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      11-22-2021, 11:40 AM   #1
flypenfly
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Automatic fluid diy?

I had the fluid and filter changed by an Indy recently but because I am tracking the car, I would like to do it myself as well yearly. I do have access to a lift I can rent.

Are people using Lifegard 8?
Is a pivoting 8mm ratcheting wrench all that is needed for access to the fill hole?
A funnel with a hose is how Iím assuming you fill the fluid? Why do some use a fluid transfer pump?

I did read the procedure to go through the gears and keep filling with the engine running.
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      11-22-2021, 02:59 PM   #2
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The videos I have seen on the ZF8 require the ability to measure the temp of the fluid for an accurate check once done. It must be in a specific range.
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      11-22-2021, 03:16 PM   #3
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From what Iíve been reading, itís not a big deal, just cool it down. The fluid volume difference for the temp difference is not much.
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      11-25-2021, 11:31 PM   #4
ggggbmw
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I recently did mine, and it was the most annoying transmission fluid change I've ever done.

Access to the fill plug is really tight. It's right up against a frame rail. A regular socket fits, but you don't have clearance to get a regular ratchet on the socket. Not sure what tool would actually fit, but I had to cobble together two wrenches on the 8mm socket alone to get enough leverage on it. A tiny 8mm on the stub of the socket hex, and larger wrench on that one. You also only have about 3" of clearance out from the fill plug to the hot exhaust pipe. And since you have to run the engine during filling, it's going to be hot.

Filling is a pain too. You will definitely want a bent metal pipe to access the fill hole, and a high capacity (several quarts) filling system to push the fluid in. I was using a half-liter syringe, and that was just a messy disaster. Better once I built an appropriate bent metal fill tube, but still a pain.

And remember, you need to bring it to total fill with the engine running, and while doing the gear change exercise, and while monitoring temps, and get this all done before the transmission gets too hot. The fill temp is relatively low 110F. If you're doing this on a warm day, that temp happens fast. I had to add about 1.5 L after the gear exercise to bring it to final level.

I also had issues with the gear exercise. Online sources say to keep the brakes on, and don't let the wheels turn while moving the gear shift from reverse/neutral/forward and then through the gears. Well, the car won't go beyond 2nd gear unless the wheels are turning. (Unless there is some trick I'm totally missing.) And if you do let the wheels spin, you have to put it in DSC off or it apples the rear brakes. It still wouldn't go above 6th for me, and the ECU was really complaining about a driveline failure. I suspect if you put it in 'roller mode', aka dyno mode, that wouldn't happen. But yet another thing to fiddle with if you do that.

Oh, and I almost forgot the stench of the ZF Lifeguard fluid. Get any rags you use to sop up spills (and you will be dripping all over, and cleaning out pans since the fill literally has to spill out when it's done), out of the garage or into a sealed container. It smells worse than differential fluid.

All in all, I'm not sure I would do this myself again. Having a full lift would help a lot, as would a better fill system. An extra person to do the shifting and monitor the trans temps would also help. And I would definitely need to find a better wrench to fit the fill plug.

Last edited by ggggbmw; 11-25-2021 at 11:40 PM..
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      11-26-2021, 11:26 PM   #5
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Would this help?

Park Tool CCW-5C Crank Bolt Wrench https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012Q5XAS...C8HDPH0A8G9RP7

Thanks for the tips.

Last edited by flypenfly; 11-27-2021 at 07:34 AM..
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      11-27-2021, 11:43 AM   #6
flypenfly
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Hmmm is this definitely an 8mm Allen key?

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-24117552108-1
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      11-27-2021, 12:04 PM   #7
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Hmm if it is an 8mm Allen, I would imagine that a long Allen wrench would work no if you’re coming from a lift? Just use the wrench for loosening and tightening then you can work it loose with your fingers?
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      11-27-2021, 03:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggggbmw View Post
I recently did mine, and it was the most annoying transmission fluid change I've ever done.

Access to the fill plug is really tight. It's right up against a frame rail. A regular socket fits, but you don't have clearance to get a regular ratchet on the socket. Not sure what tool would actually fit, but I had to cobble together two wrenches on the 8mm socket alone to get enough leverage on it. A tiny 8mm on the stub of the socket hex, and larger wrench on that one. You also only have about 3" of clearance out from the fill plug to the hot exhaust pipe. And since you have to run the engine during filling, it's going to be hot.

Filling is a pain too. You will definitely want a bent metal pipe to access the fill hole, and a high capacity (several quarts) filling system to push the fluid in. I was using a half-liter syringe, and that was just a messy disaster. Better once I built an appropriate bent metal fill tube, but still a pain.

And remember, you need to bring it to total fill with the engine running, and while doing the gear change exercise, and while monitoring temps, and get this all done before the transmission gets too hot. The fill temp is relatively low 110F. If you're doing this on a warm day, that temp happens fast. I had to add about 1.5 L after the gear exercise to bring it to final level.

I also had issues with the gear exercise. Online sources say to keep the brakes on, and don't let the wheels turn while moving the gear shift from reverse/neutral/forward and then through the gears. Well, the car won't go beyond 2nd gear unless the wheels are turning. (Unless there is some trick I'm totally missing.) And if you do let the wheels spin, you have to put it in DSC off or it apples the rear brakes. It still wouldn't go above 6th for me, and the ECU was really complaining about a driveline failure. I suspect if you put it in 'roller mode', aka dyno mode, that wouldn't happen. But yet another thing to fiddle with if you do that.

Oh, and I almost forgot the stench of the ZF Lifeguard fluid. Get any rags you use to sop up spills (and you will be dripping all over, and cleaning out pans since the fill literally has to spill out when it's done), out of the garage or into a sealed container. It smells worse than differential fluid.

All in all, I'm not sure I would do this myself again. Having a full lift would help a lot, as would a better fill system. An extra person to do the shifting and monitor the trans temps would also help. And I would definitely need to find a better wrench to fit the fill plug.
Thank you for posting this. You confirmed my intention to have a shop do this 10K mi. from now, at 50K mi. However, I may buy the kit from FCP and bring it to them.

Edit: FCP has the ZF kit on sale for $70 off. Bought it. Will have it changed a little earlier than I planned to.
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Last edited by PeterWT; 11-27-2021 at 04:42 PM..
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      11-27-2021, 08:08 PM   #9
ggggbmw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flypenfly View Post
Would this help?
Park Tool CCW-5C Crank Bolt Wrench https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0012Q5XAS...C8HDPH0A8G9RP7
Thanks for the tips.
The flange surrounding the hex on this tool is verging on too big, and might not fit. It would be really tight.

Yes, I could have just used a plain L-shaped Alley key. But I only had a short one in 8mm size (~4" on long end) so no real advantage over the assembly I put together. Also, kind of a pain to keep pulling and inserting an Allen key.

With 8mm hex socket alone I was able to spin it with my fingers for when the plug was free, and when used with a wrench to snug it down I could use the tip of my finger in the socket to help guide it into place. Only really needed the extra wrench for initial loosening and final tightening.

Something sized more like this, but not this one:
https://www.amazon.com/Anex-No-425-9.../dp/B001O78DT8
This doesn't have an 8mm, but I've seen similar that do, and this would probably break with full final torque. Of course, can't really torque to spec with anything like this either. Would need some sort of offset bar.
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      11-27-2021, 08:19 PM   #10
ggggbmw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flypenfly View Post
Hmmm is this definitely an 8mm Allen key?

https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-24117552108-1
No, those are the screws that hold the pan on.

This is the fill plug:
https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-24117552349-1
There is one included in the fill kit.

And dang, $70 off is a good price on that kit.

On the transmission pan screws, there are two different torque specs. If you get the aluminum screws, it needs a really low torque 4 Nm, plus 90 degrees. If you get the steel screws, it's an easy (but still low) 10Nm. I got the steel screws in the FCP kit, but I don't if that's always the case.

I was expecting the aluminum screws and used that to justify a fancy electronic 1/4" torque wrench. And then I didn't need it. Oh well, you can never have too many cool tools, and I'm sure it will come in handy on something else.

Dropping and replacing the pan was actually the easiest part of this job. No real clearance issues, and everything came off and went on easily. The problems are all with the fill plug access and the fill process.
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      11-27-2021, 10:19 PM   #11
flypenfly
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Wow what an oversight on the plug, thank you!
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