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bimmaster, BMW Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 1881
Experience:  3 years dealer experience, master bmw tech
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2007 BMW 530I: oil change..air filter..leak..transmission fluid

Customer Question

2007 BMW 530I - (76K miles)
Had car serviced at BMW with oil change on 3/18, air filter etc. No problems noted.
On 4/1 car begins to leak transmission fluid on the gargae floor. Take it to the local garage who states that the oil change service was simply sloppy and the belly pan is full of fluid. They cleanup the car as best possible. Take it to BMW. Am now told that the transmission pan is warped (really?) $1300 repair.

When asked to explain warping am told that the expansion/contraction can cause this over time. Got to belive these pans are made to resist high heat swings in the transmission. Also told that the new part only has a two year warranty with unlimited mileage. Does this repair and bill make sense? Will the auto need to be replenished with new transmission fluid? Are there other options?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: BMW
Expert:  bimmaster replied 3 years ago.
Hi, transmission fluid leaks on this generation 5 series is very common. Most of the leaks however, are from the sealing sleeve for the transmission electrical connector.
So if you do get this repair done, make sure that is replaced too.

The transmission pans are known to leak as well, but usually only after the pan has been removed to replace the sealing sleeve. They are often overtightened, or not tightened evenly, which can cause some seepage. Small cracks can form and cause the leaks. They want to replace the pan in the process to give the best chance for no leaks.

The $1300 price is very high for this job. List price on the pan is $268. It would be best to replace all the fluid drained with fresh oil, to prolong transmission life. So at most it should be around $400 in parts, and fluid. Labor time should be 4-5 hours customer pay times. So it should be under $1000 total.
You may want to find a local qualified BMW independent shop for these types of repairs that don't require factory diagnostic equipment.

Your only other option is to have them replace the sealing sleeve, and the transmission pan gasket only. If they clean the pan thoroughly, and torque the bolts evenly. It's possible the pan may not leak, but you may have to pay for the same job again, if it does leak.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Just spoke to BMW. $336 for pan and sleeve. $241 for 8.5 liters of fluid if the car needs that much. They plan on using as much fluid that can be saved and adding the remainder. If all fluid is replced it will come to the $241 figure. Doe the above plus 4-5 hours oflabor seem correct?
Expert:  bimmaster replied 3 years ago.
If they are charging for 8.5 liters of fluid then they're original estimate seems correct.
Normally when the fluid is drained during this job, only 5-6 liters come out. If they save most of it, you should only need a quart or two. Keep in mind the fluid at this mileage should be replaced anyway for maintenance reasons.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I inquired as to why they would not replace all fluid and was told it was a "lifetime fluid". Find this hard to believe. Shold they not just change it all?
Expert:  bimmaster replied 3 years ago.
If it was my vehicle, I would replace all the fluid that was drained.
It's not possible to get all the fluid out, because the torque converter holds about 3-4 liters, and some fluid in the trans cooler and passages will remain in the system.
They say it's lifetime fluid because bmw started paying for maintenance years back, so they made some fluid "lifetime".
Disregard the lifetime title, all the fluids should be changed regularly.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So go with their strategy. They believe about half of the fluid will remain and half wilneed to be replaced.?
Expert:  bimmaster replied 3 years ago.
That's correct.
bimmaster, BMW Technician
Category: BMW
Satisfied Customers: 1881
Experience: 3 years dealer experience, master bmw tech
bimmaster and 4 other BMW Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your help.
Expert:  bimmaster replied 3 years ago.
You're welcome.
Thanks for using just answer.

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BMW Mechanic
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3 years dealer experience, master bmw tech