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This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 08-20-2007, 03:33 PM   #1
Sicily1918
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Transmission fluid change...

Gettin' it done now (as well as differential and oil)... will keep you appraised

We need a :fingers-crossed: smiley...


Specs:
Transmission:
Steptronic, 42,000 miles -- changing w/Red Line D4 ATF.

Differential -- changing with Red Line Diff. fluid (75W90).

Oil -- Mobil 1 0W40
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:47 PM   #2
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are you doing it or are you having it done?


if so how much are you getting charged to get it done?
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:53 PM   #3
Sicily1918
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Went to my local mechanic (and friend of my dad). The whole thing ran me $180 (labor, filters, and gaskets) plus fluids.

Cost
Code:
Labor and parts             $180.00
6 x $8.95 (ATF)             $ 53.70
2 x $8.95 (Differential)*   $ 17.90
7 x $5.95 (Mobil 1)         $ 41.65
                            -------
Total                       $293.25
* The differential used up 1.3 quarts, therefore it was 'two' bottles.

Without all the other stuff, it would have run me about $130-150 ($25 filter, $15 (I think) gasket, plus labor, plus fluids). Add an extra ~$50 if you use factory-fill Esso instead of Red Line.

The car felt odd (a good odd) when I took off... very connected; less 'slushy' and more manual I'll know more after I go to my friend's house tonight (about 20 miles each way).

The filter housing had a decent amount of deposits on it -- nothing extravagant but it was more than just used fluids -- there were muddy particulates on it (super-fine, as the filter got the rest), much like what you'd expect to find after 42,000 miles one the same fluid . The filter itself was a dark brown instead of the light honey-color of the Esso fluid; imagine the color of mud.

BTW, this should put to rest any rumors that the tranny is 'sealed', which is why it has 'lifetime' fluid, unless that 'mud' was metal from the tranny -- and it would be one weird, non-reflective, metal considering the color (dirt and road-grime) and feel (wet dirt and road-grime).

Also, since the ZF transmissions take 9.4 quarts (8.9 liters) and we used up only 6 (the rest stubbornly clinging to the torque converter), only 64% of the fluid was changed, so I'll do it again in about 5000-7500 miles (replacing the filter as well) and then every 15K.

And two BIG thumbs up to Ti330Ci's awesome tranny fluid de-mystifying post.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:24 AM   #4
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Update: +100 miles

Well, drove to my friend's house (90% freeway) and back, plus we went for Pho (all street).
  • The tranny feels more responsive when accelerating (it's like the car's 'fighting' the engine less). This is noticeable, but only barely; having logged 42K miles I know my car, but even then it's not like night and day.
  • The car has more power -- this is related to the above point, though.
    • Fuel economy improved (albeit by a small percentage).
  • The 'pause'/'clunk' between gears was no longer there -- I'd grown accustomed to it and was expecting it.
    • Lemme explain that one -- going R to D, I often back up 'till I know I'm where I wanna be, then slip into N while braking. Once stopped, I shift to D while barely pressing the brake (I'm already stopped) and let go before the tranny engages; it would clunk, very mildly, at that point.
  • Shifting through the gears was smoother.
Overall, I'd say the car feels more like it did when it was new.

If I can think of something else I'll post it here (my own transmission blog... ), otherwise I'll report back in 500-1000 miles.


P.S. - I'm sure the differential fluid change was a factor.
P.P.S. - If you're not too high on mileage, you really should consider doing this. If I could feel the difference at 42K, I can only imagine what it would be like at 50, 60, or 70K -- and more importantly, what it would be like without doing it.
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:02 AM   #5
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Just want to double-check before I order fluid:

2 quarts of differential fluid

7 quarts of Tranny fluid

Correct?
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Old 08-21-2007, 08:47 AM   #6
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Can You Point Me To Your Local Mechanic? So Cal Area Right? I Wanna Get Mines Done.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:17 AM   #7
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Man, I must be BROKE. I would never pay $180 to watch some guy do what I can do what I can do in a driveway in 30 minutes (did it 2 or 3 weeks ago).
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arby1028 View Post
Just want to double-check before I order fluid:

2 quarts of differential fluid

7 quarts of Tranny fluid

Correct?
Mine is a manual transmission, and it took less than 2 quarts of D4 ATF.
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieE46 View Post
Man, I must be BROKE. I would never pay $180 to watch some guy do what I can do what I can do in a driveway in 30 minutes (did it 2 or 3 weeks ago).

+1
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:58 PM   #10
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where did you get the oil change done. tnx
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:22 PM   #11
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^^ yeah, where exactly is your mechanic ?
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aggieE46 View Post
Man, I must be BROKE. I would never pay $180 to watch some guy do what I can do what I can do in a driveway in 30 minutes (did it 2 or 3 weeks ago).
My father was the mechanic, not I. Besides, I have neither the room nor the tools... but I can fix up your entire computer system infrastructure for ya...

BTW, how's your car liking the fluid change?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arby1028 View Post
Just want to double-check before I order fluid:

2 quarts of differential fluid

7 quarts of Tranny fluid

Correct?
I ordered 10 quarts -- Bavarian said my car needed 4 liters of tranny fluid (and .95 l of differential), but I go and look at the ZF transmission info and it says 8.9 liters (1 liter = 1.0566882 US quarts), so I erred on the side of caution -- besides, it's not like the leftovers won't keep. I think part of it has to do with how much your torque converter keeps, and whether or not it has a drain plug as well (apparently, a few do, many don't).

-------------------
As for my mechanic (David), he has a small shop in Pasadena. Here's the info:

Independent German Car Service
(626) 798-3832
1475 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA


Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/index.php#q1=1...2C+Pasadena+CA
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Old 08-21-2007, 07:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgE46 View Post
Mine is a manual transmission, and it took less than 2 quarts of D4 ATF.
Yeah, manuals always take a fraction of the fluids autos do...
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Old 08-21-2007, 11:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicily1918 View Post
As for my mechanic (David), he has a small shop in Pasadena. Here's the info:

Independent German Car Service
(626) 798-3832
1475 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA

Nice. That's only a few blocks away from my house. Thanks man.
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Old 08-22-2007, 09:01 AM   #15
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I wasn't much of a mechanic either, until I got out and started wrenching. I think you should have invested the $180 in a Bentley Manual, a socket set, and a 6-pack of good beer to bribe a friend to let you use his driveway. That's how I got by in college.

Anyway... fluid change was very nice. I used RP in the diff and the UUC Redline blend in my tranny (manual). I also did an oil change at the same time - Mobil 1 0W40 (coudln't get my hands on the RP stuff in time). Car definitely felt better after. It's amazing what new fluids can do. I also changed out my spark plugs and I'm trying to get cash together to buy a fuel filter and my cabin filter. I have a rather long list, just trying to pick away at it little by little.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicily1918 View Post
My father was the mechanic, not I. Besides, I have neither the room nor the tools... but I can fix up your entire computer system infrastructure for ya...

BTW, how's your car liking the fluid change?
I ordered 10 quarts -- Bavarian said my car needed 4 liters of tranny fluid (and .95 l of differential), but I go and look at the ZF transmission info and it says 8.9 liters (1 liter = 1.0566882 US quarts), so I erred on the side of caution -- besides, it's not like the leftovers won't keep. I think part of it has to do with how much your torque converter keeps, and whether or not it has a drain plug as well (apparently, a few do, many don't).

-------------------
As for my mechanic (David), he has a small shop in Pasadena. Here's the info:

Independent German Car Service
(626) 798-3832
1475 N Lake Ave
Pasadena, CA


Map:
http://maps.yahoo.com/index.php#q1=1...2C+Pasadena+CA
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:43 AM   #16
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tnx bro, i have 64k on my baby, should i do it.
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Old 08-22-2007, 01:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Car definitely felt better after. It's amazing what new fluids can do.
No kidding -- especially after the neglect forced on by "lifetime" fluids.
Quote:
Originally Posted by n2Bimmer View Post
tnx bro, i have 64k on my baby, should i do it.
Personally, I would, but I was (and still am) mentally and financially ready to pay the $2500 or so to replace the stupid tranny, even though it makes no sense that a fluid change could actually hurt it.

Read through this thread (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=430969) if you haven't already, but all other things being equal, 64k is not too high to do a change (a couple, actually -- the second being ~5000 miles or so after the first, since you'd likely still have a decent amount (~35%) of old fluid left).

I figure, so long as you change most of the fluid and the filter every time, you should be good to go.
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:20 PM   #18
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My friend and his wife have a late 90s Chrysler Voyager. Started having issues shifting into 3rd, and then wouldn't come out of second. They took it to a tranny shop and were quoted $2500 for the rebuild. I cracked him over the head and told him just to change the filter and fluid first. No more issues.... I told him he owed me about $2450.
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:05 PM   #19
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I have some serious issues with my tranny (heavy clunking/stalling of car between shifting at high rpm, total tranny 'jamming' requiring me to pull over and restart car), and when I took my car to the dealer, they said it was caused by the previous owner never doing a tranny fluid change.


the tranny has had these issues from the time ive owned the car from 121-155k miles and hasnt really gotten much worse or better, but i was curious why I can't still do this? Or what the best way to fix my issue is? The tech said we couldn't do it because the crap in the tranny fluid is now all that is holding it together, wtf??
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Old 08-22-2007, 03:16 PM   #20
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that can be true, if you change the oil and you empty out the shavings from the gear your tranny might slip and not go into gears.
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