RM European Auto Parts

View Poll Results: What is your BMW auto transmission maintenance experience?

Voters
1347. You may not vote on this poll
  • Followed BMW Lifetime ATF recommendation, did zero maintenance and auto trans. is fine.

    631 46.84%
  • Followed BMW Lifetime ATF recommendation, did zero maintenance and auto trans. failed.

    159 11.80%
  • Did an ATF drain/refill w/ BMW specified ATF fluid and auto trans. is fine.

    229 17.00%
  • Did an ATF drain/refill w/ BMW specified ATF fluid and auto trans. failed.

    53 3.93%
  • Did an ATF drain/refill w/ non-BMW ATF and auto trans is fine.

    257 19.08%
  • Did an ATF drain/refill w/ non-BMW ATF and auto trans failed.

    18 1.34%
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Results 201 to 225 of 590

Thread: Collecting Statistics on BMW auto transmission and Lifetime ATF

  1. #201
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    bmw 523i E39
    E39 523i Auto 2001 and has 50,000 mile on it, never change fluid, still run fine except that it squeaks when changing from reverse to drive and vice versa. I don't know if that normal.

  2. #202
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Far Far Away...
    Posts
    71
    My Cars
    2003 BMW 325i
    I just changed the fluid and filter on my BMW 323i (GM A5S360R Transmission).

    Drives much better than before.

    I did a full write-up and DIY here:
    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=438667

  3. #203
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Charlotte(Indian Trail) NC
    Posts
    37
    My Cars
    2000 BMW 323ci 2001 BMW 740iL

    $50 transmmission

    99,400 Transmission started to shudder at 1800-2300 rpms in 1st gear. Thank you BMW CPO warranty....was planning on changing fluid at 100k, but I guess I'll just change the transmission out for $50 what a deal!
    2000 323 Ci Titanium Silver/Gray Sport/Premium 5spd
    2001 740 iL Titanium Silver/Gray

  4. #204
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Danielson, CT. 06239
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    1990 535im 1995 525iT
    The 95 525iT I just recently bought came with all service records from new. Fluid (Dextron 3) & filter was first changed by BMW at 30k as part of the Inspection 2. It was done again at 92k when the tranny was removed to replace all seals. I drained/refilled the fluid last week at 137k & will be dropping the pans, changing the filter/refilling with Dextron 3/Lubegard this weekend.

    The tranny (GM 4 spd) had no shifting issues when I got it at 136k & worked the same after the fluid change. The fluid I drained at 137k had darkened but otherwise looked fine.

  5. #205
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Posts
    14
    My Cars
    99 323
    Lack of maintenance is cause for failure. Ask any honest transmission remanufacturer. It is a very expensive lesson to learn, as replacement runs in the range of $5000. That is a LOT of transmission service even if you hired it done.
    There is an "old wife's tale" (even older that the www) that you should not change your ATF if you have high miles, because all the contamination is the only thing making it work. Believe it if you wish. If you are capable of thinking for yourself, research the subject further, ask expert opinions, look at bobistheoilguy and other places for more information.
    I'm in the process of helping my son's gf with her 323 which had a transmission failure shortly after she purchased it used from a private individual (no warranty) and NOBODY seems willing or able to repair these transmissions.
    I'm amazed that BMW owners have not organizeda class action lawsuit. I guess what is unreasonable to me is not unreasonable to most.

  6. #206
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chula Vista, CA
    Posts
    3,472
    My Cars
    Z3 3.0i Roadster, E39 530i, Toyota Previa S/C
    Quote Originally Posted by 2fast2 View Post
    Lack of maintenance is cause for failure. Ask any honest transmission remanufacturer. It is a very expensive lesson to learn, as replacement runs in the range of $5000. That is a LOT of transmission service even if you hired it done.
    There is an "old wife's tale" (even older that the www) that you should not change your ATF if you have high miles, because all the contamination is the only thing making it work. Believe it if you wish. If you are capable of thinking for yourself, research the subject further, ask expert opinions, look at bobistheoilguy and other places for more information.
    I'm in the process of helping my son's gf with her 323 which had a transmission failure shortly after she purchased it used from a private individual (no warranty) and NOBODY seems willing or able to repair these transmissions.
    I'm amazed that BMW owners have not organizeda class action lawsuit. I guess what is unreasonable to me is not unreasonable to most.
    If that is a 1999-2000 323i, check to see if it is a GM transmission. Likely a 5L40-E. If it is, just take the transmission out and goto a GM transmission shop... don't have to tell them what car it came from, they'll fix it or rebuild it like any other GM transmission. The same transmission (if it is the GM variety) is used in Cadillacs. I'm actually reading some documentation on how to rebuild the GM 5L40-E right now. A rebuild kit for this transmission is only $500. If you can do it yourself, or have a friend that can help you, it probably won't be that expensive to rebuild the transmission. Bare in mind, I don't think it will be a one weekend project, probably two weekends.

  7. #207
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Posts
    14
    My Cars
    99 323
    I talked to a GM rebuilder, he won't touch it. Says it is way different, requires special tools and has very expensive (comparitively) rebuilt kits ($300 his cost versus $75 for a normal transmission.) He told me to try Jasper, a nationally marketed remanufacturer of engines and transmissions. They don't do that one.
    I thought about trying myself, but you need some sepcial tools, my rebuilder says one tool costs him $300 just for that. He said no way should I even try.
    I trust this guy and his opinions, he comes highly recommended.

  8. #208
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chula Vista, CA
    Posts
    3,472
    My Cars
    Z3 3.0i Roadster, E39 530i, Toyota Previa S/C
    Quote Originally Posted by 2fast2 View Post
    I talked to a GM rebuilder, he won't touch it. Says it is way different, requires special tools and has very expensive (comparitively) rebuilt kits ($300 his cost versus $75 for a normal transmission.) He told me to try Jasper, a nationally marketed remanufacturer of engines and transmissions. They don't do that one.
    I thought about trying myself, but you need some sepcial tools, my rebuilder says one tool costs him $300 just for that. He said no way should I even try.
    I trust this guy and his opinions, he comes highly recommended.
    Well, i'm not trying to 2nd guess the expertise of the person you spoke to, but I've talk to transmission shops and this transmission, at least the GM one, is nothing special. It is used in the Cadillac CTS, some other Cadillacs, and a new, more powerful version (6L80E) is used for automatic Corvettes. It's really nothing that uncommon.

    I have the rebuild manual for the 5L40E, literarly in my hands. As far as I can tell, the only special tool is a transmission stand, which most transmission shop should have, if they work with automatics tranny.

    Yes, the rebuild kit seems expensive, and depending on the problem, you may need more than a rebuild kit, like parts that may have been damaged. I'm sure you can order them from GM. The instructions for the rebuild is tedious, and will take some time.. but there's no magic to it. You just have to learn it... and that's what the manual is for. A seasoned transmission professional should have no problems doing this.

    Oh, and you know how there's this discussion about what ATF to use and all that? Well, guess what... the GM technical manual for the 5L40E specifies Dexron III-H!!

    I'm stating this because i think people often think that just because their "BMW" is this "special" import car, it uses ultra-rare magical ATF and requires super exclusive skills to work on... but in reality, it's just a car, and the 5L40-E is just a transmission. I'm not saying that is you, but people make too big of a deal about the internals of BMWs. BMW doesn't make everything, and certainly they no longer custom craft everything. Just like any other auto maker, they have parts bins where they pull components to use in their cars. A lot of these components are "standard". It's just a matter of learning new information and being able to find such information.

    All of the above said, I'll end my rant and say I'm not a professional mechanic nor am I a transmission technician. Take my words for what they are worth... (probably not much)

  9. #209
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Posts
    14
    My Cars
    99 323
    bimmerZ5, I know where you are coming from, because I've been dealing with this issue for a couple months now. Its not that NOBODY rebuilds them, just very few will do it. The price is quite high, according to typical market forces, since the supply (competition) is scant.
    You might think that it is just a GM transmission and therefore anybody could fix it. That is not the case. It is not a common GM transmission, it comes from France. GM designed it and sold it to BMW. They have use it for the Holden in Australia and a Cadillac model. Over all, it is rare, compared to their other models. Again, market forces would dictate that the big, national remanufacturers would get involved with this transmission if there was sufficient demand. There is not, yet.
    To the best of my knowledge, you are correct that the unit uses Dextron IIIH. I suspect BMW makes such a big deal about using the Texaco EHL 7045E because of some additives that help it be a no-change fluid. They don't want you diluting it with some inferior version and then having the transmission fail. In fact, as we are all learning now, it will probably fail anyway due to lack of maintenance. This is BMW marketing, not high class German -- or French -- engineering.
    I've learned my lesson about BMWs already. I know of at least one customer they've lost because of their "attitude" about this transmission, among other issues. Me.
    But I still want to help my son's girlfriend get her beloved Bimmer back on the road so she can get some use from all the money she has tied up in it. I'll be buying a reman unit and hoping for the best.

  10. #210
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Toronto
    Posts
    54
    My Cars
    1996 318 IS
    Hey Guys,

    E36 1996 318is

    what's the Transmission Fluid Temp supposed to be when doing a drain and fill ?

  11. #211
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    17
    My Cars
    1998 E36 M3
    So, I've read the post and I still haven't seen any solid statements of alternative tranny fluids other than the esso 71141 bmw fluid. I have a '98 M3 with 150k. I just rebuilt the motor this past week and would like to freshen up the tranny fluid. I am all for OEM equipment but is there an alternative to the expensive esso fluid out there. I work for Mercedes Benz and I was thinking of using our so-called lifetime fluid p/n 001-989-21-03-10 which we use in our electronic trannies, but opted not to,(after seeing the difference in consistency and color of both fluids) without doing some research. In my ignorance, if figured tranny fluid is tranny fluid. The seals and clutches are all made from the same materials . Right?
    I really don't care for lifetime fluids because I am not afraid of getting dirty and changing it whenever necessary. So if there is a cheaper alternative guys..........let me know. Is the VW fluid really compatible?

  12. #212
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chula Vista, CA
    Posts
    3,472
    My Cars
    Z3 3.0i Roadster, E39 530i, Toyota Previa S/C
    Quote Originally Posted by JAHCHIN View Post
    So, I've read the post and I still haven't seen any solid statements of alternative tranny fluids other than the esso 71141 bmw fluid. I have a '98 M3 with 150k. I just rebuilt the motor this past week and would like to freshen up the tranny fluid. I am all for OEM equipment but is there an alternative to the expensive esso fluid out there. I work for Mercedes Benz and I was thinking of using our so-called lifetime fluid p/n 001-989-21-03-10 which we use in our electronic trannies, but opted not to,(after seeing the difference in consistency and color of both fluids) without doing some research. In my ignorance, if figured tranny fluid is tranny fluid. The seals and clutches are all made from the same materials . Right?
    I really don't care for lifetime fluids because I am not afraid of getting dirty and changing it whenever necessary. So if there is a cheaper alternative guys..........let me know. Is the VW fluid really compatible?
    Not all BMW auto transmissions used the Esso LT71141. Based on your year/model, i suspect your car doesn't use Esso either, unless you know otherwise? If your car has a GM transmission (used up to 2001 in BMWs), you can pretty much use any high quality Dexron-III(h) or Dexron-VI. When I get a chance, I'll look up your car and figure out exactly which ATF you have and list the alternatives...

  13. #213
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    17
    My Cars
    1998 E36 M3
    I've rebuilt a few Mercedes electronic trannies and they are simple. But! when it comes to the BMW trans I am completely lost as far as model and fluid designation. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  14. #214
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Albemarle, NC
    Posts
    14
    My Cars
    99 323
    Why don't you call the guy who rebuilt my transmission and ask him? His business is called European Transmissions and Parts, and the interned address is europeantransmissions dot com.
    He remanufactures BMW and Mercedes transmissions and also sells parts. Perhaps you can purchase the correct fluid from him at a better price than BMW. His name is Herbert Gruber, and I found him to be a nice and knowledgeable man who did reputable work.
    Good luck.

  15. #215
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chula Vista, CA
    Posts
    3,472
    My Cars
    Z3 3.0i Roadster, E39 530i, Toyota Previa S/C
    Quote Originally Posted by JAHCHIN View Post
    I've rebuilt a few Mercedes electronic trannies and they are simple. But! when it comes to the BMW trans I am completely lost as far as model and fluid designation. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
    Hi. Okay, I looked up some stuff tonight regarding your car. Unfortunately, it does have a ZF transmission: 5HP18. Unfortunate, because it requires the Esso LT 71141, the expensive stuff. However, here are your alternatives (which are much cheaper):

    - Valvoline Mercon V ATF (claims compatibility with the ESSO LT 71141)
    - Castrol Multivehicle ATF (claims compatibility with the ESSO LT 71141; mixing Esso and Castrol is ok per Castrol)
    - Amsoil Synthetic Universal ATF (claims compatibility w ESSO LT71141)
    - VW G-052-162-A2 (equivalent to ESSO LT71141, made by Pentosin, about $12/qt at VW/Audi/Porsche dealers, $8/qt online - www.impexfap.com)

    That should provide enough alternatives to not pay the silly BMW prices for the Esso LT71141.

  16. #216
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    17
    My Cars
    1998 E36 M3
    Hey Guys, thanks alot for the info. I think i will try the VW trans fluid. I have a friend that works at the local VW dealer. Maybe he can get me a discount. Thanks again guys.

  17. #217
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    canada
    Posts
    1
    My Cars
    bmw 328 i 1997

    bmw x5 2001 100,000 Mile

    Run A1 . Pull a campers 5000lbs and no problem.

  18. #218
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    17
    My Cars
    1998 E36 M3
    Ok. So tonight I finally had the balls to flush my '98 M3 Tranny. I got alot of helpful info from you guys and one in particular was a refernce to the VW tranny oil and I started thinking.........I remembered that I had bought a '97 VR6 Jetta GLX 4 speed auto for my girlfriend. The problem with it, was that the transmission according to the owner, was gone. It wasn't engaging in any gear. I remembered them saying it was a sealed unit that was "not serviceable". Not knowing before-hand that it reqiured the special fluid, I decided to flush the system and use a mercedes "lifetime" fluid p/n 001 989 21 03 10(this is used in all the electronic Mercedes trannies from 1998 to present). It worked. The tranny started to engage, and it worked then and still works great now.

    I figured if it worked in that tranny it would work for this one. If i'm not mistaken.....that '97 VW tranny uses the same fluid as some of you guys have mentioned. Right?

    Well I did it! The oil was charred black after 150k miles and after seeing the condition of the fluid, the tranny would have surprised me with an abrupt failure when I least expected it. So I went ahead with it at first. BUT! kept the old oil in the event that I changed my mind during the process. I figured if the tranny failed, it would be more reason for me to just rebuild it. After all it does have 150k miles.

    Anyway, I did it. I drained and dropped the pan, replaced the filter and seal. I filled it through the big hole at the left rear of the oil pan(bottom) and drained it at the front(bottom).I had to add 2.5 quarts at a time then run the car through the gears then drop the oil again. I did that 4 times until the oil was clean. The last time I added 2.5 quarts and then started the car, raised it on the lift and topped off the fluid. at that point it took another 1.5 quart. Fortunately for me the fluid didn't cost me anything because I work for a MB Dealership. But if this does work out, at least you guys will know that there are more options out there. I'll be the guinea pig. The MB fluid is red in color and smells different and is somewhat thinner than BMW's.

    IMO... I think BMW had the fluid made for longevity in addition to functionality. That's why they claim it is "special" but then, so does Mercedes.

    I took the car for a 60 mile run after. It ran great. like it always did. the shifting characteristic hasn't changed (as yet) but the verdict is still out. I will keep you guys posted.

    P.S. the MB fluid cost about $14 per qt.
    Last edited by JAHCHIN; 03-01-2007 at 09:08 AM.

  19. #219
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Aurora, CO
    Posts
    3,221
    My Cars
    GTS, E30
    Well, I kinda need to change my vote, but okay. I recently changed my tranny fluid using BMW fluid, and after about 1k miles, everything is fine.

  20. #220
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus, IN
    Posts
    8
    My Cars
    2001 740i Sport

    01 E38 with 124k - no problems

    Fluid changed with Esso @ 100k. Did the final drive fluid at the same time. Zero problems, no shudder, etc. 124k miles and still going

  21. #221
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Queens, New York
    Posts
    17
    My Cars
    1998 E36 M3
    It has been about 800 miles since I did a tranny fluid flush on my '98 E36 M3. As I had post previously, I used Mercedes Benz lifetime fluid on a hunch that it would work, because of past experience. Well, the car still runs as well as it did and even a little better after all the work I had done the week before. I had freshened up the head and ported the exhaust manifold which from the looks of the welding seem as if, some novice had done the job. It's the first time I had ever touched an M3 motor and I am happy to say that the car runs like a "TEEF"(thief in jamaican accent) . Anyway, the tranny shifts great(for now) I will keep you guys posted on any changes.

  22. #222
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Kekkosslovakia
    Posts
    47
    My Cars
    Diesel BMW
    HELLO!

    Someone said here that BMW is now included fluid changes to their service program (automatic transmissions)?

    Does anyone has any source or link for that information?

  23. #223
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Chula Vista, CA
    Posts
    3,472
    My Cars
    Z3 3.0i Roadster, E39 530i, Toyota Previa S/C
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankiez View Post
    HELLO!

    Someone said here that BMW is now included fluid changes to their service program (automatic transmissions)?

    Does anyone has any source or link for that information?
    Who said that? I don't believe anyone said BMW included ATF service in their maintenance program... at least, not in the USA.

  24. #224
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    961
    My Cars
    '08 135, '08 Jeep GC
    My car shudders everytime I drive home on one particular stretch of road. I'm going about 40 MPH and hit a 40 incline, and the car shudders until I put it into 3rd gear. Is this related to my transmission?

  25. #225
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
    Posts
    9
    My Cars
    1997 BMW 328i
    1997 328i.. Changed at 92000 now at 102000. Runs great.. shifts better... Used Redline synthetic ATF.

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