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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 01-31-2017, 04:24 PM   #1
Modded ///Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 419
My Ride: 330 CiC, 330i
Project 5HP19 Transmission: Lower Front Valve Body replacement

Link to other parts of the project

After finding out the reason for D drum failures was the wearing of the main pressure valve bore in the lower front VB, I decided to replace it in all my cars. I have three cars with a 5HP19 transmission. One Audi (4.2L Allroad) and 2 x E46 330 (Convertible and sedan).

The problem with the wearing bore is shown in the photo below. You can see in the old VB the wear lines. There were other parts of the same bore that had wear, but very difficult to photograph due to them being deep inside the bore. All of the lower front valve bodies from the three cars looked like this. When I tried to remove the piston from the bore, they all snagged easily, and required me to get some long nose pliers onto it to get it out. Then the same piston slipped beautifully into the new valve body.

I replaced the lower front VB (I'll call it the LFVB from here) from the Audi while the transmission was being removed and I was doing a rebuild. I replaced the it in the two BMWs while the transmission was in the car. I was able to do the replacement without the need to remove the entire VB, which makes the process far simpler.

The results were all very positive.

Audi: I was rebuilding the transmission simply because it was out of the car. I was doing a bunch of engine work, so I thought I'd pull it to bits and see how things looked. I'd had the TC rebuilt, and replaced all the clutch O-rings, but no steels or friction disks were replaced. The D drum doesn't fail in these transmissions due to it being a slightly different setup, but I thought I'd replace it anyway to try and make it as smooth as possible. The difference is quite unreal. It goes into gear from P like butter compared to what it used to, and the general gear changes are much smoother.

BMWs: Both of my cars have regular oil changes and get warmed up prior to driving. They drove really nicely, but the replacement of the LFVB has made a significant difference on both. They go into gear more smoothly and consistently, and the gear changes are nicer, especially when the transmission isn't up to full operating temperature. The fact I've also guarded myself against a D drum failure gives me peace of mind as well.

Replacing the LFVB is reasonably simple. The valve body piece itself is not particularly expensive (about US$130), and all the components that are in your current LFVB will go into the new one. The basic aim is to leave the entire valve body screwed to the transmission housing using the rear screws only, and remove the LFVB only. The only difficulty is that you will be removing the screws that also hold the upper front valve body. This needs to be done carefully so the upper front valve body doesn't move, so you can put the screws back in later. If it does move and you can't get the screw holes aligned, you will need to remove the entire valve body to get everything back together again. The method I devised to do this worked fine, especially having a few goes at it with a few transmissions.

Cleanliness is critical. You are going to have the pan and valve body open for a good number of hours. Do not do this in a place where wind will blow and it might be possible for contaminants can get in.

Drain the fluid, drop and pan and remove the filter.

When you look at the valve body, there are a number of different sized screws. Depending on the transmission year, they may be all T27, or a mix of T27 and T40. Some are M5, some are M6. Some are long and bolt all the way through the VB to either the transmission housing or the upper front valve body, or are short, and screwed to the duct plate. It's not particularly important to take exact note of which goes where due to them being only able to go to one place only, but having a bit of an idea as you remove them is going to help for the installation.

Release all of the screws on the LFVB and lower about 5mm. Allow all of the fluid to drain out. You will get about 2L more than what you got after you removed the pan and filter. Let it drain out for a good while, maybe 2 hours. It takes time for everything to slowly glug out. The more you let drain, the less is going to be dripping out all over you when you remove the LFVB later.

Now remove the screws that go through to the upper front valve body. Do this gently so you don't displace the upper front valve body from where it is sitting.

Now remove all the other screws and lower the LFVB. I would suggest initially removing all screws but two, and then removing the last two while you hold it by hand. The dowel in the back left corner is quite a tight fit, so you will need to lower it evenly so it comes down.

Once the LFVB is out, gently put two of the screws to the upper front valve body back in so it doesn't move. On the first transmission I did this to, I didn't put these screws in to hold it in place. A few hours later when I was installing, the upper front valve body had moved a bit, which required a bit of effort to get everything aligned prior to installation. The second time I did this, I put these screws in there, and it made life much easier later.

First thing to do with the LFVB is to remove the dowel from the old and install in the new. Vice grips easily get the dowel out. It's not in there tight. Gently hammer it in the new.

Remove the end plate from the old and put aside. Keep clean. Now you can start to move the components from the old and install in the new. Do them one at a time. Don't forget the clip and extra piston piece as shown, as well as the two pistons and springs on the opposite end to the end plate.

When all is in, install the end plate. 6Nm on all end plate screws.

Now go and install in the transmission in this sequence.
1. Gently remove the two screws that are holding the upper front valve body.
2. Put the LFVB into position, and install some of the screws that DO NOT go to the upper front valve body. Screw these all the way in to the LFVB so it's fully seated.
3. Ensure the tang on the shifter is installed into the manual selector valve. NOTE: It's very easy to get jammed. The knob that slides in the duct plate must be exactly in the middle. Give the manual valve a jiggle once the LFVB is fully seated to check that it's OK.
4. Now once it's in place, gently install the screws to the upper front valve body.
5. Install all screws and torque. 6Nm for M5, 8Nm for M6.

Install the filter (6Nm) and then gasket/pan (10Nm + Loctite). Fill as per normal. You will have removed 6-7L or fluid, so expect this much to go in.

Enjoy your new transmission.
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Last edited by jjrichar; 01-31-2017 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 02-03-2017, 02:05 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Burbank, CA
Posts: 121
My Ride: 2003 325ci M56
Awesome, thanks for this I think I'll do this next filter change, where did you get the parts needed and what all are they?

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Old 02-03-2017, 09:27 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by dck8267 View Post
Awesome, thanks for this I think I'll do this next filter change, where did you get the parts needed and what all are they?

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Try fcpeuro and ECSTuning. Go to www.realoem.com and enter the last 7 characters of the car's VIN. Hit enter and bookmark the page. Check under the automatic tranny icon.

Be aware that BMW sourced auto trannies from GM of France and ZF, a German company. THEY ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT TRANNIES! How to tell which tranny is in your car? The bottom of the fluid pan in a GM tranny is smooth, while the pan in a ZF tranny is ribbed.
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Old 02-03-2017, 09:11 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 419
My Ride: 330 CiC, 330i
The only part you need is the valve body housing, assuming you have the ZF transmission. Part number 1060 327 138. All of the other components come from the one currently in your transmission, and are installed in the new.

If I was to suggest anywhere to buy the parts it would be Eriksson Industries in the US. They know far more about these transmissions than anyone else I've approached, and have been very forthcoming with information to the DIYer, especially on this forum. I think they are the same price as anywhere else, but due to how much help they have been, I would always go to them if I was in the US.
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