BMW 3 Series

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2,480
Models since 2000 use Castrol N.A. procured SJ 5-30 group III synthetic. It is different from Syntec because it is A3 rated, but is not European oil. I've used it for 2 years and stopped after noticing visible sludge after 60k mi. (10k mi.) intervals. Mechanic and myself agree it's too thin...
 

buster

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34,198
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South Jersey
Just curious, what did you end up running in it? I think M1 0w-40 would be good. My friend has a 330 and it's very nice. I might look into buying one in the next year. [ May 27, 2003, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: buster ]
 
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2,927
Location
Georgia/Retired
As mentioned above, BMW specifies synthetic 5W-30. My owners manual (1999 E46 323i) specifies a synthetic 5W-40 and I have a decal on my engine that even has the BMW part number for the 5W-40. A telephone call to BMW NA told me that they have superceded that part number and now recommend their 5W-30. I too had a build up of hard brown deposits on my oil cap so I stopped using it. I have sampled Mobil-1 15/50, 10/30, Valvoline SynPower 5/40, Amsoil 10/40 and Mobil Delvac-1 5/40. I am currently running the Delvac-1 but am going to replace it with the German Castrol Syntec 0/30 at my next interval. I have removed my valve cover to see if there were any deposits on the metal and the engine was as clean as a brand new one. I don't know why the brown deposits form on the plastic valve cover. I have reduced my oil change interval to 5,000 miles and disregard the engine computer's recommendation of 15,000 miles. Of the few analysis that I've had done, it appears that this engine is very hard on oil and causes oil to shear out of grade within 6,000 miles. The Mobil-1 10/30 has proven to be stable though.
 
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267
Location
Rhode Island
I find this very interesting. I am currently looking at a new 325i for my wife and BMW insists they do the oil changes (I usually insist I do them). Based on this thread, it sounds like the oil they are using at 15,000 miles may not be cutting the mustard, now what??? [Bang Head]
 

Patman

Staff member
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22,000
Location
Guelph, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by vettenuts: I find this very interesting. I am currently looking at a new 325i for my wife and BMW insists they do the oil changes (I usually insist I do them). Based on this thread, it sounds like the oil they are using at 15,000 miles may not be cutting the mustard, now what??? [Bang Head]
So how about this idea? Get BMW to do the changes at 15,000 mile intervals, but then you do one oil change of your own in the middle at 7500. No harm there.
 

buster

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34,198
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South Jersey
Isn't there a reset button when the service engine light come on? I'd rather change the oil myself and use what I want. There is no way I'm running syntec in it to 15,000 miles if it shears that bad.
 
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2,480
Fowway...excellent post. Used to have great results with BMW's previous synthetic 5-40. It was discontinued when the newer 5-30 came out. Definately not the same stuff. Wish I discontinued it earlier...especially when my 1994 doesn't even spec. a 5-30 for temps. over 5C.. The 5-40 would do 10k easy with only 1 qt. in between. The 5-30 would require increasing amounts...I stopped when requiring ~2.5-3 qts....something wasn't right. So I switched to Havoline synth. 5-40 for a couple intervals before trying M-1 15-50 and the 0-40. Also tried M-1's 5-30 for a brief moment. I was afraid to continue to much with either 5-30 or 10-30 because they are not A3 oils. So I then tried Delvac 1. This seemed to really clean things out, but in returning to 15-50, the car continued to run sluggish and in reviewing the SuperSyn specs, Mobil elected to make the 15-50 even thicker than before! In either case, the car consumed all Mobil grades (Delvac the least). Even the 15-50 was consumed at 1qt/1k mi.. Some of it I attest to cleaning...the rest...? In either case, there was considerable engine valvetrain noise with Mobil oils (except for Delvac) which I didn't like. It was greatest with the 0-40. So I switched to Castrol Syntec 5-50. The car never ran better. I'm not going to vouch for the other Syntec grades, but the 5-50 is A3, cranks in -25C weather, has almost zero burn-off (consumption is WAY down...something like 1/2qt./5k mi) and the engine is quiet. The 5-50 looks like it's in very good condition after 5k. I think it can readily go the full 10k (factory interval) which is my goal. Not sure about the new models. I know maintenance was free for the first couple years and if they include the oil, you could always to an extra oil change at 5k. which will ensure cleanliness and longevity PAST the warranty period (which IMO is the end point as far as manufacturers are concerned). I think there's some confusion with the "newer" oils....even though they may be A3 eg. SLX 0-30, they cannot replace the robust nature of the 50 weight oils I think are required to go the extra mile. What's interesting though is the M-1 10-30 was apparently the oil used in the million mile BMW. Maybe this is what we should be using, although this is the only grade I haven't tried...I figure like the 5-30, it's too thin and I want as close to zero consumption as possible regardless of driving style for the duration of the 10k mi. interval. From what I have noticed, don't think you can go 10k mi. with a 5-20, 0-30, 5-30 and have zero consumption. This is why a 40 or 50 weight is necessary.
 
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3,332
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Bolivia
BMW recommended 20w50 up thru 1995 for -10C to +50C operating range on all engines. In 1996 they reduced it to 15w40 and reduced the maximum temp to 30C. (Up thru by 1999 book). My wife's 88 325ic has a Group I 20w50 SL/CI-4 since she never takes it out of the city and never drives much. I have a certification letter from BMW for the Chevron Supreme 5w40. The letter says this is the fluid that will be recommended in the manual. [ May 27, 2003, 04:07 PM: Message edited by: widman ]
 

buster

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34,198
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South Jersey
If the recommended visc is a 40 or 50wt. I would think that 5w-40 Delvac 1 or 15w-50 M1 would be great for this car. Do you have to wait until 15k miles for them to change it or can you go in earlier and pay for it? I wouldn't run Syntec to 15k miles. I'd like to change it myself if I know it won't void the warranty. [I dont know]
 
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2,480
No just run what's recommended. Yes, you can pay for extra oil changes anytime...and they won't reset the service light indicator. Yeah, 15k's a lot...I'm not going to suggest either...but, from the loaner 3 series I had last fall it suggested 15k km (10k mi.) interval...and the same interval for my friend's `03 M-B C240 seems to be more in line...the indicator is variable...mine's never gone too much past 10k mi.. So widman, do they not use the U.S. BMW 5-30 synthetic in Bolivia?
 

buster

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34,198
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South Jersey
quote:
No just run what's recommended. Yes, you can pay for extra oil changes anytime...and they won't reset the service light indicator.
I don't like this. I'd rather change it myself and use D1 then syntec. It's really no deal that they give you this service because it's most likely built into the price of the car. I'd rather have them lower the sticker price. [Big Grin]
 
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2,480
I agree...I'm sure you could bring your own oil if you'd like. I just think the reason we're seeing things like this is so that there can be some "normality" to the vehicles coming back from lease....ie. they still run..and can be re-sold after re-conditioning and external detailing...otherwise, if you want to step-up and increase frequecy and/or use better oils...hats off to ya...I don't see a problem with that..don't think local dealer will either...bmw are usually cool that way from my experience.
 

buster

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South Jersey
F them, if I bought a BMW, I'm using what I want. [Big Grin] Same goes with any car I buy, especially a Toyota. I'd never run dino in a Toyota. [LOL!] [Roll Eyes] [ May 27, 2003, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: buster ]
 
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764
Location
Fairfield County, CT
15,000 is a bit too long for BMW's Castrol 5W-30; it's a good idea to do an intermediate 7,500 mile oil change. But DON'T reset the maintenance computer at the intermediate 7,500 mile interval because then you'll throw off the intervals for "Inspection I" and "Inspection II". Jason
 
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191
Location
KY
quote:
Originally posted by quadrun1: But DON'T reset the maintenance computer at the intermediate 7,500 mile interval because then you'll throw off the intervals for "Inspection I" and "Inspection II".
And once you are out of the free maintenance period, the Inspections become "Wallett Inspections" and you don't want them coming any sooner than necessary!
 
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500
Location
Vermont
Are you serious, BMW insists they do the oil changes?!?! That reminds me of a BMW owner who changed his gear oil even though the oil in the gearbox was supposedly "fill for life." He said that when BMW wants to warranty the gearbox for life, he'll leave the original oil in it. Sounds like BMW wants to do the oil changes so they can make sure they aren't done as regularly as some might do them, therefore assuring a bottom-line padding number of engines will fail after warranty. **** , I'm getting really irritated by the lazy, transparent things some organizations are doing to boost profits.
 
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2,927
Location
Georgia/Retired
You can buy a tool to reset the inspection and oil interval light for $50 or you can simply ground the pin #7 of the underhood diagnostics port for 3 seconds to clear the oil light and 9 seconds to clear the inspection light. Personally, investing in the tool that clears the lights and reads codes is the best thing if you do your own maintenance. This tool is $150. Here are my Mobil-1 15/50 (4,685 miles on oil) and 10/30 (3,663 on oil) analysis results: iron - 8 - 9 chromium - 1 - 1 lead - 2 - 1 copper - 5 - 4 tin - 1 - 1 aluminum - 4 - 4 nickel - 0 - 0 silver - 0 - 0 silicon - 4 - 3 boron - 59 - 37 sodium - 5 - 7 magnesium - 1706 - 1725 calcium - 906 - 820 barium - 0 - 0 phosphorous - 958 - 822 zinc - 1071 - 905 molybdenum - 1 - 0 titanium - 0 - 0 vanadium - 0 - 0 potassium - 0 - 0 visc @ 100ºC - 14.7 - 10.3 I hope that this is readable.
 
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