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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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 12-11-2010, 04:24 PM
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DIY ATF Change--3/2001+ 530i (A5S 325Z Tranny)

There may have been other posts but since there are many AT model variation, I thought I post my experience. My car is a 7/2001 built 530i with A5S 325Z tranny which applies to 3/01+. Milage: 93K 85% local.

Special tools/parts needed:

* Fluid: Esso 71141 LT or equivalent (I got the Pentosin ATF1) 6L
* Gasket: #24-10-1-423-380
* Filter: I bought the Febi brand (OE maker for MB) it looked identical except the branding & part#
* Sockets: 6 & 8mm hex, T27(star). My drain had plenty of clearance unlike other posters, I bought the whole set from Harbor Freight including the 17mm for the differential plugs
* Torque Wrench
* Infrared thermometer (if available)
* Floor jacks
* Fluid pump


Procedure:
1) Put level on roof of car. Find the location where the bubble is at center. I got the small one with magnet.

2) Raise car. Back up to ramps then jack up front to level height & support by jacks. Shake car to check stability.

3) Loosen but not remove fill hole (8mm hex socket, do not use L wrench cause you need the power & later torque wrench)

4) Drain (6mm hex socket) ATF to large open pan. Collect ATF & measure(appx 3.8L). Tighten drain plug to 30Nm/23 lb

5) Drop pan(22 screws) using T-27 torque bit & remove filter(2 screws). (another 1.5L came out, total 5.3L). Replace filter. I used 2 old 5L oil containers that has markings for measuring.

6) Clean pan & magnets(8) filled with muddy, dark gray looking material which is the tranny debris mixed with ATF, clean it well with paper towels. Set pan vertical on oil change container to drain off excess oil 1st.

7) Re-install pan with new gasket (BMW part# 24-10-1-423-380). Use 2-3 clips to secure gasket. Install the front side center first duck under muffler mounts. Barely screw in bolts to allow re-alignment of gasket.

8) Pump in ATF til overfill(4L).
I did it individually and it was very cumbersome esp when you were under the car with minimal space and you need to be extra careful not to knock down the tall bottles. If I were to do it again, I would pour 6L of ATF into a clean pan(can get one from 99 cents store).

9) Start car with AC on & let idle 3 minutes then shift from P-N-D-S-1-2-3 (pause in between). Keep the engine on and fill & Check fluid temperature to be around 100F (pan 90F) using infrared thermometer. Fill till overflow (appx 5.5L). Close drain @ 35Nm/26 lb.

*Note: If your car is being changed the first time and there is no sign of leak, I would put in the same amount of fluid to start with, because tranny fluid does not burn off like engine oil. The factory had a very accurate fill to start, so if your drain & fill is very different check carefully. My total drain was around 5.3L (inc filter) and fill was around 5.5L.



Dealer wanted $31/L on ATF but I got the Pentosin ATF1 @ $15 shipped which claims to be 100% synthetic & compatible with the factory Esso oil. The color is golden brown just like Esso.



The level has a magnet on the underside which is ideal in this situation because it didn't move when I backed up to the ramp:




I just bought this Low Profile 2-Ton Jack few hours before doing the ATF from Harbor Freight for $79.99 on sale. It worked like a charm.



Factory Label indicating the part# for oil which matches the Pentosin's




It's a very dirty job, but you'll like it when it's done.




I used these paper clips to secure the gasket before mounting them



"Dirty Old" filter. Note the place where the 2 screws go in (T-27 bit socket)





I was curious to see the inside of the old filter so this is the dissected view. A lot of particles in gray color were trapped inside this well designed filter. Good thing there is no larger metal debris, only a few tiny ones. It seems that this filter is well designed so I plan to change it just every other time. I really wish that there was a fill hole with a dipstick on the top that I could just pour the ATF down thru a funnel with the exact quantity that came out without all that messy spill from overflow and pumping x%@#$%@, but hey these European car makers really know the ways to charge the consumers for horrendous amount of money on such simple fluid change job. Please share your thoughts & experience that might help others in the forum.

Best Regards,

Shawn

Last edited by Bearcat; 12-11-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2010, 06:27 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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Nice. I have 83K on my e39 and plan to do mine this spring when it warms up.
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  #3  
Old 12-11-2010, 07:37 PM
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Ooooh. I like.

At 91K, I desperately want to change my lifetime fluid (green sticker automatic, 2002 525i), but I'm soooo afraid of putting the wrong stuff in and/or doing the fluid change incorrectly.

Thanks for posting this. I just cross referenced this new thread to some of the following existing bestlink threads ....
- BMW E39 fluid summary (1)
- Manual & automatic transmission fluid (1) (2) (3) (4)
- Changing automatic transmission fluid ATF (1) (2) (3) (4)
etc.

I do have a few procedural questions though:
  1. You explained, in words, how filling was a problem and that you'd do it differently, but I wasn't sure how you did fill it. Did you simply pour the long-necked containers of Pentosin ATF1 into the transmission directly? And I wasn't sure about your suggestion for doing it differently; do you suggest a makeshift funnel-and-hose type arrangement? Please clarify for us. Thanks!
  2. You clearly mentioned that you measured the temperature with the infrared thermometer ... but how? The fluid is ensconced inside the transmission. Do you aim the infra-red beam into the filler hole while the car is running?
  3. The Pentosin ATF1 is apparently labeled as "Dexron III" compatible; but I was under the impression that nobody legally could say those words anymore because GM stopped licensing Dexron III a few years ago. Can someone clarify? ("All DEXRON-III licenses expired at the end of 2006, and will not be renewed")
  4. I'm perplexed. Why wouldn't the label say it's Esso LT-71141 certified if it is?
  5. I'm also perplexed about the green-sticker transmission you have ...
  • Doesn't only the black sticker require Esso LT-71141?
  • Your GREEN sticker automatic transmission, I thought from the Bentleys, required BMW BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 (or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634).
  • Only a black sticker, I thought, from the Bentleys, required Esso LT-71141 (or BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807, or Dexron III, or Exxon LT-71141).
  • So, I'm confused. I see your green sticker expressly says the "807" part number; but did I then read the Bentleys wrong?


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Last edited by bluebee; 12-11-2010 at 08:57 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2010, 08:22 PM
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Isn't it a bad idea to change the fluid?


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  #5  
Old 12-11-2010, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DominguesE30 View Post
Isn't it a bad idea to change the fluid
Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of discussion about that on these boards, and all over the Internet.

End result - the transmission manufacturer recommends changing the fluid; lot's of idiots change with the wrong fluid; lots of mistakes are made by stirring up sediments or not refilling properly, lots of transmissions are on their way out and people think the fluid change will work miracles, lots of people accidentally mix fluids, sometimes incompatible fluids, etc. ... (read the zillions and zillions and zillions of threads on that - no sense in starting it anew here).

The point is (and this thread bolsters that perfectly):
- If you decide to change the fluid
- Then use the right fluid (hence my questions prior to yours)
- And do it right (hence the OP)

Last edited by bluebee; 12-11-2010 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 04:55 AM
bmw_jeff_325i bmw_jeff_325i is offline
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Green Sticker

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
[*]Doesn't only the black sticker require Esso LT-71141?[*]Your GREEN sticker automatic transmission, I thought from the Bentleys, required BMW BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 (or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634).
Blue...its 7:45am here on the east coast....and I have had only a few sips of coffee....meaning I may not be reading your post correctly.....however.....I thought for sure the the green sticker meant the ESSO or Pentosin is what you use.....and also the Pentosin is the exact OEM stuff that BMW uses.....as a matter of fact when I called my local indy to get the pricing back in September, he indicated he purchased the Pentosin ATF directly from the dealer in the Hartford, CT area............now I am even more scared about doing this. :bawling
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Old 12-12-2010, 05:34 AM
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2011, 07:58 PM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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just did my as well for 2003 530i

My total drain was around 5.5L and fill was close to 5.8L

Taking in consideration oil filter it's pretty equal

With Mobile 1 in differential , BMW oil #407807 ( Pentosin ATF1 ) in transmission and
cleaned adaptation values in EGS control unit car is like new again

thanks for sharing !

Last edited by champaign777; 01-03-2011 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 01-15-2011, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_jeff_325i View Post
I thought for sure the the green sticker meant the ESSO or Pentosin is what you use.....and also the Pentosin is the exact OEM stuff that BMW uses
I may have it wrong.

It was confusing as they could make it when I researched this a while ago, using a combination of the Bentleys, my green sticker on the bottom of my 2002 525i automatic transmission, and the threads and charts posted here.

Here is a picture of my sticker (I need to get a clearer shot):


And, here's a screenshot from the Bentleys (from this thread):



In this post in that same thread, someone says the color of the sticker isn't enough information.

Maybe one of the sponsors (who deal with this daily) can clear it up?

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Old 01-15-2011, 09:02 PM
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Fire an email at dose BMW and see if they can help?
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Old 01-23-2011, 03:24 PM
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1k miles with a new fluid/filter
shifts better in auto and faster in sport/manual mode

Last edited by champaign777; 01-23-2011 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:38 PM
plarsen plarsen is offline
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fill level

bluebee, so running the car during fill is essential to proper fluid level? I did not fill with car running.. car whines now and has bad up shift, must be low fluid level.. Also how did you run car with rear on ramps? I used Amsoil multi vehicle ATF. They list it as compatible on their website. I ordered filter and gasket from pelican Nice DIY...

Last edited by plarsen; 01-27-2011 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:23 PM
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For some reasons, I did not get auto email on the reply. Changing ATF theoretically is no rocket science. Just put in the same brand of fluid and same amount that came out and change the filter. But since the way the fill hole is designed, you can't just pour the ATF down via the funnel like I did in my wife's Honda CRV before. You have to pump the fluid in while the car is running(in the last 1.5L). It is critical you measure the amount of fluid that is drained vs the amount you put in. The amount you put in should be at least the amount you drained and not much more unless you had a leak because ATF don't burn off like engine oils do.

Here are my answers to Blubee in his quote with **:


  1. You explained, in words, how filling was a problem and that you'd do it differently, but I wasn't sure how you did fill it. Did you simply pour the long-necked containers of Pentosin ATF1 into the transmission directly? And I wasn't sure about your suggestion for doing it differently; do you suggest a makeshift funnel-and-hose type arrangement? Please clarify for us. Thanks!

    **I did not have problem filling, but it was difficult because I had a big syringe type of devise that sucks up the oil from the bottle then I inject it into the fill hole. Because I was under the car lying down, it was very difficult to do and was being very careful not to knock it down.

  2. You clearly mentioned that you measured the temperature with the infrared thermometer ... but how? The fluid is ensconced inside the transmission. Do you aim the infra-red beam into the filler hole while the car is running?

    **I aimed it to the bottom of the pan and I figure the pan is probably about 10 deg cooler than the actual fluid temp inside & accounted for the difference there.


  3. The Pentosin ATF1 is apparently labeled as "Dexron III" compatible; but I was under the impression that nobody legally could say those words anymore because GM stopped licensing Dexron III a few years ago. Can someone clarify? ("All DEXRON-III licenses expired at the end of 2006, and will not be renewed")
  4. I'm perplexed. Why wouldn't the label say it's Esso LT-71141 certified if it is?
  5. I'm also perplexed about the green-sticker transmission you have ...
[LIST][*]Doesn't only the black sticker require Esso LT-71141?


***Don't go by the color of the sticker. I've seen this method been wrong over and over. Do look at the part # on the sticker though which calls for the Esso LT 71141 in my case. I also had dealer checked the correct fluid part# by running the VIN and gave the same result.


[*]Your GREEN sticker automatic transmission, I thought from the Bentleys, required BMW BMW PN: 83.22.0.024.359 (or Texaco ETL 8072B or Shell LA2634).

***My sticker called for the specific BMW part #8322940.... same # on the Pentosin bottle.

[*]Only a black sticker, I thought, from the Bentleys, required Esso LT-71141 (or BMW PN: 83.22.9.407.807, or Dexron III, or Exxon LT-71141).

***Don't go by color of sticker once again. Go by the part # on the sticker & verify with the dealer with your VIN. The chart you got is correct though. So I had 3 sources coincide: sticker's specified part#, dealer & chart. vs 1 wrong source--the color of sticker=which part#. I was very anal and confused, too.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plarsen View Post
bluebee, so running the car during fill is essential to proper fluid level? I did not fill with car running.. car whines now and has bad up shift, must be low fluid level.. Also how did you run car with rear on ramps? I used Amsoil multi vehicle ATF. They list it as compatible on their website. I ordered filter and gasket from pelican Nice DIY...
If you're filling with the engine off, you could only pump in about 4L then it overflows. You need to close the fill plug and warm up the car to the required temperature then pump in the fluid with the car running in order to fill additional 1.5L into the AT. Otherwise, you are low and that's why your car whines. You need to put in more fluid immediately to avoid screwing up your car.

Just back the car to the ramps then jack up the front.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearcat View Post
If you're filling with the engine off, you could only pump in about 4L then it overflows. You need to close the fill plug and warm up the car to the required temperature then pump in the fluid with the car running in order to fill additional 1.5L into the AT. Otherwise, you are low and that's why your car whines. You need to put in more fluid immediately to avoid screwing up your car.

Just back the car to the ramps then jack up the front.
Bentley mentiones to go through the gears slowly with AC set on MAX. Once the fill check temperature is reched, you go and add the necessary ATF to level.
This step is very important. I did it twice, and my car thanked me. I purchased my car used (had almost 3 years) and after I did the ATF change, the shifting changed dramatically. To the best. I know I will have to do it again this year........
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:02 PM
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I drained it again, and filled it as per your instructions. Excellent shifts, glides to a stop and no whine, Thanks all! Ill report back on Amsoil, so far very pleased.

Last edited by plarsen; 01-28-2011 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by plarsen View Post
I drained it again, and filled it as per your instructions. Excellent shifts, glides to a stop and no whine, Thanks all! Ill report back on Amsoil, so far very pleased.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1009518

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1267367
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Old 01-29-2011, 06:21 PM
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i noticed on cold start this morning, still had small audible whine under acceleration and one rough shift. then when warmed up, better than ever... Should i attempt to top off again? or leave it alone... its a zf

Last edited by plarsen; 01-29-2011 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by plarsen View Post
i noticed on cold start this morning, still had small audible whine under acceleration and one rough shift. then when warmed up, better than ever... Should i attempt to top off again? or leave it alone... its a zf
Sounds like your car is low on ATF IMO.
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Old 01-29-2011, 10:35 PM
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sounds like your car is low on atf imo.
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:35 PM
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If you leave your engine running too long, the tranny will heat up beyond the correct temperature range to become too hot(pan should be warm to the touch but not hot if you don't have the laser thermo gun). When it gets too hot, it will take less than optimal amount due to thermo expansion as a result.

Jack up the car and wait for the car to almost cool down then follow step #9 in OP. You don't need to drain again, just try to pump in more atf with engine running at the correct temperature. Also try to run through each gear and pause for a few seconds repeatedly to have ATF run into the torque converter before starting to fill.

Last edited by Bearcat; 01-30-2011 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:52 PM
Chisum Chisum is offline
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ATF Update

I did a drain and fill on my 03 525i 61k miles today so I wanted to add some of my insight to this thread.

1. If at all possible user a power tool to remove and install the 20 screws holding the tranny oil pan. My 19v Sears drill died on my last week so I had to use hand tools. My arms felt like lead after removing or installing 4 or 5 screws.

2. My pan had 6 small magnets not one. They were spread around the bottom of the pan one was stuck to the filter.

3. I used a little gasket seal on the outside corners of the tranny pan to hold the seal in place during reassembly.

4. I used 5.8 liters of Pentosin ATF1.

5. BearCats idea of pouring the ATF in a clean pan so you donít have to do individual bottles is the way to go.

It took me 5 hours (Iím slow) next time it wonít take so long.

Chisum
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Old 06-04-2011, 08:52 PM
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Don't use a power tool or powered screw gun to tighten the pan bolts, or you will strip them, and break the bolt heads off.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:52 AM
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Mein Auto: E39 5401 2001 model
I had ZF change my X5 3l diesel (with the GM box) auto gearbox oil and filter and they charged me about $310 (in your money) all inclusive. Would that be a good rate? Box takes about 11 litres of the expensive stuff if completely empty but with just the gearbox and filter refill it took 8 litres at about $26 per litre!! (Gearbox was overhauled about 45k miles back) I have a 2003 E39 530d also with the same gearbox and it has done 130k miles without a service. Was thinking to leave that well alone as it is still in "perfect" order
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  #25  
Old 06-05-2011, 10:06 AM
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champaign777 champaign777 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 530 Sport Twins
this also helped me to hold OEM green gasket in place



worked great on my both cars

Last edited by champaign777; 06-05-2011 at 10:12 AM.
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