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      05-21-2011, 07:38 AM   #1
Kolyan2k
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Question to BMW owners about synthetic oil

well i know that e90s recommend syn. oil and so did my e46 m3.....i am just wondering when BMW actually switched to syn. oil ONLY. was syn oil required in all e46s ? e36s ?
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      05-21-2011, 08:51 AM   #2
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The 2000 E46 323/328 manual says to use synthetic. My 96 E36 manual makes no mention of synthetic oil use. It has the "classic" BMW chart of oil viscosity - anything from 5w-20 to 20w-50 is approved, and everything in between.

My guess is it started around the 1998-2000 range for most non-M engines. Probably in correlation with the BMW LL-98 spec. which I'm assuming means 1998.

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      05-21-2011, 09:11 AM   #3
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IIRC, E46 (introduced in 1998 as MY1999) has been the first to require long oil change intervals and it probably came with the synthetic oil requirement. I wouldn't be surprised if M-models required it before, though.
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      05-21-2011, 09:19 AM   #4
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thanks guys, very helpful. a guy told me that if synthetic oil is not required per manual you should not use it. i told him that in 1990s most cars did not use syn. oil, thats why its not in his manual.
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      05-21-2011, 11:50 AM   #5
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Synthetic oil is best in any motor...
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      05-21-2011, 11:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintor View Post
IIRC, E46 (introduced in 1998 as MY1999) has been the first to require long oil change intervals and it probably came with the synthetic oil requirement.
Correct. I recall buying Mobil 1 which my dealer installed during the free maintenance period on my '97 Z3. As of late 1998 (after the 1999 models had come out with OEM synthetic), my dealer began stocking BMW full synthetic.

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      05-21-2011, 12:11 PM   #7
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If you put non-synthetic oil in your e90, what would happen assuming you changed the oil every 5k miles. I'm just wondering, i never plan on doing it.
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      05-21-2011, 12:52 PM   #8
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When new, my 1998 E36 328i required service every 7500. The dealer used Castrol GTX (non-syn). In 1999, the E46 3-series had made the switch to Synthetic as well as the 15K+ mile oil changes.

BTW, said E36 is still being driven by my little brother (now at 170K+ miles).
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      05-21-2011, 01:33 PM   #9
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IIRC it started around the same time the ACEA was founded.
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      05-21-2011, 01:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Socom View Post
IIRC it started around the same time the ACEA was founded.
Nope, it started in late 1998 - ACEA was founded in 1991.

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      05-21-2011, 02:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidkneiber View Post
If you put non-synthetic oil in your e90, what would happen assuming you changed the oil every 5k miles. I'm just wondering, i never plan on doing it.
Personally I would put non-synthetic oil in any engine and change it twice a year and sleep like a baby. The added value I see for synthetic oil is extended oil change (I would do it once a year with any synthetic, not only LL-01) and it keeps its viscosity at very cold temperature.
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      05-21-2011, 03:06 PM   #12
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I just think that it provides better protection, has longer intervals, and in a long run turns out to be cheaper then regular oil.....so there is really no point in using regular oil in ANY car these days.....unless you really dont care about that car and wanna go with 10k intervals with regular oil.....
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      05-21-2011, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolyan2k View Post
I just think that it provides better protection, has longer intervals, and in a long run turns out to be cheaper then regular oil.....so there is really no point in using regular oil in ANY car these days.....unless you really dont care about that car and wanna go with 10k intervals with regular oil.....
The "additional protection" is overkill. Mineral oil is more than adequate and continued to improve.

I am willing to bet that once-a-year-oil-change-with-mineral-oil will last as long as engines with synth oils. Guess what? It was never proven that engines with synth oil last longer. Never. To the contrary, the best large scale study proved otherwise in mid '90s and that was the start of longer interval oil changes - mineral or synthetic.
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      05-21-2011, 04:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintor View Post
The "additional protection" is overkill. Mineral oil is more than adequate and continued to improve.

I am willing to bet that once-a-year-oil-change-with-mineral-oil will last as long as engines with synth oils. Guess what? It was never proven that engines with synth oil last longer. Never. To the contrary, the best large scale study proved otherwise in mid '90s and that was the start of longer interval oil changes - mineral or synthetic.
engine is not just gonna die if you use regular oil say for 150k miles.....but horse power, MPG ratings, and other wear items can change .....where as with synthetic oil this might and probably does have less wear and effect on the engine.

and syn. oil lasts longer....
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      05-21-2011, 06:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom K. View Post
Nope, it started in late 1998 - ACEA was founded in 1991.

Tom
Curious do you know when the first oil test sequences came out? I suspect it's around that time that BMW move to synthetic.
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      05-21-2011, 06:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolyan2k View Post
engine is not just gonna die if you use regular oil say for 150k miles.....but horse power, MPG ratings, and other wear items can change .....where as with synthetic oil this might and probably does have less wear and effect on the engine.
Just theory. In real life, mineral oil just does the job as fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiki
In July 1996, Consumer Reports published the results of a two year motor oil test involving a fleet of 75 New York taxi cabs and found no noticeable advantage of synthetic oil over regular mineral oil. In their article, they noted that "Big-city cabs don't see many cold start-ups or long periods of high speed driving in extreme heat. But our test results relate to the most common type of severe service - stop-and-go city driving."
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      05-21-2011, 07:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saintor View Post
Just theory. In real life, mineral oil just does the job as fine.
I dont trust Consumer Reports as a buyers guide, you think i will trust them with oil analysis. And how did they test it ? Did they calculate MPG, dyno'd 75 taxis, opened up engines are checked for wear ? Or just look at it and said....ha...looks ok to me.

I mean there is a reason why oil needs to be changed.....because it breaks down and does not protect the engine. Thats a fact. Another fact is that synthetic oil does not break down as easy as regular oil and can also withhold high temps better then regular oil. So if synthetic oil does not break down as easy then it must protect engine for longer periods. And if you have a high performance car (not a city taxi) which runs hotter then other cars, then maybe syn. oil will protect it better.

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      05-21-2011, 07:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolyan2k View Post
I dont trust Consumer Reports as a buyers guide, you think i will trust them with oil analysis. And how did they test it ? Did they calculate MPG, dyno'd 75 taxis, opened up engines are checked for wear ? Or just look at it and said....ha...looks ok to me.
It was so serious that just afterward, many carmakers started to recommend longer oil change intervals. Synthetic is just cheap insurance, but there is no problem with mineral oil.
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      05-21-2011, 07:37 PM   #19
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It was so serious that just afterward, many carmakers started to recommend longer oil change intervals. Synthetic is just cheap insurance, but there is no problem with mineral oil.
so would you say that mineral oil after 10,000 miles is just as good as synthetic oil after 10,000 miles ?
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      05-21-2011, 08:15 PM   #20
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With all the talk about mineral oil not being that bad, would any of you
1. put normal oil and change it 7.5k after your e9x is 10+ years old?
2. what about if you bought a 10 year old e46?
I know this place that does Shell oil changes for $9.95 so, yes it is cheaper to use normal oil.
These are all hypothetical questions, i didn't buy a bmw so i could cheap out on annual oil changes. Although i might consider it if i ever find myself in a $12,000 e46.
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      05-21-2011, 10:16 PM   #21
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Read this article and the attached PDF.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=265292

The M1 was the first BMW to use Synthetic Oil.
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File Type: pdf BMWCurrentListing_of_SyntheticOils.pdf (13.2 KB, 40 views)
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      05-22-2011, 12:00 AM   #22
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For what it's worth, the general consensus on BITOG is that synthetic oil does not lubricate any better than non synthetic. They say the longer OCIs and the better cold flow properties are really the only advantages in a normal street car. Hot running turbo engines would benefit more though, but most engines don't run that hot.

Even the E36 SI (service interval) system takes mid-1990s non-synthetic oil (API SG & SH) up to 9,000 miles between changes. The current API SN standard Is significantly superior to those oils. I wouldn't be afraid to run a non synthetic API SN oil in an E90 up to nearly 10,000 miles. I'd be a little more hesitant to go that far in an N54, but certainly not an N52.

If I had an E90 I'd be glad to run a non-synth API SN oil to 7,500 - 10,000 miles and post an UOA.

Last edited by CirrusSR22; 05-22-2011 at 12:08 AM.
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