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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N54 Turbo Engine / Drivetrain / Exhaust Modifications - 335i > BMW Oil Study Done-Long Interval Changes unhealthy for N54 engine



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      07-08-2009, 05:47 PM   #1
Camet11
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Hello all,

I've posted in the retrofit & blackstone thread and promised once i got all my reports/evidence back I would create a new thread. I had ran this particular sample for 11,500 miles, 3,500 miles before the recommended mileage. Car is not modified and has the retrofit oil cooler. Here are my findings

-High iron count which was 3 times the average of those who have changed at 5500 miles
-High Nitration, which indicates the oil was used longer then it should have been.
-Viscosity higher then average. Remember, viscosity testing is done at 210 degrees farenheit, which is 40-60 degrees lower then normal operation oil temps in the n54 engine. Viscosity is thought to have a direct relationship with oil temperatures. Higher the temperature, the more the oil loses its strength. Now imagine what the viscosity is at 250-270F.

With those things being said and from speaking with several different fluid dynamic engineers, BMW is wrong for saying it's ok to change the oil for the n54 engine at 15,000 miles, especially with higher then average oil temperatures.






I will be opening a p.o. box (to purchased tomorrow) for those who'd like to be a apart of a case for BMW to change their warranty writing and to provide their "no cost maintenance" at the 5,500 mile interval. A lot of people got this car due to their advertising on "no cost maintanence" and the fact they we don't know nor do they tell us it's only at 15,000 mile intervals. That's lying if you ask anyone or improper verification, i forget the terminology.

For those who have had engine problems due to long interval changes (before or after warranty period), please also send a letter with proof of repair and a written statement by the mechanic who did the repair and found the findings.

I will post the data and information needed as soon as it is available.

Regards,

Mike

Last edited by Camet11; 07-08-2009 at 06:16 PM.
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      07-08-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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Wow thanks for this...

Makes me feel at ease knowing I changed my Oil at 5K and it wasnt a waste of money.
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      07-08-2009, 06:11 PM   #3
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Great to know. If anyone could post this link up on other forums that would be very helpful. We must spread the word
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      07-08-2009, 06:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the report, definitely an eye opener. I will never buy a lease return with an N54, even if it's a CPO. I wonder how German Castrol 0W-30, which is full PAO based synthetic, would have done. Nevertheless, the OCI will be every 5000 miles or six months (whichever comes first) for me as I plan to keep the car for a long time.
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      07-08-2009, 06:23 PM   #5
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Dude, you are not going to get BMW to change their No cost maintenance on existing vehicles. The maintenance interval is only suggested and for "normal" use... You are not going to win this...

Best to hope for is causing a change in the future.. That's why I suggested sending a letter to the Roundel magazine..
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      07-08-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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Ramos thank you for your input. This was done under "normal use" and they say its ok in the manual to run the oil for 15k miles, which it isn't. I will be sending to Roundel that letter within the next couple of days.
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      07-08-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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Ramos: No- it's a 'condition based' interval that almost always seems to wind up being 15k miles.

I got my car CPO with 27k on it, and changed the oil right away (had about 8k on the oil). I'm hoping the prior owner didn't treat it to badly. It runs strong. It is absurd that this hot, high strung TURBOCHARGED motor has the same change interval as their NA motors. Turbos are notoriously hard on, and demanding of, their oil. Subaru had to lower the maintaince interval of their turbo engines after problems popped up, but they're not paying for the maintaince.

I only have about two more free oil changes coming my way, and a 100k mile warranty beyond that. I don't doubt most N54s will make it to 100k at the factory change intervals, but that is unacceptably low in this day and age. While more frequent changes would be nice, for people who bought their cars BEFORE the accelerated change interval (should one be implemented), some sort of super-extended engine & turbo lubrication-related failure warranty would be justified. It would be unacceptable if engines and turbos died earlier than necessary while following factory intervals.
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      07-08-2009, 06:47 PM   #8
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Other problem is, BMW has tons of engineering info on engines that have been pushed harder and longer. Short of a major lawsuit, most likely a class action, this isn't going to go anywhere.

Need more data to also illustrate if any damage is done by following the suggested guidlelines. In a real longitudinal study, you want a large sample of engines with over 100,000 miles that can show a wear rate higher than normal based on the oil change interval BMW suggests. Short of that, BMW isn't going to care.

I agree with Ramos, send it in the the Roundel, and convince them to run an article about it. Or, a much easier route, do what the rest of us do and change the oil once at around 7500 miles.
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      07-08-2009, 07:38 PM   #9
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i had 3 oil changes by the time i got to 15000.
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      07-08-2009, 09:01 PM   #10
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You are only one person, I really don't see how you can say that BMW's determined oil change is outright wrong just on one person having this. I know your analysis is well documented however I would wait till other's sample analysis have come back before making such drastic assumptions. I am about to send my first oil change, done at almost 15k miles, to Blackstone. We will see what it shows...
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      07-08-2009, 10:32 PM   #11
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Any chance there is a different oil for break in period for the first 15K miles?

I heard that as you break in an engine the iron count is high at first, but gets lower as the car is broken in....

hmm?
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      07-08-2009, 11:02 PM   #12
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Higher viscosity means the oil is denser.
Which actually means the oil is holding up very well.

Older oil tends to get more thin and runny...

The bigger deal is the impurities floating around in the oil. Which you could just throw in a new filter and improve some amount.

Or ... put in new oil and have a nice fresh start.

-scheherazade
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      07-09-2009, 12:54 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jb's335 View Post
You are only one person, I really don't see how you can say that BMW's determined oil change is outright wrong just on one person having this. I know your analysis is well documented however I would wait till other's sample analysis have come back before making such drastic assumptions. I am about to send my first oil change, done at almost 15k miles, to Blackstone. We will see what it shows...
Although I think we should be changing our oil more frequently than BMW says I must agree with jb's335.

I had the oil analyzers test done at a 15,000 interval and it all came back normal. Add to that this was after 10 or so track events.

I don't have any good reason why our results are so different they just are.

I'll try to post it.
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      07-09-2009, 01:48 AM   #14
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Geez,

I bought my car as a manufacturer demo (had plates, but still owned by BMWNA.) I was terrified to find it had gone ~15,500 miles without an oil change. They still didn't want to do it since the "computer" said it wasn't necessary due to condition-based maintenance. I demanded it and got it done under the "free" maintenance plan (as it had been over 12 months also.) Hopefully, my "conditions" were not severe to let that mileage interval go so ridiculously long. I still fear the potential damage done during that first 15K.

Also, I was real pissed later when the car went a quart low and I took it in and the dealer tried to make me pay $9.95 for a quart to refill it. I was surprised that my friendly local dealer said that the oil wasn't covered by the "free" maintenance plan. Seems like the commercials for BMW vs. Lexus maintenance costs don't tell you this nugget. I threatened to run it out of oil completely and then they could fix it "under warranty" but my threats got me nowhere. (I paid the extortion price for the oil.) Bastard dealer. (I've never been back.)

Phooey to BMW maintenance intervals.
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      07-09-2009, 08:37 AM   #15
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Interesting data... Glad I change mine every 5k.
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      07-09-2009, 08:47 AM   #16
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I change my oil every 5k miles. Every third one is free, still think that is a great deal. From day one I never had any intention of leaving oil in the car for 15k miles. Good luck with the law suite it will go nowhere. BMW will claim no harm will come to the car in 50k miles if service is done on their schedule. After 50k miles the warranty is up and they really don't care. I won't be joining your fight as again from the start I had no intention of leaving oil in the car for 15k miles.
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      07-09-2009, 10:51 AM   #17
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Mike,

Thanks for making this info available to all. Very interesting and along with other such UOA reports for the N54 it makes you think twice about sticking to the suggested schedule of long drain intervals by BMW.

Could you please post the report by Oil Analyzers Inc. in a full page view so we could read all the results including wear metals and condition of oil? It would be much appreciated.

Cheers.
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      07-09-2009, 11:20 AM   #18
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I change mine every 3k miles. I don't see how people will go so long without an oil change, especially with a turbo engine. I kept my last car 9 years and 75k miles and it purred like a kitten.
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      07-09-2009, 12:05 PM   #19
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I usually change between 5k and 7.5k. My 2001 330xi has 130k and I expect it to last another 4 years. My 2007 335i has been babied since day 1.
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      07-09-2009, 01:12 PM   #20
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For those changing every 3 to 7.5k, what oil are you using? Is the BMW LL01 "long life" certified oil really necessary if you don't need the long life? If I could get cheaper oil by the jug, more frequent changes wouldn't even cost much more.
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      07-09-2009, 01:19 PM   #21
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I'm a little worried. I just purchased a BMW corporate fleet '08 135i (got it CPO'd) and the oil has only been changed once--has almost 26k miles on it now and service indicator shows about 4500 left till an oil change... guess I'll change it before then and then take advantage of the free service. Should I be concerned about the long-term life of the motor if I start doing frequent oil changes now?
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      07-09-2009, 03:07 PM   #22
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The market for fear is alive and kicking.

Here are some empirical facts.

1. The yearly or 15000 miles oil change (device-monitored) has been around for 15 years, and have been embraced at least by BMW, Mercedes and Porsche.

2. There is no indication whatsoever that their engines are less durable. NONE.

Bottom line; don't get excited by labs data that has probably NO RELEVANCE or meaning in the real world. I fully trust BMW, Mercedes and Porsche expertise; they would never take such a risk on their reputation. I am totally confident that they have large statistical data to support that their engines will reach 150 000 miles.

Spend your nerves elsewhere.
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