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Do-It-Yourself H.Q.
Share your DIY projects or ask questions about how to fix something on your own. Help fellow Bimmerfest members improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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  #1  
Old 11-25-2002, 05:06 PM
2001E46 2001E46 is offline
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E46 Manual Transmission Fluid Change? Ramps?

I'm looking to change the transmission fluid in my 325i manual. The problem is, I don't want to put the car on jackstands. I would prefer to do this with the front of the car raised on ramps (I'll be changing the engine oil at the same time).

Now I realize you're supposed to have the car completely level when putting in the new fluid because the fill hole is designed to overflow at the point where you have exactly enough fluid in the tranny. This would not agree with my plan to change the fluid with just the front of the car up on ramps.

My plan is to just drain the old fluid, measure the volume, and add exactly the same amount back in. So if I drained 1 quart I would simply add 1 quart of fresh fluid back. I'm hoping that a little more than 1 quart of fluid drains out because the capacity is listed at 1.1 quarts.

One problem I see with this approach is that it may be the case that if you only have the front of the car raised you cannot drain out most of the fluid (the drain hole may not be at the exact "bottom" with the car in this configuration).

Another problem that might occur is if the transmission fluid spills out of the fill hole before being filled to capacity with only the front of the car raised. This would mean I would never be able to get the tranny filled completely.

Has anyone successfully changed their transmission fluid with just the front of the car raised?
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2002, 05:14 PM
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This is not reasonably possible. The Fill hole is designed to spill out any overfill. If you have the car at an angle, you won't be able to fill it up completely.

Just get a jack and four stands. It's <$100.
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2002, 07:24 PM
CD-55 CD-55 is offline
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Why are you changing your fluid?

Here is a pic from the 2001 Owners Manual:
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2002, 07:27 PM
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Becuase the BMW fluid sucks, and the car shifts a lot better with redline.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2002, 07:59 PM
Ausfahrt Ausfahrt is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by CD-55
Why are you changing your fluid?

Here is a pic from the 2001 Owners Manual:

Lifetime....hmmmmm.....That's almost like saying your underwear is lifetime you dont have to change it ever. Can you imagine wearing that for that long
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2002, 08:19 PM
CD-55 CD-55 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ausfahrt



Lifetime....hmmmmm.....That's almost like saying your underwear is lifetime you dont have to change it ever. Can you imagine wearing that for that long
fahrt, what do you know about stinky underwear?

Unlike the engine where the oil cycles through the combustion chamber, the oil in the transmission and differential is COMPLETELY sealed. All that is in there is metal gears and oil. The temperatures are not extremely hot and oil does not react with metal, so that stuff is going to last a VERY long time before it changes in any measurable way. BMW engineers are not smarter than everyone on the Internet, but if the oil needed to be changed within a few years, they would not have published “lifetime” in the manual.

With that in mind, my interpretation of “lifetime” is about 10-years.
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  #7  
Old 11-26-2002, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by CD-55
With that in mind, my interpretation of “lifetime” is about 10-years.
My interpretation of "lifetime fluid" is it's just a marketing term used to bring down the annual maintenance cost for competitive comparisons. Do your car a favor and change it at least every 60K miles.

Frequent fluid changes are never a bad thing.
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2002, 04:58 PM
2001E46 2001E46 is offline
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I'm changing the fluid to redline atf. Hoping for smoother shifts this way.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2002, 05:05 PM
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If you insist on doing this without a lift, use a pair of jackstands and a pair of ramps. You'll get the car ~8" off the ground and if you set the jackstands right, the car will be level enough to make this work.

And has anyone ever heard of using BG SynchroShift in these transmissions?
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2005, 10:01 AM
bruntasm1 bruntasm1 is offline
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Woah, this thread is old. Even though that page of the manual says the transmission fluid is "lifetime," the 2001 Service Manual says to "replace transmission fluid" under the Inspection II checklist (around 60k miles).

I would scan it for dramatic effect.
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  #11  
Old 09-25-2005, 11:54 AM
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The basic thing is, is lifetime teh lifetime of the car or the lifetime of the tranny?

And if it is the lifetime of the tranny, that might be shorter than if you changed the fluids. Inspection 2 would be a reasonable interval.

BTW Nick no longer recommends RedLine. He is using BMW LTF-2 in all cars. I have RedLine MTF in two, LTF-2 in the E46 M3.

Othes have reported good luck with Royal Purple SynchroMax fluid.
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  #12  
Old 09-25-2005, 07:50 PM
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always remove the fill plug first

nothing like dumping the fluid and then having a problem getting the fill plug out
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  #13  
Old 09-26-2005, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamM3
always remove the fill plug first

nothing like dumping the fluid and then having a problem getting the fill plug out
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  #14  
Old 09-29-2005, 05:32 PM
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Go ahead and change the transmission oil. The same oil that had a recommended replacement interval, suddenly became a "lifetime" fluid. Marketing weenies at work!

I recommend that you change the oil with the car level. The drain and fill plugs are about half way on the side of the transmission casing, so if your car is tilted up, you won't get much out.
I also recommend getting a bottle pump from the auto parts store, they make the job of filling up much easier.

As far as the type of oil is concerned, be advised that there is a yellow sticker on the side of the transmission casing, sort of high up, that states the use of BMW MTF-LT-1 oil, now superceded by BMW MTF-LT-2. I don't know whether this is an ATF oil, but it is sort of a yellow/gold color and I did not want to risk using anything other than OEM oil.

I bought 5 liters for about $120, a while ago from a BMW dealer. My third transmission fluid change is due at 75K miles, coming up in 3K miles.
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