Using non-synthetic when BMW says synthetic only

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Originally posted by williar: No, you won't damage the engine unless you stress it to the max such as by continuous high-speed (>80 mph) driving, or if you run the oil a long time. I'd use a top-quality SL-rated oil and change it out at 3000 miles or earlier.
I totally agree, but if you have followed the recommendations with a quality synthetic, I don't see a need for an engine flush product anyway. You can't flush what isn't there. [Big Grin]
 
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No damage. Like I said the traditional German thinking has been either a thinner 5-30/40 synthetic or a HD 15-40 will suffice from all-weather use to 150mph on the autobahn for the 9k interval. The "synthetic only" thing is probably only for: 1. Minimize inventory...ONLY carry the 5-30. (Until they ran into the problem with a 30 weight being inadequate for the M-engines - but, that's a different story) 2. They want to scare you into using BMW oil only...hence, a "BMW-synthetic" (but can't directly stipulate that you must use it) 3. Maintenance is free for first 2-3 yrs...so this is the oil that's to be used (BMW synth) by the dealers (hence you must use synth). 4. Most BMW's are leased. They want some accountability of the condition of the engine upon return. Stipulating synth. may help keep the engine in better shape both during, on return and re-lease/re-sale with extended warranty....something (it sounds like) you don't have to worry about. My only concern is the need for an 'engine cleaner' (auto-rx??) in the first place. What are you trying to achieve? What cleaner?
 
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I bought the car used and don't have much history on the oil changes the previous owner may or may not have performed. However, the main reason I'd like to try the Auto-Rx is to try to fix a small oil leak. Bill
 
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You'll be fine. I used Castrol 20w50 for the entire 7 years I had my 318i. Traded it in with 180k on the clock. 7 thousand miles between all the flushes with the Auto-rx will be ok. You'll never go more than 3k between each change. and two will be 1500 and 1000. Don't sweat it. Just use a good quality dino of the approriate grade. Pennzoil LL 15-40 would be a great choice and relatively cheap. John
 

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Since you don't know for sure, the previous owner could or could not have done good maintenaince. Are you sure the small leak is for "real"?? It could just be from needing a new crush washer or a sloppy drip from the last oci. I wouldn't be too hasty about trying to purge this one until you can identify for sure. [SPAZ!]
 
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You are in Houston. A name-brand 15W-40 such as Chevron Delo 400 or Pennzoil LongLife will do fine. Diesel-rated oils will enhance the cleaning anyway. I would not use a 5W-30 conventional oil in that engine.
 
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Originally posted by 96Outback: You'll be fine. I used Castrol 20w50 for the entire 7 years I had my 318i.
I've got a '93 325i that I have used Castrol GTX in for years as well, but the 540i has a V8 with 280 horsepower. The lubrication needs of this engine is different than the 4-cyl 318i or 6-cyl 325i. Also the 318i and 325i models we speak of do not have a sticker under the hood saying "Use BMW synthetic oil only." I'm just nervous here. It's an expensive car. Bill
 
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"I'm just nervous here. It's an expensive car" Believe me I know. That's what BMW stands for - Break My Wallet. [Smile] Anyway, you're talking about 1 oil change interval of synthetic. You'll be changing the dino 3 or 4 times during that 7500 miles. I think a good 15-40 will hold up even in that engine........... for 2000 miles. But utimately it's your decision. If you want to get the most out of the auto-rx, you need to follow the instructions. Why don't you call Frank and talk to him? He'll be glad to tell you about your options and address your concerns. I did and am toatlly happy with the results I got in my wife's Outback and my F150. John
 
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Bill, I'd run the AutoRX along with the Delo 400, 15w-40 for 2000-3000 miles ....You'll be fine if you do this, particularly in colder weather. I may be buying a used BMW 525/530 in the next year or two and I plan a very similar procedure. Tooslick Dixie Synthetics
 
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I have a 2000 BMW 540i with 80k miles on it. I wanted to try an engine cleaner in it that recommends using non-synthetic oil during the cleaning phase. My concern is the owner's manual says to use only synthetic oil. Are there any complications I may experience if I use a high quality non-synthetic oil for about 7,000 miles? Obviously, the oil-life indicator on the dash is calibrated for the longer life synthetic oils, but I plan to change the oil based on the odometer readings during this cleaning phase and reset the oil-life meter when I'm done. Thanks, Bill
 
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I think the 'golden standard' for Euro conv. oils that can go-the-distance are 15-40's...eg. HD 15-40 (esp. diesel oil) can go 7.5-9k (standard BMW OCI). Until recently, BMW dealer gave the choice between a 15-40 conv. and the 5-30 synthetic. The 'in vogue' thinking that a 'thinner' synth. is 'as good as' a thicker conv....
 
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Thanks, but my question is am I going to do any damage to internal engine parts, seals, etc. by using non-synthetic oil when BMW has said to use synthetic oil only? Bill
 
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The owner's manual also states "use no oil addatives under any circumstances"...and you're nervous about non-synthetic? Although I apprecieate the "Break my wallet" comment [Big Grin] If the leak is minor, you'd be better served with several shorter changes (4k) of a good synthetic (eg. Syntec 5-50) that's not a water-thin 30 weight and/or simply getting the leak fixed. The esters in the oil may help clean things out and allow the seal to work. I've gotten the lower oil pan gasket replaced twice already...on my 1994 850 (180k) Like I said, as a rule of thumb it's completely safe to use any conventional oil over a 40 weight in lieu of a 30 weight synthetic. ie. 15-40 or 15-50.
 
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Why are you going to run a cleaner if you have been using synthetic since new, and now with only 80K it is as clean as it going to get. The only thing that belongs in your engine is oil, nothing else! No cleaners, additives, etc, especially on a newer BMW.
 
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I am on my second rinse on my 1992 toyota 6 cyl. P/U . when new I changed the oil at around 300 miles 800 miles then redline amsoil or mobil 1 with no more than 6,000 max mile oil changes.I cut the last filter open '2nd.application' surprisingly there was a black sludgy looking gunk in the filter pleats. I don't think arx does anything but good. the engine seems to run better with the arx in the oil . the truck has 92,000 miles on it now.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by 96Outback: "I'm just nervous here. It's an expensive car" Believe me I know. That's what BMW stands for - Break My Wallet. [Smile] John
You should be more nervous about the overheating problems that the V-8 BMW's suffer from and the automatic transmission failures that they suffer from. If you have not already, change the oil on the transmission. Lifetime fill it is not, you can find information out on what fluid is required on roadflydotcom by doing a search (You may also want to get in contact with Kurt Koeller the BMW transmission Guru; info on roadfly). The 540i is a wonderful car, but like my mechanic says, real BMW's that are reliable have six cylinders. Cary
 
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