DIY - BMW E39 Oil & Filter Change (vacuum extraction method)
Step-by-step DIY for a 2002 E39 (BMW 525i) vacuum extraction oil change
... UPDATED AS NEEDED - PLEASE SUGGEST IMPROVEMENTS (so others benefit) ...
- 36 mm 6-point socket wrench (required to remove the oil filter housing, normal oil filter sockets are not deep enough)
- 17 mm socket wrench (if you plan on also draining oil out of the engine oil drain pan)
- Torque wrench (18 foot pounds, 25 Nm, for both the oil filter housing & the the engine oil drain plug)
- Vacuum extractor (I don't recommend my Motive Power Extractor; many successfully use the Mityvac 7201 or 7400)
- Screw-cap two-gallon clear plastic containers (for transport of the old recycled motor oil)
- Nitrile gloves and shop towels and an oil pan (if you're going to also remove the 17mm engine-oil drain plug)
Hint: Measure the length of the plastic extractor hose (just in case); see reasons why here.
- Oil, 6.9 quarts for the I6, 8 quarts for the V8 (Hint: Buy oil by quality, cold/hot viscosity, type, and cost, in that order, as described below.)
- Oil filter, most recommend Mahle, Mann, or Hengst (I used an STP filter but people suggested German filters instead)
- Four-inch rubber O-ring for the plastic housing (usually comes with the oil filter)
- Copper compression gasket for the 17mm drain plug (usually comes with the oil filter)
Hint: File a groove or cut at an angle the bottom of the hard plastic vacuum extraction hose that bottoms out on the engine oil pan so as to break suction.
- Dip stick and tube (drivers side, engine compartment, top)
- Oil filter and housing (driver side, engine compartment, top)
- Oil drain plug and gasket (passenger side, bottom of engine)
Note: Extraction will likely get a quarter quart more oil out of your engine than will conventional gravity methods.
Hint: Prominently mark the 6.9 or 8 quart level on the vacuum extractor container before use.
EXTRACTION METHOD OIL CHANGE (some people say extraction alone doesn't remove sediments):
0. Everyone warms up their BMW for the oil change and then parks on level ground
1. Some check the oil level in the engine & mark the extractor tank (so you know how much you sucked out)
3. A few let the BMW cool slightly (about 5 or 10 minutes) so you won't get burned
3. Most gather shop towels around the oil filter housing (to catch drips)
4. Some mark the oil-filter-housing position relative to the engine with whiteout (some say there is a green dot)
5. Some remove the oil-filler cap (to reduce reverse suction) & visibly check for sludge inside & on the cap
6. Remove the oil dipstick (and note the level as you will expect to remove at least that much oil into your containers)
7. With a 36mm socket, remove the oil filter housing & oil filter (most oil-filter wrenches won't be deep enough)
VACUUM EXTRACTION ...
8. Clamp the vacuum extractor tube & pump the vacuum 10 or 15 strokes (about 10 inches of mercury on the Motive)
9. Place the vacuum extractor intake hose into the outside ring of the oil-filter housing
10. Release the hose clamp & suck out as much oil from the oil-filter housing as you can (about 1/2 quart)
11. Again clamp the vacuum extractor hose and pump suction (about 10 or so pumps to about 10 inches of Hg)
12. Run the vacuum extractor thin hose down the dipstick tube 'till it bottoms (about 2 1/2 feet)
13. Release the vacuum extractor hose clamp and watch motor oil slowly flow into the vacuum extractor container
14. Wait ... wait ... wait ... wait ... wait ... wait ... wait ... (15 minutes or even 30 minutes or more)
15. Check on progress; pump the hand pump another half-dozen times to encourage the slow flow
16. At some point, you hear a sucking sound for a few minutes & you see bubbles in your vacuum tubing
17. It's human nature to fiddle with the hose up and down slightly to prove to yourself all the oil is really out
18. The dirty oil in the vacuum extractor container should be close to your previously marked 6.9-quart level
19. If different, mark the highest level of dirty oil obtained (which is why you checked the oil level before starting)
20. Remove the vacuum extractor tube from the dip-stick tube & replace the oil dip stick
GRAVITY DRAINING ... (skip these steps if you're not also draining oil)
21. Chock the rear, jack the front, & place on 2 jack stands (placed at the front jackpads)
22. Place an oil pan under the 17 mm drain plug on the bottom of the engine (passenger side)
23. Remove the 17 mm drain plug & allow remaining oil (and sediments) to drip into the oil pan
24. Replace the plug's copper compression washer & torque to 18 foot pounds (25 Nm)
25. Raise the front slightly to remove the jack stands, lower the car, & remove wheel chocks
26. Pour drained oil into the vacuum extractor container for eventual recycling
27. Remove the old oil filter from the oil filter housing cap
REASSEMBLE & REFILL ...
28. Lubricate the new 0-ring with a drop or two of new motor oil
29. Remove the old rubber 0-ring from the oil filter housing cap & replace with the new (lubricated) 0-ring
30. Add about a half quart of motor oil to the outside concentric circle of the oil filter housing
31. Check that the oil filter does not have a direction (most install label side up but the E39 filter is directionless)
32. Screw the oil filter housing (along with the new oil filter attached) onto its engine mounting
33. Reattach the oil filter housing to the engine, hand tight until it bottoms out (check previous position marks)
34. With a torque wrench and 36mm socket, torque the oil filter housing to 18 foot pounds (25 Nm)
35. Pour the other half quart of motor oil into the engine via the engine oil filler hole (a funnel may be useful)
36. Pour five (5) more quarts of new motor oil into the engine oil filler hole
37. Temporarily replace the engine oil-filler cap and start the engine & run for a minute or two
38. Check for leaks and check the oil level on the dipstick (it often is just about a quart low)
39. Remove the engine oil-filler cap and top up the oil with the last quart as needed
40. Replace the engine oil-filler cap & run the engine for a few minutes to check for leaks
CLEAN & RECYCLE ...
41. Clean up and recycle the old oil (often you can just pour the old oil into a bulk recycling depot)
42. Recycle the old oil containers (most people say to remove the caps but I have no idea why)
43. If desired, send a sample of old oil to be analyzed ($20) for condition & contaminants
Note: Most install the oil filter directionally, with the brand-name writing up, facing the top of the engine.
Note: There are valid arguments whether sediments are fully removed with the extraction method.
RESET SERVICE INTERVAL LIGHT: (procedure is for 2001 and later BMW E39 models):
0. Make sure the ignition key is not in the ignition, i.e., the ignition is OFF (position 0);
1. Press and hold the trip odometer button (located to the left in the instrument cluster);
2. While holding the trip odometer button, turn the ignition key to ACCESSORY (position 1);
3. Keep the trip odometer button pressed for about 5 seconds until you see "OIL SERVICE" or "INSPECTION" with "RESET" or "RE" in the display (on vehicles with the "High" cluster, you will also see the amount of fuel in liters remaining until the next scheduled service interval);
4. Let up on the trip odometer button & then again press down on the button and hold for another 5 seconds until "RESET" or "RE" flashes;
5. While "RESET" or "RE" is flashing, let up on the trip odometer button and press it down briefly to reset the service interval indicator (SII);
6. If successful, after the display has shown the new service interval, "END SIA" will appear in the display for approximately 2 seconds.
Note: If "RESET" or "RE" does not flash, then you have not met the minimum fuel consumption level and resetting is not needed (nor is it possible).
MOTOR OIL (Choose motor oil by (a) quality, (b) cold start, (c) viscosity, (d) type, & (e) cost (in that order) - never by brand or hype!):
a) QUALITY: Perhaps the most contentious of oil-selection issues shouldn't be an issue, because quality selection is (almost) as simple as reading the can.
- The problem is BMW specifies BMW LL-01 rated oil for most BMWs like mine (or LL04 which exceeds BMW LL-01 specifications) which is listed on the can of very few motor oils readily available in the USA (e.g., the only Mobil-1 that is approved is the Mobil1 SAE 0w40 variety; and you might be able to find German-made Castrol Syntec SAE 0w30 European Formula if you're resourceful, or even Pentospeed SAE 0W30, or Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra SAE 5W-30, or Valvoline SynPower SAE 5W-30, etc. For more choices, please see the attached document listing the available LL-01/LL-04 motor oils available for sale in the USA.) Strictly speaking, LL-01/LL-04 is all you need to know about quality (unless you can't find LL-01/LL-04 rated oil easily). Never assume a brand name automatically equates to the desired quality. It doesn't. Never did. Never will.
- If you can't find LL-01 (or LL-04) rated oil, then some will tell you any fully synthetic oil rated ACEA A3/B3 or better meets BMW specifications; but again, the problem is finding an oil locally available that has ACEA A3/B3 printed on the can.
- Otherwise, historically, at least in the United States, the main reliable measure of quality has been the American Petroleum Institute (API) "Service" rating (buy API SL for older BMWs or API SM or better for newer BMWs) printed on every can of oil sold in the US. This more readily available API quality designation is chronological, i.e., SA, SB, SC, SD, SE, SF, SG, SH, SI, SJ, SK, SL, & SM. Over time, this API quality designation moved higher and higher in the alphabet as more and more problems are specified and overcome by the petroleum engineers (note SA is unspecified, and note each specification exceeds the prior specification).
- Note that anyone who says "use Castrol" or "get Mobil1", without suggesting the BMW or ACEA or API quality rating, isn't providing enough information to make the right quality decision for you; brand and price and label hype are meaningless for this purpose (for example, even some BMW-branded oils don't meet BMW specifications for M cars).
b) COLD START: Depending on where you live, get an appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) winter (W) rating. Bear in mind, the SAE W rating only holds true for the first few minutes no matter what climate you live in. This rating is probably the least understood of all the motor oil descriptors, but, since most wear occurs at startup, it's an important measure. Since engine oil viscosity decreases logarithmically with temperature, the SAW W rating of, say "SAE 10W", tells you that the oil "acts like" a straight SAE 10 weight oil would act at 0 degrees Fahrenheit (F). The point is that it is NEVER an SAE 10 weight oil; it just acts like an SAE 10 would at 0 degrees F (the point is before the engine is warmed up). After the engine is warm (212 degrees F) the SAE W rating is meaningless. It is important to understand that a straight 30 weight oil acts exactly the same at engine temperatures as does a 5W30, or 10W30, or 15W30 motor oil. It is also important to understand the logarithmic decrease in viscosity still applies at all temperatures below 212 F, even though the only listed temperature is the 0 degrees F W rating. See included charts for more details.
c) VISCOSITY: Depending on engine factors, you'll choose a warmed-up SAE oil viscosity (measured as kinematic or Saybolt) that suits you and your engine. Just pick a warmed-up viscosity that your owners manual lists as an option. That's pretty much it. People make a much bigger issue of selecting the warmed-up viscosity than they need to. In my humble opinion, if you don't already know, before you got here, exactly which warmed-up viscosity you prefer, then simply choose the warmed-up viscosity by one of the other factors below this one in the selection criteria. Bear in mind, it is reputed the greater the spread between the SAE W rating and the SAE warmed-up rating (measured at 212° F), the greater the tendency of the oil to carbonize in your engine. If that is true, the simplest advice is to lean toward the closest multi-weight spread listed in your owners manual.
d) TYPE: Almost all BMW posters recommended synthetic motor oil for longevity, reduced wear and tear on gears, reduced incidence of oil oxidation, and lower sludge formation (as compared with similar quality traditional motor oils); but there are always tradeoffs, not the least of which are price considerations.
e) COST: Duh. As low as you can get. Buy Internet. Buy bulk. Stock ahead. If you buy good-quality (as measured by the API or BMW rating) oil, brand is nearly meaningless (see Consumer Reports' canonical diatribe on motor oil quality consistency over time).
Note: There is a LOT more to say about motor oils, e.g., see this from TheStig; or listen to Andrew-Debbie who tell us, among other things, "Many M cars specify Castrol TWS 10W-60" & "BMW-branded oil is probably re-branded German Castrol" Syntec 0W-30 European Formula & that other grades of Castrol easily found in the US may not meet BMW LL-01 specifications.
Note: Previously I had almost given up on vacuum extraction ... after my first fiasco with the Motive Power Extractor); but now, even though I can no longer recommend the Motive, I can recommend vacuum extraction overall.
Last edited by bluebee; 06-26-2009 at 08:26 AM.
Reason: Edited to add information that comes in from users so this one post is most useful to others w/o having to read all the posts