Changing the gearbox oil

UK forum for general and technical discussion about the Z3 roadster

Moderator: Gazza

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 19:38

I am going to change the gearbox oil on my 2002 Z3 3.0.

I went to my local car parts store, and they sold me 75w/90 semi synthetic transmission oil. They said this is what BMW recommend, and l did not need the Castrol fully synthetic that cost three times the price.

At the dealer they said the gearbox oil is "lifetime" l asked what this meant. I suggested it meant that the transmission will last the life of the oil, but the parts guy did not get my joke lol

They could sell me some more "lifetime" oil, at £80 for two litres.

My question after all this is, have l been sold the right oil? An internet search produced varying advice, with some saying it should be 75w/80 and others that it should be fully synthetic, while yet more advice points me to what l've been sold.

What says this forum?

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 20:01

Personally, I wouldn't be keen on using semi-synthetic gear oil. Modern gear oils have typically now extended their viscosity range to 75W/90 to better cope with a range of temperatures. The "lifetime" mantra is really based on BMW's initial warranty/servicing regime and is not really relevant to cars that are now at least 12-years old. In my view a gear oil change can only be beneficial. Gear oils have moved on since the Z3 gearboxes were filled and the labels stuck on.

Castrol indicate a authoritative gear oil choice
http://www.castrol.com/en_gb/united-kingdom.html

Oil brand is personal choice - you may get a range of forum views - personally, I cautiously plumped for a GL4 rated oil (GL5 has more anti-friction additives which can impact on the synchromesh systems on older cars) - unclear what the position with Z3s is.

http://www.opieoils.co.uk/p-739-castrol ... 5w-85.aspx

User avatar
Southernboy
Joined: Thu 07 Oct, 2010 13:39
Posts: 6312

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Johannesburg

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Southernboy » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 21:56

....... and if you want to get the oil changed in a civilised way, have a look at my post "In from the top - Gearbox oil change" -.... It'll make it a heap easier than struggling under the car... :wink:
"Normal is overrated"
Image

Z3 Upgrades and Additions

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 22:40

The Castrol site is non-committal, saying a "universal 75w/90" is suitable for "some versions" of the Z3 3.0

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Wed 02 Jul, 2014 23:08

Part of the problem is that I understand BMW, for commercial reasons, had (and still have) different "oil partners" depending on the where in the World the car was sold. Below are some USA based pictures of LT1 (put into most manual Z3s) and LT2 which may have been put in some of the last Z3s. I understand that both are now obsolete in small retail bottles and it is unclear what you get if you get BMW to sell you some from their commercial containers. All this causes uncertainty and nervousness on BMW forums generally. If you are feeling a bit nervous about it (many owners do) I would stick to what BMW sell you. Personally, I researched this topic over some period and concluded that the basic parameters for my car should be a quality, GL4 rated oil and fully synthetic. The viscosity range choice really only affects how it performs over a range of temperatures and as I said previously, the viscosity range seems to have gradually expanded from mono 75w to multi 75w-90 over the past 10-years or so.
:rtm: :)

Image
Image

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 00:28

£80 is steep for two litres.

In 2011, I got two litres of MTF-LT1 from the BMW service department (it's not available through the Parts Dept) for £40+VAT. The service department gets it in 205 litre drums.

I don't trust the oil suppliers to tell me the correct oil, I trust the equipment manufacturer. I've not found an official supplier of gearbox oil other than BMW. I know that BMW don't manufacture oil, but until I see a BMW document that tells me the correct supplier details, I'll stick to using BMW.

Gearbox oil is the ONLY fluid that BMW have not documented an official supplier, which leads me to think that there is nothing out there that meets the spec. I know that others will tell you otherwise, but the choice is yours.
Pingu

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 08:09

It is a gearbox, not a bit of the Starship Enterprise!

USe your semi-synth oil to clean out the old and degraded BMW original for a thousand miles or so, and then refill with a more modern full synthetic such as Fuchs Syntofluid (the factory fill) Amsoil MTF, Redline, or any other full synthetic. A full synthetic will be less affected by low or high temeratures, and generally make the gearbox nicer to use.

I have been using Amsoil MTF from Opie Oils for ages, with no problems.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
Mad Max
Joined: Sun 28 Feb, 2010 11:18
Posts: 440

  blank

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mad Max » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 09:32

Another vote for the Amisol MTF. I really didn't think changing the gearbox oil would make that much difference, but it made the shifting much smoother.

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by BladeRunner919 » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 09:58

pingu wrote: I don't trust the oil suppliers to tell me the correct oil, I trust the equipment manufacturer. I've not found an official supplier of gearbox oil other than BMW. I know that BMW don't manufacture oil, but until I see a BMW document that tells me the correct supplier details, I'll stick to using BMW.
BMW also don't make gearboxes - they buy them in. If there was really a unique oil for the gearbox, it would apply to all applications of that gearbox, not just the BMWs.

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 13:36

Well, l took the semi synthetic 75w/90 oil back, and bought the Castrol fully synthetic 75w/90.

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 14:47

'Until I see a BMW document that tells me the correct supplier details, I'll stick to using BMW.'

I wonder if Pingu buys engine oil from BMW . . . .

Seriously though, for the same ZF and Getrag gearboxes BMW have reccommended using ATF, 75-90 mineral oil, and now 75-90 synthetic. The manufacturer of the oil depends on who the particular national BMW outfit is currently in bed with, and therefore supply them in bulk at a large discount.

Lots of owners have been using various oils for years without any problems. People in the UK may not have heard of oils such as Fuchs, Redline, or Amsoil, but they are well known elsewhere.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

gIzzE
Joined: Mon 06 Aug, 2007 22:32
Posts: 169

  Not specified

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by gIzzE » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 22:23

I have used Redline ATF D4 in mine, mixed with MTL.

1 quart of the ATF and the remaining 1/3 quart of the MTL.

Redline say it is fine to mix it, not always a good idea as they can react and gloop up.

You do have to be a bit careful, GL-5 is not liked in some 'boxes as they have copper in them which can react badly to GL-5, it corrodes the copper, not good.


The Redline stuff sorted my sticking gear lever and it trying to find 5th instead of 3rd. It is slightly more notchy the first few changes but then it is so slick, I was very impressed.

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 22:54

Well, l changed the gearbox oil this evening.
I used my drive on ramps, which gave enough clearance.

I also changed the clutch fluid.

The gear change is better. MUCH better. In fact l am shocked, as to just how much better it is.
I would recommend this job is done on any Z3 still running the original transmission oil.

gIzzE
Joined: Mon 06 Aug, 2007 22:32
Posts: 169

  Not specified

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by gIzzE » Thu 03 Jul, 2014 23:15

Amazing isn't it.

Sealed for life!!!! :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 09:40

Whilst you're in the mood for doing "underneath work" change the "lifetime" diff oil (choice depends on whether or not you have a LSD) and the "lifetime" fuel filter. :D

I was in my local BMW dealership a few months back and the owner of a 7-year old X5 was having a heated debate with the service manager as to why they hadn't changed his gearbox oil at a major service. The service manager gave no logical or engineering reason why it hadn't been done and just kept repeating, like a parrot, that it was not on BMW's servicing "to do" list for the car. :D

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 10:23

Never mind if chaging the gear oil is a wise thing to do, and reflects a decent standard of care - it is not necessary to get a dealer stamp in the service book!

If the X5 owner knew about changing gearbox oil, I wonder why he did not check the service shedule in his book to see if it was included? He asked for a BMW Service, and that is what he received . . .
Last edited by Mike Fishwick on Fri 04 Jul, 2014 15:46, edited 1 time in total.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 13:58

My Ford van has "lifetime" oil in the transmission.
It had to be changed at 68,000 miles when a driveshaft was replaced, and the Ford dealer said the oil they took out was "knackered, it did not even look like oil"

The gearbox still felt fine! No deterioration in the action and no noticeable improvements after the oil change. But how many Transit Connects are driving around with transmission oil in the state mine was in?

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 15:59

This is one of the reasons I do not get excited about cars which boast a a Full BMW Service History! all it means is that the car has had the minimum of maintenance at the maximum intervals, and many things are missed out to save money and look good. Lots of people who buy new cars these days actually boast about their car only needing one service every 20,000 miles, which for them is longer than they will keep the car . . .

In all too many cases a FBMWSH is simply a sign of expensive but shoddy work - for example it does not include bleeding the clutch cylinder, and in many case the fluid is replaced without bleeding it through the caliper bleed nipples. Engine oil is usually slowly sucked out of a cold engine, rather than being drained quickly via the sump plug, so leaving sludge deposits to accumulate, and the small 'O' rings inside the filter are never changed - they are 'Longlife,' Sir - and cost abour 2p each - what a gamble! Change the coolant Sir? certainly - we will charge you for a 50% mix of 11 litres, but will only pull off a radiator hose and so change about 4 litres of coolant . . . Looking back at my only dealer experience I was charged for more engine oil than the sump could hold! even BMW cannot make up their corporate mind about final drive oils - my handbook states that it is filled for life on one page, and on another that ot should be replaced at every other Inspection 2. Three guesses for what most dealers would do!

As well as gearbox oil, no-one (except me!) seems to bother changing power steering oil, topping up battery cells, greasing electrical connectors, and all the other litle things which help a car to have a long and happy life.
Last edited by Mike Fishwick on Fri 04 Jul, 2014 18:03, edited 1 time in total.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 17:58

It is a tribute to modern vehicle design, that a car can survive pretty much fault free for ten years or over 100,000 miles, with this type of minimal maintenance.

I used to have a Renault Kangoo van, fitted with a little 1147cc petrol engine. I serviced it regularly, and sold it to a friend at 102,000 miles, still running perfectly.

Two years later he asked me could l service it for them? The mileage was at 120,000 and it had been used as a company hack. The air filter was missing, and when l came to drain the oil, nothing came out! I kid you not, there was no more than half a litre of sludge left in the sump.

How on earth the oil pressure warning light did not come on l do not know. Anyway, l changed the filter and refilled the sump (it held 5.5 litres)

The engine sounded fine, and three YEARS later it is still running great, at 170,000 miles. I've not serviced it since, and when l looked the oil was black, but to level. I bet it has not been serviced since l did it.
Last edited by lightning on Fri 04 Jul, 2014 18:37, edited 2 times in total.

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 18:09

And don't forget the driving style - usually with no mechanical sympathy at all. If you live near a motorway, it's full welly as soon as you get onto it with a cold engine, or a warmish engine full of cold oil . . . hence the use of '0' grade engine oil, which at least flows easily under such abuse.

A freind used to work as a test driver at MIRA, and a typical project on a little KIA involved making 2,000 snatched gear changes up and down the gears, dumping the clutch at each one with no revving of the engine, as after all - this is how the perceived customer drives! Even after such maltreatement the poor little car still worked as it should have done. It makes one wonder about driving instructors.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 18:41

I was told by a friend who works at Ford, that car engines are designed with a 75% safety margin.
That is, whatever the user does to their car engine, it will only come within 25% of actually failing. So even "abused" it will last ages. Obviously continuous abuse will shorten the life of an engine, but most still last well beyond the warranty period.

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Fri 04 Jul, 2014 23:35

Mike Fishwick wrote:'Until I see a BMW document that tells me the correct supplier details, I'll stick to using BMW.'

I wonder if Pingu buys engine oil from BMW . . . .
No, because BMW specify suppliers and grades for engine oil, diff oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, all the various greases, but NOT for gearbox oil.

http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure01.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure02.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure03.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure04.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure05.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure06.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure07.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure08.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure09.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure10.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure11.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure12.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure13.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure14.pdf
http://www.porterbility.co.uk/Files/PDF ... sure15.pdf

Feel free to peruse the enclosures and to tell me where it says that BMW approve any supplier for gearbox oil. There are plenty of approved suppliers for engine oil and other fluids (and I use propriatory products, such as Castrol SAF-XJ and Mobil One 0W-40, as BMW approve them)

I'd appreciate it if anyone could point me towards either a BMW or a ZF document that indicates a propriatory product for use in the ZF S5D 320Z gearbox PLEASE.
Pingu

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Sat 05 Jul, 2014 09:01

Do Castrol have a recommended oil for that unit?
Or if not, contact ZF themselves.

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by BladeRunner919 » Sat 05 Jul, 2014 15:46

pingu wrote:
I'd appreciate it if anyone could point me towards either a BMW or a ZF document that indicates a propriatory product for use in the ZF S5D 320Z gearbox PLEASE.

I'm not sure I understand. You're the one using a proprietary product (the BMW MTF-LT1). Or do you really mean a non-proprietary product (ie to a certain spec, but not a specific brand)?

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Sat 05 Jul, 2014 20:01

OK Southernboy - what gearbox oil do you use? Do you prefer worn-out BMW oil to new non-approved oil, or do you buy BMW oil at about £80 a litre?
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Sat 05 Jul, 2014 20:17

BladeRunner919 wrote:
pingu wrote:
I'd appreciate it if anyone could point me towards either a BMW or a ZF document that indicates a propriatory product for use in the ZF S5D 320Z gearbox PLEASE.

I'm not sure I understand. You're the one using a proprietary product (the BMW MTF-LT1). Or do you really mean a non-proprietary product (ie to a certain spec, but not a specific brand)?
I thought I may have used the wrong word, but it looks like I was right...

Defn of proprietary from Cambridge dictionaries online (Defn)

"describes goods that are made and sent out by a particular company whose name is on the product :"

BMW don't make the oil, ESSO, Texaco, Shell or some other oil company do. BMW is a supplier, ESSO would be the proprietary company.


I want to see a document from either BMW (or ZF) that tells me what proprietary oil either of them recommends. The only documentation that I can find is from BMW, who recommend MTF LT-1.
Pingu

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Sat 05 Jul, 2014 20:33

Why not call ZF direct and ask them what they recommend.

Then you will have it straight from the horses mouth, as it were.

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Sun 06 Jul, 2014 11:41

Here you go, BMW so emphatically recommend Castrol they even had in embossed on the oil filler cap. :D

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-BMW-O ... 27e6f00be1

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by BladeRunner919 » Sun 06 Jul, 2014 20:46

pingu wrote:
I thought I may have used the wrong word, but it looks like I was right...

Defn of proprietary from Cambridge dictionaries online (Defn)

"describes goods that are made and sent out by a particular company whose name is on the product :"

BMW don't make the oil, ESSO, Texaco, Shell or some other oil company do. BMW is a supplier, ESSO would be the proprietary company.


I want to see a document from either BMW (or ZF) that tells me what proprietary oil either of them recommends. The only documentation that I can find is from BMW, who recommend MTF LT-1.
In some instances propriety can refer to the difference between a branded and unbranded product, but in this instance it has a subtly different meaning. A propriety product in this instance would be if BWM said "for a Z3 you have to use a product called BMW Z3 Engine oil. The fact that they actually just specify a specification of oil which is made by many brands means that there is no propriety engibe oil for a BMW. Esso, Shell etc are brands, and the oils they make have many applications (ie can be used in many different cars) so they are not proprietary to any particular vehicle. Whereas the the BMW oil is proprietary to that gearbox.

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 14:58

BladeRunner919 wrote:
pingu wrote:
I thought I may have used the wrong word, but it looks like I was right...

Defn of proprietary from Cambridge dictionaries online (Defn)

"describes goods that are made and sent out by a particular company whose name is on the product :"

BMW don't make the oil, ESSO, Texaco, Shell or some other oil company do. BMW is a supplier, ESSO would be the proprietary company.


I want to see a document from either BMW (or ZF) that tells me what proprietary oil either of them recommends. The only documentation that I can find is from BMW, who recommend MTF LT-1.
In some instances propriety can refer to the difference between a branded and unbranded product, but in this instance it has a subtly different meaning. A propriety product in this instance would be if BWM said "for a Z3 you have to use a product called BMW Z3 Engine oil. The fact that they actually just specify a specification of oil which is made by many brands means that there is no propriety engine oil for a BMW. Esso, Shell etc are brands, and the oils they make have many applications (ie can be used in many different cars) so they are not proprietary to any particular vehicle. Whereas the the BMW oil is proprietary to that gearbox.
My point is that BMW do not specify anything other than BMW MTF LT-1 for the gearbox.

Nowhere have I seen any documentation that says anything different.

If the Castrol reference is serious, I worry for you, as the oil's specification is more important than the brand. I strongly suspect that the correct oil is either ESSO or Texaco, as I have seen charts for ZF gearboxes fitted in BMWs that use these brands, but the 320Z is not listed on the charts, so which specification of oil is still unknown (to me, at least). And to say 75W/90 (or whatever) is good enough, you are wrong. It's like saying Diet Pepsi is the same as Diet Coke.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showth ... p?t=491673
Pingu

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 15:24

I really think that some people are getting too excited about gearbox oil - OK, BMW do offer multiple options for engine oil, and a few for final drive oil, but that does not mean that anything awful will take place if your gearbox is lubricated with anything other than their MTF-LT oil. According to Opie Oils, Fuchs Syntofluid (a synthetic 75-90 oil) is used by BMW as the factory fill, and there are loads of similar-specification oils around.

BMW's manual (TIS) does not give any options other than MTF-LT 01, or MTF-LT- 02 from 2003, but come on - that is because they want to use a Longlife oil to be able to boast about the gearbox (poor thing) being 'Sealed for life' or being officially condemned to permanent neglect!

Before the advent of LT gear oil the same gearbox was filled with Dextron-type auto transmission fluid, so why do people think it is necessary to use LT oil or nothing?

It's up to the owner - if you have an unhealthy fetish for originality at any cost, then use BMW oil and pay through the nose for it, or develop a sense of value for money and buy your gear oil elsewhere. If you believe BMW's propaganda then ignore the gearbox and leave it to stew in old oil which has become contaminated and degraded - but once it was of original specification.

I know what my choice is, and it is new gear oil every five years, Amsoil MTF being the current choice.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by BladeRunner919 » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 16:07

pingu wrote:
My point is that BMW do not specify anything other than BMW MTF LT-1 for the gearbox.

Nowhere have I seen any documentation that says anything different.

The documentation says that the oil lasts forever, so if you're going strictly by the book you shouldn't really be opening up the gearbox at all. But, as Mike says, you should really just do whatever you want with your own car.
Last edited by BladeRunner919 on Mon 07 Jul, 2014 17:07, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 17:00

Well, all l can say is that l drained out the "lifetime oil" and refilled with Castrol synthetic 75w/90 and the gear change quality has improved considerably.

The oil l drained out was fairly dirty, but there were no metal fragments on the filler plug.

User avatar
Koolflyer
Joined: Fri 05 Jul, 2013 16:51
Posts: 574

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Koolflyer » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 18:11

Interesting healthy debate been going here, but that's why we use the forum to discuss technical issues and then go away and make our own decisions...good stuff! :rtm:

As far as I am aware my gearbox oil is the original 'For Life', but at 17+ years now it's been quite a long life, plus as has been said, oils have moved on too. So, time for a change and I'm going going down Mike's Amsoil MTF fully synthetic route. Which of these are you using Mike? Amsoil Synthetic Gear Oil (FGR) 75w-90 or Amsoil Synthetic Manual Transmission & Transaxle Gear Lube 75W-90 API GL-4 :?
Image
1997 Z3 2.8 (M52) Roadster Montreal blue
2013 330d (F31) M Sport Alpine White

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 18:54

Mike Fishwick wrote:BMW's manual (TIS) does not give any options other than MTF-LT 01, or MTF-LT- 02 from 2003, but come on - that is because they want to use a Longlife oil to be able to boast about the gearbox (poor thing) being 'Sealed for life' or being officially condemned to permanent neglect!
The Z3 differential oil is also supposed to not require to be changed after the run-in service, yet BMW specify eleven proprietary oils that can be used in the LSD fitted to the M. Why would they do that?

The BMW notes and charts that I have seen make no mention of Fuchs as a supplier of gearbox oil, but if you would rather take the recommendation of a supplier over a manufacturer, so be it. BTW, do Opie sell Fuchs oil :wink: ?

I've seen official BMW documents (attached in the previous post) that show Castrol, ESSO and Texaco as suppliers, but no mention of Fuchs.
BladeRunner919 wrote:...you should really just do whatever you want with your own car.
Precisely this :D .
Pingu

User avatar
lordhelpus
Joined: Sat 14 Sep, 2013 10:46
Posts: 128

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Tax Exile

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lordhelpus » Mon 07 Jul, 2014 19:28

Okay, Okay, you've sold me on the idea of changing my lifetime gearbox and diff oil. but which one for the box, and what one for the diff? (box is a bit notchy actually).
1997 2.8................ Montreal Blue

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Mike Fishwick » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 08:35

I am still using the original Amsoil MTF, having bought plenty of it when I last changed the gearbox oil, so I am not up with their current range - have a look at the Amsoil website, or the Opie site, which has lots of information about everything they sell.

They have probably changed the label to avoid confusing Europeans, as in the US many people only use the SAE engine oil viscosity chart, under which it is SAE 5-30, this translating to SAE 75w-90 on the SAE gear oil viscosity chart.
Last edited by Mike Fishwick on Tue 08 Jul, 2014 08:52, edited 1 time in total.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 08:51

pingu wrote:I've seen official BMW documents (attached in the previous post) that show Castrol, ESSO and Texaco as suppliers, but no mention of Fuchs
I suspect the Fuchs recommendation came from Opie Oils (see attached link). In practice I suspect BMW use a different supplier in each major area in which they operate e.g. Esso in the US, Castrol in the UK and Fuchs in Germany. That would explain their "shyness" about the supplier as there are several. :shrug

http://www.tyresmoke.net/forum/topic/10 ... rom-fuchs/

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 15:19

So effectively, you want an SAE 75w/90 fully synthetic gear oil then.

Castrol do one, called Syntrax.

And be careful tightening the fill/drain plugs, as over tightening can crack the casings, if you have the tapered plugs.
As already mentioned, tighten with one hand on a six inch spanner and you will be fine.

Del
Joined: Sat 19 Nov, 2011 18:35
Posts: 2122

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Del » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 15:52

Based on my own car and my own research I would respectfully suggest:-

-GL4 rating
-Fully synthetic
-viscosity ratings 75W or 75W-80 or 75W-85 or 75W-90. It's my understanding that in the past, the lower viscosity ratings (e.g. 75W-80) have been put into new BMW cars in order to have slight fuel economy advantages.
- Several top brands mentioned above, some you will only get via Opie Oils. BMW's LT1/LT2 is now widely believed to be 75W-80 (GL4) and as Pingu has indicated, is still available if you want it.

User avatar
lordhelpus
Joined: Sat 14 Sep, 2013 10:46
Posts: 128

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Tax Exile

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lordhelpus » Tue 08 Jul, 2014 19:26

Added to next job to do list............ thanks to all who pointed me in the right direction have decided to go with..
RED LINE Synthetic Manual Transmission 90 MT90 75W-90 GL4.
1997 2.8................ Montreal Blue

User avatar
BladeRunner919
Joined: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 20:18
Posts: 2221

  Z3 roadster 1.9

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by BladeRunner919 » Wed 09 Jul, 2014 08:06

lightning wrote:So effectively, you want an SAE 75w/90 fully synthetic gear oil then.

Castrol do one, called Syntrax.
I believe Syntrax is GL5, which you definitely want to avoid.

Cooper01
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2014 09:06
Posts: 152

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by Cooper01 » Wed 09 Jul, 2014 14:38

Mike Fishwick wrote:It is a gearbox, not a bit of the Starship Enterprise!
That is hilarious Mike! Haha... my sides are hurting now. :(

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Wed 09 Jul, 2014 16:44

BladeRunner919 wrote:
lightning wrote:So effectively, you want an SAE 75w/90 fully synthetic gear oil then.

Castrol do one, called Syntrax.
I believe Syntrax is GL5, which you definitely want to avoid.

On the back of the Syntrax container it states "fully synthetic driveline fluid for both manual transmissions and differentials. Suitable for API GL4 or GL5 applications"

Just to add more confusion, l called Castrol UK and they said Syntrax Universal Plus is a "universal" full synthetic gear oil, designed to "avoid confusion as to which oil is suitable" and will substitute GL4 or GL5. Their cheaper semi-synthetic gear oil (branded Universal) is also marketed as suitable for "API GL4/GL5 applications" hence the "universal" moniker.

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Wed 09 Jul, 2014 23:55

lightning wrote:
BladeRunner919 wrote:
lightning wrote:So effectively, you want an SAE 75w/90 fully synthetic gear oil then.

Castrol do one, called Syntrax.
I believe Syntrax is GL5, which you definitely want to avoid.

On the back of the Syntrax container it states "fully synthetic driveline fluid for both manual transmissions and differentials. Suitable for API GL4 or GL5 applications"

Just to add more confusion, l called Castrol UK and they said Syntrax Universal Plus is a "universal" full synthetic gear oil, designed to "avoid confusion as to which oil is suitable" and will substitute GL4 or GL5. Their cheaper semi-synthetic gear oil (branded Universal) is also marketed as suitable for "API GL4/GL5 applications" hence the "universal" moniker.
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/Mot ... r_Oil.aspx

I don't know whether your gearbox has "yellow" metal in it. GL5 is NOT a good choice unless you know the answer.

GL5 shouldn't be used instead of GL4 as it has additives that attack the copper in the synchromesh rings of older gearboxes.

Google "GL4 v GL5" - lots of info :wink:
Pingu

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Thu 10 Jul, 2014 00:12

The Castrol Syntrax container says it is suitable for GL4 applications.

Surely if it were not suitable, it would not say that it was. After all, Castrol have had ties with BMW, and they should know if their oil is suitable.

I will try the BMW dealer tomorrow, and see what they say.

User avatar
pingu
Joined: Fri 30 Apr, 2004 17:01
Posts: 3337

  M roadster S50

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by pingu » Thu 10 Jul, 2014 00:43

lightning wrote:The Castrol Syntrax container says it is suitable for GL4 applications.
Reading the Mobil reply (linked above), I now understand the following to be the case...

GL5 can be used in GL4 applications in differentials, but not in all gearboxes as some gearboxes have "yellow" metal components.

So, Castrol Syntrax (if it is GL5) is suitable for GL4 applications - as long as that application is a differential.
Pingu

User avatar
lordhelpus
Joined: Sat 14 Sep, 2013 10:46
Posts: 128

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Tax Exile

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lordhelpus » Thu 10 Jul, 2014 07:38

Just to add my penny worth to this debate I found this on 'ter' interweb. The part I have highlighted in red seems to contradict itself if I read it correctly.


The API has specified gear oil service through the years with many obsolete services now on the charts. It is instructive to review those service classifications:

GL-1; Specified for spiral-bevel and worm gear axles and some manual transmissions under very mild service. Usually contains rust and oxidation inhibitors with pour point depressants and anti-foamants. Most R&O oils or AW hydraulic oils will suffice here.

GL-2; Specified for worm gear service more than can be satisfied by GL-1. Most R&O oils or AW hydraulic oils will suffice here.

GL-3; Specified for manual transmissions and spiral-bevel axles under moderately severe service. Most Tractor Hydraulic fluids (THF) or AW hydraulic fluids will suffice here.

GL-4; Specified for hypoid gear service under severe service but without shock loading. This classification is essentially obsolete but is still specified by some manual transmission/transaxle manufacturers. Implies an EP/AW additive package that contains 30% to 50% less S-P additives than the GL-5 service classification. Some Marine Gear Lubes fall into this classification, especially the full Synthetic Marine Gear lubes and specialty blenders MT lubes that use high levels of esters.

GL-5; Specified for hypoid gear service but with shock loads and severe service operation. Usually meets Mil-L-2105D and in most cases, is the multipurpose automotive gear oil. Most 75W90 to 75W140 grades meet the GL-5 classification. This grade has a high level of Extreme-Pressure additives that could be mildly corrosive to nonferrous parts, such as brass, bronze and aluminum parts. Most of the modern GL-5 lubes contain metal deactivators that prevents attacks by the extreme-pressure additives. In addition to EP additives, these lubes contain rust inhibitors, defoamants, friction modifiers, thickeners, and Viscosity Index Improvers.

GL-6; Although some manufacturers still specify this lube, it is obsolete as well and was never adopted by the API.

There are or were two new classifications proposed that have yet to surface:
PG-1 and PG-2.

PG-1 was to be designed for heavy, high temperature (to 300 F) transmissions with an L-60 cleanliness rating of 9.0+ (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most clean), sludge protection, improved seal life, and synchromesh corriosion protection. This spec was to become the new GL-7 spec. (Robert W. Miller - Lubricants and their Applications, McGraw-Hill).

PG-2; This was the classification for heavy-duty, high temperature axles and has the same properties as PG-1, but with a lower cleanliness rating. PG-2 should have become the GL-8 specification. (Robert W. Miller - Lubricants and their Applications, McGraw-Hill).

To-date, neither of these specifications have come to life, with the result that many automotive manufacturers are specifying 'in-house" formulations, such as GM's "SynchroMesh" and Nissan and Honda's MT specialty fluids for manual transmissions.

:puzzle:
1997 2.8................ Montreal Blue

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by lightning » Thu 10 Jul, 2014 08:08

pingu wrote:
lightning wrote:The Castrol Syntrax container says it is suitable for GL4 applications.
Reading the Mobil reply (linked above), I now understand the following to be the case...

GL5 can be used in GL4 applications in differentials, but not in all gearboxes as some gearboxes have "yellow" metal components.

So, Castrol Syntrax (if it is GL5) is suitable for GL4 applications - as long as that application is a differential.
It doesn't say that on the Castrol information (their website also specifies Syntrax Universal for the Z3 gearbox if there is no sticker by the fill plug)

It says "fully synthetic driveline fluid for both synchronised manual transmissions and differentials" with "outstanding EP synchroniser performance" and claims "smooth shift at low temperatures" Plus on the container it states "universal fluid for manual and axles"

API GL4, GL5, MT-1, SAE J2360, MIL PRE-2015E

Of course this only applies to the Castrol Syntrax Universal. I am not saying you can put any GL5 oil in the gearbox, just that the
Castrol product is claiming to be compatible.
Maybe their product has inhibitors to prevent damage caused by GL5 oils, as mentioned above.

gIzzE
Joined: Mon 06 Aug, 2007 22:32
Posts: 169

  Not specified

Re: Changing the gearbox oil

Post by gIzzE » Thu 10 Jul, 2014 09:27

Buy this stuff, it is amazing.

Review after review after review have raved about this in manual BMWs on the forums over the years.

The transformation when I changed was incredible.

http://www.opieoils.co.uk/p-1025-red-li ... fluid.aspx

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests