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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, I’m very clearly new to these boards but as made evident by the title, I’m also a new BMW owner as well! Additionally, this is the first European car I’ve ever owned as well so a lot of firsts here.

Now onto my questions:
1.) the manual says it requires 5W-40 full synth. I have found that this is a very uncommon or at least not abundantly available oil weight. I did find two different brand earlier at autozone, STP was 5.69$/qt and Castrol Edge was 9.89$/qt. I ended up going with edge because they had an oil change special on that brand but my question is, was that right? I’ve seen this same weight and brand that says euro next to the weight but this particular one says US but both say bmw 0.1 on the back, STP did not have that though but said euro so I’m just confused.

2.) We took the car to a BMW mechanic for an in depth inspection after purchase because we were about to go on a 1750 mile trip from CO to VA and the only thing he saw was a very very slow oil leak which he said meant that we would periodically have to add oil (1qt in almost 5,000 Miles so far). He claimed it was an issue with the drip pan which was more annoying than critical but repairing it would equate to about 160 in parts and roughly 1,400 in labor due to BMW engineering requiring much more intensive labor than a standard vehicle for the same repair. Anyone have any insight into this situation.

Finally and MOST IMPORTANTLY, yesterday the car threw out a code which I hooked up and pulled from my OBD. The code is p0174 which is apparently bank 2 system to lean. With my basic understanding of mechanical work here, mixed with my wave top research, I determined the obvious, the system is too lean lol. Now I know there are a variety of possible causes but I wanted to make sure that what I’m thinking isn’t right before paying to get it looked at again. The car spent ALL of its 133,000 miles in Colorado, specifically boulder so higher altitude. The last 3,000 miles have been spent in VA, specifically the DC area. I know with planes they can never run the mixture full rich at altitude so I thought maybe the on board sensors are freaking out because the air being thicker means there is a higher ratio of air-fuel which hasn’t been compensated or calibrated for? Another possible option is that the manual calls for a minimum of 91 octane (93 is all I ever see) but without actually having it much thought prior to looking into the manual, we assumed and thus for these last 5,000 miles have used 85/87 octane (lowest at the pump) my thought process here is that the lower efficient is making the system think the gas is incorrectly mixed when it’s technically a proper ratio without the right result from lower performing fuel? Finally the only other thing I can think of is that I just replaced the air filter with a generic branded one from autozone maybe 1,000 miles or so ago. Could the air filter itself be affecting and thus causing this code or could I have knocked loose or improperly replaced something that would cause this?

Thanks in advance for the help guys and gals! Much appreciated!!
 

· TA
Joined
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1,214 Posts
On this forum, oil choice is a religious debate. 0W-40 or 5-30 is normal, but you will be fine. Just change every 7500 miles. Very often P0174 and P0171 denote a vacuum leak. If you only have P0174, it is a little fuzzier as to the cause. I actually had the same situation and after chasing vacuum leaks and everything else, it turned out that the O2 sensor was bad for the back 3 cylinders. You are correct about the altitude making a difference, however the MAF measures and the ECM controls the mixture to compensate for changes in air pressure.
 

· Anti-Hack
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8,426 Posts
Run top quality synthetic, BMW-approved, and a Mann filter. 0w-40 or 5w-30, Euro. I’ve not seen 5w-40 used much. STP filters don’t fit properly. OCI is hotly contested (I change every 5k miles), but what isn’t contested are the physical requirements of a quality synthetic oil and the proper viscosity.

With only one bank being lean, I’d change that bank’s O2 sensor...we’ll actually I’d change both. I’d also check for vacuum leaks, but those would manifest themselves as both banks being lean.

The ECM adjusts mixture and spark based on air density and octane. Denser air means more fuel, stoichiometry is preserved.

What exactly is your expensive oil leak? Oil pan? Rear Main seal? Front seal? Valve cover gaskets are common and do NOT require that much labor. If your mechanic blames the labor on it being a BMW, find a different mechanic. EVERY rear seal or oil pan gasket is a pain in the d*ck to do.

As for the other PM stuff you need to address... make sure you run a safety reel when you repel down the rabbit hole.


Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest
 

· Registered
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1,342 Posts
I'm from Colorado. The altitude change isn't your issue. The M54 is well known for having cracks in the accordion intake boot. You air filter MIGHT be a problem. Be wary of straying from OE and OEM parts until you become more familiar with which parts are okay to substitute. Often when you need parts, you'll need to mail order from places like ECStuning, FCPEuro, etc. Your local auto parts store won't carry most of the right brands of parts you want.

The most readily available and economical oil for your engine is Castrol Edge 0W-40 available in 5 Qt. jugs at Walmart or Amazon. BMW LL-01 is the approval you're looking for, and there are seemingly fewer and fewer affordable choices available. Be sure to use an OE oil filter or you can use a Mann filter which is an OEM supplier.

Spend some time browsing the forum. You'll find a wealth of info here... plus a few odd ducks!

AM.
 

· BeeemerBro
5,4,6 BMW X3 All...196K +
Joined
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5,587 Posts
Hey everyone, I'm very clearly new to these boards but as made evident by the title, I'm also a new BMW owner as well! Additionally, this is the first European car I've ever owned as well so a lot of firsts here.

Now onto my questions:
1.) the manual says it requires 5W-40 full synth. I have found that this is a very uncommon or at least not abundantly available oil weight. I did find two different brand earlier at autozone, STP was 5.69$/qt and Castrol Edge was 9.89$/qt. I ended up going with edge because they had an oil change special on that brand but my question is, was that right? I've seen this same weight and brand that says euro next to the weight but this particular one says US but both say bmw 0.1 on the back, STP did not have that though but said euro so I'm just confused.

2.) We took the car to a BMW mechanic for an in depth inspection after purchase because we were about to go on a 1750 mile trip from CO to VA and the only thing he saw was a very very slow oil leak which he said meant that we would periodically have to add oil (1qt in almost 5,000 Miles so far). He claimed it was an issue with the drip pan which was more annoying than critical but repairing it would equate to about 160 in parts and roughly 1,400 in labor due to BMW engineering requiring much more intensive labor than a standard vehicle for the same repair. Anyone have any insight into this situation.

Finally and MOST IMPORTANTLY, yesterday the car threw out a code which I hooked up and pulled from my OBD. The code is p0174 which is apparently bank 2 system to lean. With my basic understanding of mechanical work here, mixed with my wave top research, I determined the obvious, the system is too lean lol. Now I know there are a variety of possible causes but I wanted to make sure that what I'm thinking isn't right before paying to get it looked at again. The car spent ALL of its 133,000 miles in Colorado, specifically boulder so higher altitude. The last 3,000 miles have been spent in VA, specifically the DC area. I know with planes they can never run the mixture full rich at altitude so I thought maybe the on board sensors are freaking out because the air being thicker means there is a higher ratio of air-fuel which hasn't been compensated or calibrated for? Another possible option is that the manual calls for a minimum of 91 octane (93 is all I ever see) but without actually having it much thought prior to looking into the manual, we assumed and thus for these last 5,000 miles have used 85/87 octane (lowest at the pump) my thought process here is that the lower efficient is making the system think the gas is incorrectly mixed when it's technically a proper ratio without the right result from lower performing fuel? Finally the only other thing I can think of is that I just replaced the air filter with a generic branded one from autozone maybe 1,000 miles or so ago. Could the air filter itself be affecting and thus causing this code or could I have knocked loose or improperly replaced something that would cause this?

Thanks in advance for the help guys and gals! Much appreciated!!
Here's my contribution towards oil..info comes from this very site...if need I have a more in-depth library.

05 X3 175k
 

Attachments

· Registered
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1,342 Posts
Why would you post (again!) a list that is 10 years old? That list is essentially worthless in 2018.

AM.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
395 Posts
I'm from Colorado. The altitude change isn't your issue. The M54 is well known for having cracks in the accordion intake boot. You air filter MIGHT be a problem. Be wary of straying from OE and OEM parts until you become more familiar with which parts are okay to substitute. Often when you need parts, you'll need to mail order from places like ECStuning, FCPEuro, etc. Your local auto parts store won't carry most of the right brands of parts you want.

The most readily available and economical oil for your engine is Castrol Edge 0W-40 available in 5 Qt. jugs at Walmart or Amazon. BMW LL-01 is the approval you're looking for, and there are seemingly fewer and fewer affordable choices available. Be sure to use an OE oil filter or you can use a Mann filter which is an OEM supplier.

Spend some time browsing the forum. You'll find a wealth of info here... plus a few odd ducks!

AM.
I will follow this, thanks.

The most readily available and economical oil for your engine is Castrol Edge 0W-40 available in 5 Qt.
 

· Registered
Joined
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3,218 Posts
"I***8217;m also a new BMW owner as well! Additionally, this is the first European car I***8217;ve ever owned "

Welcome to the BMW ownership club. You'll get the "full ownership experience" too, for sure. Know how to DIY car repairs, have tools, and familiar with buying parts over the internet?
 

· Registered
Joined
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33 Posts
What exactly is your expensive oil leak? Oil pan? Rear Main seal? Front seal? Valve cover gaskets are common and do NOT require that much labor. If your mechanic blames the labor on it being a BMW, find a different mechanic. EVERY rear seal or oil pan gasket is a pain in the d*ck to do.
BMW certainly isn't alone in pain in the d*ck oil pans, Durango's and Devilles come to mind, but the vast majority are around 0.5 hours labor + an oil change, most of that time is scrubbing it down in the parts washer.
 

· Anti-Hack
Joined
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8,426 Posts
BMW certainly isn't alone in pain in the d*ck oil pans, Durango's and Devilles come to mind, but the vast majority are around 0.5 hours labor + an oil change, most of that time is scrubbing it down in the parts washer.
OK I'll amend my claim... Only FWDs come to mind for ease... any longitudinally mounted engine that sits atop a cross member requires lifting of the engine to drop the pans to do the pan gasket, or get to the aft-most main cap to get the rear seal. I'm old school, so the only things that are in my driveway are rear drive, longitudinal engines atop a cross member... majority in my driveway have rope seals. FWD vehicles don't enter the consciousness of my psyche... they're extraneous to me.
 
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