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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 08-05-2006, 08:10 PM
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e39breyton e39breyton is offline
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Question E39 Automatic Transmission Fluid Change DIY ANYONE???

I went to the dealer today to asked how much chaging the "lifetime" auto tranny oil...

He quoted me $270 for it. I have 98 528i, does this sound reasonable?

My car has 120,000 miles on it, and i'm going to change the oxygen sensors, and spark plugs myself tommorow.

I used to get around 23 mpg around town, and now I only get around 19, and I think it is my spark plugs and o2 sensors...

Another question.... Is silver based anti-sieze compound ok to use on the threads on spark plugs and o2 sensors? bentley manual says use copper-based, but silver is probably better as it is also better in computer cpu heatsink heatspread compounds.

Thanks in advance... I'm tuning up my car to take on some 2000 mile interstate trip and back... I just wanted to get my mpg back up, and know that nothing trivial such as spark plugs and o2 sensors don't die on me on the trip as they are probably approaching their death.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2006, 09:42 PM
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rumor has it that you aren't suppose to change the fluids. if you want, you can change the filter but i'm not sure about the fluid itself.
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2006, 10:32 PM
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$270 is cheap, go for it but make sure that it includes new filter screen and gasket.
There is no way to change the filter without draining the fluid, btw.
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  #4  
Old 08-07-2006, 05:10 AM
tempestv8 tempestv8 is offline
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Changing the fluid of the gearbox is not to hard to do it on your own.

But $270 sounds about right, on the big proviso that they are using the exact fluid specified by BMW and not a cheap substitute. And as previousy mentioned, change of gasket and transmission filter as well.

It's "lifetime" fluid that needs to be replaced every 2-3 years, in my opinion.

If you google it, you'll find out information on how to change fluid on your own if you are a keen DIY. It's not hard.
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  #5  
Old 08-07-2006, 08:28 AM
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it just did a diy tranny oil change, was slow but easy. you will need a few special tools like the torx socket and 8mm hex socket for the drain plugs. my old oil came out black, and the pickup magnets had a 1/8" goop on each. Car feels smoother now. Go for it.
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  #6  
Old 08-07-2006, 08:49 AM
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$270 is inflated I bet. They're charging you for the time spen on their lift. If you have the means to do it go for it, otherwise, $270 isn't bad for good insurance. Changing the plugs and O2 sensors sounds like a good idea. Check everything out while you're under there (ie exhaust leaks, worn this worn that, kinked hoses, brake lines, etc), good thinking.
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  #7  
Old 08-08-2006, 03:01 PM
patrickjoseph patrickjoseph is offline
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My understanding is that the O2 sensors are continously monitored by the car by sending an electric current through them. When the voltage wavers, you'll get a warning. Until you get this warning, there's really no point in changing them. Having faulty O2 sensors isn't going to leave you starnded on the road. If you do change them, it's more important to change the front two versus the back two.

The challenge with changing the automatic transmission fluid is to make sure the sediment that might have been knocked loose during the change is flushed out. Otherwise, that sediment will cause damage. Not something you can do as a DIY and not every shop has the equipment to do this.
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  #8  
Old 08-08-2006, 05:15 PM
tempestv8 tempestv8 is offline
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I would say that if there's any sediment that has come off the clutch packs in the gearbox, it will be trapped by the new replacement filter.

It would be heaps easier to do the fluid change with a ramp as it's impossible to get underneath the car otherwise. Crawling under the vehicle with jack stands isn't really a safe option, so I would highly stress not to do it this way.
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Old 08-08-2006, 05:54 PM
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http://tech.bentleypublishers.com/se...TFCapacity.pdf
^this chart^ says the 1998 528i got a GM tranny and can use Dexron(Mercon) III.
You don't need that expensive Esso fluid.
Even at dealership rates, $100/hr, the price seems bit steep, it's not a 2 hour job.


www.auto-rx.com will clean the insides of a tranny
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  #10  
Old 09-18-2006, 07:56 PM
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Just posted my DIY

Here's my experience doing the ATF and filter change on an E46: http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthr...98#post1922698. Hope it helps.
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  #11  
Old 09-19-2006, 01:34 AM
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If you use anti-seize, make sure it is O2 sensor safe, and marked as such
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2007, 09:28 AM
kut909 kut909 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtx510 View Post
http://tech.bentleypublishers.com/se...TFCapacity.pdf
^this chart^ says the 1998 528i got a GM tranny and can use Dexron(Mercon) III.
You don't need that expensive Esso fluid.
Even at dealership rates, $100/hr, the price seems bit steep, it's not a 2 hour job.


www.auto-rx.com will clean the insides of a tranny

Thank you for the link...finally!

Sick and tired of peoples opinion and not get answers.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2007, 10:16 AM
xxpanipuri xxpanipuri is offline
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are they doing a drain and fill?

or a flush and fill??

doesn't the drain and fill only get part of the trans fluid out??

isn't it better to do the flush and fill??
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2007, 10:51 AM
joyfret joyfret is offline
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I had my tranny done at shy of 100k.
Here's what I did after a long research
and debate.

- Drain/Refill three times at every 200 miles after the first one. This way, you will have the most amount of fresh fluid. Flush is a big no no on high mileage cars. There have been tons of discussions on this issue, so do a search and you will see why it's harmful.

- Dexron III used. You will have approx. 4-4.5 qts per drain. Refill exactly as much as it drains each time.

Now, at 107k miles, the cars has no issues on the tranny. There're just no signs of aging
mechanism whatsoever.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2007, 12:22 AM
marvel marvel is offline
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Please tell me what is the difference between drain and flush?????????
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2007, 12:26 AM
marvel marvel is offline
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so the best way to do it is to take out the pan, clean it, install new filter, put the pan back...fill
drive 200 miles then drain (without removing pan) and refill..repeat 2 more times.
is this the correct method?
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2007, 09:04 AM
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Flush shoots cleaner in through the drain hole under pressure, blasting out crap, or, dislodging and moving around crap, which is the problem.

I removed the pan, resplaced filter etc. Only problem I see in this process, is that the dirty oil in the torque converter stays put and mixes.

With the crazy prices of my Esso fluid, i the 200 mile drive and re-fill is not an option. I will do same pan off change again in 30K miles.
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  #18  
Old 09-19-2007, 02:52 PM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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I just finished two back to back ATF fluid services (drain old, drop pan, clean pan/magnets, change filter, re-assemble, fill with new fluid).

If you go back to Phil William's post, you will see my pictures added to his post, which are specific to the E39: http://bimmerfest.com/forums/showthr...98#post1922698

In my case, the tranny holds between 9-10 quarts, but I am replacing about 2/3 of the old fluid (between 6-7 quarts), so by this second service, I only have about 1 quart of the old fluid in there - I am doing pretty good now. You can see the lighter color in the photos of the pan/magnets. Doing this service truly helps your tranny.

In fact, if you look at the laboratory analysis of the original fluid, you will find that the Aluminum and insolubles are way higher than they should have been. Clearly, changing the fluid sooner than later is the right thing to do in oder to make these trannies last longer:



I already collected the second sample from this last service, and I will post the results once I get them back from the lab.
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  #19  
Old 09-19-2007, 02:57 PM
hxgaser hxgaser is offline
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Go check out this link.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/tech...Fluid_Auto.htm

528, 4 speed tranny is exactly the same. A4S270R or A4S310R... They are the same.
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  #20  
Old 09-19-2007, 03:17 PM
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i took my car to a shop that had a machine that hooks up to the tran. lines, and flushes out the trans. cleaning the torque converter and the filter, and refills with new fluid. cost about 120.00. shifts smoothly. it really is a better alt. to changing it your self.
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  #21  
Old 09-19-2007, 05:03 PM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
i took my car to a shop that had a machine that hooks up to the tran. lines, and flushes out the trans. cleaning the torque converter and the filter, and refills with new fluid. cost about 120.00. shifts smoothly. it really is a better alt. to changing it your self.
The flush method is definitely more convenient to you, but it is not a better alternative to doing it "right". You are not replacing the filter nor cleaning the magnets in the pan, and the flush procedure has been known to knock loose dirt/particles that end up killing the transmission. The truly "best" way to do the service (assuming you still have the original filter) is to change the filter/clean the pan/magnets, and then fill with new fluid. Once you do this, then you "could" consider the flush method just to replace fluid in the future. Still, after all of my re-search, I would "never" trust the flush method/machines - not worth the risk.

And my total cost to doing the service myself was less than $100, and that included the new filter/gasket, and a fluid "known" to work well in my tranny.
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Last edited by bmwm3coupe; 09-19-2007 at 05:10 PM.
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  #22  
Old 09-19-2007, 05:53 PM
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but the fluid in the torque converter doesn't come changing it your self,unless you do several changes, and the dirt particals doesn't kill the trans., but more likely metal shavings that don't get collected by the magnets. i seen the machine they hook it up to the tran. lines at the raditor, and flush all old fluid. and refill. most diy can't get all the fluid out, and i don't like the ideal of old dirty fluid and new mixing. the car i had it done is 4wd explorer, no problems. but i would make sure the shop put warranty on work first.
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  #23  
Old 09-19-2007, 06:22 PM
bmwm3coupe bmwm3coupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
but the fluid in the torque converter doesn't come changing it your self,unless you do several changes
Which is why I have done 2 changes. I now have only 1/9 of the original/old fluid in there. I drove 1100 miles with 2/3 new and 1/3 old, and I know first hand there is no problem in having a mix of old/new fluid in your tranny.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
... and the dirt particals doesn't kill the trans., but more likely metal shavings that don't get collected by the magnets ...
Actually, both kill the tranny. Anything that is not fluid is abrasive by definition: anything insoluble that is floating in the fluid and not collected with the filter nor the magnets is eating away the transmission from the inside. This is why besides changing the fluid, you also need to change the filter and clean the magnets. Here is the analysis of my original fluid to drive home the point. Look at their comments - the fluid itself is not in horrible shape - it is the Aluminum and insolubles - those are the ones eating the tranny from the inside:


Look at how high the Aluminum and insolubles are!. The fluid is basically abrasive - the longer I keep it inside the tranny, the shorter the life of the tranny

I am using the same lab for the second sample I just collected. I will report in a few weeks when I get the results back


Here are the magnets of my tranny after only 1100 miles. There was so much stuff inside the old tranny, that even after being cleaned once, the magnets were still able to collect more. Also look at how nice the fluid and the pan looks (compared to the photos below), and this is only 2/3 new fluid:




For comparison, here is the pan and fluid color from the first service (88K miles):







I am just trying to make one point: The flush service is not a "better" alternative. The flush machine is just simply a way to easily exchange the old fluid with new fluid. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no better alternative to doing the full job.

Please don't get me wrong. I am happy that you found a way to service your tranny. Having new fluid is really, really good for any automatic tranny, and doing this shows that you do care for your car and its longevity. If more folks would simply change the fluid every one in a while, their auto trannys would last a lot more. And you are also right on the effort for the DIY. The DIY is not particularly hard, but it is very time consuming, needs to be done at least twice, and requires working under your car, which was not really fun

Peace
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  #24  
Old 09-19-2007, 06:39 PM
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i agree with you on the filter change and cleaning of the pan, i was just offering a mess free option. and you can ask the shop to change the filter. i'm just saying that diy doesn't mean that you completly get it clean. and the pan looks good in any of the pics.
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  #25  
Old 09-19-2007, 08:31 PM
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I did it not too long ago myself. If they are going to change the transmission filter I say let them do it. The filter and gaskets alone was 80 something dollars. If you like working on your car on your own you can do it with very little trouble. Make sure you have a ATF fill spot in your engine bay. If you don't make sure to get a little pump to pump in the ATF.one of these will work and make sure you are able to lift the car enough to get under it. (best if you are able to lift the car Front and Back) good luck. I would do it myself vs paying that amount but it's not a bad price at all. (assuming that you get your filter changed)
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