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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 02-12-2005, 07:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Interested in any opinions regarding benefits of using synthetic oil over regular for my E36's motor..
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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synthetic > regular
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Old 02-12-2005, 08:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If your not using synthetic you should.. it is much cleaner and just a better longer lasting lubricant. If you are running regular now and switch to synthetic you run the risk of having to replace all of your engine gaskets. This is because regular oil leaves deposits in your gaskets that over time actually help to hold them together, when you switch to the cleaner synthetics it will in a sense wash away these deposits left behind by the regular oil and cause your gaskets to fail.
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Old 02-12-2005, 09:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Catalyst is right I have a friend who switched over in his 88 audi and the thing leaks like a son of a bitch now. However I switched a couple of months ago in my 99 with 62,000 miles on it and everything is just peachy as of this point!

If you do go for synthetic you should run mobil 1 awesome oil!
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Old 02-12-2005, 09:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yehh i use mobil 1 too, good stuff.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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so am assuming the safe thing to do if you decide to switch would be to completely drain the engine (include oil pan) when you switch.

Am not talking about just taking the screw off and letting it all drip out, am talking about taking the all oil pan off (since you always have some oil left in it)....
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I switched to synthetic and have noticed leaks. I knew these were bound to emerge, but I don't care. I'd rather have a few leaks than having all kinds of gunk swimmin around inside my engine. I use Mobil 1 as well.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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dont bother taking out the pan... you will have to drop the steering rack and its just a mess... i had 109k on mine when i switched, and i didnt have a leak on the first change... but on the second my car began to leak. I replaced the Valve Cover Gasket (Very easy - about $50) and it doesn't leak anymore. I ues Mobil1 15w-50, and it works great.
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Old 02-13-2005, 01:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Synthetic Oils use smaller chain hydrocarbons (smaller molecules that slide against each other better) which will fit into smaller cracks easier than conventional oils. This is where the oil leaks come from. As well, if your motor is burning oil, it will burn more oil with synthetics (smaller chain hydros again)...

I have synthetics in my Engine, 5 speed, and Diff. They are especially useful up here in Canada where, as you can see in the Weather Box below, it's colder than in the US. The drive train experiences better oil flow at all temperatures, which is a better thing at all times!

I have to laugh about the GUNK in the conventional oils sealing better! So, dirty oil is better for your car, go figure!

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Old 02-13-2005, 09:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I ahev synthetic trans and diff fluid and good ol reg oil in the engine. I have always heard that if you have less than 30k miles switching to synthetic is fine and better for the car. If you have more than 50k don't switch jsut stay with what you have and if you are in between then it is a judgement call.
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Old 02-13-2005, 09:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If your prepared to replace your gaskets, then i would switch.. if not then dont. Synthetic is much better for your engine though.

Personally i would make the switch, despite the risks, if i bought a car that was previously running regular.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:01 PM   #12 (permalink)
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if you have reg oil in your car now, then there is no point in changing it to synthetic now... its just waste! stay with what you got!
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I run Redline Racing Oil (10W40) have over 100K on the clock, and have no leaks. What I do have, is better gas mileage, smoother idle, and believe it or not noticeably smoother acceleration. And yes, I'm sure a bit of this is placebo affect, but it's a better product, so use it. I don't have to buy premium gas, but I love my car, so I do. Yeah it's $70 everytime I change the oil, but that is only whenever I feel like it. Redline rates their product to be good for about 17K miles. I plan on changing it at about 7500.
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Old 02-13-2005, 10:21 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I changed to synthetic because I know it is better and because I was very uncertain as to what would constitute good mineral oil. I have noticed leaks, and am thinking (from reading this thread) that I will soon change my gaskets. Which gaskets are we talking about here? I can think of the valve cover gasket and the oil pan gasket. What else should I look into? I will probably do the oil pan gasket next time I change my oil, but I would like to know what else I may be facing so I can just order all the parts at once, or brace on if there is something that needs to be done by a shop.
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Old 02-15-2005, 11:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I had 110,000 miles on the car, switched to Synthetic in the Engine, Trany, and Diff and suffered no leaks, not that I expected any...

Why would it matter if you had 30k or 50k miles on the clock when you switched? You slay me...
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