is 128k miles too late?

Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
323
Location
CA
Probably not for a drain and full, but I dunno squat about German cars.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2021
Messages
1,016
Location
Massachusetts
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!
It wasn't too late for my 127k Hyundai. If the transmission is working fine now it will work fine after a fluid change. I think this myth about high mileage changes ruining transmissions got started because people would ignore the transmission until it started acting up, then change the fluid and blame the fluid change on the failure. It like waiting for rod knock to change your oil, then complaining that the oil change clogged the pickup and windowed the block.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,177
Tell you what, if it concerns you that much...maybe just do a simple drain and fill. Then drive around with that for a good 5,000 miles, see if it feels any different, if not? Then go ahead and drop that pan, change the filter, clean it out, new gasket and put it all together. But I’d use factory fluid regardless.
 

BMW Dom

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,759
Tell you what, if it concerns you that much...maybe just do a simple drain and fill. Then drive around with that for a good 5,000 miles, see if it feels any different, if not? Then go ahead and drop that pan, change the filter, clean it out, new gasket and put it all together. But I’d use factory fluid regardless.
Hmm, I might send the fluid off for analysis.

Fluid wise, it calls for Dexron VI, and Maxlife is basically just an enhanced Dex VI
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
2,158
Location
Toronto-ish, Canada
I'm going to try to do it without resetting the fluid wear.

But why? Of course it will "work", there is no "try", but the fluid friction adaptations are part of the function and longevity of the transfer case. Arguably one of the things on the car you least want to have issues with.

IMO, and reading between the lines, it sounds like you might be avoiding building up the electronic portion of your DIY toolbox. I would not recommend entering into a long term DIY relationship with an out of warranty BMW (especially 2006+) without certain electronics in your toolbox. That's just the way it is, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Let the BMW specific forums guide you. Then you'll also have the tools to get to work when you have a problem instead of just maintenance.

Have the right tools, follow the proper procedures. You're going to need to register batteries, code injectors, read fault codes, put electronic parking brakes into "service mode" and all kinds of other stuff during your DIY days. Even doing the transmission fluid change - there is a fluid leveling function you need to perform with the engine running and the transmission at a certain temperature. You can futz around with IR thermometers, or read the temperature off the screen.

Also, based on some direct experience with an E39 (was it GM or ZF? Might have been ZF. It called for LT71141) the filter is something you really want to change. A clean filter isn't going to break or dislodge anything. If it's factory original, it's full of wear and break in material. The E39 in question shifted a little funny since new and kept getting stranger and stranger. The dealer was asked to change fluid and filter every 50k km but it was discovered they were only changing the fluid. A filter change and changing out to Amsoil ATF and it was better than the day it drove off the lot and stayed that way. I think something was off with the filter...
 

BMW Dom

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,759
But why? Of course it will "work", there is no "try", but the fluid friction adaptations are part of the function and longevity of the transfer case. Arguably one of the things on the car you least want to have issues with.

IMO, and reading between the lines, it sounds like you might be avoiding building up the electronic portion of your DIY toolbox. I would not recommend entering into a long term DIY relationship with an out of warranty BMW (especially 2006+) without certain electronics in your toolbox. That's just the way it is, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Let the BMW specific forums guide you. Then you'll also have the tools to get to work when you have a problem instead of just maintenance.

Have the right tools, follow the proper procedures. You're going to need to register batteries, code injectors, read fault codes, put electronic parking brakes into "service mode" and all kinds of other stuff during your DIY days. Even doing the transmission fluid change - there is a fluid leveling function you need to perform with the engine running and the transmission at a certain temperature. You can futz around with IR thermometers, or read the temperature off the screen.

Also, based on some direct experience with an E39 (was it GM or ZF? Might have been ZF. It called for LT71141) the filter is something you really want to change. A clean filter isn't going to break or dislodge anything. If it's factory original, it's full of wear and break in material. The E39 in question shifted a little funny since new and kept getting stranger and stranger. The dealer was asked to change fluid and filter every 50k km but it was discovered they were only changing the fluid. A filter change and changing out to Amsoil ATF and it was better than the day it drove off the lot and stayed that way. I think something was off with the filter...
I can read the fluid temperature just fine.
I have an OBD2 scanner and BimmerLink.
I just don’t want to deal with ISTA or INPA.

Doesn‘t the transmission also store data on when the fluid needs to be changed?

But the Bentley manual didn’t say anything about resetting it. And FCP Euro said you dont need to reset it if you didn’t mechanically change anything.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2013
Messages
14,880
Location
Indiana
We did an ATF exchange in my wife’s Volvo at 160k-ish. This was in 2016. Took 14 quarts.

I’m planning on a drain and fill this spring, which replaces about 3.5.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
Messages
2,177
Hmm, I might send the fluid off for analysis.

Fluid wise, it calls for Dexron VI, and Maxlife is basically just an enhanced Dex VI
Oh really? DEX Vl? Yeah then I’d feel good about running the Maxlife. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a BMW would run DEX Vl in their tranny, good to know.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2005
Messages
22,277
Location
Upper Midwest
Oh really? DEX Vl? Yeah then I’d feel good about running the Maxlife. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a BMW would run DEX Vl in their tranny, good to know.
My old BMW did, it listed DEXRON-II or -III which has been superseded to DEXRON-VI. I used that for many years until I then started using Maxlife.
 

BMW Dom

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,759
Oh really? DEX Vl? Yeah then I’d feel good about running the Maxlife. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a BMW would run DEX Vl in their tranny, good to know.
They used GM transmissions for some models and years.
But I’d feel fine running Maxlife even in the ZF transmissions
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
38,113
Location
ME
I got a garage who has a policy not to service transmission who haven't had any service in over 100,000 miles. And they service a TON of transmissions. "He told me they don't wish to buy anybody a new transmission!".
That's because they assume the customer noticed an issue, is a dullard who doesn't understand maintenance, and will blame the mechanic in short time when that issue flares up.

The point of fluid changes is to do them before performance degrades. Otherwise it's not maintenance, it's a repair.
 
Joined
May 4, 2017
Messages
317
Location
VA
The concensus of BMW forums is "change it." Now, changing ATF via the pan+filter means you're changing only about 60% of the fluid. Why? The toque converter has fluid in it. So, I recommend you find a shop that can do an ATF exchange (NOT A FLUSH). Try www.bimrs.org to find a shop in your area. Basically, a flush uses the transmission's cooling system pump (its hoses run to the ATF cooler at the radiator) to remove all of the old fluid which is replaced with new fluid.
 

BMW Dom

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,759
The concensus of BMW forums is "change it." Now, changing ATF via the pan+filter means you're changing only about 60% of the fluid. Why? The toque converter has fluid in it. So, I recommend you find a shop that can do an ATF exchange (NOT A FLUSH). Try www.bimrs.org to find a shop in your area. Basically, a flush uses the transmission's cooling system pump (its hoses run to the ATF cooler at the radiator) to remove all of the old fluid which is replaced with new fluid.
I prefer not to take it somewhere.

I'll just do a filter change and 2 drain and fills.
 
Joined
Mar 8, 2012
Messages
15,770
Location
Colorado Springs
You said you want to change PS fluid? Absolutely change reservoir!!! $35 ZF. It has micrfilter that cannot be changed. It clogs with time and fluid will start leaking from reservoir. If you neglect, pump is next.
 

BMW Dom

Thread starter
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
1,759
You said you want to change PS fluid? Absolutely change reservoir!!! $35 ZF. It has micrfilter that cannot be changed. It clogs with time and fluid will start leaking from reservoir. If you neglect, pump is next.
Ok, what's the best way to get new fluid into the system?

Turkey baster method?
Pulling return hose?

Is this what I need?
And the 2 clamps.

How much power steering fluid would I need? 1 or 2 liters?
Is the Pentosin CHF11S still the best thing to use?
 
Top