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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 06-18-2012, 01:31 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 364
My Ride: 330 Ci convertible
Project ZF 5HP19 transmission

I'm starting a new project. I enjoyed pulling the engine apart so much I decided to go and buy the transmission that was connected to it. It's the ZF 5HP19, or in BMW speak, A5S 325Z.

Link to other parts of this project


Oil Pan and Filter

Selector Switch

Valve Body

Selector Shaft and Park Lock

Oil Pump and C Clutch

Clutch Disassembly and Tools

Input Assembly

Ravigneaux Gearset


Output Assembly

Transmission Assembly

For those who are interested in what an M54 engine looks like in about 500 pieces, here is the link to the last project.

I've been keen to pull apart one of these for a long time. It's the same as the one in my car back home, as well as in my wife's Audi. As background information, BMW don't make their own transmissions. They buy them from a transmission manufacturer, in this case ZF in Germany. There are a number of different transmissions fitted to the E46, depending on the variant and the year that it was manufactured. This was the auto transmission that was fitted to the earlier 2WD models prior to them using a GM transmission.

Be aware that the 5HP19 is a group of transmissions, not just one. There were versions for rear engine (Porsche Boxter), 4WD (numerous Audi and VW), and RWD like the E46 and other BMW models. For each of these groups, there are many different versions that are slightly different. To find out which version you have, look at the green plate at the back of the transmission. You will see the serial number at the top right, and below this is the transmission version. It should read something like 1060 000 005. The 1060 means it's a 5HP19. The three numbers after, in this case 000, mean it's a BMW RWD version. The three numbers after this say specifically which version you have. This transmission I'm working on is a 005, yours may be different. When ordering parts, make sure you quote this. Most of the parts are going to be generic across the range, but some are specific to that version.

I plan to do the same thing as what I did with the engine. Dismantle and assemble it a whole bunch of times to work out what is the best way of doing things, and come up with versions of the tools for the job. Not all of this is my own work. There are a few great DIYs floating about. One that was posted here recently regarding the reverse drum failure was fantastic. My thanks to those people. Like the engine project, if you know something that is wrong, please tell me. I'm no expert, just someone who is really interested in this stuff.

As soon as you pull apart one of these transmissions, the complexity of it is astounding, and how it all works, unlike an engine, is not immediately apparent. The intellect of the people who design these things is quite humbling. They clearly breed people with big brains in Germany. I've attached links below for some documents that are essential if you plan to seriously work on your transmission. Like most documents, they are full of specific tools and procedures that are a bit difficult to understand. They are really good at telling you what to do, but not how to do it. I guess the technicians get the "how to do it" in their training.

Whilst they are complex, working on them is not rocket science. Read as much as you can, but more than anything else go slowly, take lots of photos, and mark everything well so you know where it goes.

5HP19 repair guide.
This is the ZF document that describes how to dismantle and assemble the transmission. Unfortunately it doesn't describe the valve body.

Valve body
This document has the valve body description of the this transmission, amongst a whole lot of others. Click on the hyperlink on the first page and it will scroll down to the appropriate page. Beware that this description is for the 5HP19FL model, which is for a 4WD. The valve body is slightly different to what I'm working on, but even so it's a good starting point.

01V transmission description
01V is the designator that VW/Audi give to the 5HP19FL. It's the 4WD version that is in a whole lot of their cars. This is a simple, but great read if you want to find out what is going on inside the transmission. The document includes some stuff that is specific to the 4WD system, which can be ignored. Otherwise it's pretty close to the mark.

This is essential. There are loads of tiny parts, especially in the valve body. When assembling, it needs to be spotlessly clean. It will take time to clean everything and get ready for assembly. You need to be prepared and organized. Keeping the parts clean, undamaged and numbered ready for the assembly process is essential. The nice thing about transmissions is they clean up well compared to an engine. I use ziplock bags and clingfilm. This is the method I use. It's certainly not the only way, but I found it very effective at keeping things clean, and not losing track of where things went.

Have two pots of cleaning solvent (I use fuel). One is for the initial clean and the next for rinsing. Blow off the excess fluid with compressed air and pop it into a marked, new zip lock bag. Now close up the bag nearly all the way and then blow it up like a balloon. Now close it all the way. The balloon will cushion the parts inside, as well as allow any excess solvent to evaporate. Pack it away until it's time to assemble.

When you initially dismantle a component, compare what you see to the photos and diagrams in the documents. They may be slightly different. If so, take photos, lots of them. It will save you a lot of heartache later.

When assembling components together, do it in the cleanest place you have. Work out what tools you need, and have them organized and clean. Pull the part out of the ziplock bag, give it a blow with compressed air, if required lightly oil with transmission fluid and fit. Once the piece you are assembling is complete, wrap it thoroughly in cling film. Put it aside until you are ready to assemble the whole transmission.

Here are a couple of photos that show what's on the outside of the transmission.

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Last edited by jjrichar; 02-05-2016 at 02:09 PM. Reason: additions
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Mass
Posts: 429
My Ride: 323i,325i, Boxster S
This is really cool man, are you going to install in your car after as well?
2001 Porsche Boxster S; Black, 911 rims, exhaust, hardtop
2005 BMW 325i SULEV; Alpine White, Koni Yellow, H&R Sport, Chromed BMW Rims
1999 BMW 323i 5 speed; Black, Xenons, Koni & HR, Harmon Kardon, Premium & Cold Weather Packages
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:56 AM   #3
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Location: Australia
Posts: 364
My Ride: 330 Ci convertible
Sounds a bit crazy, but when I get home in a couple of years, I plan to buy a cheap 325i, and put the rebuilt engine and transmission in it and use it as a run around. If it works fine, I'll rebuild the engine and transmission that I pull from that car and sell them. That's just my plan.
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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My Ride: 2004 325Ci SMG
great info, thank you!
2005 Acura TL A-Spec
2004 325Ci SMG M-tech II (Sold and got 2005 Acura TL A-Spec) :-(
2002 530i Sport
1997 Mercedes Benz C280 Sport (Sold and got 2002 530i Sport!) :-)
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see my garage for pics

How a Rogue IKON should look on a M-Tech II Coupe
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:26 AM   #5
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Awesome project, Thanks for all the good info
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Old 04-06-2013, 10:38 PM   #6
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Location: Sydney
Posts: 147
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Nice! Very detailed posting, thanks!

Are you able to tell me if my ZF tranny is okay? i've posted this a while back.... http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=971205 . Your opinion is greatly appreciated.

PS: My car is at 85,000km and i'm planning to do a oil and filter change soon with a full flush - never had it changed before. Also because i want to change the fluid to redline, hard to source Esso LT 71141.

Last edited by new61n; 04-06-2013 at 10:44 PM.
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