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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 11-14-2012, 08:49 AM   #1
DenverSooner
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Losing Oil...

I have started losing about 1/2 to 3/4 qts. of oil every 1500 miles or so, around 2500 miles into my oil change. On average, I have to now add about a 1 1/2 qts. of oil between every change, which is done in 4500-5000 mile intervals. I use Mobil 1 5w-30 full synthetic, drive about 75 miles roundtrip to work via highway M-F, and live at 5500 ft altitude. I started driving the car one weekend a month on a 1400 mile roundtrip. I am at 133,500 miles. About 9 months ago, after noticing leaks in all the usual places, I replaced the VCG, OFHG, CCV, and did the vanos. No noticeable leaks at this time, anywhere.

My assumption at this point is that I must be burning oil. I am thinking the addition of the 1400 mile trips every month, supplemented with my daily driving has added some extra wear on the engine, allowing for oil to be burned, though the amount seems excessive. My spark plugs are not showing signs of excessive oil blow by, and there is no white smoke.

Is this just normal engine wear/time to replace piston rings or could I be missing something else?

Thanks for your input!!
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:55 AM   #2
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Start using the correct oil and see if there is any change.

Regardless, your oil consumption is within BMW's specs.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
DenverSooner
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Originally Posted by SeanC View Post
Start using the correct oil and see if there is any change.

Regardless, your oil consumption is within BMW's specs.
Correct oil, being the Castrol Synthetic 5w-30? Do you really think there is a difference between that and Mobil 1. From what I have read, Mobil 1 is better in all aspects than the Castrol of the same value. Just asking because the consensus on this forum is that Mobil 1 over Castrol is the way to go.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverSooner View Post
Correct oil, being the Castrol Synthetic 5w-30? Do you really think there is a difference between that and Mobil 1. From what I have read, Mobil 1 is better in all aspects than the Castrol of the same value. Just asking because the consesus on this forum is that Mobil 1 over Castrol is the way to go.
I used M1 5W30 for a while with the same issue. Switched to M1 0W40 and issues went away. I now run either that or Castrol 0W30 and haven't looked back. FWIW, I find that the Castrol 0W30 does make the car run a little smoother (maybe it's in my head) but I just use whichever of the two happens to be on sale at the time.

If you've replaced all the usual suspects and haven't noticed errors in your work, change the oil you use.

At 133k, your engine should not be showing any signs of wear. When you did the VCG, did you notice any sludge issues? Do you change your oil by gravity drain or vacuum pump?

Also, when you changed your CCV did you change all the hoses and such at the same time or just the CCV unit itself?

I've edited this post like 5 times so far...

Last edited by SamDoe1; 11-14-2012 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response guys! I will try switching oil at this next change. I'm not sure about using 0w year round as I live in Colorado; mild to cold winters, hot summers.

There was some sludge when I did my VCG, though according to my indy shop guy, nothing out of the ordinary. I change oil by gravity drain, pulling the drain plug. I changed out the entire CCV and hoses. Of interesting note is that when I changed the CCV, I started getting the famous honk sound on start up, where as with my old CCV, I never did have the sound. I only changed the CCV because I did the OFGH and found that the return line down to the dipstick tube was cracked and leaking, so I swapped out the entire system for a new one.

I keep editing my posts too...but its because I am having a hard time typing after nearly cutting off the end of my middle finger with a kitchen knife the other day. It's nice and bandaged up, but doesn't fit well between the keys on my keyboard.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:23 AM   #6
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Thanks for the response guys! I will try switching oil at this next change. I'm not sure about using 0w year round as I live in Colorado; mild to cold winters, hot summers.
I live in Minnesota. 0W oils are fantastical for the winters.
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:38 AM   #7
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I live in Minnesota. 0W oils are fantastical for the winters.
I'll give it a try! Thanks!
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DenverSooner View Post
Correct oil, being the Castrol Synthetic 5w-30? Do you really think there is a difference between that and Mobil 1. From what I have read, Mobil 1 is better in all aspects than the Castrol of the same value. Just asking because the consensus on this forum is that Mobil 1 over Castrol is the way to go.
No, the correct oil is not Castrol 5W-30. It is any LL-01 approved oil. Castrol's equivalent is German made 0W-30. Mobil 1's equivalent is 0W-40. Personal choice between the two, my preference would be Castrol's 0W-30. Just better flow during startup, so preferable in colder climates. Go to bobistheoilguy.com if you want to learn more.

You won't find a single soul in this forum claiming Mobil 1's 5W-30 is better than an LL-01 oil. If there was, they have been eliminated from the forum long time ago
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SeanC View Post
No, the correct oil is not Castrol 5W-30. It is any LL-01 approved oil. Castrol's equivalent is German made 0W-30. Mobil 1's equivalent is 0W-40. Personal choice between the two, my preference would be Castrol's 0W-30. Just better flow during startup, so preferable in colder climates. Go to bobistheoilguy.com if you want to learn more.

You won't find a single soul in this forum claiming Mobil 1's 5W-30 is better than an LL-01 oil. If there was, they have been eliminated from the forum long time ago
OE BMW oil is a special formulation of 5w30 Castrol.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:41 PM   #10
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OE BMW oil is a special formulation of 5w30 Castrol.
Emphasis on special. Run of the mill Castrol 5W-30 that you can buy at Walmart is inferior compared to any LL-01 oil.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:42 PM   #11
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Emphasis on special. Run of the mill Castrol 5W-30 that you can buy at Walmart is inferior compared to any LL-01 oil.
Agreed, didn't know what the OP meant though so thought I'd give him the benefit on this one.

FWIW, your comment is also true for M1 5W30.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #12
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Thanks guys!

My oil cap say "Castrol Recommended" and the manual says 5w-30 so I made the assumption that Castrol Syntec 5w-30 was fine. Knowing that most guys like M1, as opposed to Castrol, I made another assumption that using M1 5w-30 was a better choice. I was unaware there was a different model for Walmart, as opposed to a european or German-made formula.

A quick look at the referred website shows that Mobil 1 0W-40 is an approved LL-01 oil. Not wanting to make the same mistake, should I be looking for a specific european formula of this oil, something I can only get at a dealer or specialty store, or can I use the M1 0W-40 I find at a local auto store or Walmart?

I had no idea there was a difference between the "American" version and the Europen version of an oil by the same name. Thanks for clarifying!

On a last note, does anyone think that using M1 5w-30 for the last 20,000 miles has done any damage?
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DenverSooner View Post
Thanks guys!

My oil cap say "Castrol Recommended" and the manual says 5w-30 so I made the assumption that Castrol Syntec 5w-30 was fine. Knowing that most guys like M1, as opposed to Castrol, I made another assumption that using M1 5w-30 was a better choice. I was unaware there was a different model for Walmart, as opposed to a european or German-made formula.

A quick look at the referred website shows that Mobil 1 0W-40 is an approved LL-01 oil. Not wanting to make the same mistake, should I be looking for a specific european formula of this oil, something I can only get at a dealer or specialty store, or can I use the M1 0W-40 I find at a local auto store or Walmart?

I had no idea there was a difference between the "American" version and the Europen version of an oil by the same name. Thanks for clarifying!

On a last note, does anyone think that using M1 5w-30 for the last 20,000 miles has done any damage?
Alright hang on, there's some confusion here.

1.) There are four (4) different kinds of LL-01 oils widely available in the US. They are: M1 0W40, Castrol 0W30, some Valvoline one which is hard to find, and OEM BMW 5W30. There are tons of other LL-01 oils but they are very difficult/expensive to find in the US. They are, however, widely available in europe.

2.) The OEM BMW 5W30 from the dealer oil is made by Castrol. This is different from the Castrol 5W30 you'd find on the shelf anywhere else.

3.) M1 5W30 is a widely used oil that's recommended for Hondas, Toyotas, Fords, GM cars, etc. That's why it's available everywhere. It isn't LL-01 rated so using it in your car isn't going to fly.

4.) M1 0W40 is the same formulation no matter where you get it. There is no European formula or American formula as this oil is almost exclusively used in European engines. See #3 for what other manufacturers use. You can get this, as well as Castrol 0W30, at any auto parts store. Wally world carries M1 0W40 but not Castrol 0W30. As far as I've been able to find, O'Reilly's is the only place that carries Castrol 0W30.

5.) Castrol 0W30 is often referred to as German Castrol or GC. This does not mean that there is a non-German 0W30, it's called this because it is used exclusively in German engines.

6.) Unless you've been doing oil changes at 15k intervals, you likely haven't caused any damage to your engine. If you have changed at more than 8k intervals, the only thing you can do is immediately change oil and filter to the right stuff and hope for the best.

7.) Don't change at 15k intervals no matter what oil you use, it's dumb to do that. I change at 7.5k-8k intervals. I think a lot of forum members do the same thing.

8.) What filter do you use? Please say it's an OEM filter.

9.) Your cap only says "Castrol Recommended" because Castrol pitched some cash in for it to say that. It means nothing, you can use any LL-01 oil from any brand.

Questions?
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:50 PM   #14
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Thanks, SamDoe1!

1) I will start using M1 0w-40 from now on...it seems to be the one I see the most on the shelves.
6 & 7) I do changes every 4-5K, just out of habit, and also because I started burning so much oil.
8) I get OEM filters, ordered from Pelican Parts. They are cheap and I usually buy 3 or 4 at a time.
9) Damn oil cap!.
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