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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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Old 09-11-2013, 01:35 PM
niffel niffel is offline
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Location: Bay Area CA
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i Wagon
Oil Dip Stick markings

I had a bit of an issue while I was driving to work yesterday. I accelerated fairly quickly up to about 60 up a hill to pass a truck. At about that time, I noticed the oil light in the dash came on yellow. I've only had this car a few months, but this is the first time I've seen that. The light stayed yellow so I pulled off into the nearest gas station and checked the oil level. The level showed full. I restarted the engine, and the light was off. Drove the rest of the way to work, home that evening, and to work again today without issue. On the way in today, I did the same acceleration up the same hill again without issue.

I was looking at the PDF copy of my owners manual where they mention the oil low/high marks on the dip stick. The markings in the illustration don't seem to match the markings on my dip stick. I'm worried that I have the incorrect dip stick, and that I'm running my engine a little low on oil.

I've attached an image of the dip stick shown in the manual, and the one from my car. Does anyone know what the marking should look like?

My car:
2000 BMW 528i Wagon.
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:54 PM
mio_e46 mio_e46 is offline
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Location: Peoria, Arizona
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Posts: 375
Mein Auto: 2003 530i
I believe you have the correct dip stick - now the oil light could be caused by a faulty oil level sender unit - they are common to go out in these cars - its a 90$ part and extremely easy to DIY
2003 530iA Sterling Grey on Black - SP, PP, Auto

2003 530iA Alpine White on Tan - SP, PP, Auto - SOLD
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:55 PM
pleiades pleiades is offline
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Mein Auto: '99 5-spd
Your dipstick looks like a perfectly normal e39 version. The pic seems a bit off...

The cause of the "oil level" warning might be that the oil level sender at the bottom of the sump is going bad.

However, you say you accelerated up a hill when this happened, so maybe the level sender briefly detected an "overfill" condition.

Incidentally, what oil are you running in the car?
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:02 PM
edjack edjack is online now
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Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
The top mark is full. How much oil did you pour in on the last oil change? If you haven't changed the oil yet, shame on you.

There is a partial part number (seven numbers) on the end of the stick. Affix these four numbers to the beginning: 1143. This gives you a Google search term.

Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:07 PM
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DPP528 DPP528 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 528i Sport Prem 5Spd
I had the same issue; I was noticing my oil level light (orange) when turning off the car. It turned out that my CCV had gotten clogged, one of the tell tale signs of a bad CCV are a dipstick with black oil on it (you should be able to see the color of the red plastic end of the dipstick through the haze of the oil. Here is a squeaky clean example (disregard the shape not matching the E39) of what the color would ideally look like, granted even the best engines probably don't look this clean but it'll give you an idea:

Another sign is an intermittent yellow oil light. Might be worth checking out as it's best to nip it in the bud before you get too much sludge... If it is indeed the issue you'll notice a huge difference in the way the car runs after fixing it.

2000 528i Sport Premium 5speed
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Old 09-12-2013, 01:58 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Ditto...nothing is wrong with your oil dip stick.

BMW uses the same illustration for multiple models (similar design architecture across multiple models & generations...saves money). The concept is the same even if the illustration in the manual and your actual dip stick may not be exact duplicates.

The slits in the dipstick still indicate the max & min levels...and the difference between the 2 marks is still approx 1.1 quart/1 liter.

Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)


Last edited by QSilver7; 09-12-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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