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Bmw X5 E53 4.4i automatic transmission fluid and filter

Hi everyone. This is a guide on how to replace your transmission fluid on your X5, it also includes the filter replacement.

First off. The fluid is considered by BMW as lifetime fluid and not replacement necessary. With a fairly high rate of automatic transmission failures it’s becoming more common to replace at maximum 60k miles.

So let’s get the car up in the air. and let it cool down, it doesn’t have to be stone cold, just let it cool for a few hours.

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Find the transmission filler hole located on the side of the transmission above the sump as seen below. Loosen this just to ensure it loosens correctly but don’t remove at this stage.

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Now let’s drain the fluid from the drain plug. Drain this in to a container so you can measure how much comes out. This is so we can gauge how much to put back in. An old empty 5 litre oil can is good for this with a large funnel.

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Once drained, refit the plug and tighten it. We now need to undo a couple of brackets that hold the wiring secure.

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Now let’s undo the sump torx bolts. Leave 2 attached and get something positioned to prop the sump in place whilst you undo them. The sump will fall if you not prop it up.

I’ve used a transmission jack to prop it.

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Now undo the 2 remaining bolts and lower the sump. There will be 500ml of oil in the sump which you also need to save into your oil can for measuring.

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Now the sump is off and all fluid saved you will see the filter held in place by 2 torx bolts.

Undo this and pull it down. Be aware that some fluid may splash.

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Filter removed.

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Now we need to clean the sump of old oil and remove and clean the sump magnets.

Your nicely cleaned sump should look like this inside.

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New filter next to the old one.

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Now clean up the transmission itself and remove and old gasket that may have got stuck. I use brake cleaner for this as it removes any oil residue too and leaves a perfectly clean surface for the new gasket.

Fit the new filter ensuring the o-ring came off with the old one and that the new filter has a new one fitted.

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Fit to the car, it may need a good push to get it into place.

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Now fit our gasket to the sump and lift into place. Use your prop from earlier to hold it there whilst you fit the bolts. Do them in sequence and go around twice, fitting them loosely first time and following round again and tightening each bolt.

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Now we need to fill the gearbox. The oil used in this box is Esso LT71141 ATF.

You need to check you have the correct oil for your transmission.

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Pump in the oil using an oil pump like the one pictured above. Take note of how you are adding. You’ll probably get to 3 litres and it’ll start overflowing from the filler. At this point refit the filler cap and start the engine with the gear Selector in P.

Now with it running undo the filler and add the remaining oil till you reach the quantity that you drained earlier. Usually about 5.5L. You then need to run the car in each gear for 3 seconds and check the level again by opening the filler plug in P again. Add more until it overflows. The level is checked between 30-50C but for those that do not have a diagnostic machine to read the ATF temp you can just feel the bottom of the sump. Once it’s too hot to touch then it’s exceeded 50c and you are done.

Refit filler plug and clean and residue, check for leaks and refit brackets removed at the start unless you have already done so.

Any questions feel free to call us for technical advice.

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