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DIY: Auto Trans Fluid and Filter Change for 328i/328xi
This is for GM 6L45R Transmission; only on 328i/328xi
Published by iflyjetzzz
08-17-2011
DIY: Auto Trans Fluid and Filter Change for 328i/328xi

STOP! Read entire DIY before proceeding.

Note that this is only for the 328i and 328xi, which have the GM 6L45R transmission. If you have the ZF transmission, use Chriztofor's excellent DIY, here: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367729

Before I begin, please note that I noticed a barely audible slow tap in my transmission (once every second to 1 1/2 seconds) after doing this DIY. I don't know if I screwed something up; I will have to check with my indy mechanic and report back. I suspect that I dislodged some sediment and partially blocked a component. Since returning home and allowing the car to cool, the slow tap is gone.
I got no warnings of any malfunctions.

Materials: Attachment 1
My first step was ordering several parts from Tisher:
Transmission filter (# 24-11-7-593-565) $45.70
Gasket (# 24-11-7-572-618) $41.92
Parts I ordered from Tisher but didn't need or use:
Magnet (24-11-7-572-619) $1.66
Oil Drain plus (24-11-7-572-622) $3.83
Set of pan bolts (24-11-7-581-606) $11.05
I didn't mind ordering extra parts because I'd rather pay a few extra bucks and not need these items than need the parts and have to special order them halfway through the project. As you can see, they were very cheap parts.

Other stuff:
Transfer Pump $9.99 at Harbor Freight
11 quarts Dexron 6 at Walmart $4.19/quart. I only needed 6 quarts; 7 or 8 would keep you safe.
One tube of gasket seal - not used. Not needed.

Steps:
Once the car is raised,
1) Remove undercarriage shield under the transmission.
2) - optional. Remove filler plug (image 7). Careful, you will have about a quart of transmission fluid come out at that time because you do not have your car running.
3) Remove drain plug (image 7).
4) Once transmission fluid is drained, remove transmission pan. There will still be some transmission fluid remaining in the pan when you remove it. It has 17 bolts, 10 mm.
5) Wipe dirt off of the transmission pan. Also remove, clean, and reinstall the magnet on the bottom of the pan. Image 9, 10
6) Remove the transmission filter. Image 11 It takes a bit of force to pull it out from the transmission, as the neck of the filter is near the top of the transmission.
7) Remove and replace the transmission filter O ring. Image 12. I was unable to and left the old one in place rather than put in a new one. When you remove the filter, it has a long neck to bring the filtered fluid into the top of the transmission. The O ring is located near where the top of the filter goes.
8) Install new transmission filter. Make sure to push it firmly into place. I was a bit cautious, as it's all plastic.
9) Put gasket on transmission pan and reinstall the pan. See image 14 for the bolt tightening sequence.
10) Fill transmission with Dexron VI using the transfer pump through the fill hole until fluid starts to come out of the fill hole.
11) Start car and continue filling with Dexron. The reason why you are able to put in more Dexron at this point is that the Dexron at the bottom of the pan is being drawn up through the transmission filter, allowing you to put more Dexron into the transmission pan. Once the transmission fluid starts coming out of the hole, put the filler plug back in.
12) While keeping engine running, put foot on pedal and shift through all gears several times at idle.
13) Check fluid level. ... I had some come out when I removed the filler plug. Tighten filler plug when done.
14) Put back undercarriage shield.

I noticed after step 12, I had a slow (once every second to 1 1/2 seconds) barely audible metal on metal tapping sound from the front of the transmission. It was barely noticable; I had to be down on my hands and knees and specifically listen for it while the car is in idle. It was NOT there prior to step 12. I drove home ~23 miles on both highway and secondary roads, stopping several times and getting down, sticking my ear under the car during the drive home and could hear the tapping. Since the car has cooled down, I started the car again and the tapping is gone. There were no warning lights indicating any malfunctions and I did several checks on the way home - all said OK.
I suspect that I dislodged a small piece of sediment and it partially blocked a transmission component for a while. After cooling and restarting, the particle probably dislodged and is now safely nestled in the transmission filter.

I took a sample of my transmission fluid and will send it to Blackstone Labs for analysis. I will report on the results. I had approximately 52,500 miles on my car at the time of change. I may do a partial drain and refill in another year or two but I don't think it's worth changing the filter more than once in a car's lifetime. The filter's pretty robust.

I'd like to say thanks to Chriztofor and Entity for their help through PMs.

Image details:
I went to the Davis Monthan AFB auto hobby shop to do the work (image 2)
Once on the lift, I took a picture from underneath the car looking at the front (image 3)
Once you remove the undercarriage shield below the transmission, you'll see this sticker on the bottom of the transmission (image 4) ... the BMW part number 83220397114 is also known as Dexron VI. From my readings on Dexron VI, it is only manufactured by a very few companies and the specs are pretty tight so you can buy the cheapest you can find and still feel comfortable. I chose to buy the Walmart branded Dexron VI ... it took me four different Walmarts over the course of a couple of weeks to accumulate 11 quarts.
There is a plate specifying GM 6L45R transmission on the driver's side of the transmission (image 5) - sorry the picture didn't turn out well.
Image 6 shows the transmission from behind (toward trunk) with the drain plug (I think it was 5 hex key) on the bottom of the pan and the fill bolt (17 mm) above it on the back of the transmission .
Image 7 shows the fluid draining.
Image 8 shows the transmission with the pan removed.
Image 9 shows the pan with the magnet. I have reinstalled the drain plug, above the magnet.
Image 10 shows the magnet after cleaning it. Note how dirty the paper towel is after cleaning the magnet.
Image 11 shows the old transmission filter.
Image 12 shows the transmission filter O ring in place in the transmission.
Image 13 shows the pan gasket and pan. Note the raised bump on the corner; it fits in the smaller hole on the pan. There are two of these on the pan and gasket. It's impossible to put the gasket in improperly.
Image 14. Transmission pan bolt tightening sequence.
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  #1  
By Chriztofor on 08-17-2011, 09:12 PM
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Nice write-up

Great write-up! Thank you for your kind words.

Some comments:

1) Did you at least try to remove the "old" o-ring? I wonder if you could have removed it with a needle nose pliers. On my e46, I removed the o-ring by using a screwdriver and pressing UP on one side of the ring. The ring then went into a 90 degree position where I removed it with my fingers.

2) When you topped off the oil while the car was running, was the transmission warm? I am surprised that you didn't need to check for temperature. When I did my trans fluid change (ZF Trans.), I didn't check the temp, but the oil was very warm (slightly hot) when I topped it off.

3) Personally, I know you didn't need to, but I would have used the sealant. I recommend you check for leaks in about a month, just to be on the safe side. (This is where a dipstick would be useful, damn BMW engineering.)

4) I can't wait for the Blackstone results. I wish I did that with mine.

5) Lift (Stall Hydraulic Lift- $5.50) Lucky son of a B&^%$.

Again, great job!!!! We need more people like you on this forum!!!!
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  #2  
By iflyjetzzz on 08-18-2011, 05:58 AM
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1) I tried to get the old O ring out and played with it for a few minutes. But I didn't use any tools because it was in an awkward spot - hard to tell from the photo but it's pretty far up there and I didn't want to take a chance of damaging anything in the transmission.

2) Yes, I topped off the transmission while it was warm.
When I filled the transmission without the car running, it filled pretty quickly - maybe 1 1/2 quarts. Once I turned on the engine, that's when most of the transmission fluid was filled. During that time, the transmission heated up.
I had access to electronic professional shop manuals (reference bolt tightening sequence) at the auto hobby shop and I specifically looked for anything stating a temperature. It never said anything.

3) I had the sealant that you recommended with me but never ended up using it because when I pulled off the pan, the old gasket came off with no resistance; it was obvious that no sealant was used.
Yes, I'll be checking it again for leaks in a while. I will also have my indy check the trans fluid level and leaks on the 60K service.

4) I mailed the fluid to Blackstone yesterday. I will post results as soon as I get them so that others can determine if they want to change their fluid.
I will admit that although the fluid was pretty dark, the fluid still looked red and not black. You can see the fluid color in some of the photos ... I've seen MUCH worse looking ATF in my wife's Acura when I drained her ATF at a similar mileage.

5) Yeah, $5.50/hr can't be beat. Plus access to all of the tools; I got my tools stolen a couple of years ago and replaced them with a fairly cheap toolset because of access to military auto hobby shops. I love being able to use the facilities.

Again, thanks for your and Entity's help on this forum.
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  #3  
By iflyjetzzz on 08-26-2011, 01:28 AM
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Here's the Blackstone report.
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Last edited by iflyjetzzz; 08-26-2011 at 02:23 AM.
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  #4  
By Chriztofor on 08-26-2011, 01:53 AM
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So it appears that they recommend that the trans oil gets changed every 30k and you made the right decision by changing the oil becuase at the very least you removed the metals from the break-in period. I would love to see the analysis on 80-100k original fill oil.
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  #5  
By hnekcivic on 09-14-2011, 05:32 PM
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hello i have a 2007 328xi with 73k miles, planning on change the ATF real soon, just wondering how your car drive after fluid changed ? also how hard to get the filter off that car ? good DIY btw
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  #6  
By hnekcivic on 09-14-2011, 06:11 PM
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also any different between Shell M-1375.4 and Dexron 6 that you used ?
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  #7  
By mike3000fl on 09-17-2011, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
I specifically looked for anything stating a temperature. It never said anything.
its on the green sticker that is on the tranny.

nice write up and great pics.
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  #8  
By Dr Zoidberg on 10-01-2011, 07:31 PM
I am in the middle of changing my fluid and filter.. A trick to pull that "o-ring". Its not really an o-ring, its a metal seal ,
In a couple spots, I just took the end of a screwdriver and pried it into the center of the hole. then lightly tap the metal seal into its self with the screw driver and hammer, this began to rotate the seal. At this point you can just grab it and pull it out.

To install , I just found a socket that had the same diameter as the seal. I wet it with fluid and started it by hand , then tapped it in with the socket.

Now Im waiting for my girlfriend to get home so she can run the car while I fill the fluid.
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  #9  
By be-em-veh-808 on 02-12-2012, 02:22 AM
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Does the bump and the smaller hole have a bolt through it? If so, did you just "punch the bolt through the bump in the gasket?

Thanks!

"Image 13 shows the pan gasket and pan. Note the raised bump on the corner; it fits in the smaller hole on the pan. There are two of these on the pan and gasket. It's impossible to put the gasket in improperly."
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  #10  
By hillhucker on 02-28-2012, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hnekcivic View Post
also any different between Shell M-1375.4 and Dexron 6 that you used ?
Completely different oils. The shell m-1375.4 standard is used in the ZF 335i trannies and other models, whereas the Dexron VI is a General motors standard and the 328i has a GM tranny.
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  #11  
By bumere90 on 05-26-2012, 06:52 PM
does the GM transmission have mechatronic sleeve?
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  #12  
By ska///235i on 05-28-2012, 10:59 PM
nice write up but using walmart atf scares me
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  #13  
By bumere90 on 06-01-2012, 01:32 PM
Any updates? How does the transmission shift?
Have you noticed any change or difference in shifting?
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  #14  
By 33beto on 08-15-2012, 08:26 PM
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You can use any brand oil as long as its Dexron6 for the GM unit. I did replace mine over the weekend at 50K and bought the oil at a GM dealer.
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  #15  
By Mesa on 10-22-2012, 10:10 PM
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Did you apply loctite when replacing the bolts? I see that the bentley manual recommends that, but didnt know this until after I replaced them. Wondering if anyone had any issues with the bolts backing out.
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  #16  
By Chuck W. on 11-02-2012, 02:48 PM
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Many thanks to iflyjetzzz for this write up. I just changed the transmission fluid on my daughter's 2007 328I and would never have attempted it without your efforts. Her car has 97460 miles on it and this is the first time it has been changed. The oil was much darker than the oil in iflyjetzzz' post. I am guessing it is because it has twice the miles on it. I have already sent a sample to Blackstone and will post the results when they come. It'll be interesting to compare the two.

I used 4.5 quarts. I measured the amount that I removed and replaced it with a like amount. During the last step of adding fluid while the engine was on I felt that I could have added more but stopped once I had matched the amount removed.
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  #17  
By Chuck W. on 11-08-2012, 05:49 PM
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My Blackstone report. I have almost double the miles from iflyjetzzz and some of the number reflect it. I need to get a scanner!

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  #18  
By sw0ggd0gg on 02-15-2013, 10:43 PM
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Wrong Fill point

You actually filled it in the wrong plug area. It take about 8 quarts. The plug is towards the passenger side and it faces upwards. You need to fill there. Did three of them today on a fleet. Its on the side of the trans above the shielding.
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  #19  
By Chuck W. on 02-15-2013, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sw0ggd0gg View Post
You actually filled it in the wrong plug area. It take about 8 quarts. The plug is towards the passenger side and it faces upwards. You need to fill there. Did three of them today on a fleet. Its on the side of the trans above the shielding.
But, if I removed 4.5 quarts and added 8 quarts using the upper plug you posted, wouldn't I be overfilling it by 3.5 quarts?
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  #20  
By sw0ggd0gg on 02-16-2013, 07:28 PM
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Unless it was low? The drain capacity is 11+ with converter almost 15 from mitchell
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  #21  
By Chuck W. on 02-16-2013, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sw0ggd0gg View Post
Unless it was low? The drain capacity is 11+ with converter almost 15 from mitchell
Well, I am far from an expert. But, it doesn't sound right that I would drain only 4.5 quarts of transmission fluid and add 12 quarts. I don't believe transmission fluid burns up like engine oil. Perhaps I was unable to get all of the fluid out by just draining and dropping the pan.
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