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2010 2011 BMW 5 Series Forum F10 F10 Technical Topics DIY Guides & Discussions 8HP Transmission Fluid Service DIY
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      03-08-2020, 12:29 AM   #1
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8HP Transmission Fluid Service DIY

Repeat after me: I will not undo the drain bolt until I loosen the fill bolt. I will not undo the drain bolt until I loosen the fill bolt

Now that I got that out of the way, onto the guide!

Necessary tools:
  • 8mm long allen key (Husky long arm allen key is what I used) OR stubby hex bit set
  • T-40 bit
  • Some kind of fluid transfer device. Power fill tool highly suggested.
  • 8mm hex socket
  • 10mm hex bit/allen key
  • Small torque wrench. Ideally one that is accurate in the lower ranges, as you will need to torque the pan bolts to 10nm.
  • 4 jack stands. You can replace 2 stands with ramps if you're RWD
  • Drain pan
  • Chemical resistant gloves, ATF is really bad for your skin and smells like literal BO.
  • 8mm and 10mm 12 point box wrench

Nice to have tools:
  • Level. You want the pan to be as level as possible
  • A second pair of hands
  • ISTA+ with ENET cable. If not, you need some way of reading transmission oil temperature.
  • 8mm and 10mm ratcheting 12 point box wrench

Pan and filter kit, includes replacement fill bolt and pan bolts

ATF fluid

People have reported success with aftermarket ATF, but I personally recommend OEM as this isn't a frequent service and I'd rather not risk my transmission.

Note: All images have a blue arrow pointing towards the front of the car, to help you orient yourselves.
  1. Remove underbody tray that covers transmission, 2 bolts are covered by the front underbody tray.
  2. Remove exhaust support and underbody tray anchor panel thing. You don't have to remove the underbody tray anchor panel thing, but it gets kinda messy if you don't so I'd just do it.

    Underbody tray anchor panel thing is held on by 2 10mm nuts



    Exhaust support nuts, use 8mm box wrench. When reinstalling, torque to 21nm. First picture has a red arrow pointing at the direction of the third nut you need to remove


    Third nut:



  3. Position the drain pan since a little might drip, and remove the 8mm fill bolt. If it's seized, use a pipe to extend the allen, or a breaker bar if you're using a stubby hex.



  4. Drain transmission, 10mm hex. Protip: Don't drop the drain bolt. Once the transmission is done draining, screw it back on.
  5. Remove transmission pan, the bolts are all T-40 bolts. I recommend starting from the front bolts, and leave one of the rear bolts as the last one. This is because there's a solid amount of fluid that stays in the filter, and once you tilt the pan, the filter releases it. If you start off at the front, it'll tilt towards the filter, and you get to avoid the following issue:



    Pan removed:



  6. Clean up the mating surface of any ATF and dirt.
  7. Reinstall the transmission pan, hand start all bolts. Just get the bolts to catch so they don't fall/let the pan fall, do not actually torque them down yet. Start by using bolts 1 and 2 to hold the pan, then the rest, following the correct sequence:



  8. Tighten pan bolts down to 10nm, make sure to follow the mentioned sequence above. Do not deviate from the sequence. I'd put down the drill for this part, you don't wanna mess it up and get a gasket leak, don't be lazy
  9. Torque the drain bolt down to 8nm, you're ready to fill now.
  10. Fill the transmission via fill port with your preferred method, shake bottle before opening. Don't fill it too fast or it'll splash. I use a $15 DIY version of the Motive Power Fill, makes the whole thing pretty much hands free and so much less messy. I'll likely post a DIY guide on making one yourself, stay tuned. If you don't want to wait, I used this video as a reference. Stop filling when ATF starts to come out of the fill port. Wait until it's done dripping to proceed.
  11. Follow the ISTA+ instructions for oil balancing. If you have ISTA+, it will walk you through the process. Just for clarification of the ISTA procedure though: I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to hold the brakes and you're supposed to just let the wheel's spin freely during the reverse/M1-M2 section. Otherwise, why would they have you disable DSC completely.




For those who do not have ISTA+, you need some way of reading the transmission oil temperature. This is what ISTA tells you to do:
  1. FIll transmission until it drips (already done if you followed my steps)
  2. Ensure parking brake is engaged, start car, immediately fill again until it drips. Wait until it stops dripping and reinstall the fill plug, no need to really torque it down yet. This is where a second pair of hands comes in handy, as they can start the car for you. If you have a power fill tool, this part is easy since all you do is let the fluid start flowing again.
  3. Wait until RPM's fall under 900, and then turn off DSC completely by pressing and holding the DSC off button.
  4. Foot on brake, release parking brake, shift car into reverse, release brake. Wait 10 seconds. Brake, shift into drive, move shifter to the left and go into M1. Release brake, wait 10 seconds. Shift into M2, wait 10 seconds. Brake, shift into park, engage parking brake.
  5. Rev to 2000 and hold it there for 30 seconds to fill the torque converter. Shift into park after this, and allow transmission to warm up to 40*C.
  6. Once transmission is up to temp, open the fill port. If any fluid comes out, let it drain until it stops.
  7. If no fluids come out, fill until it does, then let it drain until it stops.
  8. Reinstall with the new fill bolt. Torque to 35nm, I just made sure it was tight.
  9. Reinstall everything

I used about 4.5 liters of ATF, the car holds 7. You won't get everything out, and I wouldn't try to as that's a very involved process.

While doing this, if you're RWD I'd actually replace the mechatronic sealing sleeve, as that sometimes leaks. Need to do this with the transmission drained, so this is a good time for it. For AWD, there's not enough space without dropping the transfer case, so I'd just poke around and make sure it's not leaking, and if it's not, leave it. Pull out the sleeve, use some ATF to lube up the new one's o-rings, and push it in. It only goes in one way and one orientation, so if it's not going in, rotate it until it does. Push the plug back in and rotate it towards you (clockwise) until it solidly clicks.

Twist the tab towards the top of the car (counter clockwise), it'll unscrew itself. Pop it off, needs a bit of force.



You can see just how tight it is for xDrive owners, that big black mass to the right of the picture is the transfer case, the left is the transmission pan.



Note: Some video guides say to take an infrared laser thermometer to measure the pan temperature and go off of that. It will NOT work. The pan heats up significantly slower than the fluid will, so by the time the pan is up to temp you'll likely have overshot the fluid temp.
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Last edited by Unspec; 03-17-2020 at 07:35 PM..
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      03-08-2020, 03:27 PM   #2
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thank you!
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      03-09-2020, 05:07 PM   #3
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Sorry, fixed the images. Not sure why they didn't upload correctly.
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      03-09-2020, 06:06 PM   #4
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Sure validates my decision to let my dealer do it!!
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      03-09-2020, 07:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezaircon4jc View Post
Sure validates my decision to let my dealer do it!!
Find a good Indy shop...some dealers won't even do or charge stupid money if they will
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      03-09-2020, 07:14 PM   #6
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Thank you OP!
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      03-09-2020, 07:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Find a good Indy shop...some dealers won't even do or charge stupid money if they will
My dealer is cheaper than the indy about a half mile away.
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      03-09-2020, 09:09 PM   #8
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Nice write up. I did mine a few mo the ago. Not very hard. Just tedious and Time consuming
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      03-10-2020, 08:00 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezaircon4jc View Post
Sure validates my decision to let my dealer do it!!
To be honest, once you've done it once, it's very easy. You could probably get it done in an hour if you have quick jacks.
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      03-10-2020, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unspec View Post
To be honest, once you've done it once, it's very easy. You could probably get it done in an hour if you have quick jacks.
Nope... A jack, 4 jack stands and no ISTA. I'm at the age now where I don't mind paying to have things done. I just did the front brakes on my son-in-law's Sentra and I hurt for 2 days! The left side took around an hour (the caliper mounting bolts were almost frozen and I had to use my HF impact to free them and the inside pad would NOT seat!) and the right side about 20 minutes. His dealer wanted almost $700 for the job!
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      03-10-2020, 06:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ezaircon4jc View Post
Nope... A jack, 4 jack stands and no ISTA. I'm at the age now where I don't mind paying to have things done. I just did the front brakes on my son-in-law's Sentra and I hurt for 2 days! The left side took around an hour (the caliper mounting bolts were almost frozen and I had to use my HF impact to free them and the inside pad would NOT seat!) and the right side about 20 minutes. His dealer wanted almost $700 for the job!
Ah, if you're at that point in life I agree. I'm still young so I have more time than money lol
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      03-17-2020, 03:22 PM   #12
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Dude Thanks for taking time to post this
much appreciated
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      03-17-2020, 07:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Jeffe 5 View Post
Dude Thanks for taking time to post this
much appreciated
No problem. Replaced my fluid and pan 3 times in 2 months because I was chasing a slow transmission leak, so I a good amount of experience doing it lol
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      03-17-2020, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unspec View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Jeffe 5 View Post
Dude Thanks for taking time to post this
much appreciated
No problem. Replaced my fluid and pan 3 times in 2 months because I was chasing a slow transmission leak, so I a good amount of experience doing it lol
Now what did you use to measure temp of the fluid?
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      03-17-2020, 07:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Jeffe 5 View Post
Now what did you use to measure temp of the fluid?
ISTA+
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      03-17-2020, 07:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unspec View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Jeffe 5 View Post
Now what did you use to measure temp of the fluid?
ISTA+
I know I'm going off topic here
I been looking into downloading ISTA
just not sure
What's best computer for and best place to download from
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      03-17-2020, 07:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EL Jeffe 5 View Post
I know I'm going off topic here
I been looking into downloading ISTA
just not sure
What's best computer for and best place to download from
Windows 7 64bit and above should be fine. As for where, there's a request thread here:

https://f10.5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1322045

He takes a bit to respond though.
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      03-17-2020, 09:46 PM   #18
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bimmercode has it as well
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      03-24-2020, 08:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
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bimmercode has it as well
Yup, most OBD2 reader programs have it. ISTA is mostly just a luxury (ironically), since it's free and walks you through the balancing/refilling process.
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      03-29-2020, 03:37 PM   #20
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Anyone have trouble getting the fill bolt loose??
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      03-29-2020, 10:00 PM   #21
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Nevermind got it. Dang that was tough. For those that strip the drain bolt.. don't worry, the fluid will just drain if you leave one bolt in. Getting under the car when it was running was a lot less painful than I was expecting.

Thanks OP for that that fluid pumper video, that was super helpful.
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      Yesterday, 12:49 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylverlee View Post
Nevermind got it. Dang that was tough. For those that strip the drain bolt.. don't worry, the fluid will just drain if you leave one bolt in. Getting under the car when it was running was a lot less painful than I was expecting.

Thanks OP for that that fluid pumper video, that was super helpful.
How'd you manage to strip the drain bolt? Yea, the drain bolt can get quite seized up. I ended up bruising my knuckles because I punched the underside of the car when I finally let go lol
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