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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:34 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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2004 X3 2.5i Transmission Fluid Change... WTF is wrong with my fill plug?

hey guys, I'm new to the forum. I picked up my x3 about a month ago and decided that I wanted to change the ATF. Did a bunch of research about what fluid to use, the procedure and what not so I thought I was all good to do it today. Apparently my X3 had other plans.

I started off by looking for the fill plug, which I thought i found (see image one).

I noticed that the plug was recessed in a hole instead of visible at the surface so I took a pic to see how it looked like. (see image 2).

When I saw that, I knew I was **** out of luck but I tried cleaning it with WD40 to see if the torx pattern would appear, but it didn't. It looked like a small circle, no pattern at all. (see image 3).

So does anyone know what's going on? I made sure that I didn't miss any other bolts that could have been the fill plug, it was the only one that made sense. Another WTF is when I looked up the parts on Real OEM LINK they didn't outline what 7 and 8 were, and I didn't see 7 when I was looking for it on the transmission.





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  #2  
Old 07-21-2012, 08:22 AM
F10ster F10ster is offline
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I thought you had to suck out the fluid via an access hole on top? Maybe recalling this wrong however.
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2012, 09:45 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Haven't done the transmission fluid change myself, but looking at the realoem diagrams I see:

- for the 5-speed unit, that thing you indicate is called a sealing cover (1st. link below)

- could #10 be the fill plug (a hex nut, not internal hex) as that doesn't show up on the later 6-speed unit?

- for the 6-speed transmission, the fill plug is clearly indicated and is a bit higher up from the pan (2nd. link)
- hard to see on the 5-speed diag. where that #10 actually is, but about the mid-point and higher up from the pan than where you were looking

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...90&hg=24&fg=15

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...03&hg=24&fg=15
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2012, 09:59 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Haven't done the transmission fluid change myself, but looking at the realoem diagrams I see:

- for the 5-speed unit, that thing you indicate is called a sealing cover (1st. link below)

- could #10 be the fill plug (a hex nut, not internal hex) as that doesn't show up on the later 6-speed unit?

- for the 6-speed transmission, the fill plug is clearly indicated and is a bit higher up from the pan (2nd. link)
- hard to see on the 5-speed diag. where that #10 actually is, but about the mid-point and higher up from the pan than where you were looking

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...90&hg=24&fg=15

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...03&hg=24&fg=15
Thanks for the reply, at least now I know what the thing I was looking at was lol. If the fill plug is #10 then they put that in a stupid spot hah, I didn't even see anything obvious when I looked up higher, but I'll have to take a second look.

I still find it really odd why the 2.5i trans fill location is so off compared to other bmw that use the same transmission. It's usually in a location similar to this from what I've seen:
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  #5  
Old 08-09-2012, 01:19 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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haven't had much time to look further in to it, but I was looking at the RealOEM diagram again (LINK) and just noticed the disclaimer at the bottom: "Items pictured but not listed are not installed on your vehicle."

Which explains why the numbers 7 and 8 aren't labeled. I know that 8 is the fill plug on other cars that use the same transmission. And looking at the top of my first picture I can see a plug that doesn't have a pattern but it matches the location of where 8 would go. I wonder if i can replace that with a fill plug assuming that plug can be taken out.
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  #6  
Old 08-09-2012, 01:40 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Same thing applies to the differentials - only the other way around.

Some have a proper drain plug and some have a blank - so you have to drain and fill through the one plug.

The question is .... if that blank can be removed (without use of a drill) will the hole be already threaded?

Might be risky.

Last edited by Supercourse; 08-09-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-09-2012, 01:46 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Same thing applies to the differentials - only the other way around.

Some have a proper drain plug and some have a blank - so you have to drain and fill through the one plug.

The question is .... if that blank can be removed (without use of a drill) will the hole be already threaded?

Might be risky.
ah yeah good call, I don't think I will risk taking it out in case there's no thread.
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  #8  
Old 08-10-2012, 09:00 AM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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after digging around a bit more I realized that the fill plug is number 10 on the diagram. Supercourse called it.

I figured it out by looking at an X5 transmission fluid change DIY and saw that the fill plug was a 17mm outer hex which is number 7 in this diagram: LINK. This isn't installed in the x3, but number 10 is the same part number as number 7. Can't believe it took me that long to realize that *facepalm*. Now i just have to locate it on my car.
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  #9  
Old 11-23-2013, 11:35 AM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArjayA View Post
after digging around a bit more I realized that the fill plug is number 10 on the diagram. Supercourse called it.

I figured it out by looking at an X5 transmission fluid change DIY and saw that the fill plug was a 17mm outer hex which is number 7 in this diagram: LINK. This isn't installed in the x3, but number 10 is the same part number as number 7. Can't believe it took me that long to realize that *facepalm*. Now i just have to locate it on my car.
I'm planning to do the same! have you figured out where are the plugs? thanks!
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2013, 01:28 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alichak View Post
I'm planning to do the same! have you figured out where are the plugs? thanks!
hey yes I did, I used this post as a guide http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...r-x5-3-0i.html

hope that helps!
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  #11  
Old 11-25-2013, 12:27 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArjayA View Post
hey yes I did, I used this post as a guide http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...r-x5-3-0i.html

hope that helps!
Hey man, thanks for the Thread! I took a picture from my car's transmission:


I think both fill plug (upper hex bolt) and the drain plug are at the passenger side. right? you used the same bolts to drain and fill?

Thanks

Last edited by alichak; 11-25-2013 at 12:59 PM.
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  #12  
Old 11-25-2013, 12:54 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Yeah what you have in the picture are the correct ones. The drain plug actually uses Torx socket, so I bought a set of these:

Can't remember the size it was that fits in there, I think it was a T45.

also make sure to remove the fill plug first, you don't want to have it drained only to find out you can't fill it back up! It will probably come off without trouble though, but you'll have peace of mind.
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  #13  
Old 11-25-2013, 12:58 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArjayA View Post
Yeah what you have in the picture are the correct ones. The drain plug actually uses Torx socket, so I bought a set of these:

Can't remember the size it was that fits in there, I think it was a T45.

also make sure to remove the fill plug first, you don't want to have it drained only to find out you can't fill it back up! It will probably come off without trouble though, but you'll have peace of mind.
awesome! thanks. what oil you used? I'm thinking of using valvoline maxlife ATF (their updated spec. says it complies with dexron vi.) also I have to figure out a way to keep the car warm, without burning the vinyl tubing I will be using to deliver the oil....since the fill plug is on the exhaust side.
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  #14  
Old 11-25-2013, 01:37 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alichak View Post
.....I'm thinking of using valvoline maxlife ATF (their updated spec. says it complies with dexron vi.) ......
Your 2004 factory fill was a Texaco fluid that was supplied specifically to BMW, and was similar to Dexron III but somehow unique.

Valvoline Maxlife definitely does not list compatibility with that Texaco fluid - a significant percentage of which will remain in your transmission.

Some other multi-application "import vehicle" ATF's do list compatibility with the Texaco fluid as well as meeting Dexron VI specs.
(Forget which ones - discussed fully in the other thread on ATF.)

If you were able to get a complete evacuation of the factory fluid, then any name brand Dexron VI is the way to go.

The Valvoline Maxlife might be a good product for some vehicles, but I can't see any reason for using it in your X3.
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  #15  
Old 11-25-2013, 02:18 PM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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I can't remember what threads I looked at because there's quite a few, but I ended up using Redline D4 ATF. I remember it being mentioned a few times as an alternative.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2013, 04:09 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Your 2004 factory fill was a Texaco fluid that was supplied specifically to BMW, and was similar to Dexron III but somehow unique.

Valvoline Maxlife definitely does not list compatibility with that Texaco fluid - a significant percentage of which will remain in your transmission.

Some other multi-application "import vehicle" ATF's do list compatibility with the Texaco fluid as well as meeting Dexron VI specs.
(Forget which ones - discussed fully in the other thread on ATF.)

If you were able to get a complete evacuation of the factory fluid, then any name brand Dexron VI is the way to go.

The Valvoline Maxlife might be a good product for some vehicles, but I can't see any reason for using it in your X3.
it says that it complies with dexron VI but not the official licensee. so there is gray area here on how to interpret it. I liked it since it is formulated for high mileage ones. apart from that, I have no preferences. what you recommend for a car with 142K miles?

UPDATE:just googled it, valvoline CLAIMS compatibility with BMW part number 83220024359, ETL-8072B, for their MaxLife ATF and Import MV ATF.

here is the URL:

http://www.carquestprofessionals.com...%206.10.13.pdf

Last edited by alichak; 11-25-2013 at 04:16 PM.
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2013, 04:58 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Seems like Valvoline have updated their chart in June of this year, and it now covers everything including Texaco ETL-7045.

Not sure that any 2004 -06 X3 owners have a decal on the transmission that says Dexron III as suggested in Valvoline's chart.

The color of the decal and the wording does seem to vary, but generally I thought it gave a BMW part no. for fluid, or one of the Texaco ETL's.

But as Valvoline mentions both Texaco numbers I should take back what I said earlier.
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  #18  
Old 11-25-2013, 07:03 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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oven mit safety tip

beg borrow or steal a good heat resistant oven mit or similar to put over the exhaust when you add fluid with engine running....exhaust is a few inches close by the fill plug....don't forget to pull it off when thru !
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2013, 07:43 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Check the back label on the Valvoline Maxlife to be sure you have the latest formulation.

At least I hope they changed the formulation in order to suddenly be compliant with such a large range of vehicles.
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  #20  
Old 11-28-2013, 10:29 AM
alichak alichak is offline
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UPDATE!

so I went ahead and changed the fluid with maxlife ATF. on the bottle it says it is compatible with dexron VI. now I have two surfaced issues: a bird whistling (very smooth high pitch) sound that is eventually fading away, and a vibrating idle feeling on the steering when the tranny is in D position and car is at full stop (say, behind a red light). vibration on the steering goes away when I put the tranny on P or N.
any thought on this?

and BTW, I found a 2001 BMW bulletin document which shows the filler plug of the A5S 390R to be on the DRIVER"S SIDE of the tranny, the exact opposite side of the fill plug I used, which is a 17mm plug that resides on the passenger's side, very close and on top of the drain plug. I hope they sit at the same level.otherwise I might have over OR under filled the poor tranny.
any idea on this, too?

happy thanksgiving
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  #21  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:01 AM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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wrong hand drive

maybe the bulletin was for a right hand drive ????
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  #22  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:06 AM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swampX3 View Post
maybe the bulletin was for a right hand drive ????
I was referring to their relative placement. it has a figure that shows the placement of the fill and drain plug, and they are at the opposite side of each other. so no matter how you look at it, one would be on the left and the other on the right.

I'm thinking the document might be outdated. MAYBE ... on newer models, placement of the plug has changed?

OR MAYBE.......... many people are using the wrong fill hole?!?!
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  #23  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:27 AM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alichak View Post
I was referring to their relative placement. it has a figure that shows the placement of the fill and drain plug, and they are at the opposite side of each other. so no matter how you look at it, one would be on the left and the other on the right.

I'm thinking the document might be outdated. MAYBE ... on newer models, placement of the plug has changed?

OR MAYBE.......... many people are using the wrong fill hole?!?!
fill hole was what you showed in the picture you took. there's nothing on the otherside if you look. it took me forever to figure out where the fill hole was too because I was looking at diagrams that didn't match what I saw. But then I saw the thread I linked to earlier with the X5, and saw the fill plug looked just like the one I saw but at a different spot.

Last edited by ArjayA; 11-28-2013 at 11:29 AM.
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  #24  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:39 AM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArjayA View Post
fill hole was what you showed in the picture you took. there's nothing on the otherside if you look. it took me forever to figure out where the fill hole was too because I was looking at diagrams that didn't match what I saw. But then I saw the thread I linked to earlier with the X5, and saw the fill plug looked just like the one I saw but at a different spot.
oh actually I was referring to both fill and rain holes! I used the 17 mm bolt shown there as the fill hole, which resides on the passenger side, same side as the drain hole!

but is seems that the fill hole, is on the driver's side? right? WRONG? I used the one neat the exhaust (passenger side) as the fill hole!!

actually I have seen videos, that people are using the same fill hole as the one I used. look at these two videos:





which one you used? the FILL HOLE on the drivers side, or on the passenger's side (these two guys on these videos are using the ones on the passenger side, which I also used!)
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  #25  
Old 11-28-2013, 11:44 AM
ArjayA ArjayA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alichak View Post
oh actually I was referring to both fill and rain holes! I used the 17 mm bolt shown there as the fill hole, which resides on the passenger side, same side as the drain hole!

but is seems that the fill hole, is on the driver's side? right? WRONG? I used the one neat the exhaust (passenger side) as the fill hole!!

actually I have seen videos, that people are using the same fill hole as the one I used. look at these two videos:





which one you used? the FILL HOLE on the drivers side, or on the passenger's side (these two guys on these videos are using the ones on the passenger side, which I also used!)
mine was on the passenger side. the pic you took looks exactly like my transmission so you should be good.
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