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      08-29-2017, 06:18 AM   #1
JJS
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Oil levels

I carried out a DIY oil change in the weekend. But before I started, I got iDrive to measure the level. It read full/max. Not bad after 15,000km without any top-ups, I thought.

So I drained the old oil and I measured just about 5.5 litres. The oil capacity is 6.5 litres. So maybe the measuring system has some latitude for lowering oil levels. After all, 1L of oil isn't much.

Anyhow, I measured out 6.5L of fresh oil and poured the lot in after changing the filter (yes, I even mopped up the remnant oil in the filter housing) and tightening the sump bolt. After a quick drive to warm up the engine, I measured the level again. It was exactly the same reading at full/max.

That suggests that my oil measuring system is inaccurate (or has plenty of latitude), or I had a litre of oil hiding somewhere in the engine that escaped draining and I have now overfilled my engine.

Should I be worried? Having a dipstick is so much easier.
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      08-29-2017, 06:22 AM   #2
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On the diesel engines there is a dip-stick in the back-right.
Maybe also on petrol engines?
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      08-29-2017, 08:05 AM   #3
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No, the gasoline engines have not had a dipstick since the E46 models.
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      08-29-2017, 03:59 PM   #4
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there probably isn't an overfilled sensor. and it sounds like you overfilled it.

why did you pour in 6.5L when only 5.5L came out? that just doesn't make any sense. you should always pour less, check the level, and then add as needed.
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      08-30-2017, 05:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by kern417 View Post
why did you pour in 6.5L when only 5.5L came out? that just doesn't make any sense. you should always pour less, check the level, and then add as needed.
Because a complete refill is 6.5L and it's reasonable for 1L of oil to be used in 15,000km since it was last serviced. I didn't think twice unless someone tells me there is an extra reservoir of oil that has a separate drain plug. I allowed the sump to drain for an hour, so it's not like I rushed it.

The mystery to me is why it the oil measurement routine before the drain said the sump is full when it appears to be short of one litre. Would iDrive tell me if the oil sensor is faulty?
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      08-30-2017, 09:58 AM   #6
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A buddy of mine that has a highend auto shop told me he likes the electronic dipstick. When they first started using them he was old school and wanted a dipstick. He said he sees way to many cars (he deals with mainly Porsche, Audi, BMW, VW) come into his shop with either way to little or way to much oil. I didn't realize that having too much oil can be a problem but he said it is as bad as running too low on oil. He said the BMW oil sensor will alert you if you have too little or too much oil.

I like it because when you get an alert to "Add oil" you add 1 container of BMW oil. No measuring required.
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      08-30-2017, 10:35 AM   #7
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half of what you missing evaporated and the other half is still in between cylinders and the rest of your engine, if you want the rest to come out you either half to blow it out with an air gun or vacuum it out with and oil vacuum, and I wouldn't suggest either one because that will cause a super dry start when you add the new oil since it won't be able to get to those spots until the engine turns over, your car is measuring just fine add exactly as it says since all these details have been calculated in advanced.
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      08-30-2017, 03:35 PM   #8
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Rule of thumb when you change oil is to fill it up to stated capacity minus 0.8 to 1.0 quarts (or liters). Run your engine for a minute or two, shut it down, wait a few minutes, then check your dipstick (or iDrive in our case) to see how much more to add. For modern BMWs, you obviously have to run the car to check the oil level.

I've done dozens of oil changes on all sorts of cars, and I've never ever put in the rated capacity of oil in any engine. The closest I got was putting in 7.8 quarts in an 8qt rated LS3 motor. There's always residual oil in your engine and you'll never likely get to that max.

Also remember that you want to soak your oil filter in oil before putting it in so that should be included in your measurement.

So you probably overfilled your engine, but if the car isn't complaining, then it's probably not enough to be worried about. Just check your iDrive oil level measurement frequently. Make sure you're actually running the oil level check. The oil level status message is not up to date. You have to run the oil level check program to get an accurate reading.
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      08-30-2017, 03:53 PM   #9
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It will tell you if overfilled. It's always better too little oil and too much.
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      08-31-2017, 04:44 AM   #10
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Thanks for everyone's comments. I ran the oil level measurement check after driving to work this morning, which is a 40 minute trip. The level returned full/max. I think I'll leave it at that, but will fill only 5.5L next time and see what it measures then, before topping up if necessary.
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      08-31-2017, 05:25 AM   #11
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#missthedipstick
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      09-02-2017, 05:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJS View Post
Thanks for everyone's comments. I ran the oil level measurement check after driving to work this morning, which is a 40 minute trip. The level returned full/max. I think I'll leave it at that, but will fill only 5.5L next time and see what it measures then, before topping up if necessary.
That's a must for every car. You never know how much oil is left in the engine, turbo lines, even the oil filter has some that didn't come out of the drain. Never just add how much is in the manual unless you are installing a dry engine.
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As long as 3-pedals are an option, I will exercise my right to suffer the handicap and indignity of slower shifts and reaction times.
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      10-05-2017, 01:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanbmw View Post
A buddy of mine that has a highend auto shop told me he likes the electronic dipstick. When they first started using them he I didn't realize that having too much oil can be a problem but he said it is as bad as running too low on oil. He said the BMW oil sensor will alert you if you have too little or too much oil.

I like it because when you get an alert to "Add oil" you add 1 container of BMW oil. No measuring required.
"BMW oil sensor will alert you if you have too little or too much oil"....

Don't Think so...there's a document in the official BMW ISTA (Document # FUB-HIL-HI-0006) which covers all F series BMWs and Mini F54-57 models as well.... entitled "Oil Level Measurement" that details exactly what the sensor shows and what action is required. It covers "Oil level below minimum", "Oil level at minimum", "Oil level 1/4 above minimum", "Oil level 1/2 above minimum", "Oil level 3/4 above minimum" and "Oil level at maximum"

There is NO mention of an indication of "Oil level above Maximum" and while the document tells you when oil is to be added (oil level below minimum and oil level at minimum) it make NO mention of draining oil (like the owners manuals all say to do if "excess oil is added")!!!

In fact the last entry in the document "Oil level OK at maximum" says:

"Attention: The sensor does not identify overfilling !"

Which begs the question...if a tech screws up and pours in way too much oil...how are we to know???...And avoid the "...serious engine/catalytic converter damage" from over filling the engine oil that is warned about in our owners' manuals???????
BMW is risking some serious legal exposure here by not providing us with the knowledge we need to avoid loss!
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      10-05-2017, 03:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spitpilot View Post
Which begs the question...if a tech screws up and pours in way too much oil...how are we to know???...And avoid the "...serious engine/catalytic converter damage" from over filling the engine oil that is warned about in our owners' manuals???????
BMW is risking some serious legal exposure here by not providing us with the knowledge we need to avoid loss!
I see the options as
1) do your own oil changes (my choice now that free maintenance has ended) or
2) BMW could provide a dipstick for the engine.
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      10-05-2017, 04:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in VA View Post
I see the options as
1) do your own oil changes (my choice now that free maintenance has ended) or
2) BMW could provide a dipstick for the engine.
There is a third option...you come home and drain every oil change into a clean pan and measure the fill....To compound the problem, BMW has seen fit to eliminate tech info...like "engine oil/filter change fill quantity" from the owners manual (at least for my X1)....so you can't even specify the fill quantity on your shop work order. I'd guess the oil overfill issue will bubble up (pun intended) when these new model series come off free dealer maintenance and folks take them to indie shops where the level of BMW knowledge might not be perfect.
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      10-05-2017, 05:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spitpilot View Post
"BMW oil sensor will alert you if you have too little or too much oil"....

Don't Think so...there's a document in the official BMW ISTA (Document # FUB-HIL-HI-0006) which covers all F series BMWs and Mini F54-57 models as well.... entitled "Oil Level Measurement" that details exactly what the sensor shows and what action is required. It covers "Oil level below minimum", "Oil level at minimum", "Oil level 1/4 above minimum", "Oil level 1/2 above minimum", "Oil level 3/4 above minimum" and "Oil level at maximum"

There is NO mention of an indication of "Oil level above Maximum" and while the document tells you when oil is to be added (oil level below minimum and oil level at minimum) it make NO mention of draining oil (like the owners manuals all say to do if "excess oil is added")!!!

In fact the last entry in the document "Oil level OK at maximum" says:

"Attention: The sensor does not identify overfilling !"

Which begs the question...if a tech screws up and pours in way too much oil...how are we to know???...And avoid the "...serious engine/catalytic converter damage" from over filling the engine oil that is warned about in our owners' manuals???????
BMW is risking some serious legal exposure here by not providing us with the knowledge we need to avoid loss!
That's scary..

Quote:
Originally Posted by eluded View Post
#missthedipstick
Seriously. If it ain't broke.. don't fix it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by roundel335 View Post
No, the gasoline engines have not had a dipstick since the E46 models.
But why...
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      10-05-2017, 06:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin36 View Post
But why...
Most folks don't check oil levels. They wait for the 'car' to tell them it is necessary.
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      10-05-2017, 08:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin36 View Post
But why...
Most folks don't check oil levels. They wait for the 'car' to tell them it is necessary.
Damn shame. RIP Dip stick.
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      10-06-2017, 11:27 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlandPete View Post
Most folks don't check oil levels. They wait for the 'car' to tell them it is necessary.


I agree, folks can't even look at their tires, see one way lower than the others and stop to get some air! Now we all have to pay for TPMS sensors every 5 years of so to the tune of $100's... cuz too many SUV's tipped over and killed folks due to seriously under inflated rear tires...slam on the brakes, try to swerve...rear tire almost flat...over ya go!
But it seems in the case of "oil overfill" BMW has desgined a system to NOT tell us anything!...In spite of printing BOLD warnings with "!!!" in the owners manual of "risk of property damage" if oil is overfilled!
How can BMW think that is proper design and engineering when they had oil over filled warning capability in previous generation models???????????
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      10-06-2017, 01:26 PM   #20
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I've been changing oil on BMW engines without dipsticks for a while now. It's really not a big deal once you get used to it. Would I appreciate a dipstick along with the electronic sensor? Of course. But I've gotten over this particular issue. Just fill to max minus 1 quart, check the level, then add accordingly.
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      10-06-2017, 02:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upsidedownfunnel View Post
I've been changing oil on BMW engines without dipsticks for a while now. It's really not a big deal once you get used to it. Would I appreciate a dipstick along with the electronic sensor? Of course. But I've gotten over this particular issue. Just fill to max minus 1 quart, check the level, then add accordingly.


I've had a "dipstickless" BMW since 2010...but that one at least will send a message about oil overfill....I've never overfilled a car in my decades of DIY...but that's me..I've only had a few family cars under my care....but a tech who's distracted may well dump in the oil fill for a larger capacity BMW...say 7+ quarts into these newer models with much lower change/filter fills (5.2 quarts in the case of the B48 engine)!!!
More than a few shops put their greenest tech on oil changes...and I've seen more than my share of "oppppppps..I forgot to double check" situations from younger folks with busy lives and multitasking...so when these new BMW's with the "ultrasonic sensor" that can't detect overfills come off free service and get taken into "indie" shops...I'd bet overfills start to happen..and if they cook your cat $$$$d repair bills will follow...and since BMW hasn't given us a way to prevent this damage...I'm betting they'll see some consumer legal action!
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      10-07-2017, 04:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spitpilot View Post
I've had a "dipstickless" BMW since 2010...but that one at least will send a message about oil overfill....
Latest cars must be sensing an overfill in some way. One G30 user has reported a message stating oil level is increasing.
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