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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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Old 10-14-2011, 12:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Talking The dreaded oil controversy....

Whats up kiddos! ok so not gonna be able to afford lowering springs this christmas.

"Disclaimer:this post is not meant to fight over which type of oil is better, service intervals, recycled oils being a trap and or a certain brand of oil being crap because the local mechanic says it is."

Now, what will be happening is an oil pan gasket change and an oil change! (im planning ahead, far ahead)
Been running shell rotella 15w-40 mineral oil and runs great, really cleaned out the engine...aaannnnddd I want to switch to semi or full synthetic. Any ideas?Concerns? Recommended oils?(synthetic or mineral)(valve noise)
The one concern i have is that theres been enough oil deposits built up over time around the pistons that the switch to synthetic may break loose those deposits and affect compression.

keep in mind...
normally driven in 100+ degree weather(i live in Texas people)
is taken through most of its rpm range 1 out of 3 times it is driven(2 of 3 if theres traffic)
has 242,500 original miles as of today
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Old 10-14-2011, 11:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My opinion only... Semi for the win (FTW) just because of the engines age thats all !!
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Old 10-14-2011, 04:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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yep its what im leaning towards but wont be sure until i inspect the insides when i take the oil pan out
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Old 10-15-2011, 12:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Base it on newer BMW's as they are all fully-synth. But while this technology was in its early years, there was a transition where motors where tested using different compound oils...
Full-Synth from mid to late '90's to today's models (New).
Semi-Synth throughout the '90's (Used).

As cars age and components wear, thicker oils were needed as a quick fix to quieten engines before the need to replace items such as Hydraulic valves, for example.
This still applies today.

Sorry for the long explanation !!
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Old 10-15-2011, 04:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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long explanations are good!
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Old 12-04-2011, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The synthetic oils leaked in the old days because the engines leaked in the old days.
Go by the viscosity recommended for your engine. Dino, semi or synth. And remember that the engine didn't get tighter as it aged.
If I don't use oil that has at least a "x40" in it the little red light will go on at idle when it's warmed up. Dino, semi or synth.
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Old 12-04-2011, 10:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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yep im mainly just worried about loosing compression and yeah i dont use anything lower than 40 but thats due to temperatures here...as for your issue with that red light id check the sensor if not get ready for that pump to go out (or get to the point where it cant develop enough pressure)
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Old 12-05-2011, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oil Threading

> as for your issue with that red light
Actually, its' a very common issue. The engine is specced for 20w50 here at LAX for most times of the year. At 600 rpm, with the temp gauge at 12:00 there will be a little flicker on occasion. There are more occasions with thinner oil; then again I don't sit at 600 rpm for long, and taking it out of "D raises the idle enough so my friend goes away. With 20w50 there is no flicker.

The thing with synthetic oil is that it doesn't "fix" anything. It does slow wear and friction way down from when you start using it. Especially if you start from zero miles, or as close as possible. I had Goldwings for decades, and synthetic oil was the difference between getting a 500,000 mile engine, or a 100,000 mile engine, witnessed and testified by hundreds of riders.
Ever hear of the "Top Tier" classification for autos? The *only way* Ford and Chrysler could get their new vehicles to pass the US standards for a usable 60,000+ mile car was using synthetic oil in the engine and Techron in the fuel.
My seat of the pants diagnostician tells me that using Rotella synthetic gives me a slightly smoother running engine and maybe a couple more mpgs.
Close enough for me.

Last edited by gidgaf; 12-05-2011 at 03:24 PM. Reason: spel chekr
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Old 12-05-2011, 07:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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hmm interesting, any idea why or what causes that to happen?
Yeah ive skimmed the top tier articles lol and yes i know synthetic doesnt "fix" anything(theres nothing to fix but the aging leather on the seats ) like you said, "slowing wear" and that is the main goal here. Synthetic Rotella sounds good but im iffy on going full synthetic but we'll see once i get home and lower the oil pan. =P
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Old 12-06-2011, 10:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Just to add... Synthetic oil was developed to try to increase reliability and erradicate poor emission caused by the recirculation of carbon through the engine breathing system (mineral oils)...
Also, a good bit of advice is to avoid using aftermarket additives as these tend to be based on unproven technology (Gimmicks).
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yup. Burning synthetic that leaked past the rings and valve guides was "cleaner" than dino oil. Sheesh! Butt that was the thinking.
Remember when Mobil1 came out? Theoretically you never changed the oil. You changed out the filter and topped the car off with another quart once a month, but you didn't change the oil.
Sometimes we're talking apples and oranges. My 25 year old 300k mile mule probably has different lube requirements now than it did when new, and it's thick oil and loose clearances engineering is way different than a new car with it's thin oil and tight clearance design.

I have a friend that uses cheap crapola oil, changes the filter at/before 3k, and changes the oil and filter again by 5k miles. Another who does the full synthetic oil and filter change every 5k miles, yet another who does the same at 8k miles. I don't know who's righter, they all run pretty good.
I do know what I hear and see. LAX to Pomona, round trip, is just over 100 miles per day. Every day. I used to take the Wing, I take the truck sometimes, I get the bimmer out a lot. Rotella synth makes my rides a little quieter, and adds a couple mpgs on the freeway. Chevron gas adds another one or two mpgs, versus Arco. Consistently. Only if Arco didn't charge that $1 to $1.40 "convenience" fee for using my debit card the price/ performance ratio would just barely makes it worth it. But I like using Chevron, and there's a cheap one near me (near the Arco!).
But there's been more than a few times over the years that a mechanic or two would say something like "You're paying extra for synthetic oil? Do you really want that thing to last that long?" Well, yes I do!
Oh, I forgot. I use the Purolator L30001 filter, cause size matters.

Last edited by gidgaf; 12-07-2011 at 10:23 PM. Reason: forgot about the filter
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Hahaha... Depends on how much you love your car ;-)
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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lol @Dabsy yep!

@gidgaf-you have the luxury of using a bigger filter? =O im jealous well kinda, my filter is the internal easy to change no mess type.
your buddies are both pretty much right on, although unless your car has a dirty engine or does allot of stop and go traffic driving, i really dont see the need to change the filter before changing the oil. lol the mechanic misses you or your car and wants you in the shop more often.

ps- most of the time all i use is Shell, Chevron or Exxon, mainly because they're cleaner mpg is just a plus, im sitting at 28mpg on highway @70mph and 15-20 in the city depending on stop signs. im pretty sure thats as much as im going to get out of it.
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Old 12-28-2011, 03:02 PM   #15 (permalink)
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What? WTF?!?! "The shop"?
Let's see, the last time I went to "the shop", a mechanic FOAF was selling me his "old" radio out the back. A year or so ago. If my auto work doesn't require a large machine bolted to the floor, I can do almost all of it next to my garage.
I have a 86 528e. Open the hood, spin out the old filter, spin on the new. TADA! The hardest part is not dripping old oil on the headers. At least they won't rust ...
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