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      09-22-2005, 02:28 AM   #1
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Arrow DIY - E90 Oil Change (with Pics! - 56K Beware)

E90 Oil Change (DIY)



I would like to share my experience of changing the oil in my 2006 BMW 325i (e90) with sport package. My car has only 2300 miles on it, but I thought I should do a post break-in period oil change. (More on this later.) It took a bit longer than expected (~1 hr) because I didnít know where everything was, especially the drain bolt. The job itself was simple - something I would do in about 15 minutes next time.

Equipment and Tools:
Rhino Ramp
17mm Socket Wrench
Strap Wrench

Supplies:
BMW Oil Filter ~$15
BMW Synthetic 5W30 Oil, 7 Quarts (6.5 L), ~$5/Quart

Lifting the car:
One of the most difficult parts of my oil change was raising the car. I have a hydraulic jack, but I had two problems. 1) The jack couldnít slide underneath the lift point, even though I would hardly classify my jack as being high. The clearance under the front of the car was minimal with the sport package. I could slip the jack underneath the rear of the car, but I needed to raise the front. 2) Even if I were to raise the front of the car with my hydraulic jack, there werenít any lift points where I could place my jack stands.

Frustrated, I went to buy some Rhino ramps. Unfortunately, the Rhino ramps had their own problems. While fellow forum member HRC didnít have a problem (HRC, do you have a non-sport package e90?), I had a problem with the ramps slipping on my concrete garage floor. The culprit turned out to be the low hanging rubber flaps just ahead of the front wheels as shown below:



While the flaps are flexible, they scrape the ramps enough to push them forward. This was quite frustrating. I finally solved the problem by putting the ramps on top of rubber floor mats I had lying around. They provided enough friction to prevent the ramps from slipping.



Removing the oil cap and filter:
Removing the oil cap was simple. Just turn the square cap clockwise and youíre done.



Removing the oil filter was simple, too. I couldnít turn the oil filter cap by hand, so I used a strap wrench. The exposed filter element is shown below:



Removing the drain bolt:
This took much longer than anticipated, simply because I didnít know where it was located. The first thing you notice looking underneath the car is that plastic shields cover nearly the entire underside. Conspicuously, there is a large exposed bolt right where you think the middle of the engine is.



I donít know what this bolt is for, but IT IS NOT THE DRAIN BOLT. Fortunately, I didnít loosen it because of heads up by fellow forum member HRC. BMW, in its infinite wisdom, made this bolt 17mm in size, same as the drain bolt. So if youíre looking for something that fits a 17mm socket in search of a drain bolt, this is it. However, donít remove it.



Even after some search, I still couldnít locate the drain plug. I was in the process of removing the bolts securing the plastic shield underneath the engine (while cursing BMW and their poor design), when I came across this trap door just behind the bolt.



When I opened it - Eureka! - I found the drain bolt!



From here on, it was easy. Loosen the bolt and drain the oil into a pan. About 7 quarts (6.5 L) will drain out.



Replacing the Filter:
Let the oil drain for a few minutes. Meanwhile, you can replace the oil filter. The old oil filter next to the new filter is shown below.



Inside the filter box, there should be two rubber O-rings (small and large) and one copper crush washer.



Remove the two O-rings and the filter from the filter housing, and insert the new ones. Itís a little tricky removing the O-rings, but donít use a screwdriver since it can damage the housing. The new assembled filter housing should look like this:



Putting it back together:
Screw the oil filter cap back on. Be sure the rubber O-rings, especially the large one, are in their correct grooves. I accidentally placed the large one inside a wrong groove once, and oil started gushing out of the housing.

Go underneath the car again, and screw the drain bolt back in. Make sure you pry off the old crush washer, and use the new copper crush washer. Secure the trap door.

Finally, put ~6.9 quarts of BMW Synthetic 5W30 oil in.



Once finished, secure the oil cap.



Start the engine and check for any leaks. Drive off the ramp and drive for a few miles because the on-board computer needs a few minutes to get an accurate reading of the oil level. Check the oil level through the on-board computer, and top off as needed.

Youíre done! Simple!

Postscript:
Again, it should only take ~15 minutes to change the oil once you get the car on the ramps. It is a very simple procedure.

Now, the question of whether it was necessary to do a post break-in oil change: Iím going to be somewhat diplomatic. Quite frankly, the used oil appeared to be pretty clean (I did not see any metal shavings nor notice significant change in its viscosity). In my professional judgment (Ph. D. in engineering), I would say that my oil change at 2300 miles was overkill. The evidence isnít convincing enough to support the need for one. However, in my personal judgment (a person who is obsessive about his new car and wants it to last forever - and quite frankly, who isnít on this board?), it was worth the reassurance that there wonít be a nagging question in the back of my mind always wondering whether I shouldíve changed the oil after the initial break-in period. Would I again change the oil after my break-in period, given what I now know about the state of the oil after 2300 miles? Absolutely! You canít always be rational about a car Ė otherwise we would all be driving Toyotas.

Edit: For some reason, my account where I hosted the images disappeared. I the meantime, I attached as many relevant pictures as possible. If anyone can help me out finding an appropriate host for the original images, please let me know. Thank you.
Attached Images
          

Last edited by e90wraith; 03-11-2007 at 04:31 PM.
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      09-22-2005, 02:45 AM   #2
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      09-22-2005, 06:39 AM   #3
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I have never tried to change oil myself so I may sound dumb but help me with this question. How much torque do you need on tightening the drain bolt? What about oil filter? Should the oil filter tightened by hand? What do you do with the old engine oil?
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      09-22-2005, 07:41 AM   #4
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Really excellent writeup thank you very much for sharing with us.
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      09-22-2005, 09:03 AM   #5
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Excellent writeup with pictures - Thank you. I plan to do a break in and mid interval oil changes myself and your pics were invaluable.

As for torque, I'm not a pro, but having done oil changes on my previous cars:

1. Tighten the drainbolt with arm strength. Don't go crazy. The copper washer is there to be slightly crushed and form a tight seal. If you overtighten, you could strip the threads on the bolt or worse - engine block. Unless you're a bodybuilder or use a ridiculously leveraged wrench, this is unlikly to happen.

2. Oil filters can be hand tightened

3. Old oil can be recycled at your local autobody/parts store. They ususally have a oil depot/tank that you pour the old stuff into. I funnel my old oil into leftover Tide/laundry detergent cointainers (clean ) and drain it at the recycle centers. Do not dump the oil in the trash or down the drain - bad for the environment and it's illegal.

Hope this helps

Last edited by MCS; 09-22-2005 at 09:14 AM.
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      09-22-2005, 10:08 AM   #6
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e90wraith, thank you very much. This write-up is incredibly clear, concise, and thorough. I'll definitely be doing my own changes when my car arrives. I do have a few questions. How does this affect the maintenance indicator? Does it automatically reset itself, or can that be done as a DIY, or does the dealer have to do that. If so, will they charge you to reset it and then void your free maintenance?????? Thanks again for taking the time to put together this post!
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      09-22-2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

Great write up...BTW, my mechanic friend told me that the BMW oil is made by the same people that makes Mobil 1. So he told me that it would be perfectly okay to use Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic oil. As for the filter, I guess it should be OEM.

Thanks a lot....I think I will do the same and change oil at about 2500-3000 miles. It looks easy enough to DIY. An then do a 5K interval after that.
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      09-22-2005, 11:55 AM   #8
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GOOD ONE!

I am done with the break in miles, and was just thinking of doing the change myself!!!



GOOD PICTURES and THANKS FOR SHARING!
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      09-22-2005, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raikkonen
e90wraith, thank you very much. This write-up is incredibly clear, concise, and thorough. I'll definitely be doing my own changes when my car arrives. I do have a few questions. How does this affect the maintenance indicator? Does it automatically reset itself, or can that be done as a DIY, or does the dealer have to do that. If so, will they charge you to reset it and then void your free maintenance?????? Thanks again for taking the time to put together this post!
The car does not automatically reset the maintenance indicator after an oil change. It has no way of knowing whether you've changed the oil or not. I have heard that on the e90, you can reset the maintenance indicator with the on-board computer, sans an external reset tool (required for the previous 3-series), although I haven't tried it myself nor do I know the exact procedure. Personally, I wouldn't reset the indicator until my next scheduled free oil change by the dealer. I would let the dealer reset it at that time. If I were to reset it now, I would be delaying my free oil change. The dealer will only care whether the indicator is lit, not the actual last oil change interval. I'll worry about resetting the indicator when my free maintenance period is over. For now, I'll just enjoy!

Last edited by e90wraith; 09-23-2005 at 03:43 AM.
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      09-22-2005, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiga901
Great write up...BTW, my mechanic friend told me that the BMW oil is made by the same people that makes Mobil 1. So he told me that it would be perfectly okay to use Mobil 1 5W-30 synthetic oil. As for the filter, I guess it should be OEM.

Thanks a lot....I think I will do the same and change oil at about 2500-3000 miles. It looks easy enough to DIY. An then do a 5K interval after that.
I've heard that the new synthetic oil from BMW is made by Castrol. It seems likely since it says "Castrol" on top of the square oil cap! This is unless Castrol paid to advertise on BMWs...

Oddly, the BMW manual says that approved oils are BMW synthetic and Mobil 1. It doesn't mention Castrol - so go figure... Some have speculated that Castrol oil in Europe is different from those sold in the US.

Last edited by e90wraith; 09-23-2005 at 03:44 AM.
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      09-22-2005, 02:36 PM   #11
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Interesting... Thanks again!
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      09-22-2005, 04:04 PM   #12
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One interesting thing to note is that the pic of the dirty filter had anumber of silvery/white looking particles. Not trying to stir up any debate on the break in vs no break in oil change.

e90wraith, were these particles (1) real and (2)were they metallic or other junk? Maybe I'm just being anal which I suspect is the case as well...
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      09-22-2005, 05:00 PM   #13
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Great job with the write-up!
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      09-22-2005, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MCS
One interesting thing to note is that the pic of the dirty filter had anumber of silvery/white looking particles. Not trying to stir up any debate on the break in vs no break in oil change.

e90wraith, were these particles (1) real and (2)were they metallic or other junk? Maybe I'm just being anal which I suspect is the case as well...
I didn't notice any metallic particles in the old oil filter nor in the oil pan. My oil pan has two levels, so you can see if any particles came out as they get caught at the first level. I really didn't see many.

I think the white specks you are seeing in the dirty filter are the white spots in the filter paper. If you look at the close up pictures of the brand new filter, you see them as well.

Last edited by e90wraith; 09-22-2005 at 06:32 PM.
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      09-22-2005, 09:47 PM   #15
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Great pictures and write up! I do have the zsp option on my car. I'm thinking the reason why my car didn't push the ramps forward is because my driveway is at a slight incline and I was facing up.

I'm going with 7500k intervals for the oil change. I have complete confidence in the oil for 7500 miles.

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      09-22-2005, 11:36 PM   #16
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Bravo! Thank you for taking the time to take the pictures and write the description. The location of the drain plug behind the trap door is great info.

Couple questions for ya:

1. Did you measure the new oil, or just try to get close, then check the electronic gauge and adjust, or what? Guess I'm and old fogey and miss having a dip stick, which has been a wholly reliable device on every car I've owned.

2. What about pre-filling into the filter compartment - is it possible? I'd always dumped a-third-of-a-quart into a canister style filter before fitment
.
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      09-23-2005, 01:59 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tima
Bravo! Thank you for taking the time to take the pictures and write the description. The location of the drain plug behind the trap door is great info.

Couple questions for ya:

1. Did you measure the new oil, or just try to get close, then check the electronic gauge and adjust, or what? Guess I'm and old fogey and miss having a dip stick, which has been a wholly reliable device on every car I've owned.

2. What about pre-filling into the filter compartment - is it possible? I'd always dumped a-third-of-a-quart into a canister style filter before fitment
.
1. I had to guess the appropriate amount of oil - I put in about 6.5 quarts. I then checked the level with the on-board computer. It told me that I was at the maximum level. I've been checking it daily, and it still says the oil is at the proper level. I do agree that a dipstick is faster and more reliable, although you don't get your hands dirty with the computerized sensor... I'm still checking it because I don't fully trust the computer - yet.

2. I guess you can prefill the filter housing. I'm not sure what benefit it would have. Unlike some canister filters, it does not have a flow-back check valve. It is completely open on one side. So you will spill some or all of the oil putting it back on - especially since it's vertical.
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      09-25-2005, 03:12 AM   #18
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Based on the above picture of the BMW oil the specs are SAE 5W30, API Service: SL/CF; ACEA A3/B3.
So which of those Castrol oils matches the above?

SYNTEC 0W-30
API SL/CF. ACEA: A3, B3, B4. VW 502 00, 505 00, 503 01. BMW Longlife-01. MB 229.1, 229.3. Porsche approved.
The grade doesnít match, but API and ACEA specs do.

SYNTEC 5W-30
API SM, SL, SJ/CF. ACEA: A1, A5, B1, B5. GM 6094M, GM 4718M. Ford WSS-M2C929-A. ILSAC GF-4, GF-3, GF-2.
The grade does match but ACEA spec doesnít.
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      09-25-2005, 03:15 AM   #19
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Thanks for the information, I'll be changing my oil in a couple of weeks......I'm at 4,200 miles.
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      09-25-2005, 06:04 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamwod
Based on the above picture of the BMW oil the specs are SAE 5W30, API Service: SL/CF; ACEA A3/B3.
So which of those Castrol oils matches the above?

SYNTEC 0W-30
API SL/CF. ACEA: A3, B3, B4. VW 502 00, 505 00, 503 01. BMW Longlife-01. MB 229.1, 229.3. Porsche approved.
The grade doesnít match, but API and ACEA specs do.

SYNTEC 5W-30
API SM, SL, SJ/CF. ACEA: A1, A5, B1, B5. GM 6094M, GM 4718M. Ford WSS-M2C929-A. ILSAC GF-4, GF-3, GF-2.
The grade does match but ACEA spec doesnít.

The BMW one is Castrol TXT. It does not seem to be available anywhere in the USA or Canada other than at the BMW dealers
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      09-25-2005, 06:04 AM   #21
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Guys please note the approved Mobil 1 oil is the 0W-40 one
The bottle must say its BMW LL01 approved

http://www.mobiloil.com/USA-English/...l_1_0W-40.aspx
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      09-28-2005, 02:04 PM   #22
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Excellent post! I will be using this over the weekend!

One question: Do the Rhino Ramps give you adequate clearance under the vehicle, and did you find they were wide enough for your tires? I have a 330i with sport (and 18 inch wheels) and I am afraid the tires will hang off the sides of the ramps).
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