ZF 5HP30 Automatic Transmission Service

How to change the transmission fluid and filter on a 1996 BMW 750iL

by Mike Burnett


Note: Refer to ZF_5HP24_Spare_Parts.pdf and ZF_5HP30_Spare_Parts.pdf for additional information on the fluid and filter changes procedures for the two different transmissions used in the e38. Note the important two-step temperature checks for fluid level. We suggest using a non-contact infrared thermometer (such as #96451 from Harbor Freight)

Fill takes a H17 Hex socket, drain is a H14, but you donít have much room (exhaust). I pushed the hex stock out of the socket and used it with a crescent wrench. Both fill & drain were difficult to break free, we needed a 3í cheater bar.


Step 1: Remove the fill plug (to allow air to get in) then drain plug. A 5-gal bucket works well to hold the old fluid. This car has 14,000 miles on this fluid (98k odometer) with the first ever change at 84k. The fluid looked good (translucent) and didnít smell, but compared to new fluid (clear golden color) was somewhat dirty. I only had about 6-8 quarts come out, even with turning the engine over after drain plug was pulled.



Step 2: Remove the #27 Torx screws, leaving two loose in either end. If you strip Ďem, try to use a screw jack or bottle jack to force a 11mm box wrench over the head of the screw. We removed five this way. Thanks to New750iLowner for this cute trick. Taking the pan down is a two-person job, as the pan will have a fair amount of residual fluid. As you can see, the pan wasnít very dirty. There will be a plastic baffle sitting loose in the pan. Remove it and you will find a magnet which will need to be cleaned.


Step 3: Change the filter, make a note of your valve body (old or new).

Editor's Note: It's IMPERETIVE that only original (OEM) BMW filters with the word "FILTRAN" stamped on it be used. The OEM filters have vertical ridges on the interior that prevent the filter from collapsing on itself under pressure, which can starve the transmission for fluid and cause the dreaded metallic "whining" noise. -- David Cecil




Step 4: Clean the pan, emplace the new gasket (donít use sealer) put the pan back up and tighten all screws using three passes, first pass finger tight, second pass half tight, third pass to about 15 ft/lbs or so. Donít overdo it! Consult the manual for correct torque for these screws!!! Replace the drain plug (using new aluminum gasket) and tighten to about 35 ft/lbs.


Step 5: Use the hand pump to draw fresh fluid from the container, then insert the tube up into the hole using the notch to lay the tube over at an angle. You should be able to get about a gallon into the pan. This *will* be messy! You can expect some to dribble back out, but donít think the pan is full till it gushes out. Then start the car and turn on the lights. Continue to add fluid, donít stop until what is coming back out is mixed with the old fluid. You will be able to tell when it is full. Run it through the gears and repeat till it wonít take any more. Mine took about 7 quarts. Tighten fill plug to about 70 ft-lbs.



Step 6: Check for leaks at the shifter. This should really be done on a recon before you change the fluid. That way, you can have the new parts ready to do while the pan is down. Mine was fine.


You can now be sure that your transmission is serviced properly and is good to go for another 40k miles!!! My transmission seems to be quieter now, but thatís subjective, I havenít driven it far enough to be able to tell for sure. Probably that old aftermarket filter! Thanks to my indie who should know better!!!!!

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