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      07-19-2011, 01:33 PM   #23
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When I change my oil I usually fill 6.5 quarts first then use the e-dipstick to fine-tune the final amount. The e-dipstick is pretty accurate and shows proportionally higher reading as the last 0.5 quarts is added in steps. It's exactly full when total amount reaches 7 quarts.

I still wish they could have put in a real dipstick though.
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      07-19-2011, 01:37 PM   #24
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That vanos thing you mentioned is interesting. I was on the track the other day and I had a major loss of power. The car wouldn't rev past 5000 rpm. Just felt like it ran put of steam. My oils was changed just before I went (yes I put in 7qts) and after I left it read almost a qt low. The next day it read 1/2 quart low. I'm wondering if it reading low from cornering g's and I'm getting slight oil starvation. Not enough to trigger the low oil press light but enough to cause vanos to malfunction. After I let the car cool down a bit it regained it's power.
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      07-20-2011, 12:23 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Now a recent event with my e-dipstick between my last oil change and the current, active, oil in my engine now was this:

At about 16,000 miles on my last oil, my car was down 1 quart and notified me of that status. Dumbass me kept forgetting to add a quart for the next three days (until the weekend came up). Now for me, 3 days of driving is about 500 miles and the owner’s manual says to add a quart within 200 (IIRC) miles after the notification comes up. Well when I went to check the e-dipstick prior to adding the oil it went back up to 3/4 quart low. So being concerned about over filling, I didn't add the quart. Eventually about 6 weeks later I started having a few slight performance issues, like the engine would skip a beat or two. Soon after, the 1 quart low signal came back up, I immediately added the quart (I kept it in the trunk just in case). The e-dipstick read full. A few weeks later, the e-dipstick started dropping the level fast; 1/4 quart low one day, then a few days afterwards 1/2 quart low. Then, 3/4 quart low. Well by this time I was within 1,500 miles of an oil change, so I changed the oil, and I was thinking my oil level sensor was going bad. I measured the drained oil and sure enough there was 6 and 1/4 quarts that drained out. So even though I added a full quart, my engine was still low on oil and my e-dipstick reported full. But in this case I didn't add the oil within the mileage interval BMW calls for, which may have set the dipstick to read faulty.

During this time I discovered I had a few instances of the VANOS fault codes showing up in the ECU. The point of my story is; I think the engine is designed to run with a minimum of 6 quarts in the sump as to provide enough oil volume to properly control the VANOS system. I eventually pulled the VANOS control solenoids and cleaned them and swapped them between the intake and exhaust cams. After now about 8,500 miles everything has been normal. I also think the e-dipstick (oil level sensor) is of such a design that it does not give an “instant” measure of the oil level (such as a mechanical dipstick does). I think the system is designed to be reset, assumes there was 7 quarts added at refill, and starts its monitoring sequence anew. Adding less than 7 quarts of oil probably messes with the software (I’m just guessing).

Peace.
Wow. That's not good. So the e-dipstick was giving you multiple erroneous readings, just like I got for two full days after changing the oil (it reading full in spite of putting in 6.0 quarts).
There is no advantage to giving lagging quantity indications on the e-dipstick. I'm not happy to hear your experience.

I plan on leaving the oil quantity where it's at (1/2way on e-dipstick) and monitor it closely. I'll report back if I get any engine performance degredation; I haven't noticed any yet.

About three months ago, I pulled my car out of the garage and left it running while I ran inside for something. Our driveway has a moderate downhill grade (nose of car lower than rear). When I got back in, I got a low oil warning. I was tired so I quickly shut off the engine and added half a quart. I then started driving and once I got a reading, the oil quantity read EXACTLY full. Not overfilled, not a short fill. I suspect that I overfilled slightly but due to lack of sensitivity, the overfill never showed up.

Has anyone seen an indication where your oil was overfilled on the e-dipstick? I've never gotten a high reading. It probably isn't an issue if you only overfill by one quart, but if you overfill by two or more quarts, I'd be concerned about possibly foaming the oil from the crankshaft.

As far as the reset, the two previous times that I changed the oil, I didn't reset the maintenance minder since I change it more often. The first change was immediately after buying the car and got the oil changed at the dealer a few thousand miles later under warranty.
This last time, when I reset the maintenance minder, was the second out of warranty oil change for me.


By the way, have you got a reference where it says to put in 7 quarts of oil on an oil change, along with the specific procedure that says to add 7 quarts rather than a bit less and top off?
I combed through my owners manual and there is no capacity listed.
I posted a link showing 6.5L (6.9qt) but can't verify the authenticity of the link.
My independent mechanic looked it up in his specs; he shows 6L (6.4qts).
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      07-20-2011, 12:33 AM   #26
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I've changed my own oil like 17 times already at every 5,000 miles........

I always put in 7 quarts.......and guess what????

It's always 3/4 full..........never FULL!

But I'm okay with it...

I'm not going to put another quart in it to try to make it FULL.
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      07-20-2011, 10:14 AM   #27
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The BMW TIS states 6.5 liters (6.9 qts) for the N52 and N54 motors.

Pretty risking playing with such low oil quantities just to try to outsmart a sensor? I get the over-thinking concern bit of whether a sensor is working correctly or not - it was somewhere around 100K miles, I only put in 6.5 qts just to see how it registered on the electronic display since from day one, my sensor has always read full. One or two days later, it showed half a quart low. That was enough to satisfy me that it works.

Two other cars in the garage have mechanical dipsticks. One of them is a 2011 Mini that is very difficult to figure out where the oil is on the markings, currently it is either half or three-quarters of a quart low - and the other car has a dry sump motor and the dipstick for the oil tank presents such unreliable readings that it is easier to just change the oil every few thousand miles with the specified 8 qts of oil than trying to figure out the reading on the stick.

I wish they had electronic oil quantity sensors too.
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      07-20-2011, 11:06 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bcube View Post
The BMW TIS states 6.5 liters (6.9 qts) for the N52 and N54 motors.
Traceable source document, please. I posted the TIS as a link from a link with no indication of the source of the document.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bcube View Post
Pretty risking playing with such low oil quantities just to try to outsmart a sensor? I get the over-thinking concern bit of whether a sensor is working correctly or not - it was somewhere around 100K miles, I only put in 6.5 qts just to see how it registered on the electronic display since from day one, my sensor has always read full. One or two days later, it showed half a quart low. That was enough to satisfy me that it works.
My car shows halfway between min and max on the e-dipstick. That is NOT low. I can't believe that you'd write something like that.
I actually added ~.3 quart this morning to get it close to full. 30 minutes after adding .3 quart, the oil reads exactly the same as prior to adding the oil.

There appears to be a HUGE lag in the system, as you have illustrated with the 1-2 day lag when you underfilled. The same happened to me. How is this long of a lag time acceptable to anyone on this board? Imagine if your gas level reading lagged by 1-2 days.

Again, not a single person has come forward and stated that they've had an overfill indication. And no one questions this? No one has a problem with the possibility of substantially overfilling the engine with oil? Wow - Hypnotoad stuff.
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      07-20-2011, 02:02 PM   #29
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Sorry about that - I had another poster's suggestion in my head about only putting in five quarts to see what the indication reads when I wrote that.

But with regard whether the display shows an overfill condition, I don't know. I have never put in more than the required 7 quarts (Nor has the dealership). Thus, my car has never been overfilled during its 166,915 mile life (and counting).
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      07-20-2011, 03:11 PM   #30
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Copy all on 5 vs 6 qts. I agree; 5 qts would be too low. The dipstick 'standard' is that the difference between min and max is 1 qt. I felt comfortable going with 6 qts since I used 6.5 qts the previous oil change and it read full.

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But with regard whether the display shows an overfill condition, I don't know. I have never put in more than the required 7 quarts (Nor has the dealership). Thus, my car has never been overfilled during its 166,915 mile life (and counting).
... that you KNOW of ...

Again, you're counting on the accuracy of the e-dipstick and you don't seem to have a beef with a 1-2 day lag in getting readings that you'd expect. I'm willing to concede that there are a couple of advantages to the e-dipstick: one less seal where moisture can get in and you don't need to get your hands dirty checking the oil level. But I'm not willing to sacrifice accuracy for those benefits.
... I guess I'm beating a dead horse here, as no one with a BMW has ever had an overfill indication on the e-dipstick. And that doesn't seem to concern anyone.
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      07-20-2011, 10:19 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
Wow. That's not good. So the e-dipstick was giving you multiple erroneous readings, just like I got for two full days after changing the oil (it reading full in spite of putting in 6.0 quarts).
There is no advantage to giving lagging quantity indications on the e-dipstick. I'm not happy to hear your experience.

I plan on leaving the oil quantity where it's at (1/2way on e-dipstick) and monitor it closely. I'll report back if I get any engine performance degredation; I haven't noticed any yet.

About three months ago, I pulled my car out of the garage and left it running while I ran inside for something. Our driveway has a moderate downhill grade (nose of car lower than rear). When I got back in, I got a low oil warning. I was tired so I quickly shut off the engine and added half a quart. I then started driving and once I got a reading, the oil quantity read EXACTLY full. Not overfilled, not a short fill. I suspect that I overfilled slightly but due to lack of sensitivity, the overfill never showed up.

Has anyone seen an indication where your oil was overfilled on the e-dipstick? I've never gotten a high reading. It probably isn't an issue if you only overfill by one quart, but if you overfill by two or more quarts, I'd be concerned about possibly foaming the oil from the crankshaft.

As far as the reset, the two previous times that I changed the oil, I didn't reset the maintenance minder since I change it more often. The first change was immediately after buying the car and got the oil changed at the dealer a few thousand miles later under warranty.
This last time, when I reset the maintenance minder, was the second out of warranty oil change for me.


By the way, have you got a reference where it says to put in 7 quarts of oil on an oil change, along with the specific procedure that says to add 7 quarts rather than a bit less and top off?
I combed through my owners manual and there is no capacity listed.
I posted a link showing 6.5L (6.9qt) but can't verify the authenticity of the link.
My independent mechanic looked it up in his specs; he shows 6L (6.4qts).
I'll check the Bentley and see what it says.
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      07-23-2011, 03:23 PM   #32
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OK, to recap.
Reset my oil maintenance minder ~3 days before changing my oil so I drove ~150 miles prior to actually changing the oil.
Changed the oil and filter, putting in ~6.0 quarts.
E-dipstick read full for two days, approximately 15 checks of the quantity on both the stick and navi.
Finally, e-dipstick on both stick and navi read ~1/2 quart low.
After multiple e-dipstick readings of 1/2 quart low, I added approximately .3 quart of oil (total since oil change now 6.3 quarts).
E-dipstick reads 1/2 quart low for three more tests after adding .3 quart.
Finally, e-dipstick now reads EXACTLY full. Not a little bit low, not a little bit high.


I am now thoroughly unimpressed with the e-dipstick. I'm not only blown away by the long lag time, I'm also blown away by the lack of accuracy. Trust the e-dipstick at your own peril.

OK, I've thoroughly beaten this horse to death.
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      07-23-2011, 07:44 PM   #33
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I checked the Bentley today. Capacity is 6.9 quarts. I put in seven when I change my oil and not have had a problem.
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      07-24-2011, 03:06 PM   #34
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Quote:
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I checked the Bentley today. Capacity is 6.9 quarts. I put in seven when I change my oil and not have had a problem.
Let me guess. After every oil change, it reads EXACTLY full. Not a little above, not a little below full. Absolutely perfect every single time.

On the other hand, my car reads EXACTLY full after putting in 6.3 quarts. Not a little above, not a little below full. Absolutely perfect. It's an automotive miracle!
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      07-24-2011, 03:29 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
Let me guess. After every oil change, it reads EXACTLY full. Not a little above, not a little below full. Absolutely perfect every single time.

On the other hand, my car reads EXACTLY full after putting in 6.3 quarts. Not a little above, not a little below full. Absolutely perfect. It's an automotive miracle!
The Bently service manual says there is a static oil level measurement procedue and a dynamic oil level procedure (which is the one you are using). In any case, as I said before, the oil change procedure calls for a refill of 6.9 (7) quarts. I think you are trying to get the e-dipstick to do something it is not designed to do and it is frustrating you. You are trying to get it to behave like a mechanical dipstick and it is not designed to do so. Accroding to the Bentley service manual and the owner's manual, when the e-dipstick is not working it, shows a reading of "INACTIVE".
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      07-24-2011, 04:02 PM   #36
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The Bently service manual says there is a static oil level measurement procedue and a dynamic oil level procedure (which is the one you are using). In any case, as I said before, the oil change procedure calls for a refill of 6.9 (7) quarts. I think you are trying to get the e-dipstick to do something it is not designed to do and it is frustrating you. You are trying to get it to behave like a mechanical dipstick and it is not designed to do so. Accroding to the Bentley service manual and the owner's manual, when the e-dipstick is not working it, shows a reading of "INACTIVE".
So how is an e-dipstick superior than a mechanical dipstick? It is not very accurate and it has a significant time lag.

As for the Bentley service manual, are you saying that it gives 6.9 quarts for the N51, N52, N52KP, and N54 engines? I'm surprised that there's no difference.
... and then there's NatureBoy who puts in 7 quarts and his e-dipstick reads 1/4 quart low.

Bottom line: What should I expect from the e-dipstick if not zero timelag and reasonable accuracy?
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      07-24-2011, 06:17 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
So how is an e-dipstick superior than a mechanical dipstick? It is not very accurate and it has a significant time lag.

As for the Bentley service manual, are you saying that it gives 6.9 quarts for the N51, N52, N52KP, and N54 engines? I'm surprised that there's no difference.
... and then there's NatureBoy who puts in 7 quarts and his e-dipstick reads 1/4 quart low.

Bottom line: What should I expect from the e-dipstick if not zero timelag and reasonable accuracy?
You would expect it to be an integrated part of the oil control system for the engine. I really see no difference in the two apparatus. Both measure the top quart of oil in the engine. BMW chooses to use an electronic device (keep in mind almost every BMW since the mid-80s had both a dipstick and electronic oil level sensor) so the technology is not new at all, BMW has decided the e-dipstick is reliable enough to do away with the mechanical one.

I can't speak to Natureboy's issue. If it were my car I'd take it in for a check at the dealer. He's been saying his e-dipstick has been reading low for several years now and I think his car is still under warranty, or at least it was when he first raised the issue. If an engine is of such a state that oil consumption rate is high the owner knows it through various means. A healthy engine is one that run cleanly, has no burned oil oder, dry, shoot-free tail pipe, and a clean bumper.

I'm not a big fan of the e-dipstick, I prefer a manual device as well, however, reality is the N52/54 doesn't have one, so I've learned to interface with it and try to understand it.

Now, the no notification of failing water pumps is an entirely diffrent issue...
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      07-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #38
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Quote:
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I'm not a big fan of the e-dipstick, I prefer a manual device as well, however, reality is the N52/54 doesn't have one, so I've learned to interface with it and try to understand it.

Now, the no notification of failing water pumps is an entirely diffrent issue...
I took a few hours to read up on the e-dipstick last night. (Why? Because I'm obviously not happy with its performance and wanted to learn more about it).
The lag time and lack of accuracy are well known idiosyncracies of the e-dipstick, so it's just something that I've got to learn to accept (it's hard; I have expectations of precision ). My owner's manual does not mention these quirks but from what I've read, the 5 series manual spells them out fairly clearly. Fortunately, I haven't (and wouldn't) do what a 5 series owner did ... he got a message to fill the oil with another quart. A short while later, he got the message again and added a second quart. ... he ended up putting in 4 quarts of oil!
A small overfill; even a quart shouldn't create any foaming problems but I'd be concerned about 3 extra quarts. He ended up getting his car flat bedded to the dealership so that they could do a complete oil change. He didn't drive it, based on people in the other forum's advice - good call.

Here's something interesting I found on another forum (5 series specific):
Quote:
Funny thing... I was really upset when the oil sensor on my 550 was showing the oil level was too high after changing the oil twice. No dipstick and the sensor doesn't work... I was MAD! I took it back to the dealership and they called out their chief mechanic to take a look. First thing he did was raise the hood, reach back close to the firewall and PULLED OUT THE DIPSTICK! The manual does not mention a dipstick, the sales people knew nothing of it, nor did my service advisor. Anyway, I was relieved...

Are you saying there IS a dipstick????

Yes tayl0rd... there is!!! It is on the right side close to the firewall. It has a black plastic cap that is flat... looks like some wiring that had been capped off. It does not have the normal "handle" dipsticks have.

Just keep looking, you'll find it!"
... I wonder if the 3 series also has a traditional dipstick hidden somewhere?


I found a long technical explanation (unfortunately can't find it today or I'd post the link) about why the BMW's oil system needs the e-dipstick and how it's more accurate overall than a traditional dipstick. It was due to the way that the oil system is designed. It was a good read; sorry I can't find the link.

As far as the discrepency in the amount of oil required for my car vs what your Bentley book states. My indy mechanic looked up the oil change requirement for my car in his manuals and came up with 6.0L; 6.5 quarts. I've got a 2008 328i with an N51 engine. I'll find out which reference book he has; 6.5 quarts sounds like the correct amount for my car, although I doubt that putting in 7 quarts does any harm.
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      07-25-2011, 09:59 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iflyjetzzz View Post
I took a few hours to read up on the e-dipstick last night. (Why? Because I'm obviously not happy with its performance and wanted to learn more about it).
The lag time and lack of accuracy are well known idiosyncracies of the e-dipstick, so it's just something that I've got to learn to accept (it's hard; I have expectations of precision ). My owner's manual does not mention these quirks but from what I've read, the 5 series manual spells them out fairly clearly. Fortunately, I haven't (and wouldn't) do what a 5 series owner did ... he got a message to fill the oil with another quart. A short while later, he got the message again and added a second quart. ... he ended up putting in 4 quarts of oil!
A small overfill; even a quart shouldn't create any foaming problems but I'd be concerned about 3 extra quarts. He ended up getting his car flat bedded to the dealership so that they could do a complete oil change. He didn't drive it, based on people in the other forum's advice - good call.

Here's something interesting I found on another forum (5 series specific):


... I wonder if the 3 series also has a traditional dipstick hidden somewhere?


I found a long technical explanation (unfortunately can't find it today or I'd post the link) about why the BMW's oil system needs the e-dipstick and how it's more accurate overall than a traditional dipstick. It was due to the way that the oil system is designed. It was a good read; sorry I can't find the link.

As far as the discrepency in the amount of oil required for my car vs what your Bentley book states. My indy mechanic looked up the oil change requirement for my car in his manuals and came up with 6.0L; 6.5 quarts. I've got a 2008 328i with an N51 engine. I'll find out which reference book he has; 6.5 quarts sounds like the correct amount for my car, although I doubt that putting in 7 quarts does any harm.
This what I have been saying in my last 3 posts...
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      07-25-2011, 10:52 PM   #40
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This what I have been saying in my last 3 posts...
Don't mistake it for being accurate; it isn't. It's just more accurate than a traditional dipstick based on the current BMW Rube Goldberg oil system design. That's nothing to be proud of.
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      07-26-2011, 06:53 AM   #41
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Had no problems with th e-dipstick on my 330. Especially when I understood that it was not designed to give an accurate reading until the oil reaches operating temp. Also it's always been generally illadvised to fiddle with oil levels which are less than 1quart low on any car. I actually liked being able to check oil levels from inside the car.

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      07-26-2011, 01:02 PM   #42
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I checked the Bentley today. Capacity is 6.9 quarts. I put in seven when I change my oil and not have had a problem.
My indy auto mechanic uses alldata. http://www.alldata.com/repair/
For my model, it states 6.0 liters; 6.4 quarts. Based on my personal experience underfilling after an oil change and subsequent readings, I'd say that Bentley is incorrect for the N52N engine. And from doing more websurfing on the subject, every place I found the N52N oil capacity listed, it stated 6.5L (6.9 quarts).
... my oil reading this morning was down 1 (out of 5) bar on the navi and down ~1/4 quart on the BC stick. I'll leave it there; I want to see if my car burns any/much oil.


I think my comment about the e-dipstick being more accurate overall than a traditional dipstick was misinterpreted. The e-dipstick is not accurate; I don't think you'd find a BMW engineer to say that it is with a straight face. However, based on the way that the oil system is designed in BMW engines, it is more accurate than if one were to use a traditional dipstick for their engines.


Quote:
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Also it's always been generally illadvised to fiddle with oil levels which are less than 1quart low on any car.
That's the first time I've ever heard that. And I've read a couple of technical reports that disagree with that statement. That said, will you do damage to the engine running it 3/4 quart low? No; it's within tolerances.

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      07-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #43
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The TIO540 on the Navajo I fly has an oil capacity of 12qts. Piper says to fill it to 12qts when you service it. It also says the minimum safe oil quantity is 3qts. I would never have the courage to let it get that low. My company's policy is add a qt when it drops below 9. It's not gonna blow the engine up when it's a touch low. Even 2 qts low isn't disastrous. My oil level sensor works fairly instantaneously. I didn't add the last qt during my last oil change and it read 1qt low. Added half the bottle and it read .5qts low. Added the rest and it read full. I really think yours is broken.
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      07-26-2011, 02:46 PM   #44
iflyjetzzz
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Wow; 3 quarts' minimum? Yeah, no way would I ever let an aircraft engine get too low on oil. Even 9 is lower than I'd go. But I've had engine failures several times (on multis; haven't experienced it in a single engine aircraft) due to non-oil related problems. I flew for more than 10 hours on many sorties; the engines were always filled completely prior to flight and oil consumption was recorded down to 1/10th of a quart. Needless to say, oil consumption was an issue on long sorties.

You may be right about my oil sensor is broken but the lag time isn't that abnormal from reading other BMW owners' posts around the 'net. And I haven't had any service warning lights.
I'm due for a major service in 7500 miles; I'll make sure my indy mechanic does a complete OBDI scan and checks the oil system.
I think that my oil quantity is reading reasonably close but has a huge time lag - much more than I'm comfortable with. But since I'm aware of this lag, I can compensate for it.
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