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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > BMW Tech's Recommendation for Tranny Fluid



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      09-29-2012, 11:53 AM   #1
Gator335i
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BMW Tech's Recommendation for Tranny Fluid

I asked a BMW technician this morning at my local dealer about changing the auto transmission fluid on my '07 335i. It's got 72k on the clock, so I asked him if he recommended doing it now. He said that at my mileage the best way to go is to just do a drain and fill by dropping the pan, without replacing the filter. Then at 100k do a complete fluid swap, including the filter.

He mentioned that in "off-the-record" conversations he's had with BMW engineers, they have told him that in their BMWs they change the fluid at 50,000 miles just like in any other car.

So, he thinks that at my mileage the fluid shouldn't be too horrible right now and I can get away with just doing a drain and fill. That way we commingle the good and the bad fluid just enough to freshen it up a bit until doing the whole thing at 100k. Just thought this might help somebody who was in "no man's land" mileage-wise like me and thinking about their tranny fluid.
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      09-30-2012, 12:37 PM   #2
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First of all there is absolutely no reason to drop the pan to do a drain and refill. To do so makes no sense since you cannot clean anything with an integral pan-filter.
I agree about draining and refilling and always remove the refill plug first just in case. I also agree that doing this at 50K can be done two to three times before dropping the pan and replacing it. You also need to know that Lifeguard 6 and Mercon SP will work as fluids for your ZF transmission but no others unless you wish to experiment.
I sent Blackstone samples of both and they reported that both samples minus smell and color were identical and could have come from the same batch.
Mercon SP can be sourced at O[Reily's for $4.99 a quart and LG6 in a 12 L case for $200 plus shipping.
http://www.thectsc.com/index.php?p=p...id=10&parent=0

I did my first change at 38K sent the sample to Blackstone and they stated that the fluid had material in it all normal and nothing unusal and has a lot of life left. Once I get a scanner working I will post the results.
When I drained the fluid out it was darker in color than the honey colored LG6 but nothing special. All LG fluids smell bad and this was no different used thus nothing there.
I could have easily gone to 50K but I am anal and will change before needed since my BMW transmissions go well past 200K before they fail.

Hope this helps, the tech is partial right on his advice but dropping the pan is a total waste of time until you replace it...
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      10-01-2012, 07:47 AM   #3
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I'm at 52K now, so should I just drain and fill or drop the pan and change the filter as well?
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      10-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
First of all there is absolutely no reason to drop the pan to do a drain and refill. To do so makes no sense since you cannot clean anything with an integral pan-filter.
I agree about draining and refilling and always remove the refill plug first just in case. I also agree that doing this at 50K can be done two to three times before dropping the pan and replacing it. You also need to know that Lifeguard 6 and Mercon SP will work as fluids for your ZF transmission but no others unless you wish to experiment.
I sent Blackstone samples of both and they reported that both samples minus smell and color were identical and could have come from the same batch.
Mercon SP can be sourced at O[Reily's for $4.99 a quart and LG6 in a 12 L case for $200 plus shipping.
http://www.thectsc.com/index.php?p=p...id=10&parent=0

I did my first change at 38K sent the sample to Blackstone and they stated that the fluid had material in it all normal and nothing unusal and has a lot of life left. Once I get a scanner working I will post the results.
When I drained the fluid out it was darker in color than the honey colored LG6 but nothing special. All LG fluids smell bad and this was no different used thus nothing there.
I could have easily gone to 50K but I am anal and will change before needed since my BMW transmissions go well past 200K before they fail.

Hope this helps, the tech is partial right on his advice but dropping the pan is a total waste of time until you replace it...
No, it doesn't really. But thanks anyway.
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      10-02-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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If tech spoke to engineers in Germany it makes sense since those cars would fall under ZFs severe service requirements due to the high speed driving on the autobahn.
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      10-03-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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Took my car in for a transmission service (filter, gasket drain and fill), and now I have a smell (smells like burning BO), after I start the car as the AC gets going.

I noticed it yesterday after I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from the service. The car shifts perfect and don't notice any negative feedback while driving.

I can smell it slightly when I garage the car, but it's mainly noticible after it sits after some "spitited" or distance driving.

I called the independent shop and the owner says there may have been some fluid that dripped on the exhaust that will burn off, but I drove through a lot of rain today and it's not any better. He advised me that I should give it a few days to be sure and not to worry unless I "discover fluid on my garage floor"

I'm not so sure I trust that advise and wanted to see if anyone else has gone through a similar issue? I know there have been horror stories about services gone bad and I don't want to risk hurting the transmission.

Note: Indy Shop reassured me that they made sure by looking at the tranny in addition to the VIN before adding fluid to make sure they used the right one. This is a shop that ONLY works on BMW and Mercedes, which is why I chose them in the first place.

Cheers!
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      10-04-2012, 11:18 AM   #7
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Fill hole is on side.of.housing. probably slash.
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      10-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW335 View Post
Took my car in for a transmission service (filter, gasket drain and fill), and now I have a smell (smells like burning BO), after I start the car as the AC gets going.

I noticed it yesterday after I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from the service. The car shifts perfect and don't notice any negative feedback while driving.

I can smell it slightly when I garage the car, but it's mainly noticible after it sits after some "spitited" or distance driving.

I called the independent shop and the owner says there may have been some fluid that dripped on the exhaust that will burn off, but I drove through a lot of rain today and it's not any better. He advised me that I should give it a few days to be sure and not to worry unless I "discover fluid on my garage floor"

I'm not so sure I trust that advise and wanted to see if anyone else has gone through a similar issue? I know there have been horror stories about services gone bad and I don't want to risk hurting the transmission.

Note: Indy Shop reassured me that they made sure by looking at the tranny in addition to the VIN before adding fluid to make sure they used the right one. This is a shop that ONLY works on BMW and Mercedes, which is why I chose them in the first place.

Cheers!
This is a reasonable explanation. You can always take a look with a flashlight under the car to see for yourself if it leaks. Anyway, this is not an urgent matter (even if it leaks), and you can follow his advice to wait for a week without fear.
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      10-07-2012, 10:37 AM   #9
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Update: after a few days I still have the smell. Now it's not first this thing, but after driving for a while. Shifting is much smoother, but seems to slip into gear. There are no puddles in the garage and last night I got stuck in 3rd gear for a few seconds.

Would you say I have a problem? I'm very worried and think I screwed myself by attempting to perform preventative maintenance.
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      10-09-2012, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW335
Update: after a few days I still have the smell. Now it's not first this thing, but after driving for a while. Shifting is much smoother, but seems to slip into gear. There are no puddles in the garage and last night I got stuck in 3rd gear for a few seconds.

Would you say I have a problem? I'm very worried and think I screwed myself by attempting to perform preventative maintenance.
Thats why, follow what bmw says. Yours Transmission is now added to screwed the list. Sorry about that.
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      10-09-2012, 08:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDW335 View Post
Update: after a few days I still have the smell. Now it's not first this thing, but after driving for a while. Shifting is much smoother, but seems to slip into gear. There are no puddles in the garage and last night I got stuck in 3rd gear for a few seconds.

Would you say I have a problem? I'm very worried and think I screwed myself by attempting to perform preventative maintenance.
Had the exact same problem with my E60 (ZF 6HP19) after a tranny flush by a shop. Drove me crazy for a month. Turned out the tranny was overfilled, there is a vent valve on the top of the tranny case and I think that is where the smell was escaping from due to possible over pressure. I followed the BMW TIS procedure for refilling the tranny. Had to measure the tranny fluid temperature with INPA and correctly fill the tranny as per procedure. At proper temperature, with the tranny in Park, I've opened the fill hole and at least a quart came out where it shouldn't. I made sure it was then filled properly and voila! No more ATF smell

GL!
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      10-11-2012, 10:38 AM   #12
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Jimk, thanks for the advise. I'm having some front perches installed tomorrow am and will talk with the mechanic. Was anything harmed are your transmission?
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