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  #101  
Old 10-24-2013, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCL View Post
.......That is why I recommend ZF fluid and OE filters, for example. They aren't necessarily that much better, but they are lower risk.
I would have gone with the ZF fluid had I researched the topic more throughly B4 my 100k fluid/filter swap. I was listening for trans noise post fluid swap for around a year (20k miles). Now that my trans has gone over 70k on Castrol I will be continuing with it to see if I can get to over 200k (no plan on selling the X, drilled slotted rotors/refinshed calipers/CC pads and KW C'overs are going on soon, sub-10k value on '03 4.4 is not enough $s for overall condition).
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  #102  
Old 10-24-2013, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by srmmmm View Post
It appears to me the people with the most problems are those who number one: perform frequent fluid changes (possibly with the wrong fluid); number two: reprogram or modify their transmissions, and number three: misinterpret worn driveshaft splines or low vehicle voltage as a transmission problem. I think the units are quite reliable under normal driving conditions. However, due to the higher performance characteristics of the X5 itself, many of us take on a more "spirited" driving attitude, thus advancing the normal wear cycle of the driveline. I have 242,000 miles on my 3.0 with a build date of October 2002. The fluid has never been changed and I have done at least 15,000 miles of towing a 1300 pound PWC & trailer in Texas heat with no problems at all.

In past lives with GM turbo 350s, 400s, 200Rs, a fluid and filter change every 30,000 miles was the norm. But with newer synthetic fluids and the precision of electronic controls, the internal wear factors have been sharply reduced.
I would be among those that change the fluid (every 50,000) miles. My transmission is also modified with Dinan transmission software. I also have all the Dinan mods plus nitrous. I am in Texas also, and have the original transmission at 110,000mi. That means there is at least one transmission in service that is still performing as intended having done all the above.

My question is--when a particular BMW transmission fails what are the likely causes in descending order of likelihood.
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  #103  
Old 10-24-2013, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TiAgX5 View Post
Brian, I think we have the same trans (5HP24) except you have a slightly larger TC (due to the extra grunt of the 4.6). I did a fluid/filter change (3 drain/fill, new filter on last fill) at 100k miles. 173k miles now with no issues (even using the Castrol Multicar Import, some on here and B'forums stated failure would soon follow because of missing "friction modifiers"). Planning another series of drains/fills soon and will be checking the pan mags closely.

There's no such thing as a lubricant with infinite life (even syns) and I'm suspect of BMWs motivition in making such a claim at the EXACT time they began no charge sched maint. Even the maint sched provided with my X stated 100k fluid swaps, when I pointed it out to the Senior SA at a Florida BMW dealer it was dismissed a printing error. In the same breath he informed me that BMW translates trans lifetime as 100k miles.
BMW says the fluid lasts a 'lifetime'. I don't recall a communication from BMW saying WARNING--Do not change the transmission fluid. I change the fluid because I believe the capability of the fluid to properly lubricate declines as miles increase.
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Last edited by bcredliner; 10-24-2013 at 10:47 AM.
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  #104  
Old 10-24-2013, 10:59 AM
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I don't think there is any consensus on that question. All of the automatics in the X5 (GM, ZF, 5 speed, 6 speed, 4.6 variant) have had some amount of failures. Those failures don't appear to have been related to wear out due to overheating or overloading most of the time, but rather sensors, actuators, and random failures that are not precipitated by distance or load. The exceptions to that would be the 4.6 torque converters, and the early diesels (the GM trans was under-spec'd in the first diesels). It is really difficult to engineer in reliability after the product has been designed and manufactured. It involves a long development and testing process; neither is practical for an owner. You can't improve base reliability by doing things that aren't related to the common failure modes, ie replacing the fluid. That particular one usually won't hurt, but it isn't likely to help.

I don't think it is practical to swap in a different automatic. You would give up the electronic integration most likely. You could swap in a manual, but that seems like a lot of work.

Personally, I would just work to reduce the risk to the minimum possible, within the constraints presented. That is why I recommend ZF fluid and OE filters, for example. They aren't necessarily that much better, but they are lower risk.
For clarification--the 4.6 torque convertor does not hold up as it should?

I think changing fluid is better, especially if a common failure works because of the lubrication or fails because of too much friction. I agree, changing the fluid may not prevent common failures but it should not hurt.
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  #105  
Old 10-24-2013, 11:09 AM
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I don't think I am making myself clear. As an example--

If we were to take the first post of this thread that lists transmission symptoms and causes,
and, we applied that list to the 5hp24 transmission, how would that list be revised to list problems in descending order, with one being the most common failure?
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  #106  
Old 10-24-2013, 11:14 AM
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I should have mentioned I have towed a 6000lb trailer for over 10k miles on the Castrol fluid (seen 120deg F on OBC outside temp in stop and go construction traffic, AC on max, over a dozen times in TX). Even towed a +7500lb sport boat/trailer combo twice between PA and NJ shore, picked up dropped off in the PA mountains.
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  #107  
Old 10-24-2013, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bcredliner View Post
BMW says the fluid lasts a 'lifetime'. I don't recall a communication from BMW saying WARNING--Do not change the transmission fluid. I change the fluid because I believe the capability of the fluid to properly lubricate declines as miles increase.
BMW took it back (the "Lifetime" BS). On the e39 for example, the owners manual - up to 2002, this was exactly what was printed - lifetime fluid. Starting with 2003 (last model year), the print has changed with the 100,000 miles ATF change interval. My owners manual has the 100 k miles ATF change interval. However, if you attempt to do an ATF change at the dealership, I know of 2 different scenarios:
  1. They don't do it, pure & simple (this was my case - I went there and asked for it)
  2. Some select dealerships are doing it for a very hansom bill.
The issue why some aren't doing it (and I speculate here), is because if that tranny wasn't serviced on a regular basis, and now a client pulls in for an ATF change, and after the change, the tranny will grenade itself, the dealer is in for a new ZF (or what the case may be) unit. The proof would be that bill of sale, plus every repair made in a BMW dealership is warrantied for 1 year parts and labor (at least it is here, in my neck of woods).

Actually ZF policy is TO SERVICE the tranny every 100,000 Km or 60,000 miles. Just take a look at this post here, where a different forum member brought the BMW for a tranny service in Germany. I wish we had here in N America the same level of service for those trannies. I would go there 100% sure. The service includes more than changing the ATF. Just read on.
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  #108  
Old 10-24-2013, 12:04 PM
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Worth EVERY cent. Why can't ZF provide that service here in the US????
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  #109  
Old 10-24-2013, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TiAgX5 View Post
I would have gone with the ZF fluid had I researched the topic more throughly B4 my 100k fluid/filter swap. I was listening for trans noise post fluid swap for around a year (20k miles). Now that my trans has gone over 70k on Castrol I will be continuing with it to see if I can get to over 200k (no plan on selling the X, drilled slotted rotors/refinshed calipers/CC pads and KW C'overs are going on soon, sub-10k value on '03 4.4 is not enough $s for overall condition).
I think that is a very reasonable approach, to continue with the fluid that worked for you. My only caution would be that without a spec to conform to, any fluid is subject to changes from time to time and the fluid you buy one year may be different than what you buy a year later. Oil companies are pretty famous for changing their fluids in the interests of marketing, usually calling it reformulation. What the spec does is provide some comfort that there is a standardized fluid being offered.
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  #110  
Old 10-24-2013, 12:20 PM
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TiAg: I like your signature quote.

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But we should also be dedicated to craftsmanship in writing, especially if we are going to expound the philosophy.
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