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X5, 740, 540 MODELS

Many BMWs have one of two different types of transmissions. For example, on a 525 sold in Maryland, a 4L30E could be used, which is actually a GM unit, and is used by BMW on the 2.5 and 2.8 liters, and also used on the Isuzu Rodeo, Trooper and Cadillac Catera. These aren’t interchangeable so you can’ throw a Catera transmission into your BMW, as the internal electronics are different. The resistance of the internal solenoids for the valve body differs to match the onboard electronics. The other unit is a ZF5HP30, which is a five-speed automatic transmission made by ZF of Germany used with the 3.5 and 4.4-liter engines. These transmissions are more durable and less problematic but do have a couple commonly occurring BMW transmission problems. To be sure of your exact type, it may be a good idea to take your BMW to a local transmission repair shop in Maryland and have them look under the vehicle. This is the only way to know for sure of the specific model.

Does my BMW have a GM Transmission?

318, 323, 325, and 328 BMW models built through 1999 utilize the GM 4L30-E transmission. This transmission is also used in the Isuzu Rodeo, Isuzu Trooper, Honda Passport, and Cadillac Catera. This transmission is plagued with a number of issues including premature solenoid failure, bearing failure, servo bore wear, and support gasket blowout. High demand for permanent solutions to these problems has yielded a number of design upgrades produced by Translab, TransGo, and Sonnax. Suburban Transmissions uses each of these upgrades in all of their overhauls.

ZF Transmissions are more durable for BMWs

The ZF5HP-24 and ZF5HP-30 is a more durable transmission than the 4L30E. It has 5 speeds, instead of 4. The most common problem on these units is a broken clutch drum. A poor design places excessive load on this bearing, and its failure can result in an expensive repair. After repair, using a higher quality transmission fluid can help prevent future problems.

BMW Valve Body Kit Made By ZF

As stated above, many  transmissions are made by ZF of Germany. A rebuild kit is available for the ZFHP-24 and ZF5HP-30 transmissions to correct issues related to a worn or tired valve body. This kit, branded under the name ‘Life 2,’ includes all internal valve body springs as well as a Main Pressure Regulator Valve and Manual Valve. It also includes new check balls, which commonly wear out. A set of new valve body gaskets are included, which must be matched to the old gaskets.

Where is the BMW Transmission Fluid Dipstick?

It is important to note that BMW cars and the X5 do not have a transmission fluid level dipstick and it cannot be checked when the vehicle is on the ground. In order to properly check the transmission fluid level, the vehicle must be elevated on a lift and have the engine running. It is common for these transmissions to fail due to being operated while low transmission fluid. Even if the vehicle is known to have no transmission fluid leaks, it is a good idea to have the transmission fluid checked at least once every two years.

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