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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 12-30-2007, 07:17 PM   #41
james2538
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 33beto View Post
so, each color tag use only one type of oil regardless of car production date and/or year?

Im also looking for the equivalent "off the shell" oil for the green tag tranny.
if is a GM, then the new DEXRON 6 will do?
car has 71K miles and is due for this service.
I would trust the tag on the transmission rather than the build date of the car. Each color tag goes to a certain type of lifetime fill.

I would think twice before using "of the shelf" tranny fluid. This is a crucial component of the vehicle. At least use Redline ATF, keep in mind you won't be able to get all of the fluid out in a drain/refill.
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:57 PM   #42
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Well, I finally got around and did this. Had to get the oil at the dealer at 8.00 a liter. The guy at the counter said i only need 7 liters.
Turn out missing by one more, so I added a quart of DEXRON6 till start pouring out the filling hole.

the difference is DAY AND NITE on the shifting. Even more when engaging R from "Park" takes a second instead of 3 as before the oil change.
Downshifting is getting quiker as well.
However, the upshift still the same. It only been a week so I cross my fingers nothing should go "KABOOM"

Im glad I did this. Highly recomended guys.

Lou.
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:19 PM   #43
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So I had an independent shop change my step transmission fluid (2000 328Ci) at ~84K miles a few weeks ago. Before the change, when starting cold, shifting to reverse happens quickly and fine, but when I shift into drive, it takes like 8-10 seconds. Now after the fluid change, it still takes a while to engage drive when cold, but now it's a more gradual process of engaging the gear - after ~ 10 secs I'll step on the gas, and it'll move a little bit, but I feel the engine revving higher and not proportional to the amount of car movement. Finally after some warming up it performs fine. Anyone know why this is?
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Old 02-08-2008, 09:52 PM   #44
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10 secs?? Sorry, but you need to save up for a new transmission in case it finally goes. It shouldn't take that long, not even more than 3 secs on a very cold engine. I would've recommended you change your ATF if you hadn't done it yet. But since you already have and the problem's still there, well, it's just a waiting game.

Sure hope you find a tranny specialist that can pinpoint and fix the problem instead of replacing the whole tranny as what the dealer or others would do.

Did they drop the pan and change the filter too? Should have been done that way.

Last edited by ssm1991; 02-08-2008 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 03-02-2008, 09:48 PM   #45
GeorgeM
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Replacing transmission fluid for GM 5L40

Bought a 99 323 with 126,000. It has the GM 5L40 tranny. The tranny trouble light and limp mode came on after going around an entrance ramp some what fast. After a cool down the control was reset. I knew the fluid was low due to some sealant someone used on the tranny cooling lines at the radiator. After searching all sources and info I decided to replace the fluid with Castrol dexron 6. It is backward compatible with dexron 3. It is semi synthetic with a higher temp rating than 3. I did not change the filter or drop the pan as I did not have the parts. I drained and filled 2 times. Fluid was very dirty. It was more than 2 quarts low. The shifts are much smoother and the tranny sounds excellent. I see absolutely no ill effects from using the Dexron 6. I believe the GM transmission will work better and last longer due to changing the oil vs no change as some suggest. I will replace the filter and complete a third oil change as soon as I get parts.
My procedures:
I worked from the sides of the car with out jacking all four corners. I used the factory jack on the drivers front corner. This allowed the oil to drain more completely out of the pan drain. Remove the fill plug as others have suggested 1st to insure you have a port to fill with, get a T45 right angled star driver at Advanced auto for the fill port, they have a kit of several tools for approx 11.00. Also purchase a gallon container oil pump. You will need to purchase a longer clear hose as the one with the pump is not quite long enough to add fluid with out the car elevated. After the oil was drained, re-tighten the drain plug, insert the clear flexible hose in the fill hole and pump in almost a gallon of fluid. When it overflows then remove the hose, screw back in the plug(no need to tighten), lower the car, start the engine, run the shifter through its gears, put the shifter into park, remove the fill plug, insert the hose, pump approx 2 more quarts in. Continue to run the engine until the tranny pan is slightly warm to the tough. As long as the sump is full and you see fluid leaking out of the fill plug then you are done.
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:59 PM   #46
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I really hope you weren't crawling around under the car with only the factory jack holding it up, thats just asking for disaster. I also know its best to fill the transmission while the car is level which is best accomplished using a lift, and at the very least jack stands.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeM View Post
Bought a 99 323 with 126,000. It has the GM 5L40 tranny. The tranny trouble light and limp mode came on after going around an entrance ramp some what fast. After a cool down the control was reset. I knew the fluid was low due to some sealant someone used on the tranny cooling lines at the radiator. After searching all sources and info I decided to replace the fluid with Castrol dexron 6. It is backward compatible with dexron 3. It is semi synthetic with a higher temp rating than 3. I did not change the filter or drop the pan as I did not have the parts. I drained and filled 2 times. Fluid was very dirty. It was more than 2 quarts low. The shifts are much smoother and the tranny sounds excellent. I see absolutely no ill effects from using the Dexron 6. I believe the GM transmission will work better and last longer due to changing the oil vs no change as some suggest. I will replace the filter and complete a third oil change as soon as I get parts.
My procedures:
I worked from the sides of the car with out jacking all four corners. I used the factory jack on the drivers front corner. This allowed the oil to drain more completely out of the pan drain. Remove the fill plug as others have suggested 1st to insure you have a port to fill with, get a T45 right angled star driver at Advanced auto for the fill port, they have a kit of several tools for approx 11.00. Also purchase a gallon container oil pump. You will need to purchase a longer clear hose as the one with the pump is not quite long enough to add fluid with out the car elevated. After the oil was drained, re-tighten the drain plug, insert the clear flexible hose in the fill hole and pump in almost a gallon of fluid. When it overflows then remove the hose, screw back in the plug(no need to tighten), lower the car, start the engine, run the shifter through its gears, put the shifter into park, remove the fill plug, insert the hose, pump approx 2 more quarts in. Continue to run the engine until the tranny pan is slightly warm to the tough. As long as the sump is full and you see fluid leaking out of the fill plug then you are done.
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Old 03-04-2008, 06:07 PM   #47
GeorgeM
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Common sense for jacking

In order to protect yourself it is always mandatory to use common sense, no matter what you use to jack up a car one should always use a blocking device to insure the car does not fall while any part of a body is under a car. The instructions omitted this obvious common sense factor. I wanted to share that if you are not changing the filter and cleaning the pan one does not need to jack up the car on 4 corners which in itself can be a challenge based on the jack that is being used and the method used. There is sufficient room to work from both sides of the car with out the car being up at all. The only reason to jack up the car on the drivers front side is to get more fluid to drain out.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:34 AM   #48
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Please GeorgeM keep us informed after you do some miles with your new fluid.
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Old 03-13-2008, 05:36 AM   #49
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Have anybody used alternatives to the oem fluid on GM step trannys?
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Old 03-30-2008, 09:07 AM   #50
Nabil_Leb
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After a long debate ( See the thread http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=557745)
I have replaced the tranny fluid.
The old fluid was turkish coffee dark and muddy. I drained the fluid, dropped the pan, changed the filter, cleaned the pan.
I could fill 6.5 qts, some of the last 1/2 qt spilled, so I had definitely more than 6 qrts of new fluid.
The Tranny shifts more smoothely and is more 'sensitive' now, (it reacts more to the gas pedal). I am planning to do the same operation after 1k miles to clean up as much of the old stuff as possible .

PS: I used Eurol Synthetic STF

Last edited by Nabil_Leb; 03-30-2008 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:23 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Nabil_Leb View Post
Have anybody used alternatives to the oem fluid on GM step trannys?

I have Red Line D4-ATF in mine.
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:44 AM   #52
richards330i
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Can you ATF DIY offer some advice to me? http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...05#post7941905
I stripped the fill plug. :'( ... it looks like someone damaged it before I got to it. (I bought the car as Certified Pre-Owned

Good news is that the ATF I removed was complete sludge. It was also LOW... damn CPO.
Thanks!

Last edited by richards330i; 05-20-2008 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 06-25-2008, 07:21 PM   #53
GeorgeM
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Update: I have 6000 miles on the Dexron 6. I have not changed the filter yet, not sure if I will. Anyway everything is shifting fine with no problems at 132,000 miles.
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:27 AM   #54
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Hi All
This my first post on what looks like a fantastic and VERY VERY informative site and what a BRILLIANT write up on Trans fluid change by (James 2538) Is this procedure relevent to my Steptronic Trans and what fluid do i need to use as you can see i am in UK i see most of the posts on here are from overseas any help or advice very much appreciated
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:09 PM   #55
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As previous post could someone please tell me if the above procedure applies to my car thanks in advance
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:09 PM   #56
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climb under the car and check the tag on the transmission to see what kind you have, should be either a ZF or a GM and should say what type of fluid it uses. If it is a ZF then this thread should be applicable to your car.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:09 PM   #57
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Guys, I just performed a transmission fluid flush on my 82K mile 02 325i. The car came with a A5S390R transmission. I noted the oil part number from the green tag on the transmission (83 220 0 024 359) and went to CIRCLE BMW in Eatontown since they are somewhat local. I bought a factory transmission filter kit (24 11 7 557 070) for $102.16 which came with Oil filter, a gasket and 20 M6 bolts. I also inquired about what transmission fluid to use and the parts guys looked at a chart to see what BMW recommended. Looks like they came with Dexron III originally and now BMW recommends Dexron VI. I initilly did not buy the fluid from the dealer, approx $7.50/quart and instead opted to get my own at Advance Auto. The factory sells Citgo Dexron VI Transgard which seems to be hard to find. I bought 6 quarts of Castrol Dexron VI but later went back to the dealer to buy BMW approved oil.
Now on with the job. I tried to use a T45 socket to loosen the fill plug but to no avail. So, I went and searched the internet to find an L shaped T45 torx bit. I was able to locate one from Grainger for approx $3.50. A very well made tool, with shipping cost of $7.50 .
I finally recieved the tool today and decided to tackle the job. With the proper tool, loosening the fill plug was a piece of cake.
So, now on to a DIY.
Tools required:
Drain plug: T40 torx socket
Fill Plug: T45 L shaped wrench
20 pan bolts: M6 socket
Torque wrench
Oil pale/pan to catch old fluid
Brake cleaner
Oil pump
Drive the car up on ramps and lift the rear using the differential subframe. Make sure the car is standing even front to back.
Install floor jacks to stabilize car.
Undo drain plug using T40 torx socket
Undo 20 bolts using M6 socket. Make sure you tilt the pan facing back so the rest of the fluid drains out.
Drop the pan, pull the filter out.
Make sure you remove the 2 seals that go into the housing that holds the filter pipe. I used an L shaped circlip plier.
Push the new filter in and wipe all around the transmission housing to clean mating surface to the gasket.
Remove magnet from pan and clean with brake cleaner
Clean the pan all around and place gasket.
Install 20 M6 bolts in sequential order and torque them to 7 lb/ft
Install Drain plug to 14 lb/ft. I lubed the O'ring with Hylomar. For some reason these O'rings were not included in the kit.
Install the fill plug.
Pump approx 3.5 quarts into the fill plug until the oil starts to drip.
Put hand brake on, start the car and go through gears while you have the brake pedal depressed.
Undo the fill plug, chance are no oil will drain, add additional quart until oil starts to drip from the fill plug. Close fill plug and torque it to 14lb/ft.
You are all set!
What I found was that the GM transmission are far superior in quality to the ZF units. Why do I say that? I also own a B5 1.8t Audi that has the ZF unit. I changed its transmission fluid 2 weeks back and that fluid was pitch dark and mucky. In comparison, the Dexron fluid in the GM unit still had some redness to it and didn't look too bad. Also, I found more sediments in the magnets in the ZF unit than I did on the GM unit. I used Pentosin oil in the ZF transmission so I know what that fluid looks like new. Not pretty when it gets old.
Thats all folks. The car shifts just as smooth as before.
Good luck.
Raj
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Old 08-17-2008, 11:13 AM   #58
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I just change the ATF fluid in my 01 325xi GM tranny with 102K miles on it. Used Castrol Multi Import ATF. So far the result are excellent.
- Smother shifting
- faster shifting
- and an unexpected bennie of a 20% increase in gas mileage. I am now getting 35 MPG when driving on the highway @ 70-75mph vs 30 mpg prior to the change

A couple of adds to the DIY
- use liquid wrench on all the bolts before removing, it makes it much easier
- get a small box to help support the pan when putting it back on, saves your arms.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread. It made it very easy to change my ATF.
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Old 08-28-2008, 12:37 AM   #59
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I also followed this DIY and changed the fluid on my 2000 323iT with the GM transmission at about 52,000 miles. The fluid that came out was dark but still had some redness to it. Still, you could tell it needed to be changed. The DIY was perfect, and I've driven the car about 15,000 miles since and it's great. It seemed to shift faster, and in the cold it didn't get stuck in first until the fluid warmed like it used to. I plan on changing it again at around 85,000.
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:16 PM   #60
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Was browsing the BITOG forums and someone posted the updated Mobil 1 Synthetic ATF page. It's supposed to be new formulation:

Quote:
Also suitable for use in vehicles that specify the following fluid requirements:
...
- BMW LA2634
- Esso LT 71141
- ETL-7045E, ETL-8072B, N402
...
I pulled up my old file on this ATF from last year when I was doing research on ATF alternatives. Those BMW ATF 'recommendations' weren't there last year. The viscosity ratings are indeed different, but not far off. Based on the viscosity of the newer formula I say it's close enough to LT71141, as long as you change it regularly (~15K-30K). My guess is that LT71141 and the other BMW ATF fluids have additives that try to make it last to 100K miles (which they fail on miserably anyway).

So for me it's better to choose the non-BMW alternatives as long as it's changed regularly.
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