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      08-31-2012, 08:10 AM   #1
shakemyhand
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To Change or Not to Change

Hello Everyone, I'm new to the Forum and new to BMW's, I just bought our first one last week, it's a 2007 Z4 Automatic. I'm confused about what to do about the Transmission Service on it. I went over to the dealership yesterday to get some history on the car and while I was there I asked one of the guys in the Service Dept. about changing the fluid in the Trans. and he said that its lifetime fluid and does'nt need to be changed. I've been reading here on the forum where others disagree with that and they change the oil in their Automatics. My car has 57,000 miles on it and from the history it appears its never been changed. What should I do? Should I change it myself? And if I do that, how do you do it? Or should I take it to a Transmission shop and have them do it? Or should I leave it alone and NOT change it? What is the going price to have it changed? Please help me with this. Thanks, Mike.
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      08-31-2012, 10:25 AM   #2
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The "Lifetime" period for BMW is really only about 100k miles. BMW keeps changing their tune on this. It used to be "never touch it", then changing to "every 100k" miles. I lost track of what is their latest stance.

Whether to change it or not really depends on how long you will be planning on keeping it. I usually keeps my cars for a long time, so I had the fluid and filter changed on my X5 at about 50k miles and plan on doing it again every 50k. I had to change out the filter again a couple of years ago at about 75k miles due to a bad aftermarket filter. It's at 84k now and still running strong. If you do decides to do it, make sure you use the proper fluid and an OE filter. BMW automatic transmission is finicky and requires the exact fluid as stated on the sticker on the transmission. Whatever you do, do NOT deviate too far away from the stated fluid, which is only available at the dealer as far as I know. Don't be surprised that your dealer may not sell this fluid to you as they only have them in drums. Also, the fluid is expensive...approximately $25 per liter/quart. You'll need about 6 liters just to do a pan drain/refill. About 12 liters if you want to remove those inside the torque converter as well. This service will cost you upward of $1k at the dealer if you can find one that will do it. My dealer didn't want to do it. I've done this service at 2 different BMW specialist and both charged approximately $600. The first only had a pan drain/refill + filter. The 2nd had complete drain (including torque converter)/refill + filter.

As far as instructions, there are a few you can find on the web. It's the same for most BMWs. You will need to drop the pan and require a new filter and gasket...so it does get a bit messy.

PS. Word on the street is that if you do decides to change the fluid, you should start early (prior to 60k). If the fluids had never been changed pass 80k or so, you're better off just to leave it in there forever.

Last edited by XMetal; 08-31-2012 at 10:32 AM.
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      08-31-2012, 11:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XMetal View Post
The "Lifetime" period for BMW is really only about 100k miles. BMW keeps changing their tune on this. It used to be "never touch it", then changing to "every 100k" miles. I lost track of what is their latest stance.

Whether to change it or not really depends on how long you will be planning on keeping it. I usually keeps my cars for a long time, so I had the fluid and filter changed on my X5 at about 50k miles and plan on doing it again every 50k. I had to change out the filter again a couple of years ago at about 75k miles due to a bad aftermarket filter. It's at 84k now and still running strong. If you do decides to do it, make sure you use the proper fluid and an OE filter. BMW automatic transmission is finicky and requires the exact fluid as stated on the sticker on the transmission. Whatever you do, do NOT deviate too far away from the stated fluid, which is only available at the dealer as far as I know. Don't be surprised that your dealer may not sell this fluid to you as they only have them in drums. Also, the fluid is expensive...approximately $25 per liter/quart. You'll need about 6 liters just to do a pan drain/refill. About 12 liters if you want to remove those inside the torque converter as well. This service will cost you upward of $1k at the dealer if you can find one that will do it. My dealer didn't want to do it. I've done this service at 2 different BMW specialist and both charged approximately $600. The first only had a pan drain/refill + filter. The 2nd had complete drain (including torque converter)/refill + filter.

As far as instructions, there are a few you can find on the web. It's the same for most BMWs. You will need to drop the pan and require a new filter and gasket...so it does get a bit messy.

PS. Word on the street is that if you do decides to change the fluid, you should start early (prior to 60k). If the fluids had never been changed pass 80k or so, you're better off just to leave it in there forever.
Thats good advice..............theres an independent BMW garage here in town that told me the other day that he would do a pan and filter plus complete fluid change for $800.00. I might consider doing that verses just a pan and drain since its never been done and has 57,000 on it. Thanks for the information. Mike.
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      08-31-2012, 12:46 PM   #4
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dude 800 dollars? wtf? change name to "shakemywallet". Thats waay too much
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      08-31-2012, 01:17 PM   #5
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i don't know how much work involve but $800 seems way too high. Anyway, most dealers will sell the fluid if you bring a clean container to them.
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      08-31-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
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dude 800 dollars? wtf? change name to "shakemywallet". Thats waay too much
Damn, good one buddy! Indeed!

There's a good thread already going on this one over here. I didn't look at it with a fine tooth comb, but there are links to fluid sources and the usual debate on this vs. that fluids.

Totally agree that "lifetime" is a relative term, and if you want the "lifetime" to be longer changing out fluids at 50-60K intervals on non ///Ms is a good idea.
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      08-31-2012, 06:19 PM   #7
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dude 800 dollars? wtf? change name to "shakemywallet". Thats waay too much
As I said, I'm new to BMW's and I have no idea what is a good deal or not, thats why I'm asking around. I thought that it was high also, when the guy told me $800.00 I went into sticker shock. I don't have that kind of money to throw around thats why I'm doing alot of the other things that the car needs myself. I'm asking how a complete transmission service can be done so that maybe I can do it myself. What is the going rate for a Transmission service?
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      08-31-2012, 06:43 PM   #8
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Shipkiller has done this himself, as are others, hopefully someone will chime in on the hours.

I can't imagine it's more than an hour of labor. Parts (gasket, fluid, magnets, etc.) should be available on via the link to the thread in my post above.

I'd have been in sticker shock as well. 800 dollars.
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      08-31-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
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I did it on my wife's Roadster a couple of years ago.

I am not sure what transmission is in your car and I bet it is different than the one in our older Roadster so parts will be different.
I used Amsoil Universal ATF. From what I remember, six quarts of fluid was about $50.00, new filter and pan gasket was about $65.00.

I changed it at 50K and the fluid was dark black and very, very thin. After the the change the transmission was quieter, smoother and shifted about 200RPM lower than before. That was 20K miles ago.

Link to what I did: http://www.shipkiller.com/Autoxmission_fluid.html
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      08-31-2012, 09:04 PM   #10
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I did it on my wife's Roadster a couple of years ago.

I am not sure what transmission is in your car and I bet it is different than the one in our older Roadster so parts will be different.
I used Amsoil Universal ATF. From what I remember, six quarts of fluid was about $50.00, new filter and pan gasket was about $65.00.

I changed it at 50K and the fluid was dark black and veqry, very thin. After the the change the transmission was quieter, smoother and shifted about 200RPM lower than before. That was 20K miles ago.

Link to what I did: http://www.shipkiller.com/Autoxmission_fluid.html
From what I've learned so far, on the 2007's the transmission pan and filter (made of plastic) are one piece that costs $250.00 then add the gasket which I don't have a price on and add the price of six quarts of fluid. But even at that I just can't see where there coming up with $800.00.
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      08-31-2012, 11:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shakemyhand View Post
From what I've learned so far, on the 2007's the transmission pan and filter (made of plastic) are one piece that costs $250.00 then add the gasket which I don't have a price on and add the price of six quarts of fluid. But even at that I just can't see where there coming up with $800.00.
Not an OEM part but mo cheaper -$130
http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/24117571217/ES2523904/

Looking at this myself. Have 56K and just finished some serious twisties at Zfest. Spent most of 3-4 hrs in 2nd-3rd gear, 3000-5500 rpm, 3000 to 6000 ft elevation change. Cant keep doing that every year without cooking the fluid.
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      09-01-2012, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceJ View Post
Not an OEM part but mo cheaper -$130
http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/24117571217/ES2523904/

Looking at this myself. Have 56K and just finished some serious twisties at Zfest. Spent most of 3-4 hrs in 2nd-3rd gear, 3000-5500 rpm, 3000 to 6000 ft elevation change. Cant keep doing that every year without cooking the fluid.
I checked out that web site and put it in my favorites. They got some good prices that I can live with. Thanks
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