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  #1  
Old 02-01-2011, 10:12 AM
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2002 X5 Auto Transmission Service

Wanted to posted a little something about my experience with changing my ATF and filter on my 2002 X5 3.0i. There is a lot of opinionated information out there and I went back and forth with to do or not to do this but finally plunged. The car has 101586 on the odometer and I am a long time BMW owner (7 total) with 3 model years and series in the driveway right now. I am a believer in old school maintenance and that is why this was such delimma.

So, finally got the X in the garage lastnight and wife had the kids so off we went... I took a little drive around the neighborhood as the car had been sitting for a few hours to warm it up. I am a big guy 6'1" 210 lbs but the X5 had enough height for me to just lay on the garage floor and wiggle underneath to access the pan.

I first checked the fill plug, that I could get it off! Then went ahead and drained it! Wow, there was a lot of fluid that came out and I thought it would never stop draining. Took my toruque wrench and set it to 10NM to check the bolts from pan to tranny. They were and then I verified this with the Bentley and began to unscrew all of them. I left 4 bolts on the corners finger tight to support the pan and then using one hand unscrewed theses and dropped the pan. There was a little oil remaining but it was not enough you couldn't support it with one hand.

Removed the pan, drained it completely and wiped it out. I also removed the old gasket, wiped the mating surfaces and cleaned the magnet. Mine had a large 2X2 approximate magnet in the corner that was covered in a metal sludge several mm thick. (Pictures to follow).

After cleaning up the pan, I used the new fluid to lubricate the mating surfaces and seat the new gasket. I oriented the new gasket exactly as the previous one was. At this time I went under the car and removed the old filter. Both of the "hard" rubber washers were still up in the transmission housing. I did not want to use a screw driver to get the out and risk scratching anything so I just used a shop towel and my finger, which was small enough to fit into the rings and gently worked them out.
I also used some new fluid to lubriate the new filter washers to insert the new filter.

I inserted the new filter by just pushing striaght up. I did not want to fracture the plastic neck of the filter. Then I re-installed the pan. Again, I started with 4 screws on the corners and hand tightened. Then I installed the rest to a hand tight state. I used the new screws that came with my kit but I will address that later. After getting all the screws in I torqued each down in a pattern. Starting at the 4 corners then systematically on each end working my way to the center or middle of the pan, alternating left the right. Again, 10NM. Then I did the drain plug, 18NM

Filling was tough and my arm got tired of pumping. Using a standard hand pump for a gallon jug. I bought these at Napa I believe but I have 4. (Redline 75/90;75/140;MTL;D4ATF for my Diff's and Manuals trannies in other cars). I used the D4ATF pump anyway and poured all the "specific" ATF in clean gallon jug. Filled to a small stream was dribbling. Hand tightened fill plug, started car and gently with foot on the brake went through the gears, swithcing to manual mode also and shifing 1,2,3. Wouldn't go into 4 or 5 because we weren't moving. I did this several times. Shut down and check fluid level and added the rest. I used a total of 5 liters of fluid and then tightened the fill plug, also 18NM.

Went for a test drive, about 5 miles and shifted manually through the gears as often as the road conditions permitted as well as letting it shift on it own. Seemed smoother, not a big clunk from 1-2 or 2-3.

PARTS:

I ordered my gasket and filter set from BMW! Circle BMW actually and Chris has always been great with mail order. The set was about $100 and the set included filter/gasket/bolts.

Bav Auto got me the fluid based on the blue label and P/N on my tranny. It was a Dex VI fluid made by Fuchs (Titan ATF 6000 SL). I see all the recommendations now for the Valvoline which is substantially cheaper and if I see some good opinion I may try it next time.

Drove the kids to school today and no problems.

Will keep you posted....but now it also looks like I have an oil pan gasket leak! Thoughts anyone?
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Old 02-02-2011, 02:19 PM
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nice job. wanna do my two?
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Old 02-02-2011, 07:34 PM
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Thanks for the post. I placed an order for the trans filter with gaskets and new fuel filter monday. Same yr X, 2002 but with the 4.4. I have yet to buy the trans fluid, although there are many post about it.
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Old 02-03-2011, 11:27 AM
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Just did my tranny (fluid & filter) and fuel filter (belly pan= PITA). 2003 3.0 140K, I used Castrol "Multi-Vehicle Automatic Trans Fluid" Full Synthetic. I read some where it is approved for BMW's....so far so good and it runs like a new vehicle.
I applied a small bead of black gasket maker and then put the new gasket on it to keep it in place. No leaks, no runs, no errors..... knock on wood! Did the same for my daughters 2002 325i 110K.
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5Matador View Post
Thanks for the post. I placed an order for the trans filter with gaskets and new fuel filter monday. Same yr X, 2002 but with the 4.4. I have yet to buy the trans fluid, although there are many post about it.
Just use the correct fluid you'll be fine, BTW OP has 3.0 whith GM made trans yours is ZF so fluids are different, beware.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:13 PM
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Just a question, on the transmission pan on my wife's 02 X5 it says the transmission has lifetime fluid, and in my service manual it states no oil change is required for the life of the transmission. I am just getting used to my wife's X5 and am trying to do as much maintenance that I can to cut down on the amount paid to the dealer. But this one has me confused since the dealer says it needs changed and the manual says other.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:43 PM
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It is called "life time".... But a better name would be "warrenty life". My trany died about 3 months ago. I had it rebuilt at a certified ZF transmission shop. They replaced 75% of the parts and kept them for me to view. The valve body internals were scored and scared badly. The valves didn't have the ability to do there job correctly.

The oil that came out of the trany was jet black and had a burnt radio smell to it. They trany shop tells me this is there #1 bread and butter. Tranys that had the same oil in it for 75k miles plus. They say 30k to 40k is when you NEED to change the fluid.

Anyway that is my $3700 experience in this topic. Oh, and my trans had 90k miles on it when it had the symptoms.
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrv64 View Post
Just a question, on the transmission pan on my wife's 02 X5 it says the transmission has lifetime fluid, and in my service manual it states no oil change is required for the life of the transmission. I am just getting used to my wife's X5 and am trying to do as much maintenance that I can to cut down on the amount paid to the dealer. But this one has me confused since the dealer says it needs changed and the manual says other.
Oh, boy!

If you do a search you will see a ton of conflicting information on the subject. Do I have the answer you want? Well, I would say it is a personal decision on whether or not to change it. I personally am long time BMW owner and believe in old school maintenance so I changed. Most of the Trannies are made by ZF or a GM sub and they recommend changes so why not in the BMW.

Search, research and decide for yourself. It could go either way.

Good luck,
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Old 03-27-2011, 08:52 PM
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I have an answer! Change it!

Alot of the discussion is, if your trany has suffered damage, could a fluid change, dislodge debris and make matters worse. And I agree that this is a real posibity. But if so, how long was it gonna last anyway. It had fatal injurys anyway.
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:44 PM
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If your transmission already has damage and symptoms of failing, then you may as well go ahead and change it as you have nothing to lose. That is not what the debate is about, however.

The debate is as a result of some perfectly good transmissions, not just X5s, with no symptoms, that had failures soon after changing the fluid. Those failures can be due to the new fluid, which has a high amount of detergents in it, cleaning out the transmission and loosening up the sludge and varnish that wasn't hurting anything where it was. It then moves through the transmission, and can cause problems in the valve body where there are many very small passages and check valves. It is the new fluid that causes the failure in those cases.

The risk of that has to be weighed against the benefits of new fluid. There is little debate about the inherent benefits of new clean fluid, just about whether the benefits of having that new fluid outweigh the risk of the new fluid causing damage.

If the fluid is burnt, that is usually caused by slipping clutches and excess heat. Properly functioning transmissions haven't been showing burnt fluid. Transmission failures are in many cases caused by failed sensors, wiring harnesses, etc. So, the proponents of 'leave it alone' point out that new fluid isn't going to make it last any longer if it is an electrical component failure.

If you do want to change it, by all means do so. Recommend you use the specified OE fluid (or Dexron VI for the GM trans in the 3.0) and an OE filter. Fill it to the correct level, measured when the transmission is at operating temperature.

If you don't want to change it, that is OK too. Put the money you save aside, to pay for the eventual transmission failure that is possibly going to come, whether or not you change the fluid.
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