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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:14 AM
jcard412 jcard412 is offline
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Will it leak?

Want to check the fluid level on my 2000 Z3 2.3 manual transmission while I have it on front jack stands.
When I remove the drain plug, to inspect, will the fluid drain out since the car is at an angle?
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:41 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Probably. That's why it's called a drain plug.
The transmission should be filled to the bottom of the top plug (with the car level). You could remove that one to get a sample, but really, what's the point? You can't tell much by looking at it. It doesn't get dirty. Normally you judge when it's time to replace the fluid by looking at the odometer or by the feel of the shifter.

Last edited by Blacklane; 01-13-2013 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:26 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is online now
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
I just did the checking now that my Z3 is up on jack stands, because I wondered if my transmission was properly filled last Fall. When I bought the car I took 2 quarts each of transmission fluid and gear oil to an indie shop and asked them to change those fluids. They gave me back 1 unused quart of each, whereas I thought each cavity took a little over 1 quart. I removed the fill plugs on each cavity; the transmission began to ooze, and I could feel the oil in the differential.

The procedure for filling both the transmission and differential is to make the car level, remove the fill plug, and add fluid until the first drops come out of the hole.
The procedure for checking both is to make the car level, remove the fill plugs, see if any fluid tries to come out, if not put your little finger in the hole, and if you get oil on the fingertip, there is the right amount of fluid.

The car needs to be level to get a good reading on whether either the transmission or the differential have the right amount of fluid. On front jack stands alone, both will flow fluid or oil back out of their filler holes before they have received the right amount.

On front jack stands alone, both will drain well since both drain plugs are at the rear. But don't drain on front jack stands alone, because then you have to fill, and that takes jack stands at both ends.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-13-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:27 PM
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IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
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Checking the vehicle at an angle wouldn't be accurate also.

Unless you have a major leak, there's no need the check it. Either change it or leave it alone.
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blacklane View Post
... You can't tell much by looking at it. It doesn't get dirty. Normally you judge when it's time to replace the fluid by looking at the odometer or by the feel of the shifter.
Transmission and differential oil can get discolored and dirty from internal wear particles from the gears, bearings and syncros, and can also degrade from shear and heat. In most cases and vehicles it takes a lot of miles and years. BMW evidently thinks the manual transmission can go forever without a change.
But when I changed front and rear differential oil of my new Subaru at 10,000 miles, I was surprised at how much darker the rear oil was.
I don't know if the feel of the shifter changes due to miles or age of the fluid. The feel is more likely to be affected by worn shifter bushings and pins than old fluid. But a quick change can be made in feel by using a different fluid. I think my low mileage 1.9 shifts easier merely from putting in SynchroMax fluid.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:16 AM
jcard412 jcard412 is offline
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Thanks for the information
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