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My 2007 328i auto has 64,000 miles. I've been told conflicting reports on how often to have the transmission serviced. How often should the Transmission be serviced? I would like the car to last at least another 100,000 miles.
 

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My 2007 328i auto has 64,000 miles. I've been told conflicting reports on how often to have the transmission serviced. How often should the Transmission be serviced? I would like the car to last at least another 100,000 miles.
I also have a 2007 N52KP with GM6 transmission (328xi built 3/14/2007, with 133,000 miles). The "Oil Wear Error", BMW Fault Code 578E, was saved in EGS memory at about 11 years after build date. That Fault does NOT light ANY warning light, and the only way you know it's there is by doing a Functional Jobs scan in INPA, or scanning the EGS with a BMW-specific code reader that can read transmission fault codes.

I don't know how much better Dexron VI (synthetic) is at retaining its oil quality than Dexron III is, but without some DEFINITIVE study/testing that shows fluid age is NOT a factor, I would change the transmission fluid and filter (gasket too) this spring summer, or whenever convenient, since we're looking at ~ 12 years in the sump. Carefully examining the fluid drained from the tranny and any powder on the pan magnet will also give you some idea of future transmission life.

There are several tricks to doing the change, and fluid is expensive (and DIFFERENT from that used in ZF tranny on N54/N55), so check procedure in Bentley & TIS, as well as getting tips here before doing it (ramps, fill & level with engine running, etc.).

George
 

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Mike Miller of the BMW CCA and my local indy mechanic says to change it regularly or don’t change. I am changing it on my 2008 335 every 30k miles. Just did my second change. The Indy was reluctant to do it because he said that they had several customers find they had problems once they changed it. Since he had done it at 30k, he went ahead. Fluid is expensive. You have to swap the fluid pan since the filter is molded into the pan. Without a dip stick, you have to fun the transmission to operating temperture and full the pan through a plug opening until it runs out, all from underneath the car. Some people do, but I wouldn’t want to be under a running car in my garage without a lift, with fluid splling out to fill the pan.
 

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My 2007 328i auto has 64,000 miles. I've been told conflicting reports on how often to have the transmission serviced. How often should the Transmission be serviced? I would like the car to last at least another 100,000 miles.
60K miles is what Miller is recommending for newer ZF trannies. Do it even if you've missed the first one.
 

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Breaking in the Pony
2019 Mustang GT / 2005 Toyota Tacoma
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The theory (note, theory, not fact) is that the new fluid can loosen up deposits in the transmission body that can clog small passages if the fluid hasn't been changed for a long time, so older transmission should just be left alone. The rule of thumb that both my mechanic and the owner of the transmission shop I use is "Do it every 50k or don't do it at all." You're close enough to 50k to say "Do it".


Case in point: When I bought my Tacoma with 170k miles, I called the transmission shop, asked for the owner, told him who I was, and said "Hey, Steve, I just bought a Tacoma with 170k miles on it. I have no service history on the transmission and ...", whereupon he immediately cut me off with "Leave it alone", even though he knew what I was going to ask and that I would be giving him the work to change it.
 

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The theory..."Do it every 50k or don't do it at all."
I have NO basis for an opinion on that issue, as I have always had a shop do transmission repair or rebuild, and never examined the wear parts/ clutches, the valve block, and only have a vague concept of how the solenoids function. I always maintained older cars, and changed my own transmission fluid & filter every 3 or 4 years (less than 50k miles). Tranny usually had a clutch failure (usually Reverse ;-) @ ~ 100,000 miles or 10-15 years in spite of proper maintenance.

My only observation in response to that theory is: "Why did BMW/GM tell people the tranny was "lifetime" sealed, with NO established service interval for fluid & filter changes, and yet include "Oil Wear Fault" (whether by oil quality sensor or mileage/age) in the possible diagnostic codes?

Is OIL QUALITY a red herring? Keep in mind that the switch from Dexron III to Dexron VI (synthetic) occurred about 2005 -2006 when the E9x models were first being produced, and it is my understanding that the GM6 (with Dexron VI) first appeared on the 2007 328i/xi models. Has Dexron VI proved less capable of "lasting forever" than initially believed? Are we all "beta-testers" of Dexron VI? :rofl:

In thinking about those points myself, I did note that the Dexron VI which I drained from my GM6 was NOT gummy like 3-year old Dexron III drained from a TH400, and there was virtually NO powder on the pan magnet. That is when changing fluid & filter on a 2007 328xi (GM6) at 11 years old & 133,000 miles, with Oil Wear Fault saved in EGS just a month before I changed fluid. I did NOT have any oil analysis done. Only unscientific smell, feel, color/ clarity tests. :)

Absent some reliable studies to the contrary, my SWAG would be that Dexron VI synthetic has a longer service life, say by a factor of 2 or 3, than Dexron III, before fluid quality begins to degrade seriously. Maybe the question to ask the pro's is whether they have noticed a difference between service life of those two fluids, and proper change intervals for each.

ANYONE read anything that approaches a reliable analysis of any of those issues? References or links?

Thanks,
George
 

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For the ZF 6 speed, ZF recommends fluid changes between 80-120 K Km, or 48-72 KMi.

I have no info on the GM, but the Dextron 6 is not expensive, so I'd personally do it every 60-70K. I drained my GM after I bought the car at 100K miles. Fluid was still translucent, very little magnet pickup, so it lasted well -- but I don't know if or when it was last changed.

Oil is cheap, metal is expensive.
 

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I had mine done at ~45K miles, and I have a 2011. I'll have it done again probably at ~80K miles, or 5 years, whichever comes first (probably the 5 years).
 

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BMW Service and Maintenance manuals provided with every new E9n have specific 100K intervals...BMW has never said 'Lifetime' on E9n vehicles (although BMW apparently once said 'Lifetime' for some prior model(s).
ZF, who makes the tranny for turbocharged engine cars says 'every 60k, or per the auto manufacturer recommendations'
 

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Breaking in the Pony
2019 Mustang GT / 2005 Toyota Tacoma
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My only observation in response to that theory is: "Why did BMW/GM tell people the tranny was "lifetime" sealed, with NO established service interval for fluid & filter changes, and yet include "Oil Wear Fault" (whether by oil quality sensor or mileage/age) in the possible diagnostic codes?
From the service and warranty manual for my 2009, page 9 : "AutomaticTransmission (not shown in CBS): Maintenance work: Replace ATF at intervals of 100,000 miles."

As I said, the two people I trust with my transmission won't change the fluid if it's been beyond 100k miles. I did mine every 50k. YMMV.

 

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I talked to ZF rep and he said that they sell same tranny to many other manuf with their fluid and they all follow ZF servicing recommendations.
BMW buys them dry and he said that he is not sure what "secret sauce" they put in them but was doubtful that it is 2x better than theirs and recommended 60-70k miles service using their kit.
https://www.thectsc.com/products/oil-change-kit-for-bmw-hyundai-187-61.html
 

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That ZF recommendations are not followed by all auto manufacturers that use ZF transmissions is not all that uncommon!

"All of FCA's 2017 owners manuals for the various vehicles that use the ZF8 (i.e. Chrysler 200, RAM 1500 etc.) specify that the ZF8 fluid is lifetime and never needs to be changed. They don't even specify a severe duty fluid change interval for it.

However ZF explicitly recommends a 100,000 km or 8 year (whichever comes first) fluid change schedule on their website here:

https://www.zf.com/usa_canada/en_us...s_corporate/how_to_change_oil/change_oil.html "​

Plus, depending upon the specific fluid used and the type of use, the ZF recommended intervals will be different. Which accounts for the earlier 'secret sauce' comment relative to BMW purchasing trannies dry.

"ZF-ECOFLUID M
Off-road use: every 200,000 km (2 years)
Local/delivery traffic, transit services and long-distance traffic: every 360,000 km (3 years)
Long-distance traffic and tourist travel: every 540,000 km (3 years)"

There are ZF statements like this: ""A lot of discussion has occurred on the topic of oil change intervals for ZF transmissions. It is important to adhere to your vehicle manufacturer specified change interval and it is very important to use authorized fluids. ZF Lifeguard fluids are designed and tested to retain characteristics through normal lifetime operating conditions; per the OE vehicle manufacturer specifications."

And then there are statements like these from owners, 'Our 2010 BMW X5 had a sticker on it that said "Lifetime Fluid, Do Not Change'. ..while every E9n Service and Maintenance handbook between 2006 and 2012 says every 100K"
 

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I just changed my transmission fluid on my 2009 335i. My transmission shifted fine prior to the fluid change, but I just hit 100k so it was time. The fluid wasn't dark at all when I drained it. I was pleasantly surprised. When I removed the pan, the magnets had some residue, but it looked very normal. My only problem was loosening the fill plug. I had to use a wrench on the angled hex tool. The hex tool was bending slightly and I thought it would snap, but the plug eventually gave way.

I installed the new pan and torqued the bolts to 10Nm which is not very tight in the recommended sequence. I did the initial fill about 4 liters. Started the car and ran through the gears with my foot on the brake. Reverse 10 sec, Drive 10 sec, shifted over to manual M1 10 sec......

I added about 2 more liters to the tranny and waited for the temp >30 C. I used a handheld temp gun. After it reached 30 deg C I added a bit more so all in all just a hair over 6 liters.

No leaks and I took if for a test drive. I believe it shifts much smoother now and much quicker so the fluid change was a good one.

I used QuickJacks to raise the car off the ground. I had plenty of clearance for everything especially filling the tranny while the car was running (good clearance from the hot exhaust)

I recommend doing this maintenance item, but long before 100k. I bought everything from FCP
 
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