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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:07 AM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Arrow How do BMW engines hold up with 15k mile oil changes? I have a little story.

I got some interesting information first hand recently. I was at my local dealer and was talking with one of the mechanics. He had just pulled the valve cover off of an X3 3.0si, 260 hp/N52 engine to check its condition.

BMW has a requirement that the vehicle service history must show at least two oil services before it can be CPO'd. If it doesn't show that the dealership has to pull the valve cover and take pictures of the internals and send them to BMW to get their OK to CPO the car.

This X3 had just come back from a three year lease to a little old lady who only drove it to the grocery store on Saturday and church on Sunday. It had about 23,000 miles on it. She only drove it about 7,500 miles per year. So, it was two years old before it hit 15k miles and had its first oil change. Then it was driven another 7,500 miles or so. So, when it came in it had only one oil change in three years.

I'm just speculating here, but I imagine this X3 had lots of short, stop and go trips where the engine did not fully warm up and very few highway miles. Just the sort of driving you'd think might be a recipe for at least some sludge build up.

Now this engine had only been run with BMW High Performance Synthetic oil, of course. The inside of the engine, all the internals you could see with the valve cover off, looked like it was brand new. You could have eaten off of it. The mechanic told me this is what every engine he's inspected in this type scenario has looked like. He has never had any sludge or other build-up.

Anyway, I thought y'all might find that a little interesting. I was certainly impressed. Of course, this wasn't a turbo engine (though it is the same engine I have in my E90 330i ), but seeing that gave me some sense that BMW's long oil change intervals are not entirely a bad thing. Which I guess is really nothing terribly new, because they've had long intervals at least since the E46 first came out. (Sorry, I'm not up on E36s. )

So, there you go. Now y'all can cuss and discuss what are your thoughts.
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2011, 12:44 AM
wesley.ver wesley.ver is offline
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Unhappy Long service intervals

Hi i'mm from south africa and her we dont like long service intervals
check pic's, done have much more info but its an x6 3.5i
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2011, 01:09 AM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Originally Posted by wesley.ver View Post
Hi i'mm from south africa and her we dont like long service intervals
check pic's, done have much more info but its an x6 3.5i
That looks nasty. Do you have any details? How long between changes? What kind of oil?
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2011, 04:36 AM
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Bob Shiftright Bob Shiftright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post

BMW has a requirement that the vehicle service history must show at least two oil services before it can be CPO'd. If it doesn't show that the dealership has to pull the valve cover and take pictures of the internals and send them to BMW to get their OK to CPO the car.
BMW requires dealers to spend several hours removing the cam covers, replacing all the seals and gaskets, and reassembling everything without any oil leaks for a CPO?

I didn't know that.
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2011, 05:08 AM
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http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ification.aspx

http://resource.bmwusa.com/Pdf_988f0...cd9e87fc2.arox
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:36 AM
sunny5280 sunny5280 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
Anyway, I thought y'all might find that a little interesting. I was certainly impressed. Of course, this wasn't a turbo engine (though it is the same engine I have in my E90 330i ), but seeing that gave me some sense that BMW's long oil change intervals are not entirely a bad thing. Which I guess is really nothing terribly new, because they've had long intervals at least since the E46 first came out. (Sorry, I'm not up on E36s. )

So, there you go. Now y'all can cuss and discuss what are your thoughts.
Problems related to infrequent oil changes seem to be rare. I don't think I've ever read about such a situation here but I know my mechanic has repaired a couple of cars due to infrequent oil changes (in the neighborhood of 60K miles without a change, IMO exceptional cases).

With that said I like to change my oil more frequently than BMW's recommendation as it's low cost with no downside. I wish BMW allowed me to change the reminder interval in the computer to be something other than the 15K miles.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:40 AM
schmatt schmatt is offline
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From everything I've learned over the years, the oil change interval is dependent on a whole lot of conditions. Obviously, the newer the engine, the less often you need to change it, because there is less contaminants and engine wear that needs to be cleaned. Basically, the oil is good as long as it still has the correct properties as well as cleaning agents left in it. There is no way to know this information without analyzing the oil in a lab. For most situations, 10-15k miles is perfectly fine for synthetic oils. The part that wears out before the oil is the oil filter. Most of the guys who are really into analyzing their oil have suggested changing the filter halfway through a long oil change interval, eg 7.5k filter change for a 15k oil change interval.

BMW does have oil changes annually if you do not reach the 15k mile count. I may be mistaken, but there is a more complicated formula used behind the scenes to calculate when an oil change is needed. This is based on how you drive the vehicle. Most of the newer cars use this type of thing to calculate oil change requirements.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:48 AM
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You can drive thousands of miles on a motor with 1Q missing in the oil capacity and have no issues what so ever....
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2011, 07:52 AM
slant83 slant83 is offline
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..I thought all the dealer had to do to CPO a car was paint "CPO" on the windshield ! people will believe anything
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:05 AM
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I'm guessing she at least got to operating temperature and there was some freeway involved. 7500/year is what I drive and my 70 year old mom drives 3k/year (Mini S). I think you hit a good point that this isn't a turbo motor as well but water/moisture is probably the worst enemy, that's why I think it got to a temp to evaporate the water captured. N52 is a great engine, now that the lifter tick has been addressed I hope it continues.
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  #11  
Old 04-01-2011, 08:14 PM
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Texas seldom gets below freezing so even short drives would most likely flash any condensation off. Synthetic oil is great and the tighter tolerances of todays engines not just BMWs allows for longer oil changes because the contamination doesn't occur as often and the total base numbers (TBNs) don't fall below what still protects the engine.

I have a BMW M3 that now has 278K miles on the engine and has lived in Phoenix and Florida its entire life. I pulled the head at 274K miles and everything looked excellent. However this was most likely ideal places to help long life with climates that almost never see low temps and drives that are always long enough to flash off any condensation.

Brett Anderson who operates Kola Motor Sports in Columbus Ohio used to show on his web site what happens to E46 engines on these extended oil changes. They were terribly sludges up. Might be because of the climate and short drives not burning off the condensation. Might not but regardless BMW legal made him pull those pictures.

Oil changes are cheap compared to replacing an engine. I would strongly consider changing oil more often if you live in climates where you get a lot of below freezing temps.
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2011, 06:09 AM
beemerstash beemerstash is offline
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Amsoil extended changes

Amsoil has been doing extended oil changes for years, 1 year or up to 40,000 miles with their top oil! They make 5w-40 and 5w-30 euro oils, and use Mann filters for BMW, all approved and meet their requirements! Its all I use in all my engines!
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  #13  
Old 04-02-2011, 06:14 AM
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hpowders hpowders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
I got some interesting information first hand recently. I was at my local dealer and was talking with one of the mechanics. He had just pulled the valve cover off of an X3 3.0si, 260 hp/N52 engine to check its condition.

BMW has a requirement that the vehicle service history must show at least two oil services before it can be CPO'd. If it doesn't show that the dealership has to pull the valve cover and take pictures of the internals and send them to BMW to get their OK to CPO the car.

This X3 had just come back from a three year lease to a little old lady who only drove it to the grocery store on Saturday and church on Sunday. It had about 23,000 miles on it. She only drove it about 7,500 miles per year. So, it was two years old before it hit 15k miles and had its first oil change. Then it was driven another 7,500 miles or so. So, when it came in it had only one oil change in three years.

I'm just speculating here, but I imagine this X3 had lots of short, stop and go trips where the engine did not fully warm up and very few highway miles. Just the sort of driving you'd think might be a recipe for at least some sludge build up.

Now this engine had only been run with BMW High Performance Synthetic oil, of course. The inside of the engine, all the internals you could see with the valve cover off, looked like it was brand new. You could have eaten off of it. The mechanic told me this is what every engine he's inspected in this type scenario has looked like. He has never had any sludge or other build-up.

Anyway, I thought y'all might find that a little interesting. I was certainly impressed. Of course, this wasn't a turbo engine (though it is the same engine I have in my E90 330i ), but seeing that gave me some sense that BMW's long oil change intervals are not entirely a bad thing. Which I guess is really nothing terribly new, because they've had long intervals at least since the E46 first came out. (Sorry, I'm not up on E36s. )

So, there you go. Now y'all can cuss and discuss what are your thoughts.
Yes, I did find this interesting.

As usual for you, another great contribution to Bimmerfest!!
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:33 AM
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1985mb 1985mb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemerstash View Post
Amsoil has been doing extended oil changes for years, 1 year or up to 40,000 miles with their top oil! They make 5w-40 and 5w-30 euro oils, and use Mann filters for BMW, all approved and meet their requirements! Its all I use in all my engines!
No, they are not approved. BMW does not approve Amsoil oil, regardless of the cleverly written ambiguity written on Amsoil containers
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:04 AM
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BMW uses Castrol.
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:49 AM
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1985mb 1985mb is offline
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Originally Posted by -=Hot|Ice=- View Post
BMW uses Castrol.
That's not useful info either. Be more specific.


Quote:

Synthetic Engine Oils

BMW High Performance Synthetic Oil is recommended for scheduled engine oil changes.

BMW High Performance SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Oil* (BMW part number 07 51 0 017 866)
* Does not apply to M vehicles - see below


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.

BMW Long-life rating LL-01 Approved Synthetic Oils for the US Market:

* 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
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx
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  #17  
Old 04-03-2011, 10:09 AM
beemerstash beemerstash is offline
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LL 04 (Amsoil)

Good for 335 (N54) motors 5w-30 enhanced for turbos. Low TBN # if using ethanol possible concern if any, however Shell V power in Canada contains no ethanol. Plus Amsoil is a true synthetic PAO not cheaper Hydro cracked base stocks.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:18 AM
kmorgan_260 kmorgan_260 is offline
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The reminder interval on my 335i is 17K miles. I hear people talking about the 15K reminders and wonder what gives. Maybe the dealer reset it? Anyone else have 17K reminder interval?
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:16 PM
Tom K. Tom K. is offline
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Originally Posted by kmorgan_260 View Post
The reminder interval on my 335i is 17K miles. I hear people talking about the 15K reminders and wonder what gives. Maybe the dealer reset it? Anyone else have 17K reminder interval?
15k is only an average. The actual interval is dependent upon your driving conditions.

Look up "Condition Based Service" in your owner's manual.

Tom
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:24 PM
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I am off that hook... I change my oil every 7,500 miles.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:58 PM
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1985mb 1985mb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemerstash View Post
Good for 335 (N54) motors 5w-30 enhanced for turbos. Low TBN # if using ethanol possible concern if any, however Shell V power in Canada contains no ethanol. Plus Amsoil is a true synthetic PAO not cheaper Hydro cracked base stocks.
I don't care if Amsoil is the best thing since sliced bread. I won't buy their products as long as they have their clever little ambiguities on their containers and advertising. They can't legally write "Recommended by BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc." so they write "Recommended for BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc."
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:27 AM
beemerstash beemerstash is offline
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Amsoil?

AMSOIL European Car Formula 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil is formulated to meet or exceed the most demanding European specifications. It is recommended for European gasoline or diesel vehicles requiring any of the following performance specifications:

• VW 504.00/507.00
• ACEA A3/B3, A3/B4
• Mercedes-Benz 229.51
• BMW LL-04
• Porsche C30

They can't print this if it cant meet the spec's. Any after market part will state the same even if they direct manufacture for BMW i.e. Mann filters.
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  #23  
Old 04-04-2011, 02:28 PM
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tturedraider tturedraider is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hpowders View Post
Yes, I did find this interesting.

As usual for you, another great contribution to Bimmerfest!!
Thanks. I meant to say this a couple of days ago, but since I've been "busting your chops" today, I figured I should show some gratitude, too.
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Last edited by tturedraider; 04-04-2011 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:40 PM
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hpowders hpowders is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tturedraider View Post
Thanks. I meant to say this a couple of days ago, but since I've been "busting you chops" today, I figured I should show some gratitude, too.
I didn't say what I said to manipulate you into replying. It's perfectly alright.
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The E90 sedan is the last in the line of great 4 door 3 Series BMW's. Too bad.

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  #25  
Old 04-04-2011, 02:41 PM
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The HACK The HACK is offline
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There are multiple sides to every story...

If you take a look at the service record of my MZ4 Coupe, you'd be SHOCKED to find that it's only had one fluid change post break-in at 1,070 miles, one single oil change at 12,XXX miles, and then Inspection I at 24,XXX miles in the 4.5 years since I've owned it, with barely over 30,000 miles on it.

Yet I'll bet if you pull the valve cover off you'll likely see a pretty clean engine as well.

Not saying that the car in question in the OP's original post has an obsessive owner that changes oil himself/herself every 3,000 miles (heck I don't do it. I do it every 7,500 miles. I ain't made of money and the 10W-60 stuff is EXPENSIVE). Just saying that if a dealership mechanic lets you the customer see anything, it'll likely be one of the cleanest examples of an working whatever it is they'll be showing you.
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