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General E46 Forum
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Old 12-30-2006, 03:10 PM   #1
smarra325
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What Is THE ATF Oil Only Cap For ?

Under the hood of my 2003 325i with steptronic transmission, there is a cap that says ATF oil only. What is it for? I am reading that the transmission fluid needs to be checked and changed at the transmission. ??????
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Old 12-30-2006, 03:44 PM   #2
Alex323Ci
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Read your manual to be sure. But that sounds like the Power Steering Fluid reservoir.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:23 PM   #3
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yea its the power steering reservoir
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:35 PM   #4
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The ATF Oil Only resevoir is for ATF oil only. Duh.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:35 PM   #5
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ATF fluid for the p[ower steering???

Does that make sense? or is it a reservoir for the transmission?
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:38 PM   #6
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ATF Fluid?

Why not power steering fluid?
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:53 PM   #7
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thats for the power steering fluid...the tranny has a sticker on it that is for the ATF in the tranny...same fluid on both but under the hood refers to the power steering
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:04 PM   #8
smarra325
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Thanks

Thanks for clearing up my confusion. I couldn't figure out why ATF fluid is used for power steering fluid. I am all set now. Thanks again.
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:20 PM   #9
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Why not power steering fluid?
it's a different grade hydraulic oil. they just want you putting in the normal type of power steering fluid in, our bmw's take the same automatic tranny fluid grade. although you can use Redline's synthetic brand.
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Old 02-20-2007, 02:47 PM   #10
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I accidently put 1/2 quart of motor oil in here. Is that Ok? I must have lost my mind when I was checking my oil. Should I be worried?
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Old 02-20-2007, 03:36 PM   #11
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I accidently put 1/2 quart of motor oil in here. Is that Ok? I must have lost my mind when I was checking my oil. Should I be worried?
Yes.
You need to drain the system, including removing the lines from the rack and moving the rack back and forth to pump out all old fluid. Refill and burp the system. Run it for a little and repeat. I'm surprised the unit is still working properly (if it is).
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:05 PM   #12
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Yes.
You need to drain the system, including removing the lines from the rack and moving the rack back and forth to pump out all old fluid. Refill and burp the system. Run it for a little and repeat. I'm surprised the unit is still working properly (if it is).
Thanks for the info shall36, I will go ahead and take it to a mechanic.
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Old 02-20-2007, 04:13 PM   #13
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yes take it to mechanic asap motor oil is alot thicker than the power steering fluid and will damage the system....the power steering lines might be clogged from the thick oil which will be a good thing until its drained
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Old 02-20-2007, 05:50 PM   #14
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well they probably won't be clogged just because it's there, it's diluted into the ATF. they could clog because of a chemical reaction with the ATF. not likely though.

what is more likely is a chemical reaction with the rubber seals in the PS system. seals are made to work with a specific fluid. you've just introduced another...
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Old 05-03-2010, 04:48 AM   #15
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hi guys. Im new to this forum. I have also blundered in this area. I have a 320d msport bmw. 2003. And i have put engine oil in the atf part. However the amount i put in was about a capful as it was alredy topped up. Is this enough to be concerned about or will it still be ok?
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:01 AM   #16
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I'd just do a flush, why even leave the slightest possibility to create problems? PS pumps are not cheap!!!
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:54 AM   #17
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ok thnks
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Old 05-03-2010, 06:33 AM   #18
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Lion,

Para is almost always right...and I'm sure he is this time too...but, if it's not too late, meaning you haven't driven the car or tried the steering with car on, then you could just use a turkey baster (don't know what it's called in the UK) and remove the stuff in the reservoir and replace with what's called for in your manual (doublecheck bmw na online to be sure there isn't a new fluid)--I use Dex III. That means car has not been driven and you use another car to get the proper fluid for PS system.

Anyway, that'd probably be a decent alternative if you otherwise need to drive this car soon...but once you drive it, you just need to flush and bleed...think everyone here just removes a hose from PS pump...honestly not sure which one, but check the diys...many around.

Even if it'd actually do little harm, it's not worth the risk for the 1 hour of work it'd take to be sure.

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Old 05-03-2010, 06:42 AM   #19
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id flush it why risk having it in there since the motor oil is probably thicker and sunk down beneath the atf fluid...
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Old 05-03-2010, 07:35 AM   #20
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Important: Always use the fluid type noted on the power steering reservoir cap. Steering racks designed to run on the pentasin fluids (usually green sticker that says 11S or something to that effect) will get damaged with ATF and vice versa. The fluid type is key to making sure the steering component seals function properly.
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