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-   -   Manual Transmission Fluid Change DIY (Instructions & Pictures) (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=491209)

tim330i 07-23-2007 01:58 PM

Manual Transmission Fluid Change DIY (Instructions & Pictures)
My transmission was not feeling so hot after 80,000 miles and a good number of track days. I picked up two quarts of Royal Purple Synchromax fluid in their cool squeeze bottles (this is key later).

There might be a better way to do this, but this is what I did.
*** Use this at your own risk ***

1) We need to raise both the front and rear of the car so it is level and off the ground. I started with the rear. My car is too low for the jack to fit under the sub-frame and have room to move the handle. I used the stock jack at the stock jack location for the rear to get the car up a bit more.

2) Jack the rear up from the sub-frame, do NOT use the diff. Also be sure you don't put the jack under that aluminum drive shaft thing. I double check that I have the jack pad in the right place before putting any weight on the jack.

3) Support the rear on jack stands. I used cement blocks under the stock rear jack points. Using cement blocks is not as safe, if you do use blocks make sure you have them with the open side up as they are strongest that way.

4) Jack up the front. Again my car is too low so I had to put the stock jack at the stock front jack location.

5) With the stock jack giving me the room to fit my proper jack under I was able to get the car in the air.

6) I put jack stands at the front stock jack locations and slowly lowered the car onto them.

7) I used a section of old cardboard to lay on (doesn't hurt your back as much) and slid under the car. Locate both the drain plug (on the bottom - picture below) and fill plug (on the passenger side up about 6 inches on the transmission). Mine were stuck so I sprayed some PB Blaster on them.

8) Remove the FILL plug FIRST. This prevents you from having an empty transmission and a stuck fill plug.

9) Put a catch pan below the drain plug and remove it. Try not to get fluid all over the place :(

10) While the fluid is draining we will setup our fill 'device'. As you will have noticed there isn't enough space to simply pour the fluid into the transmission. Lucky for me the Royal Purple Synchromax comes in a cool squeeze bottle. I rigged up 3 feet of tubing right into the fill hole on the tranny. You can see the clear plastic tube zip tied to the exhaust in this picture.

tim330i 07-23-2007 02:14 PM

11) Here is the rest of my rigged up fill tube. The yellow cap is off one of the Royal Purple bottles. The tube is jammed on the cap and zip tied for good measure. If you're wondering what the hell I'm doing, that is OK, I was thinking the same thing at this point.

12) I left the drain plug out and squeezed some fluid into the transmission. My hope was to flush out any residue or other junk that might be still sitting inside. Not sure if it worked or not but it didn't hurt.

13) With that done I cleaned and put the drain plug back in. As you are tightening a steel plug into an aluminum housing you want to be careful with the torque. I used my torque wrench to be safe. Tighten to 44lbs-ft (I think).

14) With the drain plug back in we can now fill up the transmission. You fill the transmission until the fluid is level with the bottom of the fill hole (this is why the car needs to be raised both front and back so it is level). I used my fill tube rig to fill up the transmission until it leaked out the fill hole.

15) With the transmission full, clean and reinstall the fill plug and torque to 44lbs-ft (I think).

16) I sprayed the transmission off with a bit of brake cleaner to remove the fluid that leaked out of the drain hole.

17) Lower your car off the block by reversing what you did in the first few steps.

18) Go for a drive and appreciate the improved gear box feel!

Arrows 07-23-2007 02:17 PM

Nice Writeup. :thumbsup"

mikechungs330 07-25-2007 12:42 PM

Nice write up... Lol thank god i have a mechanic shop so that i can lift the car.... So much easier.... Thanks for the pics

mister wiggles 07-25-2007 03:08 PM

did replacing the fluids make a huge difference from before?

tim330i 07-25-2007 11:06 PM

So far on the street it has been a huge improvement! I can't wait to hit the track and see how it is...I'm expecting good things.


Low_bm 07-27-2007 08:13 PM

nice write up!

vegito 07-28-2007 07:47 PM

what kind of oil can be use except MTF-LT-2 fluid. I life in holland and the dont sell Royal Purple Synchromax . My car has almost 201980 miles and i think the gearbox oil has never be changed please help.

tim330i 08-16-2007 03:38 PM


Originally Posted by mister wiggles (Post 6363310)
did replacing the fluids make a huge difference from before?

Just got back from the track and all I can say is WOW. The Royal Purple Syncromax made a huge difference. My shifts were so much better, I'd like to take all the credit for myself, but I know the new fluid really helped.


dirsh 08-16-2007 05:41 PM

very nice DIY
I think i'll try that

325myAZ 08-18-2007 01:33 AM


Originally Posted by vegito (Post 6381899)
what kind of oil can be use except MTF-LT-2 fluid. I life in holland and the dont sell Royal Purple Synchromax . My car has almost 201980 miles and i think the gearbox oil has never be changed please help.

Do they sell Red Line fluid in the Nederlands? If you can get some Red Line D4 ATF fluid, you can use that.


so simple 03-28-2009 07:48 PM

how much fluid is needed? i just changed my fluid with redline, and i only needed about 1 1/2 bottles?

BringMeinWerkzeuge 08-17-2009 07:36 PM


Originally Posted by so simple (Post 9673356)
how much fluid is needed? i just changed my fluid with redline, and i only needed about 1 1/2 bottles?


frobie15 08-17-2009 07:42 PM

It's about 2 quarts. But fill it until it comes out of the fill plug.

LeMansteve 01-01-2010 05:29 PM

Thanks for the DIY!

I just changed the fluid on my 330i today. I used ramps for the front then jacked up the rear to level the car, taking care to jack at the subframe instead of the diff or drive shaft support thing. Conveniently, the cradles on my Craftsman jack stands are the same size as the overall length of the rubber jack supports. The only difference with my car is the drain and fill plugs needed an 8mm hex socket.

Relatively easy job overall. Only issues/pains were:
1. tight clearance at the fill plug using 8mm Craftsman hex socket and torque wrench
2. using 5L BMW MTF-LT-2 jug and in/out hand fluid pump required a 2nd person. My girlfriend had to stand next to the car with the jug raised in order for it to work. Next time I will use one of those syringe-like pumps.

Bert336 01-04-2010 09:33 AM

from empty, how many bottles does it take to fill it up?

LeMansteve 01-04-2010 07:56 PM

I was siphoning the fluid from a 5L jug. Based on the markings on the side of the jug, I used about 1.6L of fluid. If you are buying quart-sized bottles, I would think 2 would be enough.

Flipe46d1722 01-06-2010 09:24 PM

What size is the tubing? Sounds like a dumb question but thought I should ask....

LeMansteve 01-09-2010 05:09 PM

The tubing I used was (very approximately) 1cm ID and 2mm wall thickness. Fit nicely inside the fill hole. Tube length was about 8ft total, which was more than enough.

dirsh 01-13-2010 05:02 PM

dammit i've been putting this off for so long. almost 2 years already lol
when I did my honda I used one of those pump things that screw onto the bottle and looks like a soap dispenser. very easy to use


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