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Old 05-04-2013, 09:55 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Orange County, California
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Default Power Steering Fluid - ATF or CHF?

The Bentley manual warns us not to mix the two types of power steering fluid. And it sounds like the car could have been built with either type. The circular green label on my PS reservoir fell off some time ago and I lost it. On the housing itself, it reads "ATF only."

On the wife's X3 (same motor, PS reservoir and MY) the label reads "CHF only." I removed the green label on her car and sure enough, her housing also reads "ATF only."

The PS fluid is low and I need to add some. The E60 has a May 2006 build date and I was wondering if someone out there with a similar car (2007 530i non sports package) and build date could look at their green label and confirm it says "CHF only." In fact, does anyone have a green label that does NOT say "CHF only"?
His: 2007 530i ED
Mystic Blue -- Black Leather -- Anthracite -- Multicontour Seats -- Premium Package -- Steptronic -- Navigation

Ordered: 4/12/06 -- Production Number: 4/17/06 -- VIN/Start of Production: 5/15/06 -- Completed: 5/20/06
Munich Pick Up: 6/22/06 -- Dingolfing: 6/23/06 -- Drop Off: 7/12/06 -- Aboard M/V "Green Point" with ETA Port Hueneme 8/15/06 -- Redelivery: 9/1/06 -- Debadged 1/1/07

Hers: 2007 X3 3.0Si
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:03 AM   #2
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The first question is does either car have active steering with ARS? Use only CHF11S in cars with active steering.

You may also try drawing a small sample out of the power steering reservoir with an eye dropper or straw (push straw in, cap end with your finger, draw straw out, hold straw over a clear container and release finger) and analyzing the color. CHF11S is a very light green.

I agree with your label deduction. If yours originally had a green label it is most likely using CHF11S. Most of what I see today in BMWs is CHF11S because it is a very stable fluid with a wide temperature range.

While mixing ATF and CHF is not recommended, I have read in BMW literature that if they are mixed together there is no reaction (no chemical changes, precipitate, etc.) but it is not recommended because CHF11S was originally recommended for arctic climates because it has a very low pour point (stays fluid at lower temperatures) and mixing ATF with it raises the pour point of the total mixture.

If you are still uncertain go to a dealer or indie and have them tell you what to use.
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:26 AM   #3
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Old 05-05-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by KyleB View Post
the only one
NAPA has it
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