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2005 325i Auto
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Discussion Starter #21
Transmission failed soon after ATF change isn't myth, unfortunately; however it can happen either when procedure performed incorrect way (underfuilling) or if car is driven aggressively right after oil change, so fresh ATF moves some sludge (if there was any) and it sticks in passways/sloenoids.
Safer way for transmissions with higher mileage would be ATF/filter change, rather than full flush, and such procedure repeated in a few hundred km, and maybe third time if you really want gearbox to get really fresh ATF. In this case sludge, if any, will we washed off/ dissolved gradually and it minimizes risk of solenoids/passways clogged. Higher mileage unserviced transmission has, higher the possibility of some trouble; yet, for instance, mine was opened first at 470 K km, for torque converter repair, and after that -oil partically changed (and, as I realized much later, underfilled) reached mileage of 618 k Km, at which it suddenly died - so your also probably gonna be fine.
Another thing is to strictly follow fill in procedure (temperature while filling) otherwise you get your transmission underfilled -guaranteed.
DIY is simple and gives you peace of mind as you know that everything is done correct way; you need to have a lift though, and car has to be horizontally leveled. Someone from this forum performed such procedure on jack stands though.
For procedure cost - there is long list of compatible ATF, with a price 5-10 USD per liter, so you do not have to use ZF lifeguard 5. Filter/ gasket replacement is mandatoty though.
I think you've hit the nail on the head...not filled correctly, driving it too hard too soon, wrong temp...these are things they tell you not to do, so why would we be surprised if things go bad when we do them.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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I'm looking at your flush technique over a shop job. You've got some good info there, thanks for that.
What your guy that did the KIA flush described is essentially the same as what Balidawg's "safe atf fluid exchange DIY" mentions. You should be good either way. If you don't want to disconnect the cooler lines, then doing a fluid and filter change (dropping the pan) followed by two more spill and fills (no removing the pan) a couple weeks apart will get you over 85 to 90% fresh fluid in there.

The critical part is getting the proper fluid level once the exchange or fill is done, with the ATF between 30C and 50C and engine running. If ATF gets too hot, it will be underfilled.

He did mention "for fucks sake don't hook the compressed air up to it", which may very well cause the things mentioned,
Champion!!
 

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Discussion Starter #25
What your guy that did the KIA flush described is essentially the same as what Balidawg's "safe atf fluid exchange DIY" mentions. You should be good either way. If you don't want to disconnect the cooler lines, then doing a fluid and filter change (dropping the pan) followed by two more spill and fills (no removing the pan) a couple weeks apart will get you over 85 to 90% fresh fluid in there.

The critical part is getting the proper fluid level once the exchange or fill is done, with the ATF between 30C and 50C and engine running. If ATF gets too hot, it will be underfilled.



Champion!!
Thank you,

I'm not keen on the "spill and fill". My AT guy mentioned that as well, but we both agreed the "fluid exchange" is a better way, quicker and less waste.

What I would like to try is removing the push fit hose from the IN port on the heat exchanger then pushing a soft hose over the metal tail and securing it with a hose clamp, then pumping it in from there. I've ordered exactly the same pump BD uses in his procedure and will make the delivery hose fit that point. This should allow me to drop the disconnected hose into a waste bucket right where I'm working.

I did note in his thread that someone had tried it that way and it didn't work, but they didn't say what went wrong. Possibly that little pump running from that point didn't keep up as well as it might running straight into the fill hole on the side of the box. If that was the case it might just be that a bit bigger pump is required if you don't like turning the motor on and off.

I would like to be flushing through the heat exchanger and return hose, just to satisfy my OCD that I've got every inch of the thing, but it would also be better to be working from that point with the motor running, assistant in the cab and whatnot.

Plus I don't want to pay someone to do it, I want to do most if not all of my work on this car.

All good fun!
 

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E30M3 Race F10 535 R1150Rt M Coupe
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Powerflush tends to send any and all debris lodged in any and all crevasses throughout the system. I would simply drain and fill with filter. If you have to chase the complete fluid replacement do the drain and fill 3 times but with the cost of ZF Lifeguard 5 fluid, it is over US$100 for 6 liters each time so it will get expensive.
I tend to agree.
Powered machines pushing fluid (some reverse flush) has the potential to have something go awry, dropping the pan and changing the filter/fluid is the way to go.

How many classes taught by ZF have you all taken? I've done about 6. This is what they preech.
 

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I'm looking at your flush technique over a shop job. You've got some good info there, thanks for that.
I read your process. I’d like to add a step:
“2a. Remove the fill plug. If you can’t remove the fill plug-STOP. Drop the car and take it to a reputable indie shop that specializes in bimmers.”
 

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Discussion Starter #28
I read your process. I’d like to add a step:
“2a. Remove the fill plug. If you can’t remove the fill plug-STOP. Drop the car and take it to a reputable indie shop that specializes in bimmers.”
It's not my process, but yes. Before I drain any crankcase/diff/gearbox/whatever, I make sure the fill plug will come out first. It would be a bugger to drop the oil and not be able to fill it, my Grandfather taught me that one.

If I can't get it out I would try some penetrating oil, heat, some sharp raps with a hammer, or a combination of all of those things before I took it in.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Looking forward to the outcome azadani as I plan to do the same thing.
It'll be a little while off, as I have to get the thing starting and running before I do it, and I would like to see how the trans works without all the vacuum leaks, codes and whatnot.

One thing I'm wondering is that if the ATF is "pushed" by the trans internal pump to the inlet of the heat exchanger, does that mean that the return line is just dropping it into the trans sump where it is then sucked through the filter into the pump?

Or does the ATF travel from the heat exchanger then through the valves, then back into the sump?

That might explain why BD just pumps his into the fill point, where it must just fall into the sump then be pulled into the system. I don't want to connect to a hose point and be pumping straight into the valves.
 

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I tend to agree.
Powered machines pushing fluid (some reverse flush) has the potential to have something go awry, dropping the pan and changing the filter/fluid is the way to go.

How many classes taught by ZF have you all taken? I've done about 6. This is what they preech.
+1 On this.....

I wish BMW themselves preached this...They've misled all BMW owners (of a car with more than 50k miles) with this lifetime fill nonsense.
 

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Discussion Starter #32
+1 On this.....

I wish BMW themselves preached this...They've misled all BMW owners (of a car with more than 50k miles) with this lifetime fill nonsense.
Too right.

They do it because it keeps their servicing costs/obligations down, and they're only considering getting through the warranty period. I don't think they're too concerned about what happens after that.
 

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Pre filler plug check is a good idea, I have had to use a chisel on them (just tap the edge loose) and preorder new one.
Found many bogeyed beyond repair
 

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+1 On this.....

I wish BMW themselves preached this...They've misled all BMW owners (of a car with more than 50k miles) with this lifetime fill nonsense.
Eff...100%
I can't tell you how many ZF 6 speed trannys we've saved. Drop the pan/valve body (mechatronics) replace all the seals in-between. New pan (filter inside) and ZF fluid. Shifts like new.
Conversely I have had a couple of folks with slipping and/or other issues, only to be told by the dealer that it needs a new transmission.
Caveat: They waited TOO LONG and by the time they got to me, the adaptation values (filling time & pressure applied) were too far out for too long. Now it needs a new transmission.
6HP's are fixable.
 

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TL/DR: Do the transmission service AND watch for a clogged filter shortly after a transmission fluid change.

I'll add my $0.02. I had my e46 w/ the GM transmission serviced by a competent indy shop at about 120K miles. About 6 months later had shifting/slipping/engagement issues that seemed like low fluid. Levels were fine, dealer said to start saving up for a new transmission. Cheap Filter and fluid change at a franchise AAMmerican transmission COmpany fixed it, though they REALLY tried to upsell me into a rebuild.
Still going strong 7 years later with fluid/filter changes about every 30-50k miles.
 

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TL/DR: Do the transmission service AND watch for a clogged filter shortly after a transmission fluid change.

I'll add my $0.02. I had my e46 w/ the GM transmission serviced by a competent indy shop at about 120K miles. About 6 months later had shifting/slipping/engagement issues that seemed like low fluid. Levels were fine, dealer said to start saving up for a new transmission. Cheap Filter and fluid change at a franchise AAMmerican transmission COmpany fixed it, though they REALLY tried to upsell me into a rebuild.
Still going strong 7 years later with fluid/filter changes about every 30-50k miles.
AAMmerican transmission COmpany

Love it.
 

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Here's what I did for my trans with 135,000 miles. Find what brand of trans you have. Then drain trans, remove and clean pan and replace filter and pan. Measure amount of fluid drained. Put in appropriate fluid (if your trans is GM-made be sure to use GM certified Dexron 6 fluid). Flush trans by draining, refilling several times.
Each time run the engine and shift through all gears. How many times? Look up capacity of trans and calculate fraction that remains in the trans each time. Example: If you replaced 4/10 of the total fluid after replacing the filter 6/10 of the fluid remains. So after 4 drain/refills (three plus the necessary one) the amount of original fluid remaining is .6 x.6 x .6 x .6 = .1296 i.e. about 1/8 of the original remains and 7/8 is new. Yeah, this wastes some fluid but it eliminates the possibility of blowing a seal or worse by pressure flushing. -----I think that's plenty but if you don't, add two more changes and you've replaced over 95% of the original fluid.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
So I've got my filter and my trans fluid, and am getting set to go.

I did buy the same electric transfer pump as BD, and plan to use his procedure of filling/flushing/draining on the fly. NOT a power flush.


But then I saw a video where a guy was using a cheap pump up weed spraying bottle, and was getting excellent flow and was controlling it perfectly with the thumb lever. Saw a 6L one in the hardware today for 10AUD... can afford to use it once and throw it away if the oil affects it, hopefully it will work. If not I'll go with the electric pump.

I really don't want to put a new filter in when the torque converter is still full of very old fluid. Not this first time anyway. I'm thinking of draining the pan and refilling it, then draining the lot via the cooler return line with the motor running while I add a bit more until I see some clean fluid coming out. THEN I'd like to drop/clean the pan, fit a new filter and flush it a bit more before I top it off and button it up. I've even got an aquarium adhesive thermometer strip to check the temp when I top it off, which must win me the E46 fanatics OCD award for feb. It'll cost me a bit of ATF, but no more than repeated dump and pumps. I'm OK with it.
 

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So I've got my filter and my trans fluid, and am getting set to go.

I did buy the same electric transfer pump as BD, and plan to use his procedure of filling/flushing/draining on the fly. NOT a power flush.


But then I saw a video where a guy was using a cheap pump up weed spraying bottle, and was getting excellent flow and was controlling it perfectly with the thumb lever. Saw a 6L one in the hardware today for 10AUD... can afford to use it once and throw it away if the oil affects it, hopefully it will work. If not I'll go with the electric pump.

I really don't want to put a new filter in when the torque converter is still full of very old fluid. Not this first time anyway. I'm thinking of draining the pan and refilling it, then draining the lot via the cooler return line with the motor running while I add a bit more until I see some clean fluid coming out. THEN I'd like to drop/clean the pan, fit a new filter and flush it a bit more before I top it off and button it up. I've even got an aquarium adhesive thermometer strip to check the temp when I top it off, which must win me the E46 fanatics OCD award for feb. It'll cost me a bit of ATF, but no more than repeated dump and pumps. I'm OK with it.
Just drop the pan and replace the filter, the fluid in the converter is already cleaned of shavings because the filter and magnets caught the bulk of fit anyway. If you start flushing the fluid without changing the filter there's a higher chance that that filter is plugged up and the flow won't be so good.
 
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