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Gearbox oil change on 180k x5

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Opinions differ. ZF recommend a change at 100k but you're well past that now. You could drop the sump, clean it out, fit a new filter and top up with the correct oil. Depends what year it is. Older ones (E53) have a five speed auto with a metal sump, later ones (4.8iS E53 and E70) have the six speed auto but 4.8i E53's still had the replaceable filter.

 

At 180k the box will be approaching the end of its life so if you just checked the oil level and topped up if required and said 'bollocks to it', you'd also be right.

 

Your call really.

Edited by Sir Anthony Regents-Park

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Andy what are your thoughts as to failure after an oil change as in oft reported?

 

My take is if the box is displaying no untoward symptoms then is presumably in reasonable shape and a change can't hurt.

 

But when people change oil in an attempt to improve a box or solve an issue when the damage is already done and an oil change does nothing (perhaps even makes it worse) and the box subsequently fails as it was destined to anyway - people then blame the oil change?

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2 hours ago, duncan-uk said:

But when people change oil in an attempt to improve a box or solve an issue when the damage is already done and an oil change does nothing (perhaps even makes it worse) and the box subsequently fails as it was destined to anyway - people then blame the oil change?

 

It's only another opinion to add, but I think this is what happens quite a lot.

 

Keliuss

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They can go funny after an oil change. Not fail so often but get noisy. You're replacing oil thickened by contaminates (friction lining) with oil that's much thinner. Try putting 0W30 sythetic engine oil in a Morris 1000 and see what happens. I'd change the filter and add some new oil to get the level up again and leave it there. 

 

Or just leave it alone.

 

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8 hours ago, Sir Anthony Regents-Park said:

They can go funny after an oil change. Not fail so often but get noisy. You're replacing oil thickened by contaminates (friction lining) with oil that's much thinner. Try putting 0W30 sythetic engine oil in a Morris 1000 and see what happens. I'd change the filter and add some new oil to get the level up again and leave it there. 

 

Or just leave it alone.

 

That’s what I was going to do. Drain the oil that’s in the pan new filter then 7ltr of new oil 

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If the transmission is working well, then I would be sorely tempted to leave well alone, unlike engine oil there are no combustion by products for the oil to cope with, the only thing to degrade transmission fluid is heat, clutch, and metal particles, synthetic transmission fluid is much more tolerant of heat than the old mineral transmission fluid, and won't varnish over time,  the filter will keep things clean, so it's  your call.

 

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From 1st hand experience - 

My E39 had 111,000 miles on it 8 years ago with 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever'.

I put 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever' because it's what people usually say on forums who have BMW's with automatic boxes with over 100,000 miles on.

At it went POP without any warning at all. 

£1500 complete rebuild, new torque converter etc. All been perfect since, I've only put 45,000 miles on it since.

So it's up to you. 

If £1500 upwards is too much for you as a potential big bill in the future, have it changed now.

Or take the gamble and leave it alone. It could well be fine.

It all depends on how long you intend to keep the car or how often you change your mind to swap cars.

My E39 doesn't get used all that much, I've owned it 10 years and have spent a fortune over the years, but you can't replace them with anything worth buying for under £10k that hasn't done 100,000 miles.

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11 hours ago, mike77 said:

From 1st hand experience - 

My E39 had 111,000 miles on it 8 years ago with 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever'.

I put 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever' because it's what people usually say on forums who have BMW's with automatic boxes with over 100,000 miles on.

At it went POP without any warning at all. 

£1500 complete rebuild, new torque converter etc. All been perfect since, I've only put 45,000 miles on it since.

So it's up to you. 

If £1500 upwards is too much for you as a potential big bill in the future, have it changed now.

Or take the gamble and leave it alone. It could well be fine.

It all depends on how long you intend to keep the car or how often you change your mind to swap cars.

My E39 doesn't get used all that much, I've owned it 10 years and have spent a fortune over the years, but you can't replace them with anything worth buying for under £10k that hasn't done 100,000 miles.

That's a really well balanced approach Mike to the whole debate I think.

 

With mine though, it's a case of low miles (just turned 42,000) but approaching 20 years old. Again, the 'box appears to be without any issues and operates as it should.

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I had the oil changed on an E53 under warranty around 100k as it was suffering with the lurch issue and it solved the problem. I wouldn't have it changed unless you're having issues that are causing concern. 

There's tonnes of write ups on X5 forums regarding this and the general consensus is to leave well alone until you suspect there's something wrong.

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19 hours ago, mike77 said:

From 1st hand experience - 

My E39 had 111,000 miles on it 8 years ago with 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever'.

I put 'absolutely no gearbox issues whatsoever' because it's what people usually say on forums who have BMW's with automatic boxes with over 100,000 miles on.

At it went POP without any warning at all. 

£1500 complete rebuild, new torque converter etc. All been perfect since, I've only put 45,000 miles on it since.

So it's up to you. 

If £1500 upwards is too much for you as a potential big bill in the future, have it changed now.

Or take the gamble and leave it alone. It could well be fine.

It all depends on how long you intend to keep the car or how often you change your mind to swap cars.

My E39 doesn't get used all that much, I've owned it 10 years and have spent a fortune over the years, but you can't replace them with anything worth buying for under £10k that hasn't done 100,000 miles.

 

And and friend of mine has a 1997 528i auto with 240,000 miles and the original gearbox/oil. He's had it since 2005 and knows the one previous owner.

 

Your gearbox went pop suddently because something broke after 110,000 miles, probably a clutch drum splitting. It happens. An oil change won't prevent that.

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Hi,

 

As per above - it's a gamble.

 

You might well leave the gearbox alone and it'll go on for another 50/75/100K miles. You might change the gearbox oil/filters etc and it'll go on another 50/75/100K miles. You might leave it alone and it'll fail with no warning 'soon'. You might change the oil/filters etc and it'll fail with no warning 'soon'. 

 

A bit like Mike77 above, my auto gearbox was running absolutely no issues whatsoever - purchased at 150K miles in 2006, and later that year / early 2007 i was returning home and it 'failed with no warning whatsoever' half a mile from my driveway at 172K miles. It was rebuilt and 2015 with another 90/95K miles, it failed again with no warning. It was rebuilt again. Over the course of a year, it kept going back to them - 8/9 times due to bad workmanship/bad service and no refund from the auto gearbox place - a claim was put in via the credit card provider and part of the process was for me to have the gearbox independently inspected at a cost of around £500+. A low mileage full manual gearbox conversion kit came up at a great price so I snapped it up and had it fitted up. 

 

So I now have a lot more peace of mind in so much I don't have to dread the little yellow gearbox cog warning light coming on again! 2 full auto gearbox costings later, I've had enough thank you!

 

Loadmaster - I guess you've decided to keep your 540i now then ?!

 

Cheers, Dennis!

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To be fair, modern automatic transmissions are fairly reliable, and long lasting, earlier BMW e12, and e28's often had gearbox trouble before reaching 100,000 miles, and virtually unheard of with Ford's, and their  3 speed, C3 transmissions, to reach 100,000 before  an overhaul was needed.

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On 17/10/2020 at 17:11, DennisCooper said:

Loadmaster - I guess you've decided to keep your 540i now then ?!

 

Cheers, Dennis!

It's still with me for the time being Dennis. No real urgency to sell until I find a 340 Tourer which fits the bill, but they are quite rare.

 

 

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