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7 Series - E65 / E66 (2002 - 2008)
Discussion of BMW's 4th generation E65/E66 7 Series flagship. The E65 generated much controversy, due to its radical styling and iDrive user difficulties. Nonetheless, the E65 broke records to become the best-selling 7-series iteration ever, especially after its 2005 facelift.

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Old 04-29-2013, 07:09 AM
dtyride36 dtyride36 is offline
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Sealed for life.....

Hello to my brothers across the pond..I live in the U.K and own a 2003 730d sport and was wondering how you guys fair in relation to a transmission fluid change. I know its quite common in the states of America but i need to get a clearer picture before i open my box.

Logic tells me that no fluid can last 10 years and 112000 miles and it not deteriorate. Have BMW discovered the fountain of indestructible fluid..

But then BMW claim not to touch it. This really is a dilemma what should i do. How much risk am i taking in breaking the seal and adding fresh filter and fluid.
ZF claim that you should service these boxes but BMW say DON'T TOUCH. My common sense says listen to the people who manufactured it but this is the ultimate would it, or could it question.

What shall i do i am stuck in two minds. How many people in this forum have done this with success and how many people have suffered a catastrophe after a box service. Please help me to make this crucial decision.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:02 AM
Davidf Davidf is offline
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Your common sense is spot on. I don't think BMW even refers to the fluid as Lifetime any more. You should definitely remove filler plug, drain fluid, replace pan/filter and refill with an approved fluid (there are many, do some searching). Your transmission will be happier and IMHO zero chance of failure due to the fluid change if filled properly (do a search on how to fill properly).

Here is how I think ZF/BMW came up with the "lifetime" fluid many years ago:
1. The lifetime fluid is simply a highly refined oil making it a "synthetic" fluid.
2. Either by the mere fact that the fluid is synthetic and probably due to other additives, the fluid can withstand higher temps without breaking down.
3. Presto, you have a fluid that can last much longer than more commonly used fluids (at the time) by other manufacturers. So long that ZF/BMW felt it lasted a lifetime.
4. BMW finally admitted a lifetime was about 100k miles.

Now, there are many synthetics transmission fluids on the market and most all are compatible with the transmission merely because they are synthetic. But, not all fluids have the additives that make the fluid more resistant to higher temperatures. Therefore, I believe that if you use the cheaper synthetic fluids, the transmission will be fine so long as you change it more often, say 60k-80k miles. That is my opinion for what it is worth. And, I have been practicing what I preach for many years now with nary a fluid related failure.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:52 AM
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Nygel Nygel is offline
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Also I will say this, BMW have two division, the Consumer world and the Performance (Racing) world. Same company have two different takes on this subject. Performance world says "No lifetime fluid" it must be changed at certain intervals. They came up with this because at high rpms and heat the oil goes thru a process that is similar to having the car with a certain amount of miles. And before an event all fluids are new, even brake fluid. Performance and protection of the oil breaks down over time.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:23 PM
CJ745NZ CJ745NZ is offline
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Life time fluid means the life of the fluid not the transmission. When the fluid dies and it will, so will your transmission. Change the oil and save yourself thousands on a replacement gearbox.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:03 PM
irish745 irish745 is offline
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Re: Sealed for life.....

Yes change it .best thing I ever did on my last 2 sevens .things to bear in mind
The filter is part of the sump .
Change sump and fluid ,I got a kit before off Otto.comes with new sump ,bolts,proper zf lifeguard fluid and mechatronic sleeve which u should change once u have the sump off as it cannot be done unless sump is off and they always leak after highish miles.also there is a specific way to fill the transmission with new oil and requires inpa or see wat temp the gearbox oil is at .

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Old 04-30-2013, 01:06 PM
johndade johndade is offline
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Re: Sealed for life.....

Dont let anyone do a flush this transmission is done with a drain and fill.

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Old 04-30-2013, 08:57 PM
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pmpn8ez pmpn8ez is offline
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I recently attempted this. Failed miserably when I stripped the fill plug. Be sure to remove that first before draining so you won't have a transmission with no fluid. I read everywhere that the tool to remove the fill bolt is a Torx 50. Although the T-50 will work, use a Hex tool so it won't strip. Also replaces the mechatronic sleeve. This is the part that will cause most leaks when the rubber seals go out. Good luck to you!

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Old 04-30-2013, 10:25 PM
Robin750 Robin750 is offline
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It definately should be changed, and better sooner than later. It's not easy to do and can't be completely changed, so you may want to go back to the dealer. I got it done for $1,100, including fluid and pan.
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