Technically, all one need do is realize there is no distributor with the
telltale wires leading from it to the sparkplugs. There is no real reason to
remove the engine cover to see this. That is, I could easily recognize this
on my car without taking the cover off.
In my humble opinion, the cover is merely for looks. It serves no practical
purpose other than to hide stuff that most folks have no interest in anyway.
Automakers seem to think that we want to see an uncluttered engine bay, and
that if they route the clutter in an organized fashion then put a cover over
it, we will be impressed by the effort. The automaker that does this better
will presumably get the sale, so they go to great lengths to only allow the
dip stick to be found and have the rest remain a great mystery.
Just as well because many BMW owners never open the hood/bonnet unless they have
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
I hope they have fixed the Low Oil Level sensor ...
I have an E46 that tells me the oil level is low, even when I know it is
fine. I changed the oil and filter, and poured in 7 quarts but the light
still comes on. Now, I am going to have to replace the low oil sensor to
correct the trouble. If I had no dipstick to confirm proper level, I'd have
to believe the sensor and perhaps add too much oil in an attempt to turn out
I find it a bit bothersome (and presumptive) to remove the engine oil dip
stick. I can understand the transmission dipstick taking a bye, but I prefer
to see the engine oil level when I want to.
Luckily, I've never seen that light on my E46 although it came on once in my
Z4 when the car was on a mild grade with the level about 1/2 quart down! Be
happy you don't have a late BMW R series motorcycle where bad sensors and
software give inaccurate warnings unless the level is over full. Since
those boxer engines have a sight glass near the bottom of the engine, not a
dipstick, the check involves waiting 10 minutes for oil to drain out of the
cooler and then crawling around on the ground with a flashlight!
I am interested as I am hopefully going to find a late R at a fair price
so I have to check the oil after a ride, after de-kitting and making a cuppa
I assume it will not lose any before the next ride?
It's described as the "oil checking dance" (I'm reminded of the
"Fish-slapping dance", but that's another story). After a ride, leave the
bike on the sidestand for 5 minutes, then on the centerstand for another 5
minutes to allow the oil to fully drain into the sump. Then check the
sight-glass near the bottom of the engine, which on my RT model is pretty
well hidden by part of the fairing. It's now OK, as the system has been
reprogrammed so there are no more false warnings from the OBC, and oil
consumption on my bike after break-in is only about a quart 5,000 miles. Of
course, YMMV - but I hope you find the boxer you're looking for - they're
great bikes, in spite of their idiosyncrasies.
Yep. I know. I've been there, done that... Solution is at the expense
of fuel mileage. I assumed that since we were talking used bikes that
we weren't talking about hex heads...
PS - sorry about the beemer talk. I know this is supposed to be a
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