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      05-03-2011, 06:31 AM   #1
Bantsovilla
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320si owners. Engine oil?

This thread is for those how have or have had the E90 320si, with N45-engine.

I bought a 320si recently, with almost new engine. Previous engine had suffered major break down last summer with 61000 km behind. And now I have read lots and lots about same kind of incidents. And what I have also discovered that the knowledge concerning this N45B20S engine is almost non-existent; all parties seem to think and treat the car as normal 320i.

Because the engine of my car is quite new, seen only 6000 km, I have began to think if there is a way maybe to prolong the duration of this engine; not going to the redline is not an option. And what came to my mind was the motor oil. All the problems the engine type has suffered could be the cause of non-appropriate lubrication summed with bad quality of the materials and the poor design of the certain engine parts. I am not meaning that the users and owners have used wrong (not approved by BMW) oil, but what if the oils that the BMW services use for these engines are wrong? As I said the 320si's are in many places treated as 320i.

Almost every company is recommending new generation LL-04 5W-30 oils. That oil was also used in the previous engine throughout its short history. These low-SAPS oils are very good in normal, modern, lo-emission and hi-economical cars, but the 320si doesn't belong to that category. It has a high revving sport engine, with old school valve control, and it is not economical, at all.

If you look in to the technical data of the 5W-30 oils, you will see that in the higher temperatures the viscosity has very low value, meaning that the oil is thinner. That fact as I have understand correlates with the film thickness. So I'd say that these oils are not suitable for the higher revving engine such as the 320si's.

For example the oil recommendation for most high revolution ///M-engines is much thicker 10W-60. I am not saying though that this is the right oil for the 320si, not for mine anyway because I live in Finland and 10W-xx oils are not that good in very sub-zero start-ups. Besides this kind of "racing" oils lack the LL-04 approvements.

And also in common practice people tend not to use these light oils in the old engines firstly because old engines "consume" it but also because it tends to make a ticking noise in the valve system, and some say that it wears them more. But the N45B20S has just this kind of older type of valve operating system.


Or am I totally wrong?!



Now to my questions:

What oil have you used in your 320si?

Any problems, especially break downs? What oil was in the engine at that time? Had the engine been used with heavy foot before the incident or in general.



This thread is not me asking what engine oil should I be using, but instead to raise some questions, and doubts to the service system and to the reliability to it's recommendations. I already have an idea which oil I'll be using, unless some issues come up via this thread.


And please, I prefer experiences ONLY from 320si owners and users, or from those rare professionals who actually know the N45B20S engine. Also the opinions from the oil experts are appreciated.
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      05-09-2011, 06:26 AM   #2
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I have a 320si with 40000km on the clock. Most of the time it's running perfectly, but occasionally startup is problematic ( not catching, VERY lumpy idling, blue smoke on startup...) I use Castrol 5W-40 fully synthetic, as recommended by the dealer. The car uses quite a lot of oil, I have to top up 1L every 2-3000 km... We'll see what gives later on...
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      05-09-2011, 07:23 AM   #3
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You should investigate the cause of the previous engine failure. It is very unlikely that it was a lubrication problem assuming the owner actually kept the oil level correct.

Most engine failures in Europe are caused by cooling system failures and virtually no engine in Europe fails due to lubrication issues.

Me? I'd follow the manufacturer's (not the dealer's) recommendation.
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      05-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #4
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It is possible that these break down have nothing to do with the lubrication. At least the manufacturers representative doesn't think so, because I asked them also about an oil recommendation and the answer was to use LL-04, LL-01 or LL01 FE oils with viscosity between 0W-40 and 5W-40. And I interpret that they are meaning that the 5W-30 is also included in the scale. So almost anything with newer LongLife approval goes.

Either way, my intention is to change to the 0W-40, with LL-04.

Fstsven, Do you know if they have checked and/or adjusted the valve clearances in the service? This is a fact that many of the dealers or services do not know. It's not listed in the service book, but is is something that has to be done in the 320si. N45 engine doesn't have a Valvetronic.

And also in some cases, what I've heard, the timing chain tensioner can cause trouble, so it needs to be checked too.

Blue smoke in the start-up indicates, that there is oil in the cylinder, so something in the valve system is leaking. Not necessarily anything to do with the clearances though. So no blue smoke when engine is warm and running?

Strange that your engine is consuming oil so much; after all 5W-40 is quite thick. Back to the leak.


The cooling is not a weak spot in the 320si, the car has a cooler from the six-cylinder versions, like 325i. And it is sufficent.


They are keeping the real reason for the breakdown in the previous engine as a secret, but the valve clearance adjustment was found to be way overdue in the service just two months before the engine failure.

Anyways it was a failure which was not caused by the owner, because the manufacturer/dealer replaced the engine with no questions nor costs.


And after speaking to my dealer, they recommend using only 98 octane fuel in the car, even though the manufacturer is approving 95-98 octane. No problem for me, because not a single drop of European E10 (95 oct.) is going to my tank. So I would be using 98 anyways.
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      05-11-2011, 11:56 PM   #5
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The timing chain tensioner has been replaced in a recall at around 10000 km.
The valve clearances were adjusted at 28000 km.
I always use 98ron fuel (Q8).

I only get blue smoke at startup, never longer than 1-2 seconds, and nothing after that. I guess that's why it's burning so much oil, but for now the cause is unknown.

I fear that these are signs of the well-known cracked cylinder liners issue with the 320si. I have reported the symptoms to the dealer and keep a log of oil consumption. We'll see what happens... (I do have extended warranty, so at least some peace of mind)

You would expect BMW knows how to build a properly reliable engine though...
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      05-12-2011, 06:17 AM   #6
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So your dealer seems to be up-to-date with N45. Everything done right and still the same problems as all the others.

The cylinder liner cracks was one of the reason that made me think of the oil grade, but you are using oil that certainly has film enough in the higher temperatures. Lubrication is not the issue.

So it is probably just a matter of bad design/quality. It is very strange that a "premium" manufacturer, as BMW is considered, made them so poorly.

Allthought, shouldn't it make blue smoke also when running, if the liner is cracked? Or is it so that the crack "closes" due to thermal expansion.


And also what I've understood, at least in Europe, the car manufacturer is responsible for this kind of failures even thought the actual guarantee has expired. Especially if the failure is typical. Engine just cannot break down with less than 100 000 km in the clock. They should pay all, or at least big part of the cost of the engine replacement.
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      05-12-2011, 09:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Engine just cannot break down with less than 100 000 km in the clock. They should pay all, or at least big part of the cost of the engine replacement.
I indeed hope so. We'll see when/if the need arises...

The strange thing is, after initial startup, the engine runs just fine: smooth, no smoke, pulls nicely and no more stuttering and coughing. Maybe poor starting is just a "trait" of these engines and has nothing to do with the cylinder liner issue? I guess time will tell.

Bantsovilla: How is your engine starting? None of these symptoms?
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      05-12-2011, 11:00 AM   #8
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Fstsven, sounds like you have either a valve guide seal going, or perhaps there is an issue with a slightly warped head.... (warm engine causes thermal expansion which bridges that gap....) Either way, those are serious issues.

If it is indeed a valve guide seal then you will probably still burn oil, however at start up it will have a chance to pool in the cylinder and cause a large amount of smoke at start up.

Try running the motor till its warm (run it hard for about 25 minutes), take it to a flat level surface and turn it off, allow it to sit for 1 hour. Start it and look for blueish smoke. If you cant see any, it is probably a valve guide seal. If nothing comes out, well its slim but there could be an issue with your head being slightly warped. If so check your coolant reservoir for clouding.
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      05-13-2011, 02:32 AM   #9
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No problems at startups, yet. But the engine is quite new, so I'm hoping that those symptoms don't arise at this point. And also I have owned the car less than a month.

But lets see how it will be when the winter comes.
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      05-14-2011, 09:59 AM   #10
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Mine is going to the dealer next week to have the starting issue investigated. Fingers crossed it's not the cylinder liners...
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      05-14-2011, 12:20 PM   #11
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Let's hope so. And if it is the liners, hopefully it means a new and free engine for you.

I checked from the RealOEM catalog that there is a specific repair kit for valve seal rings. So I quess that the problem could be also those, as micah_675 suggested. If there is a repair kit, there is a recognized problem, right?

Valve seal would definitely explain the blue smoke in the start-ups, and also the oil consumption. All though I haven't read nor heard of leaking valve seals on the N45.
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      05-26-2011, 09:56 AM   #12
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Back from the dealer.

They couldn't find anything wrong with it...

So I guess I'll keep driving it until (hopefully not) it gets worse.

They will monitor oil consumption: they filled it to max level now, and after 1000km I have to go back so they can see how much oil the car used.

Still have warranty left, so not worrying too much; time will tell...
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      05-26-2011, 12:17 PM   #13
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Fyi..there's no real differene between LLO1 & LLO4 other than lower TBN "low saps". Both oils meet same acea a3 / b4 specs.
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      06-17-2011, 05:26 PM   #14
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cylinder broken

320si engine with broken cylinder aluminium liner, RIP (not my motor)
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I recomend NOT to use 10W-60. This oil gets correct temperature very slowly, I can see in old M3, it takes at least 5 km to reach proper temp. Now imagine to wait 5-10 km in 320si below 3500 RPM every time. And during winter maybe longer.

I use 0W-30 LL4 Castrol oil. This oil spec reaches running temp. quickly. Why there is no oil temp on dashboard? Sports car with no oiltemp? Common!!
Better to keep oil level above half.
I use mostly 98 octane - when possible. Sometimes 100.

Someone tried 102 octane? What about temperatures then?
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      07-13-2011, 04:24 AM   #15
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Garage List
2006 E90 320si  [0.00]
I used to use V Power (99 octane). Used 100 octane when I went to Germany. That's a picture of my broken engine
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      07-21-2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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I used and bought the recomended castrol Oil from my local BMW Dealer, needed oil every month or so, but BMW service guy said its normal, FULL BMW s/h, done 47,000mile, guess what happened? difficult to start and lumpy tick over. Just had a specialist have a look at it as I have lost all faith in the BMW dealership as they wanted to charge me £2500 just to tell me what was wrong, hole in cylinder 3 and cracked cylinder 2..... I'm at a loss to what to do... can anyone help with what to do next! I haven't got any warranty as I thought with such a premium product I wouldn't need it, how wrong I was on both scores!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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      08-02-2011, 06:20 PM   #17
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It is sad to read of all this aluminium liner cracking problems!! I dont use my car because of this shit! I have sent two e-mails to BMW servicedepartment and to BMW Sweden headquarters here in Sweden and have described this big liner problem and wanted to come up with a solution to prevent my engine to blow up a nice day! I have also show them the " Intermitent 320si startingproblem" thread here on e90 post, and i have been getting the same answer two times now, that this problem are not a common problem, and they do not want to help me to prevent this upcomming problem!

Im so mad at them, so i think i wil call the headquaters here in Sweden or in Germany!!

This is not okay!

My friend asked me today why i not use my Bmw? And i told him the case, and the only answear he had was! Sell your car fast! But i love the f*cking thing for god sake!

Can someone here write a letter to Bmw in Germany about our big liner problems so they get awear of this would be super!

Best regards
Fredrik Lindqvist

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      08-05-2011, 07:45 PM   #18
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I think one thing why i havent had any problems yet (ta i trä) could be that i does not drive it more than ones in a month, and not during the winter. I always let it warm up and cool down. I take care of the thing like it was a BMW M3 CSL or an Enzo .. I dont know, but i think this engine are just not made to run everyday to work.
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      08-06-2011, 03:43 AM   #19
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Hello all!

Just discovered this topic.

I have my 320si since 2009. I bought it with only 13.000km on the clock, now I have a total of 30.000km. No major problems to report. I have had a couple of cases where the engine refused to start, so I took it in had it checked, updated the firmware and no problems since then. It is important to say that it happened on a VERY VERY humid day.

Regarding the oil. Oil is the blood in your car. You should be VERY careful with it. The car had its first oil change at 11.000km, then I changed them again at 17.000km because it completed a year without an oil change and now I changed them at 29.000km.

I use only Castrol Edge Sport 0-40W oil that I buy personally myself and take it to the dealer to have them changed.

So I try to change them every 10-12K km or every year or year-and-a-half. Never leave the same oil inside the car for over 18 months. Next oil change will take place at 40K km, if the car still runs

Regarding the problems I've been reading. I am very anxious myself as I LOVE this car. I have a feeling that perhaps bad treatment is a cause. On forums you tend to read only problems. Not all 2.600 320si's have had an engine failure.

So proper maintenance is key I think. I only use 0-40 Castrol Edge Sport oil and change every 10-12K km (or 18 months). But most important, I warm-up my engine before I leave and I never rev beyond 4K if it is cold. I have a feeling that the problem on the liners is caused by abrupt change on temperature and load. Before you set-off redlining or instantly changing the load on the engine, make sure that it is properly warmed-up. Especially those who live on VERY cold climates.

In Greece hopefully we have usually warm weather, but during the winter when it sometimes gets everywhere below 10C I warm-up the engine before setting off. So I start the engine, enter the secret menu and I observe the coolant temp. I am sitting for 3-4 minutes letting the car idle until it reaches 40C. When it reaches 40C, I drive off only revving up to 4K pressing the gas pedal progressively. Never too abruptly in an on-off manner.

When the engine reaches 70-75C, you can rev it all you want. Oil should be properly warmed-up.

So think that problems in the cylinder liners can be either because of improper lubrication or instant temperature changes, but I can't be sure cause I am not a mechanic.

Let me also point out, that I have not added a single drop of oil into my car. I have virtually 0 oil consumption.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bantsovilla View Post
And also what I've understood, at least in Europe, the car manufacturer is responsible for this kind of failures even thought the actual guarantee has expired. Especially if the failure is typical. Engine just cannot break down with less than 100 000 km in the clock. They should pay all, or at least big part of the cost of the engine replacement.

This is very important. Have you read this somewhere, from an official source? This can help us!

PS. I use only Shell V-Power and from a specific gas station that I know and I can trust.
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      08-14-2011, 01:58 PM   #20
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Hi, again, long time since last post...

fstsven, how is your engine? Better, worse?


Even though the liner cracks have may have nothing to do with the oil, I still did some studying and inquiries. Let's say for general interest. But it did change my mind on my choice of engine oil. Now there is good, old Mobil 1 0-40W in my engine.

1. I wanted an oil that is good in cold start-ups in sub-zero temps and also when the engine is hot due to the heavy foot. And the oil has to have BMW approval.

2. Mobil 1 is "only" LL-01, yes, but it is accepted in the 320si. And what's best, it is actually more recommendable for it. The LL-04 is designed for diesel engines with particle catalyst, that's why the low-SAPS. Sulphated-Ash, Phosporous and Sulhphur are harmful to the particle catalyst. But they are also very important components in corrosive and wear protection. About the same wear protection can be achieved with some other additives, but not the same corrosive protection. That's one reason why they recommend LL-01 to the gasoline engines in the US, because there they have ethanol in their fuel. Oh, wait... so do we! TBN-value indicates the oil's capability to neutralize corrosive substances.


The oil has been in the engine about 1500 kms now, still showing full. And a noticeable change in the engines mechanical noise in the idle compared to the Mobil 1 5W-30 ESP LL-04. Before, the engine sounded like a giant sewing machine when on idle.

And I will keep the oil change interval at 10k.


I also let the engine warm up a while before driving and use it with very gentle foot during the first kms. So, there is the temp readings in the secret menu? I thought that I have to buy the Performance steering wheel to get them. Time for a forum search.


The argument about the manufacturers responsibility is based on some EU directive originated consumer protection legislation, don't ask the direktive number. But the general principle is that the manufacturer is responsible for faults, which can be seen as manufacturing errors that occur during the products expected life, which is a different thing than the guarantee. And the cracking cylinder liners are manufacturing error, no questions.

It's quite interesting that even in the days of social media the BMW claims that the liner problem is NOT common. On the other hand, if they admitted it on public, they would be taking the blame at that same sentence. And that is the reason why they also don't give any instructions, because then they would be admitting that there is a problem.


MAD 320si, make a claim. Do you have any kind of public consumer protection specialists in the UK? Call them. Show them that the fault is common manufacturing error.
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      11-04-2011, 05:56 PM   #21
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Hi,

I live in sweden and i bought my si 4 months ago with 44000 km on the clock. I changed the oil immediately after and now after 6000 km I was surprised how minimal the oil consumtion is. I will change the oil every 10000 km.

Shell V-POVER 98+ octane fuel only.

Next week I will install a DEFA engineblock preheater as well to avoid cold start ups in wintertime.
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      11-04-2011, 05:57 PM   #22
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I use MOTUL oil
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