Any good BMW ATF besides from the dealer

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For a 2004 530i 6-speed automatic (e60) - This has been a tough one...the dealer only sells atf from it's bulk containers and it like $15 for a half liter...almost $30 per quart. And they will only sell it if they will also install it. Does anyone know of a good alternative atf for this ZF 6 speed? I don't believe the [censored] that it's lifetime fill. I drained and filled one time about 10,000 miles ago at 82,000 using Mobil 1 ATF and it seems to shift perfectly. But' I'd rather know for sure that the right stuff is in there. I beleive it is also used in some new Jaguars, and even the new Hyundai Genesis? Thanks.
 
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If it takes the Esso fluid, I think that you can use Maxlife.
 
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Vaca: I know several guys with E39 automatics which called for one of a couple of specs in the ZFs including Esso LT71141. I know of one guy running Maxlife (which has LT71141 on the label) with no issues. Amsoil ATF also states LT71141. From what I've read, LT71141 is simply a fairly pedestrian semi-synthetic base with a particular friction modifier package in it. If that's the case, there should be lots of things out there "better" than genuine LT71141 for a tiny fraction of the cost, as long as the FM characteristics are preseved. I admit that I'm not sure if E60s completely changed fluid specs, and unfortunately I'm not currently able to chase a bunch of cross-references at the moment...
 

Vaca

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 Originally Posted By: Craig in Canada
Vaca: I know several guys with E39 automatics which called for one of a couple of specs in the ZFs including Esso LT71141. I know of one guy running Maxlife (which has LT71141 on the label) with no issues. Amsoil ATF also states LT71141. From what I've read, LT71141 is simply a fairly pedestrian semi-synthetic base with a particular friction modifier package in it. If that's the case, there should be lots of things out there "better" than genuine LT71141 for a tiny fraction of the cost, as long as the FM characteristics are preseved. I admit that I'm not sure if E60s completely changed fluid specs, and unfortunately I'm not currently able to chase a bunch of cross-references at the moment...
Thanks for looking into this...I beleive the new e60 trannys do NOT use the LT71141 fluid.
 

Vaca

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 Originally Posted By: faqulars
This vehicle has the zf GA6hp26. The original fill spec was Shell 1375.4. I found that Wolfs Head sells a universal that says it meets that spec. http://www.amaliestore.com/proddetail.php?prod=836-92866-56
Thanks, I see that it meets Shell 1375.4, but it doesn't state that it's good in the ZF 6hp26 tranny that is in my e60 530i. It just lists the BMW 5 speeds...I'm still searching...thanks again
 
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 Originally Posted By: Vaca
Thanks for looking into this...I beleive the new e60 trannys do NOT use the LT71141 fluid.
Unfortunately I still haven't had time to look into this, but just to make sure I expressed myself properly. The later ZF-equipped E39s listed 3 or 4 vendor fluid specs (like Esso LT71141) as acceptable fluids. That being said, some lists only showed 1 out of the 3 or 4. Anyone who only saw that particular listing would believe there was only one fluid spec. I'm not sure the E60 is in the same situation, and perhaps LT71141 is on "the list" somewhere, opening you up to a number of options. OMG, this is so much bigger and heavier than my manual...:)
 
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this is what i show for E60 transmissions Type Shell M-1375.4 BMW Part No. 83 22 0 142 516 The transmission fluid has a Condition Based Service interval of approximately 100,000 miles; please refer to SI. B00 07 02 for further information. Never mix any other oil with this transmission fluid when doing repairs or topping up. whatever that means.
 
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 Originally Posted By: faqulars
Wolfs Head sells a universal that says it meets that spec. http://www.amaliestore.com/proddetail.php?prod=836-92866-56
The key is in the words. Saying that some fluid is 'suitable' or some other weasel wording does not mean that it meets the defined specification requirements. The Wolf's Head literature that I have seen merely attaches an 'application list' which maybe seems to imply that the fluid meets the specification but it doesn't actually say that. Unless there is something else by way of information out there that I have not seen I am tempted to wonder why they would not make an OEM substantiated claim?
 
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I was told by 2 different ZF techinical reps that a whole lot went into formulating this long life fluid for the 6 speeds and it really was tested well beyond 150k miles. They did say that you would be foolish to use another fluid in this app. The shifts are monitored/controlled by PWM very closely by the mechatronix-sp? and other fluids will not work the same with the programming of this module, located inside the trans. The programming takes into account the slow, progressive degradation of the fluid over time so that no slipping or harsh shifts occur as the fluid ages. The shifts will stay consistent. He said that if you do want to "waste money" changing this fluid, to only use the original fluid, which will come down in price eventually as the exclusive distribution through BMW dealers will go away. I believe them, and our conversations were in person both times. This fluid is high quality, longlife stuff. A whole different ball game than previous fluids. Filter is part of the plastic transmission pan, too, BTW.
 
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How many transmissions did they go through when testing "the fluid" to 150k miles :-) If the transmission adapts to the quality of the wearing OE fluid, then it should have no problem adapting to a new universal multi-vehicle ATF too. Did the ZF rep tell you about the exclusivity contract, not the one with BMW, but between ZF and the fluid supplier? Was there a date when the BMW distribution will expire? A bigger waste of money is replacing a transmission.
 
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Good questions. Thank you for your input. It is always on track. If I owned one of these, yes I would consider replacing the fluid at 100-150k miles with some of the original stuff after perhaps sending in a sample to check its condition. I would also consider installing a full flow filter in a cooler line to keep the fluid cleaner and lower wear. Are there known issues with these units? If so I am not aware of them.
 
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