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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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  #1  
Old 04-16-2005, 11:20 AM
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take a look at this oil filter!

taking a close look at my oil filter, during my oil change today, I noticed alot of junk caught in the filter. Great, the filter is doing it's job but, could this also mean that the motor isn't very healthy?




btw this is a 40k, the last oil change I did was at 37k. always changed the filter aswell.

on another note, I noticed the sticker as well as bmwtips.com recommending bmw 5w40 for the 2001 540i auto. However, the dealer keeps on selling me the 5w30, claiming it's the proper motor oil weight to use for my 01 540i auto. They also apparently don't carry 5w40
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Last edited by ketchup; 04-16-2005 at 11:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2005, 12:16 PM
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That looks quite bad... you should have your oil sent to a lab and analyzed; that'll tell you exactly what is going on with your engine.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2005, 12:44 PM
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2005, 02:09 PM
my_e36 my_e36 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
taking a close look at my oil filter, during my oil change today, I noticed alot of junk caught in the filter. Great, the filter is doing it's job but, could this also mean that the motor isn't very healthy?

btw this is a 40k, the last oil change I did was at 37k. always changed the filter aswell.

on another note, I noticed the sticker as well as bmwtips.com recommending bmw 5w40 for the 2001 540i auto. However, the dealer keeps on selling me the 5w30, claiming it's the proper motor oil weight to use for my 01 540i auto. They also apparently don't carry 5w40

For just 3k of use, that doesn't look very good at all.... What's with all the metal filing? Engine breaking apart??
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2005, 04:44 PM
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damn, I knew it was going to be bad. I have no idea what that crap is and i'm going to save that filter and bring it to the dealer to have it explained.

Also, i've had the some valve cover gaskets replaced because they seem to have been seepage, I believe it was due to the abuse of the previous owner.

The car is CPO . I bought the car at around 36k. Can the dealer be held responsible for selling me a car with damaged internals? This should definately be covered under warranty.
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2005, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
on another note, I noticed the sticker as well as bmwtips.com recommending bmw 5w40 for the 2001 540i auto. However, the dealer keeps on selling me the 5w30, claiming it's the proper motor oil weight to use for my 01 540i auto. They also apparently don't carry 5w40
Um, that doesn't look good.

And BMWUSA doesn't sell anything other than 5w-30 synthetic and S54/S62 oil. That's just all that exists.
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  #7  
Old 04-16-2005, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
...btw this is a 40k, the last oil change I did was at 37k. always changed the filter aswell...
I presume it ddn't look like that at 37K. Are you using synthetic? And why only 3K in between oil changes (w/synthetic)?

Edit: I noticed the filter isn't OEM. Could a bad filter be the culprit? I'd try using an OEM filter and seeing what it looks like down the road. Oh, and if it didn't look like that at 37K, I wouldn't believe it was a pre-existing condition.

Last edited by hmr; 04-16-2005 at 04:58 PM.
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  #8  
Old 04-16-2005, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hmr
I presume it ddn't look like that at 37K. Are you using synthetic? And why only 3K in between oil changes (w/synthetic)?
at 37k I really didn't look too closely at the oil filter. It was my first oil change that I had performed on this car. I do remember it to be really clogged up and it probably had the same junk in it.

BMW 5w30 full synthetic. I planned on doing my oil changes every 5k but since the car hit 40k I figured it was about time(the oil was pretty dark too). The 37k oil change was done because I had a feeling that it hadn't been done in a long time.

As I look into the oil fill opening, I can make out similar dark crud that seems to be some sort of build up. Looks like the car is going to the shop....

EDIT: thats not an OEM filter?! I thought it was, it was supplied to me by Open Road BMW here in NJ.
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  #9  
Old 04-16-2005, 05:33 PM
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If there is a lot of that buildup, you might want to do an engine flush.
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  #10  
Old 04-16-2005, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xspeedy
If there is a lot of that buildup, you might want to do an engine flush.
DAMN BMW and their stupid 15k service interval that some people believe in!
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  #11  
Old 04-16-2005, 05:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
BMW 5w30 full synthetic. I planned on doing my oil changes every 5k but since the car hit 40k I figured it was about time(the oil was pretty dark too).
I can go almost double that mileage on the same BMW 5w-30 oil:

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  #12  
Old 04-16-2005, 05:48 PM
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Intresting, how much does that service cost? I've seen that thread before where you sent you oil in for the diagnosis. Good thing I haven't dumped my used oil at the local oil/lube place yet. I even kept the filter.
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  #13  
Old 04-16-2005, 06:41 PM
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Standard analysis will run you $20 and if you want the TBN (tells you how much additive is left in the oil) it's an additional $10.

The first three times I had my oil analyzed I had them run the TBN. I no longer have them run TBNs (just the standard analysis) because I've pretty much surmised that I can run about half the recommended oil change interval (appox 7500 miles) and the oil should be just about done. It coincides nicely with the service indicator so that number works out fine.
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  #14  
Old 04-16-2005, 09:42 PM
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I was hoping that someone on this forum would have been able to tell me what that junk was just by looking at the pictures. I guess I'll take the filter to a shop and see if the guys there could help me out, then it's off to the dealer where I purchased the car.


Having the oil analized seems like a great idea, but will they be able to pin point what the problem is from it?
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2005, 12:47 AM
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If you have the old oil try shaking it up and pouring it through cheesecloth into another container.rinse the residue in the cloth and see if there is metal left over.If that filter picture is real and not just highlights from the flash it sure as h*ll looks like metal trapped in there.If you get some bits try and see how hard it is.Softer metal = bearings,Harder/sharper bits more likely rings,cylinder wall or valvetrain.Was the oil drained or vacumed out? Drained would be more likely to have more bits if they are in fact present.I hope it's all a false scare but those pics are really ugly. Good Luck!
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2005, 01:20 AM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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i had a similar problem with my engine and i noticed it afetr i pulled the engine out. Opened the top end and this is what i found!! Almost looks like crystalized sludge, so im currently taking the engine down and replacing all gaskets after a deep cleaning is done.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2005, 01:22 AM
SoCaLE39 SoCaLE39 is offline
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oh yeah i forgot to mention that the engine heads and block were in excellent condition w/ 100k regardless of the sludge! So i wouldnt worry about metal flakes so much unless something else is going on!
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  #18  
Old 04-17-2005, 07:28 AM
Okie540i Okie540i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
I was hoping that someone on this forum would have been able to tell me what that junk was just by looking at the pictures. I guess I'll take the filter to a shop and see if the guys there could help me out, then it's off to the dealer where I purchased the car.


Having the oil analized seems like a great idea, but will they be able to pin point what the problem is from it?
The shiny flakes could be the coating from inside the valve covers. I just completed a valve cover R&R and noticed upon inspection after removal that some of the silverish coating on the inside of the valve cover was beginning to flake off. If sludge is coming off the inside of your engine, it could be pulling the valve cover coating off with it, causing the flakes you see in your filter.

BTW, I disagree with the post above stating that "sludge will dissolve over time using a high quality oil". I've personally seen two instances where a sludged-up engine taken on by a new owner who begins frequent oil changes with a high quality oil had SERIOUS problems. The sludge didn't dissolve, it comes apart in flakes or chunks. First the flakes or chunks show up in the filter, eventually the sludge clogged the oil pump intake, starved the pump for oil (and engine for oil) and I think you can guess what happens next. So, I agree with SoCalE39.....if there's a lot of sludge in your engine, it needs to come out, and "engine flushes" won't do the job for a severely sludged engine.

Last edited by Okie540i; 04-17-2005 at 07:55 PM.
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  #19  
Old 04-17-2005, 09:53 AM
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I agree with the previous poster, there is no way that serious sludge will be taken care of by engine flush and what we have here is a serious engine sludge. Very likely the engine has to be taken apart and cleaned. It would be interesting to see what it looks like inside.
You are still under warranty I presume so it won't be a big deal.
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  #20  
Old 04-17-2005, 10:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F1Crazy
I agree with the previous poster, there is no way that serious sludge will be taken care of by engine flush and what we have here is a serious engine sludge. Very likely the engine has to be taken apart and cleaned. It would be interesting to see what it looks like inside.
You are still under warranty I presume so it won't be a big deal.
yeap, I still have the original 50k 4 year? warranty

I just about agree with all of you guys on the sludge. I think I mentioned before that I could see some of the actual build up thru the opening where you pour the oil. Thanks SoCal for the pic, I'm almost certain now that it's sludge. Another thing that leads me to believe that it is sludge is the fact that I filled 8.5 quarts of oil and as I checked the dipstick, I was way over by atleast a quart. This time around I filled 8 and the dipstick read fine. So I'm thinking that the sludge build up in the motor is the reason for this.

Maybe the pic of the filter I posted had too much light reflecting off of the little bits of w/e, that was probably the flash but the oil filter chamber shows some of the crap on it. here's another...


Hopefully DiFeo BMW in Tenafly, NJ is going to take responsibility for this and clean up this mess.
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  #21  
Old 04-17-2005, 05:59 PM
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BTW, that is a Hengst oil filter you are using, which indeed IS, the factory oem filter.
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  #22  
Old 04-17-2005, 06:03 PM
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OK, so it is sludge. I'll be calling up the dealer monday morning and setting up an appointment. I am a bit skeptical of them actually willing to take apart the motor and thoroughly cleaning up all the sludge build up. I believe that they will end up just flushing the motor. I was thinking of having the motor inspected after by someone to see if there are any signs of sludge left and then having the dealer properly clean it again if there is.

How do I tell the degree of build up? I'm hoping that the oil intake won't clog up that soon?

This was probably the reason for the decrease in performance from the car that I've noticed after my first oil change @ 37k. I can only imagine what the tranny is like....

Why the hell would they reccomend 15k services?!
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Old 04-17-2005, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport
BTW, that is a Hengst oil filter you are using, which indeed IS, the factory oem filter.
Ya I figured, that's why I was confused by what hmr was saying. I bought the filter along with the oil from bmw.

btw guys whats the deal with them not carrying 5w40? I highly doubt that all they carry is 5w30 when the sticker under the hood reccomends a part number that refers to bmw 5w40.
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Old 04-17-2005, 06:14 PM
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FYI, ATF fluid will break down the oil, thus the sludge as well. I would bank some of this sludge has to do with you overfilling the oil.

Some BMW engines don't take lightly to gross overfilling.
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  #25  
Old 04-17-2005, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ketchup
Ya I figured, that's why I was confused by what hmr was saying. I bought the filter along with the oil from bmw.

btw guys whats the deal with them not carrying 5w40? I highly doubt that all they carry is 5w30 when the sticker under the hood reccomends a part number that refers to bmw 5w40.
BMW always supercedes old oil with new. So once they release a new oil, the old stuff goes away.
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