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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I did the steptronic tranny filter and fluid change last summer and took a bunch of pics and kept meaning to post them (so here they are). There are some great DIY threads on here that I don't need to repeat (just use search :idea: ), just wanted to show my results...

I did not use the super expensive BMW LT71141 fluid, but some Castrol Import Multi-vehicle ATF that said it met the same specs as the LT71141 and was only $4 a quart at Kragen (not the $25/QT from BMW). I have about 12k miles on this fluid so far and no issues with the tranny or shifting (and I drive the crap out of my car - use the sport/manual mode most of the time). Very glad I did it as the fluid that came out at ~63k miles was black and I believe it would have been very bad to let it go to 100k. The fluid was so cheap that I simply drained it with the drain plug, refilled it (just a couple of quarts), ran it for about 5-10 min while running through the gears, and repeated this four times to insure that I changed all the fluid in the torque converter (4th time the fluid came out cherry red "clean"). Then I dropped the pan, changed the filter, and filled it up, ran through the gears etc. Then I drained about 1.5 qts just to check it again and then topped it off per the procedure.

The pictures just show a little in the bottom of the bucket as I was trying to show how it got more translucent as I kept flushing it out.

I have also been using this fluid for my power steering as well. I noticed it was looking a little dirty and I was getting some "squealing" when turning the wheel, so I use a turkey baster to suck out the reservoir and then refill it. I have done this several times over multiple weekends to try and "renew" all the fluid without the hassle of draining the whole power steering system. The fluid I get out now looks clean and the "squealing" has stopped and everything is running fine.

Obviously YMMV, but the inexpensive Castrol ATF has worked fine for me... :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nice Job! :thumbsup: Mind if you can tell me how much it drains and fill each time? (about 2 qt)?

Thanks.
Sorry, its been so long since I did this I don't remember specifically. I think it was more like 3-4 qts each time. May have only been 2 qts each time... I do remember you can get more out of the pan if you jack the back end of the car up higher (it was sitting level on 4 jack stands).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Update... Now at 86k miles and no issues with the tranny. The Castrol Import Multi-vehicle is working just fine...
 

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be sure to keep the maintenance up! I would do the service again once you get near 100k miles, about every 40k.
 

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Awesome

Sorry, its been so long since I did this I don't remember specifically. I think it was more like 3-4 qts each time. May have only been 2 qts each time... I do remember you can get more out of the pan if you jack the back end of the car up higher (it was sitting level on 4 jack stands).
Do you recommend me taking mine to a quick lube for the change ? I want to get the same outcome as you did with yours I just can’t do it myself
 

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Funny how old threads live forever. Have not had this car for about 10 years... (Have had an 2008 E90 335i, 2013 F10 535i (totaled), 2011 G37S, and now a 2016 F10 550i since then). Yes I would get it changed. Don't know if they would do it the way I did it. They may have a machine that drains from the tranny and puts new fluid in at the same time (flush) using oil cooler lines. Talk to them about what you want done (full flush and new filter) and how much it will cost and make sure the fluid they are using meets the BMW Spec for your transmission.
 

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Do you recommend me taking mine to a quick lube for the change ? I want to get the same outcome as you did with yours I just can’t do it myself


Never take your car to a quick lube joint! The people working there don’t have the training nor the proper equipment to properly do the job. Find a reputable indie shop that specializes in bimmers at www.bimrs.org. Modern automatic transmissions require that the fluid level be within a small range. To achieve this the transmission temperature has to be with a specific temperature range. Over- or under-filling an automatic transmission is a definite no no.
 

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Wait I thought these tranny’s are all sealed never having to change anything


Sent from my iPad using E46Fanatics
 

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Wait I thought these tranny’s are all sealed never having to change anything


Sent from my iPad using E46Fanatics


Years ago BMW touted “lifetime fluids.” It was marketing bunk. All transmissions, manual and automatic, have drain and fill plugs. If your bimmer has an automatic transmission I highly recommend that you have the fluid and filter changed every 40k miles to 50k miles. Change them at 40k miles if the car sees primarily stop and go traffic. That’s tough on a transmission. Also, at 100k miles have the fluid flushed. Huh? Only about half of the fluid is changed when you do a fluid and filter change. The rest is in the torque converter. A flush exchanged all of the fluid.
 
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