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Old 02-13-2011, 06:37 PM   #1
lemining
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Wink Transmission oil - level and replacement

Hi Everyone,

I have recently purchased 318ti ''01 compact. So far i'm very happy with it. It's small (good around city), yet very comfortable... I'm sure you all know that so ill get on with my post :P

Background story:
Yesterday I had my transmission play up a bit when cold. (Tiptronic)
Little gear with ! inside it lighted up right next to my "D" on dash. Gears would change very quickly and it would be a bit jerky. I tried switching car off/on to see if that fixes the problem but it didnt. After I came to work and car sat in the garage for usual 8 hours, it worked again and (!) was gone. Hasn't happened since though.

This is my first auto/tiptronic car so i'm not familiar with those gearboxes. I did some research and i found out that oil needs to be replaced in those every so often. No biggie did my lubs and usual maintanance in all my previous cars. Yet this one is different...

Questions:
  • Where is tran dipstick on this car?!
  • What is the "normal" way of taking the air filter out? I had to unscrew the MAF to get it out and then unscrew the whole box.
  • My dash tells me I have another 20k till service... i use to do every 6k on my vw golf gti. I think I will play it safe and do service every 10k?
  • Does anyone have owner's manual or service manual. I would be happy if you could point me to it. My 318ti came with japanese manual.
  • Where is pollen filter?

Hi again and i hope at least some of those questions can be answered!

Safe driving!
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:13 AM   #2
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there's no dipstick for the transmission, I don't know how you're supposed to check the level for an automatic though

some air filters are a pain to take out, nothing wrong with disconnecting the MAF to make it easier

I think 20k (assuming you're talking about kilometers) is too long, I'd go with 10k max if you're using synthetic
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiFreak View Post
there's no dipstick for the transmission, I don't know how you're supposed to check the level for an automatic though

some air filters are a pain to take out, nothing wrong with disconnecting the MAF to make it easier

I think 20k (assuming you're talking about kilometers) is too long, I'd go with 10k max if you're using synthetic
I wonder if there is a dipstick or some other way of checking the level. I'll get lift organized, maybe there is some sort of level window or dipstick under the car by the transmission or even on transmission itself. (like on my motorcycle).

Yes i meant kilometers. I will do it every 6-7k km just to be safe. Do you know if there is a pdf version (or hardcopy) of service manual somewhere? I saw that all links have been removed?! Wonder why...
Would save me a lot of time!
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:49 AM   #4
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only service manuals I can thick of are the Bentley and Haynes, neither of them cover E46 4-cyl. models since they weren't sold in the US
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:12 AM   #5
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7K on whats essentially a automatic transmission is way overkill.

On units that are service life speced for fluid changes its assumed the pan is coming off the converter is getting drained so essentially a dry transmission, then the fluid is pumped by volume through the return tube into the transmission often by installing a T in the return line at the cooler or trans. Then capping the unneeded fitting once filled.

Just guessing form other funky automatics I've heard of and seen lately.

I'd go to the dealer and see if you can talk to a mechanic on the side....
See what they are doing.

Dave
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Old 02-14-2011, 05:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdxmotorhead View Post
7K on whats essentially a automatic transmission is way overkill.

On units that are service life speced for fluid changes its assumed the pan is coming off the converter is getting drained so essentially a dry transmission, then the fluid is pumped by volume through the return tube into the transmission often by installing a T in the return line at the cooler or trans. Then capping the unneeded fitting once filled.

Just guessing form other funky automatics I've heard of and seen lately.

I'd go to the dealer and see if you can talk to a mechanic on the side....
See what they are doing.

Dave
I think thats my only option, really. I'm waiting for obd2 scanner maybe that will give me an idea of what is happening - if any errors etc.

PS: I meant 7k km maintenance as in engine oil, check plugs, filters etc not just transmission
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Old 02-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #7
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I doubt the fluid level check is much different-and it's a pain in the ass. I'd do a google seach on e46 auto trans fluid or something to find the info.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:01 PM   #8
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My dad has an '02 530i with an auto trans and he has noticed the shifts not being as smooth too. I read that changing the filter and some of the fluid is the best. Some people reported problems when they had all the trans fluid flushed, apparently it would knock deposits loose and they would screw things up (no reverse gear, yikes.)

So they recommended draining the pan, changing the filter, and then just refilling the pan. After a few months, drain the pan again and refill it with new fluid. That way it cycles new fluid in with the old and hopefully after a while it would be mostly new fluid.

Here's the part numbers for your transmission if you want to get a new filter.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...96&hg=24&fg=15


Edit - here's the cabin filter
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...47&hg=64&fg=10
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Last edited by spidertri; 02-14-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spidertri View Post
My dad has an '02 530i with an auto trans and he has noticed the shifts not being as smooth too. I read that changing the filter and some of the fluid is the best. Some people reported problems when they had all the trans fluid flushed, apparently it would knock deposits loose and they would screw things up (no reverse gear, yikes.)

So they recommended draining the pan, changing the filter, and then just refilling the pan. After a few months, drain the pan again and refill it with new fluid. That way it cycles new fluid in with the old and hopefully after a while it would be mostly new fluid.

Here's the part numbers for your transmission if you want to get a new filter.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...96&hg=24&fg=15


Edit - here's the cabin filter
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...47&hg=64&fg=10
Woah cheers! I'll have to find some time durring the weekend and get it sorted. I'll keep you posted!
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:43 PM   #10
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Update:
Today it has happened again. Started the car, waited for revs to drop a bit (warm up) and I was on my way to work. Soon after I took off, little gear with ! inside came on (right by D) and gears would change very quickly (i almost wish that gears would change that quickly on tiptronic) however it was very jerky. I'm not familiar with automatic transmissions (its my first one) but its almost as if it changes gear with either clutch on/off nothing in between.

I bought little obd2 bluetooth scanner, it gets data from ECU normally (graphs of rpm, coolant temp etc.), it shows no ECU errors though even that there is that gear on dashboard lighted up. I do remember when I had my VW and i had vag-com (which is vw/audi/skoda only obd2 scanner), I wasn't just checking ECU but air-bag controller, brake controller etc. I'm assuming obd2 couldnt find anything because it only checked ECU rather than transmission controller (if there is such controller)?

My gut feeling on this matter is that it probably isn't fluid/filter since it happens on cold mornings. I was thinking it could be some sort of sensor; possibly something with temperature. What do you guys think?
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:32 AM   #11
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The BMW automatics with no dipstick have a very specific procedure to get the fluid level right. There's a fill hole on the side so you pump in fluid till the level reaches the hole, like a manual. But it needs to be done at a specific temperature, neither cold nor hot, to get the level right.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:50 AM   #12
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I recently changed the automatic transmission in my ti that I bought just before Christmas. The car had a 100,000 miles on the clock at the time. Regardless of what BMW says, no transmission fluid is, "lifetime." The old fluid was slightly brown; more significantly the magnet in the pan was coated thickly with a metallic "paste" ie., tiny metal particles, the product of normal transmission wear. I wasn't having problems before I changed the fluid, but I do think that the car shifts a little smoother. I'm confident that changing the fluid will lengthen the life of the transmission.
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSKarl View Post
The BMW automatics with no dipstick have a very specific procedure to get the fluid level right. There's a fill hole on the side so you pump in fluid till the level reaches the hole, like a manual. But it needs to be done at a specific temperature, neither cold nor hot, to get the level right.
Not cold but not hot seems very vague. Any specific degrees Celsius? I guess I would have to have one of those laser thermometers?
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Old 03-06-2011, 06:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jca View Post
I recently changed the automatic transmission in my ti that I bought just before Christmas. The car had a 100,000 miles on the clock at the time. Regardless of what BMW says, no transmission fluid is, "lifetime." The old fluid was slightly brown; more significantly the magnet in the pan was coated thickly with a metallic "paste" ie., tiny metal particles, the product of normal transmission wear. I wasn't having problems before I changed the fluid, but I do think that the car shifts a little smoother. I'm confident that changing the fluid will lengthen the life of the transmission.
Yes, thats why I wonder if there is something wrong with my gear box, because its playing up and it has only done 50,000 km. (31,000 miles)
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemining View Post
Not cold but not hot seems very vague. Any specific degrees Celsius? I guess I would have to have one of those laser thermometers?
I don't have the actual temperature, but it's in the 90-100F range, definitely cooler than operating temperature when it's fully warmed up. Mechanic was telling me about it once, how it was PITA because the car coesn't stay at that temp. You have to catch it at the right temp and shut off the car so it doesn't get warmer. But of course the exhaust pipe is already a lot hotter. They're really working overtime to keep the average Joe out of car maintenance.
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