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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-20-2014, 07:59 AM
spastook spastook is offline
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100k+ miles Tran fluid +flush or just fluid

I recently acquired a 2007 328xiT with 109k miles. Still as far as I know running the original "lifetime" transmission fluid. My local BMW independent specialist recommends dropping the pan, fluid, filter and gasket at a quoted $540. I've read elsewhere on these forums that due to my higher mileage I may be better off just changing fluid. Opinions?
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:09 AM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Your indy is giving you good advice and your transfer case change is way more important by the way and needs done no more than every 50K miles...
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  #3  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:09 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spastook View Post
I recently acquired a 2007 328xiT with 109k miles. Still as far as I know running the original "lifetime" transmission fluid. My local BMW independent specialist recommends dropping the pan, fluid, filter and gasket at a quoted $540. I've read elsewhere on these forums that due to my higher mileage I may be better off just changing fluid. Opinions?
Changing the filter is a good idea...most of the cost is typically the fluid.
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  #4  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:52 AM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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The trans filter on some of the auto trans in these E9x are integrated into the pan. So you need to replace the pan to change the filter, unfortunately.

At 109k miles, I would be hesitant to change the fluid. I personally, would drain half, and refill. Drive around for a few months...if everything is ok, flush all the fluid, change the pan, gasket, and mechatronics sealing sleeve, if it's a ZF trans and refill.
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  #5  
Old 01-20-2014, 08:55 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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If you're going to change the fluid, you should also change the filter at that mileage. The price you're being quoted does not seem grossly out of line.

The "higher mileage" question you're referring to is the opinion expressed by many people that if you haven't changed the fluid by some higher mileage figure (it varies), you shouldn't change anything at all, including the fluid.

And, as noted above, your transfer case and differential fluids should also be changed. I do mine every 30k miles.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fdriller9 View Post
... if it's a ZF trans ...
The OP has a 328, so it would be a GM transmission.
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  #6  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:20 AM
AnJing408 AnJing408 is offline
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Originally Posted by Zooks527 View Post
If you're going to change the fluid, you should also change the filter at that mileage. The price you're being quoted does not seem grossly out of line.

The "higher mileage" question you're referring to is the opinion expressed by many people that if you haven't changed the fluid by some higher mileage figure (it varies), you shouldn't change anything at all, including the fluid.

And, as noted above, your transfer case and differential fluids should also be changed. I do mine every 30k miles.




The OP has a 328, so it would be a GM transmission.
So if you have higher milage you shouldn't change the tranny fluid at all? Mine has 93k miles and I was planning to change the tranny fluid/filter/pan when it hits 100k
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  #7  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:24 AM
spastook spastook is offline
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My sons best friend is a tech at a local BMW dealership and his advise was to leave it alone. Now I'm totally confused although the majority of opinion seems to be to get it down. Thru the VIN my sons friend was able to determine that this particular car has spent its entire life serviced at his dealership and it was well maintained. Don't understand then why they wouldn't have done the flush themselves long ago.
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  #8  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:32 AM
spastook spastook is offline
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The "higher mileage" question you're referring to is the opinion expressed by many people that if you haven't changed the fluid by some higher mileage figure (it varies), you shouldn't change anything at all, including the fluid.


This must be the opinion shared by my sons friend the BMW tech.
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2014, 09:40 AM
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neve1064 neve1064 is offline
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Someone please define ZF and GM transmissions?

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  #10  
Old 01-20-2014, 10:28 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Originally Posted by neve1064 View Post
Someone please define ZF and GM transmissions?

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One is manufactured by GM (in France I believe), the other by ZF.
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  #11  
Old 01-20-2014, 10:30 AM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Originally Posted by AnJing408 View Post
So if you have higher milage you shouldn't change the tranny fluid at all? Mine has 93k miles and I was planning to change the tranny fluid/filter/pan when it hits 100k
I'm fairly sure this advice doesn't apply anymore. I did a tranny fluid change on my E46, for the first time, at almost 200k miles. All that happened is that the car started shifting smoother. The only stories I could find of high mileage transmissions failing after fluid changes were all decades-old American cars.
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  #12  
Old 01-20-2014, 10:33 AM
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BiHoTTo115 BiHoTTo115 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neve1064 View Post
Someone please define ZF and GM transmissions?

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ZF transmissions are those found in a 335i (or the 330i/325i [though shorter diff gear compared to 330i], and are generally thought to be better put together, thus more sought after. ZF is a company in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

GM Transmission are manufactured by a division of General Motors in France. These transmissions are found in the 328i (auto only - GM 6L45-E I believe) and are thought to be generally less robust, albeit fine.

The 328i Manual is a Getrag transmission. The 335i has a ZF transmission for auto and manual variations.

All transmissions are built for the same general purpose here, but again, certain manufacturers just produce a better transmission. The 330i has a ZF transmissions that is more than plenty for what is needed in terms of power, while the 325i transmission is JUST enough for what the car needs with its ~215HP engine. Different purposes, etc.
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  #13  
Old 01-20-2014, 10:54 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spastook View Post
Thru the VIN my sons friend was able to determine that this particular car has spent its entire life serviced at his dealership and it was well maintained. Don't understand then why they wouldn't have done the flush themselves long ago.
Until the last year or so, BMW was saying it was a "lifetime" fluid and to leave it alone. Many dealers would refuse to change it based on that statement.

About a year or so ago, BMW changed to recommending a fluid flush at 100k miles.

FWIW, I had my fluid flushed at 60k miles at the dealer and changed with the filter at 90k miles by my indy. The same indy also recommended against changing the fluid in my daughters 175k miles Passat.
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  #14  
Old 01-20-2014, 11:28 AM
Phil325i Phil325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnJing408 View Post
So if you have higher milage you shouldn't change the tranny fluid at all? Mine has 93k miles and I was planning to change the tranny fluid/filter/pan when it hits 100k
Here's what Mike Miller says in his Old School Maintenance guide:

"It is risky to drain a previously un-maintained automatic transmission with high mileage,
even though if it were my car I would probably chance it. Still, I have seen it happen too
many times, where a well-meaning owner or technician performs an ATF and filter
service on a neglected but well-shifting automatic, and then all of the sudden it starts
slipping. I canít explain it, but my feeling is the fresh ATF flushes a bit of sludge from a
place where it was doing no harm to a place where it does do harm. Overfilling, underfilling,
and cleanliness are also issues in ATF and filter servicing, but these should not be
problematic for a professional BMW technician, dealer or independent."
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  #15  
Old 01-20-2014, 01:45 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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I follow Mike Miller's advice usually but not in this case. Mike Miller is an automatic hater and the quicker he can kill one the better.
Draining the pan, changing the pan/ filter out and refilling will do NO harm. What MIGHT do harm is to try and flush the transmission stirring up particles of steels and clutch disc doing no harm and getting them stuck in a check ball.

I will tell you right now you are living on borrowed time with your transfer case if you don't get that changed out. It holds a robust 0.6L of special BMW fluid and that will fail a lot sooner than the transmission. Expect to pay 70 bucks to get a L of this stuff but the good news is that it is easy to change and you can use that L for two changes since you can only refill it to 0.5L before weeping out.

BMW as reported changed their policy and now 100K miles the transmission fluid in an auto is to be changed.
ZF suggests 50K miles so you can believe anyone on this forum or go check these facts out.

Confirm which transmission you have but both GM or ZF need changed.
There is no such thing as lifetime fill for any vehicle. This is pure marketing to allow BMW to try and compete for maintenance with Asian cars.

Ask you indy what parts he is replacing because the pan/ filter isn't cheap. GM ATF would take about 5 1/2L so would the ZF transmission.
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  #16  
Old 01-20-2014, 05:24 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spastook View Post
I recently acquired a 2007 328xiT with 109k miles. Still as far as I know running the original "lifetime" transmission fluid. My local BMW independent specialist recommends dropping the pan, fluid, filter and gasket at a quoted $540. I've read elsewhere on these forums that due to my higher mileage I may be better off just changing fluid. Opinions?

A good time to change fluid, filter; gasket. Clean the valve body. Inspect solenoids for sa-mooth operation. Yo:


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  #17  
Old 01-20-2014, 05:45 PM
blue boy blue boy is offline
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BS BS
i have never had a problem changing fluid and filter in high mileage transmission,, anyone spreading the MYTH that it causes problems is gooooofy
flushing with chemicals is another story and i would not use chemicals as some do. (unless its done at short mileage intervals)
years ago there was a myth that the clutches needed their own spent fiber to hold was spread around but it was a hoax.
as someone mentioned drian and refill a couple of times and you will be rewarded
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:46 AM
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Westech Westech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spastook View Post
I recently acquired a 2007 328xiT with 109k miles. Still as far as I know running the original "lifetime" transmission fluid. My local BMW independent specialist recommends dropping the pan, fluid, filter and gasket at a quoted $540. I've read elsewhere on these forums that due to my higher mileage I may be better off just changing fluid. Opinions?
We have a 2006 325xi Touring with 116,000 miles that was purchased by us at 108,000 miles. At that time we had out indy do a transmission filter change & flush on the ZF transmission. Although BMW now recommends fluid/filter change @ 100000 miles we would have done this service regardless. A sample of the old fluid was sent to Blackstone Labs for analysis which verified it was the original "factory fill' that contained the expected amount of metals etc. but none of the numbers suggested the transmission was in danger of eminent explosion. In addition we had the transfer case and rear end fluids changed.

Although the debate rages on regarding change/don't change high mileage fluid, I feel comfortable doing so.

As always, it's your car and your money.
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:11 PM
spastook spastook is offline
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My transmission is starting to act up seems to be searching for a gear. Especially cruising along about 40 mph can't make up its mind what gear it wants. I put off doing the fluid flush do to cost ($540) a couple months ago. But now I feel it's time. Would a flush, new fluid and filter remedy this problem?
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Old 03-10-2014, 02:28 PM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spastook View Post
The "higher mileage" question you're referring to is the opinion expressed by many people that if you haven't changed the fluid by some higher mileage figure (it varies), you shouldn't change anything at all, including the fluid.


This must be the opinion shared by my sons friend the BMW tech.
Yeah, that must be the opinion shared by BMW transmission repair shops. Get it changed!
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:47 AM
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what is the oil specs to be used?
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Old 03-15-2014, 07:41 PM
TrickyNick TrickyNick is offline
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I'd also like to know this because when I called the dealer they told me "we don't do that". They won't flush the fluid unless the transmission is not functioning properly.

I've flushed the fluid in every car I've owned every 50k miles as PM but I guess it's actually harmful...what's up with this?


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Old 03-16-2014, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by TrickyNick View Post
I'd also like to know this because when I called the dealer they told me "we don't do that". They won't flush the fluid unless the transmission is not functioning properly.

I've flushed the fluid in every car I've owned every 50k miles as PM but I guess it's actually harmful...what's up with this?


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A pox on the stealer. Find a good indy shop and have it done.
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Old 03-16-2014, 03:48 AM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickyNick View Post
I've flushed the fluid in every car I've owned every 50k miles as PM but I guess it's actually harmful...what's up with this?
BMW originally claimed the fluid was "lifetime", Now, they recommend a flush every 100,000 miles. Of the 2 dealers I use, one does them, one does not.

There are many people who feel that flushing a transmission can loosen contaminants stuck to surfaces in the interior, which can then clog channels and other small passages in the transmission. It sure looks like this dealer is one of those.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Westech View Post
A pox on the stealer. Find a good indy shop and have it done.
One of the two indy shops I use won't do it on a car over 100k miles. It may be a case of "I know what that transmission costs to fix, I know how old it is, and I'm not putting myself on the hook if something dies 6 months from now."
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  #25  
Old 03-16-2014, 06:52 AM
spastook spastook is offline
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There are many people who feel that flushing a transmission can loosen contaminants stuck to surfaces in the interior, which can then clog channels and other small passages in the transmission. It sure looks like this dealer is one of those.


I finally got around to having this done. My independent drops the pan and does a complete flush so contaminants (hopefully) won't be an issue.The flush, fluid, filter and gasket cost me $467. They also serviced the cam solenoids $208 and did a diagnostic test to reset all computer codes $125. My car now with 111,000 miles is now shifting like new.
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