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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 06-28-2017, 09:33 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by jmo69 View Post
You made it sound like you only checked the dipstick to double check the sensor. Sorry, I'm old school and check my oil at least once a week in my cars and daily on my work truck. My cars don't use any and my C-12 Cat with 262K has to go nearly 300 hours before it needs a gallon. IDK how low the level has to be before the sensor sets off the light.



Who did the oil change and did they put 7 qts in?
A local shop did it. They drained and put in 7 qts. (This was mid April)
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:41 PM   #22
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Once a week and daily on the work truck is really dedicated to maintenance. I thought I did well to check every time I fill up my gas tank.

OP if you don't change your own oil just after you get it changed check the level and make a mental note of where the level is. My level with 7 quarts is slightly below the second notch or "full mark" on the dipstick. Check it once or twice a month and add a half quart or so as needed. I wouldn't wait for the level sensor to notify you after several months.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:43 PM   #23
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Once a week and daily on the work truck is really dedicated to maintenance. I thought I did well to check every time I fill up my gas tank.

OP if you don't change your own oil just after you get it changed check the level and make a mental note of where the level is. My level with 7 quarts is slightly below the second notch or "full mark" on the dipstick. Check it once or twice a month and add a half quart or so as needed. I wouldn't wait for the level sensor to notify you after several months.
I appreciate you all understanding. I've definitely learned from this and will be more proactive with maintenance going forward.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:44 PM   #24
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Check the oil consumption link in my signature.

Last edited by lingon300k; 06-28-2017 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:48 PM   #25
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Check the oil consumption link in my signature.
Thanks, reading now.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:49 PM   #26
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a quart every 3k? That's fine. That's almost normal. That's certainly
better than many of us do.

Do read the (numerous, often locked) oil threads.

t
Toby, you are the crazy one if you think you can solve this problem by other means than an engine rebuild.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:51 PM   #27
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It wouldn't hurt to try a 40 weight oil, 0W-40 or 5W-40. Pick your "poison" as far as brand, there are enough oil threads here that by the time you read them all you should have driven enough miles to need a change.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:17 PM   #28
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It wouldn't hurt to try a 40 weight oil, 0W-40 or 5W-40. Pick your "poison" as far as brand, there are enough oil threads here that by the time you read them all you should have driven enough miles to need a change.

I ended up using Mobil 0W-40. We'll see if there is a difference.
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Old 06-28-2017, 10:42 PM   #29
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The real problem on the 325/330 engines is that BMW chose to move from a traditional 3-piece oil ring to a 2-piece oil ring. BMW put a low tension expansion spring behind the oil ring on the 325/330 engines and as ring wears against the bore the gap widens between the two ends. The result is increased oil consumption.

The 323/328 engines don't suffer from this anomaly because they use the traditional 3-piece oil ring set.

As Mango said, it's much cheaper to just monitor and add oil then to rebuild. BUT if the right deal comes your way and you're mechanically inclined you may consider the rebuild.
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:04 AM   #30
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Adding a quart every 3000 miles is not too bad. I find that I usually have to add oil after around 5000 miles on an oil change. I use Mobil 1 0w 40 btw. A
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:49 AM   #31
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The real problem on the 325/330 engines is that BMW chose to move from a traditional 3-piece oil ring to a 2-piece oil ring. BMW put a low tension expansion spring behind the oil ring on the 325/330 engines and as ring wears against the bore the gap widens between the two ends. The result is increased oil consumption.

The 323/328 engines don't suffer from this anomaly because they use the traditional 3-piece oil ring set.

As Mango said, it's much cheaper to just monitor and add oil then to rebuild. BUT if the right deal comes your way and you're mechanically inclined you may consider the rebuild.
Is it wear? Or carbon buildup? I'm confused on this issue? My car seems to consume a lot more than OP's, with 55k less on the engine, so I'm not really sure why he's worried.

I'll be trying different things in the future to try and improve my consumption, but it's just something we'll have to live with on these engines.

The M52 in my E36 has almost 222k miles and doesn't consume oil.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:08 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
The real problem on the 325/330 engines is that BMW chose to move from a traditional 3-piece oil ring to a 2-piece oil ring. BMW put a low tension expansion spring behind the oil ring on the 325/330 engines and as ring wears against the bore the gap widens between the two ends. The result is increased oil consumption.

The 323/328 engines don't suffer from this anomaly because they use the traditional 3-piece oil ring set.

As Mango said, it's much cheaper to just monitor and add oil then to rebuild. BUT if the right deal comes your way and you're mechanically inclined you may consider the rebuild.
Do M52 pistons work in the M54? Same bore, right? What about aftermarket pistons like from Wiseco or some such?
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:15 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by TitaniumCranium View Post
The real problem on the 325/330 engines is that BMW chose to move from a traditional 3-piece oil ring to a 2-piece oil ring. BMW put a low tension expansion spring behind the oil ring on the 325/330 engines and as ring wears against the bore the gap widens between the two ends. The result is increased oil consumption.

The 323/328 engines don't suffer from this anomaly because they use the traditional 3-piece oil ring set....
Yup. Drive crap out of my 328 and not a drop is missing. I know I could go 15k miles and not lose a drop. I wish we were all in this position.

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Do M52 pistons work in the M54? Same bore, right? What about aftermarket pistons like from Wiseco or some such?
It's the piston seals that you want. I briefly remember 50's kid does a video on why they consume oil and the solutions. One is like, people who make seals similar to the M52TU's for the M54's. You'd have to find and watch the video, but basically you make the internal design more like the M52's
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:41 PM   #34
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Nope.

Assuming the engine isn't leaking a ton of oil, Engine needs to be rebuilt. Extremely common with BMW 6 cylinders.
Understand if one beats the snot out of it.......but Gee, at 149k, a rebuild? Can you elaborate with some detail as to why a rebuild may be necessary for BMW inline six....if never abused, driven normally...or what....you got me worried!

Last edited by 87 300D; 06-29-2017 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:03 PM   #35
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Understand if one beats the snot out of it.......but Gee, at 149k, a rebuild? Can you elaborate with some detail as to why a rebuild may be necessary for BMW inline six....if never abused, driven normally...or what....you got me worried!
You know you're asking the poster child for superfluous "maintenance," right?
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:26 PM   #36
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Understand if one beats the snot out of it.......but Gee, at 149k, a rebuild? Can you elaborate with some detail as to why a rebuild may be necessary for BMW inline six....if never abused, driven normally...or what....you got me worried!
It is the oil control ring used in the early E46 M54 engines like mine ('01 330i). Mine did not start to use oil till approx 200K miles and really can only been seen on WOT. There are other potential causes like a clogged CCV and there are some cheaper "fixes". Oil catch can or the O2Pilot Mod (look up 50skid on YouTube) even, potentially using a AC Delco solvent, but the real long term fix is rebuilding the bottom of the engine and replace the oil control ring with the known good 3 piece unit.
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Old 06-29-2017, 02:46 PM   #37
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You know you're asking the poster child for superfluous "maintenance," right?

Dear Spannerhead......YES...I am a different German user...(here)...I, if given could make a YOUGO live 250k

German cars have been built for freaks like me too for years!...Not just for racing, but for long time durability and ability to stand 20 years and more. Maybe another quality of German cars you haven't come to realized yet.

SpannerHead....As an American, born in 55, I am likely older than you..I have owned 5 German cars from over the past 45 years. My first was a Lincoln Mercury, a 1972 Capri.....yes, built in Germany...four MB cars, one Audi, and now an E46.

I'm not a wise-guy 'SpannerHead'....I respect ignorant and unfortunate human beings that express a passion to learn!
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:23 PM   #38
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Understand if one beats the snot out of it.......but Gee, at 149k, a rebuild? Can you elaborate with some detail as to why a rebuild may be necessary for BMW inline six....if never abused, driven normally...or what....you got me worried!
Its not required.

Ignore his misguided advice.

OP's oil consumption is 100% normal and within BMW spec. Could be much worse and it still would be within spec.

Plus, the truth is that about 80% of the oil loss (if not more) is coming from the OFHG leak, as with most E46's
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:16 PM   #39
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Understand if one beats the snot out of it.......but Gee, at 149k, a rebuild? Can you elaborate with some detail as to why a rebuild may be necessary for BMW inline six....if never abused, driven normally...or what....you got me worried!
All engines aren't the same. BMW engines burn oil from the factory well enough. Add 100k miles and the rings are often (not always) worn to smithereens. BMW bores are known to be ovaled out in relation to the piston. That does not help either. Know that when you're getting into the E46, there's probably a 50-75% chance you'll get one that has worn rings at this point in time.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:44 PM   #40
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I ended up using Mobil 0W-40. We'll see if there is a difference.
That's a very thin 40W. Try Rotella T, it's a much thicker 40W with more cleaning additives which will clean up the ring pack
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