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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
At 85K on the odometer I decided to service my transmission, id est change oil and filter.

I was following this wonderful DIY by james2538 from E46f:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=438667&highlight=atf+change

I took my own pictures and did the write-up below. Later I'll either update this thread or do a separate DIY on how to put the car on 4 jack stands.

My 02 325i is equipped with GM transmission, A5S 390R-ZP in the BMW nomenclature or 5L40E in the GM nomenclature. The pan has a blue sticker with the oil part #: 83220024359 which is Texaco ETL 8072B oil. I decided to use the original type of oil and did not regret it and let me explain why. First of all I need to say that getting hold of ETL 8072B oil is getting more and more difficult since dealerships do not carry it any more because it has been replaced with Dexron VI oil. Some dealerships still have some of 8072B in stock though. The closest to me in St. Louis is Plaza Motors and they had about 9 litres left in stock, $ 9,11 per half litre. Mark, the parts guy brought the 25 L container to the counter (and I had a chance to make sure the big container had the right label "Texaco ETL 8072B" and the correct part #) and sold me 6 litres by pouring it into my own containers (I had three 2L containers with me). No wonder they do not recommend mixing this oil with other types! The color of this oil is dark brown with a tint of gold and not red like most of the ATF I've seen before. The viscosity of it looked to me thicker than the Dex fluid and more like that of motor oil. Mark and me compared this oil and GM Dexron VI at the sales counter and they did look like 2 different types of fluid based on visual observation of color and viscosity. That's all I base my opinion on, I have neither time nor interest to investigate into chemical composition of BMW oil versus other ATF. I do not regret buying the original, more expensive oil for the peace of mind. If my transmission fails some time in the future at least I'll know it's not because of the wrong fluid in it.

The evening before starting on the process of ATF change I put the car on 4 jack stands. I put the front wheels on ramps and jacked up the rear under the U-brace in front of the differential. Put the jack stands under the rear jack points and lowered the rear of the car onto the jack stands. Then I jacked the front of the car up under the right front point of the "frame rail" and put 2 jack stands under the front jack points and lowered the front.

First thing to do was to unscrew the fill plug. I used a T-45 socket and an 8mm combination wrench. The torque of this plug is 15 ft. lb (20nm), so using the open end was not enough to loosen it up, it kept coming off the torx bit. But I was successful with using the box end of the wrench inserted onto the torx bit and an extension for the additional leverage. The drain plug (T-40) presented no problem to unscrew, so in 10 minutes the oil was partially drained. Some still remained in the pan and inside the filter. At this point I put the drain plug back in and torqued it to 15 lb. ft. The next step was to remove the pan (unscrew all the bolts using a 10mm socket and pry it with the flat screwdriver if it's stuck), let all the remaining oil drip into the pan, remove the filter by pulling down on it with both hands, drain the oil in the pan and inside the filter into the drain container for the final estimate of the amount of evacuated oil. A note on the condition of the drained oil. The old oil was not completely black as many report. Definitely looked like a used oil after 85K but still retained some of its golden brownish color. If you compare it to a bright red AFT like Dex III or VI, it does look bad, but comparing it to fresh 8072B the difference is not that dramatic. I'm not sure about lifetime, but I got the impression it could easily last till 100K when BMW recommends it to be changed.

The amount of oil I was able to evacuate is as follows. The car was absolutely cold when I was doing the procedure. About 1.5 L drained after opening the fill plug. About 2.5 L came out with the drain plug removed. That's 4 liters. 1 litre was in the pan after I dropped it and waited till all the oil dripped into it from the filter. That's 5 litres. The old filter still contained about 0.25 L of oil when I removed it and tilted in the drain container. So the total amount was 5.25 L of oil.

The pan needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Mine did not look awful after 85K but still needed a good cleaning job, especially around the magnet. I used paper towels and a rag. When I removed the old gasket there was some rubber stuck to the edge of the pan. I removed it with some brake cleaner and then wiped dry with a rag. The idea is to not introduce any debris, lint, etc into the transmission.

It's time to replace the gasket lubing it with some ATF and start assembling everything back together. First goes in the new filter. When the old one came out the orange sealing ring is likely to have remained stuck in the transmission in which case it needs to be pried with a screwdriver, removed and discarded. With the new filter in place reattach the pan using new bolts. The torque of the bolts is 8 ft. lb, so there is hardly any need for a torque wrench but I did return to each bolt at least 3 times to make sure everything was tight.

Filling the transmission with new oil. The amount of oil I used to fill the transmission was 5.5 L, but the actual amount that came in was about the same as I drained ***8211; 5.25 L. This is due to the fact that no matter how careful you are during the filling process, there will be some spillage.

This is how my filling process looked like. 5.25 L of oil came out. The transmission was still cold when I started pumping the fresh fluid in. I filled my pump bottle with a pre-measured amount of 2 litres of new fluid at a time. 4 litres came in and it began overflowing. Some spillage occurred at this point. I screwed the fill plug back in (hand tight), started the car and shifted through the gears 5 times to let the oil get sucked into the transmission from the pan. In about 5-10 minutes the pan became warm to the touch. I opened the fill plug and nothing came out (as I expected, remember 5.25 L came out and only 4 L came in so far). I started pumping the oil again. Taking into consideration the amount spilled and the amount that would be spilled when it overflows this time I poured 1.5 L in my pump bottle instead of 1.25 L. The pan was becoming a little bit warmer but still far from hot, so I was still good. I was right in my estimate of the amount of oil spilled because when I was almost done with my bottle filled with 1.5 L it started overflowing and I put the fill plug back and tightened it really good using the extension on my 8mm combination wrench for additional leverage. That's it. Not a difficult but messy project.

If there is a tricky part about this DIY, that definitely would be to be able to estimate accurately the amount of oil spilled during the filling process. Provided the transmission never leaked and still has the original (filled at the factory) amount of fluid, the same amount needs to filled into it as drained. When the transmission is at the right temperature and the oil overflows, it's the indicator it's ready to be plugged up. However when it happens you still want to be sure the amount filled is the same the amount drained, provided last time it was filled at the factory. Such a simple thing as a transmission dip stick would eliminate the need for any guess work, but alas.

After I'm done with this DIY I've come to a couple of conclusions for myself. First, now I do not share the opinion that some people have that the information BMW gives us on the type of oil to use and its changing interval is a marketing conspiracy. To me ETL 8072B did look different than the red colored Dexron ATF. So I personally would not mix it with Dexron unless I know how to displace all the oil to the last drop and replace it with a different type. And, second, regarding the changing interval, judging by the condition of the drained oil that still remained some of its original color, I'd say it is good enough at least till 100K without a change.























EDIT: Ok, after reading this diy at least one person was confused as to when you need to put the fill plug back in. I agree I should have made this point clearer in the write-up. So here we go. The transmission is at the operating temperature (30 ***8211; 50 Cº) and you are doing the final fill. As soon as it starts overflowing ***8211; you are done and need to put the fill plug back in. Yes, there will be some oil spilling out, making a mess. That's fine. It means you've reached the correct level providing the temperature is still between 30 and 50 Cº. My advice is to have the drain pan ready and fill plug handy when overflowing happens. It took me a little while to get everything together so I plugged it up when the overflow was reduced to dripping. To me it seems better to do it when the oil is still trickling rather then dripping out. Also when the oil started overflowing I still had some a small amount of ATF that had to (according to my calculations) go in. So I kept on pumping for a little longer despite the fact that it was already overflowing and then when all ATF was used I put the fill plug in.
Hope this edit helps to clarify this point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you everybody for positive reviews!

Just for reference I'll post up some of the information I found when researching whether Dexron VI was now appropriate for the GM 5L40E tranny. As some may have already discovered, Cadillac uses the 5L40E transmission in some of the 1999-? CTS models and GM says Dexron VI is now appropriate for them as it is backwards compatible with the Dexron III original fill.

What many folks dont know is that just because GM chose the same name for the BMW/CTS transmissions (5L40E) doesnt mean that they are the exact same transmission. Refer to the attachments for the specific examples.

What I was never able to conclude with taking the specific differences into account is whether the Dex VI would then indeed be recomended by GM for the BMW 5L40E. More than likely it would be just fine (As BMW has superceded the original ETL-8072 part # with a Dexron VI part #) but would it be preferred to the original fill? That is the question.*Note: I ended up going with the Castrol Import Multivehichle ATF for my fill and drain refill cycles as it meets the ETL-8072b spec.

Obviously we can obsess about this to no end but as Starless has shown -- For peice of mind you can not go wrong with what was put in there originally.

The next question will be what do for peice of mind when we can no longer get the original fill anywhere?
Good info, GCoop. I was just on the amsoil web site and had an idea regarding if the original fill is not available anymore...They (amsoil) do not recommend flushing machings because when they are used technicians often just use the machine without dropping the pan and cleaning all the gunk, then they flush and what I think can happen is the gunk can not bypass the filter obviously and clog the filter (and if it goes past the filter it's even worse), the flow rate of oil diminishes and the tranny can not function properly and soon goes kaput. Probably if you clean the pan first then do the flush it'll be ok, probably. In which case you can use other oils...Just a crazy thought...

Nice DIY!

The Amsoil ATF meets those specs. ETL-7045E, ETL-8072B & N402
Amsoil ATF
The problem I see here is the same oil conforms to many other specs including Dex 3 and BMW says it's a no-no to mix. Can you really please all with one oil? (Rhetorical question)

That's actually interesting...I did not see those oils before. If they are specifically made to conform only to 8072B, then it sounds better to me than Amsoil fluid...:dunno:

Great stuff! Really nice DIY's you do man!

I guess the only thing you forgot was the post op drive, how does it feel?
Thank you for reminding! I was gonna add that...transmission is shifting really well and smoothly, but it had been shifting the same way before. It was more of a preventative maintenance rather than a fix. It still works! That's good! :rofl:

Excellent DIY and you couldn't have posted it at better time for me. I to have the same tranny in an '03 325i and have been trying to decide what fluid to use for the change. It's not a cost issue with me, I just want to use the right fluid. I have so far been unable to find the original fluid anywhere. Tischer BMW lists the new part number (83220397114) that has apparently superseded 83220024359, but that is Dexron VI, not the original fluid. I don't have anyway of removing all of it, so I'd prefer to go back with exactly what's in it. Does anyone have an online source for the 83220024359 fluid?
Dahammer, call the dealerships in your neck of the wood! They are the only source of the original oil. Hopefully they'll have some left in stock!
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Awesome write-up. I have 45k on my car and plan to tackle this project soon. Thanks,

Brian

EDIT: Looking at eeuroparts.com, I see there are two brands for the kit: Meisterstatz and Elring ($50 and $30, respectively). Any thoughts on either? I know GCoop and Starless have both used the Meisterstatz kit with no problems.
I had the impression that the Meisterstatz kit looked more like BMW kit (it's probably OEM) so that's what I went with and it looked exactly like the original kit. I'm not 100% sure but I do not think Elring is OEM which does not mean it won't fit properly...

At 45K changinh atf will probably be overkill. See my comments on the quality of oil that came out. But at the same time, if done right it's not gonna hurt anything.

Alex. Your DIY is very concise and focused on doing the job right. Any post-DIY reviews, or updates? Do you think this DIY made a difference?
Thank you. No difference. The tranny works smoothly as it had been before the change. So it was more of a preventative maintenance thing not an attempt to fix a problem

Great write up! Your DIY his mirrored my experience changing the tranny fluid on my 99 323i (109k miles) and recent postings on fluid changes by a newbie to BMW's. I wasn't able to properly measure amount of the fluid that came out, but ended up adding almost 6 quarts including spillage so that is pretty close to the 5.5 litres that you added. I didn't use a torque wrench either, I started to but it seemed even at the low setting that I might over tighten the bolts so I used a 3/8 wratchet and "choked up" on the handle. No leaks now 2 weeks after the fluid change. I used Redline D4 ATF, it meets all BMW specs as listed.
Thank you. Keep us updated on how Redline ATF is working for you.

You mentioned doing a write up on lifting the vehicle and placing it on jack stands. I noticed that the front of the vehicle had two hard plastic pads for jack stand placement, yet the rear didn't. Are mine missing or does only the front have these pads due to the greater weight up front (engine, tranny) compared to the aft end of the vehicle?
There are definately 4 plastic pads. So you are missing 2. Just buy and install them :)
I'll do a write-up soon. Have little time right now for it. But I have all the pictures, so it's just a matter of time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Starless, it appears you did not use the BMW OEM. There has been some users claiming slippage due to the use of non-OEM filters. Have you experienced this yet? I just want to confirm since it stilll seems very odd to me that the filter itself would cause the slippage.
I highly, highly doubt that. I used Meistersats filter. It looked absolutely identical to the old genuine BMW filter except the letters "BMW" were not printed on it. No, no slippage.
I have not done any research on that but I "think" that this company Meistarsats is the Original Equipment Manufacturer of filters for BMW...Who are those users by the way and which brand filters did they use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
Thanks for pictures, tamvegas. Your original fluid was Texaco ETL 7045E and it does not look that bad at all after 100K (unless it was changed before).

Good job!
 

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Discussion Starter · #61 ·
When I did this, for the final fill you'd start the car and go through P=>D and let it stay in each position for a few seconds before going to the next for about 10-15 times. Make sure the car is still running when you do the final fill. And I left mine in park.
That's exactly the way this should be done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #64 ·
Congratulations! I'm glad it worked out for you.

I have another write-up concerning early GM automatics. I'm hoping you will never need it or at least will not need it for a very long time. But they are known for losing the reverse gear. The problem is the thin aluminum of their valve body casting. Just something to keep in mind and the write up can be found here: click on me
 

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Discussion Starter · #66 · (Edited)
Fellas,

Just wanted to contribute and let everyone know that I just changed my ATF using this tutorial -- I used Castrol Import Multi-Vehicle ATF and the Meisterstatz kit. No problems at all thanks to the great tutorial. I had 52,860 miles on the car and after a week I'd say it drives exactly the same. Probably a little early to change the ATF, but I was eager to do it. Thanks again Starless.

-Brian
You are welcome. I'd also do a couple of more drain and fill changes to displace most of the old fluid. I think Castrol Import is a good choice of the alternative ATF. It apparently contains the bouquet of friction modifiers quite similar to those in the original Texaco fluid.

A little off bmw topic but I've just finished ATF change for our van. It's so much easier to have a dipstick and be Dex III compatible. I did it without dropping the pan and filter change and it took 10 minutes :) I also used Castrol Import since it's recommended for the original Nissan Matic D fluid which is basically Dex 3 with some boutique friction modifiers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
On cars I have that don't have a drain plug I use a hand suction pump for fluid changing and it works pretty well. :thumbup:
It actually did have a drain plug. That's why it took me 10 minutes. I was just lazy to drop the pan and change the filter. My point was it's much easier with a dipstick than without. Also when the user manual says the fluid is Dex3 compatible it gives you a peace of mind to a certain extend :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
I appreciate your work on this DIY Starless. I just finished the work on my '03 325i ~108K miles. With this DIY, it went seamlessly, despite me being a lil' anxious about working under a running vehicle. Thanks!
No problem. And quick update: it's been about 11K since the ATF change and transmission is shifting like new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
Hello all.

First of all thanks for the great write up Starless.

Second, I have a question. I had my ATF fluid changed by a reputable local indy (Curry's Auto, Falls Church, VA) at 95K miles. They used a trans flush machine, so the pan was not dropped and the filter not changed. They also used BG Universal ATF. Details at http://www.bgprod.com/blendr/syntheticATF.html. I have not been able to find much detail on this fluid.

While researching the issue of idle dipping when changing from Park/Neutral to Reverse/Drive, I ran across the large number of threads reporting reverse failure on the ZF 5HP19, which is what I believe I have. I have a 2001 330i (produced June 2000). And I am becoming partially paranoid about the transmission.

I was contemplating replacing the fluid again with one of the appropriate fluids listed by forum members. I was thinking about draining the fluid from the fill/drain plugs and dropping the pan, replacing the filter, but refilling through the trans cooler lines using a hand operated air pump, in order to replace all of it at once. I have not seen any one on here taking that approach.

I just wanted to run it by everyone else here to get their opinions about what they thought. If not this, then I would have to drop the pan and replace the fluid at least 3 times to get close to all new fluid in there.

Please advise. Thanks in advance.
I have heard about this way of doing this (thru the lines) and about the people who have done it this way but I'd really need to research it more to do it myself, however theoretically it make sense and so on. But instead of your idea of hand operated pump it's usually done by starting the car and letting the transmission pump circulate the atf untill fresh fluid comes out. Well, I've never tried it and I'm not sure I want to mess with it.

However what I am going to do next time is disconnect both lines from the transmission cooler and let the ATF drain from them and from the cooler with the purpose of draining still more fluid.

And by the way, you do have ZF I believe, my write up is for GM, but Torquewrench has an awesome write up for ZF in DIY section of the forum. ZFs are known for weak reverse drum. There is a Reverse Drum Replacement DIY on fanatics. GMs' reverse problem is the wear and failure of certain valve body components due to the thin aluminium used for making the GM valve body. The replacement of the valve body and/or installation of the Sonnax valve body kits solve this problem in case of the GM transmission. ZFs often need a reverse drum though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #78 ·
Kiran, these are my considerations why I would not do it the way you are planning to do it.

So, you plan to drop the pan, change filter and start manually pumping fluid thru the transmission via lines...Correct?

First, I'm not even sure the ATF will come all the way through without the internal transmission pump moving.

Second, you will most likely overfill the unit which is a bad thing.

Third, by pumping the ATF through the transmission with Mityvac pump, I do not think the ATF will run the route it usually runs inside the transmission, thus creating the risk of damage inside the unit.

Me personally, I'd totally not do it like this. Just my 2 cents worth though.

This is the way I'd do it. But it will use 2 times more ATF.

1. Before dropping the pan and changing the filter, I'd disconnect the lines, put the supply line in the big bucket with plenty of fresh ATF, connect the return line to some clear tubing and put it in the drain container

2. Let the helper start the car and tell him/her to shut it off as soon as clean ATF begins coming out of the return line. Now the unit is flushed (naturally so to say, not power flushed). Reconnect the lines.

3. Drop the pan and change filter. (Yes, the drawback is that you lose half of the fresh ATF that you just put in).

4. Fill using the standard procedure making sure the level is where it should be.

In the case of the complete flush you do not need to use the super expensive OEM fluid (because you are replacing all the fluid), in case of GM, Dex VI would sound like a good idea to me.

Let us know what you decide to do and how it will have worked for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Outstanding writeup. A question for Starless. I have the same tranny filled with ETL8072B. I'm guessing I won't be able to find it since the fluid has been superseded by BMW. So any thoughts about what I should use? From what I've read, I don't like the idea of mixing fluids, but I'm not sure I'll have any choice. Thank you.
You know what...I hate mixing fluids too, but that's what I'm going to do soon. Drain fluid, disconnect AT cooler lines to drain even more fluid, leave over night to drain even more fluid and then fill with Dex VI, drain after a couple of days and fill with Dex VI again and be happy.

Dex VI is the fluid :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #96 ·
Can someone point out the magnets? Also, in the original DIY, the OP opens the fill plug first. That seems counter - intuitive to me. Is there a reason behind it? I would open the drain plug first, let it drain, then open the fill plug. That should reduce the probability of a spill.
Pictures 2 and 3 from the bottom show the magnet (there is only 1).

You ALWAYS open the fill plug first. The reason is very simple: it's often a pain to open the fill plug (tight location, etc), so if you open the easy drain plug, drain the ATF and then cannot open the fill plug, guess what - you are screwed. Many people have made this mistake which cost them some time without the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #97 · (Edited)

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Discussion Starter · #105 ·
That's how I did it. But am I the only one who got the willies sitting in the car up on four jack stands with the engine running, running through the gears, keeping the revs up high enough to allow the tranny to do so? It felt like it was going to fall off the stands at any moment. By far the worst part of the job for me...
Shifting thru gears in this context simply means shifting from P to R to N to D a couple of times. That's all. No revving on the jack stands necessary , that would not be safe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 ·
I swear I saw that the recommended procedure was to shift through all the gears up and down several times. Is this not right? Doing so required me to "travel" at pretty high speeds with the car up on jack stands. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done in a car, including spinning out in a 60 mph corner at Motorsport Ranch in Fort Worth! So all you have to do is shift from P to R to N to D a few times? Crap! So I risked life, limb, and car for nothing?:yikes:
Hey, let's focus on the positive - you are still with us walking upon this earth :)

BTW, did you really manage to get the car shift thru gears 1 thru 5 on jack stands??
 

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Discussion Starter · #113 ·
Update: the fluid change was done at 85k, the current mileage is 111k. Transmission still works as new. Planning another change soon, may be in summer.
 
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