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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 02-17-2013, 01:50 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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Recomended Oil for '97 1.9 4cyl Z3 ?

What oil is recomended for a 1997 1.9 4 cyl. Z3? The last oil change I used Rotella T 15w-40. There have been no problems but it is designed for diesel engines. It meets nost of the oil specs in the owner's manuel. Anything better? I don't beleive in synthetics for a bunch of reasons so I don't really want to go that route. Thanks...
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  #2  
Old 02-17-2013, 04:34 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Valentine View Post
What oil is recomended for a 1997 1.9 4 cyl. Z3? The last oil change I used Rotella T 15w-40... but it is designed for diesel engines. It meets nost of the oil specs in the owner's manuel. Anything better? I don't beleive in synthetics for a bunch of reasons so I don't really want to go that route...
When I got my 1997 1.9 4 cy.l Z3 last fall, I took it to the BMW dealer for an oil change. Afterward I asked the service manager what oil they had put in it, and he said BMW 15w-40 non-synthetic. And I see that is what's in the Owners Manual, too.

One would think Shell Rotella 15w-40 would have the same specs at less cost than the BMW 15w-40, but check the grade. If the Rotella is meant only for diesels, it could contain ZDDP which is a metallic anti-wear compound of zinc and phosphorus that could foul a catalytic converter. If the Rotella is Grade SG, it is not for gasoline engines with converters. The grade needs to be further down the alphabet, like SM. That grade had the compound reduced or removed.

As for your aversion to synthetic oil, it was not in general use in 1997 but that is what BMW now recommends for all their engines, including our old 1.9s.
Quote:
BMW High Performance SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Oil (BMW part number 07 51 0 017 866) is recommended for scheduled engine oil changes.
If you need to add oil between oil changes and BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil is unavailable, you may top up the oil level with one of the following approved synthetic oils….. The oils listed below meet BMW's Long-life rating and are acceptable for use in BMW Passenger vehicles and SAVs in the US market with gasoline engines:
Castrol Syntec European Formula SAE 0W-30
Mobil 1 SAE 0W-40
Pennzoil Platinum European Formula Ultra SAE 5W-30
Valvoline SynPower SAE 5W-30
Use only oils with an API rating of SM or higher.
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx

Last edited by vintage42; 02-17-2013 at 04:55 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2013, 06:09 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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I just looked it up in the owner's manuel again at it calls for 15w-40 SG oil for temperatures from -10 and up. No body has ever been able to explain to me why synthetic oil is better. If you change it regularly (w/ a filter) what is the difference, beside the cost is over twice as much? I have a water cooled V4 motorcycle with 241,000 miles on it and the engine is still running strong. It has all been done on non-synthetic oil. Where did the quote come from? Thanks for that and I'll consider it. Why did BMW decide to change oil specifications from what is printed in their owners manuel?
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  #4  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:14 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Originally Posted by My Valentine View Post
I just looked it up in the owner's manuel again at it calls for 15w-40 SG... Why did BMW decide to change oil specifications from what is printed in their owners manuel?
When the M44 engine was designed almost twenty years ago, synthetic oil had not come into mainstream use. And regular oil was quite strong with the metallic zinc and phosphorous anti-wear additive ZDDP that gave it the SG rating.

Since then, the amount of ZDDP has been reduced to extend the life of converters, producing Grade SM, and Grade SG is only made for motorcycles. As the durability of conventional oil declined, and as synthetic oil became widely accepted, more and more car manufacturers began to specify synthetic. Also, tighter tolerances, increasing mpg standards, and longer oil change interval requirements all led to the use of low viscosity synthetics, which provide low friction lubrication at lower viscosities for more miles than regular oil.

When I was an AMSOIL dealer in the 1980s, synthetic was not widely available in stores and was not a factory fill in any car I can remember. Now everybody is using synthetic, there are many brands in all the stores, and it comes in many new cars.

Last edited by vintage42; 02-18-2013 at 05:28 AM.
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2013, 08:59 AM
Mikey48 Mikey48 is offline
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Check out mobil1.com and this site will tell what oil is recommended for your car.
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2013, 05:56 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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Ok. I bought 5 qts of Mobil1 5w-30. That is what our local BMW specialist uses. The website said to use 0w-40. Advance Auto didn't have any. So 5w-30 it is. Will I notice a difference? I did notice it was $50 not $15 for the other oil. Can you really go 15,000 miles between changes? If so you'll break about even dollars wise. Will it be better for the car? We'll see... Thanks guys!
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  #7  
Old 02-19-2013, 06:09 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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5W-30 synthetic is what BMW recommends:
Quote:
BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil is recommended for scheduled engine oil changes... SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Oil* (BMW part number 07 51 0 017 866)...
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx
In new cars with tight engines, BMW lets their BMW brand oil go until the computer says change it, which could be as long as 15,000 miles. But most people don't think that is good for engine life.

Synthetic oil gets dirty like regular oil. In a tight new engine, with all highway driving, and a long-life filter like BMW or Amsoil or Mobil 1, an oil change interval of 15,000 might be OK. The oil level must be checked and topped up as usual, and even in a new BMW might require a quart or two be added before the computer indicated a change was due.

However, in an old Z3, tolerances will be looser, consumption may be higher, and oil may become dirtier and darker sooner. I would change Mobil 1 at 5,000 miles in the easy use of highway driving. Aggressive, low-miles-per-day, city driving are three kinds of severe service and any one requires a more frequent change.
http://www.aftermarketsuppliers.org/...ish/94-1R1.pdf

Last edited by vintage42; 02-19-2013 at 07:10 AM.
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  #8  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:00 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Valentine View Post
Ok. I bought 5 qts of Mobil1 5w-30. That is what our local BMW specialist uses. The website said to use 0w-40. Advance Auto didn't have any.

Next time go to Walmart.
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2013, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dougmcintyre View Post
Next time go to Walmart.
+1 5 Qt jug for 25.00!
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2013, 05:32 PM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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My Z3 is an M54, but I have a '95 318ti I've used Rotella 15W40 in for years. It has 230k miles on it so the Rotella must be working fairly well.

I think the 0W-40 Mobil 1 is the only Mobil 1 grade with the LL-01 spec. It says European blend on the bottles. I bought it for my M54 for that reason, although I'd rather use 5W-30. I got some BMW 5W-30 for my next change; it's not much more than Mobil 1. I got the 0W-40 at Walmart too.
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2013, 01:47 AM
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Whenyour car was made, BMW only speced conventional oil.

They later switched to synthetic oil, 5W-30 in allengines except the S54 and some S62 engines.

So the proper modern oil is a quality full synthetic 5W0-30. I use BMW synthetic in our M Roadster, mainly because with the BMW CCA discount, it is less expensive. As I understand it, the BMW oil is made by Castrol.

The reason you change your oil is that certain additives get used up, mainly the TBN, which is a measure of the anti acid additive. One goup online was doing a test of NOT changing the oil. They were changing the filter at the recommended interval, but not changing the oil. They were doing oil analysis on a regular basis. The oil analysis was coming back fine. The one quart every filter change was restoring the TBN to an acceptable level.
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2013, 05:59 AM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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What about the effect of putting synthetic into an engine that has been using non-synthetic for so many years? I'd like to change to synthetic but I've heard you can develop oil leaks if you use it in an older engine that has not used it before. I remember hearing this same thing about detergent/non-detergent oil 30 years ago when I worked at a gas station. We still sold straight 30 weight non-detergent for older cars and 2 cycle mixing.
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  #13  
Old 02-23-2013, 05:30 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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Thanks Doug McIntrye! I went to Wal-Mart and found the big jug (4.73 qts) of Mobil1 0W-40 recomended for BMW's for (only) $24.97 I got that and took the 5-5W-30, $9.95 ea., quarts ($50+) back to Advance Auto. I couldn't belive that Advance Auto actually had the cartrage filter (Fram 8087) in stock (Wal-Mart doesn't carry that). The same Mobil1 at Wal-Mart was (only) $6.67/qt. That makes me feel a little better. Thanks again.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2013, 02:56 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackDuggan View Post
What about the effect of putting synthetic into an engine that has been using non-synthetic for so many years? I'd like to change to synthetic but I've heard you can develop oil leaks if you use it in an older engine that has not used it before...
It's a myth.
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...Oils_FAQs.aspx
http://www.texlube.com/oilmyths.htm
http://www.pennzoil.com/learn-about-...synthetic-oil/
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  #15  
Old 02-24-2013, 08:08 AM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Well that's good to hear. I've had good luck with the 15W40 Rotella, but now I park this car outside and I'd like to have something lighter in it for the winter.
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  #16  
Old 02-24-2013, 02:48 PM
CTHuskyinMA CTHuskyinMA is offline
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I can't believe you found 0W-40 in the big jug size. I've been looking for that for years (only weight I ever put in my Saabs.) Good to know it now exists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by My Valentine View Post
Thanks Doug McIntrye! I went to Wal-Mart and found the big jug (4.73 qts) of Mobil1 0W-40 recomended for BMW's for (only) $24.97
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  #17  
Old 03-03-2013, 02:50 PM
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Not actually a myth, it is old information. Like about 40 - 50 years ago it was true. But hasn't been since the late 60s.
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  #18  
Old 03-03-2013, 05:36 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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I remember a friend of mine put some of that "new fangled" carbon synthetic oil that was all the rage in the late '70's in his Honda ('72?) Honda CB 500 four motorcycle. It was supposed to be super slick and add power and protect against wear, ect, ect. He fired the bike up and took it out the road for a test run. When he came back he was steaming mad and his bike looked like it was pumping crude out of the ground. Every seal and gasket was leaking this precious black carbon based synthetic. I'd never seen anything like it before or since. After another oil change back to the correct motorcycle oil and a high pressure wash with gunk he was back in business and there were no leaks. If I hadn't seen it I would never have believed it! He had his CB 500 set up as a cafe' racer style bike and thought this high persormance oil would make it better. Wrong! I've heard all the "snake oil, medicine doctor" sales pitches from companies like marvel mystery oil and the like over the years. I'm really a skeptic when it comes to these seemingly to good to be true claims. The whole idea of 0w-40 just dosen't compute to me. However I'm going to give it a try. Things do improve and change but I just don't like to jump on the latest and greatest band wagon too quick. I'm a skeptic!
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  #19  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:14 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
Not actually a myth, it is old information. Like about 40 - 50 years ago it was true. But hasn't been since the late 60s.
It's a myth that it will happen today. The old information is that when the first synthetic oil was introduced in the late 60s, the maker did not include a seal-swelling additive like the petroleum oils had. Now many cars are filled with synthetic oil at the factory and the trend is increasing:
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...d_Mobil_1.aspx
http://www.articlesummry.net/synthet...il-575088.html
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  #20  
Old 03-03-2013, 06:57 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Next time go to Walmart.
Absolutely. BMWs are defintely Walmart material.
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  #21  
Old 03-04-2013, 04:13 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is offline
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Originally Posted by ProRail View Post
Absolutely. BMWs are defintely Walmart material.
Mobil 1 0-40 is Mobil 1 0-40 no matter where you buy it. Why pay $2 more a quart at an auto parts store?
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  #22  
Old 03-04-2013, 07:57 AM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
It's a myth that it will happen today. The old information is that when the first synthetic oil was introduced in the late 60s, the maker did not include a seal-swelling additive like the petroleum oils had. Now many cars are filled with synthetic oil at the factory and the trend is increasing:
http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...d_Mobil_1.aspx
http://www.articlesummry.net/synthet...il-575088.html
Well I'll be finding out. I went ahead and changed from the 15W40 Rotella I've been using for 12 years in my old '95 318ti/M42. It has 232,000 miles on it. The only change so far is that it seems a little noisier with the 0W40 when it starts up; a little more of the a rapa tap tap kind of noise. I guess the heavy oil quieted things down a bit. It does seem to turn faster in the mornings, temps around freezing. I'm curious if I'll get better fuel mileage as well. Years ago I used to switch between 10W30 and 10W40 for winter/summer in a V8 Ford, and I did notice a very slight improvement in mileage with the 10W30. I'll let you all know if the ti blows up or something.
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  #23  
Old 03-04-2013, 08:10 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Originally Posted by JackDuggan View Post
Well I'll be finding out. I went ahead and changed from the 15W40 Rotella I've been using for 12 years in my old '95 318ti/M42. It has 232,000 miles on it....
This can be how the myth lives -- that synthetic oil can cause leaks. Take an old engine with hundreds of thousands of miles on its seals, put in synthetic oil, and start watching closely for the first time. Worn seals that could contain 15W-40 might not contain 0W-40 as well. If so, you might say synthetic oil created leaks.
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  #24  
Old 03-04-2013, 06:17 PM
My Valentine My Valentine is offline
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The mananger at the local Wal-Mart is a long time friend and she had a "James Bond" Z3 but now has a same color blue Z4. So I guess that BMW's are Wal-Mart material! I saved 50% from Advance and got the oil jug that says "Mobil1 European Car Formula Approved for most Mercedes-Benz, BMW, VW, Audi and Porsche". They keepin' better company at Wal-Mart these days!
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