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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 > PICTURE of my stock 335I automatic transmisson Fluid at 51K miles



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      10-23-2009, 10:52 PM   #1
Turkeybaster115
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PICTURE of my stock 335I automatic transmisson Fluid at 51K miles

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Today, I changed my automatic transmisson, power steering, brake, and coolant fluids. I wanted took a picture of my car's automatic transmission fluid because It had never been changed, and it had "lifetime fluid" written on it. Because of this dealerships, gave me so much BS, about never, ever changing it. So here it is(oh,and it smelled like burn't coke too):





Please replace your fluids! The transmission now is silky smooth! My steering, braking and engine temps are also an equal WOW! I got all my fully synthetic OEM fluids from: www.rmeuropean.com

Last edited by Turkeybaster115; 10-23-2009 at 11:15 PM.
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      10-24-2009, 03:55 PM   #2
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Good call, that fluid looks black. Is synthetic ATF the same red color as the mineral based fluid? Remembering back to when I changed the ATF on a Honda Accord, I brought the interval down to 20K mls for it to come out still a decent color - but that was not a synthetic fluid.
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      10-24-2009, 04:09 PM   #3
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how hard was it to change the tranny fluid
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      10-25-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Oh wow, good thing I'm planning to flush all fluids at 50k!
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      10-26-2009, 08:41 AM   #5
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There is no such thing as "Lifetime Fluid". That is the biggest BS ever.

It was good that you changed that fluid because it looks terrible and if it smelt burnt, it is done. The fluid should be the nice red color that all ATF fluid is, not black.
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      10-27-2009, 12:13 AM   #6
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Did you do it yourself? How much did it cost?
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      10-27-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samuel L Jackson View Post
Did you do it yourself? How much did it cost?
Looks like he did it himself and the main cost is in the fluid itself.
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      11-03-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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2 questions:

1. If BMW claims the tranny is filled with Life-time fluid, and the tranny would fail after the car warranty expires, is BMW then legally responsible for tranny failures related to lubrication issues because their maintenance schedule says "no fluid changes required"?

2. While the tranny fluid ages, gets dirty and slimy, everything inside the tranny adjusts to the thicker viscosity. When replacing the tranny fluid with a fresh one, are you then not introducing a high chance for seal leaks because the seals worked/adjusted to the thicker fluid but can no longer seal the thinner fluid?
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      11-03-2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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DIY please.
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      11-03-2009, 02:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekla View Post
2 questions:

1. If BMW claims the tranny is filled with Life-time fluid, and the tranny would fail after the car warranty expires, is BMW then legally responsible for tranny failures related to lubrication issues because their maintenance schedule says "no fluid changes required"?

2. While the tranny fluid ages, gets dirty and slimy, everything inside the tranny adjusts to the thicker viscosity. When replacing the tranny fluid with a fresh one, are you then not introducing a high chance for seal leaks because the seals worked/adjusted to the thicker fluid but can no longer seal the thinner fluid?

#1 Owners manual states 100k mile change interval. This is what ZF (company who built the transmission) states as well but they also state a earlier interval (IIRC 84k km) for car run harder than normal.

#2 You're on the right track, but the arguement is that the introduction of fresh oil along with the fresh additives will cause sludge to break off and cause problems.


I've always felt that BMW maintenance intervals should not be longer than the warranty for said part.
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      11-03-2009, 04:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socom View Post
#1 Owners manual states 100k mile change interval. This is what ZF (company who built the transmission) states as well but they also state a earlier interval (IIRC 84k km) for car run harder than normal..
err.... ZF states 40,000-60,000 miles, and then stated 3 criterias for falling under 40,000miles, which is how most people drive their cars.
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      11-03-2009, 04:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekla View Post
2. While the tranny fluid ages, gets dirty and slimy, everything inside the tranny adjusts to the thicker viscosity. When replacing the tranny fluid with a fresh one, are you then not introducing a high chance for seal leaks because the seals worked/adjusted to the thicker fluid but can no longer seal the thinner fluid?
How hot does your average automatic transmission get, and how hot does an automatic transmission with old dirty fluid get? At what temperature does a clutch pack start to melt? Would there be a temperature change if one goes from an old fluid to a new fluid?
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      11-03-2009, 06:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turkeybaster115 View Post
err.... ZF states 40,000-60,000 miles, and then stated 3 criterias for falling under 40,000miles, which is how most people drive their cars.
5 and 6-speed as well as 4HP20 automatic transmissions:
ZF 5 and 6-speed as well as the ZF 4HP20 automatic transmissions are filled maintenance-free with specially developed partially
synthetic ATF oils. Maintenance-free fills are intended for normal operating conditions. Especially driving at very high operating
temperatures can result in accelerated aging or increased wear of ATF oils. It is recommended, in the event of severe operating
conditions, such as:
- frequent highway driving in top speed range,
- offensive, sporty driving style,
- frequent trailer operation,
being above average, oil purification (oil change) on automatic transmissions is recommended between 80,000 km and 120,000 km, or
8 years, depending on the load.

I was reading severe load interval at 80k km(49k miles) to 120k km(74k miles) or 8 yrs since it says "maintenance free fills are intended for normal operating conditions". If normal operating conditions wasn't maintenance free they wouldn't say "maintenance free". IJS



http://www01apps.zf.com/kst464/ZF_In...011_en0700.pdf
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      11-03-2009, 09:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socom View Post
5 and 6-speed as well as 4HP20 automatic transmissions:
ZF 5 and 6-speed as well as the ZF 4HP20 automatic transmissions are filled maintenance-free with specially developed partially
synthetic ATF oils. Maintenance-free fills are intended for normal operating conditions. Especially driving at very high operating
temperatures can result in accelerated aging or increased wear of ATF oils. It is recommended, in the event of severe operating
conditions, such as:
- frequent highway driving in top speed range,
- offensive, sporty driving style,
- frequent trailer operation,
being above average, oil purification (oil change) on automatic transmissions is recommended between 80,000 km and 120,000 km, or
8 years, depending on the load.

I was reading severe load interval at 80k km(49k miles) to 120k km(74k miles) or 8 yrs since it says "maintenance free fills are intended for normal operating conditions". If normal operating conditions wasn't maintenance free they wouldn't say "maintenance free". IJS

http://www01apps.zf.com/kst464/ZF_In...011_en0700.pdf
Nice quote! Here's mine: "ZF Lifeguard Fluid, a high-performance lubricant specially engineered by ZF, gives customers a perfectly matched product. The transmission fluid reduces material wear, vibrations and noise for smoother shifting, extended maintenance intervals (100,000 km/62,000 miles) thus offering maximum fuel savings.
ZF LifeGuard Fluid is available for 5 speed and 6 speed transmission"

http://www.engsoon.com.sg/cn/brands-zf.php
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      11-04-2009, 07:38 PM   #15
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the fluid always stinks..brand new or used...it starts as a light amber color...but it gets dark really fast regardless...
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      11-09-2009, 04:38 AM   #16
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So if I drive my car hard and have 40,000 miles When should I wait till?
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      01-19-2010, 06:47 AM   #17
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Is there DIY for this?
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      01-19-2010, 08:06 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by creaminz View Post
Is there DIY for this?
Yes and No. There isn't one for draining fluid from TQ converter.
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      01-19-2010, 10:50 AM   #19
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I'm bringing my car in for 40km service this saturday I'm going to bring this up with them and review what will be changed and what I find needs to be changed on this car !
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      01-20-2010, 06:03 AM   #20
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i have two questions for OP.

1) after went through couple of threads about automatic tranny fluids, i called around dealers and some independent bmw shops and i get anywhere between 5.5L to 9.5L for drain and fill. so for 50k tranny fluids service, do you recommend to drain completely from TQ converter as well? Or did you just do it without draining it from TQ converter? How many quarts of tranny fluids did you end up using yourself?

2) did you have to change seal or filters at all?
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      01-20-2010, 08:43 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hun77777 View Post
i have two questions for OP.

1) after went through couple of threads about automatic tranny fluids, i called around dealers and some independent bmw shops and i get anywhere between 5.5L to 9.5L for drain and fill. so for 50k tranny fluids service, do you recommend to drain completely from TQ converter as well? Or did you just do it without draining it from TQ converter? How many quarts of tranny fluids did you end up using yourself?

2) did you have to change seal or filters at all?
#1 Yes if you want to get ALL of the fluid out and I have yet to hear anyone drain everything.

#2 Yes, new filter and pan.
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      01-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hun77777 View Post
i have two questions for OP.

1) after went through couple of threads about automatic tranny fluids, i called around dealers and some independent bmw shops and i get anywhere between 5.5L to 9.5L for drain and fill. so for 50k tranny fluids service, do you recommend to drain completely from TQ converter as well? Or did you just do it without draining it from TQ converter? How many quarts of tranny fluids did you end up using yourself?
2) did you have to change seal or filters at all?
Do what I did. Do lots of on the this site, and on the web, and they make your own decisions for yourself. Life is about taking chances.
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