5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60)Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)
I need some advice on changing the lifetime automatic transmission fluid on my 1999 540IA I was told these transmissions use a hydraulic fluid instead of normal A/T fluid. It was further stated this fluid causes pitting of parts.
1) What fluid should I use?
2) How can the tranny be completely flushed including the torque converter?
Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with this issue?
Bavarian Autosport | BMW Parts and BMW Accessories has the best price I found on the automatic transmission "kit" which includes a new filter, gasket, 2 new plugs. They also have the "ESSO" magic ATF fluid for $18/qt which again was the best price I found on the OEM stuff.
As for question 2 - you need a special machine that works like dialysis where the old fluid is pumped and collected while the new fluid goes in while running. Any decent shop has the right equipment. Other then that you have 2 options in my opinion.
1) Multi change: Change once - drive around and mix it up - change again
2) Drain and use a hydraulic pump and suck out as much as possible from the top of the tranny too.
Honestly - most people just change the filter, drain as much as possible, and call it a day.
I would only replace the fluid if your pan is leaking or has 100k miles which includes lots of city traffic or hills. I had mine done on the 8. Find a place that knows/works on BMW's. I was charged $450. Most places charge over $600 around here and with a full torque conv flush will run around $1000.
Thanks for all the replies. This discussion got started because of a discussion that got started in the cars for sale section.(FS 540i) M3UOND had some interesting things to say. I have changed my Tahoe A/T fluid twice for about $25.00 each time. It took about an hour. This BMW looks easier to access so for the money they charge I will definetly do it myself. My Bentley manual says it takes 4QTs and the chart from above link states 6liters this is without the torque converter. I will guess 5QTs and go from there!
Well I changed the fluid yesterday and it needed to be done. The pan looked pretty good, just dirty...no big chunks of metal or anything. I took my time and it turned out to be a 2hr job. It took 6 Qts with a filter change and lots of drain time. Following is a link I found when doing some research .... Valvoline ATF letter I took about 1 oz of the esso fluid it called for (LT 71141) and mixed about a 1 oz of the Vavoline stuff and it mixed perfectly. I may use the Vavoline next time. The car is way out of warranty so that is not an issue. I would not use the vavoline on a car under any kind of warranty, but for some of these older vehicles where money is a concern it might not be a bad option.
No, I am not a believer in gasket compound around the AT unless the mating surfaces are really disgusting. I did torque the bolts and put loctite on them. Put about 200 miles on it and no leaks, the downshifts seem a little smoother too!
Hey guys, I'm in Jax too (Julington creek). I need to change my ATF bad too, shifts seems a little rough sometimes and I get a clunk sometimes when I go from Drive to Park. I always get my advice and parts from Rob Ringgold over at Pulido's (he is a friend and former neighbor of mine). He is a whiz with the german autos.
Hi Winters, good to hear from you! So far I have been able to do my own work, due to this forum and TIS CD (Technical Information System.) I get most of my parts from Importedcarparts.com They can be slow due only to the distance (In California) unless it comes out of their FT Lauderdale warehouse. It can also be difficult to return things.
I run the roads in Mandarin every Tues...Look for a 99 540i.. green with a Gator Dad tag on front..wave if you ever see me! I know 30,000 cars a day travel this road!
I have heard of Pulido's...get that fluid changed!!!!
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