E39 Change Oil Myself?

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spec 100K.

has a designated number, i.e. 5000 liters. That's it. No timer. The one year oil change interval is a service bulletin put out about 3 years ago. It will not appear in your maintenance manual.

face of manufacturer denials. E46 M3 engine is a classic case. BMW had to pushed into the smoking hole before acknowledging there might be a problem with their engines. There's also a nice running tally (anecdotal of course) of premature radiator failures ... typically 8-cylinder cars. Typically out of warantee. As I stated, anecdotal evidence is inconvenient evidence. It is not automatically unreliable just because the manufacturer (or you) says it is.

A rather arrogant statement. BMW has improved in the preventive maintenance arena, just not as much as the current service intervals would suggest. I believe (and BMW CCA tech writers do too) that many of the new intervals are driven by marketing concerns vice significant improvements in the consumables or materials involved.
If low service costs were my primary concern, I'd drive Japanese. I'm willing to pay the added expense to maintain my bimmer because it is the finest handling sedan on the planet. It makes driving fun again.
R / John
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Except that Toyota has definitely had problems with engines failing due to oil sludge buildup, even with owners following their 5K-7.5K change intervals: google "Toyota oil change sludge".
Although my BMW garage says they have seen sludge build-ups with cars following the (older) 7.5K with dino and 15K synthetic, there doesn't seem to be convincing evidence that the 15K interval is a problem.
But then, I'm following a 7.5K interval in my '01 330xi, because it only costs about $35 for me to do it. GI Joes is even carrying the filter set (Purolator not Mann) now.
FloydR
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John Carrier wrote:

You must be speaking of your own vehicle. Mine has a counter which counts down to the next service and has a date based over-ride if the time is reached before the mileage. It is set at two years. Also the system is much more sophisticated than you allude to and counts cold starts, full acceleration, miles run at below running temperature and, very importantly, the conductivity of the oil.
The one year oil change interval is a service

Mine is set in the dashboard at two years and is also plainly published in warranty and all service literature.

All manufacturers have occassional rogue components or even models within their range from time to time.
There's also a nice

What evidence have you? Around here BMW 3 series outsell and outnumber Ford Mondeo and it seems that every fourth or fifth car is a BMW. There are NO issues and very few people deviate from the dash computers service schedule. My friend had an Audi which ran perfectly for the 200,000 miles he owned it while it was serviced loosely at Audi's service intervals of 20,000 miles. BMW's nominal service interval of 15000 miles looks rather tame compared to the cutting edge which now have service intervals of up to 30,000 miles. No particular issues with those cars either that I have heard of and they are quite common cars these days.
I believe (and BMW CCA tech writers do too) that many

Believe what you like but there are no particular issues with BMW service intervals. In fact the engines, the oils, the filtration and the transmissions of these BMW's are very significantly different from the previous models which had service intervals of 10,000 miles or less.

It may surprise you to know that there are plenty of Japanese cars that are just as much fun. Another couple of friends have bought Nissan 350ZX and Mazda RX7 cars which are great fun. The ironic thing is that a BMW is a well balanced piece of engineering. Not only is it a quality asthetic design but it provides a great driving experience while also pushing the limits to making a car similar to a domestic consumer white good, like a washing machine or a microwave, in its long term maintenance requirement.
Huw
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While I can only speak for M54 and M62 engines, I can assure you there's no timer. My 2003 E39 has a series of lights, 5 green, 1 amber, 1 red. The green lights extenguish one by one (about every 2400 miles in my case), the amber illuminates to indicate service, the red service past due. The cycle is Oil, Insp 1, Oil, Insp 2 and so forth. There's a simple procedure (on 2001 and sub cars) that allows a reset of the system. While I cannot speak for the cars with the newer magnesium block, I can assure you there's no magic computations going on in the computer nor does it analyze the oil (If you want to prove it to yourself, do an oil change about half way through the cycle ... won't change things a bit) nor run a calendar. This applies to ANY bimmer with these engines. The system in older cars (e34, e36) counted stuff like start cycles, etc. The engineers found that the correlation with fuel burned was close enough to eliminate all the other inputs.
If you have good reason to believe differently, I'd be happy to read the documents. If you're basing it on something your dealer told you, I've got this bridge in New York I'd like to sell you ...
The 2 year recommendation in the owners manual has been superceded by a service bulletin. If you're in the US and get free maintenance, that means a free oil change every year or every service interval, whichever comes first (through 50K/4Years).

What was that? "Anecdotal evidence"?

a 30K oil service interval?

Note the word "sedan." Yes, there are many great cars to drive out there, but those that provide great handling and seating for 4 adults are quite rare. I have a particular fondness for a very expensive Italian marque ... but while I could afford a nice used machine, proper PM is beyond my reach (a lesson learned the hard way).
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

Yes I know what you have got. Other and newer models have a counter and a date warning.
There's a simple procedure (on 2001 and sub cars) that

I have done this and the service milage automatically extended by some 4000 miles on a Mercedes but I have not tested this on the BMW because I leave the system to tell me when to service.

These engines are fitted to many models. My X5 and Range Rover have the system whatever engine is fitted as do other models in the BMW range. Just because your particular model does not does not mean other models are the same.

You base your arguement on only one or two models in a vast range. The light system is being phased out as new models are introduced.
BMW Condition Based Servicing
A number of BMW models now feature Condition Based Servicing, (CBS), an evolution of the innovative BMW Service Interval Indicator.
CBS works by employing sensors to constantly monitor parts subjected to wear and ascertain the extent to which servicing is necessary. This data is then saved and stored in the vehicle's remote control. Using a KeyReader, BMW Service

Yes I know what you have in the USA and have said so. The USA is only a small part of the World.

Take it any way you like. It's a fact. Ignore it if you wish.

Yes they have.
Oils have improved. What consumer

VW and Audi cars from the Golf upwards with diesel engines, the petrol engines having around 20,000 mile intervals, all with a two year over-ride. Also many GM Vauxhall/Opel cars such as the Astra and Vectra. Hardly exotic or rare cars. Click on a number of models in the drop-down box on this Vauxhall link to start with http://www.vauxhall.co.uk/vx/owners/serviceintervals.do?method=loadServiceInterval
http://www.audi.co.uk/acs/ownershipbenefits/details.jsp?id 616
http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/services/servicing/service_intervals

I find the Lexus 470 to be excellent. Also on a smaller scale the Nissan Primera is very under-rated as a 3 series rival in dynamic terms even though it is front wheel drive. In my experience the Primera is a far more rewarding drive than an Audi A4. You may scoff, but the Ford Mondeo we have here is absolutely excellent as a drivers car but is outsold by the BMW 3 series. BMW are large volume cars in the UK and most of Europe and not quite the exotic product you think they are in the USA. That is not to belittle their generally excellent qualities including dynamics and long service intervals.
Huw
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SNIP
< Never-ending volley of opinions>
SNIP
And to think this started in response to changing the oil in a 2003 530i.
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

Forget the last paragraph. Can you deny any of the other evidence including that contained in the links provided?
Huw
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In case you didn't figure it out, I have withdrawn from the competition. Without any reference to your links (you never gave one for your car's newer service interval system), I acknowledge before all that is holy and those poor fools who followed this thread that your piss stream spanned a greater distance than mine.
Happy?
R / John
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John Carrier wrote:

No, because I have the facts. I cannot post picture details of the modern service system although I will copy the full text from the BMW web site down below. Although I have and have had cars with the mileage countdown system I am not sure if it has the full system with key reader. It probably has but is of no direct consequence to me. The X5 was built in the USA.
START A number of BMW models now feature Condition Based Servicing, (CBS), an evolution of the innovative BMW Service Interval Indicator.
CBS works by employing sensors to constantly monitor parts subjected to wear and ascertain the extent to which servicing is necessary. This data is then saved and stored in the vehicle's remote control. Using a KeyReader, BMW Service staff can download this information to provide an accurate analysis at any given time. This means that until such time that wears progresses to defined limits, no service or maintenance work is required.
The savings are measurable in terms of both time and outlay.
CBS is not a feature on all BMW models please ask your BMW Dealer for details. END
Huw
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John Carrier wrote:

I beat you to the quiting line... ;-)
--
-Fred W

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John Carrier wrote:
    [...]

My E39 (1997) has that too.
Just below the first green light there is a clock icon which illuminates for time based service items - AFAIK just every other year for brake fluid and coolant...
A
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I think the whole point of this thread is whether or not you believe BMW's service intervals are in your "interest."
On the one hand, some will argue that BMW interest is in selling you cars and that a "lifetime" is up to about 100K. After that, you need to get rid of your car and buy a new one. If you fall in that camp, then things like "lifetime" fluids, 15,000 oil service intervals, and changing coolant every 5 years/100K miles is all you need. Of course, there are examples of cars following this maintenance schedule lasting 200K, 300k or maybe even more.
In contrast, there are some, like me, who believe BMWs should last 300K. The majority in this camp will go "beyond" what BMW requires and change our oil every 3-5K (dino)/7.5-10K (synthetic), bleed our brakes every year or two; flush coolant every 2 years, and change tranny (manual) and differential oil every 30K. It should be noted that even if you did all of these things, there's no guarantee that your car will last 300K
For those who think those in the second camp, are "excess" and these owners, like myself, are nothing but paranoid, you may be right. Then again the cost of doing these things, especially if you do it yourself is pretty minimal in the scheme of things.
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bfd wrote:

You must be kidding, right? If it doesn't last at least 200,000 miles without undue wear these days, then it is not much of a car. Of course BMW's reputation rests partly on the quality and longevity of its engines and they cannot and do not gamble this reputation by getting their customers to compromise the vehicles by substandard servicing.
If you fall in that camp,

You may think they should but actually very few, if any, manufacturers design cars to last that long. Even at 20,000 miles per year consistently it will take 15 years to reach 300,000 miles. Now I am not saying that no BMW will reach this milestone *but* it is probable that it will be commercially driven vehicles such as taxi's that will do so, serviced as needed and no more. The extra oil changes of 5000 mile schedule will have negligible effects on longevity because the standard schedule is performed well before the oil degrades to the point where it causes accellerated wear. In fact it is probable there will be more wear in the first minute after an oil change than with many thousands of miles of running even with oil that has beed in service for upwards of 10,000 miles.
I am well aware that this is beyond the comprehension of committed sceptics such as described below but, ho-hum......., such is life.
The majority in this camp will go "beyond" what BMW requires and

That is indeed the case. There could be all kinds of non-lube or indeed lube related failures. In fact for the vast majority the rest of the car, both mechanically and cosmetically, will likely fail in some way before this point. It requires a very committed owner indeed to have the patience to run a car for 300k. Even if the car was run at a high annual mileage for 200,000 miles it is likely [though not writ in stone] that the second, third or fourth owner will not keep up this hectic pace with the old crock.

If it makes you feel good, do it. The car is just a lump of metal and plastic and *it* will certainly not appreciate it. It has no feeling or concience. I'm sorry if this comes as a shock to some people. It may come as an even greater surprise that *I* feel the same way and get satisfaction from early servicing of a car and some kind of guilt if I overshoot by only a few miles. The difference is, maybe, that I am under no illusion that it does much except make *me* feel good and that given a bit of luck [we all need luck with mechanical things] all my cars are capable of outlasting my patience with them.
Huw
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bfd wrote:

That you for succinctly summarizing my point. And furthermore, those that do change their own oil, even twice as often as BMW recommends will go home with more money in their pockets than those that bring it to the dealerships per schedule.
Is it "recreational"? Perhaps. I actually do find it to be therapeutic to do work on my own cars. Is that a bad thing? I think not. But it is not recreational to the extent that it is done without purpose.
Wasteful? Not green enough? Too destructive to the shared, fragile environmental ecosystem? So is driving any car in the first place. Should we all walk or drive bicycles instead of driving? Where does one draw a line about what is "necessary" vs "unnecesary" when it comes to autos?
--
-Fred W

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Fred W wrote:

Prove it! I say there will be no significant difference in the longevity of either vehicle. I don't have to prove it because I follow the manufacturers recomendation while you wish to modify it and therefore should justify your lack of faith in the manufacturer and its product.

No, not a bad thing.
But it is not recreational to the extent that it is done

No, just rather wastful use of your time and energy but no more so than arguing the toss on Usenet.
So is driving any car in the first place.

When it comes to maintenance then it is necessary to follow the manufacturers recommendations and unnecessary to second guess them and do much more. There, that was easy, wasn't it? The bottom line is that if you have so little faith in the honesty, integrity and engineering of the manufacturer, then why buy and run their product when there is so much choice of more conservative, less avant-gard manufacturers? The whole essence of a BMW is that it is avant-gard.
Huw
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bfd wrote:

Oddly enough BMW are sold worldwide, not just in the USA, and service is certainly not 'free' elsewhere but the extended servicing has been established for many years now.

Perhaps they were profiteering previously. I have never changed coolant at less than five years or 100,000 miles and the systems have never frozen or corroded.

Obviously longer intervals are adequate for all transmissions and there is no evidence that transmissions now fail sooner than previously.

Do you expect browny points?

Who cares what brand is used? It is not important.
I figure for $6-7/quart, its not

Man! You need to get a life. Changing oil according to recommended schedule is important but anything else is just recreational.
Huw
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<Man! You need to get a life. Changing oil according to recommended schedule is important but anything else is just recreational. >
Agree, but for my 1990 E34 535i, the *recommended" schedule as stated in my service manual:
coolant - every 2 years brake fluid - every 2 years; every year if you track your car manual transmission and differential fluids - every 30K miles
I do as the above states. The only difference is engine oil. I usually burn a quart every 3K-4K, and it gets pretty black, so I change it.
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How many buy a new car and run it to 250k? 0.1%? How many cars these days are scrapped because the engine fails?
--
*Save the whale - I'll have it for my supper*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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If you can find one of these oil change joints, you can suck up the oil through the level check tube. Don't worry about the filter every other time.
BTW doesn't yours tell you when it wants a service?
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My, bought new, UK 2001 530D, did about 14,000 miles between oil changes with my driving style on "the meter". I had oil / filter changed at about half that with oil I supplied to the main dealer who were happy to do it and only charged 25 for a genuine filter and the labour. The technician just before I sold it said the instruction was change as per the meter or every year - it was "every two years" but was revised to "every year" around 2003 apparently.
Nick
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