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BMW Diesel Owners / Enthusiasts
Do you own a diesel powered BMW? Maybe a 335d or a BMW x35d? Come and talk about what makes your car great!

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  #1  
Old 12-05-2013, 04:10 PM
scootle scootle is offline
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Mein Auto: 2011 BMW 335d
DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

Hi all,

I am worried something might be wrong with my 2011 335d. The DEF 1000-mile warning came on again for the third time this year (2013) and I'm wondering if there is something specific I should be asking the Service Advisor to check when I bring the car in for the third time to "refill" the DEF.

Here is the DEF fill history that I recorded for my car since I took delivery in Dec 2010. Current mileage is 27,410 miles.

16390 miles, 19 Feb 2013 (oil service/filled DEF)
22204 miles, 6 July 2013 (service/filled DEF)
~27200 miles, 29 Nov 2013 (1000-mile warning)

This seems highly irregular to me if DEF is supposed to be utilized at an approx. 3% of fuel rate. I'm seeing the last two warning intervals at around 5-6000 miles, rather than the more expected "every oil change" of ~12,000 miles or whatever.

Any ideas? I saw some other threads discussing problems with the metering valves in the DEF system... or are the techs at my dealership possibly doing something dumb like not filling both active/passive tanks at the same time?

Thanks!

Last edited by scootle; 12-05-2013 at 04:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-05-2013, 05:02 PM
GreekboyD GreekboyD is offline
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Have the techs only been filing the active tank (smaller one) and not the passive tank?
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2013, 05:32 PM
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Flyingman Flyingman is offline
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Scootle,

The majority of us are able to achieve the full 13k miles which is the oil change interval (OCI).

Once I got a low DEF just prior to the service but was able to make it until the service. And once I got about 2 or 3k and got the low level and returned it and the SA advised that their Tech had not filled up both tanks properly.

That would be the most usual problem, they did not fill it up correctly.

The second possibility is your metering pump is injecting too much DEF.

Either way it is really a problem for BMW to sort out.
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2013, 07:33 PM
scootle scootle is offline
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Yeah, I'm going to inquire to make sure they check both tanks and note the number of gallons of DEF they put in this time if they don't find any problems with the metering. Thanks!
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2013, 02:27 PM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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My last cycle I went the full 13K miles without the 1000 mile warning. Only one time did I need to add some and that was with one of the intermediate recalls. The since the last programming update, always make the full 13k. My plan once out of free maintenance is to only fill the def when very near empty and to change the oil every 10k.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2013, 08:24 AM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Never gotten the warning. They always fill when I go into service.
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  #7  
Old 12-08-2013, 04:37 PM
Philm35 Philm35 is offline
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My first DEF fill came early. It was probably because it was not fully filled at the factory. (There was an SIB about this). Since having a proper fill, I've never had to top off between scheduled oil changes.
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  #8  
Old 12-08-2013, 06:57 PM
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Pat_X5 Pat_X5 is offline
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For the 38,000 miles I drove the 2011 335d, never have I ever received a message of low DEF.

Each time the dealer topped it off during normal maintenance.

The 335d was the best in my 12 years of BMW ownership - ZERO problems - no warranty issues - just normal service.

I miss her.....
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  #9  
Old 12-08-2013, 07:13 PM
tonyspumoni tonyspumoni is online now
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DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

I had mine in once for a DEF fill and drove about 50 miles only to have the warning light come back on again. The dealer told me that I had only gotten a "partial fill" which, at the time, sounded like complete BS. My guess is that they are not filling the tank correctly.


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  #10  
Old 12-09-2013, 07:50 PM
kadave kadave is offline
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DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

I picked up a 1 liter bottle today and put it in the lower tank. Hoped the light would go off but it's still on. I drove about two different times after the 1 liter fill of DEF for a total of about 15 miles. I was supposed to put it in the lower tank right!?


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  #11  
Old 12-14-2013, 07:23 PM
scootle scootle is offline
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So a quick follow-up.

I went in to have the DEF checked out, as well as a finicky TPM, last week.

After all was said and done, I reviewed the invoice with my SA and they went ahead and also did an oil change service since the car is at 27880 miles. I asked him about the DEF going off every ~5k miles and he fed me a story about how BMW does not pay them for labor to fill the DEF between scheduled service, so my past visits likely had one bottle of DEF added only "on the house" -- sounds fishy to me. It can't be THAT big a deal to just top the thing off in the past 4-5 times I've had the car in service for misc. things. It still doesn't make sense to me why after the first oil change I'd have 5k DEF interval if they had filled it properly at ~16k miles (which was the first oil service). He assured me that they filled DEF properly (both tanks) as part of this oil service at 27880.

Time will tell if it is true. If this persists again, it might be time to find a new service dealership.

Thanks everyone for the input.
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2013, 07:39 AM
tonyspumoni tonyspumoni is online now
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Mein Auto: 2010 335d
DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

Scottle

That sounds like exactly what my old dealerships did, though they did not explain their reasons for just throwing a squirt in rather than doing a real, two-tank fill cycle.

I also switched dealerships for serive just about right after that. I was furious at the time. Dropping a car, fetching a loaner, driving down and back, and then to leave the dealership only to drive 5 miles and have the light go on again has a tendency to irritate.


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  #13  
Old 12-15-2013, 04:17 PM
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Flyingman Flyingman is offline
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Sounds like to me!
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2013, 06:46 PM
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335dFan 335dFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingman View Post


Sounds like to me!
That must be the standard party line, because the dealer up here in Maryland told me the same thing. They do the DEF when they do the oil change, not in between.
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2013, 07:05 PM
totitan totitan is online now
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Why dont you save some time and money.....fill it up yourself. It is very simple to do and almost free compared to a dealer. I paid less than 20 bucks locally for 2 1/2 gallons of the fluid, and spent less than 10 minutes filling the tanks.
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Last edited by totitan; 12-15-2013 at 07:09 PM.
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2013, 02:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totitan View Post
Why dont you save some time and money.....fill it up yourself. It is very simple to do and almost free compared to a dealer. I paid less than 20 bucks locally for 2 1/2 gallons of the fluid, and spent less than 10 minutes filling the tanks.
I would concur with this recommendation, particularly if the dealer is going to go by the book on you. It is rather easy to do, but it also really helps if you have a bottle of DEF that has the filler mechanism. I splurged and got that, and plan to reuse it by cutting off the bottom. The only thing I anticipate being messy is overflowing the tanks and making a mess around the filler openings.
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2013, 02:30 AM
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Flyingman Flyingman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy335dOwner View Post
That must be the standard party line, because the dealer up here in Maryland told me the same thing. They do the DEF when they do the oil change, not in between.
That might be fine if they filled it up correctly the first time.

DEF should last an OCI of 13k, no problem unless the tanks were improperly filled or the metering pump is injecting too much, or you have a really heavy foot and are getting crappy MPG. 1-3% DEF to Fuel ratio. Just do the math.

I've always gone the full OCI except for the one time the service tech failed to fill the DEF tanks properly. The SA admitted as much to me. Dont let them BS you.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2013, 02:36 AM
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335dFan 335dFan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingman View Post
That might be fine if they filled it up correctly the first time.

DEF should last an OCI of 13k, no problem unless the tanks were improperly filled or the metering pump is injecting too much, or you have a really heavy foot and are getting crappy MPG. 1-3% DEF to Fuel ratio. Just do the math.

I've always gone the full OCI except for the one time the service tech failed to fill the DEF tanks properly. The SA admitted as much to me. Dont let them BS you.
There are many ingenious ways for the dealer to screw up. In my case I was in for a service that I assumed would include oil change based on the miles since the last one, but it wasn't indicated and I was complacent in finding that out. It turns out they reset the OCI counter even though they didn't change the oil (just changed the fuel and air filter), at least that's what the SA and I ascertained later. Anyway, since I figured they had topped off the DEF I was surprised that I got a DEF warning within less than a 1000 miles after the service. My bad in not closely scrutinizing the service paperwork and specifically asking the SA.
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2013, 05:49 AM
kadave kadave is offline
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Mein Auto: 2009 335d, Arctic White
DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

Update: I picked up two 2.5 gallons of DEFblue from advanced auto parts. Using my factory 1 liter bottle (per many recommendations), I cut a 1 inch hole in the center of the base to fill it up. The 2.5 gallon DEFblue comes with a small hose attachment that made it easy for me. It avoided any splashing over what I've read about the traditional funnel technique.

I did all of this while at a gas station prior to my bmw service appointment. My warning lights went off within a mile of driving. Click image for larger version

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  #20  
Old 12-16-2013, 05:27 PM
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Flyingman Flyingman is offline
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Kadave, so what did this set you back? $20-25???

I need to figure out how I want to handle the DEF in my MB GL350 as it doesn't come with any BMW free maintenance!

They want something like $200 to refill the DEF. As if???
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Last edited by Flyingman; 12-16-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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  #21  
Old 12-16-2013, 09:04 PM
kadave kadave is offline
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DEF refill frequency (2011 335d)

The def set me back $8.50 for the original 1 liter dealer bottle then $13.50 per 2.5 gallons of defblue via advanced auto parts. I suspect much better than the dealer. Click image for larger version

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  #22  
Old 12-17-2013, 12:44 AM
scootle scootle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingman View Post
That might be fine if they filled it up correctly the first time.

DEF should last an OCI of 13k, no problem unless the tanks were improperly filled or the metering pump is injecting too much, or you have a really heavy foot and are getting crappy MPG. 1-3% DEF to Fuel ratio. Just do the math.

I've always gone the full OCI except for the one time the service tech failed to fill the DEF tanks properly. The SA admitted as much to me. Dont let them BS you.
Yeah, my average mpg is on par with what is fairly normal range for these cars in mixed driving:



No way for me to know if the dealership did a proper fill the first time during the oil service at 16k. It's probably not likely I can get them to cop to messing up a service from months ago. The 5k intervals between the DEF warnings was a bit uncanny for sure. All I can really do at this point is see if I make it to 40k miles (or even 32k) without any additional DEF warnings.

Thanks all.
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  #23  
Old 09-04-2014, 11:14 PM
SoCalGuy455 SoCalGuy455 is offline
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The DEF warning popped up on my 2011 335D. I bought the jug of DEF fluid but I can't seem to figure out where the filler is located. I was at the BMW dealer (just minutes before they closed) and one guy says its in that little trap door on the lower fender. No its not, all the youtube videos show it there but not on my car. My car doesn't have that little round door on the bumper cover. Another guy I talked to said on some of the 335D's it's in the same place as the X5 diesel under the hood. The youtube videos for the X5 don't match my car either. Can anyone post a link on the apparently rare location of my DEF filler port? Seems like it shouldn't be that tough to find. I'm feeling like a dummy on this one....thanks!!
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  #24  
Old 09-05-2014, 03:55 AM
Michael47 Michael47 is online now
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I note that the first refill occurred at 16,000 miles some two years and two months after purchase. DEF is supposed to have a one year shelf life, so given the very low mileage of this vehicle, I'd say it ought not get a complete fill up. The problem is not with the vehicle, but with the owner's expectation. I believe that DEF ought to be added only 2.5 gallons at a pop, no more. This will give the owner a more reasonable annual refill schedule, both for the car and for the owner's peace of mind.
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  #25  
Old 09-05-2014, 04:49 AM
KeithS KeithS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCalGuy455 View Post
The DEF warning popped up on my 2011 335D. I bought the jug of DEF fluid but I can't seem to figure out where the filler is located. I was at the BMW dealer (just minutes before they closed) and one guy says its in that little trap door on the lower fender. No its not, all the youtube videos show it there but not on my car. My car doesn't have that little round door on the bumper cover. Another guy I talked to said on some of the 335D's it's in the same place as the X5 diesel under the hood. The youtube videos for the X5 don't match my car either. Can anyone post a link on the apparently rare location of my DEF filler port? Seems like it shouldn't be that tough to find. I'm feeling like a dummy on this one....thanks!!
Unless your 2011 is different than mine the DEF trap door, which is about a 2" diameter circle is located on the drivers SIDE of the lower rear bumper. You press the little button towards the front to pop it open. The port with the blue ring is for the active tank. In your trunk should be minimal tool kit on the right side. The plastic handle for the double ended screwdriver (without the metal screwdriver part) is the tool to open the cap to the fill port.
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