Replacing ATF: Do you level the car or level the tranny pan? - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Thread Tools Display Modes
Prev Previous Post   Next Post Next
Old 12-29-2012, 02:54 PM
Fudman's Avatar
Fudman Fudman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Sudbury, MA
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6,823
Mein Auto: '02 530i Sport auto
Replacing ATF: Do you level the car or level the tranny pan?

This is a very good question someone raised to me in a PM. ECS Tuning has a You Tube video that specificaly says to level the tranny pan prior to an ATF replacement. I reviewed several ATF replacement DIY procedures prior to replacing my ATF and noone explicitly says whether to level the car (keeping the car at the same attitude as when it is sitting on all four tires) or to level the ATF pan. I assumed everyone did the former since most used either jack stands or a four point car lift.

When replacing my ATF, I leveled the car. I never even checked the pan level. I raised my car and placed each tire on 3 stacked (nailed together) 24" long 2" x 12" boards. I then set the parking brake. This gave me the clearance to work underneath. I initially overfilled my tranny by jamming the drain plug back in immediately after pulling the pump, while ATF was draining. This caused a slight change in shift points. After I did the drain and refill (this time I waited a bit before plugging the inlet), it ran just like before.

The only surefire way to replace the exact amount of ATF that is drained out is to save and measure the amount of ATF that drains out. You must then replicate the temperature (ATF expands and contracts with temp) in your fresh ATF and then promptly refill. That's a bit of work but you can't go wrong.

This question does not address the issues of ATF temperature or which gear (park or drive) to be in when replacing the ATF (mine was 95F and I was in Drive). It is strictly about what should be level when replacing the ATF. Any experiences, thoughts, opinions are welcome. Please provide a "why" to your response. Thanx.
Reply With Quote

See More Related BMW Stories

Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:05 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms