auto transmission service

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Is the E46 auto capable of having the trannie fluid changed?
I thought someone said that that the fluid is considered "lifetime", meaning you don't change it.
Lifetime thus means about 80K miles, I guess. That's when the transmission would likely fail.
I'm just trying to figure out if I should go ahead and buy an auto. Manuals are rarer than hen's teeth and I kind of like the steptronic shifting.
But obviously, if it's totally ridiculous (for example, the new E90s have NO dip stick! So what happens if the oil level sensor screws up (as one poster's here did)), then I'll have to think of something else.
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Now I have an addendum:!
the dealer confirmed it's "lifetime". Great. So you can't change it?
How about manual shift? Can you change the gear oil? Or is that not as important?
Maybe I should stick to manual then.
I almost feel I should buy a new one, that way I'd know that it's taken care of.
I have a feeling they don't recommend the first oil change before about 15,000 miles or so. So if I buy used, that's what I'd get.
Only problem is New BMWs don't even have a dipstick, have stupid run flat tires and no spare tire.
Weird company.
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You can change it, but the dealer won't pay for it during the free maintenance period.

You can change that too. And it's just as important.

I think you should, but not because BMW has decided the fluid is "lifetime fill."

Considered a Mini? --scott
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On Nov 26, 1:29 pm, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

So you can tell the dealer to change it, it isn't impossible to change? That would be good then.
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wrote:

$300). I had my dealer change my E46 manual 5 speed with Redline MTL which I bought for about $24.00 - the dealer charge was for one hour labor.
Tom K.
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And if you do a little research you will find that AmsOil ATF meets the specs for all the high-priced fluids BMW sells. It is about $8-9 US per quart.
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Bob Smitter wrote:

Most people need someone to do this job for them, though. It's not as easy as doing engine oil and filter.
A couple years ago, when I asked the dealer about doing this, they asted like a was nuts, finally settling on something like $1200 to do the job.
An independent "German car" shop refused to do it at all. "Take it to the dealer", they told me.
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The snag is you can't drain an auto (even with a drain plug) the same as an engine as the torque convertor holds a large quantity of fluid which doesn't drain back into the sump. So the 'change' will only be partial. And even if you do it twice there will still be a proportion of the old remaining.
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No, really, it's actually not a lot. You drain the transmission, you pop the cover to get the filter off and replace the filter, you close the cover, you put more fluid in the top. You may need a siphon gadget to get the fluid up there, though.
With a simple fluid change, a lot of the old fluid remains in the torque converter, which you can't drain. There are a lot of things you can do about that, which include flushing procedures or a refill/run/drain cycle. If you're changing it every 30,000 miles like you SHOULD be, though, there is no reason to worry about the fact the change is not complete. You may even opt not to change the filter.

They may be talking about something more than a simple drain and change. There really is no reason to do more than that if you're doing it on a regular schedule. --scott
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wrote:

i picked up a 94 525 touring a year back, now close to 300,00 miles, 15 by me in the last year..its fine, althought i dont brake v v heavy to a standstill, as it causes a thud.
i was going to change the gearbox oil, but i guess if its never had it done, changing it could cause more problems... car runs fine daily, even to E Europe a few times a year. although at the mo. its using more fuel than i think it should.
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"kpb" wrote

It can certainly be changed. If the dealer refuses to do it, you can take it to an independent mechanic who will do it. But in all honestly, I think there is more to this tranny issue than just the fluid change alone. What I'm saying is that even if you change the tranny oil every 1k miles, it's not guarantee that it will be trouble-free.
As for the manual tranny and rear differential, I changed mine at 40k miles and plan on doing it again in another 30-40k.
Pete
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wrote:

Once true. BMW has backed off and now recommends 100K changes on auto trans (probably twice the interval that might contribute to extended life). Manual still "lifetime." No more difficult than any auto trans to service.

Easy to change. Takes approx 1.5 quarts of Synthetic D4 ATF (for easier shifting when cold) or Redline MTL (for better lubrication ... can't rush a cold transmission).

Unless the previous owner felt 15K was a bit much.
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

Really?
I wonder, then, if they've also relaxed the *ridiculous* pricing of this procedure.
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wrote:

    Wanna know something else weird? You're posting from the same IP address as "floresrikitic," share his obsession with auto trans failure and use the pun "bummer" for "Bimmer." Just a coincidence, I'm sure.     epbrown
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I do? I am not him. I was using his "bummer" line because I thought it was so funny.
I haven't bought a BMW yet, but I still might, but it would probably be manual. I looked on Yahoo! and there were a bunch of complaints about the new 2007 3 series...really bad complaints. I know boards like that will attract complainers but still it gives me a little pause.
Same IP address..what does that mean? Same internet service provider? Same what?
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Same idiot behind the keyboard.

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On Nov 30, 4:14 pm, "Choam Nomsky" <kaos.kaptain AT gmail.com> wrote:

I'm not an idiot. And I'm not the same person as anyone else who posted here.
If the IP address is the same, then it either doesn't mean that or the fool who is taking the IP address doesn't know how to read it.
I like how I "seem obsessed with auto transmissions" and this guy wrote about it. Actually it was his post that piqued my interest since I was thinking of buying one.
So fuck you for calling me an idiot.
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kpb wrote:

Plonk!
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Manual and auto should be changed at least every 50k. I changed ALL the fluid in the car (330xi) at 50k, will do it again every 30k from now on. Redline fluids all the way. I would be VERY reluctant to put anything other than OEM (which is way too $$) or Motul, or Redline.
But it is your $$.

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Let me add a question to this thread.
I just purchased my first BMW 2000 323i E46 with steptronic and has 120k miles on it.
I have screen print outs of all the service and cannot find any servicing to the transmission. So should I have the fluid changed?
Is there any danger to the folk lore of changing transmission oil in a tranny with high mileage?
I have heard stories (one was a friends Honda but that is another type).
Thanks
Rob
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