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Old 01-05-2012, 07:06 PM   #21
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Trick,

I'm surprised to hear it won't alert you while driving, if it detects a low oil condition; OP says his is on all the time. I think his oil is low or, as I said, having 'condition' issues, and that the car is just fed up! lol
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:10 PM   #22
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Trick,

I'm surprised to hear it won't alert you while driving, if it detects a low oil condition; OP says his is on all the time. I think his oil is low or, as I said, having 'condition' issues, and that the car is just fed up! lol
The only oil light that would turn on while driving is the red oil light, and that is alerting you there is low oil pressure, and to shut down the engine immediately.

I found this information from a BMW literature, I will see if I can find the pdf on my computer and I'll post it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:11 PM   #23
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Um, did OP say what color his light was? Uh oh! lol
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:14 PM   #24
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Um, did OP say what color his light was? Uh oh! lol
OP said his light was amber, and not red. So I think the problem lies elsewhere, and not with the sensor.

Also OP, if you don't have access to a GT1, then I think it would be easier and cheaper for you to try replacing the sensor, than trying to turn it off. Its not as simple as pulling a wire.

If OP really wanted to get it fixed, the problem can be found with proper BMW diagnostic software.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:58 PM   #25
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Okay thanks everyone for contributing. I will def check into the dipstick, you make a good point dmax. I will just keep the oil a little above what I usually run until I can check it out. Upon reading the owners manual, it says that if the amber light comes on when the car is shut off to add oil at the next opportune time, i.e. next fill up. If it comes on while driving than it means you should fill up before your next drive. That is what is happening with my car. It starts just coming on when I cut the car off and then gradually over time starts to come on while driving. I didn't realize that it reads oil temperature. I may change oil to see if it makes a difference. I am currently running castrol 5w-40 which says it is ll-01. Seems weird that the wrong dipstick would be in the car but I have seen crazier things i suppose. Thanks for the help to those who helped!
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:22 PM   #26
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Okay thanks everyone for contributing. I will def check into the dipstick, you make a good point dmax. I will just keep the oil a little above what I usually run until I can check it out. Upon reading the owners manual, it says that if the amber light comes on when the car is shut off to add oil at the next opportune time, i.e. next fill up. If it comes on while driving than it means you should fill up before your next drive. That is what is happening with my car. It starts just coming on when I cut the car off and then gradually over time starts to come on while driving. I didn't realize that it reads oil temperature. I may change oil to see if it makes a difference. I am currently running castrol 5w-40 which says it is ll-01. Seems weird that the wrong dipstick would be in the car but I have seen crazier things i suppose. Thanks for the help to those who helped!
Try using the oil that was made for the car...
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:27 PM   #27
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Okay thanks everyone for contributing. I will def check into the dipstick, you make a good point dmax. I will just keep the oil a little above what I usually run until I can check it out. Upon reading the owners manual, it says that if the amber light comes on when the car is shut off to add oil at the next opportune time, i.e. next fill up. If it comes on while driving than it means you should fill up before your next drive. That is what is happening with my car. It starts just coming on when I cut the car off and then gradually over time starts to come on while driving. I didn't realize that it reads oil temperature. I may change oil to see if it makes a difference. I am currently running castrol 5w-40 which says it is ll-01. Seems weird that the wrong dipstick would be in the car but I have seen crazier things i suppose. Thanks for the help to those who helped!
I don't know that it reads oil temp or not. I'd be surprised if it did. But I have no information to challenge that statement.

Your car is an xi, so it absolutely does carry more oil than the other 3 Series cars.

You can check the stick by filling the crankcase to the proper capacity, then looking to see where the oil hits the marks on the dipstick. Since you are running synthetic, I'd suggest you wait until the next change interval so you don't toss several quarts at something more that $5.00 each just to find out that the stick is the right one.

Basically, we think your dipstick might be too long. It rests deeper in the oil pan than it should, so you see a normal level when the sensor sees the level as being low. I don't know if the xi takes a different sensor than the other cars, or if it takes the same sensor but is mounted in a different place -- it would have to be located higher to tell you the level was low when the car has an oil level that shows good on the stick.

I would have guessed -- wrongly it turns out -- that the front diff used motor oil, and that is why the xi takes more than the other 3 Series cars. I looked in my Bentley manual, and the front diff does not use motor oil, which surprised me, so I cannot tell you why your car takes more oil than mine. But it does, and that's all that is important. You need 8 quarts on an oil change, not 7.
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:34 PM   #28
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stick a piece of gum over the sensor light... problem solved
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:25 PM   #29
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I don't know that it reads oil temp or not. I'd be surprised if it did. But I have no information to challenge that statement.
http://www.meeknet.co.uk/E38/E38_Oil_Level_Sensor.pdf

JD, since I acquired that information about the sensor from here, most likely, I decided I'd confirm it and found this link...for another bmw, but it does confirm that it's a temp sensor, not a level sensor. I usually consider the source before passing along info, so I can only think that when I learned it, it was from someone I trusted here.

I remember being surprised when I first learned this too, though.

Also, OP, someone said you had the wrong oil, but I know Castrol makes 5/40 now in an LL-01...though I believe it's pretty recent they did this...or at least that I heard of it. If your bottle says LL-01 and it's been in less than 15K miles, then your oil 'quality' probably isn't the issue.

Add a bit and see if the light goes off. If it does, please remember next fill to calibrate your dipstick. You really don't 'have' to get a new dipstick...you can just file a new mark on the one you have if you find that indeed it's the wrong one you have.

Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2012, 11:27 PM   #30
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Yeah if I add oil the light will stay out so I suppose the conclusion is that the dipstick and/or guide tube is mismatched or for the wrong car. Next oil change I will calibrate it. Pretty interesting how the sensor works. I did notice that once the light started coming on if I took it for short drives that the light most likely wouldn't come on but if I took it for a 15+ min. drive it would light up. Thanks guys!
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:48 AM   #31
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Update: Changed the oil and added 7.9 quarts and lo and behold the dipstick is incorrect. After adding oil, running it, and letting it set 30 min. the dipstick reads a hair above the plastic part. So I guess someone in the past changed the dipstick/guide tube and put the wrong one back in.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:50 PM   #32
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Let it sit overnight on level ground, OP. Then, mark with a fine file where the full mark should be. That dipstick will also help you get the one you need, when you take it to a dealer to get a new one if you do.

They laughed at me here when I discovered my dipstick issue!

...and that's why you were getting the low oil light...running low on oil for a while.

Read my thread on this. I think I ran 40K miles 5/8ths of a quart low...and it was Mobile 5/30!

When I got the proper oil and level, my mpgs dropped a bit...maybe just under a mile/gallon. Odd, huh?
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:29 PM   #33
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Let it sit overnight on level ground, OP. Then, mark with a fine file where the full mark should be. That dipstick will also help you get the one you need, when you take it to a dealer to get a new one if you do.

They laughed at me here when I discovered my dipstick issue!

...and that's why you were getting the low oil light...running low on oil for a while.

Read my thread on this. I think I ran 40K miles 5/8ths of a quart low...and it was Mobile 5/30!

When I got the proper oil and level, my mpgs dropped a bit...maybe just under a mile/gallon. Odd, huh?
Yeah I went ahead and marked the dipstick for future reference. I thought I was the only one with this issue, makes me feel better that at least someone else had the same troubles. I wonder if it is the dipstick that is wrong or the guide tube? One would think that the dipstick would be the only thing different between the RWD and AWD versions. Also, I would guess that the lower mpgs would be caused by more oil splashing around therefore causing the crank to have to swing through it, adding overall rotating resistance. Just a guess though.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:56 AM   #34
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I haven't compared the new with old guidestick, but after I did my CCV, I discovered I had an original style guidetube, and although the new guidetube came out in 7/03, this is the part that now comes up for all e46s. Anyway, currently, realoem shows only one dipstick and one PN for guidetube, so I think your issue is just the dipstick and that you don't have to 'worry' about the guidetube. I used to think that might be an issue, and vaguely recall my parts guy saying something about a different dipstick for the older guidetube, but that's not showing on realoem. Maybe someone interested in PNs will verify.

My dipstick had the wrong number on it...it ended in 493. The one I got that indicates the correct level ends, as it should, with 293.

At some point in its prior life, the dipstick was changed or switched.

I think you're right on why I had better mpgs running a little low on oil...a 'denser' engine environment for things to turn around in. For me, it might have been both that my oil was wrong and the level was wrong.
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Old 02-17-2012, 11:45 AM   #35
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Cool beans, kudos for the good info!
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:48 PM   #36
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Just bringing this one back to life.

Car is an 02 325Ci with about 100,500 miles

I've noticed this past week that after starting the car, about 10 seconds as mentioned, the yellow oil light comes on for about 10-15 seconds then goes off. My oil level is fine according to my dipstick. I've recently (month ago) replaced my oil filter housing gasket and CCV. When I did my CCV, I kept my original guide tube and dip stick.

I just want to note that after doing the Oil filter housing gasket, I changed my oil, and I swear the car took almost an extra whole quart of oil before the dipstick read full (so right about 7.9qts). It didn't seem like that much spilled out during the gasket install. But my car is also a dirty little hooker that does what it wants, so this is prolly normal.

Back to the yellow oil light... It seems like the general opinion is that either the connection to the sensor is bad or the sensor its self has crapped out. Now it should be noted that due to oil residue all along the side of my engine from leaky parts, I cleaned and pressure washed everything off (including the oil pan and around the sensor) so that if any new leaks appear, I will know. I did this a month ago, after the repairs mentioned above. It may be possible then that now from the water and cleaners the contacts may have become corroded.

So I'll clean the contacts with contact cleaner, crimp the contacts in a little tighter with a pick to make sure they are snug, and apply a little dielectric grease first to see what this does. I'll let you know. If not, next step will be replacing the sensor. But that will have to wait until the next oil change comes around.

If anyone else has any other suggestions let me know. Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2012, 11:22 PM   #37
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The sensor is a high failure rate item from what I've read, I got one of these from eBay last year, and this seller is awesome. This is a true German company OE level part, just not a BMW p/n#, and it's less than $35 shipped. I took out my original sensor (after having the light stay on perpetually) and compared them side by side and it's identical in build quality and design. Same wiring connectors, same everything. I'm only stressing this because I was shocked to see one for 1/3rd the price and figured it must not be legit, like it's Chinese and will be conspicuously wrong when I get it. But, it's the real mccoy.

If you're having oil sensor light problems, for $35 it's a pretty easy fix. If you can change your oil you can change this (hopefully you can change your oil because that is step #1 ).

Not saying don't check other reasonable stuff first, just saying it's silly to say "enh probably nothing, just disregard," when it's this easy.

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Old 04-15-2012, 06:16 AM   #38
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^The real McCoy is Hella. Is this $35 sensor Hella? Mine was $85 shipped from bmaparts.

You know our cars don't play well with AM electronics. I hope yours lasts, but if not, hope you'll report about it.
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Old 04-15-2012, 11:19 AM   #39
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^The real McCoy is Hella. Is this $35 sensor Hella? Mine was $85 shipped from bmaparts.

You know our cars don't play well with AM electronics. I hope yours lasts, but if not, hope you'll report about it.
Ok technically this would be a cousin of the McCoys, and no it's not made by those lightbulb people. Like I said though, holding them side by side under close scrutiny it passed my Sanka taste test.

No in all seriousness though I'd encourage you (or anyone) to check them out, and compare side by side with the part you are R&Ring. The part came in a box labeled DeutschePart (I think that's German for "Dutch Party time") and was stamped with "DeutschePart" on the part and "made in Germany." I figured an oil level sensor would be a fine item to check them out on since it's a very quick R&R and if it fails I'm only out $35 and an expedited followup oil change. I might try some trunk struts from them next. The seller has 65,000 feedback on eBay (selling only this brand parts) and has a 99.4% feedback rating (dunno how that trickles down to part quality but it's at least not 100 feedback with an 87% rating). I googled them, did a little research, a couple very angry vociferous people, like anything else.

In the work I've done in the past and work I plan on in the future I stick with actual BMW parts or the underlying OE for jeez just about everything, I can't think of too many exceptions.

I will most assuredly update if I have any problems with it.

Thanks for info on OE sensor @Dmax, I didn't even remember that it was Hella, and $85 is a pretty great price - I will check bmaparts.com when I price out my suspension refreshening. In fact if I had seen it for $85 at my time of purchase I might have gotten that one. I think I saw it at Turner and another place for $130+ and started to see if there was an alternative out there.
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