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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I would want to replace the CVT fluid transmissionl' to my Mini Cooper 2005
. but I have read that in order to introduce the new oil, it serves a BMW 248100 special tool.
I cannot use un' other system?
it is obligatory to use the special tool?
thank you.

Giacomo
 

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I've done this and you don't need the BMW tool but you do need to take the fill plug to the parts store to match threads and get a barb fitting that will screw into the fill hole that you can fit the hose from the pump you will use to push the oil into the CVT. The fill hole is near the bottom of the trans and there is an internal vertical tube that you must push the oil up to fill the trans. the top of the fill tube is the oil level but you can't see it. Absolutely no way to use gravity to fill your trans. Take the fill plug out first and get this part before draining your oil. If you can't find a fitting to work you've only lost the little bit of oil in the fill tube.

I wouldn't recommend doing this without the Bentley or MINI service instructions as there is more to it than just filling with oil. Not real difficult but definitly a proper way to do this to purge air and then to get the level correct. Directions say you need to account for temperature expansion and they have a definite procedure outlined that involves getting the oil warmed up and then drain excess to final the oil level.

Hope this makes sense and helps. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi, minitoo
and thank you for answer.
a friend has said to me that the fluidl can be introduced from' high for gravity, removing the battery and its support. perhaps it is not true? moreover as you make knowing when you have put l' exact oil level ?
thank you.

Giacomo
 

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You are welcome. Your friend must be thinking of filling a manual transmission. I have seen reference to this normal gravity fill also but it will not work with the CVT. Both the drain and the fill are near the bottom of the transmission and I don't think you could get enough head to have gravity fill the trans with approx. 4.5 liters of oil according to the Bentley Manual (owner's manual says approx. 4 liter).
 

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I have another car with the same ZF CVT gearbox, a 2004 MG TF Stepspeed sportscar.

There has been concern raised over use of the wrong CVT fluid and ZF (now Punch Powertrain) have stated that the only fluid to use is Esso EZL799 which should be the only fluid (BMW branded) sold by BMW specifically for the MINI CVT gearbox.

ZF state that no other fluid should be used and any other fluid will damage the gearbox!

Please ensure that only this fluid is used and don't believe your dealer as they are known to recommend and use standard ATF which is no good.

Early failure of these gearboxes is probably caused by using the wrong fluid!!

Unfortunately Esso EZL799 is extremely difficult to find in the UK so we have to resort to BMW MINI dealers and, unfortunately, their gold plated prices.:mad:
 

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You are welcome. Your friend must be thinking of filling a manual transmission. I have seen reference to this normal gravity fill also but it will not work with the CVT. Both the drain and the fill are near the bottom of the transmission and I don't think you could get enough head to have gravity fill the trans with nearly 3 liters of oil.

Hi minitoo, could you describe how to fill a manual transmission and how to check the level of the oil, I just stopped a leak and want to make sure the oil level is correct.
 

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You are welcome. Your friend must be thinking of filling a manual transmission. I have seen reference to this normal gravity fill also but it will not work with the CVT. Both the drain and the fill are near the bottom of the transmission and I don't think you could get enough head to have gravity fill the trans with nearly 3 liters of oil.
Now I'm a bit confused. According to Mini, it should take 4l of oil. I've drained and refilled mine on an 03 plate Mini One.
The drain hole is in the bottom of the sump and the fill hole is located in the top of the tranny case. I had to remove the battery tray (held on 3 bolts) to gain access to the plug.
Does it mean I have overfilled the tranny by a litre???
Now I'm getting worried!!!
 

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That 3 lliter statement is in error. The CVT takes 4.5 liter according to my Bentley manual and I know I pretty much used up 5 by the time I spilled a bit and then purposely overfilled to let drain down to the proper level. Sorry about the confusion.

According to Bentley your manual tranny requires 2 liter for the five speed and the 1.5 liter for the six speed for refills. This is for 2002-2004 and probably later, up until maybe the 2nd gen. Don't know.

Checking a manual's level or filling is pretty straight forward and like most other manuals. Not many have a dipstick (my old SAAB does though). The MINI manuals have a drain plug and another plug a bit higher on the side of the tranny that is the fill hole. Just fill it to the level of the upper hole, let any excess run out and that is it. To check if your oil is low just remove the fill hole and if oil doesn't run out you might want to top it off until it does. You might be able to just stick your finger in to see how low the oil is below the fill hole. Don't know. Just be sure the car is level when filling and checking.

r50uk,
Are you talking about a CVT? I have never heard of a fill hole on top of the transmission. Maybe this is an alternative way to fill the tranny but I've not heard of it. If there is a fill hole up there somewhere that certainly could be an easier way to deal with CVT fills. Don't know why the manual wouldn't offer this up though. Certainly not the way my 2003 CVT is as my fill hole is exactly as a a dealer and the Bentley manual describe and on the bottom of the transmission almost level with the drain hole. This is why filling the CVT is a bit more difficult. There is a vertical tube in the transmission above the fill hole and oil must be pushed up to the top of this tube and then flows down to fill the transmission. The tranny is full when oil fills up to the top the tube and then can drain back out the hole. You can't see any of this internally but that is how it works and why it might be difficult to fill by gravity. Somebody who has done it that way could weigh in. I did mine with a pump hooked up to fitting I made to screw into the fill plug hole. like the manual said. And then you are supposed to go through a bleeding process running the car through the gears while up on stands (you can hear it hissing as air is purged and you are supposed to let it run a certain amount of time to heat up the oil so it expands and then drain the excess. Not sure how essential all this is but I followed the manual instructions to the letter. I'm not experimenting with a potential $7000 replacement. if it isn't done right.
 

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r50uk,
Are you talking about a CVT? I have never heard of a fill hole on top of the transmission. Maybe this is an alternative way to fill the tranny but I've not heard of it. If there is a fill hole up there somewhere that certainly could be an easier way to deal with CVT fills. Don't know why the manual wouldn't offer this up though. Certainly not the way my 2003 CVT is as my fill hole is exactly as a a dealer and the Bentley manual describe and on the bottom of the transmission almost level with the drain hole.
I'm positive. It's a CVT tranny and I'm positive there is a fill hole at the very top of the tranny casing. All I had to do was remove the battery tray and fill it.
I took 4l from the Mini owner's handbook so now I'm confused! Do I have to add another 0.5l? What worries me most though is the fact my tranny seems to look different to the gearboxes everyone else has! I really don't get it! My drain plug is in the very bottom of the tranny sump, I've seen pics of what it's supposed to look like (drain hole and fill hole above it, both on the side of the tranny) and it doesn't look anything like it!!!!
I'll try to take some pics as soon as I can.
Has anyone else got any ideas???
 

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Certainly can't argue with experience since you have been able to service your car that way. My owner's manual also says 4 liter but I have to say that the owner's manual is so poor on the CVT (operation instructions) that I tend to put more faith in the Bentley Manual. My car did take about the 4.5 liter for a refill as I bought 5; spilled a bit with overflow and filling and had a bit leftover. I did edit my previous post with the 3 liter error...must have been my cat walking on the keyboard again.

Strange that your tranny doesn't seem to match the pictures but it is often hard to orient yourself in those close-up photos. It would seem unlikely that your car would have a different CVT as this is a pretty specific application. Are you sure you are not looking at a photo of a manual transmission which has fill holes as you describe. So where did you learn about the alternate fill location on top of the tranny?

As to whether you need to add more oil... I would think that if you had the normal fill location on your CVT that you could just warm the car up and remove that plug and see if the oil is topped off properly. This will be a bit difficult though as maybe a quarter cup of oil will drain out (contents of the fill tube that refills during operation). You should be prepared to then add additional oil until it flows out of the lower fill hole so you know you are filled to the top of the tube. If you only have the upper fill hole that you have been using and not the lower fill hole also I have no idea how you might check for the proper level on your CVT.

MINI did have a recall early on in CVT sales (2002 or 03) because some CVT's where underfilled so I would certainly check that my car was fully filled and not have to worry about the consequences. Sounds like that is exactly what you are doing. Does seem like a stop off at a dealer to clarify a few things might be in order. Please let us know what you learn.
 

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Checking a manual's level or filling is pretty straight forward and like most other manuals. Not many have a dipstick (my old SAAB does though). The MINI manuals have a drain plug and another plug a bit higher on the side of the tranny that is the fill hole. Just fill it to the level of the upper hole, let any excess run out and that is it. To check if your oil is low just remove the fill hole and if oil doesn't run out you might want to top it off until it does. You might be able to just stick your finger in to see how low the oil is below the fill hole. Don't know. Just be sure the car is level when filling and checking.

Thanks minitoo, as you mention it seems pretty straight forward and since it's been three days and the leak I mention before now appears to be gone, I will give it a try.
 

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So where did you learn about the alternate fill location on top of the tranny?
Where did I learn about it? I assumed it's bound to have a fill hole at the very top of the casing, took the battery box out and saw the fill hole underneath! I've filled the tranny up yesterday using that fill hole.

As to whether you need to add more oil... I would think that if you had the normal fill location on your CVT that you could just warm the car up and remove that plug and see if the oil is topped off properly. This will be a bit difficult though as maybe a quarter cup of oil will drain out (contents of the fill tube that refills during operation). You should be prepared to then add additional oil until it flows out of the lower fill hole so you know you are filled to the top of the tube. If you only have the upper fill hole that you have been using and not the lower fill hole also I have no idea how you might check for the proper level on your CVT.
Please let us know what you learn.
Well, I have what looks like one fill hole (top of the tranny casing, above the tranny mount) and two drain plugs (one in the very bottom of the tranny sump, another at the front of the car, quite low as well but not as low as the sump, the hole is facing the front bumper. I also have what appears to be an inspection hole (correct me if I'm wrong) - it's on the side of the tranny casing, just below that 8-10" round cover and just above the tranny sump. Is that where I need to check the level?:confused:

Your input will be appreciated!!!
 

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Not the inspection hole. The plug you want is the forward ,slightly higher than the drain plug . That is the fill hole described in the Bentley manual and the one I use to fill my car.

I looked at a scehmatic of the CVT in a document I have and I think I see the location on the top of the tranny you are filling from. I also found an old email from a Canadian dealer I once emailed and he described this fill hole and said to fill with 4.5 liters. Good find on locating the fill hole up there. Once I bought the Bentley Manual I forgot about the previous email and followed the directions there which were as I described previously: filling from below with the special tool.

As you've come to realize by filling from above you can't be really sure if you've filled to the proper level. If this were my car and I was in your situation what I would now do is drive the car so the fluid is warm (manual says 30-50C or 86-122F...not that warm really. like a normal house hot water supply). Then remove the bottom fill plug (not drain plug), a little fluid will drain out as I explained previously, but not much. Then I would go ahead and fill from the upper plug you've been using until it overflowed down below. Let it finish draining and then I would feel comfortable that I was at the proper level and quit worrying about it and go for a drive.

Next time I do mine I may fill from above as you did but check the level from below to bleed off the overfill. Did you run through all the bleed routine after draining and filling or just jump in and go? I would suspect that if you took it real easy at first the car would bleed through normal operation but the manual did describe a procedure for running through the gears with the car up and no load so that is what I did. Hope this helps some...
 

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Has anyone used Eneos CVT fluid? It's website insists it works for all metal-belt type CVTs, and it's 6 bucks a quart...tempting.
 

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according to bmw repair instructions when filling the cvt gearbox you should use to fill hole at the bottom which is at an angle and it should be filled with 5l, then ran through a bleeding process, then the temp should be checked and when it is between 30-50'c you should remove the fill plug again and a minimum of 0.3l should come out (with engine still running), if less comes out then the gearbox is under filled. there is however a fill hole at the top (i changed one a few days ago and know this for certain) however BMW state this is for factory filling, doesn't mean you can't use it ouyrself though
 

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Hello Everyone -_^, . I read this post and did a CVT fluid change on my client's 03 Mini Cooper. I originally just wanted to check the fluid level and after reading this thread, I jacked the mini up crawled underneath with my oil pan ready to go, I pulled the "fluid lvl check plug" out and blam! looots of fluid spilled out!, I as expecting a little drizzle. So apparently he had the fluid changed once before and I'm not certain if this was just a result of over filling or what so I quickly put the -fluid lvl check plug- back in and pulled out the drain plug (the one facing the ground yes I know). About a second later just out of curiosity as the trans fluid was draining out of the drain plug, I pulled the "fluid lvl check plug back out and it barely even dripped, I suppose all the fluid coming out of the drain plug drained away whatever excess fluid was behind the -fluid lvl check plug-.

After the fluid was drained I took a look in the fluid lvl drain plug and its just an empty hole, nothing I could see inside it other then the plug threads. The Drain plug however has a flat metal plate just inside it , if you stick your finger inside all you feel is the flat plate, sort of like a little metal ceiling.

I put both plugs back in and tightened them with a T6 Allen wrench. and proceeded to remove the battery.

The Battery cover was easy to get off, just lift the tabs on either side and pop it off, remove the negative terminal first, then the positive, push the cables behind and to the side of the box, pull the battery out, there is a computer to the right of the battery (would be more twords the drivers wheel) with two large connectors on it, the computer itself is being held into the battery tray by two long plastic clips, one is closer to the front of the car one closer to the firewall in the battery tray, push them both twords the passenger wheel to unlock the computer and pull the computer up and out.



Now that the computer is loose, each of the cable connectors on the computer has a sliding lock at the base,



the connector closest to the front of the car , pull its tab tword the front of the car to unlock it, once unlocked pull the connector up and off of the computer,



the connector closer to the firewall pull it's lock tab twords the firewall and then pull the connector up and off of the computer.



Put the computer somewhere safe like in the car on one of the seats. unscrew the 3 battery box bolts with I believe again a T6 allen wrench. carefully remove the battery box and whatever weather stripping is attached to it, just move that out of the way.



I had to spray some cleaner on the trans to find the upper fill plug but I can confirm it certainly is there -_^,. It's small , is removed with another allen wrench. I pumped ('cause i didnt have a funnel or tube that size) 4.75 quarts (or bottles) of Royal Purple full synthetic ATF into the CVT. put the fill plug back in. turned the engine on. Ran it through the gears about 10 times. Lowered the mini and test drove it. Ran great.









Apparently Royal purple claims its Full Synthetic ATF exceeds the CVT fluid BMW has (and would not sell me) at the dealership. They told my client over the phone that they do not sell CVT fluid alone and that the only way to obtain any of it was to bring the Mini in for servicing and theeey would put it in. I'm a third generation Auto Mechanic and that's just ********.

Let me tell you all something about fluids. all of them Motor Oil, Trans Fluid or Gear Lube, Coolant, Power Steering Fluid, and "CVT Fluid" all of them have chemical seal swellers , chemical seal softeners, chemical anti-corrosives, some have chemical anti-foamers and chemical stabilizers.

The ooonly thing trans fluid needs to do is:

1. lubricate whatever metal innards it has so metal gears pushing on metal gears or metal chains on metal gears etc. doesn't grind itself to bits.

2. it has to have the correct chemical seal softeners and seal swellers that affect the seals the trans haaas so the seals don't leak, if you have trans lube/fluid in your trans but it does not have the matching softeners or swellers that work on your trans seals it will lubricate the innards but the seals will get baked hard and brittle and the trans will eventually leak.

3. the fluid/lube cant have any type of substance in it that will leave deposits in things like valve bodies or torque converters. I feel the only reason BMW would try and force you to buy their CVT fluid is because they probably feel that only their fluid will keep the seals sealing and passageways clear and unblocked.

4. Obviously have some kind of resistance to breaking down in high heat and high pressure.

So . . it isn't magic. They do not have some new top secret formula fluid that only they sell, all they have is a standard lubricant with the correct chemicals in it to keep the trans protected as best it can from friction, from leaking and from getting plugged up.

So I recommend any high grade full synthetic like Royal Purple ATF or Mobile One ATF will do just fine in everyone's CVT as a perfectly acceptable alternative to the Dealer CVT fluid.

I hope my post contribution here has helped this forum community and anyone else needing this information out in some way.

- Isaac the Auto Mechanic, Los Angeles California.
 

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