1999 E39 Transmission question

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Yes. It's probably way, overdue for a fluid change. Change the thing with Red Line or Royal Purple or whatever high grade synthetic your personal religion is.
While you're at it, you'd better change the brake fluid, the coolant, and the differential fluid since those are probably way overdue also. And power steering fluid.
If it were me, I'd change out all the fuel hoses and radiator hoses and belts too.

He's probably about right. Also note that when the brake fluid gets old and gunked up, the clutch won't feel quite right and that can make the thing feel screwy too. That's another reason to change the brake fluid in the process.

You've got yourself a mountain of deferred maintenance under the hood, so you should not expect it to act like a $50,000 car. Do some fluid changes and check the condition of every rubber part under the hood, and I think you may find it behaves a bit better.

There's no filter on the manual, the fluid change is a ten-minute job. You can do it yourself in the driveway. Do not forget the differential! --scott
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wrote:

I wish I knew more about transmissions, but I don't. The fluid guide for the THM-R1 says to use Dexron III / Mercon, but the GM 5L40E fluid guide says to use only Texico ETL 7045, or a specific BMW part number. The THM transmission fluid is _NOT_ shown as a "lifetime" fluid, whereas the 5L40E fluid is indicated as "lifetime."
I was once a believer in the engineer's recommendations, but my "lifetime fluid" experience gives me pause on that. I found that the lifetime is defined as the life of the fluid, not the life of the mechanical workings. One can extend the life of the workings if the fluid is kept fresh.
I don't know what the impact would be of replacing the fluid with a different fluid -- switching to your favorite brand of synthetic for instance. I was lead to believe that it's damn near impossible to get all of the fluid out of the transmission and torque converter, which makes me wonder if the remaining old fluid would contaminate the new synthetic fluid one was switching to.
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There is no such thing as a lifetime fluid. I don't care WHAT GM says or what BMW says. They just want to sell you a new car when yours fails.

Yes, when you do a fluid change, you only change about half the fluid in the system, if it's an automatic transmission. This means that whatever fluid you use needs to meet the BMW specs and it needs to be compatible with the original materials. That's why I recommended the Red Line and Royal Purple fluids, both of which are certified to meet the BMW specs.
There are others out there, too.
I was under the impression that the original poster had a manual, though, and with a manual things are a little different in that the stuff is not being used as a working fluid, just for lubrication. So the characteristics that are important are different ones. Again, Red Line and Royal Purple make fluids that meet the BMW specs, but the good news is that it's a whole lot easier to flush everything out and there's no torque converter to hold fluid in.
Rough shifting into second and third on the manual can also be caused by linkage alignment issues and the linkages possibly needing lubrication. Still, it's more than time to change the fluid and I'd do that first. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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wrote:

I get that. My point was that the THM transmission does not claim to be lifetime, and therefore should have a published fluid change interval in the Owner's Manual. The GM 5L40E claims that it is lifetime fluid, and the Owner's Manual states this plainly. I don't happen to agree with the claim of "lifetime," anymore because of the experience I had with one car.

I was thinking he has an automatic because he just bought, or was still considering the purchase, the car from an old lady that only drove to the grocery store. Certainly there are old ladies out there that are adept at the workings of the extra pedal and the near constant manuvering of the lever, but most 5 Series cars in the States are automatics so the old lady on her way to fill the fridge can slip the lever into D and forget about it. I don't think I have ever seen a 5 Series with a stick shift. Sure there might be some, but I don't recall seeing one. Well, the exception being the M5, where I would expect more sticks that automatics, but I haven't looked all that closely to say one way or the other.
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Never heard the term 'rough shifting' applied to a manual. The OP also mentions 'not slipping' which suggests to me it's an auto.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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