Is A3 the right spec for an old Euro?

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I have my old M42 BMW, a 318i. In the OM, there are no BMW specific specs, merely specs for fairly thick oils under all conditions. I am wondering whether an A3, with necessarily high HTHS, would be a good choice for such an engine. For example, both Valoline Durablend and Maxlife 10W-40 claim to meet the A3 spec, as does GC. Is A3 the magic spec for an older European car that predates any manufacturer's specs? I am currently using Castrol Tection Extra 15W-40, a pretty thick oil, and would like to try something thinner. I am thinking that A3 is an appropriate spec to look for in an oil for this car, as well as many others. I would like to hear what those more knowledgeable than I think.
 
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According to BMW, you can run any LL-01 or LL-98 oil in your M42 engine. See Note (4) at the bottom of this table: http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d102/escape2music/530i/BMW_oil_type_by_engine_5_2009.png But that's only if you plan on running extended OCIs. Same goes for ACEA A3 - this is a long drain spec on which the BMW specs are based. So again, if you won't be changing your oil every 10-15K miles, then even that doesn't really matter. Just pick an oil with a high enough HT/HS (above 3.5) in the viscosity that suits your climate, and call it a day. If you want to try something thinner, GC would be a good choice.
 

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That's what I'm thinking. Any oil that meets A3 has an HTHS of >3.5, so any such oil should be okay for the engine. I don't really do extended drains on anything. We don't do enough miles on any one vehicle to make it worthwhile. Now, if I suddenly found myself with a ninety mile each way commute (an unfortunate possibility), I'd be looking at extended drains.
 
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The output of that engine doesn't merit a thick oil, especially for winter. I'd switch for seasons, 5w-30 for winter and either 10w-30 or 10w-40 for summer. MaxLife is the first oil to come to mind. A3 is a synthetic spec, totally unnecessary.
 
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Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
A3 is a synthetic spec.
Uh...no, you are not correct. Their is plenty of non-synthetic oil out there rated A3.
 
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Originally Posted By: fdcg27
I have my old M42 BMW, a 318i. In the OM, there are no BMW specific specs, merely specs for fairly thick oils under all conditions. I am wondering whether an A3, with necessarily high HTHS, would be a good choice for such an engine. For example, both Valoline Durablend and Maxlife 10W-40 claim to meet the A3 spec, as does GC. Is A3 the magic spec for an older European car that predates any manufacturer's specs? I am currently using Castrol Tection Extra 15W-40, a pretty thick oil, and would like to try something thinner. I am thinking that A3 is an appropriate spec to look for in an oil for this car, as well as many others. I would like to hear what those more knowledgeable than I think.
15w-40 / 10w-40 seems to be the standard spec for your engine but you can use a 5w-40 ll-01 for better cold start performance like Castrol Edge 5w-40, Total Quartz 5w-40 etc
 
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Originally Posted By: Hammer
Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
A3 is a synthetic spec.
Uh...no, you are not correct. Their is plenty of non-synthetic oil out there rated A3.
Such as??? (sold in USA)
 
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GTX 10w-40 carries it in Europe. My guess is that it's more like Syntec Blend or Start-Up from here. Not a big deal either way, just trying to give the poster some usable info, not get into a nit-picking contest like many do here.
 

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I have noticed that both Durablend and Maxlife SB carry A3 in the 10W-40, although not the lighter grades. I have yet to find an oil not labeled as either syn or SB that carries A3, although I continue to read the backs of oil bottles. Certainly either Maxlife SB or Durablend are cheap enough. I'll check a bottle of GTX 10W-40 when I next see one. All I was trying to acomplish here was to determine whether the A3 spec was an appropriate rating for an old German car, as opposed to the really heavy grades orginally recommended, like 20W-50. I am not trying to get long drains. I just want to be sure I'm not causing the engine excessive wear. Finally, at nearly 80 bhp/liter, I'd say that the little 1.8 has pretty good output, about the same or more specific output as current NA BMWs.
 
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I checked, DB does have A3 now. It's a spec that comes and goes from their product line. Good that A3 is now listed. Valvoline typically plays fast and loose with their specs though. None the less, a great oil for a n/a Euro, same for MaxLife, although I'd start with a lighter oil, personally.
 

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I got my info from a bottle of DB in my stash. The stuff was clearanced dirt cheap at Meijer last year, and I bought two cases figuring I could either use it or trade it. If not for the Bey-Em-Vey, it would likely go in the one of the other cars for the summer. A 10W-40 passenger car oil is pretty light compared to what I have in the engine now, much less what BMW originally recommended.
 
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Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
Originally Posted By: Hammer
Originally Posted By: Audi Junkie
A3 is a synthetic spec.
Uh...no, you are not correct. Their is plenty of non-synthetic oil out there rated A3.
Such as??? (sold in USA)
Castrol GTX 10w-40. PDS Schaeffers non synthetic 15w-40: http://www.schaefferoil.com/datapdf/151.pdf There are many dino 10w-40's, 15w-40's, and some HDEO 10w-30's that meet ACEA A3 but their PDS no longer lists ACEA ratings. I can remember just a few years back when most HDEO's had ACEA ratings printed on their bottles and data sheets.
 
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Like I said, that spec comes and goes. I'm happy to see it listed again. I may have been overly generalizing when I said it's a synthetic spec, but was really just trying to keep it short. I think what I was trying to say is that a synth is not really necessary in this application, which I think we can (now) agree on. I've often stated that this or that unspeced oil could and should pass A3, but too often found the spec was missing.
 
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Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Hammer
Castrol GTX 10w-40. PDS
Is this the UK version? The US version doesn't mention ACEA A3. Viscosity at 100C seems to be a bit different, too: http://www.castrol.com/liveassets/bp_int...psd_gtx_usa.pdf
I'm in UK here just t let you know that almost all 15w40 mineral oils are ACEA A3 here A3 is just a high performance stable petrol engine oil spec and does not concern itself with base oil composition http://www.acea.be/images/uploads/pub/070308_ACEA_sequences_2007_LD_and_HD.pdf You may not see them on US cans because it is a European approval system.
 
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Delo 15w-40 carried A3 for a short time here. It's good to know that the same oils carry A3 over there.
 
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