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Old 06-07-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
///BMW5
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Definitive answer on changing ATF in high mileage 330ci

Please do not reply with because i have ed I have been reading thread after thread, after thread about changing ATF fluid on high mileage BMWs. I have an 01 330ci steptronic with 100k and I am having slightly rough shifts ONLY when downshifting from 2nd to 1st. I have read many posts saying that replacing the fluid helped the rough shifts completely and is recommended. However, we have all read about the horror stories about instant failure from dislodging built up junk in your AT over long periods of time from changing the fluid after ~60k miles. I have the GM transmission with the green sticker with "lifetime" oil in it. This thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...f+high+mileage makes me comfortable changing the fluid but this thread http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ts&pollid=5027 makes me kind of scared. I am looking for answers form people who ACTUALLY have changed their fluid, not people that have just heard stories about instant failure. If you have changed your fluid after 60k please 1) note your mileage when you replaced the fluid 2) if you flushed it or just refilled 3) what kind of fluid you used (OEM, Esso, Redline)

I really would like to fix the rough shifting because it makes driving my e46 a little less enjoyable and worried. Please post your thoughts!

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:46 PM   #2
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I do not believe in lifetime fluids, except maybe blood! So I took my wife's '06 325 with 50K miles to my independent mechanic to have the fluid flushed last week. My mechanic (whom I trust completely) said the fluid he drained was black, smelly and looked just plain bad. He flushed the transmission on the BG machine and replaced it with BG Synthetic. I don't drive it enough to say there is a big difference in shift quality, but with only 50K miles, it should not be as noticeable. I just expect that at 100K miles, it will still shift and run smooth. If the fluid is in that bad a shape at only 50K miles, it can't possibly be expected to be good for a transmission to run it to even 75K miles, let alone a real lifetime of 150-200K miles, or longer.

My mechanic, who owns several BMW's of varying vintages, has a mid-90's 740 with 100K+ miles that was shifting very poorly. He said he changed out the fluid two times about 200 miles apart and it made a dramatic improvement in shift quality.
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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I do not believe in lifetime fluids, except maybe blood! So I took my wife's '06 325 with 50K miles to my independent mechanic to have the fluid flushed last week. My mechanic (whom I trust completely) said the fluid he drained was black, smelly and looked just plain bad. He flushed the transmission on the BG machine and replaced it with BG Synthetic. I don't drive it enough to say there is a big difference in shift quality, but with only 50K miles, it should not be as noticeable. I just expect that at 100K miles, it will still shift and run smooth. If the fluid is in that bad a shape at only 50K miles, it can't possibly be expected to be good for a transmission to run it to even 75K miles, let alone a real lifetime of 150-200K miles, or longer.

My mechanic, who owns several BMW's of varying vintages, has a mid-90's 740 with 100K+ miles that was shifting very poorly. He said he changed out the fluid two times about 200 miles apart and it made a dramatic improvement in shift quality.
Blood cells are constantly dying and being replaced. When they break down you get bilirubin which is a yellow substance and is why urine is yellow, as well as some bruises are yellow as well. Think perpetual oil change.
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Old 06-07-2009, 06:07 PM   #4
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Blood cells are constantly dying and being replaced. When they break down you get bilirubin which is a yellow substance and is why urine is yellow, as well as some bruises are yellow as well. Think perpetual oil change.
As long as I don't have to get hooked up to a BG machine (or the hospital equivalent) to get flushed, I am happy!
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Old 06-07-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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This is your problem with the internet or anything about cars. There is always people in this case would say never change your fluid when you get to 100k. Then there is other people who say thats crap and they change their fluid at regular intervals even when it says its lifetime. Everything is based on opinion's and some experiences.

Im know there is some that have blown up transmissions by changing the fluid when it has high mileage. But then there is some that have had no issues.

So all in all do what you think is right.
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:10 PM   #6
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I'm going crazy over this! If I had it done by BMW, I am assuming they would take no responsibility for tranny failure if something was to go wrong with it. Or will the stealership even do an ATF change on an 01?
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm going crazy over this! If I had it done by BMW, I am assuming they would take no responsibility for tranny failure if something was to go wrong with it. Or will the stealership even do an ATF change on an 01?
I know that if your transmission breaks they will exchange it for a new transmission, fill it up, and warrant it for a year. But that's $5500 if you have them replace a broken steptronic. Not sure about a fluid change though...
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Old 06-07-2009, 07:39 PM   #8
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I have an 01 330ci steptronic with 100k and I am having slightly rough shifts ONLY when downshifting from 2nd to 1st.


Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this..."

Doctor: "Stop doing that".
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #9
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I've changed tranny fluid at 185,000 so be confident and do it right. Im at 205,000 still shifting like butter.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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I've changed tranny fluid at 185,000 so be confident and do it right. Im at 205,000 still shifting like butter.
Thanks any advice? I heard something about changing it at a certain temperature and buying a digital thermometer to check the fluid before changing it... any truth to this?
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:32 PM   #11
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Thanks any advice? I heard something about changing it at a certain temperature and buying a digital thermometer to check the fluid before changing it... any truth to this?
no need for that, just let it heatup to the touch, is no big deal
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:37 PM   #12
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no need for that, just let it heatup to the touch, is no big deal
this one is making me nervous...haha could possibly be a $3k+ ATF change
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Old 06-09-2009, 02:39 PM   #13
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Patient: "Doctor, it hurts when I do this..."

Doctor: "Stop doing that".
Seriously. Are you downshifting from 2 to 1 for the purpose of slowing the car down? That is never a good idea. Just slow it down by downshifting to 2nd gear and then put it back in first once the vehicle has completely stopped.

As far as changing the transmission fluid, YES it is recommended. The only thing that is not recommended is getting the transmission fluid flushed by one of those big fancy machines at the dealers or repair shops. You should drop the pan and change transmission filter at the same time. I'm about to do this myself on my 2001 steptronic with 137k miles.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:19 PM   #14
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Dude change your fluid, I did mine at 47K left pic first time, right pic right bottle is after a 1K, the first change was with filter also, I used Redline D4, auto trannies are hydro knumatic devices and the cleaner the fluid the more better, change the dam fluid
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:50 AM   #15
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Dude change your fluid, I did mine at 47K left pic first time, right pic right bottle is after a 1K, the first change was with filter also, I used Costco fruit juice, auto trannies are hydro knumatic devices and the cleaner the fluid the more better, change the dam fluid
Fixed.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:31 AM   #16
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Fixed.
Yeap tranny is much happier with the grape juice
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:23 PM   #17
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Just changed mine at 134k. Wouldn't think twice about it.

Changed my Audi at 115k (exact same trans). Changed again at 130k. Now at 150k with no problems.

Just be sure to change the filter!!
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:53 PM   #18
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I am looking for answers form people who ACTUALLY have changed their fluid, not people that have just heard stories about instant failure. If you have changed your fluid after 60k please 1) note your mileage when you replaced the fluid 2) if you flushed it or just refilled 3) what kind of fluid you used (OEM, Esso, Redline)

I really would like to fix the rough shifting because it makes driving my e46 a little less enjoyable and worried. Please post your thoughts!

Thanks!

1)68K, 2)Refill & Filter Change, 3)Redline D4

~4K miles since the fluid change and all is good. Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:23 AM   #19
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I had my fluid drained and the filter replaced sometime after 60K with all OEM fluid/filter. I'm now at 90K and thinking about doing it again. The fluid that came out at 60K was disgusting. It was black and looked very liquidy with chunks in it.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #20
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I changed mine at 102k the first time. And a second time at 193k. Both times were drain+fill, not flush, and with filter change. Never a problem. Shifts always smooth.
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