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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 > Blackstone report on my N54 - Wear metals went UP!



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      05-19-2008, 06:20 PM   #1
scollins
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Blackstone report on my N54 - Wear metals went UP!

I just got the results of my second oil analysis from Blackstone. My E90 335i just passed the one year mark at 9,000 miles, so I got my free annual oil change from my dealer. They collected an oil sample for me, and I sent it off to Blackstone.

I did an "out of cycle" oil change on my own at 5,500 miles through an independent BMW shop back in December. They used BMW branded oil, just like you'd get at the dealer. That was my first oil analysis (column just to the right of the gray bar.) So the first oil sample had 5,500 miles and the second had 3,500 miles.

What Blackstone noted from the second oil sample was increased wear metal rates! Not only did the wear metal PPMs go up, but the wear rate (PPM/mile) also went up!



This is a little concerning, as they expected rates to drop as the engine "wears in." However, they asked if I had done any track sessions (no), autocross (no) or mountain drives (yes!) on this sample. I did a few spirited drives on this sample that didn't happen in the first 5,500 miles. I also had 7 passes on the drag strip on this second oil sample.

So it would seem that I stressed this second oil sample harder than the first. I have no plans to back off on harder driving on the oil that is currently in the car. I'll take another oil sample at the next oil change (probably 15,000 miles total, 6,000 miles on the oil.)

Anyway, in my opinion, ANYONE with an N54 that does any sort of spirited driving and not changing their oil at 5,000 miles or so is unneccesarily risking their engine. If you are following the BMW recommended interval of 15,000 miles just to save a few bucks, I don't think it will be worth it in the long run.

Edited to add: My car has a completely stock drivetrain. No tunes, no exhaust, no intakes, etc. The only mods on my car are tint, the "robot face" rear power outlets and hardwired V1.
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      05-19-2008, 06:25 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report. Such valuable information for those not already doing their own oil changes.
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      05-19-2008, 06:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scollins View Post
I just got the results of my second oil analysis from Blackstone. My E90 335i just passed the one year mark at 9,000 miles, so I got my free annual oil change from my dealer. They collected an oil sample for me, and I sent it off to Blackstone.

I did an "out of cycle" oil change on my own at 5,500 miles through an independent BMW shop back in December. They used BMW branded oil, just like you'd get at the dealer. That was my first oil analysis (column just to the right of the gray bar.) So the first oil sample had 5,500 miles and the second had 3,500 miles.

What Blackstone noted from the second oil sample was increased wear metal rates! Not only did the wear metal PPMs go up, but the wear rate (PPM/mile) also went up!



This is a little concerning, as they expected rates to drop as the engine "wears in." However, they asked if I had done any track sessions (no), autocross (no) or mountain drives (yes!) on this sample. I did a few spirited drives on this sample that didn't happen in the first 5,500 miles. I also had 7 passes on the drag strip on this second oil sample.

So it would seem that I stressed this second oil sample harder than the first. I have no plans to back off on harder driving on the oil that is currently in the car. I'll take another oil sample at the next oil change (probably 15,000 miles total, 6,000 miles on the oil.)

Anyway, in my opinion, ANYONE with an N54 that does any sort of spirited driving and not changing their oil at 5,000 miles or so is unneccesarily risking their engine. If you are following the BMW recommended interval of 15,000 miles just to save a few bucks, I don't think it will be worth it in the long run.
Good stuff... I'm old school and have changed my oil twice now in the coupe. I have about 7500 miles on it. Some people say it's a waste, but after seeing your results I'm positive I've been doing the right thing.
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      05-19-2008, 06:26 PM   #4
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Thanks Scott,
How much are these reports?
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      05-19-2008, 06:31 PM   #5
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Thanks Scott,
How much are these reports?

Basic oil analysis is $22.50, plus $10 to calculate the TBN (Total Base Number.) The TBN basically measures how much additive is left in the oil. Here is a link to Blackstone about TBN: http://www.blackstone-labs.com/do_i_need_a_tbn_.html

So I wrote a check to Blackstone for $32.50 and paid about $2.50 on shipping the sample to them, so $35 grand total. They send you the test kit for free.
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      05-19-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
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Yea that is not good. I had a 2k change then a 6-7k more after and of course the metal went up, but not the amount per mile.
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      05-20-2008, 01:30 AM   #7
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You are so lucky...we have nothing like this localy.

I wonder if i could send a sample of my oils to a Laboratory (Blackstone-like) by postal/courier and have the analysis done. Do anyone knows if this would be possible?
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      05-20-2008, 01:37 AM   #8
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Interesting. Maybe we should accept higher wear rates along with our higher oil temps as the new normal? WTF is BMW thinking?! Oh yeah, trade in and buy a new car every 50K miles.
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      05-20-2008, 01:47 AM   #9
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been changing my oil every 5k since day one. . . now have 23k
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      05-20-2008, 01:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Panoz View Post
You are so lucky...we have nothing like this localy.

I wonder if i could send a sample of my oils to a Laboratory (Blackstone-like) by postal/courier and have the analysis done. Do anyone knows if this would be possible?
Blackstone indicates on their website that they receive oil samples from international sources. It might cost a little more to ship and/or take longer to get there, but I'm sure you can mail them your oil.

Check the link in the lower right corner:
http://www.blackstone-labs.com/postal_requirements.html
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      05-20-2008, 01:54 AM   #11
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I'm a little suspicious of the results. If bmw collected the oil for your sample, it was probably drained in a oil tank like this. Even if they emptied it, all the heavy metals are at the bottom. But I doubt they'll empty it for ya so the oil the sample was probably a mix of yours and other cars. Just my guess and I'm not saying I am absolutely sure. It's a possibility.
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      05-20-2008, 01:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Interesting. Maybe we should accept higher wear rates along with our higher oil temps as the new normal? WTF is BMW thinking?! Oh yeah, trade in and buy a new car every 50K miles.
It seems the higher temps don't affect the oil too badly, provided it is monitored and changed frequently. I've got ZSP and 6MT, so I've got the factory oil cooler. I've never seen the temp go over 250, but I've never tracked my car either.

Anyway, the viscosity in both reports is at the low end of the range after 4,000-5,000 miles roughly, and the TBN is getting close to marginal. So, while the oil temps may be elevated, I don't think it is an issue.

What I think is an issue is elevated oil temps and an unrealistic 15,000 mile oil change interval, especially with turbos. I don't know what BMW's "oil condition monitoring" is actually checking, but I don't think it really works that well.

As such, I'll be getting oil changes every 5,000 miles, even if it means paying out of pocket. I'd love to see an oil analysis from someone who waited until the car said to change it. Someone with a lease that doesn't give a shit maybe?
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      05-20-2008, 01:58 AM   #13
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I'm a little suspicious of the results. If bmw collected the oil for your sample, it was probably drained in a oil tank like this. Even if they emptied it, all the heavy metals are at the bottom. But I doubt they'll empty it for ya so the oil the sample was probably a mix of yours and other cars. Just my guess and I'm not saying I am absolutely sure. It's a possibility.
Yeah, that crossed my mind too. My next change will be done by the independent shop, and they said they had done sample pulls before. So I'm hoping they did it right on the first one.

But yes, I'm am aware of the possibility that the dealer contaminated the sample by not properly collecting it. I guess I could call the SA and ask him how it was collected.....
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      05-20-2008, 02:03 AM   #14
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Yeah, that crossed my mind too. My next change will be done by the independent shop, and they said they had done sample pulls before. So I'm hoping they did it right on the first one.

But yes, I'm am aware of the possibility that the dealer contaminated the sample by not properly collecting it. I guess I could call the SA and ask him how it was collected.....
Probably the best way would be to drain it yourself or tell the dealer how to do it (as if they would listen to you). As it is draining, stick the vial in the oil stream to collect it. You should not collect the stream that comes out the first few seconds as it holds the most "gunk" and will most likely skew the results.
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      06-20-2009, 07:19 PM   #15
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sorry to bump an old thread, but i'm going to send a quart of 11.5k mile oil (just changed oil & filter, very dirty) to 3 different labs for testing. Then i'm going to "erin brokovich" BMWNA for saying its ok for us to change every 15k miles. Now i know why everyone tells me to lease a bmw.

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      06-20-2009, 07:25 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting this info up- its great to have people on this forum who are willing to share their expieriences for the benefit of others.
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      07-02-2009, 04:30 PM   #17
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First Oil Report Received

Hey guys & gals I just got the first oil report back and as I thought, the oil was starting to oxidize heavily, showing high iron count (3 times the average) meaning pre-mature excessive wear on the cylinders, all rotating assembly, valve train, and any steel part sharing the oil.

At 210 degree F, the viscosity was already lost, so i cannot imagine how thin the oil gets with higher temperatures.

I will post as the other 2 lab reports come in
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      07-02-2009, 04:50 PM   #18
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Hey guys & gals I just got the first oil report back and as I thought, the oil was starting to oxidize heavily, showing high iron count (3 times the average) meaning pre-mature excessive wear on the cylinders, all rotating assembly, valve train, and any steel part sharing the oil.

At 210 degree F, the viscosity was already lost, so i cannot imagine how thin the oil gets with higher temperatures.

I will post as the other 2 lab reports come in
are you stock?
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      07-02-2009, 05:04 PM   #19
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Dude, may I recommend you send those results to BMWNA, AND write a letter to the Roundel magazine with your results, they publish every letter and that is usually a good way to get BMWNA's attention ...
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      07-02-2009, 05:05 PM   #20
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Hey guys & gals I just got the first oil report back and as I thought, the oil was starting to oxidize heavily, showing high iron count (3 times the average) meaning pre-mature excessive wear on the cylinders, all rotating assembly, valve train, and any steel part sharing the oil.

At 210 degree F, the viscosity was already lost, so i cannot imagine how thin the oil gets with higher temperatures.

I will post as the other 2 lab reports come in
how many miles?
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      07-03-2009, 11:15 AM   #21
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I've now had my oil changed (and tested) 4 times. Total miles at the time of this change was 19,000. According to BMW, I should have only had 1 oil change during that time and 1/3rd the way to second.

Here is the latest report. Doesn't look too bad, but I'm not going past 5-6,000 miles on the change interval.

This particular oil sample had a BMW CCA "Car Control Clinic" and a full track day (4 - 20 minute sessions) on it.
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      07-03-2009, 12:12 PM   #22
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Thanks for sharing that info. It helps me feel justified in my frequent oil changes.
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