2015 BMW X5 N55: Ravenol VST 5W-40 10,490mi UOA

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Sep 9, 2021
Messages
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Vehicle: Stock X5 with the N55B30 and ~152,000 miles
Usage: Daily driver and tow vehicle for ~6,000 lbs car hauler.
Miles on Oil: 10,490 (computer claimed 400+ miles remaining until change required)
Time on Oil: 11 months
UOA Purpose: Monitor TBN/fuel/viscosity to "fact check" the computer calculated change intervals.

Driving Conditions:
  • Almost exclusively medium/long distance driven- minimum of 25 minutes one way to anything from my rural house, 80%+ "highway".
  • DME-influenced oil temp is always above 235*F regardless of weather or usage (except over 100*F ambient it drops to ~220*F).
  • Gets several WOT runs per week.
  • Never idled at cold start, sometimes idled when at operating temp.
  • Automatic start-stop is disengaged unless stuck in traffic.
Consumption:
  • Added 1.5-2 liters over the interval.
  • I manually run the e-dipstick level check monthly. It sometimes reported 100-300ml below "full", and adding that quantity always brought it back to max.
  • Note: The car reported literally 0 consumption for the first 20k+ I owned it. I suspect it's possible the sensor gets coated in varnish over time and erroneously reports full- like on my E90 that claimed full level with a totally empty sump... the AN/POE in this oil very likely has allowed the sensor to measure accurately again.
Maintenance History:
  • Dealer LL01-FE 0W-30 every 10-11k miles for 126k miles (first owner).
  • Switched to BMW LL01 5W-30 for ~20k miles/2x OCIs upon purchase.
  • One fill up with LiquiMoly 4200 LL04 by an indy which I dumped for the Ravenol VST.
  • Original oil pan gasket (starting to seep) and OHFG (totally dry). Valve cover gasket changed once by first owner.
  • When purchased the engine was fairly clean with mild residue/varnish visible through the filler cap on internal surfaces.
Observations:
  • Only 2-3 visible specs of carbon in the filter and no metal. Examined in sunlight and used a pick to separate the pleats a little.
  • Clearly a bit of oxidative thickening or something partly counteracting the fuel dilution (VOA here shows 13.8cst starting viscosity).
  • TBN was a bit lower than expected considering the USA is supposed to have low-sulfur gas across the board now. Virgin TAN measured at 2.02, so this oil would certainly have been "depleted" once I reached the computer calculated interval in ~400 miles. Would welcome any input on this.
  • Nitration low as expected since the oil is always hot.
  • Magnesium was not present in the virgin sample, and it doesn't show up in older VOA/UOAs I've seen of this oil. The calcium is also slightly lower than other samples. It's possible I got a batch they temporarily altered the detergent/dispersant mix for some reason. The VOA and UOA are NOT of the same production run because I forgot to sample when it was put in.
  • Boron finished out lower than any virgin sample of this oil I've ever seen. Have seen chatter about boron depletion being a thing.
  • The existing varnish entirely disappeared within 1k miles of putting the Ravenol in. Everything is literally shiny and now looks brand new.
  • While I thought it was a myth- this oil hugely reduced valve train noise at idle. Pulled into the garage sounding normal, did the change, and pulled it out subjectively half as loud as before. No change in "smoothness" or anything. My E90 also exhibited this when switched over, but it took ~1k miles on that dirty and neglected engine for the sound to change.

Enjoy!
N55 Ravenol VST UOA.jpg
 
Joined
May 15, 2012
Messages
5,683
Location
The land of USA-made Subies!
Vehicle: Stock X5 with the N55B30 and ~152,000 miles
Usage: Daily driver and tow vehicle for ~6,000 lbs car hauler.
Miles on Oil: 10,490 (computer claimed 400+ miles remaining until change required)
Time on Oil: 11 months
UOA Purpose: Monitor TBN/fuel/viscosity to "fact check" the computer calculated change intervals.

Driving Conditions:
  • Almost exclusively medium/long distance driven- minimum of 25 minutes one way to anything from my rural house, 80%+ "highway".
  • DME-influenced oil temp is always above 235*F regardless of weather or usage (except over 100*F ambient it drops to ~220*F).
  • Gets several WOT runs per week.
  • Never idled at cold start, sometimes idled when at operating temp.
  • Automatic start-stop is disengaged unless stuck in traffic.
Consumption:
  • Added 1.5-2 liters over the interval.
  • I manually run the e-dipstick level check monthly. It sometimes reported 100-300ml below "full", and adding that quantity always brought it back to max.
  • Note: The car reported literally 0 consumption for the first 20k+ I owned it. I suspect it's possible the sensor gets coated in varnish over time and erroneously reports full- like on my E90 that claimed full level with a totally empty sump... the AN/POE in this oil very likely has allowed the sensor to measure accurately again.
Maintenance History:
  • Dealer LL01-FE 0W-30 every 10-11k miles for 126k miles (first owner).
  • Switched to BMW LL01 5W-30 for ~20k miles/2x OCIs upon purchase.
  • One fill up with LiquiMoly 4200 LL04 by an indy which I dumped for the Ravenol VST.
  • Original oil pan gasket (starting to seep) and OHFG (totally dry). Valve cover gasket changed once by first owner.
  • When purchased the engine was fairly clean with mild residue/varnish visible through the filler cap on internal surfaces.
Observations:
  • Only 2-3 visible specs of carbon in the filter and no metal. Examined in sunlight and used a pick to separate the pleats a little.
  • Clearly a bit of oxidative thickening or something partly counteracting the fuel dilution (VOA here shows 13.8cst starting viscosity).
  • TBN was a bit lower than expected considering the USA is supposed to have low-sulfur gas across the board now. Virgin TAN measured at 2.02, so this oil would certainly have been "depleted" once I reached the computer calculated interval in ~400 miles. Would welcome any input on this.
  • Nitration low as expected since the oil is always hot.
  • Magnesium was not present in the virgin sample, and it doesn't show up in older VOA/UOAs I've seen of this oil. The calcium is also slightly lower than other samples. It's possible I got a batch they temporarily altered the detergent/dispersant mix for some reason. The VOA and UOA are NOT of the same production run because I forgot to sample when it was put in.
  • Boron finished out lower than any virgin sample of this oil I've ever seen. Have seen chatter about boron depletion being a thing.
  • The existing varnish entirely disappeared within 1k miles of putting the Ravenol in. Everything is literally shiny and now looks brand new.
  • While I thought it was a myth- this oil hugely reduced valve train noise at idle. Pulled into the garage sounding normal, did the change, and pulled it out subjectively half as loud as before. No change in "smoothness" or anything. My E90 also exhibited this when switched over, but it took ~1k miles on that dirty and neglected engine for the sound to change.

Enjoy!
View attachment 123572
Thanks for the UOA!
 

OVERKILL

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If this was the first UOA of this oil, it's possible the Magnesium is from the previous OCI.

Definitely looks like you got the life out of the lube. Oxidation is also impacted by esters used to balance the PAO, I showed oxidation of 27 on my SSL 0W-40 fill, vs 17 for the M1 0W-20 run in our RAM, and the M1 was run almost twice as long. Mobil uses AN's to reduce the amount of ester required, I suspect Ravenol doesn't. Virgin was 9 for that oil.
 
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That's pretty low if we are being fair. Very close to the levels that aren't uncommon in port injected naturally aspirated engines.
Not sure. I mean he is strictly doing hwy runs. Unless sample was done without oil reaching operating temperature.
 

OVERKILL

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Not sure. I mean he is strictly doing hwy runs. Unless sample was done without oil reaching operating temperature.
Our RAM, which gets a ton of highway and is port injected (not DI) was 0.7%, Jeep was 0.8%. The S62 in my M5 was like 5% though, lol.

It's definitely not a level that would bug me.

I hope we see more tests with GC fuel going forward vs the Blackstone ones, as this is far more informative on the DI/fuel thing.
 
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Our RAM, which gets a ton of highway and is port injected (not DI) was 0.7%, Jeep was 0.8%. The S62 in my M5 was like 5% though, lol.

It's definitely not a level that would bug me.

I hope we see more tests with GC fuel going forward vs the Blackstone ones, as this is far more informative on the DI/fuel thing.
I would not be concerned too. Could be that previous ones were not that accurate.
 

TexasRally

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
Messages
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N55 is not known for fuel dilution. Wondering how it ended up at 1.5%?
That's pretty low if we are being fair. Very close to the levels that aren't uncommon in port injected naturally aspirated engines.
Not sure. I mean he is strictly doing hwy runs. Unless sample was done without oil reaching operating temperature.

My NA port injected Subaru had the same fuel dilution with less highway driving, so I guess this is still slightly higher. Sample was taken at operating temp after towing a trailer and some idling which could've contributed.

2 liters of make up oil?

Somewhere between 1.5-2L, basically adding 100-200ml every couple months. Worth noting we engine brake basically 24/7. This car spends a lot of time above 4k RPM both on and off the gas pedal...needless to say my brake pad wear is extremely low for a 5,000lb SUV ;)

Nox+water = nitric acid

The missing piece, thank you! Would it be fair to assume that even with extremely low amounts of residual water in the sump that this process will always happen over time? Not complaining about safely getting 11 months out of the oil, but it does give me some pause about switching to mid-SAPs and trusting the computer interval.
 
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central europe
combustion is mostly co2+water (should be)
how water "comes" to crankcase? imho, blowby is the main path.
new cars have e-termostat, i see often 85c (185f) -too low to boil, but at least the water should give more vapors than cold.
 

TexasRally

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 9, 2021
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combustion is mostly co2+water (should be)
how water "comes" to crankcase? imho, blowby is the main path.
new cars have e-termostat, i see often 85c (185f) -too low to boil, but at least the water should give more vapors than cold.

I think we're on the same page- there's a continual introduction of water vapor due to blowby, such that even if the oil is hot and it never accumulates in the sump, nitric acid will still be produced over time.
 
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Somewhere between 1.5-2L, basically adding 100-200ml every couple months. Worth noting we engine brake basically 24/7. This car spends a lot of time above 4k RPM both on and off the gas pedal...needless to say my brake pad wear is extremely low for a 5,000lb SUV
When your VCG starts seeping, change the valve cover, not just the gasket. PCV might be contributing to consumption, and it is integrated in the cover.
In my N52 that I track, I found that Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W40 has the lowest consumption. Actually, I cannot yet determine what it is as it is at MAX after 3k, including one track day.
Motul 300V had the highest consumption, followed by Mobil1 0W40FS which required maybe 1/4 of a quart every 1,000 miles, and then Castrol 0W40, which could do 2000 miles before 1/4qt of oil had to be added.
 

TexasRally

Thread starter
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When your VCG starts seeping, change the valve cover, not just the gasket. PCV might be contributing to consumption, and it is integrated in the cover.
In my N52 that I track, I found that Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W40 has the lowest consumption. Actually, I cannot yet determine what it is as it is at MAX after 3k, including one track day.
Motul 300V had the highest consumption, followed by Mobil1 0W40FS which required maybe 1/4 of a quart every 1,000 miles, and then Castrol 0W40, which could do 2000 miles before 1/4qt of oil had to be added.

Unknown if the dealer replaced just the gasket or the whole cover prior to my ownership. Never checked for the date stamps on the cover. That said, I do watch for the common documented PCV failure symptoms. Considering my aggressive driving style I'm not convinced that ~1L per 5.2k mi indicates a problem. By far the lowest consumption of any car I've ever owned!

My N52 daily/track car is only has ~3k miles since rebuild and it doesn't seem to be consuming any yet. Original 172k old valve cover on that one too. Though I have less faith in the e-dipstick accuracy on that car until proven otherwise...
 
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combustion is mostly co2+water (should be)
how water "comes" to crankcase? imho, blowby is the main path.
new cars have e-termostat, i see often 85c (185f) -too low to boil, but at least the water should give more vapors than cold.
Combustion is a soup of combustion by products.
 
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Unknown if the dealer replaced just the gasket or the whole cover prior to my ownership. Never checked for the date stamps on the cover. That said, I do watch for the common documented PCV failure symptoms. Considering my aggressive driving style I'm not convinced that ~1L per 5.2k mi indicates a problem. By far the lowest consumption of any car I've ever owned!

My N52 daily/track car is only has ~3k miles since rebuild and it doesn't seem to be consuming any yet. Original 172k old valve cover on that one too. Though I have less faith in the e-dipstick accuracy on that car until proven otherwise...
No, I don’t think it is an issuer at that rate.
But if it bugs you, you can try PPE. I did just bcs. Pennzoil asked me to try PPE for free. So far, lowest consumption.
 
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in hot climates with worn engines a 10W or even 15W-40 in summer heat could protect better if quality is similar, as wide spreads as 5-40 even real synthetics prolly deteriorate faster due to better BUT more thinner oil in the mix IMO
 
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Unknown if the dealer replaced just the gasket or the whole cover prior to my ownership. Never checked for the date stamps on the cover. That said, I do watch for the common documented PCV failure symptoms. Considering my aggressive driving style I'm not convinced that ~1L per 5.2k mi indicates a problem. By far the lowest consumption of any car I've ever owned!

My N52 daily/track car is only has ~3k miles since rebuild and it doesn't seem to be consuming any yet. Original 172k old valve cover on that one too. Though I have less faith in the e-dipstick accuracy on that car until proven otherwise...
Factory VC will have stickers on the cover. Replacement covers typically do not.

s-l500.jpg
 
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