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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 08-24-2014, 07:41 AM
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Question .5 Liter DEF bottle leaking white crystals

So I have the quick fill half liter DEF I keep in the 35d and keep the 2.5 Gallon bulk DEF in the garage.

It's been about 10 months and I noticed white urea crystals on the outer cap. See attached photo below.....

I kept it horizontal under the rear cover in the spare tire cubby.

Is this still usable or has the concentration changed on the fluid and I should toss the liquid out then cut out a hole on the bottom to use just as a funnel for the bulk fluid ?

Should I have kept it in vertical condition to prevent the fluid from seeping out ?

BTW the bulk DEF fluid in the garage is still sealed and shows no sign any leakage...
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Last edited by Pat_X5; 08-24-2014 at 07:43 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2014, 07:53 AM
Pierre Louis Pierre Louis is offline
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Yeah, I wouldn't keep it in the car, and would recommend using it up right away after buying it. I keep an empty bottle with the correct nozzle to fit the car. When it needs DEF, I can buy fresh stuff and reuse the bottle, which I have converted to a refillable one. Just pry open the seal area around the cap and it will unscrew properly for you to refill. No holes or "using it as a funnel" needed.

You can find fresh DEF just about anywhere and in various size containers.

See: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...67&postcount=4

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Last edited by Pierre Louis; 08-24-2014 at 07:55 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-24-2014, 08:08 AM
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You get a 1,000 mile warning when running low so plenty of time to purchase refill, unless you are doing a road trip!

It turns white crystal as soon as exposed to air. I'd just go ahead and use what is in the bottle and not keep any in your car unless roadtripping.
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2014, 07:32 PM
quasimodem quasimodem is offline
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Use all the DEF up when you buy it. Rinse out the bottle before you refill it from a new 2.5 gallon bottle again, try to dry the rinse water off the inside of the small bottle as much as possible before refilling it.
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  #5  
Old 08-25-2014, 06:26 AM
listerone listerone is offline
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No reason to keep it in your car IMO.As has been suggested above keep the empty (and modified) half gallon bottle in the car and once you get the 1000 mile warning keep an eye on the warnings.And then,if you get really low,go to an Autozone or Walmart and pick up a 2.5 gallon jug.
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  #6  
Old 08-25-2014, 06:31 AM
listerone listerone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre Louis View Post
Just pry open the seal area around the cap and it will unscrew properly for you to refill. No holes or "using it as a funnel" needed.
That's what I did.Although the funnel option is tempting I fear spillage using that method and I'd prefer not to smell like...well,you know.
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  #7  
Old 08-25-2014, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by listerone View Post
That's what I did.Although the funnel option is tempting I fear spillage using that method and I'd prefer not to smell like...well,you know.
Me too.
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  #8  
Old 08-25-2014, 09:11 AM
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Why keep it in your car when every truck stop in the US sells DEF for much less than any dealer?

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  #9  
Old 08-26-2014, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rmorin49 View Post
Why keep it in your car when every truck stop in the US sells DEF for much less than any dealer?

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The half liter is used to funnel the bulk DEF into the tank so that is why I keep it around.

I wish I can just pour the bulk DEF directly into the tank, but BMW didn't design it that way - they had to put in a German engineering to it.

Thanks everyone for your help!
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2014, 02:16 PM
Michael47 Michael47 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat_X5 View Post
I wish I can just pour the bulk DEF directly into the tank, but BMW didn't design it that way - they had to put in a German engineering to it.
I got news for ya: BMW uses the same filler system as Mercedes, Audi, VW, Porsche, and (or so I hear) Jeep, RAM, and god knows who else for their small diesels.

The guys driving 18 wheelers use enough DEF to make it impractical, but the small diesels all carry enough DEF to not need the owner to mess with it. In fact, the EPA put up quite a fight against DEF to start with because they didn't want anything that the vehicle owner had to DO anything to maintain.
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  #11  
Old 09-02-2014, 10:06 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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With a planned road trip approaching, thought I'd review our '14 X5 35d's owner's manual regarding what it says about DEF. Found a couple of points that differed from my impressions:

1) The low warning occurs at 1000 Km / 600 miles, not 1000 miles.

2) Page 208 states:

"Have the diesel exhaust fluid replenished

The reducing agent is added by the service
center within the context of regular maintenance.
Provided you observe this maintenance
schedule, it is normally necessary to replenish
the fluid once between maintenance appointments
.

It may be necessary to have the fluid replenished
several times under particular circumstances,
for example
, if the vehicle is driven in
a particularly sporty style or if it is driven at
high altitude
s."

So contrary to my impression that a DEF fill should last between service, the manual states replenishment once between services is normal and perhaps more often under certain circumstances, including driving at high altitude - of interest to me since our X5's normal operating range is between 6200' and 8450' elevation.

While 600 miles sounds like plenty, our trip will take us on routes in the American southwest where the distance between BMW dealers exceeds this and the nearest dealer to this route would be 100 miles off this route.

With ~5000 miles currently on our X5 and the trip expected to be 3000+ miles, believe I'll contact our dealer about topping up the DEF before we leave.
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2014, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
Found a couple of points that differed from my impressions:

1) The low warning occurs at 1000 Km / 600 miles, not 1000 miles.

2) Page 208 states:

"Have the diesel exhaust fluid replenished

The reducing agent is added by the service
center within the context of regular maintenance.
Provided you observe this maintenance
schedule, it is normally necessary to replenish
the fluid once between maintenance appointments
.

It may be necessary to have the fluid replenished
several times under particular circumstances,
for example
, if the vehicle is driven in
a particularly sporty style or if it is driven at
high altitude
s."
It could be that the X5d has a different regimen for the DEF. My 2011 335d manual clearly states the warning comes at 1,000 miles to go, not 1,000 km, and the caveat paragraph reads as follows:

"Diesel exhaust fluid is refilled by your BMW
center during regular service. If the service
intervals are adhered to, it generally does not
need to be refilled between service appointments.

Under certain conditions, e.g. especially frequent
accelerations or operation of the vehicle
at high altitudes, it may become necessary to
refill the fluid between service appointments."

I have only experienced that warning once, and that was when the dealer had screwed up and reset my oil change interval erroneously, thus I had 14k miles on the oil and after about 12-13k the DEF warning light came on. Other than that I have driven it in a spirited fashion in a couple of road trips at altitude and have not noticed any out-of-the-ordinary usage issues.

Having said that, I have been learning over time that regardless of the subsystem on the car, it is prudent to pay attention to the various usage patterns of fluids, tires, etc. and not rely on the experience of others or the manual entirely. Just like the old days with cars on tire pressure, points, plugs, etc., which now we take for granted as relatively maintenance free. Of course most of that doesn't apply to our engines anyway.
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Last edited by 335dFan; 09-02-2014 at 11:38 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-02-2014, 11:37 AM
quasimodem quasimodem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
With a planned road trip approaching, thought I'd review our '14 X5 35d's owner's manual regarding what it says about DEF. Found a couple of points that differed from my impressions:

1) The low warning occurs at 1000 Km / 600 miles, not 1000 miles.

2) Page 208 states:

"Have the diesel exhaust fluid replenished

The reducing agent is added by the service
center within the context of regular maintenance.
Provided you observe this maintenance
schedule, it is normally necessary to replenish
the fluid once between maintenance appointments
.

It may be necessary to have the fluid replenished
several times under particular circumstances,
for example
, if the vehicle is driven in
a particularly sporty style or if it is driven at
high altitude
s."

So contrary to my impression that a DEF fill should last between service, the manual states replenishment once between services is normal and perhaps more often under certain circumstances, including driving at high altitude - of interest to me since our X5's normal operating range is between 6200' and 8450' elevation.

While 600 miles sounds like plenty, our trip will take us on routes in the American southwest where the distance between BMW dealers exceeds this and the nearest dealer to this route would be 100 miles off this route.

With ~5000 miles currently on our X5 and the trip expected to be 3000+ miles, believe I'll contact our dealer about topping up the DEF before we leave.
I dont believe you are correct about the mileage. If I recall right the warning is "999 miles to no start" or something like that. And I have been to LA and back from the SF Bay area without a replenishment and I got the warning soon after starting the trip.
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  #14  
Old 09-02-2014, 04:49 PM
montr montr is offline
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I only add DEF when I get the warning, not at each oil change. Last time, if I remember correctly, the warning was 900 miles before no start. When I get the warning, I only add 2.5 gallons. I never totally fill it up, I want to always have fresh DEF as it crystallize with time.
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  #15  
Old 09-03-2014, 03:58 PM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quasimodem View Post
I dont believe you are correct about the mileage. If I recall right the warning is "999 miles to no start" or something like that. And I have been to LA and back from the SF Bay area without a replenishment and I got the warning soon after starting the trip.
I've yet to see the low DEF warning yet on our X5 (it's too new), but the manual for the 2014 X5 states; "The reserve indication is displayed starting at approx. 600 miles/1,000 km remaining range."
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  #16  
Old 09-03-2014, 04:08 PM
quasimodem quasimodem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
I've yet to see the low DEF warning yet on our X5 (it's too new), but the manual for the 2014 X5 states; "The reserve indication is displayed starting at approx. 600 miles/1,000 km remaining range."
Oops, my mistake, I cant speak to the X5, it might be different from a 2009 335d.

Last edited by quasimodem; 09-03-2014 at 04:09 PM.
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  #17  
Old 09-04-2014, 11:20 AM
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Pat_X5 Pat_X5 is offline
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The '11 335d I had said 1000 miles counting down.
I don't know what the X5d says yet - it's too new - not even had it's first oil change yet.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2014, 05:31 PM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
With ~5000 miles currently on our X5 and the trip expected to be 3000+ miles, believe I'll contact our dealer about topping up the DEF before we leave.
Stopped by the dealer and requested the DEF be topped up. The SA filled the active tank, explaining service instructed him to fill only that tank. I would guess about 1 to 1-1/2 gallons went in (he filled it from a translucent 5 gallon container so I could see the level before and after).

Will this insure I have enough for another 3000 miles? I have no idea. For all I know the passive tank is empty and all the DEF I have on board is what the active holds (which I seem to recall is smaller than the passive tank).

I commented to the SA that with all the sensors on a '14 X5 you'd think they would have an actual DEF quantity display available, the way they do for that other critical consumable, fuel.
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Old 09-11-2014, 08:58 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Still wondering about remaining mileage on the DEF, I started searching for what the capacity of the system is (disappointing this isn't listed in the owner's manual). While doing so I came across the following BMW document:

http://www.bmw.com/com/en/owners/ser..._AdBlue_EN.pdf

Note on the first page, second paragraph on the left the following statement;

"- From 2,400 km the remaining range is shown in the Control Display. You can also have the current remaining range and refill quantity displayed at any time (Vehicle information > Vehicle status > AdBlue)."

Great! Just what I've been looking for! Must have missed this in the control display. Went out to my '14 X5 35d, went to Vehicle Status and...there is no AdBlue item to choose.

Looking at the reference document, the X5 picture is of a 2014, but from the URL and the reference to the EU6 emission standards this document appears to be for European vehicles. So, it would appear that BMW does indeed measure the remaining DEF and computes an estimated range but for some reason has chosen to not include that capability in US vehicles monitoring. Huh?

Does anybody know of some way to find this information within the vehicle? Heading out on a long trip, including remote areas hundreds of miles from the nearest BMW dealer, it seems that knowing your DEF range is as basic as knowing your fuel range. Somehow there must be a way of estimating this.

Related, while conducting this search I found multiple references stating that for the system refill done at the normal service intervals, it is not just a refill, but includes a system drain and flush. This may explain why the SA was instructed by the service department to only top up the active tank yesterday and why the owner's manual only describes adding fluid to the active tank; i.e. a full refill, including the passive tank, calls for draining and flushing the system.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:53 AM
Pierre Louis Pierre Louis is offline
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BMW apparently has stopped recommending a "drain and flush" for DEF, including our 335d's. This change was about 2 years ago.

PL
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  #21  
Old 09-11-2014, 01:48 PM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pierre Louis View Post
BMW apparently has stopped recommending a "drain and flush" for DEF, including our 335d's. This change was about 2 years ago.
PL
Thanks for the info Pierre.

That being the case I don't see why the SA couldn't have simply topped up the passive tank when he topped up the active tank earlier this week. Will give them a call to discuss further since, without knowing what the capacity of the system is or how much is left, I have no way of estimating the remaining range, as basic an operating parameter as knowing one's remaining fuel range.
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  #22  
Old 09-11-2014, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
Thanks for the info Pierre.

That being the case I don't see why the SA couldn't have simply topped up the passive tank when he topped up the active tank earlier this week. Will give them a call to discuss further since, without knowing what the capacity of the system is or how much is left, I have no way of estimating the remaining range, as basic an operating parameter as knowing one's remaining fuel range.
Think of it like windshield washer fluid. That is apparently what my local dealer service department did. Forgot to refill my DEF and the washer fluid. No big deal to do myself but you pay for and expect they will provide 1st class service. My SA isn't gonna like the review he gets this time around.
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  #23  
Old 09-12-2014, 07:18 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyingman View Post
Think of it like windshield washer fluid. That is apparently what my local dealer service department did. Forgot to refill my DEF and the washer fluid. No big deal to do myself but you pay for and expect they will provide 1st class service. My SA isn't gonna like the review he gets this time around.
Except you can keep driving without washer fluid and find materials with which to clean the windshield almost anywhere. Running out of DEF is like running out of fuel.

To my question about where the remaining onboard DEF quantity may displayed in the Control Display, it was confirmed to me by BMW Genius, who called my dealership, that this display ('Adblue' under 'Vehicle Status') only appears once the low DEF level warning has been activated.

Only being provided a remaining range indication when there is 600 miles left (I know various sources say 1000 miles, but that is apparently for other models - the '14 X5 manual says the warning is displayed when there are 600 miles left) is insufficient. On an upcoming trip we will be, for significant portions of the trip, in remote areas, hundreds of miles from a BMW dealer. This in addition to the fact that my trip does not include time to visit a BMW dealer for something that can be readily handled beforehand by simply insuring adequate remaining range.

I plan on revisiting my dealer and having them top up the passive tank (they topped up only the active tank the other day). This will give me an important benchmark: how many gallons it has consumed for the mileage to date. I'll also need to have them confirm the tank capacities to complete the picture.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:07 AM
quasimodem quasimodem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MotoWPK View Post
Except you can keep driving without washer fluid and find materials with which to clean the windshield almost anywhere. Running out of DEF is like running out of fuel.

To my question about where the remaining onboard DEF quantity may displayed in the Control Display, it was confirmed to me by BMW Genius, who called my dealership, that this display ('Adblue' under 'Vehicle Status') only appears once the low DEF level warning has been activated.

Only being provided a remaining range indication when there is 600 miles left (I know various sources say 1000 miles, but that is apparently for other models - the '14 X5 manual says the warning is displayed when there are 600 miles left) is insufficient. On an upcoming trip we will be, for significant portions of the trip, in remote areas, hundreds of miles from a BMW dealer. This in addition to the fact that my trip does not include time to visit a BMW dealer for something that can be readily handled beforehand by simply insuring adequate remaining range.

I plan on revisiting my dealer and having them top up the passive tank (they topped up only the active tank the other day). This will give me an important benchmark: how many gallons it has consumed for the mileage to date. I'll also need to have them confirm the tank capacities to complete the picture.
I would just buy a small bottle of DEF to take it with you as a precaution.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:43 AM
MotoWPK MotoWPK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quasimodem View Post
I would just buy a small bottle of DEF to take it with you as a precaution.
The customer fill bottle sold by BMW is 1/2 gallon. I've read the DEF consumption rate ranges from 1% to 3% of fuel consumption. Based on our average fuel consumption over the first ~5000 miles, the small bottle of DEF would be good for 480 to 1450 miles, far less than the length of the upcoming trip and, indeed, the distance from one BMW dealer to the next along our route is about mid-way in this range. So taking the small bottle of DEF doesn't meet the need.

It's surprising to me that BMW doesn't provide some ready means of knowing the current DEF range - it's as basic as knowing your current fuel range. That said, I've operated motorcycles for many years without fuel gauges and you simply calculate the range knowing your consumption rate and the capacity of the fuel tank. Those are the parameters one needs to know in this case as well since the vehicle lacks any display of these parameters.
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