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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 12-20-2006, 02:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation SO sick and tired of this garbage...

So ive been lookin through the forums for about 2 hours now....and ive found MIXED reactions to changing the automatic transmition fluid on a BMW e36.

I currently own a 1992 BMW 325i with 230k miles on it. Ran imaculate untill the radiator blew. To make a long story short, when replacing the radiator i removed the tranny cooler and SOME tranny fluid spilled out. Now the tranny is slipping (even tho i topped off the tank).

Heres my question: Even tho theres a lifetime ATF, what harm could it do with a fresh fluid change/filter?? You guys go on and on about microscopic metal particles floating around that make soooo much of a difference if their not in there.....come on are they really that important??

BTW, please dont give me bull about the car having so many miles....ill restate that there were NO tranny problems before this incident occured.
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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sound a bit upset about this. what i can tell you is BMW tells you its lifetime, but lemme ask you something. do you think that any oil or lubrication no matter what or how good it is can withstand a "lifetime" of driving? maybe so but i always recommend people to change it, either using the exact same stuff bmw uses or something equilivant or greater. it should cause you any harm , it should only gain you a better grasp on preventitive maintainance.

now for the part where you say you removed your tranny cooler. im very confused by this , where is this tranny cooler and is it that close to the rad?
(could be me though, im not too familiar with auto trannys on the e36)

have you looked into a the possibility of other potential problems, granted the torque converter could be going but its work looking into other issues, the tranny itself would typically never "slip"
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:05 AM   #3 (permalink)
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BMW is now saying that lifetime = 100,000 miles.

If your trans is slipping with that many miles it may be done. You can try putting a new filter in it with fresh fluid but if that doesn't save it you will probably need a new trans or have yours rebuilt. Also when filling the trans it needs to be "cold", below 30*C, and idling in park. There is a fill plug in the side of the trans near where the shift cable is.

The metal particles in the trans help to a point. When there are too many of them they start to cause excess wear. The problem with this is that the metal particles can fill the gaps in the parts they are wearing. By doing this the trans will still work fine even though something is worn which is good and bad. The good is that your trans still works even though something is worn past its spec, the bad part is that if you were to do a flush with a new filter your trans may slip worse than it did before you did the fluid change and can sometimes cause a trans to start slipping even though it didn't slip before. I have seen this happen first hand at the BMW shop I work at and it is hard to explain to a customer why they need a new trans when it worked when they drove it in.
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Old 12-20-2006, 05:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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First, i want to say thank you for both your imput. I was a little grumpy, it was 3am where i was.

Yes, the tranny cooler is mounted infront of the radiator, bolted to both the top and bottom. When i pulled the radiator, i had to disconnect it and the two lines that ran to the tranny itself. I cant tell you how much spilled out, but enough to make it slip.

My guess (mechanical opinion) is that there isnt enough in there, and its sloshing around, not getting adiquate pressure. I think im going with a tranny flush, seeing how the oil now is practicly black. The tranny really worked almost brand new prior to the radiator. And in the morning it slips slightly untill the engine warms up......
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hmm can you take a pic of your oil cooler? sounds kinda cool to me id like to get one as my car is under extreme loads, hell im on my second tranny already.

good luck figuring the whole situation out.
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Old 12-22-2006, 07:10 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Change your fluid and put some syntetic stuff in there you will feel the difference... Changing your fluid will not damage your tranny.... it'll only make it better
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Old 12-27-2006, 07:35 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Change the ATF, that's all I can say. BMW is now calling it "Extended Service" rather than misleading "Lifetime" fluid. If not changed, I would presume that the life of the transmission would be greatly reduced, MTBF is reduced drastically. My recommendation is Redline Synthetic D4/AFT?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebelizard
So ive been lookin through the forums for about 2 hours now....and ive found MIXED reactions to changing the automatic transmition fluid on a BMW e36.

I currently own a 1992 BMW 325i with 230k miles on it. Ran imaculate untill the radiator blew. To make a long story short, when replacing the radiator i removed the tranny cooler and SOME tranny fluid spilled out. Now the tranny is slipping (even tho i topped off the tank).

Heres my question: Even tho theres a lifetime ATF, what harm could it do with a fresh fluid change/filter?? You guys go on and on about microscopic metal particles floating around that make soooo much of a difference if their not in there.....come on are they really that important??

BTW, please dont give me bull about the car having so many miles....ill restate that there were NO tranny problems before this incident occured.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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your answer

Hey i JUst got done replacing the automatic trans fluid in my bmw 318i,
Rest assured it will be okay for you to change the fluid and will really make it only better. you just have to drain it out like you do the oil and the way i did it was i had to use sringe to take out the bottle and place it in the pan. it took about 4 to 5 bottles or trans fluid when some people say its a little more than 5... But the trick is that you have to fill it in. after it tops off with just 2 bottles, you gotta drive it around and let it warm up, come back and refill it with some more and drive out again, and come back and refill the trans fluid again, this will take about 3 or 4 trips... and thats that....hopefully it was clear for you. if not hit me up , email at trippinju@gmail.com
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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awesome to see the comunity pitching in to help one another like this guys, we need more of this.
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Old 01-19-2007, 03:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I replaced my ATF about 6 months ago on my 97 328i and have had improved transmission performance ever since. I had close to 100,000 on mine and it was slipping in 3rd a tiny bit. Of course every experience is different, I still would suggest this if you feel that its either new trans or try the fluid. I also heard that sometimes it takes a second flush to prevent slipping, but I did not experience that.

I had a scare when my coolant hose decided to fill my cold air intake with fluid and kill my MAF sensor. Believe it or not a faulty MAF sensor made my car shift VERY hard between 3 and 4, the appearance of a slipping transmission. You did not have that issue, did you? I have a sharp mechanic that recognized that issue immediately and sure enough the problem completely disappeared immediately upon replacing the MAF sensor. Thought I would throw that out.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Read through this DIY:

Pelican Technical Article: BMW Automatic Transmission Fluid Change

If you decide to change fluid & filter , follow procedure to the letter. If you are just topping up fluid, follow the level procedure toward the end of the article, again to the letter. The temperature, leveling the transmission (put bubble level on pan), and shifting through gears must be done correctly.

These transmissions are very sensitive to level, too low & it will slip particularly when accelerating after a hard stop.
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Old 01-30-2007, 09:58 PM   #12 (permalink)
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What I beleive happens after a fluid and filter change is that trans fluid is highly detergent. If your tranny is old or you have never flushed before, there will be lots of metal particules all over the tranny. When the new fluid starts circulating, it lossens all the particules and your new filter gets blocked. Then you start lacking oil in certain tranny components and it can slip at certain gears or even break down completely. What I suggest you do is replace your filter and fluid ( cheapest trans fluid ). Pay close attention to cold tranny driving, after lets say 1000 or so kms, replace your filter and fluid again ( if possible use synt. trans fluid ). This way your 1st replaced filter which pickup all the crap is removed and the 2nd will work just fine. I would recommend even a third flush if you continue experiencing problems with your tranny. Once you got all that crap out of the tranny, it could only enhance the tranny's performance or make it last longer. Or if your lucky, the first flush will do the trick. Hope this helps and good luck.

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Old 01-15-2008, 10:28 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWJNKY
The metal particles in the trans help to a point. When there are too many of them they start to cause excess wear. The problem with this is that the metal particles can fill the gaps in the parts they are wearing. By doing this the trans will still work fine even though something is worn which is good and bad. The good is that your trans still works even though something is worn past its spec, the bad part is that if you were to do a flush with a new filter your trans may slip worse than it did before you did the fluid change and can sometimes cause a trans to start slipping even though it didn't slip before. I have seen this happen first hand at the BMW shop I work at and it is hard to explain to a customer why they need a new trans when it worked when they drove it in.

That's exactly what the dealer told me few months ago when I went to ask them. My e46 has close to 100k and I was growing concerned about never having flushed it. The dealer REASSURED me not to change it!!!! He quoted the reason above. He said it may make it worse. So whom to believe now?? Are they just saying it hoping my tranny will crush and they'll make $$$ replacing it??? Or is this really true?

Then again, lg1 just recommended several flushes to make the tranny work well, even after never flushing.

WHAT TO DO? Need advice badly - two opposite opinions floating around...
Will the tranny make it to 200-250k if I DON'T flush it? Or that's impossible?
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I had trans problems and had multiple people saying flush it and about the same saying the opposite, I flushed it, problems werent so bad after... keep in mind that was a ford

dont see why flushing would harm it
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:47 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Under 100K, you should still be ok to change the fluid, although 75K would have been preferable.
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