Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

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anpk05
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Joined: Mar 14, 2017 11:35 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by anpk05 »

Hopefully, you guys can direct me in the direction to seek a solution.

Car: 1987 528e Automatic 4HP22

I replaced the automatic drain pan gasket this past weekend, due to a bad leak. With it, I also replaced the strainer inside. All went smooth until the moment I refilled with ATF and checked the level via dipstick. I do have a Bentley and followed it strictly.

So, according to the manual, the drain and refill takes 3.2 quarts of ATF fluid. To start the car, I first added 3 quarts exactly, thinking that I definitely did not drain the transmission 100% of the old fluid because it is impossible. I started the car went for a 12-16 mile round trip on the freeway to warm up the transmission. I didn't notice any issues with shifting.

Came back, while the car was idling, I check the fluid level following below steps. Car was on level surface as well.
1. Pull dip stick (noticed the measuring end of the dipstick was covered in fluid).
2. Wipe, re-insert the dipstick again and pull it out to check the level (just like how we check motor oil level)

These are the notches I was referring to.
Image

Issue: The dipstick was completely dry, except the 3 notches were somewhat covered with fluid.

I added the rest of the 0.2 quarts and went for another similar distance drive. Checked again, and same issue. Also, while I was waiting for parts I let the car drip out more old ATF for 1 week, and quite a lot came out as well. I did not drain and refill the same day, there was about 7-10 days between drain and fill.

Am I missing something? Or maybe I did this wrong?? Or did I drain out more than 3.2 quarts since, the long waiting period during the drain and fill?
Please help.
duggi
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Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by duggi »

IIRC, the automatic transmission holds somewhere between 5-7 liters when you account for the fluid in the torque converter (which is basically full of transmission fluid). If you left the car sitting with the transmission draining for a week, then I would assume you drained a lot more than 3.2 liters.

When refilling your automatic transmission, absolutely DO NOT take it for a drive until you see fluid registered on the dipstick. The proper procedure is to let the car idle in park or neutral and fill/check until the fluid is at the appropriate level. Then take a short drive, check again, and top-off if necessary (usually will be).

That said, your transmission is probably fine, these things are relatively tough =)

If you haven't already solved this, I'd just put in 1/2 a liter at a time while it's parked and running, and check after 30 seconds, and repeat until it's at the level it should be.
anpk05
Posts: 87
Joined: Mar 14, 2017 11:35 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by anpk05 »

duggi wrote: Nov 14, 2020 1:03 PM IIRC, the automatic transmission holds somewhere between 5-7 liters when you account for the fluid in the torque converter (which is basically full of transmission fluid). If you left the car sitting with the transmission draining for a week, then I would assume you drained a lot more than 3.2 liters.

When refilling your automatic transmission, absolutely DO NOT take it for a drive until you see fluid registered on the dipstick. The proper procedure is to let the car idle in park or neutral and fill/check until the fluid is at the appropriate level. Then take a short drive, check again, and top-off if necessary (usually will be).

That said, your transmission is probably fine, these things are relatively tough =)

If you haven't already solved this, I'd just put in 1/2 a liter at a time while it's parked and running, and check after 30 seconds, and repeat until it's at the level it should be.
F#@&.................. So, I'm pissed. I was thinking something similar to it, I just didn't put it to action.
Excuse my language. So thankful for your reply. I took it for 2 spins and that's it. I hope it is not toast. I'll do what you said and see.
kojo96
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Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by kojo96 »

Its sometimes hard to see the fluid on a dipstick thats black. I find it easier to just dab the stick on my finger tip where the fluid should register, you'll find that it's there but really hard to see.

On just a filter change, it should only take 3.2 qts of fluid +- a few oz.
Mike W.
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Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by Mike W. »

kojo96 wrote: Nov 14, 2020 9:28 PM Its sometimes hard to see the fluid on a dipstick thats black.
Agreed. I almost wonder if it could be overfilled. :dunno:
anpk05
Posts: 87
Joined: Mar 14, 2017 11:35 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by anpk05 »

Thanks guys for all your replies. I followed what duggi said, and it worked.

I guess when I left the transmission draining for a week it took most of the fluid out. When I first drained the fluid through the drain plug, it stopped draining and I put the drain plug back on and left the car on jack stands. Then after few days I removed the plug again and found maybe another 0.5 - 1 quart of fluid came out.

After my initial 3.2 quarts of refilling, I kept added about 0.5 quart and it registered the level just above minimum. I added another quart, went for a healthy drive, and check the dipstick. It's at the perfect level now, just about a 1/4 below max level. :D
Mike W.
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Joined: Feb 12, 2006 1:00 PM
Location: Covid 19 Life during Wartime

Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by Mike W. »

anpk05 wrote: Nov 15, 2020 12:46 AM Thanks guys for all your replies. I followed what duggi said, and it worked.

I guess when I left the transmission draining for a week it took most of the fluid out. When I first drained the fluid through the drain plug, it stopped draining and I put the drain plug back on and left the car on jack stands. Then after few days I removed the plug again and found maybe another 0.5 - 1 quart of fluid came out.

After my initial 3.2 quarts of refilling, I kept added about 0.5 quart and it registered the level just above minimum. I added another quart, went for a healthy drive, and check the dipstick. It's at the perfect level now, just about a 1/4 below max level. :D
Cool, we have a win! (I was wrong, but a win is a win)
anpk05
Posts: 87
Joined: Mar 14, 2017 11:35 PM
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Need Help! 528e Automatic Trans Dipstick not registering ATF fluid level

Post by anpk05 »

Mike W. wrote: Nov 15, 2020 1:14 AM Cool, we have a win! (I was wrong, but a win is a win)
Yep, win is a win :up:
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