Drives: bmw 325xit
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Twin Falls, Idaho
DIY LOF for 325xi (e91) Wagon
I just recently changed the engine oil in my 2006 325xiT for the first time. I live 130 miles away from the dealer or independents, and was way over on oil change interval and didn't have good reason to travel to Boise. That, and I've always replaced my engine oil on all 6 BMW's I've owned, so why stop now?
I read the E90 oil change protocol and it was very helpful, but you need to know there can be some differences in what you see and more clarification on best approach. I took a few pics to help explain what I am talking about.
Of course, the hardest part is getting the car off the ground high enough to work. My car does not have sport option and yet it is by far the lowest of any I've ever owned.
First off, this tutorial for engine oil only. I did not attempt the transmission, the transfer case, nor the diffs (2), front and rear. That I'll leave for the guys with a tall lift. Just make sure you drain/fill all of them at least every 30K or less.
Secondly, it would have been nice to go out and buy one of those nifty oil extractors, but unfortunately, these newer cars don't have a dipstick to pull from.
So, to get started, lift the car from the left side, where the drain plug is closer to the edge of the car. I cut a block of hardwood to fit into the rectangular lift point, between the car body and floor jack, so as to not damage the hard plastic surrounding.
Once under the car, look for the triangular "door" that hides your drain plug. On my car, unlike other's, probably because it is awd, the drain plug points straight down, whereas other cars are at the more typical perpendicular angle to the ground. This initially startled me, thinking I had found the wrong drain plug. Not so.
The cover is easily opened by a flat head screwdriver, turning approx. 1/4 turn to open. The drain plug is a 15mm, as I recall. You can use either a box end wrench with enough angle to clear the body, or a socket with a small extension.
I recommend warming the motor slightly before draining oil, it goes faster and you get more out. Also, since you have the car at such an angle for access, try carefully lowering the car down to level, without crushing your oil pan/collector, to get as much old oil out as possible.
Now, get back on your feet and into the engine bay.
The great thing about BMW's oil changes on more modern cars, is the oil filter is up top. My old senior six motors were a big pain in the butt to change, with the canister type filter elements and cramped quarters. These newer oil filter caps requires a belt or chain wrenches or BMW proprietary socket to remove, due to it's large diameter. You might get it off by hand, but you'll have to be lucky or very strong.
Make sure you replace both the small and larger O-rings, supplied in the oil filter box.
Once you have replaced the filter element and the cap in back on tight, go back under and tighten the oil drain plug, making sure you use the new crush washer, also found in the filter box. DON'T OVERTIGHTEN THE DRAIN PLUG, it's aluminum threads and you can strip them very easily. (This is one of the main reasons you don't take these cars to franchise oil change stations, because they are unfamiliar with your car.
Add 6.9 qts of oil once the drain plug is in place, or whatever your owner's manual indicates. Then follow the instructions on how to reset your oil level monitor via the dashboard.
Tip: When adding oil from the typical plastic quart containers, I empty them till they just start dripping, then put the cap back on, turn them upside down somewhere in the engine bay where they can stay inverted on their own, and then go on to open the next one. Once you have emptied all your needed plastic qt. bottles, reopen each, in order of use, hovering the unopened bottle over the oil opening at the top of the engine, and taking the cap off quickly, thereby emptying all the oil from the container until it begins to drip again, which won't take as long as when the bottle is brand new. Less wasted oil and better for the recycling guys.