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  1. #1
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    Member No: 93418 wrumble is an unknown quantity at this point wrumble's Avatar
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    Transmission breather leaking oil

    My 93' 740iL on occasion will leak oil out of the breather on the top of the transmission. This happened about a year ago and I removed and flushed the trans. oil cooler, topped off the fluid and it was fine until now. It never has happened with city driving, only on long open highway trips. Oil will drip down onto the exhaust pipes which causes a lot of smoke.

    Any idea what can cause the oil to come out of the breather?

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    the trans fluid expands by temperature.
    If it would be a 4HP22 trans with top feed, then I would assume that the trans is overfilled. But in case of your 5HP30 the feed is from bottom and there should be normally no overfill possible.
    I can only imagine that the temperature rises that much (beyond normal), that it expends too much.
    But as you already flushed the trans cooler, that should also no be the case.
    Checking procedure http://www.europeantransmissions.com...ansService.pdf

    or a defective pressure relief valve? But I have never heard of that.
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  3. #3
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    This problem has me baffled. When I topped off the ATF, I had to add about 1 quart. The oil could not have overheated enough to push out 1 quart. This transmission works perfectly. Smooth shifting, no slippage, no codes stored. One thing I have also done besides flushing the trans. heat exchanger, I also changed the engine thermostat back to a 85 deg C instead of the 95. 85 deg was the original temperature used before it was changed to 95 to help with the block alloy problem they had. Mine is the new block material. It is worth a try.
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    Well, the problem still exists and I do not know what to do next. I even replaced the selector shaft seal just for kicks. Again, no leaks when driving around town/local driving. The leak only occurs during highway speeds for long periods of time. The left side of the transmission case is wet with oil as far up as I can possibly see from beneath the car. Again appears to be coming from the breather. This transmission drives flawlessly! No noises, shifts smoothly, does not slip, engine temp is normal, and no codes in memory. I am totally at wits end.

    Any suggestions?
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  5. #5
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    I really don't know. Any trans shop in your area which you could ask and know that trans type?
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  6. #6
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    I cannot with certainty say that the oil is leaking from the breather. It only appears to be coming from that area. I cannot visually see the breather, so I gave this problem some thought. The trans works perfectly, it is not overheating, so why does it only leak oil at highway speed and not around town? The difference is that the torque converter is not locked up with low speed use. I studied the transmission layout and it turns out that the oil pressure for activating the lock up is supplied via the side cover plate on the left side of the transmission which is the same area that is getting wet with oil. With this in mind, I replaced the side cover plate gasket as well as the service plugs which are mounted to it. If this gasket leaks, the oil it is trying to seal is under pressure and will "Spray" out when the torque converter is locked up. I hope my theory works. I will keep you posted.
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    Well, I drove the car on the highway for about 6 hours and NO LEAK!!!!! Apparently the side gasket was the problem, spraying ATF in the area making it appear like the oil was coming out of the breather.
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    good to hear about good result
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    Did you have to drop tranny to replace plate and plug. and where did you order parts!
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    Gasket P/N: 24101421138 (need 1)
    Plugs P/N: 24117552351 (need 3)
    Got them from (BMW of South Atlanta) web site.
    http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/
    Last edited by wrumble; 12-20-2011 at 09:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrumble View Post
    Gasket P/N: 24101421138 (need 1)
    Plugs P/N: 24117552351 (need 3)
    Got them from "BMW of South Atlanta) web site.
    I replaced the gasket and 3 plugs on the left (driver's side) of the transmission. To remove the side cover you will need to drop the trans oil cooler because there is 1 bolt on the cover that will not come out unless you do so. To drop the oil cooler, you will have to disconnect the cooling lines feeding the cooler from the engine. If possible, do not attempt to remove the coolant lines at the cooler with the large nut fitting. The cooler threads are aluminum and the nut is steel. The threads may strip off like they did for me! I ended up using a hose/clamps to make the connection again. A new cooler is around $500! You only need to drop the cooler enough to get the bolt out (front most bolt of cover). Remove the cover, replace the gasket and 3 plugs then reinstall the cover. Install the cooler, top off your coolant. You will then need to top off the trans oil. There should be posts showing how to top off the fluid. Needs to be filled from bottom (no dip stick), with engine running, in neutral etc.. I used Mobil 1 multi vehicle ATF (available from Autozone for about $8/qt.). I had replaced all of the ATF with Mobil 1 about 2 years ago and has worked fine. This whole job took me about 4 hours (messy)
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    It came back!!!

    I just did a road trip (360 miles) and I lost about 1.5 qts.!!! I have also verified the source of the leak, it is coming out of the
    breather! Not sure what to do next! The trany shifts perfectly, no slippage. Any ideas?
    I lasted for about 8 months and has now returned.
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    I monitored the transmission temperature with a probe attached to the transmission, when on a long trip. The trans temperature never went above 185 Deg F, but I still had oil come out of the breather. How can this be? Any ideas?
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    I have no idea now. Have never heard that the breather valve itself can go defective. Any chance to call a good transmission shop or even ZF North America, maybe they can help.
    http://www.zf.com/na/content/en/nort.../homepage.html
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  16. #16
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    I read about Lucus trans fix oil treatment and it stated that it eliminates foaming which is a possible problem that I have been having so I gave it a try.
    I added 1.5 bottles of the trans fix. To date I have made a total of (6) 3-hour trips with no leaks! What did it fix (or patch) I do not know, but the trans continues to work fine, perhaps even shifts more smoothly than before with no leaking out of the breather.
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    Wrumble, I hope you might be able to shead some light on my problem. 2000 528i GM Trany. It leaks out of the breather. But it only seems to do it when it's cold. Not sure if it only happens when I put the car in reverse? Today I was backing it up to put it up on some ramps to replace my PS hoses and sure enough it did it. Started leaking out of trany breather. I know yours did it only when it was hot, if I'm correct. This problem seems to be intermittent. But it has been doing it more frequently. The Trany was serviced about 3k ago but the problem was happening before it was done. Any thoughts? How is your trany still doing? Did it only happen when it was hot?

    Thanks
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  18. #18
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    My 5HP30 is much different from you GM transmission so I am not sure if my experience relates to yours. The 5HP30 has in internal heat exchanger built into the trans. My leak only occurred at highway speeds but has stopped leaking ever since I added the Lucus. Unfortunately, I no longer have the car. Got into a fender bender accident which caused the car to be totaled. I now own a 2013 Subaru Outback.
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    Thank you for replying. Good luck with the Subaru
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