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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 07-05-2015, 01:35 PM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Just bought my 95 540i and ripped out the tranny pan - Need some info

Just bought a 95 540i, Have just started bringing it back to full life. Replaced the shocks all around, all the bushings up front and was getting ready to drive for a bit when I hit a pothole and a proud manhole cover coming home last Thursday night. Ripped a hole in the tranny pan that I can put my fist in. Probably also cracked the tranny cooler. Shut the car down immediately and had the car towed to a local shop in Queens NY. I have no info about the shop at this point. Am doing research now about the shop and what I need to replace. Shop owner called Friday to say that I only damaged the pan and cooler and would give me an estimate on Monday. The tranny case had not been cracked as far as he could tell. I am trying to cost everything before I get the estimate back to see if the guy will be in the ballpark.

Question: What should I be looking for from the shop in terms of experience and what parts will I need to replace in addition to the tranny pan, cooler, cooler line, filter and gaskets (this is what he mentioned on Friday). Must I use the OEM recommended Tranny oil (crazy price of $545 online). Whilst I can probably do the tranny pan replacement myself, to have the car towed back to my workshop is fairly expensive. Not sure about being able to do the other work (cooler replacement).

I have been reading the forums for transmission repairs and found several detailed posts about fluid replacement. Very helpful. Seems pretty straightforward. Do you think there is there anything above the pan that might have been damaged in the accident? I have looked thru Bentley and another online tool but can't seem to see anything that might have been hit.
What codes might have to be reset? Can that be done by an Indy mechanic?

I have added a pic the shop owner sent me. It shows the damage.
Any advice and/or experience with this type of repair is helpful.
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  #2  
Old 07-05-2015, 04:19 PM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Mein Auto: '95 540i, E30, E24
The cooler is eye-wateringly expensive -- $500+ on average. With that kind of damage I'd probably replace the one you have rather than try to repair it. You might be able to find a decent used one.

Unless the cooler lines are bent, I don't know why they would have to be replaced, although you may take the opportunity to cut off the original rubber sections and replace those with new heater hose. You could have that done at a hose shop or just install them yourself with good hose clamps. The lines are just transferring coolant, after all, so pressures should be under 2 bar.

It's widely recommended that you use an OE BMW trans filter, but after seeing pictures of them cut open I think you could get by with a Febi aftermarket filter. They have a bypass design that the OE filter lacks, but the way the filter channels the fluid can make it noisier than the factory version.

Lots of people have replaced the factory ATF with good Dexron III fluid with no ill effects. RM European and Turner Motorsport sells Fuchs Titan 3353 fluid, a Mercedes-spec ATF that is an appropriate replacement for the factory stuff, for $40 for a 4-liter jug. But I've also used $4-a-quart Pennzoil Multivehicle ATF, and it worked OK if you changed the fluid every 30K miles. You can augment the friction modifier content of the fluid with one of the Lubegard products.

You shouldn't have to reset any codes, but you might want to research valve body problems with this transmission if you haven't done so already. The valve bodies aren't hard to rebuild -- I'd consider it a good piece of preventive maintenance.

Sorry to read about your misfortune. I hope it works out for you.
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  #3  
Old 07-06-2015, 11:10 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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+1 That sheeee@ is the truth about the cooler. I can get an entire 5HP30 transmission (and did) for $100 from the local salvage yard. With a bit of luck the cooler will be fine, and good enough for simple expectations. Lower mileage candidates and especially if it looks like blue (BMW) coolant was used, are better obviously.

Use the Fuchs that Mr. G suggests, I also just did mine with it.

Filter advice, +1 as well, but ended up getting the more $ Filtran for piece of mind and not wanting to wonder in the future if the noise coming out of the trans was the filter or something else. With it torn apart to that stage, DO NOT pass on the chance to verify and/or update the valve body if necessary. My recent thread on the trans here.

Hopefully it doesn't get to spendy for ya, but the fluid and valve body update items set me back about $260.

Update Kit: http://www.thectsc.com/products/valv...p30-80-39.html
Fluid: http://www.rmeuropean.com/Part-Numbe...RTalpj6UA.aspx

Might see about yanking the cooler and pan from a local salvage yard FWIW.

Good luck, sorry about the misfortune. Keep us updated, we like pictures

Edit... just to be sure, we're talking about a "black tag" transmission here right? Passenger side, towards rear of trans, nearish to Trans Control connection; is it black or green?
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

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My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

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Last edited by TheEinstein; 07-06-2015 at 11:14 AM. Reason: Edit....
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  #4  
Old 07-06-2015, 02:52 PM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Thanks for the help Gentlemen. We could not locate a tranny pan anywhere in the states. I don't have a line on a junker at this point - had not gotten that far as I have only owned the car for 2 weeks. We are putting in a new pan and cooler (it was also ripped apart.) Thanks for the tip on the valve body rebuild. This is going to set me back about what I paid for the car. I will see about pics. Parts should be here in 10 days or so.

Next in line is to find a junker for future endeavors and weld the drivers side door near the hinge arm - the metal is starting to rip. I will also need a front passenger door at some point. There is some rust at the bottom of the door panel.
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  #5  
Old 07-06-2015, 03:23 PM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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Sucks you had to buy new, but I envy your piece of mind with that cooler.

For your future endeavor... Worked great for me, and when ya can get a welder to work on it, it will be inVinCeballl, IMO!

http://www.koalamotorsport.com/e32e3...ment_plate.asp
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

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My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

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  #6  
Old 07-07-2015, 06:42 AM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Thanks for the tip on the door as well. Simple easy fix. I like it. Will be ordering 2 of those this week.
Thanks again for all your help.
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2015, 09:49 PM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Yep, those door reinforcement plates are the way to go. I have them on my front doors too.
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  #8  
Old 07-08-2015, 07:28 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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Since I mentioned welding, I wanted to clarify for any future readers as well, they don't require it. Straight on the bolts for the door break, tightened up good, and what a difference.
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link
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  #9  
Old 07-08-2015, 08:41 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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The plates on my car are not welded on. They're knockoffs made of stainless, so welding is nothing I'd attempt -- and, as you say, really not needed. I got them from guy on bimmernut.com who did a limited run of them. I think someone on bf.c. has a similar enterprise going, but Koala came up with the concept and is the original provider. It's a good BMW specialty shop too, and worthy of some enthusiast loyalty.

That said, I cheaped out when a better deal came along ...
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2015, 08:13 PM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Updates and pics

Some updates:
I am back on the road with a new tranny pan and cooler.
Pics attached that show the damage to both pieces.
Replaced the filter as well.

Two things I have noticed:
The right hand mirror no longer tilts down when I am in reverse. I think I may have blown the fuse (i hope its that simple) for that circuit. Otherwise, everything seems to be holding together with no problem. I have to check the electrical diagrams and figure if it is fused and what the connection might be.

The second item is that the shifter shaft get warm. Never noticed it before, might have always been that way but I noticed it today. Now it was 100 degrees so the car was going to run hot anyway. Not sure if this is something to worry about.

I installed the door reinforcements from Koala today. Once I got the pin out of the jam hole, it was pretty easy. Its nice not having to worry about the metal fatiguing any more. excellent solution. Thanks for the tip.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2015, 09:45 PM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Good to hear you got the damage fixed.

On the passenger mirror: Check the mirror control in the driver's armrest. If the switch that controls the mirror's movement is in position to control the driver's mirror, the passenger mirror will not move when the car is shifted into reverse.

The shifter: It's only attached to the transmission by a flexible bowden cable and a multipoint electrical switch in the console. The circuitry in the switch doesn't carry a lot of current. You're most likely noticing the heat coming up from the transmission on a hot day.
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2015, 03:34 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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The hand book will tell you about the mirror as well.
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2015, 03:29 PM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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BTW, "curb view" for the passenger mirror will not work if the passenger/driver switch is in the **passenger** position. It needs to be set to control/adjust driver side in order for the curb view to trigger.
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

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  #14  
Old 07-21-2015, 10:52 PM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEinstein View Post
BTW, "curb view" for the passenger mirror will not work if the passenger/driver switch is in the **passenger** position. It needs to be set to control/adjust driver side in order for the curb view to trigger.
Oops. You're likely right. I didn't bother to check which position the switch has to be in.
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  #15  
Old 07-22-2015, 07:15 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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No worries, it just stuck out to me due to all the times I wondered why it didn't work, and I didn't understand why. Till one day, I flipped that switch while in reverse.
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link
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  #16  
Old 07-24-2015, 07:05 AM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Quick update on this thread. I flipped the switch and Voila! the mirror works. Thanks for all the tips and help. Doors reinforcements work like a charm and my machine is back on the road.
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  #17  
Old 01-08-2016, 07:54 AM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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some things rear up and bite you - '95 540 Tranny issues

So.... Was changing the O2 sensors several weeks ago and saw that the tranny was leaking fluid. Realized that the shop that did the repair did not get the pan on correctly. Before I could correct it, I got the dreaded Trans mode message last night. Thinking that the tranny is low fluid due to leak. I have decided to replace the gasket, filter and fluid and see if the tranny is still working correctly. After researching like crazy over the last few weeks I realized the following:
You all seem to recommend the Filtran Filter.
Shell LA 2634 is the fluid to use (alternatives include ZF Lifeguard, not sure about other aftermarkets)
OEM Gasket is preferred.
Have additional bolts Torx M6x25 24111421207 on hand.

Any suggestions on materials or other needed supplies? I have been looking at several autoparts stores. Does anyone carry a full kit that I can buy? Everyone seems to have filter kits but never sure about the exact parts.

I am having an Indy shop do the work but I will be buying the parts as the car is too far away to tow to my shop. Besides, after watching the videos, doing this job on my back does not seem enjoyable.

the shop in question is 2 miles from where the car is now. Is that too far to limp it in under trans mode? I got a clunk last night that did not sound at all good.

thanks for any advice. I enjoy reading the forums and wrenching but this one is not something I am up for at the moment.
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  #18  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:32 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Hm, it's pretty easy to bolt up that tranny pan. Are you sure that's where the leak is coming from?

You may have trouble getting LA2634. I think Einstein and I are both using Fuchs Titan 3353, which is an MB-approved fluid. I'm also using an additive, Lubegard Red, that I think has some benefit in the black-label transmissions because it adds a friction modifier to the ATF. I use it to reduce torque converter clutch chatter.

Other mainstream fluids will do. I used Pennzoil Multivehicle ATF for years but I did a drain and fill every 30K miles with a new filter every 60. Others have used Valvoline, Castrol, Amsoil, etc. The bottle should have a list of transmissions for which the fluid is compatible.

As for filters, you can't go wrong with the Filtran OE filter. That's what I'd use if I were having a shop to the service. You'll need to get the gasket separately -- the fiber one is easier to handle.

You should be able to go 2 miles in limp mode.
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Old 01-08-2016, 09:50 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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Honestly, I see your first step as taking it to the shop to have the pan dropped. If there are no metal bits and/or chunks, you might still be good to address the gasket, filter, and fluid level. If you can be ultimately easy on it for the trip to the shop, limp mode will hopefully do what it's intended to do and protect it best it could be, short of being towed/flatbed transported. In all seriousness, if you heard a clunk, are not prepared to at least drop the pan and check, and want to preserve this trans, it'd be worth considering having it transported.

Regarding fluid, gasket, filter, and supplies...

Fluid
Fuchs Titan 3353 ATF is an approved replacement for Shell LA2634. One of few that claim to be. So it's what I went with.

Gasket:
There are paper ones and rubber ones. The paper is OE, but one time use IMO as it can stick or tear for any future needed maintenance. Why is that a factor, well if you get that new (cheaper) filter in there, and aren't satisfied, you're buying a new gasket too. The rubber one on the other hand (my current), is squishy when you tighten down the pan bolts. Made torquing the bolts a bit more... we'll say interesting. But, I'll be confident that short of many tens of thousands of miles later, it'll have some forgiveness if I needed to do anything to it again.

Filter:
Filtran is a keyword, and is such controversial in need. I'd say stay OEM (= Filtran NOT Febi or others). This is due to many sources whom have claimed that non OE has a tendency to cause a sort of "whine" that emanates from trans. Others claim that the noise is low fluid. And if I were to go along with anything but the Filtran, I'd make sure I bought a genuine o-ring for the filter. It has been speculated that the "whine" is actually due to air being sucked past that o-ring on the filter to valve body. So if you go cheap on the filter, just be sure you take whatever comes on the filter, off, and replace that o-ring with a ZF/OEM one to at least be sure that is a non issue. Some air getting past there is bad in more ways that noise, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Sources I've used:
http://www.zftranspart.com/index.php...arch_str=&pg=1
http://www.thectsc.com/catalog/5hp30-6.html
http://www.rmeuropean.com/Products/8...G849-V405.aspx

Other things needed if you were performing the work:
-Fluid transfer hand pump
-Set of torx bits
-Torque Wrench
-Couple cans of carb cleaner and or chlorinated brake cleaner
- I use Carb cleaner on everything that I could consider wanting exceptionally clean.
- Regarding "chlorinated" brake cleaner, if your interest is in no residue, and you don't mind giving the finger to the environment a little bit
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

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Last edited by TheEinstein; 01-08-2016 at 09:55 AM. Reason: Spelling..
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  #20  
Old 01-08-2016, 09:59 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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Another thought on this trans, you may want to have someone meticulously go over your trans, unless you are 100% certain only the gasket/pan installation was botched. Ripping off the cooler and pan in my mind creates a huge likelihood of other cracks.
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link
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  #21  
Old 01-08-2016, 10:28 AM
Mr._Graybeard Mr._Graybeard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEinstein View Post
Another thought on this trans, you may want to have someone meticulously go over your trans, unless you are 100% certain only the gasket/pan installation was botched. Ripping off the cooler and pan in my mind creates a huge likelihood of other cracks.
Yeah, my thought as well.

I'd mildly disagree on the gasket -- I've reused fiber ones with no ill effects, and IMO they're much easier to install.

I also replaced the Torx pan bolts with 8.8 class hex-head screws. No more stripped bolt heads!
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Old 01-08-2016, 10:43 AM
capricornbmw capricornbmw is offline
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It was incredibly negligent of you to notice a transmission oil leak and do nothing about it for weeks. The information you require could be obtained within 24 hours over here and on google.

The rate of fluid loss could have gotten worse since the time you first saw it (presumably it was slight then). You're in limp mode due to a loss of transmission fluid. Your transmission does not have enough fluid. This is the reason why it is in limp mode - not a solenoid problem, not a clutch problem, not anything else - but transmission fluid.

On top of that, you experienced a clunk. Again, due to a lack of transmission fluid. Perhaps the limp mode got activated late - we're talking about a 20 year old sensor. You may have very little fluid. And you want to drive 2 miles up to the shop.

Limp modes almost never come with any noise from the transmission. That's the purpose of the limp mode - to prevent anything that would lead to that under that circumstance.

You're taking a needless risk. Pay for a tow and chalk the extra cost down to the sheer stupidity of needless recklessness. We've all had those moments.

Or do the job yourself and invest the tow money in proper tools. With the proper tools, it is really not difficult and the proper tools are available cheaply. This is one of those things that can be done on your back, with the car up on jack stands....as long as you're not in a hurry, your eyes are protected, and you have enough light. I'm talking fluid, gasket, and filter change and that's it. Einstein even sorted his valve body. It is not physically strenuous.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:19 AM
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TheEinstein TheEinstein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr._Graybeard View Post
I'd mildly disagree on the gasket -- I've reused fiber ones with no ill effects, and IMO they're much easier to install.
!
Very much agree, the paper one was easier when under the car. However, I circumvented all kinds of tedious work when I decided f-this and got out from under the car, put all the bolts in the holes, and let the rubber gasket hold the bolts. Since the holes for the bolts are smaller than the bolts, it holds them nicely. It made putting the pan, with bolts pretty much in place, so much easier than the one by one applying the 4 billion bolts around the pan. In any case, one by one installing the bolts, under the car with that flippity floppity has to be stretched a bit, so it goes everywhere but where it should, rubber gasket, will make you want to tear your hair out. FWIW
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1995 E34 540ia
160,000 Miles
VIN# ...GF32404
Hellrot Red

Fuelly

My Basic Repair History (Edited 1/27/2015)

Ongoing comparison between two E34 540ia's

OBC4 Hidden Functions : Link
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  #24  
Old 01-11-2016, 06:00 AM
PAFishman PAFishman is offline
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Thanks for all the helpful advise. Sorry I have not been back to you all sooner. My girlfriend's dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer on Friday and we have been focused elsewhere. I finally got a chance to look at the old pan (rescued it from the repair stations dumpster back in June, thought it would look good in my garage when I have one again.) Unfortunately there is no (green or black) sticker on the pan. Good news was that the pan itself and the magnet on the drain plug was incredibly clean. So if there was not too much damage from lack of fluid the tranny may be in good shape.
Will have the car towed to a reputable Indy here in NNJ. I am too far away from my shop to have the car conveniently towed back there. Right now its safely stowed off the street. Will update you later this week once I have more details.
Thanks again for all the info.
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  #25  
Old 01-11-2016, 06:20 AM
capricornbmw capricornbmw is offline
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If its a simple fluid, filter and gasket change, anybody can do it as long as you tell them to pay attention to checking fluid levels with the car running. The info is in the bentley manual and google, and you can just message it to them. Besides, they probably already know, so anyway they will know that you know so they will get it done.

Have it towed somewhere close by and get them to do it - long distance tows are needlessly expensive, and this really is a simple matter.
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