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Transmission and Differential Oil Change on an E46 330i (6 speed gearbox)


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#1 Neil_S

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:47 PM

OK thought I'd put this in here, just a few notes from my recent differential and transmission oil changes.

First off warm up the car to make the oil flow easier. I went for a 20 minute drive so by the time the car was up in the air, it was still at a warm temperature and the oil drained really easily.

First off the transmission. I found that my 6 speed manual took a smidge under 2 quarts (so about 1.85 litres). I used Redline D4 ATF fluid as recommended on alot of the US sites.

The fill plug was a 8mm hex bit and is on the drivers side, the drain plug is also a 8mm hex bit and sits at the bottom.

Naturally you want to remove the fill plug first and then the drain plug.

Before you start make sure the car is level. I drove the front wheels onto ramps and then put the rear on axle stands.

The access to the fill plug isn't perfect so it was real tight with my 8mm hex bit, I could just about get my breaker bar in.

I filled the transmission using a fluid pump I got from Machine Mart, it was about £10. Note that if you get this pump, it doesn't quite reach the very bottom of the bottle, so to get the last bit of fluid in the transmission I had to decant it into a jar and the last few pumps bought the oil right to the bottom edge of the fill plug.

Don't worry if you put too much in as the excess will flow out the fill plug.

The torque specs for the drain and fill plugs are 50 Nm.

Drain and fill plugs circled

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Old oil and the 8mm hex bit I used

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New oil and old oil - quite a difference!

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Onto the differential and this time a 14mm hex bit for the fill and drain plugs.

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The fluid used this time was Redline 75w90 and the amount was approximately 1.1 quarts (so just over a litre).

Again, make sure the car is level and make sure you undo the fill plug before the drain plug as always.

Used my machine mart pump again and you can see the colour difference in the oil

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I also noticed some tiny bits of metal in the drained oil, so definately worth doing.

The torque specs for the drain and fill plug are 70 Nm


The transmission oil change made the biggest difference, the gear change is slicker and doesn't feel as notchy now, but well worth doing this just for peace of mind.


#2 mattbull86

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 11:55 AM

Cheers for this DIY Neil, I am buying oil for my gearbox and diff tomorrow (pay day) so it will come in very useful!

One question, did you torque the drain and fill plugs up or just do them tight?

Thanks
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#3 Neil_S

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:48 PM

Cheers for this DIY Neil, I am buying oil for my gearbox and diff tomorrow (pay day) so it will come in very useful!

One question, did you torque the drain and fill plugs up or just do them tight?

Thanks


I torqued the drain plug on the transmission and the drain and fill plug on the differential. I couldn't get my torque wrench in for the fill plug on the transmission.

#4 simonlpearce

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:54 PM

Top man, i could give you a hug, i have been in need of doing this for such a lon time now.

I even purchased exactly the same fluids as you mentioned but gave up when i didnt have the pump to put the new fluid back in. I will def be heading to machine mart ton to get me one of those bad boys!

#5 Michael Lam

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:59 PM

Great thread this,

BTW for us with Steptronic boxes, is it the same procedure or will it have to be a trip to a $tealer/Transmission specialists?

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#6 simonlpearce

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 01:09 PM

As i understand it is a little more involving if you have auto box, i think there are filters that need changing.....although im not 100%!

#7 simonlpearce

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 01:25 PM

Is this the doofer i need to get the fluid back into the system, it looks like the one you got....

http://www.machinema...nsfer-equipment

#8 Neil_S

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 02:37 PM

Is this the doofer i need to get the fluid back into the system, it looks like the one you got....

http://www.machinema...nsfer-equipment


Thats the one, as I said on the transmission you'll need to decant the last bit of fluid into a jar to get the last few pumps in as the pump mechanism doesn't reach the very bottom of the bottle.

Glad it has proved some help.

#9 Neil_S

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 02:38 PM

I was reading about DSG gearboxes the other day, just glad I don't have one of those, apparently the car has to be completely cool to drain it and then you have to go about some weird procedure which involves filling it at a set temperature.

#10 mattbull86

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:44 PM

I torqued the drain plug on the transmission and the drain and fill plug on the differential. I couldn't get my torque wrench in for the fill plug on the transmission.


Nice one cheers, any ideas what value they are meant to be torqued too?
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#11 Neil_S

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:50 PM

Nice one cheers, any ideas what value they are meant to be torqued too?


I've edited the post to add that detail in, got it from my haynes manual

#12 mattbull86

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 09:16 PM

Excellent thanks, will get this done at the weekend!
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#13 momo

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:57 AM

Great DIY mate! Might give this a go myself soon! :D

Just ordered a load of oil from opie oils so will do this soon methinks!

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#14 nellers

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 06:03 AM

Couple questions for you.

Firstly which way is best to get the car up, drive front onto ramps and jack back up or drive back onto ramps and jack front up? Was just thinking then could the front wheels roll back while jacking up the rear?

Also was the space on the gearbox fill plug big enough for 1/2" ratchet or only big enough for 3/8"? Was going to buy a full hex set for my 1/2" set but not a lot of point if it won't fit under there?!

Did you use new washers on the fill or drain plugs when putting them back on?

#15 Neil_S

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 09:52 AM

Couple questions for you.

Firstly which way is best to get the car up, drive front onto ramps and jack back up or drive back onto ramps and jack front up? Was just thinking then could the front wheels roll back while jacking up the rear?

Also was the space on the gearbox fill plug big enough for 1/2" ratchet or only big enough for 3/8"? Was going to buy a full hex set for my 1/2" set but not a lot of point if it won't fit under there?!

Did you use new washers on the fill or drain plugs when putting them back on?



The ramps I have come in sections and the tower section where the wheels sit have a slight lip so I knew the wheels wouldn't roll back beyond that and so I drove the front wheels on the ramp and jacked the rear from the frame mount near the differential and put the rear on axle stands.

The gearbox fill plug location could just about accommodate my 1/2" ratchet, with a bit of angling.

I didn't use new washers, the fill plugs have like a rubber o-ring around the end of the plug which you can't buy individually from BMW, you have to buy an entire new plug which is stupid.

The o ring looked good on mine and so I just torqued them to the correct setting.

#16 nellers

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 03:50 PM

cheers!! :(

#17 Nickos

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:21 PM

As i understand it is a little more involving if you have auto box, i think there are filters that need changing.....although im not 100%!


indeed. Auto-box holds around 9 litres and 6.5 is changeable at a time as the torque converter holds the remainder. You can double change in an effort to get more. I however didn't botherand will change it again in the distant future.

You also need to shift through the gears i believe during the refill so i deside to give it to my local indy and they did it for me (1 hours labour for the fluid & filter change).

The gear changes are ALOT smoother in sport mode now!! Love it.

#18 Keith

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 09:31 AM

Nice work mate. I have been meaning to do this, now my gearbox has reached 45k - I just do not buy this 'sealed for life' crap... Anywhere there is wear and high temperatures, oil will breakdown over time and should be changed!

Did you notice a smoother gearchange afterwards?

Again, nice DIY; good explainations and photo's :thumbsup:

#19 nellers

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:01 AM

Did it say in the Haynes it was 50nm for trans, and 70nm for diff and does it mention different cars or is it just the generic Haynes E46 manual?

Looked at the DIY link on this site to a guy's page and he said 18lb/ft which is 24nm and autodata says:

Sump bolts: M6 x 8.8 = 10nm
M6 x 10.9 = 12nm

Sump drain bolt: M12 = 25nm
M18 = 30nm
M22 = 60nm

Now I'm really confused :thumbsup: Spose if Haynes says those values and they are for multiple E46's then they must be ok just don't want to strip any threads on trans or diff (that would be expensive!!).

#20 Neil_S

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 12:47 PM

Nice work mate. I have been meaning to do this, now my gearbox has reached 45k - I just do not buy this 'sealed for life' crap... Anywhere there is wear and high temperatures, oil will breakdown over time and should be changed!

Did you notice a smoother gearchange afterwards?

Again, nice DIY; good explainations and photo's :thumbsup:


The gear change feels great, I swear it feels like it is getting slicker as the days go by.




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