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  #1  
Old 05-06-2021, 03:42 PM
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Question Unknown red fluid leak under front

Hello

I'm searching an X5 to buy and found one that has everything i'm looking for.
2005 3.0dA 218hp.

Only issue: a leak of some liquid under the front of the car. At least the owner was honest enough to signal it.

He went to a small garage, who just had a quick look at it and said it's coolant dripping from a hole somewhere between the trans and engine. They recommended to have it checked at a better garage to pressurise the cooling system. But...coolant is green (and clear, no mayonaise there) and the drips looks red.

What i found out is transmission liquid and steering fluid are red. Tried to smell but haven't smelt any particular odor. A bit viscous to touch.

It drips when the car is parked (very slowly but surely).
No warning lights about it. Owner is a woman so the car isn't abused.
During test drive everything felt smooth (gear switching, reving), no noises. Steering felt maybe a bit harder than the others i tried, but not really noticeable.

So the questions:
Is there something above the front of the gearbox that could leak red?
If not, and supposing it's the tranny, does it look expensive?
Someone already experienced that?
Should i pass on it or bring to a bmw dealership to fully inspect?


Thanks


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  #2  
Old 05-06-2021, 03:58 PM
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It's transmission fluid and going by averages... PS hose, although I myself have been "lucky" enough to have also had transmission cooler block leaking from the finned o-rings .
Give everything a good cleaning with something like Oil Eater and you'll find it quickly.
If this is the only issue I'd buy it in a heartbeat, that being said have you pulled the codes to see what's pending, current or in the history?
I have a 4.8iS and they have more issues than the 3.0d (just ask my wife)

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Old 05-06-2021, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EODguy View Post
It's transmission fluid and going by averages... PS hose, although I myself have been "lucky" enough to have also had transmission cooler block leaking from the finned o-rings .
Give everything a good cleaning with something like Oil Eater and you'll find it quickly.
If this is the only issue I'd buy it in a heartbeat, that being said have you pulled the codes to see what's pending, current or in the history?
I have a 4.8iS and they have more issues than the 3.0d (just ask my wife)

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So you mean it's the power steering system? And precisely a hose?
Bc when you say transmission fluid i image transmission issue. Or atf is also used for power steering?
The complexity is changin a lot from one to another

Not exactly the only issue (also moonroof problem, some lights and driver seat heater) but the only one i'm afraid to not being able to fix myself.

Haven't checked the codes, i have only a standard odb bluetooth module. Is that enough to pull them all or need a more specific software (ista?)
Can it even tell about a ps system leak..

Last edited by grounch; 05-06-2021 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 05-06-2021, 09:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grounch View Post
So you mean it's the power steering system? And precisely a hose?
Bc when you say transmission fluid i image transmission issue. Or atf is also used for power steering?
The complexity is changin a lot from one to another

Not exactly the only issue (also moonroof problem, some lights and driver seat heater) but the only one i'm afraid to not being able to fix myself.

Haven't checked the codes, i have only a standard odb bluetooth module. Is that enough to pull them all or need a more specific software (ista?)
Can it even tell about a ps system leak..
Correct, ATF is also the fluid used in the power steering pump.

Check the power steering fluid level and look at the hoses under the housing.

There's a good chance it might be leaking from there.

I use a cheap Amazon bluetooth reader and Torque plus to pull codes when I don't want to break out the laptop and ISTA and it works just fine for most things.

ISTA/INPA is the factory BMW diagnostic software that will pull all the codes just like at the dealership.

Not all of the aftermarket devices can read all the codes but the bluetooth should give you a good idea of what's going on.
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:40 AM
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Welcome!

Trans fluid should be a golden (or brown if old) colour - not red, as transmission is a ZF 6HP26Z and should be filled with ZF Lifeguard 6 - but I guess it might be filled with incorrect fluid or an alternative fluid.

It also doesn't look like a trans fluid leak - which is usually from either the pan gasket or the mechatronic sleeve.

But it also doesn't look like ATF either (from the power steering) - it's too "red" - ATF usually gets pretty dark pretty quickly in a power steering system.

Need to know if it's slippery, like oil, or more "gritty" like coolant.

There ARE plenty of red coolant additives around (it's not all green) - but what is in the system on this car? Open the overflow cap to check...
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Old 05-07-2021, 03:48 AM
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I will check the odb readings (with Torque or else as app?) and steering liquid level (also check if it's same color than the leaking liquid), but already had a look around in the engine bay and nothing looked splashed / colored by an old liquid like the bottom (in the picture).


Is there parts of the steering system above the gearbox bell? I believe the steering rack is just behind that metal cover that is stained, but apparently is drips from the gearbox so maybe it's something above it.




Have no info about a recent gearbox oil change, so i believe that as you say the liquid should be more brown than red.

It was a bit viscous at touch, and couldn't smell anything puttin my finger in it..


What i'm sure is the coolant was green, the coolant cap is the first thing i checked for mayonaise.
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Old 05-07-2021, 04:13 AM
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Dexron VI is red

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Old 05-07-2021, 07:22 AM
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Well i guess we will never know, the owner prefered to sell it for cheaper to a dealership than going diagnose in a bmw.

Sometimes it's better to walk away from a nice offer than ending up with a headache..



Thanks for your advices

Last edited by grounch; 05-07-2021 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 05-07-2021, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grounch View Post
Well i guess we will never know, the owner prefered to sell it for cheaper to a dealership than going diagnose in a bmw.

Sometimes it's better to walk away from a nice offer than ending up with a headache..



Thanks for your advices
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