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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-28-2007, 10:38 AM
Random() Random() is offline
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Unhappy Engine oil >Red< light - Need help.

I've searched the forums & while there seems to be plenty of info on the yellow light, I'm not seeing much on the red one. Unfortunate this had to be my first post, but it is what it is.

By the way, I'm a BMW Motorrad vet (K12), but this is my first BMW car - So I'm not a complete slacker. The car is a 2004 325Ci, by the way.

Anyway, what I'm running into:

Start car, no problems. Putter around town, no problems. After about 30 miles of city driving, the red oil light comes on intermittently while stopped. Sometimes in longer intervals, sometimes in short flashing type intervals. Moving the RPMs up to 700-1000 turns off the light. I've never seen the yellow warning light, only red. Nothing ever as soon as you turn over the engine, only after about 30 miles and warm-ish weather (80ish deg F), if that matters.

The oil level is good and is fresh oil & filter. Idle RPMs are around 400-500. I do not have the service history, that's on my to do list still. Car has 56k miles on it.

Any thoughts? I'm not obligated to buy it yet if this is super bad.


Thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2007, 10:53 AM
rwh330CiC rwh330CiC is offline
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Since the car is under warranty, tell the seller to get it fixed. Look at the repair order and then get back to us. Bob
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2007, 11:41 AM
Ssalpathan Ssalpathan is offline
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Hey Random,

I have a 330i, and i had a similar problem. It is nothing to worry about because it has to do with an oversensitive oil detector, which needs to be replaced by bmw. The only problem here is that because the indicator gives you incorrect information sometimes does not mean that it also wont give you correct information, when actually there is a problem. So get it replaced, because the car should be not driven at all, if the oil light is on...
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2007, 12:15 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwh330CiC View Post
Since the car is under warranty, tell the seller to get it fixed. Look at the repair order and then get back to us. Bob
He mentions the car has 56k miles on it...that's out of warranty.

E46s idle at 700 or so...400-500 is too low. Red oil light means oil pressure dangerously low.

Since you say the oil level is fine, I'm guessing this could be a bad oil pump.

I'd pass on a car that's been driven for any measurable amount of time with this condition. For the most part, any red lights illuminating mean "stop immediately."

The manual even says:

Engine oil pressure
***9679; Stop the vehicle immediately
and switch off the engine.
Check the engine oil level; top off as
required. If the oil level is correct:
Please contact the nearest BMW center.
Do not continue driving, as the
engine could sustain serious damage
from inadequate lubrication.



It's certainly possible it's a bad sensor... but the low idle worries me.
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2007, 05:13 PM
pinoyromeo16 pinoyromeo16 is offline
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That's a manufacturer defect thats common on e46's. Should be covered under waranty.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2007, 05:21 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinoyromeo16 View Post
That's a manufacturer defect thats common on e46's. Should be covered under waranty.


Oil level sensors are known to go bad. Oil pressure sensors are not.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2007, 11:00 AM
Random() Random() is offline
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Extended warranty, but either way -

I guess my biggest fear was what Kris is saying - I wasn't aware there were two different sensors; level and pressure. The shop took a look at it twice now & wasn't able to reproduce the problem. The idle speed is supposed to be up around 700 though - That's quite interesting.

I can give it another drive tomorrow. It's still in the shop right now, they were working on the steering wheel controls & put everything back together without reconnecting the airbag yesterday. Kinda losing faith in our Orlando techs :/

Does anyone know if the pump, level / pressure sensors are tested in the onboard diagnostic program?

The pump failing (or being reported as failing) is a rather significant event - I can't believe it's not being logged somehow, even if it is a false error. Anyone know if this stuff is logged somewhere that I can check myself?

Need to make sure I'm getting a reliable vehicle, not something that I'm going to have endless problems with.
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  #8  
Old 03-02-2007, 11:07 AM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Bro - Plenty of used cars on the market - why would you want this one?

If a car I was looking at had issues with a red oil warning lamp, I would be backing up slowly towards the door nervously fingering my car keys...
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  #9  
Old 03-02-2007, 06:07 PM
oxford oxford is offline
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Random(),

If you are looking for a reliable vehicle, I am thinking this one ain't it from what I've read here.

Maybe you should suggest to the techs that they try checking the actual oil pressure at idle with the engine warm. If the pressure is within spec and steady, the sender or wiring is most likely at fault.

And, who knows how long this intermittent light has been happening? If it happened to the previous owner, and they didn't get it fixed, I'd be thinking two things:

1) How long has this been going on, and how much internal engine damage has happened because of it?

2) What else - less obvious problems - have been ignored?

Just my long-winded $0.02...
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2007, 07:13 AM
Random() Random() is offline
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True 'nuff. Thanks for the thoughts. It's still at BMW - They also don't release full maintenance records anymore, at least down here, saying it's a privacy thing for the previous owner. I told them I wanted the car's maintenance records, not the owners annual checkup results with the doc - That didn't go over well either. O.o

They also haven't even fixed the airbags. Think it's time to walk. Thanks for being the voice of sanity, all.
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2007, 07:39 AM
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Deepak Deepak is offline
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That service record thing is definately balogna. I purchased a '04 325Ci in January and was provided with a Carfax report and the vehicle's service record - with the previous owner's information blanked out. The previous owner is entitled to privacy, not the vehicle.
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2007, 03:18 AM
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gitpicker gitpicker is offline
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I was also provided with a maintenence and service history when I bought my 2003 last June. Of course I had to have some help figuring out what all the codes meant, but it was very informative. It would be even better to talk to the previous owner. But I think you should walk away from this one.
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  #13  
Old 11-02-2007, 06:38 AM
TenzoR TenzoR is offline
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Hello Sorry to bring this thread up. I'm having similar problem (sort of). My oil light flashes in red once every blue moon. A quick flash for a bit and it's gone for another month or more. I've already contacted the dealer (since my car is CPO) they said they can't diagnose the problem unless the light is on permanently. They noted on my file and checked the oil level for me and said I was fine. They also said they could try to diagnose it but if they can't find out the problem I will have to be charged for their time. My SA said Is hould just wait till the light is fully litted and come in. I lefted at that, but I thought the computer will store the last error code (dispite how fast it appears). Oil level is spot on and the car appears to drive normal. No hesitation, idle is near silent at the correct RPM. Could it just be the oil pressure switch that's slightly bad or a loose connector?
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  #14  
Old 11-02-2007, 11:10 AM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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If your idle is too low, the mechanical oil pump is not spinning or pumping at its proper speed thus the oil pressure will be lower. The lower pressure thus trigger the oil pressure sensor to send an error signal.
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  #15  
Old 11-05-2007, 01:37 PM
TenzoR TenzoR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lbert View Post
If your idle is too low, the mechanical oil pump is not spinning or pumping at its proper speed thus the oil pressure will be lower. The lower pressure thus trigger the oil pressure sensor to send an error signal.
idle is normal AFAIK, it's at 600-700 ish
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  #16  
Old 11-06-2007, 08:46 AM
Lbert Lbert is offline
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Spray the connector to the oil pressure swicth with a electrical contact cleaner. You can get this at your auto supply store. If that does not work, replace the oil pressure switch. I'm not sure how much the switch cost.
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