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2003 325xi Auto
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am thinking about performing a fluid and filter replacement on my 2003 325XI GM auto transmission. I have read numerous posts like the one on the ATF list thread that say to drain the fluid cold, but I have to drive an hour to access the lift I will be using to work on my car. Would it be safe to remove the transmission pan, replace the filter and retorque the bolts after driving the hour to the shop and letting the car cool down for an hour or two or should the transmission only be worked on after letting the car fully cool?
 

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I think you should be fine. I like draining fluids warm. By the time, you set up your work area, drain fluid, pull the pan and filter, clean the pan, clean the old gasket off the mating surface, it should be sufficiently cool.
 

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2005 330xi Auto, 2006 330ci Vert Auto
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I am thinking about performing a fluid and filter replacement on my 2003 325XI GM auto transmission. I have read numerous posts like the one on the ATF list thread that say to drain the fluid cold, but I have to drive an hour to access the lift I will be using to work on my car. Would it be safe to remove the transmission pan, replace the filter and retorque the bolts after driving the hour to the shop and letting the car cool down for an hour or two or should the transmission only be worked on after letting the car fully cool?
The GM transmission ATF fill procedure states that you should warm the fluid up to a certain temperature to ensure the fluid level is correct. Therefore, if you follow this procedure, you will need to warm your fluid up anyway. In addition, warm fluid flows better so in theory you should drain a higher volume of old fluid.

Having said that, I would let the tranny cool a bit before starting the job so you don't burn yourself. You should also find a way to measure the fluid temperature if you decide to follow the 2-stage fill procedure. Good luck.
 

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2004 325i Silver Sedan Auto/Leather & Sunroof
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23 Posts
I just yesterday did a pan drop and changed out the filter on my 325i. Lucky you to have a lift! Be very careful to make sure when you remove the filter that the two plastic washers on the filter neck come out. On mine they remained in place and I found a metal paint can opener (from Home Depot) was very helpful removing them. Not too difficult a job and make sure not to over torque the drain pan bolts.
 

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2002 320i (M54B22) dual pedals
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190 Posts
Since you had the pan dropped.... check if its bent upwards especially if your car mid section bottoms out on speed bumps frequently.

Mine had a dent upwards and it was touching the valve body...... so i had it pounded back to its original shape and reinstalled it and call it a day.
 

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2000 323Ci coupe manual
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636 Posts
Be advised that modern automatic transmissions don’t like being under or over-filler. Do some research on the proper temperature range when filling.
True but dam if my vw alltrack was over filled by the factory by close to .5 liters. I takes 4.6 L but I think they just put in 5 L and called it a day.

I think doing it cold is OK. The amount the fluid will expand when warmed is rather small.
 

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I am thinking about performing a fluid and filter replacement on my 2003 325XI GM auto transmission. I have read numerous posts like the one on the ATF list thread that say to drain the fluid cold, but I have to drive an hour to access the lift I will be using to work on my car. Would it be safe to remove the transmission pan, replace the filter and retorque the bolts after driving the hour to the shop and letting the car cool down for an hour or two or should the transmission only be worked on after letting the car fully cool?
HI FunkyMonk, I'm curious is your shift selector seal leaking?
 

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2003 325xi Auto
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47 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
HI FunkyMonk, I'm curious is your shift selector seal leaking?
Hey swordsman11668, yup confirmed my input selector shaft seal is leaking. I’ve been chasing down and fixing fluid leaks since I first bought the car and recently took it to my indie mechanic who confirmed it while it was on a lift.

I purchased the McMaster Carr viton o-ring and washer recommended by LeverThis and am going to try if that works first before trying to replace the shaft seal.
 

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2003 325xi Auto
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Is it highly recommended to change out the filter when replacing ATF fluid? Or, is it just an option after 50K miles on tranny.
From what I’ve seen it’s not absolute necessity but if you haven’t done it ever since all e46’s are getting up there in age it might be worth doing prematurely.

I may go with Pelican Parts’s schedule where they change it every 60k miles, and change the filter every other change (60k drain and fill, 120k drain, fill and filter, 180k drain and fill)


I’ve also heard every 30k or 3 years drain and fill for the most scrupulous.
 
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