The “Lifetime Transmission” Myth – by a BMW Owner

First thing’s first – full disclosure

This post is NOT written by a car expert. Heck, it’s not even written by a mechanic. This post is instead written from the very basic perspective of someone who knows less about how an engine works than Trump does about fighting a pandemic – sweet FA. So it was my great surprise when I learned this fun fact: the transmission in a car is not necessarily even made by the car manufacturer – in fact the same transmission can be found in an Aston Martin DBS V12 and a Kia Mohave! For today’s example, we will talk about this very same transmission that can be found in a host of BMW’s, made by a company called ZF.

BMW 335i
The source of so many ZF transmissions in New Zealand – the BMW 335i

BMW owners cop enough flak from the wider community as it is. We don’t know where our indicators are. We like to park across two – sometimes three – spaces while getting our morning lattes. But we’ve had a sneaky smile on our faces all along because we’ve known that unlike every other car out there on the market, our transmission fluids will never need replacing. Lifetime transmission fluids – it’s genius from BMW, and we are all geniuses for buying one.

Here’s the kicker though – it turns out, yet another cruel BMW trick has been played on us. There’s a catch to this promise of eternal life, and that is that the guarantee only applies to the lifetime of the transmission itself – remember, the lifetime of a component is not the lifetime of the car! And at the end of the day, that’s just another mechanical component that experiences wear and tear like everything else and will one day cease to work. Sad face. Even ZF themselves state that to ensure proper operation, you need to service their transmission at 100,000km.


When life doesn’t mean life

Why have they done this to us?! Why, why, why! It was explained to me like this: BMW know that transmission unit is good for 100,000km. After 100,000km though…? Well, all bets are off – and the bets get pricy too, since a full transmission replacement can start to chew the thick end of $10,000. Yikes. Conversely, going against the Bible of BMW and getting your transmission serviced every 60,000km is going to not only save you a fortune, but also save the life of that car that you love so dear.

So what’s the science behind all this? It all seems relatively straightforward, even to me. To make your transmission work and keep the moving parts from grinding the living daylights out of each other, there’s this nifty little lubricant that everything swims in called transmission fluid. Any wear the transmission experiences from daily driving is caught in this fluid as well and after a while it starts to get pretty dirty. Not to worry though – there’s a filter to catch all the nasty contaminants (some really tiny, miniscule bits of metal and other sludge). But after a while, even this starts to get clogged up, and it just kinda stops doing it’s basic job – filtering. Bit by bit, the transmission has to work harder and harder, and then one day – BANG! Goodbye trans. If only you’d known to get it serviced – if only you hadn’t believed the lifetime tale you’d been told.

What you DON’T want your transmission to do

The service solution

And when it comes to the service itself? Naturally there’s two ways of doing that too. EuroSurgeon fall squarely in the camp that you should NOT, under any circumstances, pressure flush the transmission at service. This washes out every bit of the gunk that’s in the transmission, yes, but some of that could well have been holding things together in there. With 20+ years of transmission rebuilding experience, they’ve learned the hard way that it is usually these customers who will experience a full failure within 12 months of having their transmission pressure flushed.

The technique they opt for is simple – drain the contaminated fluid, replace the used filter, and top up the fluid with brand spanking new Motul ATF VI. And hey presto, just like that, you’ve extended the lifetime on your transmission. It seemed like common sense to me – hopefully it does to you, too.

If you want to talk to the experts about YOUR transmission service needs, you can get in touch with a EuroSurgeon here.

BMW F30 320i Tuning – Two Decades of Development

BMW F30 320i Tuning

Finally BMW F30 320i tuning yields major gains! +70HP and 130Nm of torque.

Its not a suprise that the BMW 320i has been one of the most commonly found Euro cars on New Zealand roads. It’s because they are quite affordable, look the part and are easy to look after.

However the most common question regarding the BMW we get asked is always the same: “Can you make my BMW 320i faster?” For the past decade the answer was almost always a resounding “no”. We could do minor 320i tuning tricks, like improving the accelerator response, getting the maintenance sorted and restoring lost horses over the years. But not much more than that.

For years the 320i required some form of forced induction to make it move. In late 2011/early 2012 our prayers were finally answered with BMW releasing the F30 320i with a turbo. It became an instant hit because of the nice interior, great gearbox and N20 engine that had a little kick to go with it.

In the next few months, people started noticing that the BMW F30 328i had the same engine, however the power output was noticeably higher.

Join Ryan on a full walk-though the power gains of a BMW F30 320i before and after tuning in our video:

Walk through F30 320i tuning options.

Give us a call today to get your BMW 320i dialed in the way you want it! Contact us

Check out our YouTube channel for more fun cars: Click Here (Opens in new tab)

BMW F80 M3 S55 Competition as a Daily Car?

BMW M3 S55 Tuning and performance
F80 M3 performance for daily.

How about getting +75WHP and 105Nm of torque at the wheels for a daily car? Let’s talk about a very capable BMW F80 M3 and F82 M4 with the S55 engine.

Whenever someone mentions BMW M3, I get a little over excited. The history, the dedication to motorsport, it being a proper track weapon, the feel of being pushed into the seat sideways. Everything about it is brilliant. What never gets mentioned is living with one on a day to day basis.

What originally has been made to be a homologated race machine progressed through 30 years of evolution with all the necessary creature comforts. With the F80 M3 you get literally everything you need for day-to-day trips. AC, a brilliant sound system, suspension that can make a hangover more tolerable or lock out in race mode, steering to dive into the Countdown carpark slot, and stunning looks. What’s missing? Daily entertaining power.

But can you get more power? Yes.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s got a decent chunk from stock, and on a race track like Hampton Downs, Taupo or Highlands its almost enough. BUT, when you only get an occasional chance to floor it in an overtaking lane or motorway on-ramp its somewhat…uhhh…dull? There is no “Sh#t thats quick!” feel about the F80 M3. But its almost there. Have a look at what we came up with at ESP. A true BMW M3 daily tune – Smooth,, controllable, predictable.

Join Ryan for M3 Competition walk through and dyno.

As you can see from dyno graph – there’s no delayed boost onset, no weird lumps of power. This is because we replicate the factory-designed power delivery. Factory-like power delivery, just a lot more of it! Perfect for getting on those inspirational late night drives through the back roads! Also, very entertaining for a baby seat at the back 😉

Give us a call today to get you BMW F80 M3 S55 or BMW F82 M4 S55 dialed in the way you want it! Contact us

Check out our YouTube channel for more fun cars: Click Here (Opens in new tab)

BMW X5 Diesel Power

BMW X5 Diesel upgrades

Additional 90nm of torque for BMW X5 Diesel? Not a problem.

Since the year 2000 when the first mix of Range Rover technology and BMW’s desire to make an SUV was set in stone, the X5 has been one of the most popular solutions to urban off-roading.

Why so much love for a BMW Diesel X5? The phenomenal value and the utility factor that you get. Trunk space to pack the family for a weekend away. Do the shopping run for a week, or perhaps you need to tow that 2.5 tonne Rayglass? Make it a diesel X5 40D, and it will have enough grunt to tow a house.

Here is full walk through with Ryan covering the improvement potential of an BMW X5 40D in all its glory.

However It’s worth noting, that the BMW 40D in the video still has the factory DPF fitted to it. All original all original parts, including very “special” air filter. Also, this particular truck does not have AdBlue, otherwise it would be safely removed as part of the tune up process.

The BMW X5 comes with quite a few Diesel variants. In the line up you have X5 35d, 30d. The Mac Daddy of all X5s 50D with triple turbo full of major diesel power!

Give us a call today to find out what we can do for your BMW Diesel X5! Contact us

Check out our YouTube channel for more fun cars: Click Here (Opens in new tab)

BMW 335i ECU and Alpina Transmission Tune

ESP 335i N54 Drag race
Our shop car (’06 N54) sending smoke signals. Last ET: 12.024

ECU Tuning of a 335i is a prime example of a well responsive engine

Let’s look at the numbers:
Stock: 306HP or 225kW and 400Nm of torque
EuroSurgeon Tuned: 370HP or 272kW and 500Nm of torque

The end result is breathtaking acceleration, pull from any gear and a very linear torque curve. The remap includes adjustment to the throttle position, meaning there’s no delay when the loud pedal is pressed! But the fun doesn’t end there: for 335i’s produced from March 2007 onward, the Alpina B3 transmission flash is also available.

  • Faster shifts
  • Almost no loss of power in between shifts
  • Almost no torque limiter
  • Faster launches
  • Faster paddle response times
  • Center cluster will now show D1,D2,D3,D4,D5,D6 rather than just D