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Automatic Transmission Fluid Replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Automatic Transmission Fluid Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Fluid pump, 8mm Allen, T25 Torx bit, 10mm socket, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Automatic transmission fluid, filter and gasket kit

Hot Tip:

Work on hard level surface

Performance Gain:

Extend lifetime of your transmission

Complementary Modification:

Change engine oil at same time

The automatic transmission fluid is normally filled with lifetime fluid. BMW defines lifetime as 100,000 miles. Therefore, it is a good idea to service your fluid every 50,000 miles. If you're unsure of the last service, replace the fluid as soon as possible. Doing so will extend the life of your transmission. There are many options for replacement fluid. Choose the best you can afford and be sure it meets BMW's current specifications for your vehicle. To determine the fluid that belongs in your transmission, check your owner's manual, or give our parts specialists a call.

You have two options when replacing. You can drain and fill the fluid, or you can drain the fluid and replace the fluid strainer by dropping the transmission fluid pan. For the first service, I usually drain and fill only. Then the next service I would replace the strainer. Replacing the strainer allows you to clean the transmission fluid pan of dirt and debris. To service the strainer, you will have to replace the oil pan. The transmission holds about 10 liters of fluid; don't expect to get it all out, unless you have access to a flushing machine.

Remember that your car may have been serviced before and had parts replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the strainer and drain and fill your transmission fluid. The vehicle shown in this photo is a 2002 E53 with a ZF 5HP24 5-speed transmission. Other automatic transmissions used in E53 models are similar but some differences exist.

Drive the vehicle for about three miles to warm the transmission fluid.

Jack up all four corners of your vehicle. I suggest using four jack stands and slowly raising the vehicle to the required height. The vehicle needs to be level when checking and replacing fluid.

The automatic transmission fluid is normally filled with lifetime fluid (red arrow).
Figure 1

The automatic transmission fluid is normally filled with lifetime fluid (red arrow). BMW defines lifetime as 100,000 miles. Therefore, it is a good idea to service your fluid every 50,000 miles. If you're unsure of the last service, replace the fluid as soon as possible. Doing so will extend the life of your transmission. There are many options for replacement fluid. Choose the best you can afford and be sure it meets BMW's current specifications for your vehicle. To determine the fluid that belongs in your transmission, check your owner's manual, or give our parts specialists a call.

Before draining the fluid, check if the fill plug (red arrow) will come out.
Figure 2

Before draining the fluid, check if the fill plug (red arrow) will come out. I frequently find these over-tightened and stripped (inset). If stripped like shown (only the outer hex), use an 8mm Allen bit, tap it into the plug, then loosen it with a fast snapping motion. Once you are sure it will come out, you can drain the fluid.

Place a drain pan (green arrow) under your transmission and remove the 8mm Allen fluid drain plug (red arrow).
Figure 3

Place a drain pan (green arrow) under your transmission and remove the 8mm Allen fluid drain plug (red arrow). Allow the fluid to drain completely. Do not discard fluid; you will have to measure the amount that came out of the transmission later. This will help with refilling the transmission with the correct amount of fluid. If you are only draining and filling the fluid, skip the steps involved with removing the transmission pan. You will not have to remove the transmission oil pan. Measure the amount of fluid drained that you previously drained from your transmission. Then reinstall the drain plug.

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove the transmission range switch heat shield.
Figure 4

Working at the right side of the transmission, remove the transmission range switch heat shield. Remove the 10mm fasteners (red arrows).

Then, remove the transmission range switch heat shield.
Figure 5

Then, remove the transmission range switch heat shield.

Once the fluid is completely drained, remove the transmission pan mounting fasteners.
Figure 6

Once the fluid is completely drained, remove the transmission pan mounting fasteners. There are twenty-two T25 Torx fasteners. The red arrow points to the dotted area of fasteners. Before loosening these fasteners, clean all dirt and debris from around the transmission pan. Then remove the transmission pan from the transmission.

This diagram shows the components involved in a transmission fluid service on my subject vehicle.
Figure 7

This diagram shows the components involved in a transmission fluid service on my subject vehicle. The O-ring (red arrow), filter / pan gasket (yellow arrow) and the filter (green arrow). Install the new pan / filter in the reverse order of removal. Then install the transmission fluid pan and tighten the fasteners.

Remove the 8mm Allen fill plug (red arrow).
Figure 8

Remove the 8mm Allen fill plug (red arrow). I frequently find these over-tightened and stripped (inset). If yours is stripped like shown (only the outer hex), use an 8mm Allen bit and tap it into the plug. Then loosen it with a fast snapping motion.

Fill the transmission with the same amount of fluid that was drained from it.
Figure 9

Fill the transmission with the same amount of fluid that was drained from it. Use a fluid pump with an angled adapter (red arrow). Start the engine. Then apply the parking brake and hold your foot on the brake pedal and shift the transmission through all the gears. This will circulate the transmission fluid. Place the transmission selector in Park. Then remove the fluid fill plug. Monitor the transmission as it reaches a temperature of 100 degrees F. You can check this with an infrared temperature gauge. If a small stream of fluid runs out of the fill plug, the fluid level is correct. If no fluid runs out, add oil until it starts to run out. Reinstall the fill plug and tighten once complete. I suggest driving the car and allowing it to cool and rechecking the fluid level. Now here's a tip. Once you have filled the transmission with the same amount of fluid drained, the level should be close to what it was, start the engine and move the gear selector as noted above. With the transmission fluid still cold and the fluid fill plug removed, monitor the temperature and fluid flow at the fill plug. When the fluid warms up it will expand and should run out of the fill plug. If it does not, add fluid until it starts to run out. Install the fill plug and repeat once the vehicle is cool. Check the fluid temperature using a BMW scan tool (30: 50 degrees C = 86: 122 degrees F). Place the transmission in Park. Remove the fill plug. A small amount of fluid should stream out of the fill hole. This indicates the level is correct. If it doesn't stream out, fill fluid until it does. Once you reach the desired capacity, drive the vehicle and repeat the level checking procedure.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Alberto Comments: I have a 3.0 2005 x5, I did the oil change and now the transmission light came up on my dashboard, it wasn't there before the oil change, what could be the problem, I notice the cars want level correctly when it was perform and is still on the jacks, what should I do??
June 20, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check for fault codes. I don't see how an oil change can set a trans fault. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Fearo Comments: Is there a tightening sequence on sump bolts like cylinder heads etc, and any idea what torque setting should be used when bolting sump back on
May 16, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes there is. Usually a criss-cross pattern.
I don’t have torque information.

I would suggest you grab a repair manual, you should own one. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
glenn Comments: i have sn 06 x5 4.4 automatic. How do i add fluid into the transmission so i can take it to a mechanic as i know it is low and do not want to damage it.
April 27, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Follow the steps in the article you commented on. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
alex Comments: I've had that allen bolt stripped on a different bmw some tech confused it with torx nothing would remove it until I bought an allen bolt extraction kit on amazon. Then I bought a new bolt plug to do the oil change.
November 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Crf450r Comments: ATF1 is required for most bmw
November 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bert Comments: when I have cleaned the pan and fitted new filter, I refill pan. remove front pipe coming from oil cooler and start engine, turn off when it runs out - normally run engine for short time 5 sec bursts until clean fluid comes out of pipe, refit pipe and refill as above
November 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sam Comments: What ATF I can use for 2007 BMW X5, 4.8i? Any generic or cheaper then BMW oil?
July 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest sticking with BMW fluids. Equivalent fluids are here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi?action=frameset&return-url=/cgi-bin/supertech/catalog.cgi%3Faction%3Dframeback%26page%3D2884&catalog-url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pelicanparts.com%2Fcatalog%2FSuperCat%2F0609%2FBMW_0609_TRAUTO_pg1.htm %3Futm_source%3DSuperTech%23item0 - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Goaldie Comments: Where is the transmission dip stick for 1991 bmw
May 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What model? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ML320X5 Comments: Finally change the Trans fluid and Filter plus TCC Solenoid for the first time on my 2002 X5 @ 179000 miles. Keep my fingers crossed.
April 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Let us know how it works out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Peter Comments: Which oil can I use on a Bmw x5 4.8is
April 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what year vehicle. However, on the right side of the article the fluid is listed. Just enter your vehicle info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
billmo Comments: tranny sump bolts are t27 not t25,
December 31, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Fastener size may vary, as noted. Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eliza Cranston Comments: Thank you for explaining how to change the transmission fluid in a BMW! My car has over 100,000 miles on it so it's probably time for me to change the fluid before I end up with transmission problems. These steps are really helpful so I'll follow them!
November 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dave Comments: Thanks Nick.
September 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dave Comments: Great articles. A big help for DIYers.

What transmission fluid is recommended for the 2006 3.0i X5 automatic?
September 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Transmission Fluid Texaco ETL 7045, BMW part number 83 22 0 002 121
Note: Always check for label on transmission oil pan to verify fluid type. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 8/23/2017 02:58:40 AM