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  #11  
Old 02-24-2016, 03:26 PM
sew sew is offline
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Thanks all. I think I'll aim for around 40k intervals where possible.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2016, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott ZHP View Post
IMO, it's not enough to just drain/refill the gearbox oil. The filter needs to be changed and perhaps most importantly, the pan and the magnets need to be cleaned. A surprising amount of fine sludge accumulates on the bottom of the pan and around the magnets. Some argue that removing this friction clutch residue is what leads to failure after a trans oil change; I would suggest that changing the oil without removing this crud is what leads to early failure, as the new fluid/detergent dissolves some of it and then recirculates it...
I had never heard that one before, but it makes perfect sense and fits with my own observations. As far as I can tell, DIYers are usually much more careful about cleaning than pro's, and this makes sense as something a pro would skip over to save time.

I did the first ATF change on my 2001 E53 3.0i with the 5L40-E/GM5 (A5S 390R) AT at 169k miles (shortly after purchase, first time it was done on this vehicle), then again after 400 miles, and finally (for now) 2500 miles after that. Nothing but good results, now at 2500 miles since the 3rd change.

I'm a scientist and engineer by trade and conducted this whole thing more like an experiment / research project than like a chore. I spent more time studying up before doing the first one than I did preparing for my PhD qualifying exam.

Some things I noticed (this is for my 5L40-E/GM5, but is probably relevant for the ZF transmissions as well):

- Yes, tons of ultra fine debris on the bottom of the pan. Not flakes, shavings, or chunks. Just powder. I of course cleaned that out as carefully as I could.

- When I did that, the square magnet appeared to be permanently fixed in place, so I cleaned all around it, but it would not move, even when tapped with a hammer.

- I drove it like a granny for a couple of hundred miles after the first change, aware of all the implosion reports, and figuring that if I were to shake something loose it would be less likely to cause damage if the unit were running at an easy rate.

- The second time doing the job, the magnet came loose very easily. And I was not even trying to move it, having convinced myself that it was epoxied to the pan. This tells me that there was chemical action going on after the first change, probably due to the presence of fresh additives.

- Also the second time, I found a single ~2mm long shiny shard of a gear tooth. Tiny, but easily visible since it was so shiny. I expect this was knocked loose rather than caused by the fluid change.

- The second time, I found a single pea-sized glob of black grease-like goop on the pan floor. Isolated. Again, I think this was probably something that was chemically knocked loose by the fresh additives. I think there was probably a lot of gunk like this that ended up getting dissolved throughout the AT, but due to the location, it probably dissolved completely. Supports the idea to drive like a granny for a while so these things can dissolve safely.

- Third time, nothing interesting at all other than that the fluid was finally pretty clear. I think I'm done for a while.

- BTW, all this was done in my driveway using DEXRON VI, as currently specified by BMW for my AT.

General advice to the OP and anyone else regarding the ATF change is to FIRST figure out exactly what AT you have. Second, understand that there are vastly different ATs in slightly different X5s. Third, understand that most people on this list post advice without understanding that. So if someone is posting advice without being explicit about which AT they are referring to, you will probably be better off ignoring it and looking for information specific to the type of AT you have.
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2016, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlickGT1 View Post
+1.

I try to keep it at 30k on previous cars.
me too, every 30k miles I do the driveline fluids. cheap insurance IMO
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2016, 04:31 PM
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@oldskewel
"General advice to the OP and anyone else regarding the ATF change is to FIRST figure out exactly what AT you have. Second, understand that there are vastly different ATs in slightly different X5s. Third, understand that most people on this list post advice without understanding that. So if someone is posting advice without being explicit about which AT they are referring to, you will probably be better off ignoring it and looking for information specific to the type of AT you have."
"Some things I noticed (this is for my 5L40-E/GM5, but is probably relevant for the ZF transmissions as well):"
I am severly struggling to reconcile the two above remarks you make.
From my (albeit slightly limited) knowledge of automatic boxes and oils I'd suggest that the various boxes fitted are not that dissimilar and that the advice is equally relevant to all auto boxes.
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2016, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by sew View Post
@oldskewel
"General advice to the OP and anyone else regarding the ATF change is to FIRST figure out exactly what AT you have. Second, understand that there are vastly different ATs in slightly different X5s. Third, understand that most people on this list post advice without understanding that. So if someone is posting advice without being explicit about which AT they are referring to, you will probably be better off ignoring it and looking for information specific to the type of AT you have."
"Some things I noticed (this is for my 5L40-E/GM5, but is probably relevant for the ZF transmissions as well):"
I am severly struggling to reconcile the two above remarks you make.
From my (albeit slightly limited) knowledge of automatic boxes and oils I'd suggest that the various boxes fitted are not that dissimilar and that the advice is equally relevant to all auto boxes.
This is a can of worms, as others have mentioned. But some examples ...
Some things would apply to any of the X5 AT's - for example, probably everything in my post except for the DEXRON VI would apply to all.

But the fluid to use will be specified by BMW for the particular AT - DEXRON VI now for mine, $20+/qt stuff for others. Other items that vary between models: the filter to use, torque values, where the drain and fill plugs are (if you read on here enough you will see many times when that seemingly simple thing was not obvious), whether any software/firmware update is relevant, other things to do "while you're in there". Stuff like that.

So the advice is to save yourself some confusion and if you're looking for information like these things, immediately see if the poster says which model AT they're talking about and either pay attention or stop reading.

The two manufacturers of ATs (as far as I know) are ZF and GM - Hydramatic. The GM AT in my 3.0i is probably more like the one in my neighbor's Cadillac than the ZF AT in your 4.4i (if that's what you have). So I might get better information on a Cadillac board than this one, unless I filter out all the ZF stuff.

The other thing is that for these X5 AT's there are some strong feelings out there about what to do/not do, a lot of hearsay, many opinions. I've found that trying to ignore most of that, but paying attention to the actual _first-hand_ experiences and facts is useful.
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2016, 03:21 AM
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@oldskewel I think I understand now what you're saying. I'd hope anyone contemplating a task like changing the auto box oil would do their homework first. I have non-BMW oils in the engine and final drives, but (primarily becuase it's not possible to drain and refill completely and I wouldn't feel happy mixing them) I'd only use "BMW" oil in the gearbox, and I'd make quite sure it was the right stuff!
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2016, 11:02 AM
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Oldskewel
Thanks for all the insight you posted. The approach and methodology is exactly the way to service any part especially hi-end auto transmissions.

For those who have ZF transmissions there is a host of info on the web besides here if you would like to know more. One suggestion is the manufacturer's own site ZF Friedrichshafen - ZF Friedrichshafen AG There are down load service procedure manuals and lube recommendations (one of which is attached to this posting). Great insight.

Thanks again for posting your efforts and results. I am sure we will continue the battle of "to change or not to change". IMHO fluid life at 10 years is the point of replacement and filter change time, period. No lube manufacturer recommends using fluids in a sealed bottle at that age much less keeping them in service.
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File Type: pdf Passenger_car_Lube_oil_recomendation.pdf (222.1 KB, 125 views)
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  #18  
Old 02-25-2016, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenVA View Post
...Thanks again for posting your efforts and results. I am sure we will continue the battle of "to change or not to change". IMHO fluid life at 10 years is the point of replacement and filter change time, period. No lube manufacturer recommends using fluids in a sealed bottle at that age much less keeping them in service.
Yes, after thinking about it a little more I realize there is actually a very important similarity between the ZF and GM ATs - now they are both, in many cases, in a predicament due to BMW's "lifetime" ATF policy. And what do you do now - keep believing in "lifetime" or try to carefully work your way out of the problem? That is the same for ZF and GM.

So that very important aspect is similar between the two.
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  #19  
Old 02-25-2016, 06:56 PM
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Change the fluid as preventive maintenance.
One or two posters of the X5 forum do long daily drives and now show 200K+ mileage with the original trans and fluid. The rest of us do not have that type of driving patterns. I think everyone recognizes that trans wear occurs on shifts not hi gear runs down the hwy. A fluid and filter change is a good thing.
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2005 X5 4.8IS
The Blue ones are always FASTER....

Current Garage:
2005 X5 4.8is
2002 M5 TiSilver
2003 525iT
1998 528i
Former Garage Stable Highlights
2004 325XiT Sport
1973 De Tomaso Pantera, L Model
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp Alpine White
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp GoManGo Green
1971 Dart Sport, “Dart Light” package
1969 Road Runner 383
1968 Ply Barracuda 340S FB Sea-foam Green
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2016, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sew View Post
@oldskewel
"General advice to the OP and anyone else regarding the ATF change is to FIRST figure out exactly what AT you have. Second, understand that there are vastly different ATs in slightly different X5s. Third, understand that most people on this list post advice without understanding that. So if someone is posting advice without being explicit about which AT they are referring to, you will probably be better off ignoring it and looking for information specific to the type of AT you have."
"Some things I noticed (this is for my 5L40-E/GM5, but is probably relevant for the ZF transmissions as well):"
I am severly struggling to reconcile the two above remarks you make.
From my (albeit slightly limited) knowledge of automatic boxes and oils I'd suggest that the various boxes fitted are not that dissimilar and that the advice is equally relevant to all auto boxes.
In reference to your third point, Noting you haven't been around long--There is no way to know the experience or expertise of anyone by their post in a thread so it's not a good idea to say most people posting in a thread do or don't understand this, that or anything. There is seldom a thread where one post contains the complete information the OP needs. In many cases that is because that person is adding to what has already been suggested rather than repeat the same information.
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