E39 530i Service Intervals - Maximum safe interval?

Page 1 of 2  
Hi all,
I'm looking at a 2001 E39 BMW 530i with 140k. It has FSH with the last stamp at 139k. There are 6 stamps in total, meaning that this car has covered an
average of 23k miles between services.
Now, to me, this seems like a long time. Is it at the top end of what you can generally eek out of a car like the 530i when most of your journeys are long distance Motorway cruises, or is there a worrying possibility that the previous owner of this car has been driving around with the Red service light showing?
I am aware that the distance the car travels between services is calculated using the average mpg of the car - this particular car is a manual, so reasonably economy is possible on Motorway journeys at sensible speed..
For what its worth, the car has had just one owner from new - so I'd like to think that if you've paid £32,000 for a brand new BMW you would then at least service it properly..
Any ideas?
Cheers,
Michael
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The service intervals are much more complex than that - the ECU monitors the condition of the oil as part of it's decision making. A 530i will have been a director's company car, no doubt, which means it'll have spend a lot of time cruising up and down motorways where oil will remain in good condition for many miles. I wouldn't worry about it myself.
--
Steve H 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
www.italiancar.co.uk - Honda VFR800 - Hongdou GY200 - Alfa 75 TSpark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Does it really? I thought it just counts the number of engine starts and gallons/liters of fuel consumed, maybe also the rpms. I was not aware that it somehow monitors the oil condition. Do you have a link to some more literature of how this actually works?
Thanks, Pete
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Just what I'd been told [1] about variable service intervals. Something to do with measuring translucency.
[1] By a salesman.
--
Steve H 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
www.italiancar.co.uk - Honda VFR800 - Hongdou GY200 - Alfa 75 TSpark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"SteveH" wrote

The reason why I find it suspicious is that even if you change your oil, but do not physically reset the oil monitor, it'll come on telling you to change oil. If it was able to monitor the oil condition, it would know that the oil is fresh and would not come on. At least that's how it is on the US-spec BMWs.

Ah, that explains a lot. :)
Cheers,
Pete
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When SI first were installed in BMWs, the computer measured several parameters to determine when service was due. They included things such as # of cold starts, # of warm atarts, mileage, engine operating temperature, and perhaps others.
BMW found that all these complicated calculations equated to the number of gallons of fuel burned. So now, in the latest models, the only thing that determines service intervals is the amount of fuel the engine has used.
There is no optical sensor, no "analytical chemist in the oil pan", no particulate sensor, no nothing. When you have burned "X" amount of fuel, you are due a service.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Bob Smitter" wrote

That's what I thought.
Is there a way to adjust the "X" amount (with service tool/computer)? I was thinking that "X" could be different depending on the type of oil you use, ie. smaller for mineral oil, larger for some "long life" type oil (available in Europe).
Thanks, Pete
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete wrote:

There certainly is if you have a VW...
Chris
--
Remove prejudice to reply.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That actually makes lots of sense. And, it's simple.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pete wrote:

Not only that, but freshly changed oil goes black very quickly from the small amount of black stuff left in.

Indeed.
Of course, /European/-spec BMWs have a built-in gas chromatograph-coupled mass spectrometer to check the oil composition ;-)
Andrew
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Andrew Morton" wrote

Well yeah. If anyone out there came up with an oil sensor that judges oil condition solely by its color, then it's a very poor sensor. :) I can do that myself by pulling the dipstick (sans the newest BMW models), alas it's pretty useless as you mentioned.
I think GM/Delphi developed some kind of an engine oil sensor that monitors oil condition (and not by its looks), but I can't remember now what it measures exactly and onn which cars it is used.
Pete
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm not certain that it can actually monitor oil samples, but I have every confidence that if the computer knows the car starts, runs for an hour at 70, then another 40 minutes ar various speeds, then stops. then starts again, runs 40 minutes at various speeds, then goes an hour at 70, then stops, it should be able to compute that the oil -- assuming the oil meets the specifications -- should last for a defined period. Your and my performance might be different than the OP's, but our driving pattern should be significanltly different as well.
Oil is a very precise science, and the old days of changing the oil because 90 days, or "x" thousand miles, have gone by is just not valid anymore. We need car makers to monitor this sort of stuff, and turn on a light, as BMW does, that alerts us that we need to change the oil. Oil is in increasingly short supply, and changing it before it is needed -- time or miles have passed by -- is simply unacceptable these days.
It has been a long time since the 3000 mile oil change was a real requirement for the health of your engine. Today, most cars go 7500 miles according to factory warranty specifications, and some cars go much longer. I'm surprised the Sierra Club, et al, do not go after Jiffy Lube, et al, for prompting us to change oil when it isn't necessary.

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff Strickland ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) gurgled happily, sounding much like they were saying :

<waves> I've got one with a 1500 mile engine oil change interval.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Adrian wrote:

My old Supra used to change it's own every 1000 miles or so...
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

OK, found this from way back in 1997:
<cut & pasted article from DesignNews.com>
Capacitive sensor measures oil quality A unique oil-quality sensor under evaluation by Cummins, Detroit Diesel, and BMW, may someday signal drivers when their oil needs changing. It's based on a low-cost ceramic capacitive sensor that measures variations in the dielectric constant of the oil. New motor oil has a dielectric constant of about 2.19, but after about 400 hours use, the antioxidant additives in the oil break down and the value climbs to roughly 3.20. The sensor works much like any capacitive sensor. The substance to be measured (oil) passes freely between two small, parallel metal plates spaced roughly 0.010 to 0.020 inches apart. With the area and spacing known, the capacitance value becomes a function only of two values: the dielectric constant of the oil itself, and one major stumbling block--temperature. "Nobody knew how to block off the temperature effect and only measure the aging of the oil," says Kyong M. Park, vice president of R&D at Kavlico (Moorpark, CA), the sensor's manufacturer. His patented solution: incorporate an analog signal conditioner consisting of feedback resistors for offsets and gain, and select one resistor that changes resistance in direct proportion to oil's dielectric-constant variation with temperature. Park also overcame a soot contamination problem present in diesel engines. "We developed a special silicon-based coating to prevent the soot from sticking to the sensor," he explains. A serendipitous advantage of the Kavlico sensor is that water contamination-a fairly common and damaging situation-can also be detected because the dielectric constant of water is 87. "A one-percent contamination of the oil with water or coolant will increase the dielectric constant enough to trigger an alarm," says Park. Kavlico isn't the only company working on an oil-quality sensor. Control Devices (Standish, ME) has joined forces with the University of Maine to produce one; Sandia National Laboratory has a sensor in development; and SRI International (Menlo Park, CA) has produced a laboratory prototype for a auto-manufacturer customer. Park isn't worried. "{Other methods} measure the oil's acidity, which is less reliable," he says. Surprisingly, the capacitive concept isn't new. "I remember reading a Popular Science article 30 years ago about this," says Park. "But nobody ever made a production sensor before that could do it."
This was published years ago, and BMW advertise cars as having an 'oil quality sensor' - so it looks like they've been fitting them for a while (Certainly since the fugly 5-series was launched). Might not be in the specs. of an E39, though.
--
Steve H 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
www.italiancar.co.uk - Honda VFR800 - Hongdou GY200 - Alfa 75 TSpark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SteveH wrote:

Obviously a great one, because he made it up and yet you beleived him. It does no such thing. It does all the calculations based on running time, number of starts, etc. No magic oil sensors...
--
-Fred W

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Fred W wrote:

Actually - the later models do it strictly on fuel consumed.. which if you think about it takes into account cold starts (more fuel), short drives (more fuel), hard use (more fuel)..
So many liter of fuel used (depending on engine) and the light turns on.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
admin wrote:

That doesn't seem to account for the real need to change the oil more often if you make a lot of short trips.
--
-Fred W

Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Fred W" wrote

Well, it kind of does, because short trips = cold engine = higher fuel consumption. And aside from the mileage, there is also the time factor. Doesn't the manual say you should change the oil once a year, regardless of miles?
Pete
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Read the link I posted and the spec. sheet for a new BMW, then.
(I was looking at 3-series until I found out how much BMW want for a half decent one)
OK, it's not based on translucency - but BMW *do* fit 'oil quality sensors' these days.
--
Steve H 'You're not a real petrolhead unless you've owned an Alfa Romeo'
www.italiancar.co.uk - Honda VFR800 - Hongdou GY200 - Alfa 75 TSpark
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
βœ–
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.