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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-18-2012, 06:42 AM
Neubs1 Neubs1 is offline
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Power Steering Fluid Change - 2008 535i

I have 84k miles on my 2008 535i - I'd like do a preventitive maint change of the power steering fluid. The lid on my reservoir is imprinted with "CHF 11S Only" (which I understand is a synthetic power steering fluid [oil]).

Any thoughts on using "BMW ATF" instead of "CHF 11S"? I have several liters of ATF left over from a transmission fluid change?

Thanks in-advance,
Neubs
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2012, 07:12 AM
BMW535xia BMW535xia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neubs1 View Post
I have 84k miles on my 2008 535i - I'd like do a preventitive maint change of the power steering fluid. The lid on my reservoir is imprinted with "CHF 11S Only" (which I understand is a synthetic power steering fluid [oil]).

Any thoughts on using "BMW ATF" instead of "CHF 11S"? I have several liters of ATF left over from a transmission fluid change?

Thanks in-advance,
Neubs
as i can closely recall from a post i read awhile back there are two different types of fluid used and one indicated as you stated for yours. alas, they are not interchangeable (of course) and one is markedly more costly (thanks again BMW). but from your post, i don't believe you have the more $$$ type. i would just get a cost from the dealer, because what SA can you trust if you attempt to learn from "him"?

Last edited by BMW535xia; 05-18-2012 at 07:16 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2012, 07:06 AM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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I just did my car. My 535xi called for CHF 11S as well. The Bentley manual says some cars use ATF and others use CHF 11S and you should not intermix or change. I can't say one way or the other if you will have problems but why chance costly repairs to save a few bucks on fluid.

The Pentosin CHF 11S is available at NAPA on the shelf or from a number of vendors. I got mine from ECS while purchasing some other stuff.
I used two liters. I have a vacuum extractor that runs off my compressor. I sucked out the reservoir (hey no jokes) filled with CHF 11S, started the car and with the front wheels off the ground I turned the wheel lock to lock (back and forth) for about a minute or so. I repeated this process several times until I used the full two liters of new fluid.

Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2012, 02:54 PM
Neubs1 Neubs1 is offline
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Thanks for the reply, Ssmokn'.

I went to my local Advanced Auto Parts and they never heard of it... They had several types of power steering fluids on the shelf but none on the shelf with any listing of specs, etc. Several employees were confused with mineral oil and synthetic. They did look up my 535i on their computer to confirm that they don't carry CHF 11S. I'm looking for a Napa locally first thing tomorrow.

I sucked out the reservoir with a hand pump and pulled one quart of fluid - which I still have in case I strike out finding new fluid.

...I still wonder about the BMW ATF, as I asked in my orig question.

I agree with you in the long run: why quibble over a few dollars for a quart or two of fluid? it's just that the ATF from BMW was pricey, it's still sitting in a clean container and assuming I get an ATF fluid change from BMW due to my extended maintenance package @ 100,000 miles, I won't need the extra fluid in my garage for another 70,000 miles!

Cheers,
Neubs
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  #5  
Old 05-19-2012, 04:40 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neubs1 View Post
Thanks for the reply, Ssmokn'.

I went to my local Advanced Auto Parts and they never heard of it... They had several types of power steering fluids on the shelf but none on the shelf with any listing of specs, etc. Several employees were confused with mineral oil and synthetic. They did look up my 535i on their computer to confirm that they don't carry CHF 11S. I'm looking for a Napa locally first thing tomorrow.

I sucked out the reservoir with a hand pump and pulled one quart of fluid - which I still have in case I strike out finding new fluid.

...I still wonder about the BMW ATF, as I asked in my orig question.

I agree with you in the long run: why quibble over a few dollars for a quart or two of fluid? it's just that the ATF from BMW was pricey, it's still sitting in a clean container and assuming I get an ATF fluid change from BMW due to my extended maintenance package @ 100,000 miles, I won't need the extra fluid in my garage for another 70,000 miles!

Cheers,
Neubs
NAPA in my area definitely has it on the shelf. Another good bet would be CarQuest. I don't think any of the chains like Autozone, Advance Auto, PepBoys and the chains like that will have it.

If I recall it was around $17 per liter at my local NAPA and that is about what I paid via mail order too.

The two liters I did is probably overkill but I like doing maintenance and figure it can't hurt to have clean fluid in there.

Pentosin is good stuff so I don't mind using what is recommended. It comes in a square green can. Here is the product data sheet from Pentosin
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  #6  
Old 05-19-2012, 04:44 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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One more tip. When you pull the cap off put the can on a table and make sure you aren't squeezing the can when holding it. The can is so full when you pull the cap you end up squirting fluid all over. The can is FULL! I hate wasting expensive fluids of any kind!

Ask me how I know this
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2012, 04:54 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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ATF vs CHF 11S

I believe the CHF 11S is the OEM fill for cars that have a cold weather package as well as cars shipped to Arctic regions. The CHF 11S goes down to -30F and still remains viscous.

According to a BMW bulletin I read CHF 11S and the OEM fill ATF are compatible, but they do not recommend mixing as the characteristics of the fluid will change (too much ATF in the mix and you lose the cold weather capability).

The filter for the power steering fluid is usually built into the bottom of the reservoir. The reservoirs are cheap (like $20) so it is a good idea to change the reservoir when flushing the fluid. If you change out the reservoir then leave the return line disconnected and actively fill the reservoir with new fluid while the engine is running and have someone turn the wheels you can stick the return line in a bucket and keep pouring new fluid in the reservoir until the fluid coming out the return line runs clear. Then turn off the engine, attach the return line to the reservoir and top it off.

I am trying to find confirmation that no components change, only the fill changes for the cold weather package (including sport option with active roll stabilization and other equipment that might tie into the hydraulic package).

My 545i did have the cold weather package and sport suspension and has CHF 11s but the car now it lives in Arizona, and I have heard that the CHF 11S is too thin for the high heat and that leaks can develop more easily in the hydraulics with the thinner fluid.

I am not quite ready for a fluid change as the fluid was changed about 6K miles ago during an engine removal repair and I hate to throw the fresh fluid away. However, if I can confirm that all the components are the same when the different fills are used then I will switch over to Pentosin ATF1 to better handle the heat.
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  #8  
Old 05-19-2012, 05:02 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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For what is is worth my car was originally from Southern California and it does not have the cold weather package but it did come with CHF 11S.

The car is a long way from SoCal now (CT)

The Kinematic Viscosity of CHF 11S at 100 celcius is approxmiately equivalent to a 75 weight gear oil. While this oil has excellent cold weather properties there is no issues using it in a hot climate. CHF 11S is good stuff.

Last edited by ssmokn; 05-19-2012 at 05:38 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-19-2012, 07:16 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Not really sure how consistent BMW was or is with fills, and also how they might have changed over the years (my BMW is four years older than yours).

If I still lived in Chicago I would definitely vote CHF 11S.

I will say I have heard good things in general about CHF 11S but only pass on the comment regarding tendency to leak as second hand. I have no qualified source, but will continue to gather info and pass along what seems relevant.

Regarding kinematic viscosity at 100C:
Pentosin CHF 11S spec sheet says 6.0 mm2/sec
Pentosin ATF1 spec sheet says 7.6 mm2/sec
Gear oils are more in the 15 to 18 range (Royal Purple 75W 90 is 17.6 and Mobil 1 75W 90 is 15.2).

Of course viscosity is a measure of resistance to shear, not a measure of thickness, and with modern multi-viscosity synthetic fluids how a difference in kinematic viscosity at one temperature relates to a tendency to leak I wouldn’t pretend to say I know. I am not a chemical or fluid hydraulics engineer and the two prerequisite fluid dynamics courses I took 30 years ago in engineering school aren’t holding up too well to the years (use it or lose it).

Just passing along my $.02.
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  #10  
Old 05-20-2012, 07:33 AM
Neubs1 Neubs1 is offline
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Pentosin CHF11S for BMW Power Steering

I did learn that CHF11S is a power steering fluid / hydraulic oil also used in many vehicle self-leveling applications. I does have a very wide temperature band for operations - likely the widest of all available ps fluids - which is why I decided to NOT use BMW ATF in my power steering flush.

CHF11S is available under several brand names, but Pentosin is the most available...and it is stocked at NAPA, but AutoZone and Advanced Auto Parts (unsre about CarQuest).

On the Pentosin CHF11S liter-can there is verbiage that specifies that it meets specs for BMW, Mercedes, Bentley and others.

OBTW, $23 per can.

Cheers, Neubs
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  #11  
Old 05-20-2012, 07:38 AM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerfan52 View Post
Not really sure how consistent BMW was or is with fills, and also how they might have changed over the years (my BMW is four years older than yours).

If I still lived in Chicago I would definitely vote CHF 11S.

I will say I have heard good things in general about CHF 11S but only pass on the comment regarding tendency to leak as second hand. I have no qualified source, but will continue to gather info and pass along what seems relevant.

Regarding kinematic viscosity at 100C:
Pentosin CHF 11S spec sheet says 6.0 mm2/sec
Pentosin ATF1 spec sheet says 7.6 mm2/sec
Gear oils are more in the 15 to 18 range (Royal Purple 75W 90 is 17.6 and Mobil 1 75W 90 is 15.2).

Of course viscosity is a measure of resistance to shear, not a measure of thickness, and with modern multi-viscosity synthetic fluids how a difference in kinematic viscosity at one temperature relates to a tendency to leak I wouldn’t pretend to say I know. I am not a chemical or fluid hydraulics engineer and the two prerequisite fluid dynamics courses I took 30 years ago in engineering school aren’t holding up too well to the years (use it or lose it).

Just passing along my $.02.
I hear you. I'm not trying to debate or argue with you. Just sharing my .02 as well. I think that we all overthink fluids too much at times (things like engine oil). The folks like us that do the maintenance are WAY ahead of those that don't regardless of the type and brand of fluid etc.

While I firmly believe there is no magic in some of the "special" fluids at other times I don't see any point in chancing it. The trans in my car is a good point. It takes ZF Lifeguard 6 (which is what the BMW fluid is). I can get it for about $30 per quart online. Expensive yes, can I substitue something else, probably. Do I personally want to chance it,... I don't.

Keep sharing the info. It's all good!
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  #12  
Old 05-20-2012, 02:37 PM
bimmerfan52 bimmerfan52 is offline
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Totally agree. Absolutely no offense taken.

Great to hear all of the different perspectives on this site as well as tap into the vast BMW experience. Although I have maintained German cars in the past (Zuffenhausen), and turning a bolt is turning a bolt, each brand has its own idiosyncrasies and since this is my first Bimmer I am all ears.

Yes we are truly splitting hairs over two great products, either of which the factory sees fit to use. And I agree that even if we used lesser products, just the fact that we are renewing the fluids is 90% of the battle.

You brought up trans fluid. ZF Lifeguard is a great product. Last time I bought Pentosin AFT1, which I understand is an alternate factory fill and fully approved by BMW. $14.99 at local Oreilly's (they hide it in back and you have to ask for it).

Next time you need ZF Lifeguard try these guys. They have some interesting DIYs on their site including replacing mechatronic sleeve etc. And at $18.50 per liter or $16.50 per liter in case quantity you may save a few Deutsche Marks.

http://www.thectsc.com/index.php?p=c...parent=58&pg=1

Regards
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  #13  
Old 05-20-2012, 05:14 PM
ssmokn ssmokn is offline
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Wow, thanks for the URL. I wasn't familiar with the site. That is a killer deal. I ordered from Bavarian Auto Sport. Price was about $30 ish per liter and free shipping. They are in the one day ground shipping zone which is nice. Even with shipping the place you shared has to be cheaper. Bookmarking that one right now!
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