E46 transmission-oil change

My 2000 323i has about 70k miles on it now, and I was considering having the "lifetime" tranny-oil changed as I have read is recommended by "those in the know". I called a local independent German-car shop,
and asked if they would do this, and they declined! They said that they thought it was unnecessary, that they'd never seen an E46 with a tranny problem, and that if I wanted the oil changed I could ask the dealer!
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You don't say if it's manual or Steptronic. If the latter, then the BMW fluid alone is well over $200!
I replaced the fluid in my (manual) 1999 328i at the same mileage with Redline. 2 quarts of RedLine MTL was about $15 + one hour labor at my dealer and the shifting improvement is quite noticeable - especially in cold weather.
Tom K.
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If it's a manual you can easily do it yourself if you have basic tools available. Check out an excellent write up at : http://m3.madrussian.net/diy_rp_tranny_fluid.shtml
This is for an M3 but it is probably very similar for your car.
here is a writeup for a 325i; http://www.bmw325i.net/maint_tran_fluid.shtml
If it is an automatic it is a bit more tricky since you need to fill/top-off while the engine is running.
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RT wrote:

It is an auto...
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On Sat, 22 Apr 2006 14:05:40 +0000, dizzy wrote:

The dealer replaced my transmission fluid and filter/seal for 100 bucks. It is recommended that it be done every 60,000 miles by mechanics- not salesmen. I changed mine at 70,000 miles and it was half empty. Shifting has improved and it is a night and day difference. If your car is under some kind of current transmission warranty, that would be one reason why they wouldn't touch it. Let the dealer do it- or you can if you are experienced with it.
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dizzy wrote:

They are idiots. Even if it were "unnecessary" (which it is not) why would they not do the job if a customer asks them to? There is something else they are not telling you, like maybe they do not have access to the fluid at a reasonable price, or something similar.
An independent mechanic telling you to take it to the dealer is either trying to shame you, or admitting their own incompetence. A shop that told me that nonsense would get no more of my future business. And I would make it clear to them as to why that was happening, too.
--
-Fred W

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DITTO! run away fast!
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Fred W wrote:

So odd that they would turn-away business...
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dizzy wrote:

According to a chart I have, your car has a GM5 (A5S360R) transmission which takes Texaco ETL 7045E fluid. It is BMW part number 83 22 0 026 922 for a 25 liter container. It appears there are several manufacturers that make suitable synthetic ATF replacements
(Google is your friend)
--
-Fred W

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Dizzy,
I just had mine done at 60K, with a new AT filter kit and the original BMW texaco fluid. The fluid that BMW sells came only in a 20 liter jug.
My mechanic did mine for me and charged me $40 just for labor alone as I supplied him all the parts. After looking at what he did, it didn't seem difficult. After servicing this, the shifting has improved and the car drives better.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have used Red line synthetic D4 ATF fluid instead after one of their reps told me their fluid is compatible with the texaco fluid I'm using. The 20 liter jug is too much and their not sold in quarts.
Don't believe the "lifetime" dealers are telling you. Get that fluid changed and you'll be glad you did. Also, don't forget to change the differential fluid too....:-)
William
dizzy wrote:

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weng94 wrote:

Yep, I'm getting the dealer to do it.
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dizzy wrote:

Wow, they want like $380 total. Hope it's worth it...
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Look for an independent that specializes in BMW's, keep searching until you find one that can do the transmission oil change for you. It will be more cost effective and less than what the dealer charges.
William

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dizzy wrote:

Update: Was at the dealer today, and did NOT have them change the fluid. It would have cost me OVER $800!!!
They had quoted me $380, but that was for the older "non-lifetime" fluid. Appearently, my car was made right-around the time of the change to the new fluid, so they weren't sure which type it used. Today they confirmed that it indeed has the more-expensive "lifetime" fluid.
I'm finding it very tough to justify spending that kind of money, when the tranny is working fine and BMW does not recommend the change...
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And on top of that you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost. If you are going to keep the car for a long time I would recommend to have it changed at an independent shop if you don't want to do it yourself.
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RT wrote:

I will investigate that... However it seems that, by the dealer's reckoning anyway, the fluid alone is worth almost $600! I mean, jeez, what's this stuff made of, and what's a fair price for a few liters of tranny fluid? Even if the indy shop charged 2/3 the price it's still a good chunk of money...
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I doubt it is 600 bucks, but I have heard stories of about 250. Ask around. I noticed some people used redine d4atf but I Am not sure if that can be used on your model.
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At that price it would be worth having a sample of the oil checked to see if it does need changing...
--
*Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Most likely the independent service facility has made a business decision not to have anything to do with BMW automatic transmissions. Once the fluid is changed after what is probably a lengthy interval, the transmission may develop symptoms that in that in the mind of owner, are warranty items that the independent garage will be responsible for, because after all they were the last ones to work on the transmissions. In the current litigious climate, it is wise to choose your fights. "let the dealer handle it" is, in my opinion, a prudent decision.

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