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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to do the first transmission and differentail oil change (36,000 miles) on my '01 3.0 manual z3. I decided on using Redline, but do have some questions. I have read that BMW states to use ATF fluids for manuals after '95, but that some people are using MTL for their transmissions. Has anyone using MTL run into any problems? I would think the thicker oil would better suit the manuals. I am planning on using 75 - 90w gear oil also. Is this the proper weight for street use? Last question, is it only 2 quarts of oil for both the trans and diff?....thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Glad to hear that you have had no issues with MTL. I do realize that BMW states the fluids do not need changing, but I plan on keeping this car for a long time. The only way to ensure extended mechanical life is to change the fluids regularly.
 

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Actually, BMW states that the transmission and final drive fluids in your car will never need replacing. Check your owner's manual.
It's 'lifetime' fluids, not 'never need replacing'. Lifetime is defined as 100,000 miles. If you consider your car's life over at 100,000 miles, feel free to not change the transmission and differential fluids. Heck, don't change the engine oil after 80,000 miles either. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll take you up on your suggestion and see if I can break the record for how many miles I can get before the engine/tranny/diff sease up.:rofl:
 

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I just did this in March. I used the Redline fluids recommended by Bavarian Autosport, specifically D4 ATF/Manual for the manual transmission and 75-90 for the differential. The Redline bottle for the D4 says it's recommended for both manual and automatic. I used 2 quarts for both transmission and differential and had a bit left over for the transmission but almost none left for the differential.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Z3STEVE - I appeciate your respone, as I was looking for the correct amount of fluid to use for the the trans and diiff. The website links I was provided, pertain to vehicles that are not Z3s i.e. (318) and therefore not a true indication of the fluid levels for the Z3. I still have a concern about using ATF fluids versus MTL fluids, as I do not drive my car in the winter as most people in northern climes will not. I therefore would think that the thicker MTL fluids would be better for a manual trans versus an auto ATF fluid and would like to hear from those that have used MLT versus ATF to see if they ran into issues with using these fluids over BMW's recommendations for the ATF.
 

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I just did this in March. I used the Redline fluids recommended by Bavarian Autosport, specifically D4 ATF/Manual for the manual transmission and 75-90 for the differential. The Redline bottle for the D4 says it's recommended for both manual and automatic. I used 2 quarts for both transmission and differential and had a bit left over for the transmission but almost none left for the differential.
Tranny is 1.1 liter
Diff is 1.7 liter
 

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19,585 Miles
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11,141 Posts
Z3STEVE - I appeciate your respone, as I was looking for the correct amount of fluid to use for the the trans and diiff. The website links I was provided, pertain to vehicles that are not Z3s i.e. (318) and therefore not a true indication of the fluid levels for the Z3. I still have a concern about using ATF fluids versus MTL fluids, as I do not drive my car in the winter as most people in northern climes will not. I therefore would think that the thicker MTL fluids would be better for a manual trans versus an auto ATF fluid and would like to hear from those that have used MLT versus ATF to see if they ran into issues with using these fluids over BMW's recommendations for the ATF.
Tranny is 1.3 liter
Diff is 1.7 liter

I now use BMW fluids for the tranny and diff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the fluid level information on the trans and diff. I will price out the BMW fluids also, but hear they are very pricey.
 

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Thanks for the fluid level information on the trans and diff. I will price out the BMW fluids also, but hear they are very pricey.
I would guess that BMW did some work to determine that their "lifetime" fluids break down less over time than others. If one changes the fluids at regular intervals, any compromises made to extend service life aren't relevant. I did some research on BMW forums and found several drivers who autocross their cars using Redline D4. They also reported smoother shifting. It's strictly a seat of the pants thing, but I think my car shifts better with D4. I don't think there's really a wrong choice here, but I thought I'd share my reasoning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
like the information on the smoother shifting. that's the issue I have now, when the car is cold the shifter is notchy. Once it warms up then it goes away.
 

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By the way, you may know this, but you always want to loosen the fill plug before the drain plug. There are horror stories, if you look on other forums, at least, of split transmission cases and differential cases from tightening to the BMW torque specs. Some have used the torque specs with no problem. I elected to just hand tighten till snug using about a 8" grip distance from the socket.
 

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For those of you with Redline in your trannies, take a good look at it when you change it. NASTY looking. In my group of BMW friends we have all gone AWAY form Redline. We run BMW LTF2 in the tranny and Mobil 1 in the diff.

One top level autocrosser measured a 20 degree decrease in diff fluid temp by switching from Redline to Mobil 1.

If you are going to run Redline MTF is fine and will give a bit smotther shifting at the expensive of slightly stiffer shifting when very cold (winter).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the heads up on Redline, as that is one of the fluids I was checking into. I already use Mobil 1 for my oil, so I will check into the diff fluid.
 

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I Did My 100k Change In My 97 Z3 Recently And Used The Redline For The Differential. I Noticed A Louder Differential Whine At Higher Mph. I Switched To The Pricey Bmw Recommended Lubricant ( $25 Per Litre). The Whine Is Not Near As Loud. I Also Changed The Tranny Fluid Using Redline Synthetic Atf And It Shifts Much Smoother.
 

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For those of you with Redline in your trannies, take a good look at it when you change it. NASTY looking. In my group of BMW friends we have all gone AWAY form Redline. We run BMW LTF2 in the tranny and Mobil 1 in the diff.

One top level autocrosser measured a 20 degree decrease in diff fluid temp by switching from Redline to Mobil 1.

If you are going to run Redline MTF is fine and will give a bit smotther shifting at the expensive of slightly stiffer shifting when very cold (winter).
Is the Mobil 1 fluid spec'd for LSD's?
 

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M Mad
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Yes, it contains the friction modifier for LSDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well after more research, I am now leaning towards Royal Purple Synchromax for the tranny and Max-Gear 75w - 90 for the diff. Their product is getting very good reviews, including smoother shifting and better gas mileage.
 
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