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auto transmission fluid ,to change or not to change?

Discussion in 'Z3 Roadster & Coupé' started by joey, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. joey

    joey Zorg Addict
    British Zeds The M44 Massive

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    my Z3 just ticked over the 50,000 mile mark last weekend so this got me to thinking about things like the cam chain,and transmission fluid,


    advice on the camchain seems clear and i'm good at the current mileage for a while yet..


    however advice on the auto transmission fluid is less clear and varies from change it soon..to leave well alone mate changing it can cause problems, so i wanted to get some opinions on this from some of you who have knowledge of this , first hand info from an automatic owner would be great but i will take the advice and opinions from wherever it comes...according to BMW the fluid is "lifetime" but i'm dubious of this as I can't see how there won't be particulates in the fluid and viscosity changes due to the heat...

    i don't however want to cause a problem with pointless maintenance/tinkering..i have a garage near me that have a machine that will flush all the old fluid and "pump in the new" so there is no chance of it mixing and any debris would be washed out of the torque converter, so i think they will do it properly.



    that said there are currently no problems with the car but my thoughts are obviously to do my best to avoid unexpected problems and unnecessary expense by dealing with things before the the need arises,


    thanks in advance for your help


    joe
     
  2. hard top

    hard top Zorg Expert (I)
    Dutch Zeds The M44 Massive

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    My October 1996 Z3 Auto has never had a gear box fluid change. Running sweet as a nut (Knocks on wood now)
     
  3. jonco

    jonco Zorg Guru (III)
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  4. joey

    joey Zorg Addict
    British Zeds The M44 Massive

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    thanks hardtop and jonco.

    hardtop what's the mileage on your 96?

    and jonco have you noticed any improvement since you changed out the fluid? and what did you use?

    had a look at Mike Fishwick's write up on this jonco and I do agree there is really no such thing as "lifetime oils" but i'm still a bit on the fence with this one....

    thanks


    joe
     
  5. Mr-P

    Mr-P Zorg Addict

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    Always worth changing as you do not know how the car and box have been treated/used.
    As said before there is no such thing as "LIFETIME oils"
     
  6. GazHyde

    GazHyde The Gaz Monkey
    Staff Member Administrator Global Moderator British Zeds

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    I had the oil changed on my 99 (manual) gearbox and it made a big difference. Was a lot smoother afterwards, and will certainly do the same on my current one when she is serviced next.

    It's odd that they say "lifetime" any way as it's surely another way to get some cash out of you at service time o_O
     
  7. jonco

    jonco Zorg Guru (III)
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    Yes - there was an improvement but I have to say I had a leak on one of the unions so the level was down a bit - therefore cannot be sure which caused the biggest improvement.
    I naively bought the oil from local BMW dealer but have learnt my lesson on cost since. I have bought my other oils through Opie oils at a more economical price- just go on their site and get recommendations. Castrol and others do similar things.
     
  8. joey

    joey Zorg Addict
    British Zeds The M44 Massive

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    o.k...

    veering towards doing it,


    Mr P my Z came with a very full service history inc every parts receipt m.o.t ,tax disc and service ever done, full stamps in the book and owned by two consecutive lady drivers, first lady owned if for 5 years and did.......6k on it ! the next owner the lady I purchased it from did the next 40k over ten years and it was kept garaged all year round and religiously serviced yearly, she was nearly in tears when she handed over the keys..she lived in norwich...it had never seen a hill till I brought it to guildford!.:)

    that being said it is now on 50k, still v.low for a 98 but I drive it in a "spirited manner" so I want to minimise any potential problems..and I agree with the lifetime oils comment.

    Gaz thanks for that ,its always good to hear first hand what the outcome of these things are,it would seem there is almost no reason not to go ahead and do it, however I think I will wait till the next service in 6k or so, I feel that will be in more than enough time. I plan to flush the engine at that time as well and have a god look at the water pump, maybe fit one with a metal rather than the plastic impeller which I hear is a weakness on these engines..

    worth pointing out this is my daily drive and I expect to do about 12k a year in it so any advice anyone can give on things to deal with to maximise the life of this car and minimise problems would be much appreciated...at this point i'm so happy I didn't buy one of my other "under 4k ragtop choices" and love every minute spent in my Z..:)

    thanks jonco

    opie was gonna be my first port of call for oils..
     
  9. jonco

    jonco Zorg Guru (III)
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    Forgot to add - Opie did have a problem with oil recommendation link - they may have sorted it now, but if not just drop them an email with your vehicle details and they usually get back to you fairly quickly.
     
  10. Mr-P

    Mr-P Zorg Addict

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    I am guessing most of the servicing has been done by main dealers?
    If so I would get it checked over and fully serviced by someone you know and trust as I have proved in the past some main dealer servicing is not worth the stamp they put in the book and have been able to prove it on more than one occasion. To the main dealers embarrassment.

    I am also a believer in cars should be used and would always prefere an older car to have reasonable mileage not way under average. Sometimes when low mileage cars are then used on a regular basis things start going wrong. Even stood around things age.

    All the above is IMHO
     
  11. badman gee

    badman gee Guest

    Did mine recently, gears are a lot smoother, do it.
     
  12. joey

    joey Zorg Addict
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    yup gonna do it guys, thanks for all the answers...been very helpful.


    Mr P

    all fair comment, and taken into account when purchasing the car, I have bought several motorbikes/scooters with a similar policy of low but not too low mileage and have always been o.k, and of course I took into account how the car felt on the test drive and did all the usual tests/inspections,

    of the 6 zeds I tried the one I bought was the best hands down in terms of condition service history and mileage (in fact I walked away from one with 36k on it as I thought that was too low).

    although the miles are not high it has been regularly driven for the last ten years at roughly 75 miles a week(daily commute) so has not been standing idle,50k IMO is high enough that any issues will have surfaced but not so high as to start getting "terminal" or expensive engine trouble.
    all the servicing since the second owner has been done by the same independent garage and I googled the garage (all very good reviews) and spoke to the mechanic about the car, all good.

    I have done 5k on it since purchase in may and have had no hint of any issues with the lump, its been to devon and back 3 times, driven all over dartmoor, down the A3 more times than I can mention and done it's fair share of town driving and has proved to be reliable and fun in all situations.

    the only issues were

    microswitch in hood, replaced as per the forum wiki for £3 and the windscreen washer pump also replaced at the cost of £5.60.

    fingers crossed it should all be fine, next service due in about 4k, where I will replace fluids do engine and transmission flush ,replace plugs,brake pads and possibly replace the water pump with something more robust.
     
  13. Cooper

    Cooper Zorg Guru (IV)
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    Just replaced the auto transmission fluid in my 2.2 including changing the gasket and filter. While the car was up I also replaced the fuel filter and since I was on a roll the air filter was exchanged as well!

    The auto took almost 6 litres of fluid. The old gasket must have been original as it was made from an alloy and on the innermost part of the fluid pan rim was a well pressed rubber gasket [very thin] which made me doubt if I was supposed to scrape it off. I did as the new rubber gasket runs the full width of the pan. Took a test run and it is smooth as silk, just like a BMW should :) Well, it is a GM auto box.....
     
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