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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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Old 12-30-2009, 09:20 AM
Jodys528i Jodys528i is offline
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Transmission fluid for 1997 528I

What transmission Fluid is recommended for a 1997 Bmw 528I?
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:33 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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There are roughly 100 threads on this.
Do a search.
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Old 12-30-2009, 10:48 AM
Jodys528i Jodys528i is offline
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I did a search. Got 3 results. None of them really answered question.
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:38 PM
BlueSkies10 BlueSkies10 is offline
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I asked about this question at my local dealership along with asking how to actually check the fluid level and they told me something sort of interesting, which I didn't try cause I really wondered if it was accurate or not.

At the dealership, one of the mechanics told me that I could check the level of the transmission fluid in my 528i automatic by running it until it is at normal a operating temperature and then while it is running, go under it and there is a filler plug somewhere under the car on the side of the transmission where I can unbolt that plug (while it's running) and check the level of the fluid that way. From what he said, I would be able to feel the level slightly below where the plug is when the plug is removed. That instruction seemed a bit extreme to me because I fear I'd unplug it like he said and lots of fluid would blow out and then I'd have to bring it to the dealership and have them refill it a special way. Anyone know if his instruction is true? or not?
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Old 12-30-2009, 04:07 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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OP, use Dexron III fluid.

Blueskies10, the proper procedure is below. It is important to note that the designated temperature is, according to Performance BMW is NOT operating temperature, and that you should let the car sit for a while.
Originally Posted by Bentley Service Manual
Check ATF level if there is evidence of a leak, a complaint related to fluid level or after transmission repairs.

The automatic tranmission is not equipped with a dipstick. Checking the ATF level requires that the transmission be at operating temperature during the checking procedure.

Vehicle must be level through tests
  • Drive vehicle to warm up ATF to operating temperature
  • Connect BMW diagnostic scan tool DISplus, MoDiC, GT1 or equivalent to determine transmission oil temperature. Fluid temperature must be 30 to 50C (85-120F)
  • With engine running, switch on air conditioning to increase engine idle speed
  • Apply parking brake
  • While applying foot brake firmly move gear shift selector lever through all gear positions, pausing in each gear briefly
  • Raise and safely support vehicle, making sure car is stable and well-supported at all times.
  • With engine running and selector lever in park, remove filler plug.
  • If a small stream of fluid runs out of the filler hole the level is correct.
  • If no fluid leaks out when plug is removed, fluid level is too low. Add ATF fluid until it starts to overflow.
  • Install filler plug using new sealer ring
Adding fluid isn't rocket science. CN90 has a writeup in which he details a method that makes it fairly painless.
'99 528i ('98/12 build). 282,000km BY29428/Royalrot
Breaking My Wallet since 2009
Mods: Stoptech SS brake hose, 280piece toolkit resting on trunk floor, Beisan VANOS seals, increasing amounts of duct tape and glue
'99 540i (grandfather's)

Last edited by bmw_n00b13; 12-30-2009 at 04:21 PM.
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