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Old 01-05-2012, 11:02 AM   #1
Cricketo99
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Is there a way to disable the oil level sensor?

My oil level sensor is on the fritz and I can't justify the cost to replace it. The oil light comes on when driving when there is still oil 3/4 up the dipstick. It is quite annoying to be driving around with the light on. How exactly does this sensor work? It would be nice to just unplug it or jump the wires together to get the light to stay off. Anyone have any insight on this?
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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Just replace the sensor, if you can't justify paying that much for a sensor wait until something real expensive breaks
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:17 AM   #3
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Unlike many other sensors the oil level sensor is not a simple switch or a variable resistor, it in fact generates square waves in the 1-10Hz range that change the width depending on the oil level. So no, no easy way to disable it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:21 AM   #4
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Is the light yellow or red?

even with a faulty oil level sensor, it only came on before and after shut down, but never during the drive. maybe its telling you something.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #5
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Is the light yellow or red?

even with a faulty oil level sensor, it only came on before and after shut down, but never during the drive. maybe its telling you something.
a faulty OLS turns on yellow for 10 seconds after starting the engine but never before or after.
Red is oil pressure problem and should stop engine asap.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #6
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^^^^ agreed, a faulty OLS only comes on after starting the engine and than goes away. OP i think its trying to tell you something.
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cricketo99 View Post
My oil level sensor is on the fritz and I can't justify the cost to replace it. The oil light comes on when driving when there is still oil 3/4 up the dipstick. It is quite annoying to be driving around with the light on. How exactly does this sensor work? It would be nice to just unplug it or jump the wires together to get the light to stay off. Anyone have any insight on this?
Thanks
What color is the light?

And, are you looking at the dipstick right?
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:10 PM   #8
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Yea I've got to agree I have the yellow light on startup and have for years just ignored it and checked my oil now and again. It should not be on all the time
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:06 PM   #9
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Just replace the sensor, if you can't justify paying that much for a sensor wait until something real expensive breaks
It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of replacing a sensor that is useless (in my opinion). I check my oil regularly once a week. I don't need or trust the sensor. And yes I am checking the dipstick correctly. Completely cold engine on level ground, pull the stick out, wipe it off, seat it back in, wait for a 5 count, pull it out and read it. Always when the light comes on I am 3/4 up between full and add. Also to clarify it is the amber light, not red. I kinda figured it wouldn't be a simple sensor, just thought I would inquire. I searched and found a thread about the same thing happening and it ended up being a faulty sensor, so I believe it is bad it just hasn't failed in the usual manner; i.e. coming on when the engine if first started.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Yea I've got to agree I have the yellow light on startup and have for years just ignored it and checked my oil now and again. It should not be on all the time
It is not all the time, just occasionally when I am driving it will come on and stay on until I shut the engine off. Sometimes the light will come on after I shut the car off.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:29 PM   #11
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Your sensor is not on the fritz, bro. It's telling you something. 100%. Especially if it stays on when you shut the motor off.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:34 PM   #12
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I can guarantee that I have plenty of oil in there. 100%
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:39 PM   #13
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Your sensor is not on the fritz, bro. It's telling you something. 100%. Especially if it stays on when you shut the motor off.
He checks it manually on a regular basis and it's fine. Has to be the sensor, easy to change at the next oil change.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:52 PM   #14
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It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of replacing a sensor that is useless (in my opinion). I check my oil regularly once a week. I don't need or trust the sensor. And yes I am checking the dipstick correctly. Completely cold engine on level ground, pull the stick out, wipe it off, seat it back in, wait for a 5 count, pull it out and read it. Always when the light comes on I am 3/4 up between full and add. Also to clarify it is the amber light, not red. I kinda figured it wouldn't be a simple sensor, just thought I would inquire. I searched and found a thread about the same thing happening and it ended up being a faulty sensor, so I believe it is bad it just hasn't failed in the usual manner; i.e. coming on when the engine if first started.
I have never heard of the symptoms you describe. The normal failure mode for a faulty sensor is that you start the car, after 15 - 30 seconds the yellow oil light comes on for roughly the same period as the delay-time, and then goes out. So, you start the car, the light comes on 30 seconds later and remains on for 30 seconds, then goes out. I don't remember anybody ever reporting the light coming on at any other time unless there was a problem with the oil level being insufficient.

You can replace the Low Oil Sending unit with relative ease when the oil is drained. It is easier to replace the sending unit than to redesign it so that it does not work.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:13 PM   #15
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There is another explanation for your symptoms, OP, one I discovered on my car...the PO had put in the wrong dipstick at some point...or maybe a shop did by mistake.

I'd been running about 5/8th of a quart low for maybe 4 years. I discovered the issue when the light came on, and although it was above the minimum mark, the light was still on. I added 1/4 qt. and the light went off.

At the next oil change, I calibrated my dipstick. I drained all the oil out...lifting corners of the car. Added exactly 6.9 qts. (you take a qt. more, I believe) and the mark came to above my full mark. I got a new dipstick and it read perfectly at the bottom of the top notch.

Don't just think with your dipstick. Odd things happen. You might check to see the part number on your dipstick and research whether I could be right.

The other possibility, similar, is that at some point in doing a ccv replacement, the guidetube was replaced with the superceded part, but the associated dipstick with that guidetube was not.

Right now, I'd add the 1/4 qt. of oil and see if the light goes off...that is, assuming you do what almost everyone does. Drain oil, add about what you need, and then finalize the 'fill' with the dipstick. Next time, drain it all like me, add exactly what your capacity is and see where the mark comes to.

I had a failed oil level sender for over a year. It comes on 10 secs. after starting and goes off exactly 15 secs. later...that is commonly reported as the way the oil level sender tells you it's broken.

Nothing personal, but based on your post, I'm more inclined to believe the sensor than your dipstick. Add the 1/4 qt. you're low and see if that turns off the light. If it does, I suspect I'm right.

Oh, one other thing...the oil level sender really doesn't measure level, but temperature, so the other possibility is that your oil isn't LL-01 and that whatever oil you have doesn't have the heat capacity to do what your engine wants or expects it to do.

What oil are you using and how often do you change it?
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:21 PM   #16
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There is a way to disable it. I used one of those cheap ebay (around $50) obd II cables that came with software for the e46. My original intention was just to enable the alarm beep and light flash, but I found a setting to disable the annoying light.

I also check the oil level regularly, so no worries for me.
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:33 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dmax View Post
There is another explanation for your symptoms, OP, one I discovered on my car...the PO had put in the wrong dipstick at some point...or maybe a shop did by mistake.

I'd been running about 5/8th of a quart low for maybe 4 years. I discovered the issue when the light came on, and although it was above the minimum mark, the light was still on. I added 1/4 qt. and the light went off.

At the next oil change, I calibrated my dipstick. I drained all the oil out...lifting corners of the car. Added exactly 6.9 qts. (you take a qt. more, I believe) and the mark came to above my full mark. I got a new dipstick and it read perfectly at the bottom of the top notch.

Don't just think with your dipstick. Odd things happen. You might check to see the part number on your dipstick and research whether I could be right.

The other possibility, similar, is that at some point in doing a ccv replacement, the guidetube was replaced with the superceded part, but the associated dipstick with that guidetube was not.

Right now, I'd add the 1/4 qt. of oil and see if the light goes off...that is, assuming you do what almost everyone does. Drain oil, add about what you need, and then finalize the 'fill' with the dipstick. Next time, drain it all like me, add exactly what your capacity is and see where the mark comes to.

I had a failed oil level sender for over a year. It comes on 10 secs. after starting and goes off exactly 15 secs. later...that is commonly reported as the way the oil level sender tells you it's broken.

Nothing personal, but based on your post, I'm more inclined to believe the sensor than your dipstick. Add the 1/4 qt. you're low and see if that turns off the light. If it does, I suspect I'm right.

Oh, one other thing...the oil level sender really doesn't measure level, but temperature, so the other possibility is that your oil isn't LL-01 and that whatever oil you have doesn't have the heat capacity to do what your engine wants or expects it to do.

What oil are you using and how often do you change it?
Dmax makes an excellent point. The xi carries an extra quart of oil, so if an oil change has been done to the fill-specs for the other 3 Series cars, then the oil is a quart low. If the wrong dipstick is in the car, then you might never know the level was low.

You are describing the operation of the Low Oil Level circuit when it works right, by the way. So, disabling a working system might be a bad plan. I agree with DMax here, do an oil change and be sure to use the correct amount of oil -- 7.9 quarts instead of 6.9 -- and check where the level comes on the dipstick. It sounds as if the car is telling you important information that you are trying your best to dismiss. You could be right, but you need to be sure you are right before you go around unplugging stuff.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:34 PM   #18
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the sensor is like 90 bucks which is cheap compared to other maintenance related parts replacement. If you can't shell out 90 bucks you should probably sell your car.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:51 PM   #19
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the sensor is like 90 bucks which is cheap compared to other maintenance related parts replacement. If you can't shell out 90 bucks you should probably sell your car.
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Quote:
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It's not a matter of money, it's a matter of replacing a sensor that is useless (in my opinion). I check my oil regularly once a week. I don't need or trust the sensor.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:55 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cricketo99 View Post
My oil level sensor is on the fritz and I can't justify the cost to replace it. The oil light comes on when driving when there is still oil 3/4 up the dipstick. It is quite annoying to be driving around with the light on. How exactly does this sensor work? It would be nice to just unplug it or jump the wires together to get the light to stay off. Anyone have any insight on this?
Thanks
It can be turned with the right software.
NCS Expert is capable of doing this through programming the instrument cluster. Not sure if a GT1 at the dealer can do it or not. Probably a hidden option so I doubt it.

And just for clarification, if the oil level sensor is working correctly it will light up to alert low oil after the car is turned off. It will not alert while driving. If the oil level sensor turns on for 10 seconds at startup that means the sensor is bad.
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