The smooth-running Inline 6 to be replaced?

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wrote:


I was put off by the compulsory auto box. Not that BMW autos are in any way bad IMHO, it's just that I prefer to drive a manual shift.
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Z

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wrote:

Actually, BMW auto boxes don't have a very good reputation. There's numerous reports here and on other forums that new BMWs with slush boxes and its "lifetime fluids" are very prone to breaking down at about the 100K mark! That's outrageous and the reason why I wouldn't get one.
In fact, I considered a 335d when the feds were offering the cash for clunker program! The only BMW that qualified was the 335d. I could have gotten $4.5K for my 90 535i, 5spd, 126K miles; another $4.5K from BMW for its "eco" program; AND a $1k tax credit for buying a diesel. That's $10K off a new BMW, so the 335d could have cost somewhere around $36K! Not too bad. BUT, the lack of a manual tranny and the poor reputation of BMW's slush boxes turned me off.
Nevertheless, BMW knows its market, especially here in the US, and if it can get $85K to 90K or more selling 550iGTs, X6s and the *fabulous* X5/X6Ms, they could care less about offering diesels. Otherwise, they would be bringing over to the US cars like the 123d five door hatchbacks with proper six speed manual transmissions. NOW that is a new BMW diesel I could really get, sigh....
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Then those 'numerous reports' have done their job as rumour mongers. Before they can have any significance, you'd need to know what percentage are affected. And compare that with other makes. No car is perfect - all will suffer some failures.
BMW autos are made by ZF. Who make the autos for many other vehicles too. Both my last two BMWs have had ZF 5HP transmissions. The first had over 160,000 miles when I sold it. This one is at 90,000 and is fine. Of course that's only two out of maybe millions. But if you look at the prices they fetch on Ebay etc, it's obvious they ain't in much demand as spares.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Agree, I know of people who had their auto trannies fail in their Toyotas and Hondas (OK, Acuras). They weren't too happy about replacing them either!

Actually, GM also made automatic transmissions for BMWs. I heard there were alot of problems with those. Don't know about the ZF. Do you change your transmission fluid or does it come with BMW "lifetime fluid?" If the latter and you haven't changed yoru fluid, then it good to hear! The concerns I've read about are the latest offerings from BMW and the "lifetime fluid" or may be the lack of fluid changes that appears to be causing failure. Of course, like you stated, it is the internet and you take things with a grain of salt. Good Luck!
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The first car I mentioned with the ZF 5HP was an E34, and that didn't use lifetime ATF. It was changed at the recommended service intervals. My current car has - but IIRC BMW now recommend a 100,000 mile change. Or rather do in the US - not sure about elsewhere.

Lifetime lubrication has been around for a long time in certain car parts - after all they don't need things greased every 2000 miles anymore. I'm not qualified to say if ATF deteriorates in use. It would be interesting to have it analysed at high miles.
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You put a grain of salt in there you might really cause a failure...
DAS
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"bfd" < snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com> wrote in message
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bfd wrote:

I haven't heard that. I think many hear the word "GM" and come to biased but unfair conclusions. What problems either brand had could be blamed on BMW's "lifetime fluid" stupidity.

That's not an "either or" question.
The common wisdom is that your should change it. I did my GM's fluid at 90k miles. I've got 120k miles now and no problems.
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When the E39 came out, certain versions had a GM 4 speed in the US, but a ZF 5 speed elsewhere. Given the 5 speed was so much better in performance and economy, I've never quite found out why.

'Common wisdom' says engines should also have 3000 mile oil changes too.
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wrote:

BMW probably used the older 4 spd GM trannies to save money.

That was true for old school "dino" oil. With today's synthetic, most recommend changing synthetic oil and filter every 7000 to 15000 miles depending on driving condition. Good luck!
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Given they don't import their base models to the US, it seems unlikely.

Well, if the same improvements were made to ATF - why not a lifetime fluid? It doesn't get contaminated in the same way as engine oil.
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wrote:

Wait, didn't you just say "When the E39 came out, certain version had a GM *4 speed in the US*" So, I took that saying BMW did export the GM 4 speed auto trannies to the US.

Agree, today's transmission fluids are likely synthetic as well. I also agree that tranny fluid probably doesn't get as contaminated as engine oil. Nevertheless, it does get dirty, albeit as a slower rate, so there still should be changing intervals, not just "lifetime." You gave an example of changing your auto trans fluid at 90K. If that is the correct timeframe, then that is what BMW should specify. Eliminating fluid changes by calling it "lifetime" or placing things like fuel filters into the gas tank next to the fuel pump only increases the cost of ownership and doesn't help those who like to keep their cars for more than 100K miles. Then again, BMW's motive is pretty clear they wants you to get rid of your car by then and buy another. Good Luck!
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I said they fitted the GM 4 speed to US cars while Europe got the 5 speed ZF. And since BMW have a rather more upmarket position in the US than elsewhere, it seemed a strange move. Unless it was something to do with 'local' content.
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

The GM 5-speed that BMW used was made in France. Not sure about the 4-speed.
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bfd wrote:

I don't think it's that simple. Resale value is something that car manufacturers like to brag-about, and $5,000 trannies breaking every 100k miles (only a few years, for some drivers) can't be too good for that.
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

No, it really doesn't. Almost no one does that. Even in the old days, few did that.

One would intuit that over many years and miles, sufficient contamination and degradation would occur to any practical lubricant.
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Plenty of other parts of a car are lubricated for life. Unlike some years ago.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Yes, but that lifetime is that much shorter.
The problem with chassis bushings that need periodic greasing, for instance, is that people don't actually do it. If you grease them regularly, they will last a whole lot longer than the modern prelubed bushings. But people don't, so they fail prematurely. Same with U-joints. Same with repackable wheel bearings.
So, given the environment the car is used in by the average owner with regard to maintenance, the lifetime lube winds up giving extended life. But in the hands of someone careful, the lifetime lube results in reduced life.
Oh, well. --scott
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Far too broad a statement.

So 'if people don't do it' why the down on long life lubricants? Seems they are the answer for the majority.
I'm not convinced components which needed regular greasing lasted longer anyway. There's always the chance that greasing will introduce some form of contamination in practice as well as new grease.

Indeed.
All I know is in my experience, modern cars are way more reliable than those of my youth. And the things that fail most on my BMW aren't actually parts that would once have been greased.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Oh, come on. How many control arm bushings have you gone through? --scott
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On Feb 12, 5:36am, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

Ha, ha, funny guy! I believe Dave said his first BMW had like 190,000 miles on it, so he should have had to changed it at least once. He also stated his second BMW has only 90K, so he may or may not have changed it yet.
I have 126K miles on my 90 E34 535i, 5spd manual and last year had one shop inspect my control arm bushings. I was told one side was cracked. I was told to replace the bushings with ones from the E32 750i (green, liquid filled) would cost about $400 for the pair. Not too bad and will probably get it replaced some time this summer. Good Luck!
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