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

BMW Dom

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It's interesting how the OP is not concerned about mixing the Valvoline MaxLife with the residual couple of quarts of Lifeguard fluid left in there.

You seem to know a lot about this stuff. I need to replace the fluid on a 2014 KIA Sorento by doing like 3 drains and refills to get everything out. I don't even entertain the thought of paying for SP-IV fluid. Would you recommend MaxLife or the Castrol ATF/CVT that I linked above? And what do you think about Amsoil ATL?
I’m sure Edy will say to pay for the SP-IV fluid
 

BMW Dom

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What do you think ZF is? Listen, if you fishing for someone to agree with your confirmation bias, keep going. That person is not me. Valvoline might work (probably will) OK. ZF8 will work ok for sure. That is difference. I know, I worked with them long time ago when company I was working for was developing certain transmission fluids for commercial vehicles. ZF can tomorrow swallow Valvoline on the market, yet your assumption is ZF is not doing something but Valvoline is. If I had X3 or whatever BMW with ZF transmission, only ZF fluid would go in. I had X5 and I only used ZF6. Didn’t even entertain other options. Manual transmission is different story.
I said I thought you are looking for oil for X3 not 328. Yes, MaxLife will work ok in 328.
Why would ŽF swallow Valvoline? Are they also going to swallow all of the Mult vehicle atfs? There is no reason for ZF to test and approve other fluids
 
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I’m sure Edy will say to pay for the SP-IV fluid
SP-IV fluid is nothing special and is seriously overpriced for what it is. The 6 speed in the Sorento is a pretty basic transmission. I believe that SP-IV was more or less a Deron VI clone when it came out like over 10 years ago.

Why would ŽF swallow Valvoline? Are they also going to swallow all of the Mult vehicle atfs? There is no reason for ZF to test and approve other fluids
I'm sorry to say this, but you didn't get a lick of objective advice so far. Here is my two cents:

If you think you have the patience and can/want to put the work in to get out all the old fluid, then go with the MaxLife. Castrol also makes good ATF, and I tend to trust them more because they are a global company and work with many OEMs directly. On my vehicle I plan to flush out the old fluid.

If you don't, then don't mix fluids. Just get the Lifeguard 8, and do the job. It will save you a lot of heart ache and time in the future.

@edyvw meant that Valvoline is a small company compared to ZF. Still, they're bigger than Amsoil.
 
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Not large enough Made in Germany letters.
How is it even possible to make universal transmission fluid, and what's the impact of using such a fluid on the life of the transmission? Doesn't each transmission have its own friction requirements, unique viscosity, and such? I'm just curious because it's hard to find good info without spending hours upon hours reading. Thank you.
 
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How is it even possible to make universal transmission fluid, and what's the impact of using such a fluid on the life of the transmission? Doesn't each transmission have its own friction requirements, unique viscosity, and such? I'm just curious because it's hard to find good info without spending hours upon hours reading. Thank you.
I think there are other people who know more about transmissions than I do, but I cannot see how transmission can operate exactly as intended by using different fluids (let's say shift speed).
Now, whether that will cause some adverse effects, or be noticeable to the driver, is IMO hard to know unless we are talking completely wrong fluid or some unknown blender.
MaxLife is used a lot by BMW owners and owners of other vehicles in ZF transmissions. So far I have not heard anyone stating: yes my transmission failed bcs. that fluid. But, it is hard to know really if that fluid or some other contributed to premature failure or some other issue.
That is why IMO, in such complex systems one should use fluid intended, and in this case, it is ZF8 fluid. ZF8 is the very sturdy transmission. On other hand, the BMW transfer case is known to be sensitive to wrong fluid. That is where it is imperative to use DTF-1 fluid.
 
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@edyvw thank you for providing me with such an excellent explanation. My concern is clutch life, and if using MaxLife or Castrol ATF/CVT Universal Fluid could have an impact on it in a KIA transmission. I've read many accounts from folks who used MaxLife in their KIAs and are happy. IMHO it's not a transmission that's on the same level as a ZF8. It's just a FWD vehicles with a trans-axle.
 
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@edyvw thank you for providing me with such an excellent explanation. My concern is clutch life, and if using MaxLife or Castrol ATF/CVT Universal Fluid could have an impact on it in a KIA transmission. I've read many accounts from folks who used MaxLife in their KIAs and are happy. IMHO it's not a transmission that's on the same level as a ZF8. It's just a FWD vehicles with a trans-axle.
How much are you saving using MaxLife vs. a fluid that actually has the blessings from Kia on the label, and not a universal fluid? If you're concerned use a fluid that Kia actually endorses. If not go for the ML, or some other universal fluid.
 
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How much are you saving using MaxLife vs. a fluid that actually has the blessings from Kia on the label, and not a universal fluid? If you're concerned use a fluid that Kia actually endorses. If not go for the ML, or some other universal fluid.
If I owned a vehicle with a ZF transmission, I would unquestionably buy Lifegurd 8 fluid. The SP-IV fluid is sketchy at best though, and overpriced. I believe Ineos makes it for KIA. I could just buy Ineos SP Plus which is their SP-IV fluid. Or maybe go with Amsoil, which seems like a quality option. My concern was clutch life though, if friction modifiers have something to do with that or not. Thank you.
 
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If I owned a vehicle with a ZF transmission, I would unquestionably buy Lifegurd 8 fluid. The SP-IV fluid is sketchy at best though, and overpriced. I believe Ineos makes it for KIA. I could just buy Ineos SP Plus which is their SP-IV fluid. Or maybe go with Amsoil, which seems like a quality option. My concern was clutch life though, if friction modifiers have something to do with that or not. Thank you.
My point is this, if you're concerned, read numerous posts on boards like this and are still concerned, then pay more and use the fluid the mfg. recommends. I find one size fits all or many can't possibly be perfect in every application, it's impossible. Having said that I'd rather pay more and be certain, than second guess myself, get opinions from people who may or may not know for certain and possibly have problems later on. To me it isn't worth the savings. jmo
 
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If I owned a vehicle with a ZF transmission, I would unquestionably buy Lifegurd 8 fluid. The SP-IV fluid is sketchy at best though, and overpriced. I believe Ineos makes it for KIA. I could just buy Ineos SP Plus which is their SP-IV fluid. Or maybe go with Amsoil, which seems like a quality option. My concern was clutch life though, if friction modifiers have something to do with that or not. Thank you.
Trav and Critic, among others, can answer are there any specific issues with KIA branded fluid. I used Motul in Toyota just bcs. I wanted to see how it performs and Toyota WS flyid is known to oxidize fast, so why not? But, if you are concerned how certain fluid will perform, and there is no issues with OE fluid, OE is way to go.
Now, for example I use in my BMW Redline D4 in manual and not BMW fluid. Reason is that ZF manual can take pretty much any fluid, and BMW is anyway using ATF fluid to improve shifts in very cold weather. But, it gets sketchy in hot environment or track where I take vehicle, so thicker fluid is known to work better and D4 or MT-LV are two favorites among those that take it to track. So, yes going aftermarket fluid is OK if that fluid address certain issues. But, if imperative is regular performance and OE fluid is not known to have issues, that is safest bet.
 
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If it is the ZF 8 speed planetary auto transmission, there's nothing really special about it, it uses 4 planetary gears and clutch packs, the clutch material is not made of any futuristic material that needs special friction modifiers that only the oem carries.

Clutch life shouldn't be an issue if you aren't using unknown atf, clutches DO wear out over time, they are a moving part and also a part that uses friction to engage, most universal ATF's shouldn't be an issue regarding clutch life.

Almost all planetary automatic transmissions use these major components:
Valve body
planetary gears
clutch packs

and since they do, the fluid in them all remains similar,
most manufacturers specify thinner ATF's to scrape a little more mpg.

Go use maxlife, avoid T-WS.
 

BMW Dom

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I think there are other people who know more about transmissions than I do, but I cannot see how transmission can operate exactly as intended by using different fluids (let's say shift speed).
Now, whether that will cause some adverse effects, or be noticeable to the driver, is IMO hard to know unless we are talking completely wrong fluid or some unknown blender.
MaxLife is used a lot by BMW owners and owners of other vehicles in ZF transmissions. So far I have not heard anyone stating: yes my transmission failed bcs. that fluid. But, it is hard to know really if that fluid or some other contributed to premature failure or some other issue.
That is why IMO, in such complex systems one should use fluid intended, and in this case, it is ZF8 fluid. ZF8 is the very sturdy transmission. On other hand, the BMW transfer case is known to be sensitive to wrong fluid. That is where it is imperative to use DTF-1 fluid.
I’m sure @MolaKule would know
 
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somebody made it 700k towing a trailer on maxlife. anecdotes are all you’re going to get with aftermarket fluid

if you don’t want to take the risk don’t use it
 

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I have been in total suspense since I ordered ZF LG8 …
Well, it arrived today and sadly it smells like ATF 😷
 

BMW Dom

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SP-IV fluid is nothing special and is seriously overpriced for what it is. The 6 speed in the Sorento is a pretty basic transmission. I believe that SP-IV was more or less a Deron VI clone when it came out like over 10 years ago.


I'm sorry to say this, but you didn't get a lick of objective advice so far. Here is my two cents:

If you think you have the patience and can/want to put the work in to get out all the old fluid, then go with the MaxLife. Castrol also makes good ATF, and I tend to trust them more because they are a global company and work with many OEMs directly. On my vehicle I plan to flush out the old fluid.

If you don't, then don't mix fluids. Just get the Lifeguard 8, and do the job. It will save you a lot of heart ache and time in the future.

@edyvw meant that Valvoline is a small company compared to ZF. Still, they're bigger than Amsoil.
Ya I haven’t gotten much useful information. The thread was about dropping the pan without lifting the car
 

BMW Dom

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So, you are just arguing to make yourself feel better about decision? By now you could put that MaxLife and enjoy life.
No, I just wanted to know more information. I do maintenance on my parents cars. And they don’t know a lot about cars. I just wanted help so I can convince my parents to change their other fluids and how much it will cost to do
 
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