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  #1  
Old 09-18-2019, 10:21 AM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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F3* lifetime coolant, 100k miles?

This morning a colleague asked me about his F30 lifetime coolant(his mileage is around 50k miles), so has anyone on this forum changed their coolants?

My car had a thermostat recall and service captured the old coolant(not kidding as confirmed by foreman!) and reused, and only added 1L of fresh coolant per invoice printout. This is actually against TIS instruction, namely, no coolant should be reused! BMWNA just acted cheap on this recall.

Anyway by 60k miles/6 yrs my coolant was tested with pH strip and the pH was around 7, so additives were wearing out.

The local weather is quite mild so even pH 7 should last for another 40k or so, but there was a $300 coupon for brake fluid + coolant with $50 off from BMWNA($250 total) at dealer, so both were done a year ago. Brake job is around $150 here, so $100 extra for coolant change is $25 parts and $75 labor at dealer, not bad right?

From my reading, lifetime [email protected] and others is 100k miles change of factory fill, and any subsequent fluid change is 50k miles.

Now can BMW radiator/thermostat/expansion tank/water pump/hoses last beyond 100k miles? The N26 radiator is DOR, so that is covered for 15 years/150000 miles. The electric water pump can be a weak point, esp. it does run 5 minutes-ish after ignition off to cool the turbo.

So should the colleague be advised to change around 50k-60k miles? His coolant is tested to be around pH 7-8(slightly alkaline)
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2019, 07:18 PM
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I just had my coolant flushed yesterday on my 2014 435 with 40K miles. Mike Miller from BMWCCA is all about changing fluids every two years, and he's smarter than me so I do it. I know some here will disagree and follow official BMW for everything, but BMW changed some of the maintenance recommendations when BMW started having to pay for stuff. So yeah, i'm in the change the fluids camp.
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Old 09-20-2019, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by beware_phog View Post
So yeah, i'm in the change the fluids camp.
My original plan was to follow BMW's lifetime/100k guideline, then the foreman said refreshing fluid does no harm, and alerted me of brake + coolant coupon, so why not?
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:48 AM
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I'm at 97K miles with the original radiator, thermostat, expansion tank and water pump. At about 85K miles I had to replace the high pressure coolant hose due to a leak so I replaced the coolant with an aftermarket fluid.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:00 AM
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Coolant anti-corrosion is consumed Stoichiomatically - mole for mole. Liters of coolant probably have thousands of moles of anti-corrosion, and from where might the corrosion producing moles come? Lifetime works - and BMW now agrees. A cooling system component change will require draining / refreshing sooner anyway.

Be sure and select the proper anti-corrosion chemistry package. I believe that it is essential to long elastomer seals hoses gasket life.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
Coolant anti-corrosion is consumed Stoichiomatically - mole for mole. Liters of coolant probably have thousands of moles of anti-corrosion, and from where might the corrosion producing moles come? Lifetime works - and BMW now agrees. A cooling system component change will require draining / refreshing sooner anyway.

Be sure and select the proper anti-corrosion chemistry package. I believe that it is essential to long elastomer seals hoses gasket life.
Local BMW indies and foremen said no on lifetime coolant change until there is a repair of cooling component every 5 yeas or so, and that is the time to drain and refill(not necessarily flush).

Mine was changed in 6 years/60k miles for $100-ish at dealer, mainly that a dealer recall for thermostat only added 1L of fresh coolant, while the old coolant was captured and reused. BMWNA was too cheap to pay the remaining [email protected]#$!

The 50/50 mix also went from deap greenish blue to very like blue, is that a sign that moles get worn out? The pH was tested at 7, so it is losing alkalinity.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:48 AM
Matthew424 Matthew424 is offline
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Originally Posted by beware_phog View Post
I just had my coolant flushed yesterday on my 2014 435 with 40K miles. Mike Miller from BMWCCA is all about changing fluids every two years, and he's smarter than me so I do it. I know some here will disagree and follow official BMW for everything, but BMW changed some of the maintenance recommendations when BMW started having to pay for stuff. So yeah, i'm in the change the fluids camp.
Exactly what I was thinking and what I follow. Preventative maintenance is key, especially for fluid changes that are relatively inexpensive (minus transmission fluid change).
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Matthew424 View Post
Exactly what I was thinking and what I follow. Preventative maintenance is key, especially for fluid changes that are relatively inexpensive (minus transmission fluid change).
My thinking is that fresh fluid can help with longevity with expensive components like electric water pump, yes/no?
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:24 AM
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How soon does it stop being fresh, and why?
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
My thinking is that fresh fluid can help with longevity with expensive components like electric water pump, yes/no?
totally agree. i also autocros the car and figure with additional strain on the components, fresh fluids is never a bad idea.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
How soon does it stop being fresh, and why?
My layman data is that fresh 50/50 BMW coolant + distilled water is around pH 8-8.5. When pH reaches 7 the coolant can turn acidic(and start corroding parts), and is no longer "fresh".

Mine approached pH 7 around 6 years and 60k miles. That is with dealer performing a thermostat and adding 1L of new coolant around 40k miles, and reusing the rest of old coolant!

So if your [email protected] years/100k miles and beyond still has a pH above 7 then it will still be A-OK.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:54 PM
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totally agree. i also autocros the car and figure with additional strain on the components, fresh fluids is never a bad idea.
What is your game plan with ZF 8AT? 100k miles or lifetime till transmission dies? Apparently there are E90/E90 with ZF [email protected] and original factory fluid and still kicking fine.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:10 PM
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What is your game plan with ZF 8AT? 100k miles or lifetime till transmission dies? Apparently there are E90/E90 with ZF [email protected] and original factory fluid and still kicking fine.
On my E90 335d, I saw an improvement in the transmission shift after changing the ATF oil and pan at around 100K miles. There was some deposits on the two magnets in the transmission pan. I am now at 119 K miles
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:54 PM
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On my E90 335d, I saw an improvement in the transmission shift after changing the ATF oil and pan at around 100K miles. There was some deposits on the two magnets in the transmission pan. I am now at 119 K miles
Does E90 require changing oil pan too? In F30 the magnets/filters are embedded in the oil pan, so the whole service kit is $150-$280 dependent if ZF fluid or not.
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Old 10-18-2019, 07:46 PM
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Does E90 require changing oil pan too? In F30 the magnets/filters are embedded in the oil pan, so the whole service kit is $150-$280 dependent if ZF fluid or not.
Same as the F30, the magnets and filter are part of the plastic pan. I used the ZF fluid.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:58 PM
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I honestly wish there was more science applied to these topics by parties of non-interest.

Our cars have enough fluids in them with various properties that will produce degrading effects as function of many variables such as time, temperature, miles driven, track days, etc.

Fundamentally though, there has to be some measurable property that ultimately is the product of all of the factors above which should be the determining factor in when these get replaced - and if it were measured continuously as a proxy for remaining useful life, well that would just be a benefit to obvious to the consumer.

The dealer basically says the engine oil lasts 15k while enthusiasts will argue half that. Is the dealer right from their perspective because more drivers keep it in ECO Pro or are the enthusiasts right because they only live in Sport+. Ultimately, there is probably a measure of viscosity or metallic content in the fluid that should determine when the oil should in fact be replaced - but we default to poor heuristics such as mileage because our cars lack intelligent sensors that can actually measure the relevant properties of the fluid that are detrimental to engine component life.

At the same time, brake fluid, being hydroscopic, needs to be replaced when its water content gets too high to the point where there can be localized boiling in the fluid itself. But there are a few factors here that should be considered - the average humidity content of the climate in which the vehicle is operated in as well as the braking habits of the driver and the ambient temperature. If the fluid never gets above the boiling point of water, it remains in an incompressible state and will not affect brake feel - hence those who brake as hard as often in cooler, dryer climates should have to replace their brake fluid on a longer interval compared to driver in Miami, for example. However, nothing on the car utilizes the differences in the electrical conductivity between water and DOT x brake fluid to even attempt this measurement and the result is a time-based maintenance concept that is inefficient for all.

Long answer to the OP's coolant question - if it make you sleep better to replace it at 100k, do it.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:18 AM
namelessman namelessman is online now
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Originally Posted by dwlink View Post
I honestly wish there was more science applied to these topics by parties of non-interest.

Our cars have enough fluids in them with various properties that will produce degrading effects as function of many variables such as time, temperature, miles driven, track days, etc.

Fundamentally though, there has to be some measurable property that ultimately is the product of all of the factors above which should be the determining factor in when these get replaced - and if it were measured continuously as a proxy for remaining useful life, well that would just be a benefit to obvious to the consumer.

The dealer basically says the engine oil lasts 15k while enthusiasts will argue half that. Is the dealer right from their perspective because more drivers keep it in ECO Pro or are the enthusiasts right because they only live in Sport+. Ultimately, there is probably a measure of viscosity or metallic content in the fluid that should determine when the oil should in fact be replaced - but we default to poor heuristics such as mileage because our cars lack intelligent sensors that can actually measure the relevant properties of the fluid that are detrimental to engine component life.

At the same time, brake fluid, being hydroscopic, needs to be replaced when its water content gets too high to the point where there can be localized boiling in the fluid itself. But there are a few factors here that should be considered - the average humidity content of the climate in which the vehicle is operated in as well as the braking habits of the driver and the ambient temperature. If the fluid never gets above the boiling point of water, it remains in an incompressible state and will not affect brake feel - hence those who brake as hard as often in cooler, dryer climates should have to replace their brake fluid on a longer interval compared to driver in Miami, for example. However, nothing on the car utilizes the differences in the electrical conductivity between water and DOT x brake fluid to even attempt this measurement and the result is a time-based maintenance concept that is inefficient for all.

Long answer to the OP's coolant question - if it make you sleep better to replace it at 100k, do it.
There are test strips and meters that can test health of brake fluid and coolant, but it is true such monitoring and testing can be implemented onboard by manufacturer.

The engine oil already has some type of monitoring/testing from the oil level sensor, supposedly on the dielectric property of the oil. In addition OCI is determined to total number of gallons consumed, and that accounts for EcoPro/Sport, uphill/downhill, stop-and-go, highway, and many other attributes.
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Old 10-19-2019, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dwlink View Post
The dealer basically says the engine oil lasts 15k while enthusiasts will argue half that.
Do note starting MY2014, F30 OCI was changed to 1 year/10k miles(from 2 years/15k miles), so BMWAG indicates that the oil property cannot last 15k miles in F30 engines.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:12 AM
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I honestly wish there was more science applied to these topics by parties of non-interest.
There is plenty of science to apply, it's the general automotive enthusiast community that prefers to stick with tradition and gut feel.

Lots of people (including me) have had their used engine oil analyzed and posted results showing that 10k intervals are fine. Those posts typically have many people saying, "that's great but I'm changing at 3-5k anyway because that's how it's been done for the past 50 years".

I had my indy check my 5 year old coolant last year, fully prepared to change it. They tested and said it was fine and still looked great when they could've charged me for the job.

As a funny aside, I noticed Mike Miller in one issue of Roundel said his E46 burns a quart of oil every couple thousand miles (or thereabouts) despite following his Old School maintenance schedule. Which I think changes the oil every 3-5k miles. When I sold my 2002 E46 in 2014 with 120k miles on the clock, I had been changing the oil once a year at 10k miles. It used less than 1qt every 10k. I had tested the oil on that E46 a few times to verify that 10k intervals were ok and went with the science.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by chiefneil View Post
As a funny aside, I noticed Mike Miller in one issue of Roundel said his E46 burns a quart of oil every couple thousand miles (or thereabouts) despite following his Old School maintenance schedule. Which I think changes the oil every 3-5k miles. When I sold my 2002 E46 in 2014 with 120k miles on the clock, I had been changing the oil once a year at 10k miles. It used less than 1qt every 10k. I had tested the oil on that E46 a few times to verify that 10k intervals were ok and went with the science.
Yes BMW agrees with 1 year/10k interval too, and with my driving habit, that should be around 8.5k miles.

Still mine is still programmed as 2 year/15k, with OCI around 13k, my interval is midway around 6.5k miles.
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Old 10-19-2019, 08:27 PM
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On the coolant my 2015 F30 N20 has 40K mi, the service records indicate that it's never been changed, and a few days ago a test strip registered a PH of 9.0 @ 60% coolant. (In case it's useful as a reference for anyone.)

FWIW - My cousin has owned a German Indy garage for over 40 years, and he's advising me to replace the coolant and the transmission fluid between 50 and 60K.

I talked to BMW NA yesterday and was told that the recommended OCI is 7500 miles or 1 year on my car (the annual recommendation has to be solely dealer revenue, at least I can't find any actual data to back it up - and quite a bit to refute it). Regardless, I was surprised to be told 7500 since I've read 10K in several places. (The OC's on my car thus far by the dealer have all been @10K, and the service system is still set to alarm at 10K.) Maybe I just got a new rep on the phone? I'd panned to change it at 7500 anyhow.

BTW - I was quoted $163.00 by the local dealer for an oil change. I think I've seen others paying closer to 90$ recently, so am I mistaken or is the price I was quoted high?

Last edited by tenmm; 10-19-2019 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:46 PM
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BTW - I was quoted $163.00 by the local dealer for an oil change. I think I've seen others paying closer to 90$ recently, so am I mistaken or is the price I was quoted high?
What is your general location?
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Old 10-19-2019, 10:58 PM
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I have an F30, 110,000 miles. Just did the thermostat, electric water pump and fluid change in my garage. Mine is an Xdrive with the bigger subframe, makes it harder to get to parts. Very doable for average DIY. At 100k miles, change the fluids. All the fluids. Oil changes, 7,500 miles. The additive package starts to wear out at 7,500 so I can only imagine what the oil is like at 15k.
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Old 10-19-2019, 11:28 PM
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I have an F30, 110,000 miles. Just did the thermostat, electric water pump and fluid change in my garage. Mine is an Xdrive with the bigger subframe, makes it harder to get to parts. Very doable for average DIY. At 100k miles, change the fluids. All the fluids. Oil changes, 7,500 miles. The additive package starts to wear out at 7,500 so I can only imagine what the oil is like at 15k.
Was the coolant [email protected], and if so, was the pH still above 7? Was there sign the water pump and/or thermostat going bad? Is yours a N20/N26 or N55?

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Old 10-20-2019, 09:06 AM
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Was the coolant [email protected], and if so, was the pH still above 7? Was there sign the water pump and/or thermostat going bad? Is yours a N20/N26 or N55?
Motor is an N55, original coolant. Just doing preventive maintenance. Ph test ? LOL!! The old coolant looked kind of crappy in the drain bucket.
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