2006 3 series BMW ps fluid

Messages
99
Location
Ontario, Canada
BMW dealer delivered my new to me used car ( 325ci ) with power steering fluid in the reservoir instead of the required ATF. It is clear, no gunk, do you folks think I may have shortened pump life or damage because of this? The steering does feel very light compared to the 2005 I traded in, hmm, just noticed this a few days after delivery while checking the fluids.
 
Messages
4,009
Location
Calgary Canada
I would go to the dealership and demand a full flush of the system. This way will get the right fluid in there, and you will have written documentation proving that they delivered a car with the wrong fluid in the PS system. This way if there are any long term problems, you have a very good chance of having them fix it. The good thing is that it was a BMW dealership that you bought it from. They should know better.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,826
Location
The Motor City
How specific is the requirement in the manual?... just ATF? I use generic power steering fluid in all the cars I own, including my 95 E320 Mercedes. Power steering fluid is like ATF but without the additives. The additives are there for transmission applications. I believe ATF is specified mainly because it's readily available on most dealer shelves.
 
Messages
8,756
Location
RI
No damage! Might not be optimal in all conditions but PSF's have an additive package. You should ask the dealer what they used.
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,826
Location
The Motor City
I've used it in three cars, each with 30K to 60K service with PS fluid - no problems. I haven't heard of anyone switching the PS fluid and having problems, except for Honda owners. They have their own fluid.
 
Messages
22,727
Location
CA
The Dexron III transmission fluid that is factory fill in Toyota P/S systems is clear. Perhaps BMW's fluid is similar?
 
Messages
11,247
Location
PA
It could be SynPower PSF, which is not that great anyway. Regular PSF is total garbage, yes it could damage the system. What belongs in there anyway, Pentosin? Without getting into a whole diatribe, I'd say flush it out to Synth ATF, like ATF+4. ATF+4 is speced for PSF in Chryslers, and oddly, now it appears MB has gone from Pentosin to a red fluid that is about $5/q. I think it's ATF+4, but it does not matter, Pentosin is thin and kills the PS system on its' own. Document the problem with the Dealer, accept their offer to flush it out, but I'd re-do with ATF and put a Magnefine filter on one hose.
 
Messages
2,044
Location
Toronto-ish, Canada
 Originally Posted By: vintagegz
BMW dealer delivered my new to me used car ( 325ci ) with power steering fluid in the reservoir instead of the required ATF. It is clear, no gunk, do you folks think I may have shortened pump life or damage because of this? The steering does feel very light compared to the 2005 I traded in, hmm, just noticed this a few days after delivery while checking the fluids.
How are you so certain what it is? Also, most responses seem to be along the "dealer mistake" line of reasoning, but I'm not sure if you're making an accusation or simple observation. While I don't have intimate full-lineup knowledge, I didn't think they used PSF for ANYTHING. Why would they even have it on the shelf to put it in by mistake? Furthermore, the PSF isn't on any maintenance schedule mentioned anywhere. They wouldn't simply change it out for any reason (unless it was drained during a repair procedure) and they certainly wouldn't do it for no extra charge during a used car delivery prep. They don't change the actual ATF (or MTF) in the transmission during the lifetime of the car unless you pester them and pay for it - they certainly aren't fussy about the PS system. Perhaps the previous owner did this, or it's actually a fluid which came from the factory but isn't red like ATF. I've found the dealer ATFs to be very pale - not a bright cherry red like typical ATF. I believe Pentosin is often used.
 
Messages
2,044
Location
Toronto-ish, Canada
 Originally Posted By: unDummy
PSF or ATF depends on the year. Thread starter stated it required ATF.
I know he states it REQUIRES ATF. How does he know that it has PSF in it instead? Smell? Taste? The fact that it's clear? Which years require PSF? His 2006 requires ATF, my dad's 2002 requires ATF, my 1998 requires ATF. In BMW forums I participate in no one has ever indicated that their year/model takes PSF.
 
Messages
1
Location
San Diego, CA
FYI - New BMW's are coming from the factory with Pentosin CHF11S in the PS system. The caps have been relabeled accordingly. I am curious if one could replace the ATF with CHF11S. I suspect its possible if the system is flushed well enough but I am not positive that all of the seals are compatible.
 
Messages
7,010
Location
California
 Originally Posted By: MCompact
Every BMW PS reservoir cap that I've seen states "ATF OIL ONLY".
I've seen a few that calls for CHF 11S or 7.1 only.
 
Messages
1,574
Location
Ca, US
Toyota calls for DexIII in the PS in the manual. The factory fill was a clear fluid. ATF is only red because of a dye they put in.
 
Last edited:
Messages
11,247
Location
PA
ATF has a slight seal swelling bias. That's partly why it helps so much in old CHF (PAO) systems. To the OP, if you put DexIII in there, I'd re-do with a synth ATF, like Dex VI or ATF+4. Consider a filter too.....
 
Messages
6,154
Location
KY
 Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
ATF has a slight seal swelling bias. That's partly why it helps so much in old CHF (PAO) systems. To the OP, if you put DexIII in there, I'd re-do with a synth ATF, like Dex VI or ATF+4. Consider a filter too.....
BMW PS systems have either a removable filter element or a reservoir with an integrated filter. I believe the integrated filters were introduced in the E36 3 Series.
 
Top