Oil Requirements of 1999-2001 BMW Engines

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5,785
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Dixie
Thought some folks might find this interesting.... This is directly from the 2002 "Chekchart" Lube guide used by Quick Lubes and garages that work on a number of vehicles: General Oil Specification: Use a synthetic oil that meets the BMW "Longlife" requirements. SAE Grades: Above -4F, 10w-30/10w-40 ALL TEMPS: 0w-20/0w-30/0w-40; 5w-20/5w-30/5w-40
 
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948
Location
st. Louis
Seems as though they are more specific about low temp/cold start viscosity. Why such a wide rage for operating temp viscosity??? 20 or 40Wt can be used in the same ambient temp conditions? Why doesn't it read "Throw in any weight oil you have on hand"?
 
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2
Location
CA
The new M3, which has a known problem with bearing failures, is supposed to use 10W-60 (sixty) motor oil. Yes, in North America too. In fact they cite tight bearing tolerances as a reason to use this oil. E46 M3 Engine failure page Go to the above link and click on "Letter to Owners 8/29/02" (sorry, direct link is to a forum.)
 
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198
Location
Canada
I don't know where Chek-Chart got their info. for that one - the last BMW manual that I looked at (2000 Z3) called for XW30 API SH oil. There was certainly no mention of any XW20 oils! The SH really caught my eye - here they were in the year 2000 calling for an API spec. from at least 4 years prior! What does that say about the API?
 
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2,908
Location
Georgia/Retired
My E46 BMW owners manual is not very specific about which oils to use but it does specifically say to use a "BMW longlife" oil. I telephoned BMW of North America to inquire about this and they said that it basically means to use a fully synthetic oil meeting API SJ or better. Viscosity is specified as: all temperatures: 0W-XX/5W-XX temps above 5ºF: 10W-XX On one of my trips to Europe I questioned the folks at a dealership about the oils they sell for the M52 engine (not M3) and they use ACEA A3 rated full-synthetic 5w-40. This one particular dealership specifically used ARAL brand. My oil analysis on my BMW has shown that this engine is very hard on oil. I am now changing my oil in the 4,000 - 5,000 mile range although my oil service indicator still recommends 15,000 mile intervals. I have had one analysis shear out of grade and two others have come close to shearing out of grade. Fortunately the wear metals have all looked good. I have used: Mobil-1 15w-50 and 10W-30 (tri-syn) Valvoline 5w-40 (synpower) Amsoil 10w-40 (AMO) I currently have Amsoil in the engine and I intend to run this for 3 more oil changes and then do a analysis at a 5,000 mile interval. My next oils to try are going to be Mobil-1 0W-40 and possibly Quaker State and Pennzoil's 5w-40 European formulas. I hope I am doing no damage by sampling the different oils. BMW changed their brand of oil from a synthetic 5w-40 to a 5w-30 but I noticed that their 5w-30 is one of the rare ACEA A3 rated oils in this viscosity. It might be worth the $3.49 per quart they charge. One alarming thing I notice is that with all of the oils I have used, they all have a brownish hue to them and I have brown deposits on the oil cap. I have seen sludge build up from highly volatile fluids used in engines but I've never seen this color from using good quality oils (I hope they're good quality). Analysis shows no coolant in the oil and the engine burns no oil.
 
Here in SA, the E46 M3 oil is also the 10W60 - now that Castrol RS is down to a 5W60, I believe this is what is used. BMW LONGLIFE is a spec I see on very few of the oils. Yes, it is actually printed on the oil container label. But those that you do see it printed on, are the pricier, good stuff [Big Grin] Example. Mobil 1 5W-40 (French produced), Petronas Syntium 5W-40 (Malaysian), Fina First, Castrol RS and SLX - all these being Group 4 PAO's I believe. We don't have much grades lower than 5W-30 here ( and only 2 - 5W30 Caltex Havoline Energy and 0W30 Casrol SLX) - rest are 40 weights or higher). I estimate sales of these 30 weight multigrade oils at lower than 1% (if that) of total market. BTW, E46 BMW's oil service intervals are variable, based on the check lights, but on average, they are around 24 000 km (15000 miles). I think the E46 M3's oil intervals, due to, shall we say, "enthusiastic" driving [Big Grin] , works out around 16000km.
 

Patman

Staff member
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21,989
Location
Oakville, Ontario
quote:
Originally posted by sprintman: Anybody with an M3 with 8,000rpm rev limit running any oil for 10,000km is a tinny short of a 6-pack!! I just can't believe anybody would do that?
Why not? You've been around here long enough to know that oils can go longer than that, even if the car is driven very hard.
 
quote:
Originally posted by sprintman: Anybody with an M3 with 8,000rpm rev limit running any oil for 10,000km is a tinny short of a 6-pack!! I just can't believe anybody would do that?
Not really [Big Grin] OEM recommends that and the evidence shows its perfectly fine. Plenty of E36 M3's (the Euro Spec's 232kW ones) on the previous 12000km intervals running perfectly with 200 000 + km here. BTW, the E46 cars have a standard motorplan (service & warranty plan for 100 000 km, extendable upto 200 000 km. And theres no quibble to replace anything except tyres, and glass.) So I think BMW have done some of their homework and the proper oils can do the job. I had a Toyota 20V 4AGE engined vehicle (with VVT) producing 115kW (154 HP) (from a 1600 !) on 15000 km service intervals. Red line was at 8100 rpm and boy did it go. Sold it in perfect condition at 120 000 km - no oil consumption in 15 000 km. Most 4AGE owners will be expecting to get 250-300 000 km before a rebuild from these engines. Guess it just a matter of perspective and what you're used too. As mentioned in another thread, Citroens here are on an OEM 30 000 km oil service interval. So, from my perspective, I also find 3000 mile oil changes quite "perplexing".... [Smile]
 
Messages
38
Location
PA, USA
I was talking to my friend in germany who bought a brand new Audi A4 TDI. the dealer told him to leave the oil in the negine for 2 years [Eek!] It's castrol SLX
 
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2,480
Joe hit the nail right on the head! He says: "I estimate sales of these 30 weight multigrade oils at lower than 1% (if that) of total market." He then goes on to say: "I had a Toyota 20V 4AGE engined vehicle (with VVT) producing 115kW (154 HP) (from a 1600 !) on 15000 km service intervals. Red line was at 8100 rpm and boy did it go. Sold it in perfect condition at 120 000 km - no oil consumption in 15 000 km. Most 4AGE owners will be expecting to get 250-300 000 km before a rebuild from these engines. Guess it just a matter of perspective and what you're used too. As mentioned in another thread, Citroens here are on an OEM 30 000 km oil service interval" So while we in N.A. quibble with water thick 5-30 and "need" to change it every 3k mi. becuase it's toast by then, the rest of the world is using 40, 50, 60 weights and going 10k or more without problems. And no, I haven't seen BMW recommend any 0 weight oils nor 20 weight. With the exception of M-1 0-40. Otherwise, only their own 5-30 (Made by Castrol - group III no doubt due to price) is recommended and used as the service is free for 3 yrs/100k km (exc. M cars)...their N.A. website offers M-1 and Valvoline Synthetic (of the same grade) as suitable replacements or to top up. Wonder if the M3's with engine failures have been from using 5-30...hmmm...
 
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