Domestic vs. Imported Vehicles: Which Offer Better Automatic Transmissions?

Posted by on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

An automatic transmission is an integral part of your car. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Find out if domestic transmissions are really better than imported ones and why. 
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s the all-too-common debate that you hear among vehicle enthusiasts, “Are domestic automatic transmissions better than imported ones? Or vice versa?” In the following sections, we’re going to help resolve this debate once and for all by showing you the advantages and disadvantages of each kind. That way, you can make a better decision as to which type of automatic transmission is right for you.

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Tips for Keeping the 6HP26 Transmission in Your BMW X5 Running Strong

Posted by on Friday, September 5th, 2014

The 6HP26 is a six speed automatic transmission made for BMW by the ZF Friedrichshafen AG Company. It uses a special planetary gear set that can provide more gear ratios while making the transmission lighter than its predecessor — a five-speed transmission. This transmission is used mainly in high-end luxury vehicles, but it has recently found its way into some not so high-end luxury vehicles such as the Hyundai Genesis. Rated for use in motors that put out as much as 440 Ft Lbs of torque, it is a fairly heavy duty transmission. The 6HP26 comes with a very steep first gear ratio of 4.17:1, which is great for quick jack rabbit starts. It also comes with a 0.69:1 ratio overdrive gear, which helps the car it’s used in get better gas mileage as well.  First put into production in 2001, this transmission is still being produced today.  The 6HP26 can be found in a wide variety of vehicles, including the Jaguar XKR, the Jaguar XJ, the Ranger Rover, the Rolls Royce Phantom, the BMW 5 series, the BMW 3 series, the Maserati Quattroporte, the Kia Mohave, and finally, the BMW X5.

BMW X5 (Wiki)

The BMW X5 comes with a 6HP26 automatic transmission.

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Prevent Damage to the 5HP18 Transmission in Your BMW 325i When Racing

Posted by on Friday, July 18th, 2014

The 5HP18 is a five-speed automatic transmission built by the German company ZF Friedrichshafen. It is designed for use with engines mounted in a longitudinal position and rear-wheel drive. It comes from a large family of transmissions that include the 5HP19, the 5HP24, and the 5HP30. This transmission was first used in 1992 and was quickly phased out of production in 1999. It could be found in many popular BMW vehicles, including the E32, the E34, the E36, and the E39. It was also used I the BMW 325i.

The BMW 325i came with the 5HP18 automatic transmission.

The BMW 325i came with the 5HP18 automatic transmission.

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Prepare the 4L30E Transmission in Your BMW Z3 for Racing

Posted by on Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The 4L30E is a four speed automatic designed by General Motors. It is a light duty transmission used for vehicles with front mounted motors and rear wheel drive. It first went into production in 1991 and remained in the lineup through the end of the 2001 model year. It was eventually replaced with the five speed 5L40E transmission. The 4L30E could be found in many vehicles, including the Cadillac Catera and the Chevrolet Omega. It could also be found in many non-GM vehicles, including the Acura SLX, the Honda Passport, the Isuzu Amigo, and the Open Frontera. In addition, it was used in a number of BMW products, including the Z3.

The BMW Z3 was BMW’s smallest offering of the time. It was roughly the same size as a Mazda Miata, and in fact, looked very much like one. It was a very lightweight vehicle with a powerful, front-mounted engine and rear wheel drive. These vehicles became very popular with the yuppie crowd, and thousands were sold. Many are still around today, and they’re a favorites for those involved in racing.

Racing can be very hard on a vehicle, especially its automatic transmission. If not prepared properly, you could lose your transmission in the first race. Here are a couple things you can do to your 4L30E automatic transmission to help increase its odds of survival when racing:

I can tell you first hand that excessive heat is going to be your 4L30E transmission’s worst enemy. If you don’t rid your transmission of extra heat, don’t expect it to survive. Ideally, your maximum transmission temperature should not exceed 200 degrees. For every 20 degrees you go beyond this limit, you risk cutting the expected lifespan by a factor of 2. That means that at 220 degrees, your transmission will last half a normal life, and at 240 degrees, it will last only ¼ a normal lifespan.

The best way to rid your transmission of excessive heat is to install an aftermarket transmission cooler. My rule of thumb is bigger is better. Ideally, you want to install the transmission cooler on the front of the vehicle. Because the Z3 is a fairly small car, that may not always be possible. In instances where room is an issue, consider installing a transmission cooler with its own built-in electric fan. This will give you the option of mounting it anywhere you want. I also recommend that you choose a stacked plate design over the traditional fin and tube design, as it is both more efficient and much more durable.

Another great accessory to purchase is a deep sump aluminum transmission pan. Deep transmission pans usually add anywhere from two to four extra quarts of fluid capacity to your transmission. This extra fluid could be the difference between life and death for your transmission. The properties of aluminum dictate that it dissipates heat better than the stock stamped steel pan. This will provide additional cooling to your 4L30E transmission. As a bonus, the thicker aluminum pan will add to the rigidity of your overall transmission case.

Sooner or later, due to high mileage or abuse, you will be faced with the decision to replace 4L30E transmission in your BMW Z3. I highly recommend doing so with a re-manufactured transmission over one that was simply rebuilt. A re-manufactured transmission will include major internal modifications and upgrades designed to make it both stronger and more durable. For more information, ETE Reman is just a quick phone call or email away!