Unusual ATF Change on 1999 528i (re post)

first let me say I appreciated all those replies to my initial post on ATF change.
I just did the change at a local mil base's auto hobby shop. $5 lift
fee for 1 hour, which is enough time for such work. The ATF I used was Redline D4, $9.88/qt from advanced discount auto parts. Before the purchase, I called Redline and the customer service rep said it's good to go with their D4.
One thing for the change does bother me: first after opening the "refill hole", about 2 qt old ATF drained out; then after opening the "draining hole", about another 2 qt got out. Now the problem came: I could only refill 2 qt of new ATF back in through the refill hole, which was less than drain-refill volume stated by Bentley's manual (about 4 qt if I am not mistaken).
Was my transmission box over-filled before the change? If not then it would bother me even more: is the box currently under-filled???
Jack Chengjie Wang Tampa, FL =================
Alternative Transmission Fluid for 1999 528i, automatic ??? All 12 messages in topic - view as tree From: Jack C. Wang - view profile Date: Wed, Jul 19 2006 1:23 pm
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The car shop initially quote me ~$600 for the ATF change. Later he said he found a cheaper but still all synthetic fluid which will cut the cost to ~$350.
I did research online for BMW ATF. Many people attempted other non-vendor ATF with success. Still others gave opinions with uncertainty and concern. I checked a local Advanced Discount Auto Parts store and found "all synthetic Mobile 1 ATF" for only ~$6.50/quarter. Does anyone actually used Mobile 1 with success "on 528i"? Any other brands worked for anyone, such as Redline, Royal Purple, etc. ?
I am a first-time BMW owner. I so far very much like its performance. However, an A/C repair last week just cost me $1760 (compressor, dryer,
trolly, belt, etc.)
Jack Chengjie Wang Tampa, FL =================
From: Jeff Strickland - view profile Date: Wed, Jul 19 2006 2:03 pm
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According to my Bentley Manual for my 3 Series, the automatic transmission is filled with Dexron III, "but the factory might have used alternative
I would not hesitate to use Dexron III in my transmission. The only consideration is the possibility that your 5 Series uses a different transmission than the 3 Series from the same vintage.
I recently had a fluid flush in a different car that uses Dexron III, and the cost was $70 (USD). The shop disconnected the transmission cooling lines at the radiator, and pumped new fluid in that pushed the old fluid out at the same time. You might consider dropping the bottom cover and replacing some of the filters and such that may need attention from time to time, but in my instance I am the original owner of the car in question so I opted for the basic service. In any case, the service you are looking for should be available for well under $150.

A "power flush" might work, that's what Toyota recommends for its auto trannies.
But I haven't heard that mentioned as a sure fix-all for BMWs. Further,
with some BMWs, especially newer ones, requiring really expensive "lifetime" fluids, it becomes a question of how much fluids are required. Then again, I guess its worth the expense if the alternative is your tranny going out at 100K or less, ouch!
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