older automatic transmission models, which do not have "lifetime fill" should have ATF and filter services every 15,000 miles if using petroleum ATF; every 30,000 miles with synthetic.

However, the modern automatic transmissions are different. No one knows exactly what BMW's proprietary ATF is, so no one knows if there are viable alternatives. We do know that BMW dealerships charge about $500 for an ATF and filter service, due to the price of the ATF. And that's assuming you can get them to do the job, which is not often the case.

Bavarian Autosport (www.bavauto.com) is now importing the proprietary "lifetime fill" ATF at reasonable prices, which they sell along with filter kits, for independent BMW shops and do-it-yourselfers.

It is risky to drain a previously un-maintained automatic transmission with high mileage, even though if it were my car I would probably chance it. Still, I have seen it happen too many times, where a well-meaning owner or technician performs an ATF and filter service on a neglected but well-shifting automatic, and then all of the sudden it starts slipping. I can't explain it, but my feeling is the fresh ATF flushes a bit of sludge from a place where it was doing no harm to a place where it does do harm. Overfilling, underfilling, and cleanliness are also issues in ATF and filter servicing, but these should not be problematic for a professional BMW technician, dealer or independent.

BMW has backed off their lifetime fill mantra for automatic transmissions, currently recommending an ATF and filter change every 100,000 miles.

My inclination is to tell people to change "lifetime" ATF and filter every 30,000 miles. However the fact is, I've seen BMW automatic transmissions that were maintained break anyway. In that event, say it happens at 90,000 miles, you would like to have that $1,500 you spent on ATF and filter changes to put toward your new automatic transmission. And if I told you to spend it on maintenance you're probably not going to be very happy with me. On the other hand, I have seen maintained automatics last 200,000 miles. I have also seen unmaintained automatics last 200,000 miles, although both are very rare. There's just no predicting with these transmissions. When you choose to buy an automatic transmission, you also buy into the vagaries of the darn things, which is one reason technicians hate them.

Whether to maintain a modern BMW automatic is up to you. I am washing my hands of automatic transmissions – I don't like them, I don't buy them, and I don't mess around with them under the car. At the end of the day, for long-term durability, order the car with a manual gearbox.

At automatic transmission replacement time, we are confronted with the reality that the local transmission shop cannot rebuild BMW automatic transmissions, even those built by GM (BMW's GM transmissions bear no resemblance to GM transmission in domestic cars). There are some domestic specialists who concentrate in BMW automatic transmission rebuilding, and you'll see their ads in Roundel and Bimmer. However, I have no experience with any of the current domestic rebuilders. My experience in the past is….well, the owner wound up buying a BMW factory rebuilt automatic transmission every time, and this is the course I recommend to readers – "back to the dealer."

Some of you, having seen the light, may be interested in converting to a manual gearbox. This is always possible, but for most of us it won't be less expensive than a replacement automatic transmission. This is because of all the other parts and additional labor required. And the newer the car the harder the job will be. It is certainly a doable swap, but there's no cost savings even if you do the work yourself. The exception would be if you have access to a manual gearbox donor car for little or no expense.
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Last edited by bluebee; 08-05-2010 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Updated as the thread provided more information ...
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:19 AM
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In my 420G Getrag 6 speed I run Royal Purple Synchromax.I have changed it out twice since I have owned the car.50K on the car now and I bought the car with 22K on the odometer.I dumped all fluids when I bought it and 1500 Miles ago dumped the transmission Fluid and I just changed out the differential ( put a M5 diff in the car ) 500 miles ago.Engine oil 3-5K . Fluids are cheap.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:25 AM
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Lubro Molly in the gear box and differential, Royal Purple in the crankcase.
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yadayadayada View Post
In my 420G Getrag 6 speed I run Royal Purple Synchromax.
Looking up "Royal Purple Synchromax", I see it's for manual transmissions so I'll add that as a user recommendation.

Which one do you get? Is it this one?
- Royal Purple Synchromax, 1512, manual transmission fluid

You're sure it meets BMW specs, right?

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Old 06-12-2010, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by robmwallace View Post
Lubro Molly in the gear box
Which particular lubro molley (liqui moly?) fluid do you use (this is for the manual transmission, right?)?

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Old 06-12-2010, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Looking up "Royal Purple Synchromax", I see it's for manual transmissions so I'll add that as a user recommendation.

Which one do you get? Is it this one?
- Royal Purple Synchromax, 1512, manual transmission fluid

You're sure it meets BMW specs, right?

It has been proven over time even by the doubting folks.Here is a real old thread about the topic from the M5 Board.M5-540i manual tranny is the same.
http://www.m5board.com/vbulletin/e39...ibilities.html
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:15 PM
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I've used MTL in two BMWs, and no worries. The E39 has had MTL for 50k, and one change between. So far, so good.

The Toyota experience seemed to have been a result of some plastic parts inside the trans as I recall.
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:27 PM
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Mobil 1 ATF in slushbox (changed once at 75,000)

Mobil 1 0w-40 in crankcase (once a year)

Mobil 1 75w-90 in diff (every 30,000)

Mobil 1 condoms in glovebox (used once every time)
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Old 06-12-2010, 02:38 PM
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On Dave Z's recomendation, I've had RP Synchromax in my 6-speed trans for 5 years and nearly 50k miles. No problems. Still shifts smooth as can be. In fact this reminds me, I'm due to change it.
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by edjack View Post
I've used MTL in two BMWs
MTL?

I looked in the BMW E39 glossary and there's only MT (manual transmission) & MTF (manual transmission fluid).

What's MTL?
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:25 PM
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What's MTL?
Never mind. I just added it to the BMW glossary after googling.
MTL = Manual Transmission Lubricant (as in Redline MTL or Maxima MTL)

Now, the question becomes WHICH MTL did you mean?

I suspect you meant Redline MTL but even then, are there various options, e.g., Redline Synthetic Manual Transmission Oil "MTL", "MT-90" or equivalent ?







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Old 06-12-2010, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
Mobil 1 ATF in slushbox
slushbox?

It wasn't in the BMW glossary but I looked it up and added it to the glossary.

Slushbox = a derisive slang term for automatic transmission (as compared to manual)
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Old 06-12-2010, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
Mobil 1 ATF in slushbox (changed once at 75,000)
I was about to add this to the transmission summary of recommendations but which automatic transmission do you use the Mobil1 Synthetic ATF in?

The green sticker or black sticker transmission?
- Automatic transmission (green sticker): BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634
- Automatic transmission (black sticker): Dexron III ATF (realistically Dexron VI ATF) BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807 or Exxon LT-71141

I'm going to guess, based on the "Esso LT-71141" designation below, that you have the BLACK sticker transmission.
Is this assumption (that Mobil1 Synthetic ATF can be used in the (black sticker) automatic transmission) correct?

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Old 06-12-2010, 03:53 PM
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I've had RP Synchromax in my 6-speed trans for 5 years
One by one, I'm trying to glean explicit information from each of these contributions for the overall fluids thread.

I wasn't sure what RP was (so again, I added it to the glossary); I realized belatedly RP stands for "Royal Purple", so that's another vote for Royal Purple 01512 Synchromax Manual Transmission Fluid so this is confirmed in the recommendations for manual transmission.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:35 PM
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The problem with this thread is that nobody is also posting the manufacturer and model of the transmission they have, making it quite difficult to ascertain the applicability of a given fluid.

Bluebee, it may be worth it to cross-post the info in the glossary to the wiki (which is really supposedly where it should be, as opposed to in the forums but nobody looks there).
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Old 06-12-2010, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
86,000

Mobil 1 ATF in slushbox (changed once at 75,000)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I was about to add this to the transmission summary of recommendations but which automatic transmission do you use the Mobil1 Synthetic ATF in?

The green sticker or black sticker transmission?
- Automatic transmission (green sticker): BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634
- Automatic transmission (black sticker): Dexron III ATF (realistically Dexron VI ATF) BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807 or Exxon LT-71141

I'm going to guess, based on the "Esso LT-71141" designation below, that you have the BLACK sticker transmission.
Is this assumption (that Mobil1 Synthetic ATF can be used in the (black sticker) automatic transmission) correct?
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
The problem with this thread is that nobody is also posting the manufacturer and model of the transmission they have, making it quite difficult to ascertain the applicability of a given fluid.

Bluebee, it may be worth it to cross-post the info in the glossary to the wiki (which is really supposedly where it should be, as opposed to in the forums but nobody looks there).
Sorry, my transmission is the General Motors A4S 310R (As to the color of the sticker? I have no idea)

Note: This transmission is not mentioned in Bentley on page 020-10. Surprise, surprise, huh?

I should add, the Mobil 1 ATF was put in by 'Beverly Hills BMW' after the previous owner complained of difficult shifting. The mechanic, at the time, made a note of 'thick sludge' coming out of the 'box.
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Old 06-12-2010, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
The problem with this thread is that nobody is also posting the manufacturer and model of the transmission they have
Bingo!

You definitely understand the problem. Which fluid we recommend depends on which transmission we have.

However, maybe there are only 3 "major" types of E39 transmissions? Am I correct that there are only three major types of transmissions in the E39 with respect to fluid needs (i.e., yellow sticker, green sticker, and black sticker)?

I realize out of these THREE E39 transmission sticker types there are zillions of transmission models within those three types - but I'm hoping it's as simple as choosing the fluid for a particular transmission based on the color of the sticker on the bottom of the transmission itself (mine is green, for example, so I'd use the fluids specified for a green-stickered transmission).

To make matters worse, people specify a fluid by brand but not by model, so, for example, MTL could be Redline MTL or Maxima MTL; so I'm trying to write the recommendations specifically, including all the relevant information.

BTW, I think I understand the transmission data well enough to fill in what folks left out.
Are these assumptions correct below?
- yadayadayada has a 6-speed manual & uses Royal Purple Synchromax synthetic MTF (so he has a yellow-sticker transmission)
- chiefwej also has the 6-speed manual & uses Royal Purple Synchromax synthetic MTF (he also has a yellow-sticker transmission)
- edjack uses "MTL" which is probably Redline MTL (but it could be Maxima MTL) so he must have a manual transmission also (yellow sticker)
- Graham uses Mobil1 in his "slushbox", so he has an automatic transmision (green or black sticker); yet Mobil1 Synthetic ATF is certified Esso LT 71141 so Graham probably has the black-sticker transmission which expects Exxon LT 71141 certification

These are assumptions, but I'll bet I'm right (tell me if I'm not).

Last edited by bluebee; 06-12-2010 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
my transmission is the General Motors A4S 310R (As to the color of the sticker? I have no idea)
I did hours of research before posting this thread. I've combed every inch of the Bentleys, for example. As you noted, the A4S 310R is not listed where it should be; but it's listed in the Bentleys on page 240-4 (see pic below).

Do you have a 528i M52 engine built up to 9/1999?

I think based on what I gleaned from the Bentleys, you can have either a black or green sticker (meaning different fluids). I suspect you have a black sticker based on the oil chosen for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham E39 528i View Post
This transmission is not mentioned in Bentley on page 020-10. Surprise, surprise, huh?
Yea, I combed the Bentleys many many times before I wrote this post. You'll notice it IS listed in my summary in the first thread of this post. The A4S 310R is listed on page 240-4 ... but how do you know it's General Motors (that isn't in the Bentleys)?
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Last edited by bluebee; 06-13-2010 at 12:21 AM.
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  #19  
Old 06-13-2010, 12:36 AM
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I haven't read the plate on my transmission but the Bentleys, on page 240-4, clearly state my 2002 525i can only be an A5S 325Z. And, I can clearly see the green sticker on my transmission. So I know what set of fluids I can take.

However, with your A4S 310R, you can have either a black or green sticker and the Bentley can't tell you which. Lord help you if your sticker is scraped off as the green-sticker fluids are not compatible with black-sticker fluids.

Is my assumption correct that you, with the A4S 310R, can flush out the old fluid and then replace either with green sticker or black sticker fluids? But I, with my A5S 325Z can only use green-sticker fluids?????

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  #20  
Old 06-13-2010, 08:03 AM
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Mein Auto: 2002 530i Sport Premium
2002 530i ZF green sticker.... Valvoline MaxLife ATF... call Steve Dose at www.dosebmw.com... he has broken down thousands of ZF's (one of three ZF authorized dealers in USA). He puts ESSO (now lifetime) in those he gets in via freight only because ESSO is brown not red and he is afraid MaxLife's red color may entice a sleeping tech to top off with regular ATF.

RedLine in the rear differential and in the engine but not their ATF. Too "slippery" for any transmission with over 75,000 (even though mine has 60,000 on it).
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hooray! View Post
2002 530i ZF green sticker.... Valvoline MaxLife ATF
Oh oh. That doesn't make sense according to post #1 above.

The "ZF" indicates a manual transmission, right (e.g., Type ZF S5D 320Z)?

According to the Bentleys (if I read it right), all manuals have a YELLOW sticker or (as I just found out doing this research) an ORANGE sticker (page 200-4).

However, automatic transmissions, according to my read of the Bentleys, seem to all start with an A (e.g., A5S 325Z). The green sticker, according to my understanding, is reserved for automatics.

How can you have a manual transmission with a green sticker?

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Old 06-13-2010, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Oh oh. That doesn't make sense according to post #1 above.

The "ZF" indicates a manual transmission, right (e.g., Type ZF S5D 320Z)?

According to the Bentleys (if I read it right), all manuals have a YELLOW sticker or (as I just found out doing this research) an ORANGE sticker (page 200-4).

However, automatic transmissions, according to my read of the Bentleys, seem to all start with an A (e.g., A5S 325Z). The green sticker, according to my understanding, is reserved for automatics.

How can you have a manual transmission with a green sticker?

ZF is the mfg, mine is an auto (hence green sticker), I think 5HP-19 is the ZF (mfg) PN. You are correct, there is another BMW PN as well as a ZF PN. There is a great post on the 5HP-19 steptronic that supplies links to all the ZF docs including a PN cross reference table...
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  #23  
Old 06-14-2010, 01:23 AM
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Prolube Automax Syntec

2002 530i ZF A5S 325Z (Green Sticker) - Prolube AUTOMAX SYNTEC.

Drained and refilled at 75000 miles. The oil above is a local Australian product. Probably of no benefit to most on these forums but may help in the decision making of others with ZF transmissions in Australia. It's been around 500miles since the change and no issues - if anything the shifts are slightly smoother.

Last edited by aca84; 06-14-2010 at 01:27 AM.
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  #24  
Old 06-19-2010, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Am I correct that there are only three major types of transmissions in the E39 with respect to fluid needs (i.e., yellow sticker, green sticker, and black sticker)?
Apparently there is a fourth, orange, but the Bentleys only mention it ONCE (on page 200-4) and only do they recommend "ATF-Oil" and nothing more.

This is strange because the other three colors have explicit fluid descriptions.

Anyway, I added orange to the fluid descriptions here ...

- Manual transmission (yellow sticker): 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 (these are really confusing to me so if you can make sense of these, please let me know). [Volume: Type Getrag S5D 250G=1.2 quarts, Type ZF S5D 320Z=1.4 quarts, Type Getrag S6S 420G=2.0 quarts.] Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6). A user-recommended fluid is "Royal Purple Synchromax 1512 manual transmission fluid".
- Manual transmission (orange sticker): The Bentleys, on page 200-4, simply say "ATF" (aka ATF-Oil). Nothing more. Note: This orange sticker is not mentioned in the Bentleys page 020-10 & 020-30. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 230-6).
- Automatic transmission (green sticker): 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 total: Type 525i A5S 25Z 6.5/9.4 qts, Type 530i A5S 25Z 6.4/9.3 qts, Type A5S 310Z=3.5/8.2 qts, Type A5S 360R & A5S 390R=4.2/9.5 qts, Type A5S 440Z=4.2/10.2 qts, , A4S 310R 3.5/8.3 qts, Type A5S 560Z 5.8/13.8 qts]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6).Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). My 2002 525i with the A5S 325Z transmission has this green sticker.
- Automatic transmission (black sticker): 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 total: Type 525i A5S 25Z 6.5/9.4 qts, Type 530i A5S 25Z 6.4/9.3 qts, Type A5S 310Z=3.5/8.2 qts, Type A5S 360R & A5S 390R=4.2/9.5 qts, Type A5S 440Z=4.2/10.2 qts, , A4S 310R 3.5/8.3 qts, Type A5S 560Z 5.8/13.8 qts]. Replacement Interval: Lifetime oil (Bentley 240-6). Note: Mixing ATF types will cause transmission failure (Bentley 240-6). Some users suggest Mobil1 Synthetic ATF.

Last edited by bluebee; 06-19-2010 at 05:28 AM.
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  #25  
Old 06-19-2010, 06:42 AM
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Blue,

Great job, but that list can be very confusing when someone has the A4S 270R transmission like I do.

Going by the color of the sticker in my case is not enough as I had a Green sticker that specifically said Dexron III only.

I already knew this from researching, but just thought people should know. Funny thing is, according to that list, the A4S 270/310R which is practically the same transmission, is listed under both green and black stickers....but should only take Dexron III ATF

I just did my transmission fluid/filter and differential change at 80k. I went with Fuchs Ultra performance merc/dex ATF from Germany as recommended by my Indy, although I pre purchased the Mobile 1 synthetic ATF. My Indy was not comfortable putting it in and mixing with the 2 quarts or so fluid that did not come out. After further research, I would have probably been ok using the Mobile 1 ATF, but to play it safe, only if we were able to get the remaining 2 quarts out and avoid any cross contamination. I will consider this again in another 30k or so.

As far as the differential, I went with Royal Purple Gearmax 75w-90 GL-5 differential fluid. Much thicker than what came out. I have only heard good things from people that have used it and everything definately feels smoother after doing all this.

I cannot believe the bashing Royal Purple gets on that BITOG site, but the bashing is primarily for the engine oil and trans oil and I have not used it for either of those applications, so I cannot comment on that. As far as the differential fluid, I have only heard, and experienced positives, as it seems to be one of the top choices for many in differential fluids with much more positive feedback and very little negative feedback, not only from blogs, but from real world experience for many years.
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Last edited by paferri; 06-19-2010 at 07:26 AM.
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