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  #1  
Old 09-12-2020, 12:56 AM
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Transmission Fluid for E53 4.6is

Gents, What would you consider the best transmission fluid for a 2003 4.6is? Im doing just a drain and refill.
Thanks
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Old 09-12-2020, 01:43 AM
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The best would be ZF since its OE fluid. I just used Valvoline import since the specs are practically identical to the ZF fluid...
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:27 AM
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For last 15 + years I've only used Liqui Moly products whenever possible (if they met the specific requirement) and I've used this in my former 2001 Audi S8 and my current 2003 BMW x5 4.6is with good results:
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/top...i-moly-lm20020
Actually, they both use the very same ZF transmission other than X5 one being in AWD configuration.

P.S.
IIRC, I've done X5 change around 35k miles ago and it's still shifting smooth. I did use ZF filter though.
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Old 09-12-2020, 05:53 PM
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Thanks for the response guys. The transmission in the 4.6is is a GM unit so no fancy ZF fluid would be needed. Correct??? And can I use Dextron VI synthetic vs normal transmssion fluid???
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Old 09-12-2020, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfa_romeo55 View Post
Thanks for the response guys. The transmission in the 4.6is is a GM unit so no fancy ZF fluid would be needed. Correct??? And can I use Dextron VI synthetic vs normal transmssion fluid???
4.6is has ZF tranny. Gm is in X5 3.0 and some others.
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Old 09-12-2020, 06:26 PM
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oh wow. Thanks for the info.... So Im back to looking at the ZF fluids.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:25 PM
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The 2003 4.6is has a ZF 5HP24 and the factory fluid is ZF Lifeguard 5. The 2004+ facelifted E53s use ZF 6HP26 and Lifeguard 6.

You'll find a lot of discussion about which fluids are compatible. It looks like Lifeguard 5 is equivalent to BMW Spec LT71141, which the Valvoline Synthetic ATF posted by @Purplecty should work. Some people will say that only the Lifeguard 5 is good enough but that's your call.

If you want to drain more of the fluid (I think you'll only get about half or so with emptying the pan), you can drain it at the transmission cooler hose with the car running and fill it up as needed.

Also, it's a good idea to reset the transmission adaptation values after changing the fluid using INPA or DIS.
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:49 PM
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I only use what the transmission fluid the mfg recommends because the fluid is part of the design specifications. Draining the transmission doesn't drain the torque convertor. I drain the transmission and change the filter every 40 to 50,000 miles. I drive it about 100 miles and do the same thing again so the percentage of new fluid is higher. My 4.6 is heavily modified. I haven't had a problem with around 122,000 miles now on the clock.
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