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X3 Differential and Transfer Case Fluid Change

Discussion in 'E83 X3 (2004-2010)' started by chrissokol, Aug 16, 2011.

    chrissokol guest

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    Looking for help from another X3 (E83) owner/mechanic type guru...

    Transfer Case = ATC 400

    Checked with dealer on diff and transfer case fluids and got:

    ------- dealer comment beginning ------

    Front/Rear Axles use BMW synthetic final drive gear oil (SAF-XO) which is approx. $50 per liter
    Transfer Case oil is (TF0870) which is approx $87.26 per liter
    I don't any additional services needed with transfer case oil change.

    ------- dealer comment ending --------

    So I checked on the redline website to confirm that both front and rear diffs use the 75w-90 fluid.

    The redline site also says it does NOT have a fluid for the xdrive transfer case (meaning the D4 ATF will not work in the transfer case)

    Here's my question for the gurus out there: Dealer says the "TF 0870" is the transfer case fluid. So, what other brands and weights are tried and true as a replacemen?

    Thanks all,

    '04 X3
    '01 325i
    '91 525i
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    Fluids for Transfer Case and Differentials

    I would definitely recommend using the BMW TF0870 fluid for the transfer case. I do not know of any other option. There are a few options for the differential fluids. Both Fuchs and Castrol make a synthetic 75w-90 fluid and sell it by the liter. Also, the TF0870 fluid list for approximately $56.00, so I am puzzled why you would be quoted almost double??

    chrissokol guest

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    Caved in and went to the dealer

    Thanks technicaltech for the follow up. I guess in Hawaii they mark everything up. I felt pressed so I got the trasfer case oil right from the dealer but used my BMW CCA card for the discount. In the future I'll check out amazon. I see there are some sellers that will let a quart go for a little more than 50 bucks. On the diffs, I went with Redline synthetic.... I've heard good things about royal purple too. Not sure if I'll ever be able to notice the difference.


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    I am trying to change the rear differential fluid in my 1997 BMW 328is. I went to the delear with a PN (83220002094 which is 0.5 liter of the stuff) to get the fluid and they said that they only have it in 55 gallon drums (83229407768) and could not even sell it to me in a smaller quantity even if I brought my own container. They offered to get the rear differential serviced at the dealer for $149 before tax! Which seems extremely high since it should take about 15 minutes to drain and replace the fluid! When I asked for the breakdown of the fluid cost versus the labor they didn't know. Something sounds fishy here. Basically they are telling me that I can't service my own vehicle! Does anyone know where I can get this special BMW fluid? Another dealer maybe? Any help would be appreciated.

    Diff Fluid Deprived - Alex
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    Unless you absolutely, positively, _must_ have it _from_ BMW, I think you'd likely be perfectly fine with Redline 75w-90, (if that's spec for your car - doublecheck). If you have a limited slip, you may need some of the Redline Friction Modifier as well, possibly for chatter (I'm not sure if stock BMW lsd's do). You might want to check with Redline and see exactly what they recommend. Changing diff fluid isn't hard, (you may need a couple of new crush washers for the drain and fill bolts, make sure to torque to spec when re-installing), and Harbor Freight sells a fluid transfer pump with flexible hoses you ought to be able to use for filling.



    Harbor Freight has a siphon pump that's $2.00 cheaper, but it leaks, so I'd say it's likely better to splurge and go for the whole enchilada $7.99 pump.

    chrissokol guest

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    Alex, I've used Redline as well as conventional in my rear diffs with no issue. Been workin on BMWs for 20 years. Nutshell is ususally 75-90 weight for standard diffs, and the 75-140 weight for non-slip. The redline website has an application guide that will walk you through what they recommend for your car. Usually less than 15 bucks per quart. Most BMW diffs take about 1.5- 1.7 quarts. You already know how fast and easy it is to drain and refill. No real need for dealer fluid there unless that's your preference.


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