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  #1  
Old 03-14-2024, 11:02 PM
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Transmission and transfer case fluid change/reset - BIG difference

Haven't posted in a long time, but thought this was worth sharing. A short story:

Bought my 2006 X5 3.0i 8 years ago with 143,000 miles. Shortly after purchase, I changed the transmission filter / fluid (BMW) and transfer case fluid (BMW). I didn't reset the transfer case calibration because I only had INPA and dealer wanted $300+.

Fast forward to last week. I hit 243,000+ (100k since last change) and decided to change the fluids again. I changed the transmission filter / fluid (Valvoline Dexron VI this time - bought 3 gallons under $60 for 2 rounds) and transfer case fluid (BMW). I finally got ISTA Rheingold to work and reset the transfer case calibration. Aside tip for ISTA I wish I'd seen sooner: be sure to unpack and copy all language files (not just English) and change baud/latency on COM port.

Anyhow, the difference is noticeable. It just feels "stronger", shifts smoother, and no more occasional hesitation. I can honestly say in the 100,000+ miles I've owned this car, it's never driven better.

I don't know if it's just the transfer case reset, the fluid changes, the "upgrade" to Dexron VI, or all of the above, but I highly recommend a refresh/reset for those that have put it off.
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Last edited by mtthmpsn; 03-14-2024 at 11:35 PM. Reason: typo
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  #2  
Old 03-16-2024, 08:46 PM
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I'll be interested to see how the Valvoline Dexron VI does in terms of transmission performance. There is so much hype about using BMW oils, only to find out that it is rebadged brand names we normally use.



I did the transfer case and the BMW oil for that was a Shell oil product that I could buy for half the price. The other half must be to either cover the manufacture of the bottle, or make up for the loss of business in Germany these days.


My scanner did allow me to reset the transfer case, so that was no problem.

I am considering the transmission filter and fluid this summer here in Australia, as we are in Summer. Mine is a 2006 3.0d but I would guess they use the same trans. Can I ask how did you refill it?
Jeff
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Old 03-16-2024, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
... Mine is a 2006 3.0d but I would guess they use the same trans. Can I ask how did you refill it?
Jeff
Nope - not the same transmission - the 3.0i uses a GM transmission while our 3.0d uses a ZF.

The GM transmissions use regular Dexron ATF while the ZF transmission uses ZF Lifeguard fluid.

Not sure about your trans, Spartan, but mine (a ZF 6HP26X aka BMW GA6HP26Z) has the fill port on the bottom of the valve body cover...

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Old 03-17-2024, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by wpoll View Post
Nope - not the same transmission - the 3.0i uses a GM transmission while our 3.0d uses a ZF.

The GM transmissions use regular Dexron ATF while the ZF transmission uses ZF Lifeguard fluid.

Not sure about your trans, Spartan, but mine (a ZF 6HP26X aka BMW GA6HP26Z) has the fill port on the bottom of the valve body cover...


No, you are right Wayne...I was under it yesterday looking at before I do some insane thing involving a box of matches, a quiet place and an X5...

I considered the possibility of the fuel pump being blocked again as one idea, but it wasn't. Then I saw this other thing like a fuel filter, but it is a fuel pump and some small P.O.S. thing that is not listed in OEM Parts, I'm guessing a relay, but they all seem to work.

So I considered the trans might or could do with a fluid change. A lot of people advise against changing it all in one go and suggest drain and top up each time over a period of months. But how do you do this if both are on the bottom?
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Old 03-17-2024, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
... So I considered the trans might or could do with a fluid change. A lot of people advise against changing it all in one go and suggest drain and top up each time over a period of months. But how do you do this if both are on the bottom?
I'm still (mostly) running the factory fluid, at 275,000kms and I'm way too scared to change it!

I have replaced the internal rubber seals on the valve body (bridge seal, jump seals and mechatronic seal) and used new ZF Lifeguard 6 fluid to replace what was lost doing this task - so maybe 2 litres of new fluid in the full transmission (~12 litres?).

The fluid can be drained (via the small drain port) with the engine off but do NOT open the larger fill plug with the engine off or the fluid at full temp.

The method to drain and fill the transmission AND set the fluid level is... messy.

(This is for a steel trans. pan - not plastic)

1. With the car raised and level, the transmission warmed and engine off, open drain bolt and drain fluid.

2. Remove pan and drain remainder of fluid from pan. Clean pan, magnets and replace trans. filter.

3. Using a new pan gasket, re-install pan.

4. When trans. is cold (> 5 hours) open fill port and pump new fluid into port until port overflows slightly (~4 litres). This requires a fluid pump and a small hose to get into trans., inserting the hose to get around fill port baffle (white object in this image): -





5. When fill port starts overflowing slightly, close it up (just hand tight) and start the engine. Run through all the gears with foot on brake(!) - pausing for a few seconds in each gear. Monitor trans fluid temp via scanner and once trans. fluid temp reaches 35deg.C. open fill port again and pump in additional fluid until port overflows once again. This can take another 1-2 litres and must be completed before trans. fluid temp. reaches 50Deg.C.

6. Once fluid overflow slows to a slow drip (and trans. fluid temp remains between 35 and 50Deg.C.) close fill port and torque correctly.

Sounds harder than it is but you DO need to car either on a hoist or up on four decent ramps. since you need the car to be very level AND up in the air so you can work underneath it with the engine running.

Not my favourite job but I've done it a few times now (checking the fluid level from time to time).
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Last edited by wpoll; 03-17-2024 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 03-17-2024, 04:06 AM
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OK, seems like a doable task then.


Is the filter hard to change and those internal rubber seals on the valve body (bridge seal, jump seals and mechatronic seal)?

Any particular place that you purchased these from?


Cheers Wayne,


Jeff
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  #7  
Old 03-18-2024, 09:43 AM
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Transfer case reset? What is that?
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Old 03-18-2024, 12:27 PM
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Transfer case reset? What is that?

Only on xDrive models -- our pre-2004 cars don't have any electronics in the transfer case. Only pure, good old-fashioned planetary gears.
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  #9  
Old 03-18-2024, 04:49 PM
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Doesn't the X-drive do an auto adjust every time it's started? I thought I read it here. I can use my FoxWell 520Pro to do a transfer case adaptation. A shop locally changed the filter, oil, and transfer case oil for $125. Saved me a lot of time and mess. I had it done after a transfer case gear upgrade. The gear is polycarbonate. With a drivetrain refresh and maintenance, the X5 launches hard. Plus wider tires, it launches good for a 3.0i from a dead stop. Fresh transmission oil makes a big difference. Shifts are nice and firm.
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Old 03-18-2024, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5chemist View Post
Doesn't the X-drive do an auto adjust every time it's started? I thought I read it here.
It does re-calibration at shutdown. Not sure if it does anything at start-up - the TIS says nothing about that: -

Calibration sequence:
When terminal 15 is OFF, a calibration sequence is performed. During this calibration sequence, a certain angle setting of the VTG actuator motor has a corresponding locking torque assigned. The effects of wear are also taken into account when this is done.

The multi-plate clutch is closed fully and separated once during this calibration sequence. When this happens, the current draw is measured at the respective angle setting of the VTG actuator motor. This determines the beginning and end of the closing movement for the multi-plate clutch. The angle setting is recorded by means of the integral incremental sensor in the VTG actuator motor. These values are stored and are used as data when the car restarts.


The Oil Wear Adaptation that should be done in an xDrive ATC-500 when completing a fluid (power divider oil) change is to reset the oil wear and clutch friction adaptations. The clutch friction co-efficient changes with fresh oil so the system needs to be re-adapted to allow for this.

Makes a BIG difference!! Hence this thread.
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