Castrol Syntec 0W30 (GC) / 6000 MI / 08 BMW N54

Messages
143
Location
Virginia
First Blackstone Oil Analysis of German Castrol @ 7680 miles with 6000 miles on the oil. Looks like some break-in metals are still shown in the oil. While TBN was still acceptable, it appears that this oil may not go the full BMW 15K mile OCI. I was encouraged that the flash point was still very high, and Fuel % was very low indicating no fuel dilution issues in this sample (a commonly reported problem with this engine). I think the GC is doing pretty well.
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COMMENTS
--------
Don't be alarmed by all the highlighted numbers in the 
first sample from your BMW. It takes a few oil changes 
for all of the excess wear metals (due to new parts 
breaking-in) to wash from an engine. Silicon is from 
sand-casted parts and sealers used when assembling your 
engine and it too, with subsequent oil changes, should 
read a bit lower. Universal averages for the 3.0L are 
based on an oil run of ~5,500 miles. The TBN read 4.1, 
which shows that plenty of active additive was left in 
this fill. 1.0 is too low for extended use. Try running 
7,000 miles next time.


MI/HR on Oil:      6010
MI/HR on Unit:     7680
Sample Date:       04/10/2009
Make Up Oil Added: 0 qts

 ELEMENT   READING       UNIVERSAL AVG
---------- -------       -------------
ALUMINUM     6               4
CHROMIUM     1               0
IRON        30              12
COPPER      20              10
LEAD         2               4
TIN          0               1
MOLYBDENUM  28             102
NICKEL       1               0
MANGANESE    8               2
SILVER       0               0
TITANIUM     0               0
POTASSIUM    4               2
BORON        9              62
SILICON      8               4
SODIUM       7               6
CALCIUM    2009           2353
MAGNESIUM   438             63
PHOSPHORUS  803            792 
ZINC        990            961
BARIUM       1               0


----- PROPERTY ------   VALUE   SHOULD BE
SUS Viscosity @ 210F:   60.7     58-65
cSt Viscosity @ 100C:   10.41    9.6-11.9
Flashpoint (F):         375      >365
Fuel %:                 <0.5     <2
Antifreeze %:		0.0	 0.0
Water %:                0.0      0.0
Insolubles %:           0.4      <0.6
TBN:                    4.1
 
Messages
686
Location
PA
Thanks for posting this. Any reason for not using the BMW-branded oil? You are right, in my opinion, about this oil not lasting till the ~15k maintenance interval.
 
Messages
809
Location
Granville, Ohio
I wouldn't be so quick to say that it won't last 15K miles. With a TBN of 4.1, it can definitely last a lot longer than your current OCI. Your engine isn't broken in yet. For a new engine just breaking in, I'd say everything looks pretty good. Your car has an Oil Life Monitor, doesn't it?
 

jesbo

Thread starter
Messages
143
Location
Virginia
Yes. The 535i has an oil sensor that monitors both level and oil condition. At 7600 miles, it still said 5000 miles till next change. Whether it'll go 15K or not is pretty much a moot point. I'd never let it go that long anyway. And it took me 1 year to go 7500 miles, so at minimum an annual recommended oil change would typically only be 7 to 10 K miles at most for me.
 

jesbo

Thread starter
Messages
143
Location
Virginia
The oil sensor is divided into 2 parts - essentially making it 2 capacitors that rely on the oil as the electrolyte. One capacitor measures the level of the oil - as the oil level drops, the capacitance changes and the computer interprets the level from that signal. The second, smaller capacitor remains totally submerged in the oil at all times. So any changes in capacitance over time are due to changes in the electrolytic property of the oil. I assume that as more wear metals (iron, copper, etc) and other elements suspended in the oil accumulate, the capacitance changes and is interpreted by the computer as degraded quality. Once it reaches a certain level, it's time for an oil change. Interesting concept... not sure how accurate it is. Thats why I decided to run a UOA on the oil in the first place.
 

JAG

Messages
5,320
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
I'm late to the party but here goes: The flashpoint of 375 F is not too bad but as we often say, Blackstone's open cup method has trouble accurately discriminating between oils with different amounts of fuel. Since GC is a very mechanically shear stable oil and the viscosity dropped about 1.6 cST (over 10%), I think it's safe to say there is more fuel in the oil than the flashpoint test indicates at first glance. My main reason for even mentioning the fuel is its effect on the chemistry of the oil (definitely reducing its life, increasing deposit tendency, and possibly increasing wear). The reduction in viscosity is a secondary matter IMO unless you are often driving it like a race car. TBN is fairly strong but without TAN, it's not possible to say the oil had a lot of life left in it. Of course it's also not possible to say, based on the TBN, that it did not have a lot of life left in it. :) The insolubles at 0.4% is higher than I'd like to see for a 6K mi. interval. It's been found that direct injection gas engines produce some soot, like diesels do but at a lesser rate. So these engines give the oil an additional task of suspending soot. I doubt the soot level was high enough to increase wear here but for the poor N54 engines that do 13-14K mi. OCIs, I wouldn't doubt a sooty issue. A blotter test could help see if soot is high. Basically, it looks fairly good but it's hard to tell how far it could have been run before things got ugly. The last thing you want to happen is that you get over-confident, run the oil too long for for multiple OCIs, and then find out that deposits built up to the point of causing problems. Been there and done that already with my VW 1.8T.
 

jesbo

Thread starter
Messages
143
Location
Virginia
Thanks JAG for the insight. I suppose I could switch to Terry Dyson's firm for the next UOA and hope for more conclusive results on the Fuel Dilution issue. Dyson analysis is quite a bit more expensive as I recall, though... enough so that it may be appropriate to spend the $$ on more frequent oil changes- say 6K, and just be done with it.. perhaps doing a UOA every other or third oil change. What do you think?
 

JAG

Messages
5,320
Location
Fredericksburg, VA
 Originally Posted By: jesbo
... enough so that it may be appropriate to spend the $$ on more frequent oil changes- say 6K, and just be done with it... perhaps doing a UOA every other or third oil change.
Yeah that sounds wisest to me.
 
Messages
4,009
Location
Calgary Canada
I've had a number of Dyson Analyses, including on my 330ci (sold) which is in its architecture the non-turbo version of your engine. Your fuel number is acceptable as tested, but that only shows there wasn't fuel in your oil at the time tested. It doesn't mean this engine isn't a fuel diluter. Manganese is a fuel add, and you will note that it is present at 4 times universal averages. That can be a telltale of fuel dilution. Another telltale can be high iron levels (from "cylinder wash") if the cylinder walls are lined with iron. Not sure about the linings on the n54, but I don't know where else the iron in your UOA would be coming from. Fuel dilute also causes some shearing. GC starts off at an SUS or 66 or so and a Cst of 12.2 if memory serves and you're down to 60/10.4, so that is happening too. You don't see that much shear in GC in normally aspirated engines (including the non-turbo version of this engine), in fact, you'll find it is fairly common to see some viscosity increase. Insolubles point to fuel dilution as well as has been pointed out. It's hard to say too much about this engine (or any engine) at 7k miles given it is still breaking in, but even with those things considered I'd say it's looking pretty good. Better than I would have thought given everything I've read. Fuel dilute could be present but your engine seems to be coping well. Please keep us up to date with this engine's progress. I'm thinking of buying one of these, and have a stash of 30L of GC green ready to put in the sump if I pull the trigger. Based on everything I've read, I may be looking at 6k winter OCI's on GC and 6k summer OCIs on GC or M1 5w-50.
 
Messages
9,448
Location
USA
Given the low milage it is fine. In fact if thisis break in wear it is really low as I would expect from a modern engine. I have seen GM engines with 50K miles onthem that looked worse then this are a matter of routine. 30ppm isnot that high especialy if this is break in wear. I would try M1 0W40 next it should be up to the extended oilchange interval of BWM or RTS 5W40.
 
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