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From 60's muscle to mini
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  #1  
Old 11-20-2009, 09:07 AM
pkgdave9144 pkgdave9144 is offline
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ATF Fluid - Partial drain/fill

Can anyone point me to a diagram/photo/description of the 6-spd Auto tranny fill plug? Its the 2007+ Aisin design with "lifetime" fluid.

Yes, I know, its lifetime, never needs to be changed, etc. I dont really want to get into that whole discussion.

Im just looking to do a quick partial drain/fill every 40k miles or so to keep the fluid additives fresh and get ride of some wear metals every now and then.

YES, I did and search...came up with some postings with broken links by "oxcooper" or someone. no dice.

Assuming the toyota Type IV fluid is the correct ATF
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:27 AM
KevinC KevinC is offline
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"Partial" drain/fill? If you're going to the trouble to do that, why not do it right and change it completely?
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:03 PM
pkgdave9144 pkgdave9144 is offline
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Because most often a quick drain/fill is a 5 minute job (3 minutes on my hondas) and that at least replenishes the fluid additives and gets a good bit of the settled particulates off the bottom.

Most auto trannies hold 10+ quarts, doing a 3-4 quart quick drain fill every year or two is a no brainer. Getting all 10 quarts out is basically impossible without a flush machine. Doing a full-on flush out is a major pain in the rump.

I do the same thing in my Power steering systems. Suction out the reservoir every year and pop in a buck worth of power steering fluid. It probably replaces maybe 20% of the system volume. I have 10 year old cars with 200k miles on them that have literally crystal clear power steering fluid from using this method.

My hondas I do a tranny drain/fill every 20k. Gets out 1/4 of the fluid each time. My ATF is literally crystal clear also, even after 100k miles.

Its easy, it works.
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:34 PM
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Good link on this post by OXYBLUECOOP To download a 'pdf' manual on Aisin Auto Transmission Fluid changing.

One 'Special Tool' needed and a list of approved ATF Fluids at the bottom, I would not mix Toyota Fluid in mine.

Looks like the easiest Engine Oil/Filter change and the most difficult Automatic Transmission Fluid change, does not mention a filter.
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Old 11-30-2009, 07:21 AM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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From reading the PDF it does appear Toyota Type TIV meets JWS 3309 which is specified by MINI. Great news. The stuff is cheap at Toyota dealers and I have a couple quarts left over from my old 2005 Lexus ES330 which I traded in.

The PDF instructions are also somewhat confusing. It appears when refilling they want you to pour in fluid until it runs out the drain plug hole. Then start the engine and run it through the gears twice for 2 seconds in each gear. Then check the fluid. It then also states somewhat confusingly to add fluid until it also comes out the fill hole. Fluid temperature also appears important, probably for flow. They want it to be 35 to 45 degress celsius. Don't know the farenheit equivalent. Probably pays to heat it up first. Anyone who has done this I would appreciate your comments.

Last edited by clutchless; 11-30-2009 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Questions
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:21 PM
Widmerpool Widmerpool is offline
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If anyone's reading this old thread, I just did a partial drain/refill on a 2010 Cooper. Actually, more than that; I replaced the transmission pan and gasket, since my daughter managed to cave in the pan and I wanted to be safe.

Due to the bogus "lifetime" label BMW puts on this transmission and its fluid, what should be a quick and easy job is a major PITA. And apparently, many dealers invoke the "lifetime" label to refuse to do a drain/refill for you. Unlike any other auto trans I've seen, this transmission has no dipstick to check the level, nor a dipstick tube through which to add fluid. It's designed to be virtually sealed unit. I did all this with the car and transmission cold and without warming the new fluid.

1) T55 Torx socket to remove and install the fill plug. Make sure you first verify that you can/want to take this plug out before you drain the fluid or you will be a most unhappy camper. The plug is located on the top of the transmission, just to the driver's side of the cylinder head, under the coolant return hose and basically beneath the snorkel for the airbox. You will not be able to get a ratchet nor an extension on it. I put a socket hex cap in the Torx socket and used a 15mm box end wrench to turn the cap. An extension magnet is handy for when the socket falls off and you can't get your hand in to retrieve it. If you're okay with manipulating this plug, proceed.

2) A 5mm Allen socket to remove the drain plug and the overflow tube. And a torque wrench to cinch up the plug when you're done. You may want to get a new washer for the plug before starting. I re-used mine and it's fine.

3) Fluid to replace what you drain out. How much will that be? Probably only between 2-3 qts. Controversy here; BMW says you will void your warranty if you use anything other than Mini fluid, which is $60 (no misprint) a quart. They also claim this fluid includes special additives specific to the Mini transmission, to distinguish it from Toyota T-IV fluid and many others which seem to be, and maybe actually are, identical to the Mini fluid. Since I am still under warranty, I bit the bullet and used Mini fluid. You can do what you choose. I know others have used Toyota T-IV or other spec 3309 fluids.

4) Jack up the front of the car as high as you can, put it on jack stands, and open the drain plug so fluid flows into your catch pan. The higher you lift the front end, the more fluid you'll get out. If you have a pan with measuring lines, the better, because you're going to try to buy and put back only as much fluid as you get out.

5) When the flow stops, you're next going to take out the overflow tube. This approx. 2"-long plastic tube sticks up into the transmission pan and is threaded into the drain plug hole and holds back any fluid that's below the top of the tube. Take your Allen socket and insert it into the drain hole and turn counter-clockwise to loosen the overflow tube. It should turn easily by hand, but be careful, you don't want to mangle this tube. When the overflow tube comes out the drain hole, so will a lot more fluid.

6) When the fluid flow stops, replace the overflow tube by carefully inserting it and threading it back into the drain hole. Just tighten it lightly by hand using the socket; it's not going anywhere and is held in place by the drain plug anyway. This overflow tube is essentially your measurement device for refilling the transmission. Do not install the drain plug.

7) Now lower the car so it's level and contemplate refilling the tranny. This is the lifetime part, as it takes a lifetime to refill it. Seriously, it took me over an hour of basically dripping fluid into this hole to fill it. If you go too fast, you'll have fluid all over your transmission, pooling up in the valleys that make up the casing. You're going to need flexible tubing that will fit in the refill plug hole and a funnel that will fit in the tubing. Once you get that figured out, start adding fluid. Oops! Spilled all over, didn't it? Slow down and start again, maybe with a beer to pass the time.

8) Keep adding fluid until you hear fluid trickling out the drain hole. You have now added enough fluid so that the level in the pan is sufficient. You know this because fluid has risen over the top of the overflow tube and is coming down through it and out the drain hole. Go ahead and install the drain plug with the washer and torque to spec. I didn't know what spec was, so I used 20 lb/ft. But, you're not done.

9) Now, go back to the top side and continue adding fluid until you have added as much as you drained out. It may take approximately forever, but it will happen. When this miracle occurs, put the plug back in with the Torx socket and the box end wrench and clean up the fluid you spilled on the top of the transmission. You are done and will have achieved a new level of patience.

Anyone reading, please feel free to correct/augment these instructions.

Last edited by Widmerpool; 08-20-2010 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:07 AM
pkgdave9144 pkgdave9144 is offline
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Good writeup Widmerpool...

Few things I would add:

- Easy way to determine correct amount of fluid to add is to just measure what comes out. Assuming no leaks prior, you should be good.
- Dipstick would be nice, but my last 4 vehicles of 4 different makes all had no dipsticks. I think dipsticks are simply going away. Not really sure why, buts its not just a BMW thing. I had no dipsticks on Isuzu and GM also.
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Old 08-15-2010, 04:47 AM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Check out this thread in the 1st gen forum where we figured out the procedure to change the Aisn TF-60SN 6 speed tranny fluid and determined it is the same transmission used by VW in some cars (they call it the 09G) and VW just issued a notice to owners to change the fluid every 40,000 miles. However, the engines and bay layouts are different and access is slightly different between 1st gen and 2nd gen.
http://www.northamericanmotoring.com/forums/drivetrain-cooper-s/178242-mcsa-tranny-fluid-change-new-post.html


Also, it tells of an easier way to add fluid using a particular funnel from Advance Auto parts that snugly fits in the hole. However it may not work with 2nd gen. I have not done this yet. Need a T55 that fits in that small space.

Last edited by clutchless; 08-15-2010 at 06:27 PM. Reason: update
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:58 AM
pnorrod pnorrod is offline
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Widmerpool, thanks for the excellent write-up. I have a 2010 MCSa and immediately wondered about the lack of a trans dipstick until I searched through these forums. Mine is new at this point (only 1,000 miles 08/15/2010), but I will be one of those who will want to replace the fluid at 40,000 miles.

Thanks for taking the time to document what it takes get new fluid in the auto trans
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:24 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Widmerpool, could you provide a photo of the fill plug? I see two T55 bolts, one just below the ABS block, which is more toward the driver side and higher on the transmission. The other T55, which I thought was the fill plug, is lower on the back side of the trans and you can see it if you lean over and look down behind the air box. It has very little clearance above and I think access would have to be as you described or get a T55 that is shaped like an Allen wrench (which I just ordered off eBay for $10 delivered)
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Old 08-15-2010, 06:36 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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I think you can overfill unless you use the overflow to set the level at the correct temp. You want to run the tranny and take a thermometer to measure the fluid temp as it runs out, it has to warm a bit to start this, then stick a thermometer in the fluid and when it is around 95 degrees you can plug it up. Here are the comments from Fishbone who has done this:

So what I did was fill with ATF, plug it, start the engine, take the drain bolt out and watch if it poured out. In my case now, as soon as the ATF temp hits 95*F, the fluid starts coming out of the hole.

I just used an electronic kitchen thermometer, I let the ATF drain over it and read the temp. It was 98 and climbing, so I put the drain plug on and called it a day. Once it started coming out in a steady stream, I let it taper off a bit and then put the cap on because the ATF was getting over the target temp.
I just don't know if it was overfilled from factory or if it is because when I drained it cold, the car was sitting at a slight incline in the opposite direction it did when I checked it. I think it was just because of the incline. I am not going to worry about it, as far as I am concerned it is done and done. There is no ATF drainage when the temp is under 90*F so it is not overfilled.

ATF needs to be between 35*C and 45*C, which is 95-113*F. This also applies to the one you will pour in. Yes, you have to warm it up, just let it sit in hot water. When the ATF is cold, the level drops. Too hot and the level will be at full max. It needs to sit somewhere in between on the dipstick that doesn't exist on the Mini tranny. The tranny instead uses the internal standpipe for this procedure instead. I think you are beginning to understand where all this is going. Without the proper diagnostic tool to measure ATF temp, it is a crapshoot but nobody says you can't be creative! Grab a kitchen thermometer, you could use it in the next step
-unscrew the drain bolt. Does ATF come out?
--If not, then pour in the warm ATF until it starts coming out. When it does, stick the thermometer and take a reading. If it is WAY hotter than 113 or WAY cooler than 95, you might want to either let the car cool, or idle longer. Once it starts pouring, stop filling it in and cycle through all the gear positions (go P,R,D and then back to P) for at least 2 seconds in each position. Add more ATF until it starts coming out again and you are done!
--If ATF does start coming out, double-check to make absolutely sure the car is sitting level and take a temp reading like I suggested above. I would let it drain until it stops because you may have an overflowed transmission and just follow the steps above when filling it back up.

Last edited by clutchless; 08-15-2010 at 06:41 PM. Reason: Additional info
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:15 AM
strobeyprobey strobeyprobey is offline
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Again, I just want to make sure that the misconception, for the 2008 model at least, of lifetime fluid is not allowed to remain. My service schedule booklet clearly states that the auto transmission fluid needs to be changed at 100k! And even if it did say lifetime fluid, change it anyway! What a cheap way to ensure a long life and trouble free auto tranny.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:25 AM
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I abuse the heck outta my tranny (or at least I did for the first 60K or so). At about 60K, I started having intermittant 3-4 shifting pauses and hard shifting everywhere. Did three drain/fill cycles at 80K and the tranny acts like it's new. Fabulous. "Lifetime" is complete BS... if you expect "lifetime" to be longer than the warranty on the car.
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Old 08-16-2010, 08:32 AM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Here is a less expensive source for the transmission filter and pan gasket, they also sell the transmission service book. I have bought Magnefine inline transmission filters from them, too bad the Mini does not have cooler lines that carry ATF or we could use them.
http://www.makcotransmissionparts.com/VW09m.html
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:14 PM
Widmerpool Widmerpool is offline
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Auto Trans Fill Plug Image

This is the T55 Torx plug that covers to top fill hole on the automatic transmission. The shot is from the front of the car facing the rear, to the right of the cylinder head; in the foreground of the image is the oil filter housing.

Since I did not know of the "other" fill plug, until I read this thread, this is what I used. And it worked: I poured (dripped) in fluid until it ran out the drain hole, then installed the overflow tube and added fluid until it came out of that, then installed the drain plug and added fluid until I could add no more.

Perhaps the other plug fills better. It sure couldn't fill any slower than the top plug.
Attached Thumbnails
ATF Fluid - Partial drain/fill-t55-fill-plug.jpg  

Last edited by Widmerpool; 08-20-2010 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:36 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Thanks! I never saw that plug when inspecting the car before attempting this project. It appears removing the hard plastic air intake snorkel that runs to the front from the air cleaner would make for easier access. Now to fiqure that part out. BMW/MINI produces the least useful service manuals on CD that I have ever seen from a vehicle manufacturer.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:37 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Transmission service manual pages

Attached are pages from an aftermarket transmission service manul on the fluid change and fill and pressure line test fittings. Note the fill spout apparently only on VW models.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Aisin TF60SN.PDF (451.5 KB, 308 views)

Last edited by clutchless; 08-20-2010 at 12:45 PM. Reason: more data!
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:45 PM
Widmerpool Widmerpool is offline
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Clutchless...removing the snorkel is easy; one 10mm bolt that attaches to the top of the cylinder head assembly, a clip you press down on where the snorkel attaches at the front, and then the snorkel just pulls out of air filter housing.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:11 PM
pkgdave9144 pkgdave9144 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Widmerpool View Post
This is the T55 Torx plug that covers to top fill hole on the automatic transmission. The shot is from the front of the car facing the rear, to the right of the cylinder head; in the foreground of the image is the oil filter housing.
.

OK...so yes, thats the one I see, and also was planning on using. Its on the torque-converter section of the tranny assembly, you can see the dried gasket sealant (red-orange color) joining the torque converter to the tansmission. So pouring into the torque converter works, it just has a longer (slower) path to travel down to the sump.

Glad to hear it works. Thats the hole im using. EASY to get to.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:45 PM
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I have used a "suction gun" to put fluid in VW trannys many times.
Just suck the fluid up in the gun,then shoot it up into the tranny.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:01 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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I am going to try the suction gun method mentioned by Bake to put the ATF back into the tranny. I have wasted much time without success attempting to remove the T55 bolts from the top or side of the transmission. I tore up the side one using a T50 by mistake, now cannot get a T55 to fit. I cannot get anything to fit in the top one under the water hose such that I can then turn it. Maybe if I removed the oil filter and water hoses! I got an L shaped T55, but the short end needs to be an inch longer to clear the shift lever and the long end is too long. You really cannot get to it from above and I have wobble extensions, U-Joint connectors etc, nothing would fit. They really made it sealed for life! More power to you guys who got it loose. I have used fluid pumps many times to fill differentials, so except for making a mess shooting straight up instead of into the side, it should not be too horrible!
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:08 PM
Widmerpool Widmerpool is offline
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clutchless...I feel your pain. If it still makes any difference, fitting a hex cap into the drive hole of a T55 Torx socket gives you something to put a wrench on for the top side fill plug. A box end wrench coming at the socket/cap assembly from the front will clear all the crap and will turn the plug, albeit slowly.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:19 PM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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Forgive my ignorance, or maybe it is a terminology issue. What is a hex cap? My T55 torx sockets (I have a short and longer one) both have 3/8 inch square drive. Do you mean a short bolt with a nut on the end?

Last edited by clutchless; 08-30-2010 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:52 AM
Widmerpool Widmerpool is offline
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A hex cap is essentially a bolt head on a socket drive. It snaps into your Torx socket and gives you a low-profile way to turn the socket. I got mine as a set of three in all the common drive sizes. Does that make any sense?
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:46 AM
clutchless clutchless is offline
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I figured it out. It is a square drive socket cap: http://www.harborfreight.com/3-piece...aps-67011.html

Time for a short drive to Harbor Freight.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:46 AM
 
 
 
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