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2000 BMW 323i Steptronic (Auto trans fluid change)

My car has 160,000 miles on it and after reading this board, the Bentley manual, and the bimmer.org board I decided to change the fluid/filter/gasket.

My particular transmission is a GM (GM5 A5S 360R) and uses Texaco fluid ETL7045E (p/n 83220026922).

Tools needed: One jack and one “horse”
T45 Torx and T40 Torx (L shape) (Bought a set from Pep Boys at $13.99)
10mm socket
Any size wrench
Screwdriver
Mirror
Siphon/Pump (purchased at Kmart for $12.99)
Gardening gloves
Container that has litre measurement on the side
BMW Filter kit (comes with filter, gasket, and bolts)
BMW 20 litre pail of fluid, $123

1) Jack up the driver’s side and with a T45 Torx, unbolt the FILL plug (You can not use a torx socket because it is too tight a space, unless you buy a special snap-on socket.). It was difficult to unscrew with just the Torx so I used the closed end side of a wrench to give myself more leverage. When I got it off, oil came out. (That surprised me because the car was tilted.)
2) Then unscrew the drain plug using a T40 Torx. For this you can use a T40 socket too.
3) Drop car and let it drain.
4) Jack up car and unbolt the transmission pan using a 10mm socket. When the bolts are off, pry oil pan gently down using a screwdriver at the rear driver’s side corner.
5) After dropping the pan, clean the pan and magnet with a lint free cloth. There was a lot of grey sludge on the magnet.
6) I also removed droplets on the transmission using a lint free cloth and wiped down the surfaces where the gasket will make contact.
7) Pull the filter with both hands on both sides of the filter. Mine came off very easy.
8) Check to see if an orange band remained in the transmission (mine did). If so, use you screwdriver to PUSH up ONE side of the band. The band will move to a 90 degree position where you can remove with your fingers or use the screwdriver to help pull it out.
9) Put new filter on by pushing up with both hands on both sides of the filter until the orange band is out of sight and the white cap is at the base of the transmission.
10) Bolt the pan back on, including the drain plug, and drop the car.
11) Place new oil in a 2 liter container so you know how many liters you ultimately use. I used a NEW plastic 2 litre container. (Note: I drained 4 ½ liters from the transmission, I know this because I placed the used oil in empty 2 litre bottles of soda.)
12) Jack up car and fill transmission with 4 liters of fluid using a 2 litre container and the siphon pump. Note: Get a bigger container otherwise you will be getting out from under the car a couple of times, my brother helped me so I didn’t have to do that. Also, the tube from the siphon pump fits nicely into the transmission fill plug.
13) Place the fill plug back on then drop the car.
14) Start the car and turn on the a/c and shift the gears from P to R to D a couple of times. From here forward, the engine must be kept running.
15) Jack the car back up and unplug the fill plug (oil did not come out at this time)
16) Place siphon tube in fill hole and drop car.
17) With the car level, Use a mirror on the floor and start pumping fluid into the transmission until fluid comes out the fill hole.
18) Jack the car back up and screw the fill plug back on using a gardening glove, oil coming out the fill plug is hot.

Comments

1,000 miles from now I plan on changing the fluid again (not the filter) since I have so much left over and the fluid was brown coming out the fill plug, see step 18 above.

I did it this way because I do not have a lift and I did not want to jack the car on all fours. Obviously, you can save a lot of time by just placing the car on four horses OR BMW could place a dipstick in the car, WOW what an idea! :)

The fluid was black and burnt so whoever believes in that lifetime BS (BMW recently revised their lifetime statement) just forget it and change your fluid before 100,000 miles. Also, the filter is made of PAPER so maybe this should be done at 80,000 miles.

Lastly, the transmission needs to be cold when you drain it and at least 30 degrees celsius when you fill it, since it was 80 degrees outside it obviously was the right temperature especially after starting the car and running through the gears. See step 14 above.

Results

My car shifts much BETTER. So good, you can barely tell that it shifts. VERY SMOOTH. Note: the car was working fine before, except for the occasional “reverse problem” I did this mainly as preventive maintenance. After I drain the fluid again after about 1,000 miles I plan on changing the fluid/gasket/filter every 80,000 miles. I hope this is not wishful thinking! :) I will post a follow-up the moment the transmission fails, otherwise assume that everything is fine.

Disclaimer

This post is for informational purposes and you assume all risk in using the above directions.
 

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Great write-up!

In the Bentley manual, it states that the fill capacity for your tranny is 8 liters without including the torque converter. How is it that you only drained 4 liters? Am i missin something??

I am thinking of doing this on my 6 yr old step which has 34k.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Bently Manual not always correct also

cimbali said:
Great write-up!

In the Bentley manual, it states that the fill capacity for your tranny is 8 liters without including the torque converter. How is it that you only drained 4 liters? Am i missin something??

I am thinking of doing this on my 6 yr old step which has 34k.

I highly recommend you changing the fluid/filter ect, I base this not on the mileage but the age of your fluid.

Note: I drained about 4 1/2 litres out. Also, before I drained the fluid from the drain plug, fluid came out of the fill hole when the car was cold and jacked up which means that I was not low on fluid. See step 1 above.
 

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Thanks for the post!

So THERE IS HOPE ! Where did you read the tranny type? I'm going to see if I have the same model.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
By the way

cimbali said:
Great write-up!

In the Bentley manual, it states that the fill capacity for your tranny is 8 liters without including the torque converter. How is it that you only drained 4 liters? Am i missin something??

I am thinking of doing this on my 6 yr old step which has 34k.

The link below, from bmw, shows 9 liters with torque converter and 8 liters without.


http://www.peterschmid.com/SD92-113.pdf
 

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I don't know either. Does anyone know the answer to this?
 

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Great DIY! I have been reading threads about this recently and was getting prepared to do this soon on my 00 323i with 48K. Heck, I would be ahead of the game with preventive manintenance for years to come. Right?

Yesterday I tried backing into my driveway and the car barely moves in reverse. Forward gears is no issue on my auto trans. I quickly searched this board and found others that had this problem on 00 323i's and the fix was a new or rebuilt tranny between 3-5k from BMW. For a car that has never been tracked, auto crossed or driven hard as the second owner from 23K, I will be at a loss if my nightmare comes true. I will be taking my car into the mechanic on Wednesday and hope that this can be fixed without putting in another tranny.
:eek:

Chriztofor ,

I am curious about your symptoms before the change and if the problem has come back at all after the oil or oil changes. I hope that this DIY will fix this for me and thank you for taking the time out to put this together! =)
 

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LI_BIMMER said:
Great DIY! I have been reading threads about this recently and was getting prepared to do this soon on my 00 323i with 48K. Heck, I would be ahead of the game with preventive manintenance for years to come. Right?

Yesterday I tried backing into my driveway and the car barely moves in reverse. Forward gears is no issue on my auto trans. I quickly searched this board and found others that had this problem on 00 323i's and the fix was a new or rebuilt tranny between 3-5k from BMW. For a car that has never been tracked, auto crossed or driven hard as the second owner from 23K, I will be at a loss if my nightmare comes true. I will be taking my car into the mechanic on Wednesday and hope that this can be fixed without putting in another tranny.
:eek:

Chriztofor ,

I am curious about your symptoms before the change and if the problem has come back at all after the oil or oil changes. I hope that this DIY will fix this for me and thank you for taking the time out to put this together! =)
Looks like your tranny is gone man. You can always do a 5 speed conversion but that is alot of hassel. You do it your self and you will want to kill the car, get someone else to do it and be e46less for almost a month.

I wanted to do the conversion but I think I might purchase a very low milage step tranny when mine goes out and then do fluid change every 20k miles.
 

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LI_BIMMER said:
Great DIY! I have been reading threads about this recently and was getting prepared to do this soon on my 00 323i with 48K. Heck, I would be ahead of the game with preventive manintenance for years to come. Right?

Yesterday I tried backing into my driveway and the car barely moves in reverse. Forward gears is no issue on my auto trans. I quickly searched this board and found others that had this problem on 00 323i's and the fix was a new or rebuilt tranny between 3-5k from BMW. For a car that has never been tracked, auto crossed or driven hard as the second owner from 23K, I will be at a loss if my nightmare comes true. I will be taking my car into the mechanic on Wednesday and hope that this can be fixed without putting in another tranny.
:eek:

Chriztofor ,

I am curious about your symptoms before the change and if the problem has come back at all after the oil or oil changes. I hope that this DIY will fix this for me and thank you for taking the time out to put this together! =)
It might be too late for your car. My car had the occasional "reverse problem" but now it is smooth as ice. By the way, I changed the oil again today (trying to purge all that black stuff out of there). Transmission is shifting nice and I noticed that my reverse engages even faster. It use to take 3 seconds to engage in reverse now it is 1-2 seconds. The reverse problem when it surfaced was about 5 seconds, felt like an eternity! I wonder if you revved it when you placed it in reverse and it did not engage yet, come on, be honest.
 

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Chriztofor said:
It might be too late for your car. My car had the occasional "reverse problem" but now it is smooth as ice. By the way, I changed the oil again today (trying to purge all that black stuff out of there). Transmission is shifting nice and I noticed that my reverse engages even faster. It use to take 3 seconds to engage in reverse now it is 1-2 seconds. The reverse problem when it surfaced was about 5 seconds, felt like an eternity! I wonder if you revved it when you placed it in reverse and it did not engage yet, come on, be honest.

I have no idea what happened since I never had a delay in reverse but it did go back in reverse and just made a very sluggish noise like something was holding it back but it did go back. It still goes in reverse but very slow. I will get the oil changed tomorrow and hopefully it will help.

To be honest, I think I will just get rid of it and put the money in towards a newer three. I have some mods done and waiting to be done that I have to now undo. =(
 

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Took the car to check it out and the mechanic updated the firmware on the tranny since he could not see the tranny ECU module. Said that the car never had a firmware update before (Hmm). Anyway after the update he saw the tranny module and I began to feel beter till he tried going in reverse. End result, the tranny needs a new tranny and any tranny oil change would be more negative since it may be using the metal shavings to move in reverse. The replacement cost is $3600 for a rebulit tranny from BMW and $700 to do the install ($4300). Not sure what to do yet. :eek:

My mechanic did share with me some notes that I will pass along that has been discussed on this board before. BTW, I stopped off at the dealer wanting to pickup a tranny filter before seeing my mechanic and the dealer insisted it was lifetime fluid and it never needs to be replaced. Told me to make an appointment and bring it to the dealer and bring my own KY (okay, I added the KY). :idea:

My mechanic said I should get the tranny oil changed like every 40K or so as preventative maintenance. If they find metal shavings and your car is within warranty, he said they will put it all back and give you a sample with their invoice to go back to the dealer as you will need a new tranny at some point. Just a thought for you out there under warranty still. I have one car under warranty still and will try this in the next month and report back. Also, he had 3 cars in for a new tranny (x5, 5 and 3 series). The X5 and 3 series had the reverse gear problem.

15K engine oil changes? - I do my own oil changes and told him I do mine every 7.5K and not 15K. He said the part number for the oil filter has been the same for many many years and back then BMW recommended oil changes every 3k. He said BMW is trying to minimize costs to the customer by increasing the maintenance intervals. Bottom line he recommends every 5K if you want to keep your car for a long time. He has seen engines that come into the shop out of warranty that has had a lot of sludge with the 15K oil change intervals. :thumbdwn:
 

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I just servised my wifes 2001 325 XI wagon today. The car has 91,500 miles and runs very well. I also did the spark plugs, fuel filter, and changed the front and rear pumpkins all with synthetics. I used Bosch plugs (12 12 0 141 871) and Amsoil for all the lubricants. The transmission service was not very difficult to do just a little time consuming. I aslo changed the transmission filter in the process. The car runs and shifts smoother than before the service. Our 325 XI has the GM transmission so I used the Amsoil universal ATF. I have been using Amsoil for years and have had very good luck with their products. The pan was clean for the mileage and the magnet on the bottom of the pan was not very dirty. We are the third owners of the vehicle and I wanted to replace all the fluids for my peace of mind. I have been using Bavarian Autosports in NH for all my parts. They have been very helpful and the parts arrive the next day.
 

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I just servised my wifes 2001 325 XI wagon today. The car has 91,500 miles and runs very well. I also did the spark plugs, fuel filter, and changed the front and rear pumpkins all with synthetics. I used Bosch plugs (12 12 0 141 871) and Amsoil for all the lubricants. The transmission service was not very difficult to do just a little time consuming. I aslo changed the transmission filter in the process. The car runs and shifts smoother than before the service. Our 325 XI has the GM transmission so I used the Amsoil universal ATF. I have been using Amsoil for years and have had very good luck with their products. The pan was clean for the mileage and the magnet on the bottom of the pan was not very dirty. We are the third owners of the vehicle and I wanted to replace all the fluids for my peace of mind. I have been using Bavarian Autosports in NH for all my parts. They have been very helpful and the parts arrive the next day.
Keep us posted if anytghing fails.

As a sidenote, I think my reverse issue is resolved because I changed the fluid/filter! My transmission use to take 3 seconds to engage and sometimes as long as 5 seconds to engage. Now, it is about 1 1/2- 2 seconds. Excellent!
 

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It is dexron IIIg, my last post I fogot the extra I. .
 
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