CK-4 E9 substitute LL 04 in BMW N47 SEQ Oz

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Jun 19, 2024
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We have a 2012 520d with the N47 2.0 L diesel.
Wife uses it for frequent short trips locally about 5 to 30 minutes 6 to 10 times a day. This seems to be hard on the oil, batteries etc.
We live in South East Queensland Oz and the very coldest night of the year drops down to 10 C but normal termerature range is 15 to 30 degrees C year round.
BMW spec is of course LL04.
I only have 2 options for BMW certified LL04 and other options which 'meet the requirements of'.
The certified options run $110 for 5 litres.
Having recently just had one of above certified options shear down completely to the point the timing chain tensioner was not working when hot before factory 15,000 km OCI, at 13,000 km, I am rethinking oil for this engine.
It's currently running 5W/40 uncertified 'meets requirements of' LL04 which the engine is quite happy with, but this was still $67 on sale for 5L.
The vehicle currently has 73,000 km.
I am trialling 5,000 OCI now which is 6 monthly.
Oil fill with filter is only 5.25 litres which in my experience is less than normal. My work truck has a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder diesel with 8.4 litre fill and 6.5 L + is my experience with other similar vehicles. This is running easy factory 15,000 OCI being refilled by dealer under warranty with 'wrong' 10W40 Valvoline Professional, however it's mainly highway k's.
I am of the view that in my climate, as experienced with all other diesel light commercial vehicles in our fleet, a slightly higher grade oil would be beneficial such as 10W/40. There is no LL04 in this grade and regardless I only have two expensive options one of which I have lost confidence in.
The N47 is also known to have timing chain wear issues and I wonder how much is related to the thin LL04 and extended 15,000 OCI.
What I'm saying is; I'm out when it comes to LL04 and factory OCI. My wife is also good at ignoring distressing mechanical sounds and I want the extra safety buffer a higher weight oil has (all things being equal).
I see many other oil options which appear to meet or exceed LL04. Like C3, but these oils typically are 5W/30 grade as well and carry an inflated price tag.
However, I have access to many excellent oils at a good price with API CK-4 and E9 certifications in the desired 10W/40.
Looking at specs they appear to meet LL04, mid saps for DPF, HTHS min of 3.5 etc. TBN, stays in grade etc.
I feel like 10W/40 CK-4 would be an upgrade for this car and with 5,000 OCI would give me the peace of mind I'm doing the best possible wrt timing chain wear and overall wear (despite being overkill) given my wife is notorious for ignoring mechanical distress.

Is CK-4 a valid substitution for LL04 in my situation?
 
IMO grade will only.mask the chain tensioner for so long. BMW revised the design and was subjected to one or more class action lawsuits in UK and Europe.. 5k KM is nothing for any oil. That's only 3k miles. Run the oil out for the full OCI and get a UOA to confirm shear. LL04 is a long drain oil that is not supposed to shear for the entire interval. That would be 10k miles in the US. Are you absolutely sure the oil sheared?

CK4 looks okay on paper but it's formulated with different goals in mind.
 
We have a 2012 520d with the N47 2.0 L diesel.
Wife uses it for frequent short trips locally about 5 to 30 minutes 6 to 10 times a day. This seems to be hard on the oil, batteries etc.
We live in South East Queensland Oz and the very coldest night of the year drops down to 10 C but normal termerature range is 15 to 30 degrees C year round.
BMW spec is of course LL04.
I only have 2 options for BMW certified LL04 and other options which 'meet the requirements of'.
The certified options run $110 for 5 litres.
Having recently just had one of above certified options shear down completely to the point the timing chain tensioner was not working when hot before factory 15,000 km OCI, at 13,000 km, I am rethinking oil for this engine.
It's currently running 5W/40 uncertified 'meets requirements of' LL04 which the engine is quite happy with, but this was still $67 on sale for 5L.
The vehicle currently has 73,000 km.
I am trialling 5,000 OCI now which is 6 monthly.
Oil fill with filter is only 5.25 litres which in my experience is less than normal. My work truck has a 2.4 litre 4 cylinder diesel with 8.4 litre fill and 6.5 L + is my experience with other similar vehicles. This is running easy factory 15,000 OCI being refilled by dealer under warranty with 'wrong' 10W40 Valvoline Professional, however it's mainly highway k's.
I am of the view that in my climate, as experienced with all other diesel light commercial vehicles in our fleet, a slightly higher grade oil would be beneficial such as 10W/40. There is no LL04 in this grade and regardless I only have two expensive options one of which I have lost confidence in.
The N47 is also known to have timing chain wear issues and I wonder how much is related to the thin LL04 and extended 15,000 OCI.
What I'm saying is; I'm out when it comes to LL04 and factory OCI. My wife is also good at ignoring distressing mechanical sounds and I want the extra safety buffer a higher weight oil has (all things being equal).
I see many other oil options which appear to meet or exceed LL04. Like C3, but these oils typically are 5W/30 grade as well and carry an inflated price tag.
However, I have access to many excellent oils at a good price with API CK-4 and E9 certifications in the desired 10W/40.
Looking at specs they appear to meet LL04, mid saps for DPF, HTHS min of 3.5 etc. TBN, stays in grade etc.
I feel like 10W/40 CK-4 would be an upgrade for this car and with 5,000 OCI would give me the peace of mind I'm doing the best possible wrt timing chain wear and overall wear (despite being overkill) given my wife is notorious for ignoring mechanical distress.

Is CK-4 a valid substitution for LL04 in my situation?
The only "negative" I can think of would possibly be lower fuel economy but with your wife's short trips is negligible. CK-4 will absolutely be more sheer proof from my experience. Sounds like your car would be an excellent candidate for 15w-40 if that's more available down under. Full Synthetic will help for the colder months.
 
You say you're doing 5k km but that's about 3k miles and you can double that. Some triple that but i wouldn't push it that far if it gets short tripped a lot. Yes you can use 15w-40 and use it for about as long. I believe diesel must have less sulphur over there than here. In the middle east and africa they just throw whatever diesel oil in them and run higher sulphur diesel and these bmw diesels still last.
 
IMO grade will only.mask the chain tensioner for so long. BMW revised the design and was subjected to one or more class action lawsuits in UK and Europe.. 5k KM is nothing for any oil. That's only 3k miles. Run the oil out for the full OCI and get a UOA to confirm shear. LL04 is a long drain oil that is not supposed to shear for the entire interval. That would be 10k miles in the US. Are you absolutely sure the oil sheared?

CK4 looks okay on paper but it's formulated with different goals in mind.
The tensioner is currently fine however I'm not going to let it develop into an issue.
The chain rattle was horrendous.
I have not heard a chain rattle like that since the 90's when my father was experimenting with which cheap oils he could run in my mother's 18R.
It's impossible to describe, but the frequent short trips lugging the engine and never accelerating briskly is amazingly hard on cars. She has a 'knack'.
There is a revised tensioner which is longer and can be diy installed from outside the engine. This is a potential route I'm trying to avoid.
 
The only "negative" I can think of would possibly be lower fuel economy but with your wife's short trips is negligible. CK-4 will absolutely be more sheer proof from my experience. Sounds like your car would be an excellent candidate for 15w-40 if that's more available down under. Full Synthetic will help for the colder months.
Thanks!
We have many options for CK 4 like Delvac and local quality brands in many grades, mineral, semi synthetic and full synthetic.
Just bought 20 L of a local brand semi synthetic 10/40 for same price as 5 L of LL04.
Good to know I can try 15W.
 
You say you're doing 5k km but that's about 3k miles and you can double that. Some triple that but i wouldn't push it that far if it gets short tripped a lot. Yes you can use 15w-40 and use it for about as long. I believe diesel must have less sulphur over there than here. In the middle east and africa they just throw whatever diesel oil in them and run higher sulphur diesel and these bmw diesels still last.
My wife's driving habits are unbelievable hard on all fluids and batteries etc. It really is a wonder to behold.
 
You say you're doing 5k km but that's about 3k miles and you can double that. Some triple that but i wouldn't push it that far if it gets short tripped a lot. Yes you can use 15w-40 and use it for about as long. I believe diesel must have less sulphur over there than here. In the middle east and africa they just throw whatever diesel oil in them and run higher sulphur diesel and these bmw diesels still last.
Possibly not the same emissions requirements? Just thinking
 
The tensioner is currently fine however I'm not going to let it develop into an issue.
The chain rattle was horrendous.
I have not heard a chain rattle like that since the 90's when my father was experimenting with which cheap oils he could run in my mother's 18R.
It's impossible to describe, but the frequent short trips lugging the engine and never accelerating briskly is amazingly hard on cars. She has a 'knack'.
There is a revised tensioner which is longer and can be diy installed from outside the engine. This is a potential route I'm trying to avoid.
I guess what I'm saying is that there's no reason to believe it's not rattling just because you don't hear it due to the slightly higher viscosity. Chain stretch is what it is. The tensioner is there to take up the slack after all.
 
I guess what I'm saying is that there's no reason to believe it's not rattling just because you don't hear it due to the slightly higher viscosity. Chain stretch is what it is. The tensioner is there to take up the slack after all.
Good point.
The previous oil was fine for 13,000 km. Then the engine was unable to develop sufficient hot idle oil pressure to adequately actuate the hydraulic timing chain tensioner. This could be diagnosed by the audible slapping of the slack chain.
Off idle noise disappeared indicating engine was developing sufficient pressure to activate the hydraulic timing chain tensioner.
Hot idle low oil pressure indicates too thin oil, or a oil which has broken down and lost viscosity.
New oil exactly the same would have solved this issue.
A higher weight oil will need to lose more viscosity before the same low pressure hot idle issue is replicated.
More frequent oil changes will decrease the soot concentrations and therefore reduce timing chain wear.
A HD Diesel oil should also have better soot control than a light duty petrol/diesel oil.
Soot wears out timing chains.
Low oil pressure prevents adequate timing chain tensioner hydraulic force to adequately tension the chain.
If the chain rattles with new oil, cold or hot off idle then yes it's stretched beyond tensioner range. First step install 2014 long tensioner. If this does not work new chain. Engine out job by BMW specialist.
I'm starting with easiest solution comprising preventative measures; thicker oil changed more frequently with better soot control and higher mileage properties.
 
I think you may be putting too much, uh, weight on the viscosity rating? Ultimately you're trying to prevent shearing and loss of viscosity over time/use that leads to increased wear on the chain and tensioner (if I may distill your commentary).

In that case, focus more on the HTHS rating of the diesel oils you're looking at, and if warranty or emissions system are not concerns for you then use the cheapest available oil that carries the highest HTHS. You can usually find this information on PDS documents for the oil product you're interested in, published by the manufacturer.
 
I think you may be putting too much, uh, weight on the viscosity rating? Ultimately you're trying to prevent shearing and loss of viscosity over time/use that leads to increased wear on the chain and tensioner (if I may distill your commentary).

In that case, focus more on the HTHS rating of the diesel oils you're looking at, and if warranty or emissions system are not concerns for you then use the cheapest available oil that carries the highest HTHS. You can usually find this information on PDS documents for the oil product you're interested in, published by the manufacturer.
I am genuinely impressed with your pun.
Both LL 04 and CK 4 have the same minimum HTHS of 3.5.
Anyway, yes I agree however local distributors do not provide HTHS numbers for some odd reason, you need to ask them for it.
CK 4 is a mid saps oil like LL 04 to minimise fouling of the DPF. So IDK any other emissions parameter we need to worry about with oil. Seems to be covered.
CK 4 seems to be pretty good replacement for LL 04 TBH.
A big advantage of CK 4 oils to me is cost. LL 04 must contain unicorn tears and the trapped souls of wayward fairies to be $110 to $120 for 5 litres. A similar spec CK 4 is typically $50 to $100 for 10 litres and there is a much broader range of options so better chance of sale pricing.

One thing I have noticed is CK 4 oils with dual ratings like SP and SN etc. Are marketed as 'multi fleet' or 'mixed fleet' and Delvac 1300 going so far as to be advertised as 'suitable for high performance petrol engines'.
How true is this?
I mean is it just ok or are the claims legit the same oil can comfortably be used in petrol engines with good results?
Remembering I'm in a different country not really familiar with these practices.
 
You said “the only negative thing you can think?”
Think about this: LL04 has specific timing chan requirements tested on N20 engine that is known for same issues as N47.
Address root cause as mentioned above, timing chain tensioner. Cut OCI to 10,000km at most.
What LL04 options do you have?
 
CK-4 allows more additives like Phosphorus, zinc, sulphur, SA, than LL04. CK-4 15w-40 is going to have a higher starting viscosity & maintain it throughout the interval. ACEA E11 would add slightly more protection vs CK-4 but a lot of CK-4's have OEM approvals as well. BMW isn't concerned with semi truck engines like Mercedes Benz is & most likely any CK-4 will have a MB approval along with one of the most stringent Volvo VDS-4.5 approvals. There are heavier duty oils available outside of a BMW LL04 specification PCMO oil. 5w-30 is where LL04 usually starts whereas a CK-4 normally starts w/ 10w-30. A 15w-40 is going to protect metal on metal wear better vs a 5w-30 LL04 spec oil in OP climate. But that may affect fuel economy, slightly, like I mentioned.
 
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You said “the only negative thing you can think?”
Think about this: LL04 has specific timing chan requirements tested on N20 engine that is known for same issues as N47.
Address root cause as mentioned above, timing chain tensioner. Cut OCI to 10,000km at most.
What LL04 options do you have?
This is exactly why I run BMW certified LL01 in my B48 but why I'm also sceptical of LL04 in a diesel - at least in my climate where cold starts at -20 C will never be an issue.
True both engines are known for dainty timing chains but I'd rather run a dedicated petrol engine oil in petrol engines (where I believe LL01 is an excellent option for my B48), and a dedicated diesel engine oil in Diesels (where I am of the view LL04 is a bit of a compromise).
Timing chain tensioner is fine as long as it gets enough oil pressure.
 
CK-4 allows more additives like Phosphorus, zinc, sulphur, SA, than LL04. CK-4 15w-40 is going to have a higher starting viscosity & maintain it throughout the interval. ACEA E11 would add slightly more protection vs CK-4 but a lot of CK-4's have OEM approvals as well. BMW isn't concerned with semi truck engines like Mercedes Benz is & most likely any CK-4 will have a MB approval along with one of the most stringent Volvo VDS-4.5 approvals. There are heavier duty oils available outside of a BMW LL04 specification PCMO oil. 5w-30 is where LL04 usually starts whereas a CK-4 normally starts w/ 10w-30. A 15w-40 is going to protect metal on metal wear better vs a 5w-30 LL04 spec oil in OP climate. But that may affect fuel economy, slightly, like I mentioned.
This is great information and gets to the crux of the matter. At least in my climate where cold starts at low temperatures is never an issue, CK-4 > LL04.
The local product I just ordered to try does indeed include E11, MB 228.51/228.31 and Volvo VDS-4.5.
Also, I am not concerned with any slight consequential fuel efficiency loses. This vehicle gets 8.1L/100 km being used only for short trip urban driving. I'm happy with that or even slightly worse if we can avoid the dreaded timing chain replacement.
 
This is exactly why I run BMW certified LL01 in my B48 but why I'm also sceptical of LL04 in a diesel - at least in my climate where cold starts at -20 C will never be an issue.
True both engines are known for dainty timing chains but I'd rather run a dedicated petrol engine oil in petrol engines (where I believe LL01 is an excellent option for my B48), and a dedicated diesel engine oil in Diesels (where I am of the view LL04 is a bit of a compromise).
Timing chain tensioner is fine as long as it gets enough oil pressure.
LL04 is oil. It is low SAPS oil and there is no compromise there. 99% of LL04 oils have MB229.51/51 approvals, VW504.00/507:00 or VW511.00 Porsche C30 or C40. Combined, those approvals deliver exceptional oils. No CK oil will have requirements that those approvals have.
 
LL04 is oil. It is low SAPS oil and there is no compromise there. 99% of LL04 oils have MB229.51/51 approvals, VW504.00/507:00 or VW511.00 Porsche C30 or C40. Combined, those approvals deliver exceptional oils. No CK oil will have requirements that those approvals have.
A fine oil for a n20 powered 320i in Denmark driven daily on the freeway.
Diesels are Diesel's. puting a Diesel in a BMW or Audi does not magically make it some special creature which can only survive if fed the correct magical elixir containing the tears of pixies with a failed small business.
My requirements for oil in this vehicle are only:
1) Provide high wear protection and be reasonably durable.
2) Not foul the DPF.
3) Be reasonably priced, obtainable and with several options.

You see my acceptance criteria are far simpler than what BMW need to achieve with LL04.

Does the cold start in mid winter in Lapland apply to me? No.
Do the emission or fuel consumption standards in far off countries apply? No
Am I subject to any rules regulations or laws in a country I am not a citizen of? No

So you see from my position there are compromises made to hit LL04 which likely delivers a product which is sub optimal when assessed against my specific, simpler requirements.
Nothing wrong with LL04 I just doubt our tiny market was much considered in its development.
Maybe if BMW specifically developed an oil for my wifes n47 it would be something like a 15W50 😉.
I will also add that my business owns several small diesel light commercial vehicles. My wife's car gets the hardest service IMHO.
 
A fine oil for a n20 powered 320i in Denmark driven daily on the freeway.
Diesels are Diesel's. puting a Diesel in a BMW or Audi does not magically make it some special creature which can only survive if fed the correct magical elixir containing the tears of pixies with a failed small business.
My requirements for oil in this vehicle are only:
1) Provide high wear protection and be reasonably durable.
2) Not foul the DPF.
3) Be reasonably priced, obtainable and with several options.

You see my acceptance criteria are far simpler than what BMW need to achieve with LL04.

Does the cold start in mid winter in Lapland apply to me? No.
Do the emission or fuel consumption standards in far off countries apply? No
Am I subject to any rules regulations or laws in a country I am not a citizen of? No

So you see from my position there are compromises made to hit LL04 which likely delivers a product which is sub optimal when assessed against my specific, simpler requirements.
Nothing wrong with LL04 I just doubt our tiny market was much considered in its development.
Maybe if BMW specifically developed an oil for my wifes n47 it would be something like a 15W50 😉.
I will also add that my business owns several small diesel light commercial vehicles. My wife's car gets the hardest service IMHO.
I don’t think you understand how approvals work and what are they.
Your engine is not diesel just like “any” other diesel. It is passenger car diesel. It is diesel that uses a lot of tricks to limit consumption, goes as fast as it can, stays clean (regardless that you think it doesn’t apply for you, but then BMW did not make car just for you). Those approvals are toughest in the industry FOR A REASON. The fact that you listed those three variables as important shows you didn’t dwell into this issue.
CK oils are commercial oils. They are made for engines that have huge oil sumps. Engines that have more robust DPF and other emission systems bcs. there is more space to fit them. Those oils are designed for engines that have different emission standards. They are cheaper for a REASON. Your oil sump is what, 5.5-6ltr? CK oils are for sumps in Mercedes Actros, not N47.
Those oils have higher Noack, lower deposit limits, oxidation limits etc.
You have in Euro section if this forum and Mercedes Benz MB229.51/52 run down of approval requirements.
You want here confirmation bias. OK, use it! But don’t think you are making upgrade, on contrary.
 
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Hi Mate,
Looking at BMW LL-04 oils, their levels for SA, Phos, S, min HTHS etc. It seems to me the closest match HDEO is a Euro ACEA E6 oil. It's similar to E9 but with tighter controls on the Phos levels. You could formulate an oil to be both by keeping the Phos levels under control.

A quick bit of googling finds Castrol Vectron LD 10W40 full synthetic that is ACEA E6 and E9 and API CJ-4. Also Shell Rimula 10W40 full synthetic with E6, E9 and CJ-4. I'm sure there are others.
 
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