You are correct. There is no dipstick or easy means to check the level.
That's because BMW has deemed this to be a "lifetime" fill item.
There is a method to fill and check the level of the automatic
transmission, but it involves having the car running and elevated on a lift.
Trans fluid temp between 30 and 50 degrees C.
Shift from Park, to Drive, back to Park or Neutral.
Remove fill plug on side of trans pan.
If fluid dribbles out, you're done. If no fluid comes out, fill until it
does, using the correct fluid.
99 528i might take Dexron III ATF, but more likely takes the Texaco fluid,
at about $12/litre.
the above is all well and good, but the car has to be level to do this
- so unless you're a particularly small chap or have a full on scissor
lift, you won't be able to get under teh car - whilst it's still level
- to undo and check anything.
Well, it's possible to drive the car up on ramps and then jack up the
back end up to be level (use jack stands of course!!). This would need
to be done *after* the fluid has already been brought up to temperature
and then you would have to exercise the transmission shifter
(P-R-N-D-N-R-P) with the parking brake on after jacking.
Yep, the only trick to Brett's procedure above is getting to the fill
plug on the side of the transmission with the car still level and the
engine running. Now if you happen to be a professional mechanic and
have a rack/lift like Brett you're all set. But for the home garage DIY
guys like us it's a bit trickier...
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