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Sway bar size????
by larmini
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  #1  
Old 05-29-2008, 06:47 PM
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Transmission Fluid Change How To?

I have an '04 Cooper (R50) with the manual transmission (midlands); I'm planning to change the transmission fluid this weekend. I already have a couple bottles of Red Line MTL, I just have a few questions before I get started:
1) Where exactly are the fill / drain plugs? Pictures would be nice to illustrate this as I haven't worked on the MINI enough to be intimate with it to the point of knowing where things are by descriptive words alone (I've changed transmission fluid in other cars before, so I know the procedure of remove fill first, then drain plug)
2) What are the torque specs for the two plugs?
3) Can I use ramps to do this or should I use jack stands?

I tried searching but didn't find anything; maybe I searched for the wrong phrase(s). Also, I know I should get a service manual for the car, I just haven't gotten around to it yet .
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Old 05-29-2008, 08:54 PM
AliceCooperWA AliceCooperWA is offline
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I don't have any pictures, but I can walk you through it a bit. put the car on jack stands and try to get it level. Remove the driver side front wheel. On the tranny, there are 2 drain bolts. The top one is the fill, the bottom is the drain. Remove the top bolt, then the bottom one with a pan under it. It's best to do it with the tranny hot, so make sure you don't get burned. It will come out like a dam breaking! so be careful. Then put the bottom bolt back on. Filling was a bit tricky as you are pouring fluid into the side of a relatively flat vertical surface with very little space. I used a 3 ft piece of thin clear tubing connected to a funnel. Insert end of tube into top hole, have someone pour fluid into funnel while you hold the tube in place. If the tube is in too far, it may be blocked by transmission parts. If it is not in enough, it will leak. It pours really slow, but it's much easier this way. When the fluid starts coming out of the top hole, then put the top bolt back in and you're done. Pretty easy, just a bit awkward because of limited space.

Good luck. Remember to drive slow for a couple of minutes after the change to make sure everything is lubed up before putting stress on the tranny. Any more questions, let me know.
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 101101 View Post
2) What are the torque specs for the two plugs?
According to Bentley manual, both plugs should be tightened to 32 ft-lbs.

GotMINI
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  #4  
Old 05-30-2008, 05:31 AM
AliceCooperWA AliceCooperWA is offline
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Oh and I think jack stands are better, because the car should be as close to level as possible.
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The Mini is gone thanks to the POS Midlands tranny. FU BMW! So I got myself a Subi. Tuned it myself to around 280 crank hp...for $15. That's with no mods...yet.

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Old 05-30-2008, 05:47 AM
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Thanks for all the replies; I'm feeling better about this. Looks like I may have to bum a set of jack stands off one of my friends since mine are back at my parents' place.
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:10 PM
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Well, did it today. Busted my knuckles up a bit trying to break the bolts loose, but it's done. As soon as I pulled the drain plug I thought "great, I just wasted time and money on this" as I watched oil drain out that looked clear enough to be fresh off the assembly line (my car has 36k miles on it).

I also saw this (I realize one's missing a washer - it got caught in the oil catch pan but don't worry; it's on now):
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.


I don't recall which was which now, but I cleaned the sludge-ish stuff off them, replaced the drain plug, and refilled the transmission. Not too bad; the worst part of today (transmission and oil change) was fighting with the oil filter to get the new one on.
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:01 AM
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Seams easy enough.I am in need of this procedure.I have an '05 auto S/25,000 mi..It's funny how the dealer can justify their demonic price for this service(well over $1000).They say it's the fluid.Bull****!.Minicorsa(vanuys,ca) only charges $120.00 for service.I'm thinking of driving 4 hrs to socal cuz that's my only option.I dont have ramps,stands,lift to get under car.How much did the "precious"tranny fluid cost?-So I can go tell the dealer what kinda upstanding citizens they are!How long was the operation in total?-thanks
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:20 AM
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Update (After putting a few miles on it): maybe it's all in my mind but it seems that it takes less effort now to put the shifter in gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the platform View Post
Seams easy enough.I am in need of this procedure.I have an '05 auto S/25,000 mi..It's funny how the dealer can justify their demonic price for this service(well over $1000).They say it's the fluid.Bull****!.Minicorsa(vanuys,ca) only charges $120.00 for service.I'm thinking of driving 4 hrs to socal cuz that's my only option.I dont have ramps,stands,lift to get under car.How much did the "precious"tranny fluid cost?-So I can go tell the dealer what kinda upstanding citizens they are!How long was the operation in total?-thanks
Cost:
I used Red Line MTL fluid (not the MINI / BMW stuff); it cost me about $9 / bottle + shipping for three bottles (the MC takes just over 2 quarts, MCS under 2 I think).

Time:
After getting the car situated and left-front wheel removed maybe 45 min, a good bit of which was spent trying to figure out how to get my ratchet onto the bolts and then trying to make the pump I bought for the fluid work. If I did it again, probably under 30 min.
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Old 06-02-2008, 11:48 AM
AliceCooperWA AliceCooperWA is offline
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$120 seems reasonable for the labor and fluids. The haynes manual states: "refilling the transmission is an extremely awkward operation". It definitely is a bit awkward without special equipment.
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The Mini is gone thanks to the POS Midlands tranny. FU BMW! So I got myself a Subi. Tuned it myself to around 280 crank hp...for $15. That's with no mods...yet.

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Old 06-02-2008, 11:50 AM
AliceCooperWA AliceCooperWA is offline
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101101, do you have a midlands or getrag? I'm pretty sure my midlands would only hold a little less than 2 quarts.
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The Mini is gone thanks to the POS Midlands tranny. FU BMW! So I got myself a Subi. Tuned it myself to around 280 crank hp...for $15. That's with no mods...yet.

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Old 06-02-2008, 11:55 AM
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wow,the dealer is a stealer. thats the G rated version.good going on fluid change! cool photo of sludgey plug
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceCooperWA View Post
I don't have any pictures, but I can walk you through it a bit. put the car on jack stands and try to get it level. Remove the driver side front wheel. On the tranny, there are 2 drain bolts. The top one is the fill, the bottom is the drain. Remove the top bolt, then the bottom one with a pan under it. It's best to do it with the tranny hot, so make sure you don't get burned. It will come out like a dam breaking! so be careful. Then put the bottom bolt back on. Filling was a bit tricky as you are pouring fluid into the side of a relatively flat vertical surface with very little space. I used a 3 ft piece of thin clear tubing connected to a funnel. Insert end of tube into top hole, have someone pour fluid into funnel while you hold the tube in place. If the tube is in too far, it may be blocked by transmission parts. If it is not in enough, it will leak. It pours really slow, but it's much easier this way. When the fluid starts coming out of the top hole, then put the top bolt back in and you're done. Pretty easy, just a bit awkward because of limited space.

Good luck. Remember to drive slow for a couple of minutes after the change to make sure everything is lubed up before putting stress on the tranny. Any more questions, let me know.
Hey Alice,
What's the benefit of doing it while tranny is hot?Fluid flow?-thanks
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RMW Street Header/RMW Tune/Milltek Catback/Alta 15% Pulley/380Injectors/Alta CAI/TSW "X"Brace/Brisk/Kingsbornes/TSW Damper/Koni's/TSW Springs/20 mm Rearsway/RearUpperBar/M7 FSB/SSR CRS Comps/Dunlop Z1 Star Specs/215/40/17/Ireland CamberPlates/rear seats and chrome..gone.Custom Badging and Vinyl...shiny red towhook.
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  #13  
Old 06-02-2008, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceCooperWA View Post
101101, do you have a midlands or getrag? I'm pretty sure my midlands would only hold a little less than 2 quarts.
I assume it's the midlands (in an 04; it definitely doesn't have the defined gates feel my friend's getrag has). I know I put in two full quart bottles and it didn't start to run out so I started on the third bottle.

Awkward doesn't describe the refilling act; I ended up standing beside the car holding a funnel attached to about a 4 ft hose that ran into the front left wheel well (no wheel), down to the fill plug. You get some odd looks doing such an act in an apartment parking lot

Why to do it hot / warm:
Because hot oil on your hands is fun
Actually it's because hot oil is thinner and flows faster, so it goes quicker.
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Old 06-02-2008, 01:11 PM
AliceCooperWA AliceCooperWA is offline
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+ you get more out. You should do the same thing with your engine oil.
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The Mini is gone thanks to the POS Midlands tranny. FU BMW! So I got myself a Subi. Tuned it myself to around 280 crank hp...for $15. That's with no mods...yet.

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Old 06-16-2008, 09:11 PM
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Couple quick general notes:

For user: The Platform - this thread covers changing the fluid in a manual transmission. Changing fluid in an automatic transmission is a whole other issue involving removing a whole pan, replacing a special filter, fresh gaskets (usually) and very careful re-assembly. And that's the quick-n-dirty approach because it only replaces about 2/3s of the fluid. A better approach involves additional steps to drain and refill the converter. $1000 seems quite high to me, but $300 would not sound unreasonable.

As to why change fluid hot? It's not so much the free-er flowing aspect of hot oil, it's the fact that all the tiny little shavings and gunk and crud will still be floating in the oil if you change it right after turning it off (no time to settle out). This is true for regular engine oil changes too: You want it to sit long enough for most of the oil to collect in the pan, but not so long that the gunk starts to separate from the oil so you get rid of as much as possible with the old oil.
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Old 06-17-2008, 12:24 PM
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I usually do it before it can even settle in the pan. I just let it drain for 30 minutes or so. They do enjoy reaming you on fluids though. I think it's like $20 a quart for the bmw crap! That's crazy since the top quality transmission fluids are half that.
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The Mini is gone thanks to the POS Midlands tranny. FU BMW! So I got myself a Subi. Tuned it myself to around 280 crank hp...for $15. That's with no mods...yet.

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Old 08-21-2009, 02:58 PM
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transmission oil chanhe

if any of you have gone to a bmw dealer for a part and encountered the dummy behind the counter, well i have. while getting the part for my passenger side window i asked to get some transmission fluid for my wifes 2004 mini, he said and i quote it is a sealed unit and does not need replacing. my first thought was ARE YOU KIDDING, you don't change the fluid. well i didn't stop there, i came home got on this thread and checked with some real car guys. this transmission fluid change is almost the same as my accord very easy to do. and i did use redline fluid. don't always listen to the guy behind the counter....

Last edited by andreas123; 08-21-2009 at 03:00 PM. Reason: transmission oil change
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Old 08-21-2009, 06:19 PM
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Well in defense of the "dummy behind the counter" MINIs position is that the transmission fluid is a lifetime fluid so I am sure they tell the dealers that. Now I don't really believe that and change mine every 25K miles.
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Old 08-22-2009, 09:11 AM
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my thing is this mini has had scores of problems with their trasnmissions, why compound the problem by not changing the fluid. no fluid has a lifetime, they should be encouraging people to change their fluids.
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Old 08-22-2009, 10:52 AM
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I think most of the problems is with the CVT. I don't know if that is a "lifetime" fluid or not.
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:48 PM
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Redline MTL

Has anyone used this fluid in a COLD climate? Chicago area MINI is looking to replace the manual shift fluid and just wondering how hard a shift to expect with other brands from stock. 2004 model S, 6 speed May build date.
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Old 09-04-2009, 11:37 AM
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i live in florida and the coldest we get is in 30s but not much lower and only for a short time. so the fluid works great here, i don't think there would be a problem because the viscosity is the same as mini oem fluid.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lou View Post
Has anyone used this fluid in a COLD climate? Chicago area MINI is looking to replace the manual shift fluid and just wondering how hard a shift to expect with other brands from stock. 2004 model S, 6 speed May build date.
MTL is the thinner option. MT90 is the thicker option.
I have not seen anyone have a problem with MTL in cold climates.
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Old 09-25-2009, 06:27 PM
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So are the shavings attached to the magnet plug something to be concerned about or just normal wear and tear?
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:37 PM
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3 bottles ehy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 101101 View Post
Update (After putting a few miles on it): maybe it's all in my mind but it seems that it takes less effort now to put the shifter in gear.



Cost:
I used Red Line MTL fluid (not the MINI / BMW stuff); it cost me about $9 / bottle + shipping for three bottles (the MC takes just over 2 quarts, MCS under 2 I think).

Time:
After getting the car situated and left-front wheel removed maybe 45 min, a good bit of which was spent trying to figure out how to get my ratchet onto the bolts and then trying to make the pump I bought for the fluid work. If I did it again, probably under 30 min.

R50 does require 3 bottles ehy? (just over 2 quarts of MTL)
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:37 PM
 
 
 
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