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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 > transmission fluid change even possible in E90 cars...?



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      06-27-2010, 06:40 PM   #1
althepa
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transmission fluid change even possible in E90 cars...?

...from a practical standpoint, that is. (Disclaimers: I have been working on various European cars, mostly Porsches, for 20+ years; please, no commentary on whether it is wise to change fluid at all/at whatever mileage/ what fluid to use if you do, etc, I am familiar with the controversies over the "lifetime" ATF in these and other cars).

I have an 07 328i automatic with 48k miles I bought a year ago as a CPO car. I planned to do a partial fluid change today, with a new ca$e of Pento$in ATF1 $itting at the ready. Having done this type thing more than a few times in other cars, I scoped out where I was going to put the new fluid in before draining the old.

Unfortunately, the trans in my car looks nothing like the one in the DIY guide here. The typical 17 mm internal Allen socket plug was nowhere to be found. I can see what is probably a black filler plug at the rear of the unit (a protruding, mostly-round-with-two-flat-sides type), but it is mostly blocked by the rear mounting bracket for the trans.

The impression I get is that BMW, like so many other manufacturers, has marched one step further towards making these cars unmaintainable by the home mechanic, even compared to the generation car in the DIY. I can see getting this done by perhaps supporting the trans from below the car, and disconnecting the rear support structure. But man, it shouldn't be this hard. Any constructive thoughts?

Last edited by althepa; 06-30-2010 at 09:10 AM.
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      06-30-2010, 09:11 AM   #2
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      06-30-2010, 09:49 AM   #3
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There are a couple of DYI guides on A/T changes but I do believe they were all done on RWD ZF A/T's.
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      06-30-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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http://www.e90post.com/forums/showth...n+fluid+change
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If no codes are being thrown use Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (concentrate). It solves rpm fluctuating upon cold start-up. Also, for most BMW problems start off by scanning your car with the Peake Research Tool. It contains the actual BMW codes. If you want to register a newly installed battery for free (just buy a $10 cable) and google/download BMWLogger
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      06-30-2010, 01:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by althepa View Post
...from a practical standpoint, that is. (Disclaimers: I have been working on various European cars, mostly Porsches, for 20+ years; please, no commentary on whether it is wise to change fluid at all/at whatever mileage/ what fluid to use if you do, etc, I am familiar with the controversies over the "lifetime" ATF in these and other cars).

I have an 07 328i automatic with 48k miles I bought a year ago as a CPO car. I planned to do a partial fluid change today, with a new ca$e of Pento$in ATF1 $itting at the ready. Having done this type thing more than a few times in other cars, I scoped out where I was going to put the new fluid in before draining the old.

Unfortunately, the trans in my car looks nothing like the one in the DIY guide here. The typical 17 mm internal Allen socket plug was nowhere to be found. I can see what is probably a black filler plug at the rear of the unit (a protruding, mostly-round-with-two-flat-sides type), but it is mostly blocked by the rear mounting bracket for the trans.

The impression I get is that BMW, like so many other manufacturers, has marched one step further towards making these cars unmaintainable by the home mechanic, even compared to the generation car in the DIY. I can see getting this done by perhaps supporting the trans from below the car, and disconnecting the rear support structure. But man, it shouldn't be this hard. Any constructive thoughts?
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If no codes are being thrown use Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (concentrate). It solves rpm fluctuating upon cold start-up. Also, for most BMW problems start off by scanning your car with the Peake Research Tool. It contains the actual BMW codes. If you want to register a newly installed battery for free (just buy a $10 cable) and google/download BMWLogger
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      07-02-2010, 01:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by althepa View Post
...from a practical standpoint, that is. (Disclaimers: I have been working on various European cars, mostly Porsches, for 20+ years; please, no commentary on whether it is wise to change fluid at all/at whatever mileage/ what fluid to use if you do, etc, I am familiar with the controversies over the "lifetime" ATF in these and other cars).

I have an 07 328i automatic with 48k miles I bought a year ago as a CPO car. I planned to do a partial fluid change today, with a new ca$e of Pento$in ATF1 $itting at the ready. Having done this type thing more than a few times in other cars, I scoped out where I was going to put the new fluid in before draining the old.

Unfortunately, the trans in my car looks nothing like the one in the DIY guide here. The typical 17 mm internal Allen socket plug was nowhere to be found. I can see what is probably a black filler plug at the rear of the unit (a protruding, mostly-round-with-two-flat-sides type), but it is mostly blocked by the rear mounting bracket for the trans.

The impression I get is that BMW, like so many other manufacturers, has marched one step further towards making these cars unmaintainable by the home mechanic, even compared to the generation car in the DIY. I can see getting this done by perhaps supporting the trans from below the car, and disconnecting the rear support structure. But man, it shouldn't be this hard. Any constructive thoughts?
transmission on n54 engine does require to be on certain temperture to be leveled properly. to do so, you will want/need to hook it up on the machine. so yea, i wouldn't attempt to do this at home. few european specific mechanic shops have it as well as dealers...
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      07-02-2010, 12:49 PM   #7
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the at tranny filter is magnetic so no need to change it so no need to open the tranny pan. Do a flush ( inlets at the oil cooler so you can change the fluid in the torque converter too ) Did it a a BMW shop $300 tax in.
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      07-02-2010, 01:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Me_Hi View Post
the at tranny filter is magnetic so no need to change it so no need to open the tranny pan. Do a flush ( inlets at the oil cooler so you can change the fluid in the torque converter too ) Did it a a BMW shop $300 tax in.
Are you sure it's 100% magnetic? It doesn't contain a paper filter element? Also, if so even magnets lose their pull.
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If no codes are being thrown use Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (concentrate). It solves rpm fluctuating upon cold start-up. Also, for most BMW problems start off by scanning your car with the Peake Research Tool. It contains the actual BMW codes. If you want to register a newly installed battery for free (just buy a $10 cable) and google/download BMWLogger
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      07-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
Uh, yes, that's the one in the DIY I was referring to. The point is that the newer trans is different. Main question - where is the fill plug?
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      07-06-2010, 08:25 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by althepa View Post
Uh, yes, that's the one in the DIY I was referring to. The point is that the newer trans is different. Main question - where is the fill plug?
You may want to try realoem.com. I guessed your trans here....
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...03&hg=24&fg=15 take a look at 6 and 7
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If no codes are being thrown use Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (concentrate). It solves rpm fluctuating upon cold start-up. Also, for most BMW problems start off by scanning your car with the Peake Research Tool. It contains the actual BMW codes. If you want to register a newly installed battery for free (just buy a $10 cable) and google/download BMWLogger
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      07-06-2010, 07:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
You may want to try realoem.com. I guessed your trans here....
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...03&hg=24&fg=15 take a look at 6 and 7
THANK YOU! That is really helpful - unfortunately. It looks like the filler plug is indeed the virtually inaccessible one on the back. Those ba$tards.
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      07-07-2010, 12:36 PM   #12
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^ Have you tried accessing it? Don't give up so easily!
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If no codes are being thrown use Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner (concentrate). It solves rpm fluctuating upon cold start-up. Also, for most BMW problems start off by scanning your car with the Peake Research Tool. It contains the actual BMW codes. If you want to register a newly installed battery for free (just buy a $10 cable) and google/download BMWLogger
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      07-07-2010, 09:00 PM   #13
althepa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriztofor View Post
^ Have you tried accessing it? Don't give up so easily!

Oh, I'm not going to give up. I simply hoped they would have given a modicum of consideration to normal maintenance, their laughable service schedule aside. They clearly have set this unit up to be sealed for its service life, which flies in the face of mechanical logic and the known breakdown properties of synthetic or conventional fluids (and, even more concerning, potentially means the service life is shorter than in needs to be, given the variety of service harshness the car might see.)

I'll end up jacking it up higher and taking a more serious assessment of the rear bracketry and how it can be removed to get at the plug.
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      09-23-2010, 09:24 PM   #14
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Any Luck Yet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by althepa View Post
Oh, I'm not going to give up....

I'll end up jacking it up higher and taking a more serious assessment of the rear bracketry and how it can be removed to get at the plug.
althepa-

Any luck yet with finding a way to reach the fill plug?

This is my first post. I have been lurking since March when I got my first BMW ('09 328i, auto, sport, premium, xenons, PDC) with 8,000 miles on it. I'm up to 15,000 miles now and would like to do an ATF change at 30K along with the coolant and differential oil for the same reasons you have cited. It seems like the coolant and diff should be straight forward but the ATF is the issue. I cannot find a lot of DIY applicable to the later models, so interested in what you have found.
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      09-24-2010, 12:56 AM   #15
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Seriously do yourself a favor and spend about $125.00 and get the Bentley Service Manual for your car. Everything you can think of doing will be in there and its going to pay for itself easily. If nothing else, when you take some obscure thing apart and find it was removed the wrong way and it's $200.00 for a new one.
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      09-24-2010, 02:30 PM   #16
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I will

Quote:
Originally Posted by scrufy View Post
Seriously do yourself a favor and spend about $125.00 and get the Bentley Service Manual for your car. Everything you can think of doing will be in there and its going to pay for itself easily. If nothing else, when you take some obscure thing apart and find it was removed the wrong way and it's $200.00 for a new one.
I certainly will when I get close to the 30K mark and the manual has had an opportunity for more updates, and also will buy the BT tool when I need to replace the battery. But in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to ask. It sounds like you might have the manual. What does it say about changing the ATF and specifically opening the fill plug?

Thanks.
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