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      06-08-2013, 08:37 PM   #1
BobbyP
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Manual Transmission and Differential Redline Oil Change

Hi Everyone,

I recently purchased a 2012 CPO 328i with a 6 speed manual transmission. Since I have always followed Mike Miller's Old School Maintenance Schedule, I wanted to get the transmission and differential fluid changed ASAP as the car already had 38k miles on it (these should be changed at 30k mi intervals per Mike). I used Redline MTL for the transmission and Redline 75W-90 for the differential.

Because I needed an extractor for the differential, I decided to go to a shop. The parts guy at NAPA where I buy the Redline recommended San Carlos Auto Performance. Kevin and Rich the owners were great, they were able to get me in that afternoon - Rich was wearing a BMW hat and Kevin a lab coat. The shop was spotless and they let me take pictures.

Its fairly straight forward, here is the procedure.

1. Lift the car (ramps, jacks, etc. - you should be comfortable with this before going any further).

2. Remove the panel under the transmission which is held in by about eight 8MM bolts.

3. Remove the filling bolt on the side of the transmission - some fluid may begin leaking out.

4. Place a pan under the transmission and remove the bottom drain.

5. Let drain for a few minutes and then re-install the bottom drain. Not sure what the torque value here is but I would not over tighten - especially as both bolt and housing are made of aluminum and can easily strip.

6. The fluid - drained into a bucket and it was unbelievably dirty. There is no way this fluid could last the life of the car and still protect the synchros.

7. Fill the transmission with Redline MTL using a pump until fluid begins leaking out the side.

8. Quickly screw the plug back on and torque moderately.

9. Re-attach the panel

For the differential, the process is much more involved.

1. Remove the rubber vibration dampener on the back of the car's differential using a 17mm socket. It will be required to access and remove the single fill hole.

2. Unscrew the fill bolt with a hex socket.

3. Using a suction device (according to Mike it should be 1/4" of an inch) suck out the differential fluid. I was unable to see its quality b/c the tube was "cloudy" however it appeared in better shape than the transmission fluid.

4. Once all the transmission fluid has been sucked out, fill the differential with 75W-90 Redline differential oil until it begins dripping out the fill hole.

5. Install the fill bolt - I think technically a new bolt should be used as there is a seal on it. I am not sure however I have always re-used the existing rings / bolts on all my cars and it worked fine. Given that its not even a drain plug, I think its ok and will regularly check it. Maybe next time I will remember to buy a new one before doing the job.

6. Install the vibration damper back onto the rear of the differential.

Check for leaks and test drive. This may be a placebo effect, however the transmission shifted smoother with less vibration. The 4cyl is not a smooth as the 6 however the thicker MTL may have provided some dampening characteristics. Needless to say, the procedure is similar to e90 and other BMWs. It is highly recommended for anyone who intends to keep their cars beyond 100K miles.
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      06-09-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
norb335i
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Thank you for the detailed write-up. It's great to know that these procedures are as simple and straightforward on the F30 as they were on previous models. I'm planning to follow the old school maintenance schedule too and it's good to know that most of the things can still simply be performed at home or at a local shop.

By the way, you can buy liquid pumps for pretty cheap at Harbor Freight Tools or other places if you have the means to jack/lift your car up.
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      07-26-2013, 01:11 AM   #3
norb335i
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Do you know roughly how much oil went into the differential and the gearbox? Don't want to buy more than what's necessary for a change...
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      07-26-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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I bought 2 quarts of each. Looking at the Technical specs for the F30; Gearbox capacity is 1.4 Liter. There wasn't a spec for the diff however I used up a bit over 1 quart. From the e90 posts, I found that they indicated 1.2 quart capacity for the e90 models. That sounds about right since some would always to be left behind. The BMW version is crazy expensive however the Redline is reasonable and you can store it for next time.
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      07-27-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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Thanks for the write-up and all the info, I think I will replace all the oil myself once my one gets delivered to the US later in September based on your write up, I have put a bit over 3K miles into it while in Europe, should be a "healthy" thing to do... :-)
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      03-25-2017, 04:12 PM   #6
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FYI, torque specs for these drain/fill plugs are 44 ft/lbs for the diff and 25 ft/lbs for both plugs in the tranny.
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      03-26-2017, 12:21 PM   #7
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I think the Red Line diff oil has LSD modifiers, since I use that for my Solstice, which does have an LSD. Would there be issues if you use that in an open diff?

Also for some very odd reason, Red Line recommends D6ATF in place of MTF LT-3.

https://www.redlineoil.com/news_article.aspx?id=13

Last edited by ToniCipriani; 03-26-2017 at 12:47 PM.
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      09-11-2017, 01:42 PM   #8
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Sorry to bring up the old thread but want to get some insight on the oil as well. I usually used Liquid Molly or Redline for the trans and diffs but wanted to see why redline had 3 alterations since at first MTL was used than D4/5ATF and now D6ATF which keeps getting thinner and thinner. I drive my car hard and spiritedly so i like the oil to be on the thicker side to help with sheering.

Any other recommendations on the oil to use for a manual?
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