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  1. #1
    01MPWR
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    Automatic Transmission Flush

    You fellows got so much enjoyment from that guy who did a brake flush, I thought I should write too!! (;

    Did a tranny flush on my wife's 01 330i with 63,000 miles today. I can tell you this... you will -never- drop that pan and say "Oh, I didn't need this." The fluid was dark and dirty, and every one of the magnets was gooped up good! The filter surface was black and cruddy also. I doubt the magnets could hold or attract any more sludgy fillings. Almost 1/16 to 1/8" thick on all the magnets. You could not see down through a 1/4" deep pool of the old fluid left in the pan.

    A very straight forward job. Just have patience and plenty of time, there is some work involved here. Here are my tips...

    1. The biggest issue and take-away for me was the problem with the fill plug. You need a -short- stubby allen head socket to get in there. I cut mine down with an air cutting disc. I guess snap-on sells a stubby one. -You must have this.- Even then in the ten years of heat and not being removed the plug was tight, tight. I ended up having to put a short piece of pipe on the 3/8" rachet. It let out a big "crack" when it came loose, I actually thought the rachet bit the dust.

    2. Take your time putting the pan back on. Be absolutely positive that the gasket is correct -on each and every hole!- I thought I had it right because three sides of the pan where perfect and many screws were in. Wrong! The one end had pulled in, and I almost missed it if I would have -assumed- the gasket was correct. I used a dental pick to poke in each hole to make sure the gasket was correct.

    3. Use the correct -matching- Esso LT fluid. Remember... you will be mixing fluids, so you want it all the same! Yes... it costs an obscene fortune, but so does buying another tranny!!!

    4. Remember the car has to be jacked up level all around.

    5. Remember that the tranny has to be warm to the touch (but not hot) for proper filling level. Took 5 1/2 quarts on the 330i.

    That's it! We're doing a cross country road trip in spring. So right before then, I'll just pull the drain plug and do another fill. Easy and quick without dropping the pan. That will give me about 90% new. Then I should be good for another 50k at least.


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    we've done a coast to coast X-country

    trip for the last eight summers. Usually take about six weeks.
    Just curious what route you'll take and how long you'll be out?
    Let me know if you want to know about anything along the way?

    Great description of your tranny change, even if it won't help my manual! Good reading.

  3. #3
    01MPWR
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    Re: we've done a coast to coast X-country

    Thanks for the kind words Stinger! I should not have used the words "cross country" because to me that is only Florida to Wisconsin. Hardly worthy of the mention compared to the trips you take!!

    One other point on the automatic tranny oil change. My wife's 330i is an 02 not an 01. I doubt there is any difference.

    The other very important point I forgot to mention is this... The fill plug is a very thin aluminum plug, at least the part you hold on to. So when you are doing the final fill with the engine running, the fluid will be running out onto your hand. (This is what full is, when it overflows the side of the tranny). You are trying to quickly start the fill plug to stem the flow, but it is nearly impossible with everything so slippery.

    What I did is put the fill plug in the vise, and gave it a good squeeze. This puts a "poor mans" knurling on the edge you grab. Keep rotating the plug in the vise and squeeze down hard to put some cuts marks in the plug to grap on to.

    With the amazing stuff I read here, with the skills that some of you are capable of, I bet someone is already thinking of chucking this plug in a lathe and putting proper machine shop knurling on it!

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    Ah, the Wisconsin Dells! Interesting stop

    along the journey.

    Creative home brew solution to knurl your knob.

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    Re: Automatic Transmission Flush

    Heck, I gotta chime in: good job!! Even with the longish interval, I'm surprised you found so much gunk. I change the fluid in my 5 speed manual tranny every 30K miles, and it's always pretty clean and still red.


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