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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 12-22-2013, 10:41 AM
Eric2684 Eric2684 is offline
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Oli Level sensor issue

I have an 06' 325i E90. The low oil level warning light came on 2 days in a row recently. When I checked the oil level, it took several minutes to appear, but eventually showed that the oil was at the maximum amount recommended. I think the sensor just needs to be replaced, but Im trying to avoid spending $200 on a new one. Does anyone know if it can be fixed by maybe spraying Brake Cleaner or Carb & Choke cleaner on it and re-installing it, using gasket maker to ensure it does not begin to leak oil? I had an issue with the VANOS sensors 2 years ago, and after spraying them with a ton of brake cleaner and re-installing them, then began working well again with no issues sense.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2013, 01:01 PM
R1200 R1200 is offline
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I recall early failures of the oil level sensor would result in people adding more and more oil making the problem worse. The rule was add one litre and no more especially if your car is not visibly burning or losing oil.

The sensor is made of a couple of concentric tubes to measure conductance so I doubt that cleaning it will help. I would check the amount of oil that comes out at the next oil change to decide if the sensor needs replacing. It would only be a serious issue if you run the full length of time and distance between changes. I change more often and given that there is a lot of oil in the sump and I drain out the amount that I put in, I probably would not need the oil level sensor.

On the other hand, just replace it for peace of mind.
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2013, 02:02 PM
bluskye bluskye is offline
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I would check if you are really loosing/burning oil or not. I had that same situation on my E46, and it turned out I was really loosing oil.
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2013, 05:39 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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Assuming the oil sensor is at fault and you are not low it happens that extended oil changes and cold weather contribute to confuse the sensor. Many times changing the oil will remedy the problem...
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2014, 04:57 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Thank God that BMW still has a dipstick on your engine...the F30's don't! I had a 2001 E46 whose oil level sensor would come on a few seconds after starting the engine, then would stay lit for just under a minute and then go out. I quickly discovered, via the dipstick, that the oil level sensor was falsely lighting up the warning light. I drove it for almost 3 years before I bothered to change that sensor! Old fashioned dipsticks do not fail like electronics. Someone at BMW had their head in a dark place when deciding to leave out the dipstick on the turbocharged 4-banger of the F30.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2014, 08:55 PM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is online now
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There is no dipstick on any E9x
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2014, 10:42 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R1200 View Post
I recall early failures of the oil level sensor would result in people adding more and more oil making the problem worse. The rule was add one litre and no more especially if your car is not visibly burning or losing oil.

The sensor is made of a couple of concentric tubes to measure conductance so I doubt that cleaning it will help. I would check the amount of oil that comes out at the next oil change to decide if the sensor needs replacing. It would only be a serious issue if you run the full length of time and distance between changes. I change more often and given that there is a lot of oil in the sump and I drain out the amount that I put in, I probably would not need the oil level sensor.

On the other hand, just replace it for peace of mind.

Pretty close - capacitance with oil as the dielectric. As oil breaks down / oxidizes / pollutes, the capacitance changes and is read by the chip in the bottom of the sensor. Sensor signal sent on bus to ECU. 3 sensors on one: Temp, level; condition. The first is a replaceable RTD; second are concentric tube capacitance sensors.

The upper part of the probe senses level as he surface area of concentric tubes immersed in oil changes with level. The bottom part is oil condition as it's always submerged; constant surface area.

Issue may be the Resistance Temperature Device - they're cheap - try RTD replacement first!
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2014, 10:44 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
Thank God that BMW still has a dipstick on your engine...the F30's don't! I had a 2001 E46 whose oil level sensor would come on a few seconds after starting the engine, then would stay lit for just under a minute and then go out. I quickly discovered, via the dipstick, that the oil level sensor was falsely lighting up the warning light. I drove it for almost 3 years before I bothered to change that sensor! Old fashioned dipsticks do not fail like electronics. Someone at BMW had their head in a dark place when deciding to leave out the dipstick on the turbocharged 4-banger of the F30.

Still no convincing explanation for dipstick deletion....y'know wilt, the capacitance probe might be called a stick....
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2014, 11:39 AM
davenova davenova is offline
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The oil level sensor in my 2009 335i went bad after 18 months and was replaced under warranty. Now it has failed again - the dealer quoted $500 to replace it! I agree that omitting the dipstick was a bonehead idea. There should be a dipstick to use as a backup to determine the oil level. Not all automation is progress.
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  #10  
Old 01-29-2014, 12:05 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Originally Posted by davenova View Post
The oil level sensor in my 2009 335i went bad after 18 months and was replaced under warranty. Now it has failed again - the dealer quoted $500 to replace it! I agree that omitting the dipstick was a bonehead idea. There should be a dipstick to use as a backup to determine the oil level. Not all automation is progress.

Very unusual. How do they know it's bad, or was that a mech's WAG?

And what can go wrong? Unlikely the construction's bad....maybe the seal....most likely electronics, but that might also be a wiring issue.
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  #11  
Old 01-29-2014, 02:18 PM
jburke4689 jburke4689 is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Still no convincing explanation for dipstick deletion....y'know wilt, the capacitance probe might be called a stick....
The conspiracy theorist in says that BMW doesn't want people dropping by the dealer for 1/2 quart top offs between oil changes. So they get to control the messaging through the Check Control process. Who knows. The dip stick is a comforting backup to the oil sensor. Most American cars have both.
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:11 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke4689 View Post
The conspiracy theorist in says that BMW doesn't want people dropping by the dealer for 1/2 quart top offs between oil changes. So they get to control the messaging through the Check Control process. Who knows. The dip stick is a comforting backup to the oil sensor. Most American cars have both.
My 2001 E46 certainly had both. With...
  • the cheaper plastic interiors of the F30, and
  • the omission of the dipstick in the E90 as well as
  • omission of the flashlight (in the later E90) and
  • omission of the the jack and spare, and cheapening of the toolkit, and
  • elimination of the ashtray and lighter outlet in the post-facelift E90,

...the trend strongly seems to be BMW cost reduction.
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  #13  
Old 01-29-2014, 04:08 PM
ptrcd003 ptrcd003 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
My 2001 E46 certainly had both. With...
  • the cheaper plastic interiors of the F30, and
  • the omission of the dipstick in the E90 as well as
  • omission of the flashlight (in the later E90) and
  • omission of the the jack and spare, and cheapening of the toolkit, and
  • elimination of the ashtray and lighter outlet in the post-facelift E90,

...the trend strongly seems to be BMW cost reduction.
Well, a lot of it is just logical. The RFT eliminated the need for a spare. Without a spare, no need for a toolkit. Also no need for a flashlight, since you won't be changing tires in the dark. In terms of the ashtray, my LCI has both an ashtray and a lighter outlet.
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  #14  
Old 01-29-2014, 07:10 PM
wilt wilt is offline
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Originally Posted by ptrcd003 View Post
Well, a lot of it is just logical. The RFT eliminated the need for a spare. Without a spare, no need for a toolkit. Also no need for a flashlight, since you won't be changing tires in the dark. In terms of the ashtray, my LCI has both an ashtray and a lighter outlet.
Agree about RFT no longer needing a jack and lug wrench, but what about the user manual telling owners about the crank for closing the moonroof, but BWM no longer makes nor sells the tool?! Dumb!

And I guess the apparent total lack of mechanical skills in the new group of BMW owners means that no one knows or cares about a set of pliers or some open end wrenchs to tighten nuts.

2011 E90's don't necessarily have lighter and ashtray in the front...I have put my Garmin GPS mount in that spot, so I didn't mind. I could sort of understand removal of ashtray in back seat (how often do we have smokers in the backseat?!).
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  #15  
Old 01-29-2014, 11:10 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilt View Post
Agree about RFT no longer needing a jack and lug wrench, but what about the user manual telling owners about the crank for closing the moonroof, but BWM no longer makes nor sells the tool?! Dumb!

And I guess the apparent total lack of mechanical skills in the new group of BMW owners means that no one knows or cares about a set of pliers or some open end wrenchs to tighten nuts..

How many San Francisco residents does it take to change a light bulb?

4

One to pour the wine
One to call the caterer
One to heat the hot tub
One to call the electrician

C'mon now, wilt....pliers are, like multimeters and oscilloscopes, specialty tools a professional would be expected to use.
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  #16  
Old 01-30-2014, 07:57 AM
wilt wilt is offline
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Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
C'mon now, wilt....pliers are, like multimeters and oscilloscopes, specialty tools a professional would be expected to use.
Sorry, I forgot about needing to attend dental school to figure out the use for pliers
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  #17  
Old 01-30-2014, 08:19 AM
ramblinman ramblinman is offline
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I had some erratic readings on my oil level, which I thought indicated a bad sensor. I contacted Mike Miller, the tech expert at BMWCCA. He said that the way the dealers check the sensor is to drain the oil, measure the amount of oil drained. If the sensor level and the oil measurement are the same, the sensor is ok. If not, they replace the sensor.

Rather than pay an inflated price for a diagnostic fee and then have to pay for a replacement, I just changed the sensor. It's around $150 from Tischer on line.

Replacing the sensor is an easy fix. You have to drop the aerodynamic plastic panel underneath the engine bay. The sensor is in a recess in the pan near the oil drain bolt. It's held in place by 3 nuts. They are easy to take off. Disconnect the wire connector. Remove the nuts, R and R the sensor, and torque the nuts. Bentley manual has the torque values for 2 step torque tightening. They are low values, so use a 3/8 torque wrench.

When I first replaced the sensor, the oil level seemed to be low. I let it sit overnight and it came up to full on the sensor the next day. It's been fine since. I think that when you refill the oil with the oil temp at ambient temps, some of it is trapped in the head, or it takes a while for the oil to fill up the space in the sensor when it is first installed. I'd rather be a little low than overfill. I generally put in 6.5 quarts, run the engine, check the level and top off if needed.
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  #18  
Old 02-02-2014, 08:00 PM
MikeTerp MikeTerp is offline
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This thread is truly LOL worthy. The BMW computer oil level sensor is a totally unnecessary joke. I change my own oil on my 07 E90 328. At first, I would always put in seven quarts as stated. Then, after some comments on these threads about oil sensors, I put in six just to see what the oil sensor would say - FULL UP! Next change I put in 5.5 and got the same computer output. I topped up in both cases, but the clear message is that the sensor may be lying and that hooking everything up to a computer is not always a good idea. And for those who say that they are too busy, or too lazy to open the hood to access a dipstick (which I pray we see again), I would only say that if you are too lazy to raise the hood, you are also most likely NEVER to access the oil level requiring a series of clicks on the iDrive.

BMW: Give us back our dipsticks.
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  #19  
Old 02-03-2014, 10:57 AM
wilt wilt is offline
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Originally Posted by MikeTerp View Post
BMW: Give us back our dipsticks.
DPST option for $250 on the 2015 model year cars. No retrofit possible in E90s or F30s prior to MY2015.
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Old 02-03-2014, 11:17 AM
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Westech Westech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric2684 View Post
I have an 06' 325i E90. The low oil level warning light came on 2 days in a row recently. When I checked the oil level, it took several minutes to appear, but eventually showed that the oil was at the maximum amount recommended. I think the sensor just needs to be replaced, but Im trying to avoid spending $200 on a new one. Does anyone know if it can be fixed by maybe spraying Brake Cleaner or Carb & Choke cleaner on it and re-installing it, using gasket maker to ensure it does not begin to leak oil? I had an issue with the VANOS sensors 2 years ago, and after spraying them with a ton of brake cleaner and re-installing them, then began working well again with no issues sense.
BMW oil level sensors are known to fail. Replacement part is about $161. www.getbmwparts.com Change it next time you change your oil. Sleep well.
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  #21  
Old 02-05-2014, 09:56 AM
wilt wilt is offline
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Originally Posted by Westech View Post
BMW oil level sensors are known to fail. Replacement part is about $161.
BMW, GIVE BACK our dipsticks!!!
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