The main reason I would want an aluminum radiator is because the BMW
OEM ones made by either Behr or Nissen are made out of cheap-shit
plastic and are known to break. Many techs, including Mike Miller of
Roundel, suggest replacing
BMW radiators every 60,000 miles. This is absolutely ridiculous, but
when you consider that you can fry your engine due to the OEM plastic
neck breaking, its actually makes sense. Why BMW doesn't use aluminum
for its radiator shows how far it goes to cut cost.
I think if you look around, you'll notice almost everyone is using
more and more plastic under the hood. Plastic radiator tanks have
become far too common for my tastes. Having aluminum tanks put on in
place of the plastic ones is something I see a lot of here in
Can you clarify exactly what Mike Miller doesn't "understand real
well?" Being Tech Talk, Mike Miller sees alot of complaints about BMW
automatic transmission. I think its a shame when BMW claims the fluid
in the automatics are "lifetime," and then when the car reaches about
100,000 miles, the tranny goes and the owner has to spend thousands to
replace it. Interestingly, BMW auto trannies had a better record of
lasting more than 100,000 miles when it recommended changing fluid
every 30,000 miles or so. Of course, that was before BMW came up with
its maintainence free program.
Of course, maybe you only lease your car or sell it before it reaches
100,000 miles, in which case, lifetime fluid and broken transmission
are probably not a problem.
And as such - he tends to brand everything he sees a lot of as a real
issue. He's overlooking that the 3 series E36 cars sold quite well, so
there are a LOT of them out there. They do have rather delicate
radiators, but failure is not endemic - it's frequent enough to keep an
eye on, but IMHO - preventively replacing the radiator - unless you're
using it for a track car - is probably a waste of $$.
BMW now recommends the fluid be changed at 100k miles. Can you provide
ANY facts at ALL on BMW transmissions lasting longer before they changed
fluid change recommendations?
I really don't think you'll be able to - since the earlier BMW automatic
transmissions (the ZF-4HP22) were known to eat the front clutch pack
with great regularity at around 60-70k miles... requiring at best a
rebuild, at worst a replacement. Later GM and ZF transmissions have been
quite reliable, and rarely give problems even with extended mileage on
them (over 100k.)
Just give us some numbers and a source for your information.. if you can
(besides Mike Miller - who is NOT a technician - he's an attorney..)
Actually - most of my BMW's have been kept to well past 100k miles, and
aside from the one with the ZF-4HP22 transmission which required
replacement at 70k miles - I never had a problem with the transmissions
or rear-drives. But - that's a fact - and I'm sure you aren't terribly
fond of them.
BTW - did you know that 89% of the statistics that appear in UseNet
postings are made up on the spot?
Make that 90%. You just tipped the scales. ;-)
FWIW, I am of the same opinion regarding the Tech editor (Miller) of
Roundel. When I first began reading the mag I thought, wow, this guy
sure knows a lot about BMWs. But the longer I read, and the more I
learned personally, the clearer it became that he is merely opinionated,
But he doesn't hold a candle to the dude posing as Tech editor for
Boating magazine. That guy is isn't only opinionated, he is downright
ignorant of basic mechanics and hands out bad technical advice constantly.
I have to figure out a way to get one of those jobs...
I owned a 325i with the ZF-4HP22 which was going strong at 135,000 miles
when I sold the car. I had regularly changed the ATF with synthetic every
30,000miles. The new owner stopped ALL transmission maintenance, and
the ZF still reached 204,000 miles before dying from burned clutches. It
made me a believer about using good fluids at reasonable intervals.
And then again, maybe I've owned more BMW's over the last 40 years than
you've ever looked at.
I certainly have never leased one, or driven one less than 170,000 miles.
But anyone who posts that when " the car reaches about
Miller, by the way, does not discuss maintenance schedules of autoboxes - he
holds them in disdain, period.( along with Nikasil blocks, another thing I'm
not quite sure he fully understood, and a few other things he dislikes).
No one who EVER went to a good independent BMW tech ever bought into the
extended or lifetime fluid schedules - don't think you unlocked some great
As I've posted in here before, the local "indy" German-car repair-shop
refused to change the "lifetime" fluid in my car... "We've never seen
an E46 tranny fail. Take it to the dealer if you want the fluid
Nice one! I guess that's why ALL those owners of old bimmers changed oil at
3,000 miles and tranny fluid at 15,000, and differential at 30,000. And the
cars are in as good a shape as ever. IF BMW had paid attention to what the
owners were saying and doing, they would have a free research base of cars
and maintenance plans to show what really happened to the internals.
My personal opinion is that their new maint intervals allows BMW Pre-Owned
to show documentation, but it could also show how the parts are failing due
to increased intervals. It's a double-edged sword.
Bill in Omaha
I have no "evidence" short of hearsay, which is to say none. Going on what I
hear and see with a dose of common sense, it would seem to me that things
run better on something that is not older than half it's expected life.
Fluids, batteries, things with a destructive edge. Not pencils, or matches,
but stuff that by nature, ensures life of something else by its own
destruction or depletion. Maybe that 100k mile fluid should be changed at
50k, before the trans failure people are letting the world know theirs
failed at 60k. I remember when spark plugs were done at 30k miles or less.
100k seems long and a few owners have said so when they changed the plugs
and put new ones in, the DME was wonky for a bit getting back into
adjustment from so worn plugs. Sounds like cheap-assed, lazy drivers to me.
You know this one, YMMV? Well, I'm just applying it to the info that has
amassed about the maint intervals BMW came up with. I do respect that the
intervals were devised by someone who tested them though. Yes, Dave, you are
correct. The jury is out and to each his own. I also know an ounce of
prevention is worth a pound of cure. I for one don't have a spare bank
account to see what happens when I follow instructions that are even odds on
failure, excepting that shit happens. LOL
Except that changing long life fluids can't be done for an 'ounce' -
they're very expensive. And to fully change the auto transmission fluid
It could be going back to cheaper fluids and DIY changing them at older
intervals would be a good idea - but I'm not convinced. Generally the
mechanics on cars last longer these days than ever.
And in case you think I'm young with no experience I've personally in the
distant past re-built many an engine and auto which has simply worn out -
and at a lot less than 100,000 miles. Of course I'm talking older UK cars
which were rather more highly stressed than the average US one - but then
BMW isn't a US design either.
*If God dropped acid, would he see people?
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
I agree 100%. I changed half of the trans fluid when I did the wife's '98
528i. The other half is in the torque converter. Damn if I'm pulling all
that to change fluid. I did do a filter at the same time, though. That
should help a little. Since she has the GM trans, I used the recommended
Castrol Dexron 3-Mercon. I believe it was less than $3/qt and I used 4 qts.
I did see that someone recommended straining/filtering the old fluid and
putting it back in.
Certain mechanicals are made better by certain companies. When was the last
time you saw ANY American car do 300k miles? Or 200k ? Just look at the
break-in miles for a new car today. And I believe you when you say you've
rebuilt a few engines. I have as well, but I can say that some were, um,
less than quality stuff when we tore them down. I did think it was funny
that the e39 540 trans was more prone to fail, so I've heard, than the e39
528i trans. And the 5sp auto more than the 4sp auto in the same cars. And it
was mostly a little plastic ball that caused a bit of the failures.. Yes, I
have a reference if you like. Not being snotty or arrogant to anyone, I am
just telling what I think or surmise from stuff. I could be wrong and freely
admit it. Just my two cents, YMMV, IMHO, and have a nice day.
Dave, I do read and heed what you say, don't think I just like arguing.
Everything I say is with a smile, even if it's not seen.
Bill in Omaha
Yes, but that is more than a cut and dry issue. Nobody( in their right mind)
was comfortable with "lifetime fluid", but a combination of ( then ) hard to
obtain and very costly fluid, repeated scare stories from dealers ( after
all, if you say something often enough, it becomes truth, doesn't it?) and
requests from cars with already high mileage tended to make it a LOT easier
to send people to the dealer.
Add " and we don't intend for one to do so after WE service it" between
those sentences from the indy below, and it makes a lot of sense, don't you
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