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      06-05-2011, 02:55 PM  
European Editor
Dackelone's Avatar

Drives: N54 e82
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Bayern, Germany

iTrader: (1)

6MT manual transmission and differential fluid change...

Hi Guys,

Well… I finally got around to changing my manual transmission and differential fluids. I really do not know why it took me so long to do this. Technically IF you can handle changing your engine’s oil you can do this job.

I purchased the transmission fluid (MTF-LT-4) from my local BMW dealership. Normally this is sold in five liter jugs but they had some in a barrel – so they sold it to me by the liter. The manual trans takes 2.0L so I bought 2.5L just to be safe. The last thing I wanted was to run back to the dealer with my car left up in the air. I can confirm the manual transmission takes 2.0 liters of fluid.

For the rear diff, I used Castrol “SAE 75W140 GL5 BMW LS”. This fluid is backwards compatible with non-LSD differential. It is also the same fluid BMW says to use for M models. The differential took 1.2L to fill.

You simply fill the trans and diff until fluid starts to spill out (as long as your car is jacked up completely LEVEL!).

The whole process is very simple. The only special tools you need are: a 8mm allen (hex) key for the transmission. The fill hole is a tight fit… my ½” 8mm socket could not get up in there… so I used a L-shaped allen wrench. That worked just fine. For the rear diff you need a 14mm hex socket. Btw… there are no copper crush o-rings… you just re-use the old drain plugs. They have one of those green neoprene o-rings built into the drain/fill plugs.

NOTE: before you open the transmission fluid drain (on the bottom of the trans, you first need to remove one of the under body aero covers) I would first remove the transmission’s fill plug. It is located on the upper right (Passenger side) of the trans. Then once you have the fill plug removed remove the trans drain. Be forewarned that the trans gear oil will come out quite quickly! Ask me how I know this… because a got a slight shower of trans oil all over me! lol

You will need some device to suck out the old differential fluid. I used a fluid evacuator – that I bought from Griots Garage. I attached a 2M long 8mm green hose onto the end of the suction tube. Worked like a charm. I also think Motive Products makes a nice fluid evacuator/pump as well. These suction pumps cost less then $100.

It is pretty easy to do. I really do not know why I waited so long. I do know that my trans oil was filthy! Very dark black. The diff oil looked dark but really did not have that stinky diff oil smell to it – that I was kind of half expecting it to have. The new fluids were very clean and clear going in (as you can see in one of my photos). I am sure in no time they will change to a darker color. I am thinking of changing these oils again say in 20K. Just to be OCD and over kill safe.


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A friend of mine asked me how I filled the transmission with fresh oil. I used an automotive syringe-like device, made by Pressol. It can suck or push oil/fluids. It holds roughly 500ml of fluid - and it works quite well. It can be found at most German hardware stores. I bought mine at Hornbach for 22 euros. For anyone stationed in Germany you can input your city's German zip code here to find a Hornbach near you...

You can ask for an, Öl-Absaugpumpe

Pressol Saug- und Druckspritze (suction and pressure syringe) has them one sale right now.

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To remove the old diff fluid I used a oil change vacuum pump. Most MWR car craft shops should have an industrial tool that can suck old oil from the car's dipstick tube. Just use one with some 8mm vacuum hose attached to the end. Then insert it inside the diff's fill hole and suck out the old diff oil.

Hornbach also sells a fluid vacuum pump(made to suck out fuel, but it should also work for diff oil. Just make sure the oil is warm/hot). The suction tool is made by Einhell ( Benzin-Ölabsaugpumpe)

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Hope this helps future guys to change their fluids!