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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #26  
Old 08-11-2013, 03:47 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Thanks!

Thanks for the update! Great info!
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  #27  
Old 09-03-2013, 05:19 PM
dbz426 dbz426 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLCx86 View Post
I did it last week, and I use OEM filter and Mobil 1 fully synthetic ATF, all good for now, and this week I am planing to change the ATF again, without removing the filter or pan, just to have more of the new ATF on the Transmission. Now that I know the procedure is not that hard to do it. Good luck.
Did you replace the pan gasket too? Was it hard to undo the fill plug as I heard it has a very limited space for the tool. What did you use to clean the pan. Do you happen to have the torque specs?
Thanks
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  #28  
Old 09-09-2013, 12:54 AM
Alance Alance is offline
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I have replaced my automatic trasmision on 170 000 km. The car now has 240 000km. Is it too early for a change?

How many liters of oil do I need for a change? ?
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  #29  
Old 09-12-2013, 03:37 PM
dbz426 dbz426 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
THIS IS FOR N. AMERICAN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION X3s ONLY. This does not necessarily apply to X3s sold elsewhere in the world.

Basic E83 Transmission Facts

The 2003-2006 US E83 (X3) models came with a GM 5L40-E MX5 automatic transmission. The BMW name for this transmission is the A5S 390R. This transmission was made in Strasbourg, France. It is a 5 speed steptronic transmission. No US model used the ZF transmissions. (If you have a US X3 without a GM tag on the driver's side of the transmission, please post so I can correct this.)

The 2007-2010 US E83 (X3) models came with a GM GA6L45R automatic transmission. The BMW part number for this is simply GA6L45R. This transmission was also made in Strasbourg, France. It is a six speed steptronic transmission. No US model used the ZF transmission. (Again, if your X3 is from the US and it does not have a GM transmission, please post.)

Transmission Fluid

For 2003-2006 X3 models, BMW specified an ever changing list of automatic transmission fluids (ATF) as these fluids became obsolete over time. The current recommendation from BMW is DEXRON-VI ATF, which means the fluid conforms to the GM DEXRON-VI specification. (AKA DEX-VI, Dexron VI, Dexron 6, Dex 6, DEX 6, etc).

For 2007-2010 X3 models, the recommended fluid has always been DEXRON-VI.

DEXRON is a GM trademark. GM alone determines whether an ATF may use the DEXRON mark on the product label. GM suggests that ALL of their automatic transmissions (from 1968 on) should now use a DEX-VI ATF, and BMW now recommends DEX-VI for all 2003-2010 US BMW X3s. Here are the facts about DEXRON: Wikipedia DEXRON


Tips on Fluid / Filter Change

BMW claims the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) is lifetime, and should never be replaced. There is a sticker on the bottom of the transmission pan that says to never change the fluid. Some BMW dealers now refuse to change transmission fluid. In engineering school I learned that no oil lubricates forever. I have a friend who was an engineer that tested transmissions at Allison Transmission for 20 years, and he agrees.

So here is my advice, which you can follow at your own risk, or ignore completely.

1) Somewhere between 50K and 100K miles, change the filter, and drain and fill the fluid. I suggest the MEISTERSATZ filter. Here is a tutorial on this process for the same transmission in a BMW E46: ATF Filter Tutroial. Here's my handy PDF summary of this tutorial, with full size pics ready for printing: PDF of Tutorial with Pics

2a) For a 2007-2010 X3, use a trustworthy brand of DEX-VI. Any brand that is actually licensed by GM should work, even Wal*Mart brand. I wouldn't use that, but I'm paranoid.

2b) For a 2003-2006 X3, use a trustworthy brand of DEX-VI, or a fully synthetic ATF. I say this because Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF is NOT DEX-VI certified (I wrote to Mobil and asked), but it seems to have better viscosity ratings across the board than Mobil Dexron-VI. Also, Mobil Dexron-VI ATF is a blend and not purely synthetic, and I like synthetic.

Here are the specs for Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF and Mobil Dexron-VI ATF: Mobil Dexron-VI ATF vs Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF

3) Finally, "Power Flushing" is safe AFTER THE FILTER HAS BEEN CHANGED AND THE FLUID HAS BEEN REFILLED. I spoke with the owner of Pat's Automatic Transmission Service in Broomall, Pennsylvania last week. He said that while I could do a drain, fill, and then have him flush it, that this would cost a fortune. The problem is that the transmission and torque converter combined hold about 10 quarts of fluid. The transmission specialist told me that as soon as the clean fluid is pulled into the transmission, it mixes with the old fluid that is already in there. So for the flush, they just keep pumping in new fluid until the out-flowing fluid is clear. For a 10 quart transmission, he estimated it would take 20 quarts of new fluid to do the flush, and that's after you've used 6 or 7 quarts on the drain and fill. His recommendation was to change the filter, refill the transmission, drive 50 miles, and then drain from the drain plug and refill again. Otherwise, you're going to spend big bucks on fluid.

Comments Welcome
If you are an engineer at a transmission company, a chemist with a lubricant company,or an ASE Certified Master mechanic, I would love to hear your thoughts. If anything that I've stated as a fact above is false, and you have evidence, please post so that I can make corrections. At some point GM will supersede DEX-VI with a new specification, so if you're reading this years from my original posting date, please keep that in mind.

EDITs:
Originally misstated 5L40-E as 4L40-E, which does not exist
Added links to the Wikipedia site for both transmissions
Edit paragraph about power flushing to include expert advice

Excellent write-up! Thanks!
I am getting close to tackle this DIY for the first time! My 2009 X3 is at ~60K miles. Tranny shifts fine, but with hesitation lately especially in the morning and during traffic down shifting kind of rough.

I heard that it is important to have the car levelled to ensure a correct fill amount. How do we level it?
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  #30  
Old 11-24-2013, 06:24 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
THIS IS FOR N. AMERICAN AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION X3s ONLY. This does not necessarily apply to X3s sold elsewhere in the world.


Transmission Fluid

For 2003-2006 X3 models, BMW specified an ever changing list of automatic transmission fluids (ATF) as these fluids became obsolete over time. The current recommendation from BMW is DEXRON-VI ATF, which means the fluid conforms to the GM DEXRON-VI specification. (AKA DEX-VI, Dexron VI, Dexron 6, Dex 6, DEX 6, etc).



do you recommend valvoline maxlife atf? they say on their website that is meets Dexron VI , however they DO have their own licensed Dexron VI. a bit confusing here....


ALSO: do you recommend an oil flush WITHOUT filter change? I really don't want to mess with the old bolts unless it is an absolute necessity with the new oil change.


P.S: I have a 2004 X3 with 142K miles on it! and from what I see, previous owner just drove it. so I'm planning to do an oil flush.

cheers,
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  #31  
Old 11-26-2013, 01:02 PM
Dewayne Dewayne is offline
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If it meets Dex VI, then it should be fine. It should also be stamped on the bottle, though, not just on the web site. I used Mobil 1 Dex III, and I've had that in for about 15K miles now with no problems at all. At this point, almost any new fluid has to be better than what you have now.

Regarding the filter, I talked to a guy who lives and breathes automatic transmissions, and he said that it was dangerous to do the flush without changing the filter. Most fluid filters have a pressure release bypass valve (for example oil filters), so if the ATF filter has this feature then you are probably operating with no filtration at this point. If it doesn't have a bypass, then at some point the fluid may stop flowing, or the filter media may start to break apart and clog things. I have no idea, but I wouldn't risk it.
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  #32  
Old 11-26-2013, 02:39 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
If it meets Dex VI, then it should be fine. It should also be stamped on the bottle, though, not just on the web site. I used Mobil 1 Dex III, and I've had that in for about 15K miles now with no problems at all. At this point, almost any new fluid has to be better than what you have now.

Regarding the filter, I talked to a guy who lives and breathes automatic transmissions, and he said that it was dangerous to do the flush without changing the filter. Most fluid filters have a pressure release bypass valve (for example oil filters), so if the ATF filter has this feature then you are probably operating with no filtration at this point. If it doesn't have a bypass, then at some point the fluid may stop flowing, or the filter media may start to break apart and clog things. I have no idea, but I wouldn't risk it.
Thanks! will see if I can find a filter soon enough before thanksgiving to do the job on this holiday....
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  #33  
Old 11-27-2013, 08:18 AM
simsima325 simsima325 is offline
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I know we have a lot of stickies in this subforum, but this thread deserves to sit up top. Great writeup.

At 60k miles with our 07 X3, and I think a fluid change is def. in order before 75k.
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  #34  
Old 11-28-2013, 10:27 AM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
If it meets Dex VI, then it should be fine. It should also be stamped on the bottle, though, not just on the web site. I used Mobil 1 Dex III, and I've had that in for about 15K miles now with no problems at all. At this point, almost any new fluid has to be better than what you have now.

Regarding the filter, I talked to a guy who lives and breathes automatic transmissions, and he said that it was dangerous to do the flush without changing the filter. Most fluid filters have a pressure release bypass valve (for example oil filters), so if the ATF filter has this feature then you are probably operating with no filtration at this point. If it doesn't have a bypass, then at some point the fluid may stop flowing, or the filter media may start to break apart and clog things. I have no idea, but I wouldn't risk it.
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 wheel 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 on the one I used, which is a 17mm plug that resides on the passenger's side, very close and on top of the drain plug.
any idea on this, too?

happy thanksgiving
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  #35  
Old 11-29-2013, 11:26 AM
bmwmsport11 bmwmsport11 is offline
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hopefully this transmission will last. my x3 has 122k not sure if the ATF was changed yet. any way to tell if the fluid is new?
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  #36  
Old 12-01-2013, 06:27 PM
alichak alichak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
2006 X3 (USA Gasoline Model)


Notes:

1) You need to drop the front drive shaft to reach the fill plug on the X3. Just remove the four star bolts on the rear end of the shaft. You'll need a second person to push hard on the brakes when you do this, because the bolt torque is something like 75ftlb, so even with a gigantic 1/2" torque wrench, I could barely pull hard enough to tighten these.

.
I think the fill plug you mentioned IS the correct one. however many people, including myself! ended up using the 17mm hex bolt on the opposite side (the passenger side) as the fill hole. it is more accessible, and it SEEMS to be at the same level as the correct fill hole you mentioned here.

any thoughts on that? do you think using the other fill hole would cause any trouble OR under/over filling?
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  #37  
Old 12-13-2013, 06:11 PM
crr1612 crr1612 is offline
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transaxle fluid change

was wondering re transaxle fluid for x drives. at 90000 miles want to change
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  #38  
Old 01-23-2014, 03:08 PM
Jat007 Jat007 is offline
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Great posting and thank you!!

I own a 2004 X3 2.5 motor w/Auto box. My X3 is now at 77K miles and I am sure the tranny fluid hasn't flushed one yet. The tranny shift beautifully, but I am going to have the tranny fluid flushed this spring. My main question is, since you like synthetic fluid, do you recommend the brand RedLine? I have used RedLine fluid for Differentials and tranny fluid in my other Europeans vehicles, and I was thinking of using it in my X3.

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

Jay
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  #39  
Old 02-19-2014, 07:31 AM
mineralfarmer mineralfarmer is offline
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transfer case fluid for $14

TF-0870 75W GL4 fluid is available under the Nissan brand on Amazon for $14.28 delivered!
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  #40  
Old 02-19-2014, 06:30 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mineralfarmer View Post
TF-0870 75W GL4 fluid is available under the Nissan brand on Amazon for $14.28 delivered!
Interesting! But I don't know if all TF-0870 products are exactly the same.

It's not like Nissan to miss an opportunity for charging a premium price for their specialty fluids.
(Their long-life coolant is just as expensive as BMW's.)

Maybe additives to the basic formulation are what make the difference for manufacturer specifications (and price).

See: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...0&postcount=39

The Ravenol fluid from Germany appears to cost about $40/L, and claims to meet BMW, Land Rover, Nissan and VW/Porsche requirements.

http://www.ravenol.de/en/produkte/ve...d-tf-0870.html Note that they decline to give Technical Specs. for the fluid.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ravenol-Tr...item2eceae85c2

I don't have any answers to the questions:

Is the BMW fluid expensive because Shell is charging them a lot for it because of a particular additive.

Would you notice any difference using the Nissan fluid which may be supplied by Shell, Ravenol or a source yet to be determined?

http://www.amazon.com/Genuine-Nissan.../dp/B00ARDCYB8

Most times when it is just a labelling issue, the supplier uses the same shape container which helps confirm that it is the identical product. But not in this case.
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  #41  
Old 02-22-2014, 06:09 AM
enjoydriving enjoydriving is offline
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I read somewhere the Shell made TF-0870 is not even synthetic and Ravenol declares its TF-0870 is fully synthetic. This would make a big difference as a lot X3 X5 users complained the high wearing rate of the transfer case, in particular the chain.

My guess, not substantiated, is the transfer case fluid has to satisfy providing the best lubrication to the chain, gears and bearings while not upsetting the clutches. The Shell fluid seems to do a good job on the clutches so no slip but creates a lot of metal particles in the fluid, an indication of high wearing on the rotating metal parts, in particulate the chain.

It would be good to know there is a better transfer case fluid than the default BMW fluid which is the Shell TF-0870.

Last edited by enjoydriving; 02-23-2014 at 03:50 AM.
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  #42  
Old 04-03-2014, 01:28 PM
mtbrdad mtbrdad is offline
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Any Auto Trans failures due to fluid?

Has anyone with the 2007-2010 automatic, 6L45 trans, ever experienced a failure due to not changing the fluid? I'm going to play the devils advocate here because I have some belief in what has been engineered for this vehicle. I've searched high and low on the net and haven't been able to find one failure because of fluid, bad or otherwise. My belief is that with the fluid change recommendation at 100k miles fluid testing, which very few could understand and most likely done by phd chemical engineers, has been done as well as the actual trans failure and fatigue testing, probably by at least masters degreed mechanical engineers, and on top of this there have been safety factors built in.
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  #43  
Old 04-08-2014, 01:43 AM
elcath2 elcath2 is offline
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Wink

Hi, Im just a Newbie in this forum, & I hope i'm on the right page, I wonder if some experts could advise type of ATF for my SUV X3 3.0i 2006 Mdl. Auto trans. bought in Philippines and as far as i know that diff. type of lubes varies on every weather or climate conditions, i hope someone could show the right path so i can make my own maint. sched. instead of being charge couple of hundreds of USD just for a simple change fluid of my Bimer,

Last edited by elcath2; 04-08-2014 at 09:12 AM.
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  #44  
Old 04-18-2014, 06:50 PM
3gunshooter 3gunshooter is offline
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Changed oil

I changed my trans. oil today on my 08 X3 now at 115000 miles. Oil was still reddish in color and did not smell burnt and normal metal slug in the pan. Filled back up with Valvoline dex 6 full synthetic.
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  #45  
Old 04-30-2014, 07:59 PM
2006 X3 2006 X3 is offline
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Front driveshaft

I agree with the comment Alichak, the 17mm bolt on the passenger side should work perfectly, especially if you drain from that port before removing the drain plug. In this way, you can ensure the refill is appropriate. Verifying with the post from others will reinforce the amount you should receive from a refill port. As a further check, measure the opening from the base of the transmission which is leveled for refill.

Removing the front driveshaft is not advised at the output shaft from the transfer case is held in place by the driveshaft. If the driveshaft is removed and you run through the gears, there would seem to be a distinct possibility to lose transfer case fluid. I know this because I replaced the driveshaft last week as a UV blew up. So much for German engineering.
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  #46  
Old 09-29-2014, 03:11 PM
GTR-34 GTR-34 is offline
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great information
just read in german forums about it.

my X3 has also around 110,000 miles and I wanna change the soup this month.
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  #47  
Old 09-29-2014, 07:58 PM
2006 X3 2006 X3 is offline
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I have completed the ATF change and everything worked well. The sticker on the bottom of the transmission indicated Dexron VI, so I used the Mobil Dexron-VI ATF which is a synthetic blend, worked perfectly. I bought a case of it from TheLubricantStore.com because the price was perfect and having 112 quarts allowed me to drain, fill, drain and refill so as to remove the vast majority of the amount left in the torque converter. A couple of points:

Measure all of the fluid which is removed thereby knowing what to expect on the refill.
Car should be level, though that does not mean the transmission is level as it is angled down, front to back
My transmission was a GM unit made in France.
I bought a fluid pump from Walmart for ~$5, located in their Outbound Engine supply department, worked great.
I bought the filter and new bolts from Bavarian Auto
I dropped the pan, cleaned everything, no need to remove the front driveshaft.
Drove 150 miles, then drained from the drain plug and then refilled.
I used an instant meat thermometer to measure the temperature of the fluid.
Everything is good

Glad to answer any questions.
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  #48  
Old 11-24-2014, 07:14 AM
abscate abscate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewayne View Post
2006 X3 (USA Gasoline Model)

A few weeks ago, at 60,500 miles I did the ATF fluid and filter change with Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF. The Mobil 1 ATF is red, so it is pretty easy to distinguish from the honey/brown ATF in the factory fill. I cleaned a coating of metallic dust from the pan (there were no chunks). It took almost almost 7 quarts (liters) to fully fill until fluid started running out of the fill hole.

Then I drove 130 miles, and did a second fluid change only (without dropping the pan). The drained fluid looked clean, but it was somewhat dark red after having mixed with the original fluid left in the torque converter. In total, I used about 12 quarts of ATF, accounting for spillage.

Finally, I drove the X3 with fresh fluid 300 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which has steep grades through two mountain ranges. In order to maintain a cruising speed of 74 MPH, the transmission frequently downshifted one, two, or even three gears. I also did some fairly aggressive passing to avoid getting stuck behind trucks.

All of the shifts were smooth. Before the ATF change, it seemed like the transmission would hesitate slightly before down-shifting, but that may have been my imagination.

Notes:

1) You need to drop the front drive shaft to reach the fill plug on the X3. Just remove the four star bolts on the rear end of the shaft. You'll need a second person to push hard on the brakes when you do this, because the bolt torque is something like 75ftlb, so even with a gigantic 1/2" torque wrench, I could barely pull hard enough to tighten these.

2) Make sure that the shaft cannot "flop" over to the center, or else it will end up underneath the drain plug, and spill ATF everywhere (this happened to me.)

3) I used a floor jack to gently brace the pan while I removed the bolts. The pan and gasket were stuck to the transmission, so I was able to gradually pry it away all the way around before lowering it. I was able to remove the pan with zero spillage, but I had a second person to remove the floor jack first so I could lower the pan by hand.

4) Fluid will slowly drip from the transmission itself for hours after you remove the pan, so be sure to put something (plastic or cardboard) under it big enough to catch the drips.

5) ATF fluid stinks like death when heated. I obviously didn't clean it off well enough, so be sure to use brake cleaner to remove every last drop from every surface.
Im going to tackle this job on my X3 with 120,000 miles on it. Fluid has never been changed. Is there a guide with pictures showing the drain bolts on the transmission in the Fora?
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  #49  
Old 11-24-2014, 10:16 AM
2006 X3 2006 X3 is offline
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The process is easy and straight forward. I suggest you visit the Bavarian Auto video which shows drain bolts and good explanations. You did not specify the year of your X3, so the tranny could be either a GM or a ZF. The process is mostly the same, but the repair parts are different and the fluid is different also. My X3 is a 2006 with 160K and a GM transmission.

The issue is not the drain bolts/plug, because it will be very apparent as the only one on the bottom of the pan. The earlier post by Dewayne talks about dropping the front driveshaft, but I found another fill plug on the opposite side of the transmission and at the same height. Dropping the front driveshaft is a pain and then the coupling to the transfer case is unattached and could leak.

Good luck
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  #50  
Old 11-25-2014, 06:46 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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^ ZF for the manual transmissions, but A/T in the E83 is a GM (France) transmission (5-spd. up to 2006, then 6-spd. from 2007 on).

The point about checking a BavAutosport video is still valid as location of drain and fill bolts will vary between those two GM products.
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