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Old 06-15-2012, 02:19 PM   #1
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Dirty, sludgy, and grimy m54.

My e46 is about due to get an oil change so yesterday I went out and invested in 8quarts of Royal purple synthetic. After I drained all the oil out of the car, I opened the filler cap and I noticed all the nasty sludge on it and the cam cover. I had seen it before but I figured that before I put the new oil in I should probably take the valve cover off and give it a little clean. So I did, and man, it was REALLY sludgy. The engine in my car has 230,000 miles (ive only owned the car for 15,000) and has had 4 owners besides me. Obviously the other owners didnt change the oil enough or something. It took me an hours to scape off all the chunks of crap off the cam cover and valve cover. It just makes me feel a little better knowing that gunk isnt in my engine. heres some pics.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
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And you "invested" in Royal Purple--why?
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:31 PM   #3
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Very typical for a car with that high mileage and following the recommended oil intervals. SAAB's also experience the same sludge. They also have a closed crank case ventilation system that returns the oil to the sump.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:48 PM   #4
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I hope you were careful when cleaning that material up. Sometimes you can do more harm than good when you agitate sludge like that, as it can clog up oil passages if you send a lot of loose stuff into circulation.

Definitely change the filter within a few hundred miles.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:49 PM   #5
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Not THAT bad. Glad you were able to clean it up.

if you read around RP is not the best oil to use for our cars.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:50 PM   #6
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And you "invested" in Royal Purple--why?
It's expensive...so it must be good.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:51 PM   #7
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It's expensive...so it must be good.
hahaha and yes +1 on loosening sludge. See here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...7#post14251457

Read that and tell me that doesn't scare the sh!t out of you guys! Lifters can easily get clogged!
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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For 230K Miles, it looks pretty good! No caking of sludge on the actual parts that matter, the stuff you are seeing is from recondensed vapor & it's all in locations that don't see any need for lubrication.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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I agree with the above. Although I have seen 150k mile E46s on factory 15k OCIs with perfectly clean cam covers. No sludge whatsoever!
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:47 PM   #11
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hahaha and yes +1 on loosening sludge. See here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...7#post14251457

Read that and tell me that doesn't scare the sh!t out of you guys! Lifters can easily get clogged!
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Yes, you successfully scared the sh!t out of me. I did think about the possibility of loosining up nasty gunk so I was pretty careful.
Im not too worried about it because by the end of the summer the car is getting an m54B30 with ZHP cams swaped in.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:50 PM   #12
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Yes, you successfully scared the sh!t out of me. I did think about the possibility of loosining up nasty gunk so I was pretty careful.
Im not too worried about it because by the end of the summer the car is getting an m54B30 with ZHP cams swaped in.
Well there you go. Make sure you don't use Royal Purple either. Genuine BMW 5W-30 is just as good as the best (which is Castrol 0W-30 Euro). I saw guys referring to BMW 5-30 as the sleeper oil. Doesn't get the recognition it deserves. UOAs are just as good as GC.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #13
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There is no sludge at all . The crap on the cam plastic cap is due to condensation and oil vapors. The baked on oil on the vanos unit is identification that the vanos is getting very hot , could be due to the fact that the oil is loosing its friction capabilities before its changed or bad seals/springs inside the unit.

But anyway, you should be looking for other things to justify how good previous owner's oil changes were. Look/inspect the cam lobes , pull the cam cap and check for wear. But you need to know what you're looking for .
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:30 PM   #14
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That's not that bad. Mine looked pretty similar at 140,000.

BMW oil is a good lubricant, but it doesn't have much of a detergent package. All that red staining is from using BMW's oil.

I buy Mobil 1 0/40 whenever it's on sale. My engine likes it a lot more than the BMW 5/30; no lifter clatter at all on startup. M1 has a stronger additive package as far as I can tell.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:25 PM   #15
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There is no sludge at all . The crap on the cam plastic cap is due to condensation and oil vapors. The baked on oil on the vanos unit is identification that the vanos is getting very hot , could be due to the fact that the oil is loosing its friction capabilities before its changed or bad seals/springs inside the unit.

But anyway, you should be looking for other things to justify how good previous owner's oil changes were. Look/inspect the cam lobes , pull the cam cap and check for wear. But you need to know what you're looking for .



Anyway... about the cam cover, i've popped lots of E46 valve covers and have never seen that residue on those, including my own. You can eat off of mine.
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:09 PM   #16
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hahaha and yes +1 on loosening sludge. See here:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...7#post14251457

Read that and tell me that doesn't scare the sh!t out of you guys! Lifters can easily get clogged!
Nothing that half a can of seafoam cant fix..
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:12 PM   #17
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The life the engine has had is what shapes what you see under the cam cover.

Lots of cold starts, a cold climate, and an adherence to 15k oil changes seem to promote it. I've looked at engines at work that get their oil changed every 700 hours (that's about 30,000 miles!) that are completely spotless. But they get started once and run for up to 3 or 4 days at a time. They don't ever experience a cold start, run for 10 minutes at 0F, then shut off (like my e46 does).

But even at that, there really is no harm. It's disconcerting, but the actual vital parts of the engine RARELY actually wear like they did in the old days. With that in mind, we undoubtedly obsess about our oil way more than the evidence indicates we should.

When's the last time anyone has seen a bona fide wornout BMW engine that wasn't abused or neglected?
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Old 06-15-2012, 08:17 PM   #18
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Lol that's nothing for that mileage. Chill out man.

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Old 06-15-2012, 09:16 PM   #19
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:59 PM   #20
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The life the engine has had is what shapes what you see under the cam cover.

Lots of cold starts, a cold climate, and an adherence to 15k oil changes seem to promote it. I've looked at engines at work that get their oil changed every 700 hours (that's about 30,000 miles!) that are completely spotless. But they get started once and run for up to 3 or 4 days at a time. They don't ever experience a cold start, run for 10 minutes at 0F, then shut off (like my e46 does).

But even at that, there really is no harm. It's disconcerting, but the actual vital parts of the engine RARELY actually wear like they did in the old days. With that in mind, we undoubtedly obsess about our oil way more than the evidence indicates we should.

When's the last time anyone has seen a bona fide wornout BMW engine that wasn't abused or neglected?
Very good point. Worth some thought.
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