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      09-19-2010, 05:58 AM   #1
roundle
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LL04 or LL01 oil, US-Spec N52 in Europe

Greetings all,

I have a US-spec 2011 328iT here in The Netherlands with about 5100 miles. While browsing some of the forums, I've read posts regarding LL04 v. LL01, in addition to countless other oil-related forums.

In any event, my questions should be pretty simple:

1. As I have a US-spec car, and run European (Dutch and German) gas (usually Shell V Power, RON 95), should I go with LL04 or LL01?

2. Did my car come filled from the factory with LL01 or LL04?

3. When I ordered the car, I ordered a few accessories, including the BMW oil case. My salesman, Rochel, was nice enough to include a bottle of oil at delivery (Castrol SLX Professional Powerflow 0W-30, LL04, photo attached). Is this the "German Castrol" that I sometimes read about? Is this stuff different from the factory BMW LL04?

4. Given my situation, what oil would you use?

Thanks,

Roundle (intentionally not "Roundel")
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Last edited by roundle; 09-19-2010 at 06:29 AM. Reason: Added oil weight
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      09-20-2010, 07:43 AM   #2
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Good question!

The mechanical internal bits of the engine are the same on a US spec car vs a Euro spec car (some of the emission related bits and electronics are different.)

Accordingly, you should use the oil that is prescribed for your physical location. As you indicated, you are using European gas so the European oils (LL04) are the ones that you should use.

Was the car a Euro delivery for use in Europe or did you get it in the US? If you got it in the US then it'll have LL-01. I've heard that US spec cars sold through military/diplo sales for use in Europe will have LL-04 fill but neither the LL-01 or the LL-04 fills are documented. BMW (and other manufacturers) are pretty closed mouthed about their initial fill - perhaps it is my maple syrup Paulaner blend

I know that most German dealers will refuse an early oil change - even if you pay for it - due to the environmental laws. BMW's are on a 3 yr 30k km oil change interval. I don't know what the Dutch do - sorry - but I suspect that it'll be closer to the German schedule than the US.

One thing to remember about Europe - they've had high petroleum product prices forever so they are quite a bit more careful about their OCIs.

As an aside, Your car is covered by the European warranty (2yrs?) without included maintenance until it returns to the US - then any remaining US warranty would apply.

Enjoy the Netherlands - is that a permanent move or temporary?
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      09-20-2010, 08:04 AM   #3
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Engines are the same. LL04 vs LL01 is related to the quality of gasoline in your geographic area. IIRC LL04 is limited to a handful of Western European countries for use in gasoline powered cars.


The 0w-30 "German Castrol" sold in the U.S. has LL01 on the bottle.

You're fine. Enjoy the car.
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      09-20-2010, 08:57 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cb1111 View Post
Good question!

The mechanical internal bits of the engine are the same on a US spec car vs a Euro spec car (some of the emission related bits and electronics are different.)

Accordingly, you should use the oil that is prescribed for your physical location. As you indicated, you are using European gas so the European oils (LL04) are the ones that you should use.

Was the car a Euro delivery for use in Europe or did you get it in the US? If you got it in the US then it'll have LL-01. I've heard that US spec cars sold through military/diplo sales for use in Europe will have LL-04 fill but neither the LL-01 or the LL-04 fills are documented. BMW (and other manufacturers) are pretty closed mouthed about their initial fill - perhaps it is my maple syrup Paulaner blend

I know that most German dealers will refuse an early oil change - even if you pay for it - due to the environmental laws. BMW's are on a 3 yr 30k km oil change interval. I don't know what the Dutch do - sorry - but I suspect that it'll be closer to the German schedule than the US.

One thing to remember about Europe - they've had high petroleum product prices forever so they are quite a bit more careful about their OCIs.

As an aside, Your car is covered by the European warranty (2yrs?) without included maintenance until it returns to the US - then any remaining US warranty would apply.

Enjoy the Netherlands - is that a permanent move or temporary?
Hi Cb1111,

Thanks for your response.

To answer you first question, we bought the car through the Diplomatic\Military program. The car was ordered through Munich, picked up in NL. While it's a US-Spec, the car's yet to set foot in the US. Thus, I suspect it's been filled with LL04 (but who knows).

Since we bought the car new, and plan to be here for at least 75K miles, we'll probably follow the EU maint. schedule (and use LL04). I'll probably just go with whatever the dealer suggests.

In other news, when i started the car today, it told me that the oil change would be due at 12K miles, or in May 2011 (a year from its birthday)
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      09-20-2010, 09:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TrackRat View Post
Go with the LL-04 used for ROW as long as you are not driving the vehicle in the U.S. with U.S. gas. Any BMW LL-04 approved oil of the proper viscosity will serve you well. The one year reminder would change based on mileage driven.
Many thanks, TrackRate.

Anyone able to provide a quick LL01 V. LL04 explanation?
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      09-20-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roundle View Post
Hi Cb1111,

Thanks for your response.

To answer you first question, we bought the car through the Diplomatic\Military program. The car was ordered through Munich, picked up in NL. While it's a US-Spec, the car's yet to set foot in the US. Thus, I suspect it's been filled with LL04 (but who knows).

Since we bought the car new, and plan to be here for at least 75K miles, we'll probably follow the EU maint. schedule (and use LL04). I'll probably just go with whatever the dealer suggests.

In other news, when i started the car today, it told me that the oil change would be due at 12K miles, or in May 2011 (a year from its birthday)
The 1 yr sounds about right using the LL-04 oils.

Have fun - you'll want to stay longer.
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      09-20-2010, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roundle View Post
Many thanks, TrackRate.

Anyone able to provide a quick LL01 V. LL04 explanation?
You can play with this to see the different oil standards:

http://sas-origin.onstreammedia.com/.../pc/index.html
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      09-20-2010, 03:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
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The executive summary is that U.S. fuels reportedly contain more sulfur than ROW fuels and cause issues. Apparently in BMW's testing LL-01 approved oils protect the engine better when high sulfur fuels are used.
ACEA 2010 here we come!!! Maybe we'll get a new spec!
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      09-25-2010, 04:20 PM   #9
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BTW: Stoped by my local Halfords (Euro Autozone) today and saw that the BMW LL04 costs 27 Euros per liter (over $35 per quart).
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      09-26-2010, 03:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roundle View Post
BTW: Stoped by my local Halfords (Euro Autozone) today and saw that the BMW LL04 costs 27 Euros per liter (over $35 per quart).
Wow, that's a lot of money for a liter of oil! Out of curiosity, how much would it cost to have the dealer do your oil change? It must be outrageous!
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      09-26-2010, 06:28 PM   #11
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Wow, that's a lot of money for a liter of oil! Out of curiosity, how much would it cost to have the dealer do your oil change? It must be outrageous!
I actually got a quote on Saturday (BMW Den Haag).

It was 250 Euros ($335) for JUST the oil change.
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      09-27-2010, 04:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Anyone able to provide a quick LL01 V. LL04 explanation?
LL04 is LL01 but emissions friendly. It's a Low-SAPs oil which meets ACEA C3 (Low Sulphated Ash, Sulphur, Phosphorus). One thing that does change due to the Low-SAPS nature is the TBN. The starting TBN (total base number) of a LL04 will usually be lower than a LL01 equilivant from the same oil brand. Consequently LL04 oils are only suitable in markets were gasoline and diesel quality is consistantly low in sulphur and ethanol which is why BMW specs its use in only a handful of countries in the EU across all models and only BMW diesels in the United States (I don't know about the UK).
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      07-30-2011, 10:09 PM   #13
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The use of LL01 in the US market is required due to the inherent higher sulfur contents in our petroleum products. The European auto manufacturers take the sustainability and the carbon foot print not only for waste generated during making of a given auto but also the amount of the waste generated required to service during its life cycle very seriously. The CBS maintenance interval for engine oil service addressees this issue, i.e. they want to minimize the amount of waste oil being disregarded which could have been saved if it did not reach its useful life cycle. Wonder why the absence of a oil dipstick in the newer models? This is to promote longer mileage between oil changes, the mere fact that the oil becomes black does not mean it has reached its useful life cycle. But here in the US the higher sulfur contents gasoline presented a challenge. Their solution is to specify the use of engine oil with LL01 designation. I do not believe the non use of LL01 after the expiration of the warranty period is required nor harmful provided that you change your oil at shorter frequency, i.e. at the customary 7.5K mile interval instead of the CBS which would be at something like 15K miles. I change my own oil every six months, I use LL01 0W40 Mobil One now, but will not continue the use of LL01 after the expiration of warranty period. I do not follow CBS. If your engine oil changes is determined by CBS intervals and you are burning US refinery gasoline then you should not use oils with LL04 designation no matter where you are in the world.
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      08-08-2011, 07:14 PM   #14
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I only use LL-04, but then, I thought it was only for diesel drivers. I didnt realize that gasoline drivers in areas that have low sulfer gas used it too. I learned something. WOOT!!!
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      08-12-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
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Had my oil changed recently. The Tech at BMW Den Haag placed the left-over oil in my trunk. Looks like "SLX" (see screen shots above) has been re-branded as "Edge".
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Last edited by roundle; 08-12-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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      08-12-2012, 12:38 PM   #16
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I just had an oil service done on my car and the CBS was reset to an interval of 2 years, or 32,000 kms (20,000 miles). The dealer uses BMW LL01 5W30 (BMW rebranded Castrol). I was pretty surprised at this new interval - previous oil change specified a 26K km (15K mile) interval. Guess this is the new standard in Canada. I have a 2008 335i.
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      08-12-2012, 12:41 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA66400 View Post
I just had an oil service done on my car and the CBS was reset to an interval of 2 years, or 32,000 kms (20,000 miles). The dealer uses BMW LL01 5W30 (BMW rebranded Castrol). I was pretty surprised at this new interval - previous oil change specified a 26K km (15K mile) interval. Guess this is the new standard in Canada. I have a 2008 335i.
My CBS is always reset to 15K Miles or 12 months. I never listen: I do 10K miles or 6 months.
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      12-29-2012, 07:51 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA66400
I just had an oil service done on my car and the CBS was reset to an interval of 2 years, or 32,000 kms (20,000 miles). The dealer uses BMW LL01 5W30 (BMW rebranded Castrol). I was pretty surprised at this new interval - previous oil change specified a 26K km (15K mile) interval. Guess this is the new standard in Canada. I have a 2008 335i.
I just did an oil change on my car this week. The first non dealer oil change, when I reset the computer it told me the next change is in 19k miles. So I guess they are moving it higher. I will be getting a Blackstone oil analysis to see how it's holding up. Also not directed at anyone in particular but how about reading the owners manual to find out the recommended oil specs for your car.
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      01-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #19
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If I'm not mistaken, the oil change interval depends on your driving style. I just drove 2500km (~1560mls) of highway but the interval only "dropped" a 1000km (625mls). I've noticed this before on other long-distance trips.
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