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      07-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #1
iflyjetzzz
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Oil Capacity for 2008 328i ARRGGHHH!

OK, I've read that the 2008 328i has an oil capacity of 6.9 quarts. I looked in the owners manual and found nothing - no capacities for oil - listed. If someone can find this capacity listed in the manual, please call me on it.
I found this: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...32&postcount=1 Link brings up a .pdf showing that the capacity is 6.9 quarts.

I'm calling BS. I just changed the oil and filter and put in ~6.0 quarts. What did the oil level read? FULL. And yes, that's driving the car several times since the oil change. That's almost a quart less than what is generally accepted as the correct quantity.
This was my third oil change and I wanted to see what it would take to get the fsking computer oil sensor to read something less than full. Well, 6 quarts doesn't do it.
Has anyone serviced their e90 and gotten the computer oil 'dipstick' to read less than full? And if so, how much oil did you put in?

ARRRGGHHH!
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      07-16-2011, 05:58 PM   #2
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Slightly different engine, but my 325 read 1qt low when I put 6 bottles in. I put in 1/2 the bottle and it read .5 qt low and full when I finished the bottle. Maybe your sensor is messed up. Wouldn't surprise me one bit.
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      07-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90pilot View Post
Maybe your sensor is messed up. Wouldn't surprise me one bit.
Now you're just trying to feed into an old timer's paranoia!
Jeez, I miss the old fashioned dipstick. There are just some things that shouldn't change - having oil/transmission fluid dipsticks are very high on that list.

I put in ~6.5 quarts last time, trying to get the reading to be something less than full. And I definitely drained quite a bit of oil out of the car on this last change.
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      07-16-2011, 08:52 PM   #4
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Yea, I'm all for the whole electronic dipstick to tell you if you're oil is low, but I would very much like to check its accuracy from time to time with a regular dipstick. The only way to check accuracy is to short-fill it. Maybe the 328 has a different capacity. Not sure. I'm a big fan of electronic goodies but I like some things to be fail-safe or verifiable. The Germans don't have the best track record when it comes to modules and sensors lol!
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      07-16-2011, 10:36 PM   #5
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Oil capacity and fill quantity after an oil change are two different things.

6'ish quarts is about right for a fill.
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      07-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb View Post
Oil capacity and fill quantity after an oil change are two different things.

6'ish quarts is about right for a fill.
I always put 7 full bottles into my engine when I do an oil change. Never measured how much came out but I usually put in 6 bottles. Then turn the car on and wait for the reading to come up, then top off as needed. Though I always empty the 7th bottle into my engine.

I do let the car sit for a half hour draining though.
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      07-16-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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I have the same engine as you except we use 1 liter bottles, I put in six bottles, checked the oil level which takes forever, and it was down .5, added half a bottle and it read full.

6.5 liters = 6.87 quarts
6 liters = 6.34 quarts
.5 liter = .53 quart

Agreed, if anyone in BMW's engine design department reads these threads please bring the dipstick back or add it to the options list.

Last edited by Glim; 07-29-2011 at 10:28 AM.
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      07-17-2011, 12:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ********* View Post
I always put 7 full bottles into my engine when I do an oil change. Never measured how much came out but I usually put in 6 bottles. Then turn the car on and wait for the reading to come up, then top off as needed. Though I always empty the 7th bottle into my engine.

I do let the car sit for a half hour draining though.
Right. Warm oil and a long drain period will obviously get more oil out. Don't forget that overfilling is bad and can damage your cats.
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      07-17-2011, 01:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb View Post
Right. Warm oil and a long drain period will obviously get more oil out. Don't forget that overfilling is bad and can damage your cats.
I drove the car 20 miles to the military base's auto hobby shop prior to draining so the oil was definitely HOTTTT. I had the car up on a lift and let it drain for quite a while.
Prior to removing the drain plug, I take the oil fill cap off and remove the old filter to expedite draining.
I don't put the drain plug back in until the oil is only coming out at a drop or so per second.

I'll go with 5 quarts next time and see what I get. I'd just feel a WHOLE LOT better if I saw the oil down 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of a quart on the electronic 'dipstick'.

... I'm aware that overfilling the oil's bad but I don't have cats. I don't even like cats so I don't mind if they're damaged. Or did you mean something else than the animal?
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      07-17-2011, 06:45 AM   #10
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Not sure why you are having interface problems with the e-dipstick. When you change the oil and filter the refill capacity is 7 quarts. Drain, replace the filter, and refill with 7 quarts. That is the procedure from the manufacturer. Being a pilot, I'd figure you are all about procedure. Every pilot I know is.
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      07-17-2011, 01:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Being a pilot, I'd figure you are all about procedure. Every pilot I know is.
I can write a book about procedure and pilots. I don't want to get too off topic but, as pilots we're required to learn about details about aircraft systems and their operation. Procedure is nice, but we're trained to have a brain and think. The reason I reccomend short filling is to verify that the only method of checking oil quantity is working properly. If it's not and it tells you it's full at 5qts, that's a problem. I don't know what the minimum safe oil quantity is, but I do know that running an engine low on oil can blow it up. I would highly reccomend checking out that sensor. I don't even know how it works.
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      07-17-2011, 03:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Not sure why you are having interface problems with the e-dipstick. When you change the oil and filter the refill capacity is 7 quarts. Drain, replace the filter, and refill with 7 quarts. That is the procedure from the manufacturer. Being a pilot, I'd figure you are all about procedure. Every pilot I know is.
Nice sarcasm. OK, let riddle me this one. Why is my e-dipstick reading full when I only added 6 quarts??
Here is how I changed my oil, step by step:
1) Drive 20 miles to the military base auto hobby shop, ensuring that the oil is sufficiently warmed up.
2) Pull the car onto the lift
3) Unscrew the oil fill cap to allow for faster draining.
4) Remove oil filter, also to allow for faster draining.
5) Raise car on lift.
6) Remove oil pan bolt and drain old oil. Allow oil to drain for ~10 minutes; appears to have emptied 'normal' amount of oil. Wait until the oil is very slowly dripping out of the oil pan.
7) Replace oil pan bolt with new crush washer.
8) Lower car on lift.
9) Install new oil filter.
10) Fill car with ~6.0 quarts of new oil.
11) Drive car out of auto hobby shop and let engine idle for several minutes until getting a reading on e-dipstick.
12) Turn off car, as e-dipstick reads full. Let car sit for a couple of minutes and then restart and drive to the base exchange. Check oil level again before shutting off engine ... still reads full.
13) After car has sat for 20 minutes, restart and drive home. Check oil on way home - STILL reading full.

So you can tell me that the capacity is 7 quarts until the end of time but then why is my e-dipstick reading full with 6 quarts?
Or perhaps it's something wrong with my oil change procedure; changing oil is an extremely complex job.
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      07-17-2011, 04:16 PM   #13
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I still think your oil level sensor is messed up.
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      07-17-2011, 05:30 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90pilot View Post
I still think your oil level sensor is messed up.
I think he needs to check the amount of oil he drained next time.
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      07-17-2011, 05:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e90pilot View Post
The reason I reccomend short filling is to verify that the only method of checking oil quantity is working properly. If it's not and it tells you it's full at 5qts, that's a problem. I don't know what the minimum safe oil quantity is, but I do know that running an engine low on oil can blow it up. I would highly reccomend checking out that sensor.
Bingo! That's why I wanted to see a reading of less than full.

I'm going to an indy BMW shop next week to get my brakes bled; I'll get them to check the oil sensor and do a couple of other minor things.
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      07-17-2011, 05:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb View Post
I think he needs to check the amount of oil he drained next time.
Good idea.
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      07-17-2011, 05:42 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ceb View Post
I think he needs to check the amount of oil he drained next time.
I've changed oil for 35 years. While I don't know if 5 quarts or 8 quarts came out the other day, the drain looked 'normal'. The drain pan used in the auto hobby shop is on wheels and has a large reservoir (I'll guess 5 gallons) at the bottom. Something similar to this: http://www.amazon.com/Rolling-Collec.../dp/B004UC6NEG

I could empty the bottom container and then find how much I drain but I suspect it'll be ~6 quarts the next time I change the oil, since that's how much I put in last time. I'm not sure what such a procedure would accomplish though. Are you suggesting that less than the full amount of oil is being drained? Not exactly Occam's Razor.
I'll go with either a bad sensor or my 2008 328i holds 6 or less quarts of oil.
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      07-18-2011, 12:31 PM   #18
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Search around, there is a procedure to get that final quart of oil out of the engine. Can't recall where it gets stored, or if I am confusing it with the radiator fluid, or both.
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      07-18-2011, 05:30 PM   #19
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I've been checking the oil reading every time I get in the car since changing the oil on Saturday. I'd estimate that I checked it at least a dozen times. Today, I checked the oil level 5 times (every time I got in the car after it sat for a little while). The first four times, the quantity read full.
The fifth time, the oil finally read 1/2 between minimum and maximum.
I don't think I'll top it off for a while; I want to monitor this situation a bit closer. It looks like it's a faulty oil sensor.
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      07-19-2011, 05:23 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
Nice sarcasm. OK, let riddle me this one. Why is my e-dipstick reading full when I only added 6 quarts??
So you can tell me that the capacity is 7 quarts until the end of time but then why is my e-dipstick reading full with 6 quarts?
Or perhaps it's something wrong with my oil change procedure; changing oil is an extremely complex job.
I wasn't being sarcastic. There is something wrong with your procedure.

I've changed my oil 9 times, (2 at the dealer) 7 in my home shop with a lift. I've checked the real drained quantity twice against the e-dipstick, and both times the e-dipstick was spot on; once it was reading 1 quart low (after 17,000 miles) and the other it was reading 3/4 low after about 17,800 and me adding a quart at around the 16.5K mark. THE procedure calls for draining the oil just as you described and refilling with seven (7) quarts of oil. The engine is not going to hide a quart of oil somewhere and not let it drain out.

Let me ask you, after 35 years of changing your own oil, have you ever drained an engine of oil, with a filter change and added in the full quantity of oil the sump is rated to hold and have the dipstick read over capacity? I never have. I'd bet you've have the same experience. When you drain the oil out of an engine, it is designed to drain ALL the oil, or there is a special procedure with a second drain plug to drain the rest. I'd bet if you drove your car for a week it would eventually show a quart low. Not that I'm an expert on the system, but I'm sure it is designed to EXPECT a full oil re-fill and (of 7 quarts) and along with a CBS oil monitor reset, starts a new monitoring sequence. German engineers develop a procedure and expect it to be followed. They don't expect the tech to screw with the process.

Just drain the oil, replace the filter and refill with 7 quarts and reset the oil monitor. It works every time. That's the procedure. The procedure is NOT to add 6 quarts, read the e-dipstick then top off as necessary (that's a procedure for some manufacturers engines with a mechnaical dipstick).

If you search hard enough, someone posted the details on how the sensor is built and works, or you could get the Bentley repair manual and read up on the sensor and how it works).

The e-dipstick performs the same function as a mechanical dipstick but works differently because it is electronic; you are expecting it to behave the same as a mechanical apparatus, which it doesn't, nor is designed to. Is the e-dipstick over engineered? Maybe, but maybe it is used for other functions the a mechanical dipstick system can't perform. Oil control in a vanos engine is not a simple matter. The oil pump is a constant-rate pump. The engine needs a constant and consistant oil pressure to properly comtrol valve timing. My old E30 had both a mechanical dipstick and a low oil level light. When the oil level light came on the dipstick always read 1 quart low. I don't see the N52/54 system to be much different.

Do you have an issue with computer controlled ignition, timing, or fuel supply? Distributors, carbs, and vacuum advance all were replaced by electronics, why is the e-dipstick so different and so offensive?

Last edited by ENINTY; 07-19-2011 at 05:32 AM.
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      07-19-2011, 11:38 AM   #21
iflyjetzzz
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Entity, sorry; I misinterpreted the tone of your post.
I have changed the oil on this car three times; far more than is recommended by BMW. Overkill? Probably, but I bought it off of a lease and the oil still came out pretty dirty this last time around. ... but that's a bit off topic so I'll post more details on this below the main stuff.

First time I changed the oil: added 7 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full. That's on both the stalk reading and on my Navi reading.
Second time I changed the oil: added 6.5 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full. Again, on both stalk and Navi.
Third time I changed oil: added 6.0 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full on both stalk and Navi for two days. Yesterday afternoon, the stalk reading started showing it halfway between full and minimum. The Navi showed it down 2 bars from full (there are 5 bars between full and minimum). It reads halfway down today.

My concern is that the e-dipstick seems to be very insensitive to overfilling. I talked to my indy BMW mechanic and he said that his manual shows that my car takes 6 liters of oil. That comes to 6.34012 quarts.
So when I put in 7 quarts and 6.5 quarts, I was overfilling my car with oil.

Now, as whether or not I've overfilled a car when changing the oil while following the listed capacity. Yes. A car that states 5.0 quarts with oil and filter change generally comes up just a little above full after adding 5.0 quarts. I chalk that up to the fact that you can't completely drain the oil and that the oil containers probably contain just a bit more than specified. As CEB mentioned above, oil capacity and oil fill after an oil change are two different things. This is a reason why many of us purposely underfill by a little bit.
My oil currently reads between min and max. Is that within specs? Yes. Would it be better if it were exactly full? I doubt it. Would it be worse if the car is overfilled with oil? Yes, excessive overfill can result in foaming the oil due to the crankshaft. Not a good thing. And now since it appears that the e-dipstick is insensitive to overfilling, I have real concerns.

As far as electronic ignition, timing, etc, most of those were positive advances in auto reliability. Can anyone tell me how replacing a manual dipstick with an e-dipstick is an advancement, especially since oil is the lifeblood of an engine? OK, I don't get my hands dirty when I 'check' my oil level. But popping the hood on occasion and taking a look at everything is, IMHO, a good thing. It gives you a chance to see if anything else looks out of place.


/oil change interval rant on
OK, now to changing my oil more often than recommended. I don't like BMW's recommended oil change intervals due to possible sludge buildup in the engine. I also don't use LL-01 oil; I use Castrol Edge 5W-30. It's a great oil and I switched from Mobil 1 a couple of years ago after finding out that after Exxon bought Mobil, they were using inferior formulation on Mobil 1 in order to increase profit margins. I'm happy with Castrol, as BMW must also be, as my oil fill cap has a Castrol logo on it.
This last oil change was after only 4,000 miles but was 7 months after my previous change. I live in the desert southwest and it can be a pretty harsh environment - it ain't the rolling hills of Bavaria.
I'm sure many will view changing the oil often as a waste of money. That's fine. It costs me ~$47 for each oil change ($32 oil, $4 for auto hobby shop lift, $11 for oil filter). All things considered, that's a pretty reasonable price to pay for not worrying about the lifeblood of my car.
LL-01: The spec is for longlife oil. I don't believe that you can make an oil that works 'good as new' for two full years and can prevent sludge buildup. I'd rather simply change my oil more often. I'm sure some will adamantly disagree with my practice of changing oil twice a year. That's fine. The worst that can be said is that I'm wasting my money. I can live with it costing me $95 a year in oil changes - I waste a lot more money than that on other stuff.
When my oil comes out some other color than pitch black, I'll cut back on changing it. My wife's Acura doesn't get its oil changed as often (has 75K miles; went 6K miles between changes) and the oil is less black than for my car. ... I know this because I changed them within a couple of weeks of each other.
To those who advocate BMW specs for oil changes, what is it that makes a BMW so 'special' that it can go so many miles and so much time between changes? LL-01? Take a look at other companies that offer free maintenance (Volvo, VW) - 7500 miles on Volvo, 10000 miles on VW. You'd think if LL-01 was that great, Volvo and VW would require LL-01 and change their oil change requirements to match BMW.
Cynical question: What happens to an engine that doesn't have its oil changed often enough?
/rant off
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      07-19-2011, 12:34 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
Entity, sorry; I misinterpreted the tone of your post.
I have changed the oil on this car three times; far more than is recommended by BMW. Overkill? Probably, but I bought it off of a lease and the oil still came out pretty dirty this last time around. ... but that's a bit off topic so I'll post more details on this below the main stuff.

First time I changed the oil: added 7 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full. That's on both the stalk reading and on my Navi reading.
Second time I changed the oil: added 6.5 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full. Again, on both stalk and Navi.
Third time I changed oil: added 6.0 quarts. When done, the dipstick read exactly full on both stalk and Navi for two days. Yesterday afternoon, the stalk reading started showing it halfway between full and minimum. The Navi showed it down 2 bars from full (there are 5 bars between full and minimum). It reads halfway down today.

My concern is that the e-dipstick seems to be very insensitive to overfilling. I talked to my indy BMW mechanic and he said that his manual shows that my car takes 6 liters of oil. That comes to 6.34012 quarts.
So when I put in 7 quarts and 6.5 quarts, I was overfilling my car with oil.

Now, as whether or not I've overfilled a car when changing the oil while following the listed capacity. Yes. A car that states 5.0 quarts with oil and filter change generally comes up just a little above full after adding 5.0 quarts. I chalk that up to the fact that you can't completely drain the oil and that the oil containers probably contain just a bit more than specified. As CEB mentioned above, oil capacity and oil fill after an oil change are two different things. This is a reason why many of us purposely underfill by a little bit.
My oil currently reads between min and max. Is that within specs? Yes. Would it be better if it were exactly full? I doubt it. Would it be worse if the car is overfilled with oil? Yes, excessive overfill can result in foaming the oil due to the crankshaft. Not a good thing. And now since it appears that the e-dipstick is insensitive to overfilling, I have real concerns.

As far as electronic ignition, timing, etc, most of those were positive advances in auto reliability. Can anyone tell me how replacing a manual dipstick with an e-dipstick is an advancement, especially since oil is the lifeblood of an engine? OK, I don't get my hands dirty when I 'check' my oil level. But popping the hood on occasion and taking a look at everything is, IMHO, a good thing. It gives you a chance to see if anything else looks out of place.


/oil change interval rant on
OK, now to changing my oil more often than recommended. I don't like BMW's recommended oil change intervals due to possible sludge buildup in the engine. I also don't use LL-01 oil; I use Castrol Edge 5W-30. It's a great oil and I switched from Mobil 1 a couple of years ago after finding out that after Exxon bought Mobil, they were using inferior formulation on Mobil 1 in order to increase profit margins. I'm happy with Castrol, as BMW must also be, as my oil fill cap has a Castrol logo on it.
This last oil change was after only 4,000 miles but was 7 months after my previous change. I live in the desert southwest and it can be a pretty harsh environment - it ain't the rolling hills of Bavaria.
I'm sure many will view changing the oil often as a waste of money. That's fine. It costs me ~$47 for each oil change ($32 oil, $4 for auto hobby shop lift, $11 for oil filter). All things considered, that's a pretty reasonable price to pay for not worrying about the lifeblood of my car.
LL-01: The spec is for longlife oil. I don't believe that you can make an oil that works 'good as new' for two full years and can prevent sludge buildup. I'd rather simply change my oil more often. I'm sure some will adamantly disagree with my practice of changing oil twice a year. That's fine. The worst that can be said is that I'm wasting my money. I can live with it costing me $95 a year in oil changes - I waste a lot more money than that on other stuff.
When my oil comes out some other color than pitch black, I'll cut back on changing it. My wife's Acura doesn't get its oil changed as often (has 75K miles; went 6K miles between changes) and the oil is less black than for my car. ... I know this because I changed them within a couple of weeks of each other.
To those who advocate BMW specs for oil changes, what is it that makes a BMW so 'special' that it can go so many miles and so much time between changes? LL-01? Take a look at other companies that offer free maintenance (Volvo, VW) - 7500 miles on Volvo, 10000 miles on VW. You'd think if LL-01 was that great, Volvo and VW would require LL-01 and change their oil change requirements to match BMW.
Cynical question: What happens to an engine that doesn't have its oil changed often enough?
/rant off
So first off, I should have done this originally, thank for your service to our country. Highly respect you guys that are career Military. I was always jealous of the guys I worked with from Ft. Meade who had access to the fort's car repair facility.

If you read my posts on the subject of oil, I'm on the side of longer oil changes. I have over 500,000 miles of experience of adhering to BMW's long oil change intervals on the three different BMWs I've owned (all since new), so it's not conjecture on my part when I state that it is safe to follow the CBS OCI. But we’re not here (nor am I trying to start) to discuss the OCI issue.

Now a recent event with my e-dipstick between my last oil change and the current, active, oil in my engine now was this:

At about 16,000 miles on my last oil, my car was down 1 quart and notified me of that status. Dumbass me kept forgetting to add a quart for the next three days (until the weekend came up). Now for me, 3 days of driving is about 500 miles and the owner’s manual says to add a quart within 200 (IIRC) miles after the notification comes up. Well when I went to check the e-dipstick prior to adding the oil it went back up to 3/4 quart low. So being concerned about over filling, I didn't add the quart. Eventually about 6 weeks later I started having a few slight performance issues, like the engine would skip a beat or two. Soon after, the 1 quart low signal came back up, I immediately added the quart (I kept it in the trunk just in case). The e-dipstick read full. A few weeks later, the e-dipstick started dropping the level fast; 1/4 quart low one day, then a few days afterwards 1/2 quart low. Then, 3/4 quart low. Well by this time I was within 1,500 miles of an oil change, so I changed the oil, and I was thinking my oil level sensor was going bad. I measured the drained oil and sure enough there was 6 and 1/4 quarts that drained out. So even though I added a full quart, my engine was still low on oil and my e-dipstick reported full. But in this case I didn't add the oil within the mileage interval BMW calls for, which may have set the dipstick to read faulty.

During this time I discovered I had a few instances of the VANOS fault codes showing up in the ECU. The point of my story is; I think the engine is designed to run with a minimum of 6 quarts in the sump as to provide enough oil volume to properly control the VANOS system. I eventually pulled the VANOS control solenoids and cleaned them and swapped them between the intake and exhaust cams. After now about 8,500 miles everything has been normal. I also think the e-dipstick (oil level sensor) is of such a design that it does not give an “instant” measure of the oil level (such as a mechanical dipstick does). I think the system is designed to be reset, assumes there was 7 quarts added at refill, and starts its monitoring sequence anew. Adding less than 7 quarts of oil probably messes with the software (I’m just guessing).

Peace.
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