I topped the 100k km on my car and I wanna change the man. transmission fluid. I read a lot on the net and in my Bentley manual on it. There's supposed to be a sticker on the transmission that tells me if the trans. fluid is ATF or lifetime-Bmw-fluid... I checked on the transmission this morning and found no sticker...... I called 2 different dealerships, the 1st one told me it was ATF and the other one told me it's lifetime-bmw...... !? Is there a way to be sure of this information? With serial number? ??
you are correct, the D4 ATF designation is not the same as BMW's MTF-LT-1.
according to technical bulletin 230192000, all "replacement" manual transmissions from 9/97 use MTF-LT-1. There should be a yellow sticker near the filler that says "Lifetime Oil MTF-LT-1." According to Ron Stygar, MTF-LT-1 costs in the neighborhood of $130... $130....for transmission fluid. (btw they don't elaborate on what "replacement" transmission means.)
if you are just topping it off, BMW recommends using their (expensive) MTL-LT-1, because if you top it off with plain old D4, you void the "lifetime" property of the oil already in there. however, if you are doing a flush, you have to replace the whole quantity, then you have a clean slate as to whether you want to go the MTL-LT-1 route, or the D4 ATF route.
but here's the catch.
if you flushed it, you've just basically designated it as non-lifetime, otherwise it wouldn't have been flushed in the first place. in that case, it will do no harm to refill it with D4-ATF. it will then require flushing every 60k miles or so, however.
Well if there was sticker on the transmission, you could not of missed it. Its a BIG Green Sticker basically says do not open this transmission it has life-time fluid in it. I think its only for auto trannys.
from your links it looks like mobil1 and castrol are dexron-iii. redline says their D4 ATF is "safe to be used in" dexron-iii rated applications. so in that regard, it is similar to mobil1 and castrol. redline spec sheet also says their D4 is formulated to "satisfy the improved low-temperature requirements which will be in the new Dexron IV specification," which makes me wonder, "uh, ok so is redline D4 rated at dexron-iv, or some kind of dexron-iii on steroids?" I was always under the impression that the D4 stood for dexron-iv, but now i'm not so sure. this also makes me wonder, does BMW specifically ask for D4 because their trans is a dexron-iv application? if bmw is dexron-iv rated, then i would stick to D4, since outright dextron-iii would be below spec. different circumstance, but i would liken it to putting dot-3 fluid in a brake system requiring dot-4, you get the idea.
but the reason i use it is because countless others before me have sworn by it, and its price is a drop in the bucket compared to BMW's MTF-LT-1. flushing the trans is faster (and cheaper) than changing oil anyway, so i don't really worry about not having lifetime fluid anymore.
anyway, short answer for mobil1 and castrol, i don't know. i suggest sticking with redline, or if not, then (gulp) BMW fluid.
BMW won't flush your trans fluid during your regular warranty period if it says "lifetime oil" (understandably). but this also makes me suspect that BMW's interpretation of "lifetime" simply means "for the life of the warranty," not the entire life of your vehicle. BMWs can run 200k, even 300k miles, and i can't possibly fathom running the same fluid of anything for that long.
Thanks for the tips! I'll look for Redline products tomorrow, if I can't find, I'll go with Castrol Syntec ATF or Mobil1. My Bentley manual only say "ATF", not mentionning Dextron or Mercon whatever...
Last question before I do jack the car and do this (tomorrow): Do you know what quantity of oil you have to put in (i don't want to buy 2 liters, drain the oil and realize I flushed 4 liters... lol) ? Bentley says 1.2 liters, but I found somewhere else where it was written 4.4 liters ... Any hint on this ?
Hi again! It's done! I was unable to find any sticker on transmission... So i bought Amsoil syntetic ATF, bought 2 quarts.
The transmission fluid in the car was transparent and really clear.... doesn't smell like ATF....... well... I put approx 1.2 quart of amsoil ATF in it. I think (hope) everything is fine now lol.... shifting is improved.
Will keep you in touch in a few weeks if everything is still fine :P
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