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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 06-17-2013, 11:11 AM
hoopla hoopla is offline
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335i disappearing oil - normal?

Late last week, my wife saw some some (probably blue) coming from the back of our 2009 335i while idling at a light, then the oil warning light came on. As soon as she started up again, the smoke stopped and the light went off.

I called the dealer, but had to leave a message. Then I called a local BMW specialist and he said that as long as it didn't show that it needed oil, it was probably fine to drive until I could get it in this week. So, I drove it yesterday (about 70 miles) and all seemed fine. However, just as we returned home, the oil light came on. When I checked, it said that it needed 1 quart/liter.

This morning, I spoke to my service advisor at the dealer, and they said that this was fairly normal with these and to simply come in and get it topped up.

Is this normal? I certainly never had to add any oil to my X3, or any other car I've had in the last 15 years.

The car has about 50k miles. Is there anything that could be wrong that wouldn't be covered by the CPO warranty?
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2013, 12:40 PM
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yes, its perfectly healthy. You can call to your SA and he will explain more in depth.
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2013, 02:34 PM
hoopla hoopla is offline
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do all 335/n5x's do this?

The SA just said "this is normal". I see discussions here suggesting that it can be an injector (but I don't have any problems with how it is running), the valve cover gasket, the turbos, and other issues. If it could we one of these, I'd like to get it fixed, but it seems like I need ammunition to convince the dealer to do more than give me a quart of oil.

Going through a quart in six months/4000 miles would certainly be a sign of imminent engine meltdown in most modern cars. The last car I had that occasionally needed oil was my 1978 Volvo...
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Old 06-17-2013, 02:58 PM
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Blue smoke is indicative of oil being passed into the cylinder(s). Oil consumption, mostly invisible to the eye, is normal. If you can see/smell it, it's excessive. If the dealer doesn't give you satisfaction, find an independent shop to do a leakdown test as well as cylinder compression test. I'm not familiar with the oil separation device on these N54/N55, but that has been an issue on earlier engines, like the M54.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:13 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by eric323hemphill View Post
yes, its perfectly healthy. You can call to your SA and he will explain more in depth.

+1

Don't you love not having a dipstick?


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  #6  
Old 06-17-2013, 04:21 PM
hoopla hoopla is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
+1

Don't you love not having a dipstick?


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Yeah, that was an odd realization. Since it was in original maintenance coverage, I hadn't actually bothered to check the oil. After what my wife saw, I went to check it and couldn't find the dipstick....

Eventually, there will just be a big black box under the hood.
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Old 06-17-2013, 06:09 PM
bavariaman bavariaman is offline
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Funny...Over the weekend with the exception of blue smoke I had the exact same thing happen to my 2006 330i.....It has 161k on it....In my 7 yrs of ownership I never had the low oil "+1L" warning come on till then...I topped it off with 5W-30 and the level indicator was fine....In a panic though I went to my dealership this morning at 7.30am and explained the problem...SA said if I got the msg and topped it and then the msg went away then he said it is ok.....No service required...He suggested I monitor the level over the next weeks to see if there is a decline..If yes then bring it back....FYI my last oil change was in March...
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2013, 03:37 AM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is online now
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check your intake valves, I bet you find your missing oil
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:46 AM
ctuna ctuna is offline
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At least you could look at the Bar Graph level sensor

At least you could look at the Bar Graph level sensor.
It gives me a lukewarm feeling about the oil level but
at least its something.

If you weren't having a problem and now you do something
has changed.
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2013, 12:07 PM
Ken335i Ken335i is offline
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I, too, had to add a quart to our '12 335i over the weekend. Just 7,400 miles on it. I have noticed a little smoke when My wife drives off when the engine is cold. Also, the tail pipes soot-up, so I guess we're burning some. Just about everyone on this forum says to ttop it off and not worry about it.
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  #11  
Old 06-18-2013, 12:37 PM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is online now
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I just change my oil today at 6000 miles, and my graph displayed at the 1/2 way mark

so instead of adding I just changed it 70 buck!
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:58 PM
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I noticed the oil sensor is picky. You'll see it halfway, drive it a few days and it can/will move up or down. I think it's inaccurate to check it while the car is in motion; I'm not sure why it works trying it that way, but BMW allows it.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:26 PM
hondo402000 hondo402000 is online now
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I changed my oil today after 6000 miles and the gauge showing half way between min and max, changed oil, drove till the oil warmed up checked it and still showed at mid way between min and max, checked it several time and after the 3 check and about 20 miles the gauge registered at the max level, so seems it takes some time for it to register too
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Old 06-18-2013, 03:35 PM
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I don't worry about oil use until it exceeds a quart every 1000 miles. I know that will make a lot of people here crazy, but I've been driving since the 60's and rebuilt my share of engines. I know when it's something to worry about and when it's not.

Modern engines use a lot less oil than older ones, but that doesn't mean NO oil usage. People today freak much too easily when they have to add a quart between oil changes. What matters is the long-term pattern of oil usage (over a year or so) and whether it's increasing or not.

You should always allow a few minutes for the oil to settle into the pan before checking levels...some cars (my Nissan Murano) take up to 10 minutes for the oil to run down and get an accurate reading even when hot.
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Old 06-18-2013, 05:02 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I don't worry about oil use until it exceeds a quart every 1000 miles. I know that will make a lot of people here crazy, but I've been driving since the 60's and rebuilt my share of engines. I know when it's something to worry about and when it's not.

Modern engines use a lot less oil than older ones, but that doesn't mean NO oil usage. People today freak much too easily when they have to add a quart between oil changes. What matters is the long-term pattern of oil usage (over a year or so) and whether it's increasing or not.

You should always allow a few minutes for the oil to settle into the pan before checking levels...some cars (my Nissan Murano) take up to 10 minutes for the oil to run down and get an accurate reading even when hot.
Can't do that with our Bimmers. The engine actually has to be running for the device to get a reading. It's complicated.
As for the oil usage...if we used less than a quart every thousand miles you'd be happy with that? So, let's say we use a quart every 1500 miles. Good? That's 10 quarts between oil changes. Why change the oil at all then? You've always got 'new' oil.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 06-18-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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  #16  
Old 06-19-2013, 08:52 AM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Can't do that with our Bimmers. The engine actually has to be running for the device to get a reading. It's complicated.
As for the oil usage...if we used less than a quart every thousand miles you'd be happy with that? So, let's say we use a quart every 1500 miles. Good? That's 10 quarts between oil changes. Why change the oil at all then? You've always got 'new' oil.
I understand that you can't check the oil level and must rely on sensors. Supreme German arrogance on the part of BMW engineers to leave out a simple dipstick, IMO.

However - I've driven and rebuilt enough cars to know what's going on internally in them. I also know what oil consumption is, how it occurs (valve guides/rings/turbo seals/leaks) and how much it matters. I come from the baby boom generation, and many of us grew up doing major and minor rebuilds and general vehicle repair.

I don't really become alarmed about the condition of an engine until oil usage exceeds 1 quart per thousand miles. Why?

Because at that point, it's passing enough oil through that issues with plug fouling and catalytic converters are possible. Up until then, oil (even synthetic) is cheap and it's not a big deal to feed the engine oil.

Before then, as one sees oil consumption increase over time, it's definitely something to keep in mind. It indicates engine wear and a future need for correction or a need to sell the car. That's a reason to keep a record book in every vehicle with accurate records of oil usage, tire rotation, etc.

But adding a quart at 2K or 3K mile intervals is not a reason to go screaming to the service manager, rending ones' garments and pleading for action to fix the car. Nor is it a reason to trade off a perfectly serviceable vehicle that happens to use some oil. It may be years before the oil consumption increases to the point where repair is needed or a trade is appropriate.

And even if I were dropping in a quart every 1500 miles, I'd still change the oil and filter at 5K or so intervals. Filters get dirty and combustion byproducts accumulate in oil. It's cheap insurance.
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  #17  
Old 06-19-2013, 10:17 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
I understand that you can't check the oil level and must rely on sensors. Supreme German arrogance on the part of BMW engineers to leave out a simple dipstick, IMO.

A diff view: Eliminating the sticky, icky task of dipstick procedure, requiring - oy! - poppin' the hood and soiling hands, the info's delivered and displayed to the driver as he's in motion. Don' gotta stop, don' gotta open nuthin'.

Larger issue: self sufficient vehicles. They may not be able to add the oil, but they do predict the future with safety margin and account for actual use of the car -- a filling station robot can do the dirty. The push for cars that drive themselves, and maintain themselves, is on.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
A diff view: Eliminating the sticky, icky task of dipstick procedure, requiring - oy! - poppin' the hood and soiling hands, the info's delivered and displayed to the driver as he's in motion. Don' gotta stop, don' gotta open nuthin'.

Larger issue: self sufficient vehicles. They may not be able to add the oil, but they do predict the future with safety margin and account for actual use of the car -- a filling station robot can do the dirty. The push for cars that drive themselves, and maintain themselves, is on.
But ... opening your own hood at a filling station, and showing off the beautifully-detailed engine bay of the BMW, is fulfilling indeed. That is now lost, although I pop my hood for no good reason now, just to look at the S65, just as I did with my S54 and S50 before.

The sensor, as far as just oil level, seems really finicky. I've changed the oil, added less than 8 liters, have the sensor show below a half. A week later and it's overfilled, where I drain a bit from the front sump. I don't know how the techs do it at dealerships, if the sensor does indeed take a few cycles to be really accurate.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Can't do that with our Bimmers. The engine actually has to be running for the device to get a reading. It's complicated.
As for the oil usage...if we used less than a quart every thousand miles you'd be happy with that? So, let's say we use a quart every 1500 miles. Good? That's 10 quarts between oil changes. Why change the oil at all then? You've always got 'new' oil.
Yes, like my 66 MGB which would get about 300 miles before the oil would drop off the end of the dipstick. No problem, just carried a gallon of used oil to pour in and it never needed changing!
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by thekurgan View Post
But ... opening your own hood at a filling station, and showing off the beautifully-detailed engine bay of the BMW, is fulfilling indeed. That is now lost, although I pop my hood for no good reason now, just to look at the S65, just as I did with my S54 and S50 before.

The sensor, as far as just oil level, seems really finicky. I've changed the oil, added less than 8 liters, have the sensor show below a half. A week later and it's overfilled, where I drain a bit from the front sump. I don't know how the techs do it at dealerships, if the sensor does indeed take a few cycles to be really accurate.

Three sensors are involved - engine temperature's important. Capacitive sensor has electronics within - you may have a wonky unit!

I have to wonder 'bout the software. By its nature, that must be adaptive....
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:40 PM
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Wow, a "quart every 1500 miles" would have me adding a quart every six weeks.....
If I saw that on my car, I'd figure I had a terribly loose engine--valve guides or bad piston rings. Bad oil control.
I can imagine seeing this in an old-school 1960's big block with forged pistons and low tension rings, but on a new car?
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Three sensors are involved - engine temperature's important. Capacitive sensor has electronics within - you may have a wonky unit!

I have to wonder 'bout the software. By its nature, that must be adaptive....
I'll see if they can check it out; I noticed it on the N54 as well, but it didn't take as much oil.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by hondo402000 View Post
I changed my oil today after 6000 miles and the gauge showing half way between min and max, changed oil, drove till the oil warmed up checked it and still showed at mid way between min and max, checked it several time and after the 3 check and about 20 miles the gauge registered at the max level, so seems it takes some time for it to register too
thats a good idea, change it rather than adding oil only to change it soon.
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Old 06-22-2013, 03:57 PM
Pilgrim Pilgrim is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
A diff view: Eliminating the sticky, icky task of dipstick procedure, requiring - oy! - poppin' the hood and soiling hands, the info's delivered and displayed to the driver as he's in motion. Don' gotta stop, don' gotta open nuthin'.
Yeah, but I don't like trusting sensors one bit. I'm not one of those lazy drivers who never adds or changes oil . I WANT to be able to use physical tools to check that oil level, because it's critical system and I don't want to depend on electrical gremlins. Sticky, icky (not that I agree with that) doesn't bother me. Bring it back.

Quote:
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Wow, a "quart every 1500 miles" would have me adding a quart every six weeks.....
If I saw that on my car, I'd figure I had a terribly loose engine--valve guides or bad piston rings. Bad oil control.
I can imagine seeing this in an old-school 1960's big block with forged pistons and low tension rings, but on a new car?
I didn't say new. Every car owned by a member of this forum is used. Some have just been driven off the showroom floor, others have more than 100K miles on them. Of course I wouldn't expect a new car to burn oil - and I would prefer that my used car didn't. I also would very much prefer that none of my cars used a quart in 2000 or 1500 miles. But in the real world, it's important to interpret situations that are less than ideal, and there's why I offered the perspective on oil usage that I did.

Incidentally, my daughter has a 1991 Camaro with a small-block 305, and it has used oil since we got it 8 years ago. For some time it has used about a quart every 1500, but it has been there for years. It has never fouled a plug, never had a cat converter problem, and never failed to pass emissions (although we make darn sure it's well warmed up before she goes in for the test.) It may be Detroit iron, but it's a good illustration of how you can afford to drop a lot of oil into a car rather than put out thousands for a rebuild.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:36 PM
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But ... opening your own hood at a filling station, and showing off the beautifully-detailed engine bay of the BMW, is fulfilling indeed.
Do you really do this?
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