is 128k miles too late?

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Hello, everyone,

I am planning some spring maintenance on a 2011 BMW 328i X-Drive.

It currently has 128 thousand miles.

I want to change the transmission fluid and filter, along with changing the transfer case fluid.

The plan was the drop the pan, replace the filter, gasket, clean the pan, and refill with Valvoline Maxlife ATF. And then do a few more drain/fills.

And for the transfer case, just to change the fluid along with a new drain/fill plug.

But I am just worried that the millage that I'm at is too late, and I will cause more damage compared to not touching the transmission and transfer case.

I'm not having any issues with the transmission or transfer case. I'm worried about longevity.

The differentials are getting changed out with Redline 75w-90 GL-5, so that is one less fluid I need to worry about.
I will also be completing an oil change, and power steering fluid swap with CHF-11S.

I am just looking for any general advice or past experiences to aid in my decision.

Thanks again!
 

BMW Dom

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You're not alone. I've been debating maxlife vs zf fluid for my Ram. Leaning towards maxlife at the moment. I've got 50k on mine now and plan to change it around 60k.
I'm feeling the same way about the ZF 8 speed fluid. I've seen much success with Maxlife in the ZF 8, so I would go Maxlife or Lifeguard 8.

However, I just want to clarify that my 2011 328xi does not have a ZF 8 speed.
 
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I've heard yes and no at 128k miles during my travels. Try calling a transmission shop and see what they say.
 

BMW Dom

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The whole “late” thing is an old tale. Plus 128K isn’t late no matter what.
What do you think about the whole story of the clutch pack material in the fluid is keeping the transmission shifting fine due to its friction added due to the clutch material in the fluid? Is that just a myth?

I'm not trying to be a troll, but I'm just trying to avoid an expensive mistake either way. I want to do what's best for the transmission.
 

BMW Dom

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Is that a GM or ZF trans? If it's GM I's change it and not worry about it. If it's ZF I'd change it but might worry about it a little.

Scott
It's a GM. I got under the car, and it has a metal transmission pan.

Was it you that has a thread about you selling your 2011 white BMW 328i?
I remember seeing all the extensive maintenance records, and I was trying to find those, but I could not.
I was just curious about all of the work that you did to it.
 
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I've told this story a bunch of times, so I'll tell it again.

Got a $400 cutlass ciera, 4T60 (no E). Seller was wishy washy about me test driving it, even a few feet. Go to drive home, it leaves first and doesn't really find second. I nurse it through the gears and get home.

Drop the pan, it is full of grey silt, like a sandy beach. Change the filter, change the vacuum modulator to an adjustable one, crank it up a little. New fluid.

Trans worked a whole bunch better. Got another 16k miles out of that heap.

Old clutch debris doesn't hold anything better. It does no favors in the valve body or anywhere else. Imagine the pump sucking through a restricted filter and not making the pressure to apply the clutches correctly. It's a nuisance that needs to be purged.

Don't ask a transmission shop, they sell transmissions. Ask some internet strangers with no hide in the game.
 

BMW Dom

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I've told this story a bunch of times, so I'll tell it again.

Got a $400 cutlass ciera, 4T60 (no E). Seller was wishy washy about me test driving it, even a few feet. Go to drive home, it leaves first and doesn't really find second. I nurse it through the gears and get home.

Drop the pan, it is full of grey silt, like a sandy beach. Change the filter, change the vacuum modulator to an adjustable one, crank it up a little. New fluid.

Trans worked a whole bunch better. Got another 16k miles out of that heap.

Old clutch debris doesn't hold anything better. It does no favors in the valve body or anywhere else. Imagine the pump sucking through a restricted filter and not making the pressure to apply the clutches correctly. It's a nuisance that needs to be purged.
Thanks for sharing!
 
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It's a GM. I got under the car, and it has a metal transmission pan.

Was it you that has a thread about you selling your 2011 white BMW 328i?
I remember seeing all the extensive maintenance records, and I was trying to find those, but I could not.
I was just curious about all of the work that you did to it.
Yes, that was me. I'd be happy to discuss with you. Send me a PM and we can talk over the phone. Changing the trans fluids is not difficult. You'll definitely want to drop the pan so you can change the filter. Doing that is not difficult, just a bit messy. I have a little trick on getting the filter snout seal out. You'll want to replace that given the mileage. The seal should come with the filter.

Scott

EDIT: Your GM trans uses Dexron VI. Your earlier post suggested you were going to use the ZF fluid. Maybe I misunderstood.

IMG_2050.jpeg
 
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Unless your transmission is falling apart I have never personally heard of anyone having issues from changing there fluid no matter the age. Im not sure how putting something better in could cause an issue unless your clutches no longer have any material left or something.
 
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Many of us are over thinkers here. I would gravitate towards changing it. My internet wisdom sides with the idea that most of the delayed tranny fluid change horror stories are myth.

Having said that, accept in your mind that coincidences happen. Your tranny might go bad next year regardless of either route chosen, or the opposite (run ten more years) with either choice. Second guessing and beating oneself (I'm an expert) leads to inaction.

If it was mine, I would change it.
 
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Do it. I did a change on a 2011 328i X-Drive E91 (wagon) that a friend owns at 150k miles. It immediately shifted a bit harder as the car adjusted to the new fluid. A week later it shifted better than it ever has, and now has 172k miles with buttery smooth shifts. I only use MaxLife in the BMW GM transmissions. A fluid and filter change will never hurt, only a power flush can cause issues.
 
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