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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to start doing my own oil and filter change in between the service intervals. However, I have 2 questions:

1. Is it necessary to tighten the filter canister to 25nm? Can I just tighten it by feel and trial & error, or do I have to invest in a torque wrench?

2. I can't get my head under the car to get to the drain plug! If I drive the car up a pair of ramps, the car won't be level, will the engine oil completely drain that way?

I would appreciate advice, ideas, suggestions from those of you who do oil & filter changes yourself. Many thanks!
 

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1. i can't specifically speak for the 540i, i don't know what its canister looks like. you can probably just "get by" using trial & error, but i'd invest in a torque wrench anyway if you are going to be doing this sort of thing regularly. plus the torque wrench is useful for more than just oil changes. like scaring away little children from your driveway.

2. ramps should be good enough. don't forget to chock your wheels!
 

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You should also invest in a very large pair of chanel lock pliers to hold the oil filter canister. Otherwise when you loosten or tighten it you can and will tear the rubber mounts. No one in the shop I work at including myself use a torque wrench to tighten the filter housings. As long as you get the lid nice and snug it will be fine. You can check this by looking between the lid and the metal filter housing there should be no gap at all. Also make sure you snap the new oil filter into the filter housing lid, it will make a noticable noise when it pops in place. The V8 oil pans have the drain in the bottom of the pan unlike the 4 and 6 cyl cars that have it in the side, the car should be as level as possible when you drain the oil. Also check your lower oil pan bolts, they have been known to come loose. They are the 10mm bolts that hold the smaller black pan to the larger alum. pan. If you find that they are loose I recomend that you take you car to your local BMW shop and have the remove the lower oil pan for 2 reasons: one, if the lower pan bolts are loose chances are the internal upper pan bolts are also loose, and two, if the bolts that hold the oil pans are loose there is also a very good chance the 4 bolts in the oil pump are loose. In the 3 months that I have been at the BMW shop I work at now I have personaly done 5-6 of these retightenings and the shop total is probably close to 12 or so. As far as I know there isn't a recall for this, at least that's what I've been told. Check with your local dealer and see what they have to say about this. Hope this info helps.
 

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simple fix, park on a downhill slope, and jack up the car or use ramps, it should level out decently. youll be fine, and you should tighten the filter cap snug plus a bit, its sort of a feel , you can use a tourque wrench at first but after that you will sort of know how much is enough
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you All for the tips! :D

Now. let's see how my first oil & filter change turns out!

More questions:

1. Where do you guys recommend I get the filter from? Do they come with the seal/rings or are they purchased separately?

2. Are those plastic ramps sold at Walmart any good?


Thanks again!
 

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I buy my filters from the dealer.

I purchased cheap plastic ramps from autozone, they work alright.
 

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I also forgot to add that you need to remove the oil filter first, because if you leave the canister sealed it will hold about a quart oil in it. Then when you go to replace the filter that quart of old oil goes in the oil pan and doesn't get drained. I would also go to the dealer for the filter, and a dealer filter comes with new rubber gasket for the filter housing lid and a new crush washer for the drain plug.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you all again! :D

And thanks for your time and effort, AJ's320i! :clap2
 

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Glad I could help. I learned the hard way about the rubber mounst and not taking the filter cap off first, broke the mounts when I was trying to take off the cap after I had lowered the car back on the ground. :banghead but luckaly the mounts are pretty cheep. Plus the shopforman was kind of glad I learned this way cause when you do something the wrong way you remember to do it the right way next time for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Actually I have replaced those rubber mounts once already. My mechanic replaced them with heavier, thicker ones! :D

Do you work at a BMW dealership, or an independent BMW repair shop?
 

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I work at an independent shop for now. I used to work at the dealer in Roseville doing minor work like oil changes, brakes, new car PDI's and stuff like that, then I also helped with alarm installs, and Dinan upgrades. I'm not sure where you are located but the shop I work at now is in Rocklin, CA about 30 min north of Sacramento. Someday I hope to go to UTI and go through the BMW program they have down south.
 

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Originally posted by AJ's320i@Dec 8 2003, 07:22 PM
I work at an independent shop for now. I used to work at the dealer in Roseville doing minor work like oil changes, brakes, new car PDI's and stuff like that, then I also helped with alarm installs, and Dinan upgrades. I'm not sure where you are located but the shop I work at now is in Rocklin, CA about 30 min north of Sacramento. Someday I hope to go to UTI and go through the BMW program they have down south.
Hey man, Wyotech will have there new school open in sacramento soon.....you can go there for under $20k then go to BMW after that...I heard that BMW will pay for it if you go to wyotech....:dunno
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh mann...I got a problem. Got some plastic ramps from Walmart today, tried to drive the car up the ramps but my car's too low. The front lip spoiler will hit the ramps before the wheels even get to them.

Now...should I get one of those 2-ton hydraulic jack and then place the car on jack-stands instead? Jack-stands will be positioned way behind the front wheels, is that gonna be safe? I was also thinking, if I use this option to lift the car, after I get under to undo the drain-plug, I could lower the car to level it for complete drainage. Then lift it again to put the bolt back on. Whereas, with the ramps, I won't be able to drive the car up and down when the engine oil is drained. My only concern is safety, don't wanna squash my head to save a few bucks!

Also, what is the best tool to use for the filter-housing cover? Could I use one of those belt-grip wrenches made for the regular oil filters?
 

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The way I would do it would be to jack up the car and put the jack stands on the lift pads in the front. Then take your jack and put it under the diff. make sure you get it on the cast metal housing not on the alum. cover. This way it will be level and safe. If you have clearance issues Kragen or whatever it's called where you live sells the lo-pro almn. jacks for like $170. As for taking off the filter lid just spend the $10 at Kragen and buy a 36mm socket and 1/2" drive ratchet. If you're on a budget you don't have to buy a ratchet just get a small 1/2" drive braker-bar.
 
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