Changing Transmission Fluid on BMW X3, Without Jacking the Car off the Ground

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I'm thinking I'm going to change the pan/filter and the fluid on BMW X3 with the ZF 8 speed. But, without jacking the car off the ground. I can fit under the car just fine. I don't use jacks or ramps for the oil change. The fill plug is really easy to get to.

I'm planning on using the genuine pan/filter. https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-ga8hp45z-ga8hp70z-oil-pan-and-filter-kit-zf-24118612901

And Valvoline Maxlife for the fluid.

I'll measure what comes out as a baseline. I'll use a hand pump to pump a little more than what came out. I'll start the car, shift through the gears, and use an Infrared laser temperature gun for the final fill.

Let me know what you think (good and bad).
 
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I would use the Lifeguard 8 fluid if you can get it. It's more expensive, but it's made for that transmission. Maxlife is fine for low-end transmissions. Will it work? Probably, but who knows how much of the transmission's clutch life it will cut. I'm not trying to plant the seed of doubt in your head, as it's your vehicle and you do as you see fit. Just something to think about before proceeding, as it's an expensive item.
 

BMW Dom

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I would use the Lifeguard 8 fluid if you can get it. It's more expensive, but it's made for that transmission. Maxlife is fine for low-end transmissions. Will it work? Probably, but who knows how much of the transmission's clutch life it will cut. I'm not trying to plant the seed of doubt in your head, as it's your vehicle and you do as you see fit. Just something to think about before proceeding, as it's an expensive item.
I’ve heard a lot of success in ZF 8, but I get what you’re saying. With FCP Euro’s lifetime replacement, it’s not too bad of I do fluid again in future. Definitely something to think about
 

BMW Dom

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Has anyone had good luck with liqui moly top tec 1800?
 
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I'm thinking I'm going to change the pan/filter and the fluid on BMW X3 with the ZF 8 speed. But, without jacking the car off the ground. I can fit under the car just fine. I don't use jacks or ramps for the oil change. The fill plug is really easy to get to.

I'm planning on using the genuine pan/filter. https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-ga8hp45z-ga8hp70z-oil-pan-and-filter-kit-zf-24118612901

And Valvoline Maxlife for the fluid.

I'll measure what comes out as a baseline. I'll use a hand pump to pump a little more than what came out. I'll start the car, shift through the gears, and use an Infrared laser temperature gun for the final fill.

Let me know what you think (good and bad).
You're handheld temp gauge won't cut it. If you refill the same amount which drains out and then adjust for spillage you'll be close.

Why not invest in some pirated ISTA software a cable and used laptop?
 

JC1

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I'm thinking I'm going to change the pan/filter and the fluid on BMW X3 with the ZF 8 speed. But, without jacking the car off the ground. I can fit under the car just fine. I don't use jacks or ramps for the oil change. The fill plug is really easy to get to.

I'm planning on using the genuine pan/filter. https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-ga8hp45z-ga8hp70z-oil-pan-and-filter-kit-zf-24118612901

And Valvoline Maxlife for the fluid.

I'll measure what comes out as a baseline. I'll use a hand pump to pump a little more than what came out. I'll start the car, shift through the gears, and use an Infrared laser temperature gun for the final fill.

Let me know what you think (good and bad).
Can you get the filter cheaper elsewhere? I've read others using maxlife without issues. Are there any cross members or exhaust pipes in the way of accessing the pan?
 
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You're handheld temp gauge won't cut it. If you refill the same amount which drains out and then adjust for spillage you'll be close.

Why not invest in some pirated ISTA software a cable and used laptop?
who cares. the oil temp sensor and IR pan temps are like within 3c of each other.

if you can’t fill the trans before it reaches 50C you suck and you should probably never touch an automobile again
 
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Can you get the filter cheaper elsewhere? I've read others using maxlife without issues. Are there any cross members or exhaust pipes in the way of accessing the pan?
yes there’s knockoffs on ebay for like 30 bucks. quality may vary
 

BMW Dom

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who cares. the oil temp sensor and IR pan temps are like within 3c of each other.

if you can’t fill the trans before it reaches 50C you suck and you should probably never touch an automobile again
Ya, I’ll just measure what comes out and add half a quart more. I need to decide on what fluid to use 😂
 
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As the fill plug is easy to get to, I'd just attach a tube to a funnel and fill from above and you'll likely get a more accurate fill volume.
 

BMW Dom

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As the fill plug is easy to get to, I'd just attach a tube to a funnel and fill from above and you'll likely get a more accurate fill volume.
I don’t think that will work. The fill plug id on the pan
 
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You're handheld temp gauge won't cut it. If you refill the same amount which drains out and then adjust for spillage you'll be close.

Why not invest in some pirated ISTA software a cable and used laptop?
Exactly. Here's the rub. Measuring what comes out for the baseline is fine, if the fluid level was correct from the beginning. There are times when the factory fill was off, or in the case of buying a used car the PO might have serviced the transmission and filled it wrong. The only way to be certain if the level is correct is to have the tools needed to properly measure the fluid level, before starting the project. Once it is determined the unit has the proper amount of fluid in it then you can measure what is taken out and replace that to get the level very close. After that I would measure the fluid level the way the mfg. suggests to be sure.
 

4WD

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Exactly. Here's the rub. Measuring what comes out for the baseline is fine, if the fluid level was correct from the beginning. There are times when the factory fill was off, or in the case of buying a used car the PO might have serviced the transmission and filled it wrong. The only way to be certain if the level is correct is to have the tools needed to properly measure the fluid level, before starting the project. Once it is determined the unit has the proper amount of fluid in it then you can measure what is taken out and replace that to get the level very close. After that I would measure the fluid level the way the mfg. suggests to be sure.
It’s something I always did on FWD because you’d often find an online video where somebody drained and measured X and I did too. With these it’s a missed opportunity to be precise doing the top up and temp thing - and if I can put in a drain plug - then I’m trusting myself going forward. I know a guy who has done a couple of his vehicles with a digital meat probe (Audi and Dodge) … guess I’m trying to figure out why that’s not good enough …
 

BMW Dom

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It’s something I always did on FWD because you’d often find an online video where somebody drained and measured X and I did too. With these it’s a missed opportunity to be precise doing the top up and temp thing - and if I can put in a drain plug - then I’m trusting myself going forward. I know a guy who has done a couple of his vehicles with a digital meat probe (Audi and Dodge) … guess I’m trying to figure out why that’s not good enough …
In the fill hole, right? I’ll look into ISTA today.
 
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I would use something which can pull the temp reading electronically, like ISTA. There are a number of other tools/apps out there as far as I know (that you'll probably use again for other things).

I expect that, like mine, your pan is thick and plastic. I have my doubts that the temperature read on the outside with an IR gun is going to track the fluid temp rapidly. If the pan were metal, that's another story.
 
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