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Hi all. I am getting funny noises from the gearbox. Have checked ATF level but cannot really read whether there is any fluid on the stick. It seems to pick up oil as it travels up the tube!! Anyway, it seems that there are two types of ATF and they cannot be mixed. So how do I tell which to use??

The car is a 1991 850i.
 

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No, the stuff I see on the dipstick just looks black. Perhaps I should angle the car so that I get something, then put that on some white paper, and see what colour it is. So which oil is which colour?
 

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Red is generally 'ordinary' transmission fluid (ATF 'Dexron' etc). Green (most common in BMWs) is CHF 'Pentosin' . I've no clue what's different but they certainly don't match and the right one must be used. BMW have used CHF for a long time - I think there's a different 'CHF' grade for older cars.

You may be able to see a colour on a piece of white kitchen/toilet paper, but if its that darkened I suspect you need a complete fluid change anyway!!
 

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Or Dextron 3. Green pentosin is for the hydraulic circuit only.
Old ATF goes brown, black may spell trouble, hope not but I'd change it.
Getting a level check isn't easy but make sure the oil is hot and the engine is running when you test, otherwise it's meaningless. If you don't see a level, just a mess you're probably below the dipstick, so top up asap.
 

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Many thanks to you all for this great info. I will have a go at this tomorrow and let you know what happens... Watch this space!
 
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