New to me BMW E46 330i with 153K miles. Should I use a detergent before the next oil change?

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I think I know the answer but figure I’ll ask the braintrust of BITOG.

I recently purchased a 2003 BMW 330i ZHP with the M54B30 engine enhanced with ZHP cams from the factory. I bought it from the original owner who has been meticulous about maintenance. Despite the age, and 153K+ miles on the engine, the car drives like new as the original owner changed all fluids before they were due, and did preventative maintenance for common issues (bushings, cooling, DISA valve, VANOS, etc.). I have most receipts back to 2003.

The original owner first leased the car, then bought it from BMW Financial. Upon purchase the car shows oil changes every 7500-10,000 miles, some at BMW dealers, some at import specialists, and most by the original owner over the last 100,000 miles. That said, the first record of an oil change was at ~27,000 miles, but I assume it was done before that while leased.

I am about to do my first oil change on this car. It burns no oil, runs like a top, and there is no smoke. The last several changes have been with Castrol 5W40 European formula which used to meet BMW’s spec, but has since lost it despite no change in the oil formula.

My plan is to change the oil once it hits 5000 miles. I intend to use Castrol 5W40 European and a BMW filter. I am tempted to do a UOA to see if there’s any amiss.

Is there any merit in using something like BG EPR before the next change? I assume the frequent oil changes with quality synthetics has kept the engine pretty well free of sludge. No oil burning and smoke tells me that the ring lands are clean and the rings seat well.

Should I count my blessings and keep going as is, or should I use EPR to get out any crud?
 
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Does the manufacturer instruct the use of flushes? Is there evidence of sludge buildup that can be addressed by a flush?
 
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If it were my car and I just bought it I'd probably throw some BG EPR or liquimoly flush in it. Highly unlikely to hurt anything unless the internals look like a Snak-pak and it definitely will clean baked on crud out.
 
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I`ve been using engine flush for ages on several cars without any issues. I have a bike that i will do engine flush for the first time and i will use engine flush on my Taurus SHO which i bought last week. To me engine flush is like a mouthwash, using it for a good measure.
 

JXW

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Ester based oils will do gentle cleaning over an oil change cycle. Redline 5w-40? I use Ravenol VST 5w-40 regularly myself but also believe in the Redline formula FOR SHORTER intervals like 5K or less.

Without any signs of a sludge issue I cannot see the merit in pouring an additive into the engine. No oil consumption. You have a little reason or cause for more than just great oil in the engine with a new filter.
 
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Ester based oils will do gentle cleaning over an oil change cycle. Redline 5w-40? I use Ravenol VST 5w-40 regularly myself but also believe in the Redline formula FOR SHORTER intervals like 5K or less.

Without any signs of a sludge issue I cannot see the merit in pouring an additive into the engine. No oil consumption. You have a little reason or cause for more than just great oil in the engine with a new filter.
Why put a ester oil in then...
 
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First off, sounds like you got a fantastic car! I'm sure you will enjoy it greatly. On my recently purchased E46, I put some new Hankook Ventus V2 tires on from Sam's Club. IMO, a fantastic affordable quiet tire. Car rides/handles like a dream. Sorry I can't comment on the additive as I have no personal experience. I'm using Castrol European formula oil (0w-40) presently. I'll switch over to QS Euro 5w-40 on the next OC. Safe travels!
 
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Nice car. I miss my '03 ZHP. With such the extremely low mileage I wouldn't worry about it. It's a 20 yr old car which averaged about 8k miles per year. Factory interval for the E46 was around 15k miles so the previous owner was doing mid-interval changes which was common among the enthusiast crowd. There will be no sludge. It's possible there's some red staining which will be found on the cooler sections of the valvetrain but it's not doing anything you should worry about and you won't be able to get it all off anyways.

If you're having a hard time sourcing LL01 try a BMW dealership. They may have 5w30 and it won't be crazy expensive. One other thing. Euro specs revolve around HTHS rather that weight. Consequently you'll notice that the 40w oils are towards the bottom end of the viscosity range for 40w and that the 30w oils are towards the top end of the viscosity range for 30w. They'll generally have a HTHs between 3.8-3.5
 

OVERKILL

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My sister has the same car, she loves it! Hers was dealer serviced many times, though she has also done her own oil changes more recently. I had her using M1 0w-40, which was LL-01 approved before the shuffle.

Hers has needed:
1. Valve cover gasket. Twice.
2. DISA valve
3. Throttle body to MAF tube replaced (it rotted out)
4. Oil separator hose replaced (it rotted out)
5. Coolant overflow bottle
6. Oil filter housing gasket
7. Most of the front-end suspension replaced (this is common on the E46)

More recently (within the last year or so):
1. New engine fan (it exploded)
2. New radiator (it started leaking)
3. New lower rad hose coolant sensor (it was also leaking)

Her central locking is currently sketchy (common problem) but hasn't bothered to get it fixed as, being a Canadian car and her DD, the rust goblins are starting to get to it.
 
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Let the oil do the cleaning
That's not what motor oil is designed to do.

Should I count my blessings and keep going as is, or should I use EPR to get out any crud?

Castrol EDGE Euro 5W-40 still carries LL01. If that engine ran Euro full-SAPS lubes its entire life then there is no reason to do a flush. If you want to be absolutely sure, run Liqui Moly Pro-Line Engine flush for 30 minutes at idle before you drain the oil. That stuff works really well. If you want to be extra clean, after the flush, put in fresh oil and drive it for a couple of days, then drain it again and fill it up with new oil. You'll be amazed that some stuff will still come out. Then you should be golden for a very long time.
 
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Just keep doing what’s been done. This is my ‘02 330ci M54 at approximately 100k. 5k oil changes with Castrol 0W40. No need for flushes.
E5B0BAAB-D6ED-4A35-8A48-F918D091DF60.jpeg
 
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Don't need addition detergents if it's been meticulously maintained.

Also, go with Castrol 0w40, it's a better oil than 5w40, and more readily available at Wally World
 
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Don't need addition detergents if it's been meticulously maintained.

Also, go with Castrol 0w40, it's a better oil than 5w40, and more readily available at Wally World
Is it really better? It doesn’t meet LL-01 like the 5w-40.
 

OVERKILL

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Is it really better? It doesn’t meet LL-01 like the 5w-40.
There were some changes made to LL-01 that removed all the 0w-40's, despite the oils not changing. Castrol 0w-40 is formulated with better bases than the 5w-40 (it's about 50% PAO, vs straight Group III) and is generally regarded as the superior oil of the two.
 
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Just keep doing what’s been done. This is my ‘02 330ci M54 at approximately 100k. 5k oil changes with Castrol 0W40. No need for flushes.
View attachment 87981
Hmmm but everyone here tells me the engineers don’t know what they’re doing and that a 20k oci is just ridiculous. They only spec 20k ocis to lessen cost of ownership and make it seem like there’s less maintenance involved! Darn engineers! Darn CAFE! Darn API! 😏
 
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