2008 528i - ZF trans - 185k miles on Original ATF!

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23,886
Location
CA
I recently took over the maintenance for a co-worker's 2008 528i. I think this one has the ZF 6HP19Z transmission. This car has 185k on it, and it still has the original transmission fluid! The transmission shifts just fine though. While BMW recently revised its fluid change recommendation to 100k, this particular car never saw a fluid change because it carried the original recommendation of lifetime fill. A proper fluid change for this car isn't cheap - $143 for a new ZF oil pan (the filter is built into the pan) and $227 for 7L of the correct fluid. Plus, getting the fluid level right is not going to be easy without the BMW scan tool. However, my greatest concern is "stirring up" issues; I'd hate to service the transmission and have it fail shortly thereafter. We've all heard of stories where high-mileage transmissions get serviced, and they coincidentally fail shortly thereafter for no apparent reason. So - would you touch it? I'm leaning towards no.
 
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3,228
Location
Richmond, VA
I would not touch it. If it were my car however, I would change out the fluid asap. And $143 just to change the filter? wow. If you decide to change it make sure to use a huge pan and catch every drop that comes out. Measure that amount and that is how much you put back in.
 
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25,814
Location
Upstate NY
Why would you take over the maint. of a co-workers vehicle? Maybe a girl friend? I can see helping someone with the maint, but not taking it over. Someone with a BMW can afford to pay for service. If you take any money for this, and then you mess up his car he could say you are a business and sue you. The pan and fluid should be changed.
 
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1,589
Location
Austin, TX
Personally, I don't touch others cars after a bad lesson. I serviced my BILs car and replaced his PS fluid on his Infinity. IMO, Nissan makes horrible vehicles and he kept complaining the PS was stiff and he didn't appreciate my help. Since them I don't service anyone's vehicles though I do give my advice if sought and tell them to visit the dealership. Good luck as I said good deeds sometimes just backfires
 
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40,710
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: The Critic
So - would you touch it? I'm leaning towards no.
A can of worms at this point. [censored] if you do, and [censored] if you don't, if something were to go wrong with it.
 
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2,767
Location
NYC
........what did you change the Infiniti with vs the spec would say a lot. To the OP, I'm all for preventive maintenance, but the milage is too high, and Late model BMW's aren't exactly paragons of reliability. The liabilities just too much here.
 
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17,301
Location
OH
If it were my car, I'd change the ATF. In a car belonging to someone else, I'd leave it alone.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
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46,121
Location
New Jersey
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
If it were my car, I'd change the ATF. In a car belonging to someone else, I'd leave it alone.
+1. If mine, I'd know potential risk and reward. Someone who let it go that far out may not have any idea. Unless the person has a goal of becoming part of the 300k club and realizes that sinking a few thousand into an AT is in the cards regardless, and this may or may not help avoid that. If I did it, I'd start by just replacing some fluid, maybe with a bit of trans-x in there to help start cleaning. And then sequentially replace the fluid and finally the filter. Tougher to do that with a filter that costs that much. I wonder if you could set up a filter stand, kind of like a fluid exchange rig, but that put the fluid through a cheap disposable filter, you then just remove a fraction and replace, and then ultimately do a more rigorous job. Sounds like a lot of work though.
 
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12,947
Location
Middlesex County CT
Whether to touch it or not is pretty much entirely dependent on the personality/relationship of/to the coworker. If you need to urge the person to get it changed and they don't seem to care, don't bother. I know it is hard to walk away from such a situation. If they seem concerned, explain what you are doing, show them the fluids, specs, etc and indicate the risk. 4 quarts out, 4 quarts in, hard to be accused of messing stuff up @ that point.
 

JC1

Messages
6,049
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Hi Critic, I would probably leave the tranny alone. If that tranny fails, it won't be cheap to fix. As much as you want to be a good guy for someone else, if things go wrong due to neglect on their part, then you're going to look like the bad guy. Regards, JC.
 
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40,710
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
If anything goes wrong you will get the blame.
I'm thinking at this stage he will get the blame regardless: 1. If he changes ATF and it fails, it'll be his fault for changing it. or 2. If he does not change it and it fails, it'll be his fault for not changing it.
 
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17,916
Location
NH
If you replace the pan, then how much gunk could be trapped elsewhere in the Trans? I'd replace that before doing anything else, if one is worried about loosening up junk.
 
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24,382
Location
Central Florida
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
If anything goes wrong you will get the blame.
I'm thinking at this stage he will get the blame regardless: 1. If he changes ATF and it fails, it'll be his fault for changing it. or 2. If he does not change it and it fails, it'll be his fault for not changing it.
3. BMW owners are affluent and can afford to have their transmission serviced
 
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40,710
Location
Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
3. BMW owners are affluent and can afford to have their transmission serviced
Unfortunately many of them think a BMW does not need to be serviced.
 
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5,133
Location
chicago, Illinois
Originally Posted By: LT4 Vette
4. They will eventually learn that a transmission needs servicing after it blows up 5. Not his car, so no need to get his hands dirty
Took the words right out of my mouth. OP is NUTS if he touches that car. crzy no-no No good deed goes unpunished. If you have a BMW you can afford to take the car into a professional shop and pay for the service, that way if there is a problem they can deal with it.
 
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