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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

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  #1  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:00 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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all tranny fluid gone cant find leak please help

Hi everyone, I have been searching every forum and cant find anything


I bought a 97 e39 from a buddy it was sitting for about 14 months under a car cover and maybe driven 3-4 times during that time.
I drove it home everything was fine changed the engine oil all the filters everything else seemed to be okay.

As I was driving home the transmission started to take a minute to kick in from start to first and from second to third. Drove about 3 miles home parked it and there was oil leaking under the front of the car right in the middle and by the driver. side. I checked all the fluids everything was good, its an auto i jacked up the car to check the transmission fluid it was empty I replaced the seal and filter in the transmission followed all the instructions topped it of went threw all the gears and went for a test drive. I came back home after a perfect drive I placed a piece of cardboard under the front to find out all the oil has leaked out again and only from the front.



Cliffs

-car drove fine after sitting for about a year

-after a few days of driving started taking a while to change gears auto

-changed oil and filter in auto tranny

-drove around came back placed cardboard still leaking from the front

- I tried to wipe all the hoses that run to the transmission cooler still cant find a leak that i can see..
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:04 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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It might be #7 here..

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...06&hg=17&fg=05
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  #3  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:10 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Originally Posted by TheStig View Post

thanks im going to go buy some and replace them right now
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  #4  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:16 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Quick Question for anyone under the hood there is a PS fill cap is that just for the power steering or does it go to the transmission and is there a dip stick to check transmission fluid or only through the bottom..


This is my first auto I've always had Manuel bmw's
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  #5  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:20 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vetalik View Post
Quick Question for anyone under the hood there is a PS fill cap is that just for the power steering or does it go to the transmission and is there a dip stick to check transmission fluid or only through the bottom..


This is my first auto I've always had Manuel bmw's

1. That's just for the power steering.

2. Only at the side of the transmission.
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  #6  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:20 PM
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lild lild is offline
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could be one of the lines, or the cooler it self. and no tranny dip stick, when you fill it up, you have to check it where you filled it. good luck.
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  #7  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:23 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Good call Stigie Gonzales.

Vetalic, if you remove the bottom plastic cover you might be able to better spot where the leak comes from? That plastic cover will route these leaks to a different location on the floor.

Maybe even wrap a few paper towels on different parts of the cooler and hoses and see which one gets wet.

mw
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  #8  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vetalik View Post
Quick Question for anyone under the hood there is a PS fill cap is that just for the power steering or does it go to the transmission and is there a dip stick to check transmission fluid or only through the bottom..


This is my first auto I've always had Manuel bmw's
there is no dip stick for the tranny. the level it is checked from underneath
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  #9  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:48 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Stigie Gonzales.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2009, 03:52 PM
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MatWiz MatWiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig View Post


You crack me up, Stig.

mw
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  #11  
Old 08-20-2009, 04:15 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStig View Post
1+

Same sh-t, different car for me. My 1998 Volvo V70 Auto Upper Cooler Line clip came off on the highway, I can tell it was not fun to lose all ATF at 60 mph, with trucks passing by and freezing rain back in January 2009, I was basically sh-tting in my.....

Yes stig is right, replace ALL 4 O-rings (2 at the Trans and 2 at the Cooler).

PS: Make sure Bolt #8 did not come loose!!!

Last edited by cn90; 08-20-2009 at 04:17 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-20-2009, 04:54 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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so far I pulled of the whole front end I'm going to take off all the lines from the trans to the cooler, I replaced the seals and still the same.

I'm going to have to find a way to pressure tested it, I never had to do this before

thanks for all your help so far!!

Last edited by Vetalik; 08-20-2009 at 04:56 PM.
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  #13  
Old 08-20-2009, 05:02 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Originally Posted by Vetalik View Post
so far I pulled of the whole front end I'm going to take off all the lines from the trans to the cooler, I replaced the seals and still the same.

I'm going to have to find a way to pressure tested it, I never had to do this before

thanks for all your help so far!!


You can't tell where it's leaking from?
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  #14  
Old 08-20-2009, 05:45 PM
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are you sure it's the tranny fluid, and not the ps fluid? beacuse our ps use's tranny fluid. and the resivoirs on these things are know for leaking, especially the hoses. which by chance runs down next to the rad and on the same side as the trans lines.
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  #15  
Old 08-20-2009, 05:47 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Originally Posted by TheStig View Post
You can't tell where it's leaking from?

No, I cleaned all the hoses off with a rag to where everything is dry put some more oil in. Started the car let it run for a few minutes I cant see anything, I changed through all the gears i noticed a drop on the new cardboard piece. i looked at it just drips on the corner where the seals are that i just replaced (around that area down the hose a little).

I took the oil cooler / radiator off # 1 on this diagram

so far looks good I need to figure out how to put some pressure in to it to see if it pressure tests.

Last edited by Vetalik; 08-20-2009 at 05:50 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-20-2009, 05:49 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lild View Post
are you sure it's the tranny fluid, and not the ps fluid? beacuse our ps use's tranny fluid. and the resivoirs on these things are know for leaking, especially the hoses. which by chance runs down next to the rad and on the same side as the trans lines.

The PS fluid is full and works fine I'm Positive its the tranny, It shifts hard and takes a while to get in to the gears. As well as I put three quarts in and when it started leaking I let it run for 2 hours jacked up the car and it was nearly empty in the transmission pan.
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  #17  
Old 08-20-2009, 05:53 PM
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ok. well if yours was bone dry. on a normal, filter change, with fluid take about 4-5 quarts, and i belive the whole system takes 9-11 qts. so you just may have to add more fluid.
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  #18  
Old 08-20-2009, 06:23 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Originally Posted by lild View Post
ok. well if yours was bone dry. on a normal, filter change, with fluid take about 4-5 quarts, and i belive the whole system takes 9-11 qts. so you just may have to add more fluid.

The hoses seemed dry but it still dripped from the "oil cooler area" and I'm positive its tranny I added some cinnamon to the oil to make sure when I tasted it. I think ill just replace all the seals and hoses.
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  #19  
Old 08-20-2009, 06:29 PM
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lild lild is offline
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I added some cinnamon to the oil to make sure when I tasted it. I think ill just replace all the seals and hoses.
oh please, gives the recipe. sound yummy.
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  #20  
Old 08-20-2009, 08:36 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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For comparison purpose, an engine oil leak can be very difficult to find because there may be external leak or internal consumption by the combustion chamber. Sometimes it takes a long time to diagnose an engine oil leak.

In contrast, an Auto Trans leak is easier to diagnose because there is no internal consumption so all you have to do is to focus on external leak.
Potential leak spots for a RWD car:
- Front Trans Seal (Input Seal)
- Rear Trans Seal (Output Seal)
- Selector area (very rare to see leak from here)
- O-rings (4 total for your car).
- Cooler Hose itself (after 10y/100K, the metal-rubber junction usually leaks, but this is minor leak)
- Cooler itself: from reading your post, I suspect this is your problem.

Refill Trans, do not drive the car far, just back and forth in your driveway and watch it.
When driving on the road, the leak can be massive and by the time you get home, you cannot find the leak.
A leak of this magnitude usually points to a defective Cooler.
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  #21  
Old 08-21-2009, 12:35 PM
Vetalik Vetalik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
For comparison purpose, an engine oil leak can be very difficult to find because there may be external leak or internal consumption by the combustion chamber. Sometimes it takes a long time to diagnose an engine oil leak.

In contrast, an Auto Trans leak is easier to diagnose because there is no internal consumption so all you have to do is to focus on external leak.
Potential leak spots for a RWD car:
- Front Trans Seal (Input Seal)
- Rear Trans Seal (Output Seal)
- Selector area (very rare to see leak from here)
- O-rings (4 total for your car).
- Cooler Hose itself (after 10y/100K, the metal-rubber junction usually leaks, but this is minor leak)
- Cooler itself: from reading your post, I suspect this is your problem.

Refill Trans, do not drive the car far, just back and forth in your driveway and watch it.
When driving on the road, the leak can be massive and by the time you get home, you cannot find the leak.
A leak of this magnitude usually points to a defective Cooler.
It's massive, After a complete fill I drove about 1/4 mile around the block parked it. put a piece of cardboard under the car within fifteen minutes It had at least half a quart of oil leaked out.
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  #22  
Old 08-21-2009, 12:46 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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So why don't you park the car on the driveway, run the engine, leave it in Park and start looking at the Oil Cooler?
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