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  #1  
Old 01-15-2019, 10:49 AM
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Transmission fluid choices, 2003 X5 3.0i

I am getting ready to change transmission fluid on my 2003 3.0i. It has the GM A5S390R transmissionand the transmission label calls for 83220024359. The BMW parts houses all seem to carry and recommend a different brand. Most are Dexron VI type. What is BMW recommending for this at this time? and are all Dexron VI created equal? Would AcDelco Dexron VI work OK or would some of the German made Dexron VI have better BMW additives or be safer on the seals?

Thanks for your help.

P.S. Does this look like a good option?
  • German RAVENOL Synthetic BMW Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) - Adequate quantity of fluid for filter change.
    Meets BMW 83 22 0 397 114 (4L), 83 22 2 163 514 (1L) specification requirements for BMW A5S360R and A5S390R 5 speed automatic transmissions and is specifically designed and approved by General Motors for BMW/GM automatic transmissions. GM License Number J-60331, Dexron VI
Note: BMW ATF 83 22 0 397 114 (4L), 83 22 2 163 514 (1L) has superseded the following. BMW 83 22 0 026 922 Texaco ETL 7045 E and BMW 83 22 0 024 359 Texaco ETL 8072 B.
RAVENOL Dexron VI is compatible with DEXRON III, III H and II E applications.
https://www.blauparts.com/bmw-x5-atf...hange-kit.html

============
Or this
Febi Bilstein auto transmission fluid is an aftermarket supplier of BMW. Notes: Equivalent to: Dexron VI, Texaco ETL-8072B

https://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin...-0-397-114-M36

Last edited by Elkman; 01-15-2019 at 12:18 PM. Reason: format
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  #2  
Old 01-15-2019, 01:47 PM
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I have the same AT on my 2001 3.0i. When I changed my ATF a few times in 2014, I did the exact same thing it looks like you're doing. I started at the blue label on the AT itself, followed that part number, believing only BMW information, being doubtful of everything unsourced I read on the interwebs, and ended up basically with the same answer it sounds like you've come to:

DEXRON VI is the new BMW-specified fluid. No, I'm not talking about ZF AT's, which are completely different. Just the GM ones.

DEXRON is a trademarked specification, rather than really a brand. GM owns it and will certify fluids that meet the spec as such. GM (their subsidiary, Hydramatic in Strasbourg, France, right across the border) actually made your transmission, in case that gives you more faith in GM vs. BMW if forced to choose whom to listen to. So in theory, you should be able to use any DEXRON VI certified ATF.

Be careful about fluids that say stuff that sounds similar but is different from this. For example, "meets standards for vehicles that specify DEXRON VI" and "equivalent to" are not the same as saying "This is DEXRON VI" or "... certified."

So you could probably get your DEXRON VI at Walmart, or you could get it at your BMW dealer and figure on drinking enough of the free coffee to make up for the price difference. If doing the latter, I recommend doing it in the morning.

BTW, this was for my 2001 I got in late 2014 at about 168k miles with original ATF still in there. I very carefully researched everything and ended up doing a total of 3 ~7qt drain and fills, including two new filters, over the next ~4k miles, all with certified DEXRON VI (I used Castrol brand, at a good price, and conveniently available at my local Pep Boys). Dramatic improvement following the first change, and still running great now at 187k miles.
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Last edited by oldskewel; 01-15-2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:26 PM
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Thanks for your help, I went with German RAVENOL Automatic Transmission Fluid.-Because it was specifically designed and approved by General Motors for BMW/GM automatic transmissions.
-It is a Synthetic DEX VI that is backward compatible to DEXRON III, III H and II E applications
-And the price was no to bad, with the kit, and I ordered enough extra to do a double drain and re-fill.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:45 AM
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I bought Dexron that was made in the model year (2001) of my X which is Dexron III. NOS can still be bought on the web.
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:11 AM
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Food for thought. If you Google transmission fluid Dexron VI compatibility with Dexron III, you will find articles on Allison transmission problems. What does Allison's transmission have to do with GM transmission, nothing really except that the transmission fluid specified for the Allison transmission was DEXRON III. Going to Dexron VI the Allision trans started having an issue with seals deteriorating. If the Allison trans had trouble with DEXRON VI why should it be a concern with us? The material used for the seal in Allison transmission could also be the same type of material used in a GM transmission of that era. After all material technology is shared across multiple manufacturers.
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2006 Infiniti G35
2001 BMW 3.0I E53 X5 Build date 08/2000
Lotus Europa 1970 Destroyed by fire
Lotus Europa 1970 S2 Renault Powered
Lotus Type 52 1970 Twincam Webers Powered
PORSCHE 911 Targa 1982 The Garage Queen
Audi Avant donated to Kars for Kids
BMW 525IT Sold
Audi 4000CS Quattro Sold
Jensen Healey Lotus Powered Sold
Opel 1900 Sold
Triumph Spitfire 1971 Sold
Triumph Spitfire 1968 Sold
Plymouth "Cuda" 340 Six pack SOLD
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upallnight View Post
Food for thought. If you Google transmission fluid Dexron VI compatibility with Dexron III, you will find articles on Allison transmission problems. What does Allison's transmission have to do with GM transmission, nothing really except that the transmission fluid specified for the Allison transmission was DEXRON III. Going to Dexron VI the Allision trans started having an issue with seals deteriorating. If the Allison trans had trouble with DEXRON VI why should it be a concern with us? The material used for the seal in Allison transmission could also be the same type of material used in a GM transmission of that era. After all material technology is shared across multiple manufacturers.

Thanks for the heads up. After checking with Allison I am going to do a double drain and refill on my GMC 2002 2500HD that has the Dex III Allison transmission in it. I put Dex VI in it last year and i had the dealer change it at 50,000 miles 10 years ago, I wonder what they used.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elkman View Post
I am getting ready to change transmission fluid on my 2003 3.0i. It has the GM A5S390R transmission.

Why are you changing fluid? Are you having performance issues or do you just feel the need. If you have more than 100,000 miles I wouldn't touch.


I have 353,600 miles on mine and all the transmission has needed in 16 years is two software reflashes and a cleaning of the harness connector.


2002 X5 3.0 353,600 miles
2014 428i 49,000 miles


2004 325i sold at 123,600 miles
2001 325i sold at 66,000 miles


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Old 01-16-2019, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srmmmm View Post
Why are you changing fluid? Are you having performance issues or do you just feel the need. If you have more than 100,000 miles I wouldn't touch.

I have 353,600 miles on mine and all the transmission has needed in 16 years is two software reflashes and a cleaning of the harness connector.

No Issues, it has 103,000 miles on it and has been parked in storage for 7 years, and I think new fluid would be a good idea.


You are doing good with your X5.
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