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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 05-29-2010, 11:20 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY: E39 Changing engine oil made simple (how to do it in 30 minutes and not crying!)

DIY: E39 Changing engine oil made simple (how to do it in 30 minutes and not crying!)

I believe in simplicity so I put together this DIY for everyone to make life simple for you.
There are hundreds of threads on engine oil so I won't go into it but this is a brief DIY to help you get out of trouble. Some DIYs say lift the car put on jackstands yada yada yada etc. but so far I am not aware of any simple DIY on oil change!

To digress a bit: a simple oil change can turn into disaster! Here is a "disaster" story to learn from (lots of good info in there LOL):
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=458601

The following simple DIY will show you how to stay out of trouble!

GENERAL NOTES:

1. Ramps:
- I hate jacking the car up and down for a simple job like this, so if you do not have a set of ramps yet, then it is very cheap ($10-20 total for lumber) to build some wood ramps using 2x10 lumber.
- In the real world, 2x10 in the lumber world means 1.5" x 9.25". So 3 layers gives you 4.5" lift which is enough for many jobs; width of 9.25" = 235 mm, good for many cars. Sure you can use 2x12 if you wish (I use 2x10).
- Put a wood stopper at the end of the ramps to prevent the car from driving "over the cliff"!
- Another trick is drive the car until it barely touches the ramps, then measure how much it needs to travel to go to the top of the ramps, let's say it needs to go another 24". Then place some bricks about 22" in front of the REAR tires to prevent the car from going over the cliff. This is what you don't want to end up, car went over the cliff!

2. What oil to use?
There are hundreds of threads on oil and all that LL-01 blah blah blah. If you have time then read the LL-01 blah blah blah….............

Anyway, I live in Nebraska so the winter is cold down to -20F. This is what I do, which I think is the "best bang for the bucks". I change my oil every 4-5K miles:
- Winter: synthetic 5W30
- Summer: dino 10W30

- I use 7 qts.

3. Oil Filter Brand?
- Stay away from STP (bad O-ring) and Purolator (filter element falling apart after 4-5K miles). Best is to stock a few (maybe 4-5 filters) Oil Filters at home all the time. Use only Mann (this is what I use Mann HU925/4x), Mahle, or BMW brands.


4. The Oil Filler Cap (where you add oil):
- The rubber gasket is not sold separately, so if it leaks there, get entire new cap from dealer for $6-8.

5. The Oil Filter Housing Cap (where the Oil Filter resides):
- PN is 11421744000 ($27 at dealer). This is used in many models E36, E39, E53, E60, E83, E83, Z3).
- My Oil Filter Housing Cap cracked when removed at 90K (previous owner torqued it too much!). Best is to tighten it by hand until it stops, then tug it with 1 finger and that is it.

- The sealing is accomplished by "sideway" squeezing of the O-ring. So even if you don't torque the cap at all, the sealing is already tight by the time the cap is snug against the housing.

- The two tiny O-rings PN 11421744001 ($1 at dealer). Discussion was here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=411800

When I removed my cap at 90K miles, these 2 O-rings were still good. Anyway, you may want to change these 2 tiny O-rings every 5-6 years/50-60K miles.
- These two tiny O-rings perform a simple function: they block oil from draining down to the crankcase during normal operation. When you change oil, by removing the Oil Filter Cap, the tiny O-rings are lifted from the center channel ---> oil flows down to the crank case to be disposed off. Another person experienced "low oil pressure", and as it turned out the mechanic who changed the oil broke the tip (where the green tiny O-rings are located) of the Oil Filter Cap and still installed this defective cap. Sure enough oil is pumped to both the engine and down the crankcase, where it is supposed to pump oil only to the engine!



6. The Drain Bolt:
- PN is 11131273093 ($2 on line, $4 at dealer).
- The exact spec is M12 x 1.5 x 18 mm; M12 = diameter of bolt is 12 mm; 1.5 = the distance between 2 adjacent threads is 1.5 mm; 18 mm is the length of the threaded portion (not incl. the head).
- The washer is PN 07119963151, it is supplied with the new Mann Oil Filter. In many cars that I have owned, I have re-used the washer for more than 10y/100K miles without any issue. Just make sure the washer faces the same way when it comes out and comes back in. Anyway, since the Mann kit has the new washer, use it.

7. To drain or not to drain. Call me old-schooled but I drain from the drain plug!
The debate on "MightyVac" is here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=371807


PROCEDURE

1. Oil should be changed with oil warm, not hot. So if you just went somewhere, wait 1h until the engine cools down. If you can touch the oil pan with your bare hand then it is OK to change oil. If you start out in the morning, then run the engine for a few minutes to warm the oil up and suspend any contaminants for drainage.
Wear rubber gloves ( I took the rubber gloves off to use camera so you see my bare hands just for the pics!).


2. Car Front tires up wood ramps.
Chock Rear wheels especially for Man Trans (many of these old E39s have bad Parking Brake, so when running engine, it can slide down the ramp!).



*** Be careful not to drive car over the cliff!!! This is what happens when you drive over the cliff (courtesy of "bluebee" on bimmerfest.com):
Again, see trick in General Notes above:





3. Using 36-mm socket, open the Oil Filter Cap:
- Change the Oil Filter.

- Inspect tiny O-rings for any damage. replace if you wish.
Also by removing the Oil Filter Cap now, it allows oil to drain from the housing into the oil pan.

- I believe in priming the oil filter before starting.
The discussion The Importance of Priming Oil Filter at Oil Change is here:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=398308

- The design of the E39 makes it difficult to prime oil because unless the cap is seated in, the oil simply drains down the crankcase! This is what I do: I assemble the oil filter on the oil filter cap and O-ring (wet the O-ring with oil) in the right place and get ready. Then pour fresh oil down the Oil Filter Housing until it is almost full, then quickly install the oil filter cap to minimize oil draining out of the housing.

- Make sure you install the new the O-ring as shown to avoid being squished!





- Then using 1 finger to tug the 36-mm ratchet. No need to use 25 Nm as the book says (risk of damaging the Plastic Cap):




4. When draining oil and to avoid the initial gush, place the catch pan to "predict" the flow.
- Avoid windy days!
- Also, I do NOT remove the drain plug completely, when it is just about to come out, I usually hold the drain plug against the oil pan and bevel it up 45 degrees for about 30 seconds to tamper the flow, this way the flow is more controlled. Once the flow is slowed down, then you can remove the drain plug completely:




5. At home, the ground clearance is low (car not on lift like mechanic shop), so it is very difficult to use a torque wrench. I use this "5:30 o'clock to 7:00 o'clock" for 25 years in many cars, not a single problem. Basically gently tap the socket (or wrench) with rubber hammer to tighten the drain bolt from 5:30 o'clock to 7:00 o'clock:




6. Check for leaks:
- Do not drive car off the ramps yet!
- Start the engine (there are many old E39 cars with manual trans and bad parking brake, now you know why you need to chock the REAR tires!) and watch for the dash oil light: it should go out in about 4-5 seconds after an oil change.
- Check for leaks at drain plug & at oil housing cap!

7. Lastly, don't forget to dispose of your engine oil properly. By law, any autoparts that sells oil is required to take old oil. My local Valvoline Oil Lube Shop takes old oil.

That is all boys and girls, not that much drama if you stick to these tricks!!!
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Last edited by cn90; 05-29-2010 at 09:37 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-29-2010, 01:46 PM
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Awsome Cam!

And, when they are all done changing the oil and filter & O-rings, here's how they can reset the SII oilservice interval indicator (aka SIA):

NOTES ABOUT RESETTING THE SERVICE INTERVAL LIGHT: (this exact procedure is for 2001 and later BMW E39 models):
I. Position 0 is the key in, car off position; position 1 is the first detente; position 2 is the second detente; & momentary position 3 will start the car.
II. The service interval indicator (SII) is the squarish box to the left of the rectangular alphanumeric display (don't confuse them);
III. Print these 1-page instructions and keep a pencil handy for jotting down notes; but keep your eyes on the cluster (not on these notes);
IV. You can not reset the SII OILSERVICE lights twice within the same 2.5 gallon period (Bentley 020-5) or until the first 20% (QSilver PDF below);
V. It is possible to interrupt and end the reset procedure by changing the position of the key;
VI. OILSERVICE is due roughly every 15K miles or 12 months (Bentley page 020-3);
VII. INSPECTION I is due roughly every 30K miles or 24 months, INSPECTION II is due every 60K miles or 48 months (Bentley page 020-5);
VIII. BRAKESERVICE interval (in days) is not enabled, by default, in the E39 (but was enabled in earlier models).
IV. Please WRITE DOWN two numbers when you next reset your oilservice interval
- The current oilservice interval (e.g., mine was "RESET SIA; -1136 l", which indicates 1,136 liters overdue, or about 5K miles overdue)
- The new oilservice interval (e.g., mine was "SIA 2575 l" , which indicates the next interval is 2,575 liters away, or about 12K miles from now)
V. Report back to this thread those two numbers (plus any helpful hints to add to Cam's writeup above!)

FIRST DETERMINE CURRENT OIL SERVICE INTERVAL & INSPECTION I AND II INTERVAL:
a. Place the key in the ignition but do not turn the key (no lights will display, this is position 0);
b. Turn the key to the first position (this is position 1, the ACCESSORY position):
- the bell will ding incessantly about once per second;
- the red air bag symbol will light for about three bell dings and then go out;
- the odometer, tripmeter, ambient temperature will display;
- the alphanumeric text will momentarily flash whatever you have it set to (e.g., the current date);
- the alphanumeric text will display "KEY IN IGNITION LOCK" which will remain lit;
- but the oil-service display will be unlit;
c. Turn the key to the second position (this is position 2 - you will not start the car):
- lots of lights will be lit;
- the fan may start;
- the dinging will stop after about four dings;
- take note of the color-coded indications in the SII display.
d. Remove the key from the ignition and wait for all displays and bells to cease.

SII OILSERVICE INTERPRETATION KEY:
- five green boxes (100% left of your oil-service interval)
- four green boxes (80% left of your oil-service interval)
- three green boxes (60% left of your oil-service interval)
- two green boxes (40% left of your oil-service interval)
- one green box (20% left of your oil-service interval)
- one yellow box (0% left of your oil-service interval - change your oil & filter and reset the SII)
- one red and one yellow box (you are -8% or more over your oil-service interval - change your oil & filter and reset the SII)

To reset your OILSERVICE or INSPECTION interval:
A. Keep your eyes on your instrument cluster
B. Place the key back in the ignition but do not turn the key (nothing will light while the key is in position 0);
C. Press and hold the trip odometer button (located to the left in the instrument cluster)
- the odometer, tripmeter, and ambient temperature will display.
D. While holding the trip odometer button, turn the ignition key to the first position (i.e., position 1, the ACCESSORY position):
- the red airbag indicator will light for a few seconds;
- the bell will ding incessantly about once every second;
- the text display will momentarily flash what you had it set to (e.g., the date);
- the text display will then show "KEY IN IGNITION LOCK";
- after about 4 dings, both the SII and alphanumeric displays will change;
- the SII box will indicate "OILSERVICE" or "INSPECTION";
- on the low cluster, the text will display "RESET" (or just plain "RE");
- on the high cluster, the text will display "RESET SIA; -1136 l" (or just plain "RE SIA; -1136 l");
- note the number of liters of fuel to the next service interval (in this example, 1,136 liters, 300 gallons, approximately 5K miles);
- while the text is still displaying this information, lift up on the trip odometer button;
- immediately press down again on the trip odometer button for about 5 seconds;
- take note whether the alphanumeric text display of "RESET" (or "RE") flashes or not;
- if the text "RESET" (or "RE") does not flash, you have not met minimum 2.5 gallon fuel-consumption requirements & resetting the SII is not possible;
- if the text "RESET" (or "RE") does flash, then you can proceed with resetting the SII;
- while the text is flashing, lift up on the trip odometer button and then press down briefly again;
- when you let up on that brief press, the service interval indicator box will be reset back to all green lights;
- the alphanumeric display will then show the new oil service interval in liters (e.g., "SIA 2575 l", indicating 2,575 liters, 680 gallons, approximately 12K miles)
- if you're successful, "END SIA" will appear briefly for about 2 seconds.

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-13-2010 at 09:24 AM.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:36 PM
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doru doru is offline
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Note:
When opening/closing the oil filter housing with the 36mm wrench, make sure to hold it with your other hand, so as not to break the plastic canister. After many years of cold-hot cycles, it will not hold up the torque by itself.

Great job Cam
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:34 PM
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Can you post this in the 5 Series DIY Section?
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=46
I changed my oil for the first time using this DIY. It was really simple and easier than I thought it would be. This post was great but keeps getting buried in this forum.
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:36 PM
thecushion thecushion is offline
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Very nice write up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:07 PM
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Excellent information, great detail! I've always done my oil changes with the car as level as possible to assure the largest amount of oil drains out. Does the use of ramps allow for this or will there still be a considerable amount left in the pan? My initial thought was to make four ramps so the entire car is at the same height. I've done this before with great success (however, I only ever needed the height of one or two 2x10s).
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Old 06-09-2010, 06:03 PM
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gtxragtop gtxragtop is offline
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This photo looks odd. I never remember seeing this on any of my filter cover installs. The O-ring should never be seen outside of the housing. I do see another photo where you do not see the O-ring with the cover installed so I guess this is a photo that should have been listed as both not normal.

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Old 06-09-2010, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
The O-ring should never be seen outside of the housing.
Here's a pic of the O-ring as the cap is being snugged down with the 36mm socket.

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Last edited by bluebee; 06-10-2010 at 08:05 AM. Reason: Corrected based on information from Cam
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Old 06-09-2010, 11:14 PM
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Here's a shot of the old o-ring being removed and the new o-ring being put on the filter. Notice the little indentation for sticking a jewelers screwdriver or dental pick to remove the stuck-on old o-ring.

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Old 06-10-2010, 07:52 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtxragtop View Post
This photo looks odd.... The O-ring should never be seen outside of the housing
gtxragtop,

I think you are right. I "borrow" that photo from another website to illustrate the abnormal. But now looking closely, even the so-called "Normal" arrow looks a little weird.

So, the bottom line is: the O-ring should never be seen outside of the housing. When completed, it should look like this:



I did research on US patent of this Mann-Hummel Housing, and the O-ring should sit INSIDE the housing as shown:

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Old 06-10-2010, 10:12 AM
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Dear Cnn/ Mr. Cam...
I was curious about this priming the oil filter, so I asked the question to my mechanic this morning.
He said there is no need for our newer cars.
Only done on the much older ones...

Thanks!
Jason
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Old 06-10-2010, 11:25 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Actually Jason,

Whether the car is a 1960, 1970 Chevy, Ford or 2003 BMW, the principle is the same, it needs oil lubrication.
So whether it is "old" vs " modern" car, the concept of "dry start" is still there.

The American car guru Larry Carley's article mentioned it:
http://www.aa1car.com/library/us1097.htm
Quote: Install a new oil filter and fill it with oil (this does not work with filters that mount sideways on the engine unfortunately) to eliminate the delay in lubrication that normally occurs when the engine is first started after replacing the filter.


The E39 filter design is cartridge type but if you look at spin-on filter (like Honda Accord), many people don't care about dry start, they change the oil filter. They don't even prime the oil filter. They start the engine and waits 5-6 seconds until the oil light goes out.
The question is: is this period of 5-6 seconds with no oil do any harm to the engine?

The debate is on all the time to prime or not to prime:
http://www.bobistheoilguy.com/forums...=310528&page=1

But given the fact that priming an oil filter is so simple in a Honda Accord: just pour oil in the filter until it is about 1" from the lip, then install the oil filter and run engine. The E39 oil filter design makes it a bit more challenging to prime it. However, if I prime it, my oil light goes out within 2 seconds after an oil change.

BMW Oil Housing (see pic above) has an "anti-drain back valve" to prevent the oil from going back down into the crankcase from day to day operation.
Many other car filters (Honda, Toyota, Volvo etc.) spin-on filters have an "anti-drain back valve" built right into the oil filter itself.

So indirectly, these car mfg's (BMW, Honda, Toyota, Volvo etc.) admit that dry start is no good!

The bigger question is: do we think "dry start" is bad (most engine wear and tear happens during cold start)?

My 2 cents is:
- If you love your car (and paranoid about it LOL), then prime the oil filter, it is so easy to do.
- If you don't care about priming, then don't prime it. You probably won't see any engine damage attributable to dry start during the typical service life of 150-200K miles.

Many old-schooled hard-core mechanics used to disable the ignition, crank the car for 5-10 seconds after an oil change to prime the oil filter. Then re-attach the ignition.

Last edited by cn90; 06-10-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:51 AM
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I finally did my oil change / service light reset the other day and this DIY made it so simple. Thanks to all of you for the help. Considering BMW wants $115 + tax for an oil change, I'll do mine from now on for about $65 for the cost of the oil and filter. I used a Mann filter and Mobil 1 (on sale at Advance for $22/gal.). It took about half an hour and it was so easy, a caveman can do it!
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:15 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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BTW,

Menards Hardware store has Quaker State Full Synthetic 10W30 on sales now (they have sales like this a few times a year).
About $21 for 6 qts! Talking about cheap price!
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:53 AM
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Well, I talked to a BMW tech from the dealer, and asked about priming the oil.
He said there is NO need to do it on our cars.
Only on cars where the oil filter is a canister and upside down, like on my wife's Jeep Wrangler.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:13 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Well, I talked to a BMW tech from the dealer, and asked about priming the oil.
He said there is NO need to do it on our cars.....
This is because the E39 is tricky to prime so the BMW tech does not want to go the extra mile to do it.

All gasoline cars operate the same way when it comes to engine oil lubrication: the issue of "dry start", whether we think it is important or not, is always there after an oil change.

Last edited by cn90; 06-13-2010 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMneWbie-530I View Post
this DIY made it so simple.
That's what generous people (with their time and energy) like Cam and I love to hear!

BTW, the next person who does their oil change, can you report back to us what your oil-service reset numbers were (mine are shown in the pictures in the second post above).

It would be interesting to see if the SIA interval is really "guessed" by the car ahead of time (like mine seems to do) ... not on-the-fly like it says in the BMW literature that QSilver kindly provided (or maybe it corrects itself on the fly ... I don't know ... that's why it would be useful to see what others get).

Write down two things:
1. Your oil-service interval BEFORE you reset the SIA
2. Your new oil-service interval DURING the reset of the SIA
(see detailed steps above)
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:34 AM
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Mein Auto: 1999 BMW 540iA
Hey bluebee,
Is there a procedure to reset the oil service indicator light for pre-2001 e39s?
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:37 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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If you have the 20-ipn connector under the hood then short pin #7 and 19 as follows (use white out correction fluid to mark these 2 terminals because the numbers are so small, it is easy to miss these numbers):

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Old 06-13-2010, 12:32 PM
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Jason5driver Jason5driver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
This is because the E39 is tricky to prime so the BMW tech does not want to go the extra mile to do it.

All gasoline cars operate the same way when it comes to engine oil lubrication: the issue of "dry start", whether we think it is important or not, is always there after an oil change.
Ok, then why is not in the TIS or Bentley procedure manual?

Besides, 7 quarts of oil is poured into the crank case/ oil filler cap before start-up.
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Last edited by Jason5driver; 06-13-2010 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 06-13-2010, 01:10 PM
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dms540i dms540i is offline
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If you have the 20-ipn connector under the hood then short pin #7 and 19 as follows (

Are the pins the same for all builds in this connector? Or is this trial and error? What I mean is are there differing wiring harnesses in different builds using this same connector? Don't know but it makes me more than a little nervous just sticking in wires.
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Old 06-13-2010, 04:28 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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CN90---Those tiny 0 rings---I have never changed mine out--not ever---that hidden passage thats blocked by these 0 rings--what happens if the 0 rings are failing--I will be changing them out at my next oil change after reading all of this. My large 0 ring I haven't changed out in the last 7 oil changes and haven't a leak one, I guess it's time though on the next one fer sure--biught my oil today Pennziol syn 10w30, Walmart 20 bucks a gallon--Wix filter--they work good for me--like the oil also
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:49 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Originally Posted by poolman View Post
...what happens if the 0 rings are failing--I will be changing them out at my next oil change after reading all of this....
When the tiny O-rings fail (or when the tip is broken), you will have "low oil pressure" light. I helped a few people diagnose this problem on bimmerforums.

Instead of replacing the tiny O-rings, every 10y/100K miles, get a new plastic cap anyway for $27.00. Plastic degrades with time/heat and this is the part you hate to have failure in the middle of nowhere. No oil, no engine!
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:03 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Just a cross reference for anyone reading this thread ...

Make sure you follow recommendations to always keep an EXTRA oil pan drain bolt & copper washer on hand BEFORE you change your oil using the drain method.

Here's an example from today as to why that recommendation ...

Here is the search result for broken oil pan drain bolts:
- How not to change your oil in your E39 (stripped drain plug)
- Broke the plug....
- Oil Plug Stripped! Now What ??
- URGENT: engine oil drain plug broke
- Broken oil plug & Broken oil plug!
- I Literally Want to Cry....
- Broken Oil Plug 0n E39 1998
- Magnetic oil drain bolt broke in half

Here is the search result for stripped oil pan threads:
- Drain plug / oil pan stripped on 2.8 Z3
- oil plug bad
- '92 325i-- oil drail plug stripped HEEEELP!
- Oil pan stripped (use level sensor as a drain plug)
- Oil pan stripped (weld plate over hole)

Here is a good cn90 DIY on changing your oil the gravity feed way:
- DIY: E39 Changing engine oil made simple

And, read this BEFORE you select a vacuum extractor:
- DIY - BMW E39 Oil & Filter Change (vacuum extraction method)
- Why I don't recommend the Motive Vacuum Oil Extractor ...

Note the bevy of potential solutions:
- Use a 6mm wide screwdriver to spin the broken half out
- Use an EX-4 screw extractor (aka easy out) to spin the broken half out <-- recommended
- Reverse drill the steel broken half out of the aluminum oil pan
- Retap the stripped threads in the aluminum oil pan (but generally the bolt breaks before the threads strip)
- Wrap teflon tape on the threads of a new bolt and screw it in abutting the broken bolt half
- Heli-coil the stripped threads in the aluminum oil pan
- Drop the E39 V8 il pan to access the bolt if it fell through (dropping the E39 I6 oil pan is a nightmare)
- Weld over the hole and use the MightyVac oil extractor from the dipstick forever more
- Weld over the hole and use the oil level sensor as the drain plug instead
- Access the broken bolt inside the oil pan through the leveling sensor opening
- Buy an aftermarket oil drain bolt (e.g., EAS Tuning magnetic bolt, or Fumoto drain valve)
- Some people even bought a new oil pan!


Last edited by bluebee; 10-07-2010 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:05 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Either have a spare drain plug ($6-7 from dealer) or have a spare bicycle in case you need to make the unplanned trip to dealer hehe...
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