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Oil Issues
11-04-2019, 11:03 AM
Post: #1
Oil Issues
So being swamped with work and finishing of my M.Eng dissertation, I decided to book my E90 320D with 160xxxkm in at a dealership for it's oil service. After getting the car back, I studied the invoice and I notice that they used Rimula L 15w40 oil. After checking the user manual I'm now convinced that this is the "incorrect" (read that with a pinch of salt) grade oil. A quick look at the data sheet, indicates this specific oil is recommended for use in agricultural and construction vehicles which have lower tolerances between parts.

The helpful customer relations lady calls the workshop foreman who confirms that they used "thicker" oil because of the mileage and that the oil recommended in the user manual is for "newer" diesel engines. Still not convinced, I demanded that they put it in writing that should something go wrong, I'm not liable for any costs. Anyway long story short, I left the dealership and this morning on start up there's already a knocking sound (quite like noisy tappets, for lack of a better comparison), which disappeared after a few seconds. Apart from that there's a distinct whining sound after the car reached what I would assume to operating temperature, should I be concerned? Hammerhead Mind you I was nursing it between 1200-2000 RPM.

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11-04-2019, 11:11 AM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 11:12 AM by Riaad.)
Post: #2
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 11:03 AM)StrollingCoal Wrote:  So being swamped with work and finishing of my M.Eng dissertation, I decided to book my E90 320D with 160xxxkm in at a dealership for it's oil service. After getting the car back, I studied the invoice and I notice that they used Rimula L 15w40 oil. After checking the user manual I'm now convinced that this is the "incorrect" (read that with a pinch of salt) grade oil. A quick look at the data sheet, indicates this specific oil is recommended for use in agricultural and construction vehicles which have lower tolerances between parts.

The helpful customer relations lady calls the workshop foreman who confirms that they used "thicker" oil because of the mileage and that the oil recommended in the user manual is for "newer" diesel engines. Still not convinced, I demanded that they put it in writing that should something go wrong, I'm not liable for any costs. Anyway long story short, I left the dealership and this morning on start up there's already a knocking sound (quite like noisy tappets, for lack of a better comparison), which disappeared after a few seconds. Apart from that there's a distinct whining sound after the car reached what I would assume to operating temperature, should I be concerned? Hammerhead Mind you I was nursing it between 1200-2000 RPM.

I would be concerned, but if the dealer is putting that in writing and willing to replace your engine should you have an issue...then no real concern? Hammerhead

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11-04-2019, 11:25 AM
Post: #3
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 11:11 AM)Riaad Wrote:  I would be concerned, but if the dealer is putting that in writing and willing to replace your engine should you have an issue...then no real concern? Hammerhead

Yeah I'm quite concerned, while waiting for my 3 pm appointment with the workshop foreman, I'm putting together some reading material for him which highlights the effects of using thicker oil. I respect his 25+ years in the industry but sometimes it's best to follow the guidelines set by the clever engineers in their white coats who designed this engine.

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11-04-2019, 11:27 AM
Post: #4
RE: Oil Issues
160k km on a diesel is considered low millage IMO. They used the wrong oil, I suggest you drain out that kak and replace it with the correct oil. Thumbs

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11-04-2019, 11:42 AM
Post: #5
RE: Oil Issues
Stick with the recommended oil by bmw for your vehicle.

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11-04-2019, 12:43 PM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 12:45 PM by KPM_330.)
Post: #6
RE: Oil Issues
Which dealership is this?

I find it very weird that they would make a call like this on their own, without at least chatting through it with you, the owner.. The oil spec is the oil spec, I would not change from manufacture specifications, even if the vehicle is a 'high miler' (I don't consider 160k high mileage, at all).

In my opinion, their written document won't be worth the paper its printed on, unless it's been signed off by the dealer principle. Why would they risk the unnecessary potential cost of something going wrong by using thicker oil, what is their gain in this exercise? It just seems counter-intuitive.

At the end of the day, should something go wrong, its gonna cost $$$ and I don't believe the dealership would sign on for that risk, just based on the workshop foreman's opinion, ie for human error.. My 2c.

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11-04-2019, 01:18 PM
Post: #7
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 12:43 PM)KPM_330 Wrote:  Which dealership is this?

I find it very weird that they would make a call like this on their own, without at least chatting through it with you, the owner.. The oil spec is the oil spec, I would not change from manufacture specifications, even if the vehicle is a 'high miler' (I don't consider 160k high mileage, at all).

In my opinion, their written document won't be worth the paper its printed on, unless it's been signed off by the dealer principle. Why would they risk the unnecessary potential cost of something going wrong by using thicker oil, what is their gain in this exercise? It just seems counter-intuitive.

At the end of the day, should something go wrong, its gonna cost $$$ and I don't believe the dealership would sign on for that risk, just based on the workshop foreman's opinion, ie for human error.. My 2c.
It was at Sovereign Bloemfontein.

I'll update this further after I've met with the foreman to hear his reasoning and logic.

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11-04-2019, 02:27 PM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 02:28 PM by Girevik77.)
Post: #8
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 11:03 AM)StrollingCoal Wrote:  So being swamped with work and finishing of my M.Eng dissertation, I decided to book my E90 320D with 160xxxkm in at a dealership for it's oil service. After getting the car back, I studied the invoice and I notice that they used Rimula L 15w40 oil. After checking the user manual I'm now convinced that this is the "incorrect" (read that with a pinch of salt) grade oil. A quick look at the data sheet, indicates this specific oil is recommended for use in agricultural and construction vehicles which have lower tolerances between parts.

The helpful customer relations lady calls the workshop foreman who confirms that they used "thicker" oil because of the mileage and that the oil recommended in the user manual is for "newer" diesel engines. Still not convinced, I demanded that they put it in writing that should something go wrong, I'm not liable for any costs. Anyway long story short, I left the dealership and this morning on start up there's already a knocking sound (quite like noisy tappets, for lack of a better comparison), which disappeared after a few seconds. Apart from that there's a distinct whining sound after the car reached what I would assume to operating temperature, should I be concerned? Hammerhead Mind you I was nursing it between 1200-2000 RPM.

This guy could, potentially, have opened a whole can of worms for you. Apart from the spec of oil not sounding right at all. Different grades and especially different brands of oil have different additives. When mixed these additives can have very detrimental effects, such as the formation of sludge.

I'm guessing the knocking sound could be a noisy lifter. Which goes away once the oil has reached a warmer temperature and the viscosity drops.

My personal advice, stick to the OEM recommendation WRT to oil grade. Perhaps open the sump and make sure you don't have any sludge forming.

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11-04-2019, 03:01 PM
Post: #9
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 02:27 PM)Girevik77 Wrote:  This guy could, potentially, have opened a whole can of worms for you. Apart from the spec of oil not sounding right at all. Different grades and especially different brands of oil have different additives. When mixed these additives can have very detrimental effects, such as the formation of sludge.

I'm guessing the knocking sound could be a noisy lifter. Which goes away once the oil has reached a warmer temperature and the viscosity drops.

My personal advice, stick to the OEM recommendation WRT to oil grade. Perhaps open the sump and make sure you don't have any sludge forming.

Surprisingly this was done at a BMW dealership Fencelook

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11-04-2019, 03:09 PM
Post: #10
RE: Oil Issues
Get that oil changed ASAP dunno anymore

It's scary with what's going on at dealerships these days Sorry

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11-04-2019, 09:21 PM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 09:25 PM by VernonD.)
Post: #11
RE: Oil Issues
Isn't Rimula also made by Shell? I think that should be a good diesel engine oil if Shell made it then just change the oil after 10 000 km.

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11-04-2019, 09:46 PM (This post was last modified: 11-04-2019 09:52 PM by StrollingCoal.)
Post: #12
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 09:21 PM)VernonD Wrote:  Isn't Rimula also made by Shell? I think that should be a good diesel engine oil if Shell made it then just change the oil after 10 000 km.

Yep it's made by shell but due to the viscosity and thickness it's rated for agricultural and construction vehicles. If I can quickly explain, the 15w40 is thicker on start up which means it takes longer to reach critical places. With the bearings being low down in the block they are relatively safe, but the parts higher up such as your lifters, turbo etc. are not so safe. Besides that, the clearances between parts are just enough for the specified oil to move through, by forcing a thicker oil through that, unnecessary wear takes place over time and also your oil pump now has to work harder, meaning your fuel consumption will impacted. Because of this extra work, the engine now runs hotter, which puts unnecessary strain on the cooling system. So you see something as simple as oil has a huge impact on just about everything.

Also with winter approaching, its would have been good practice to use a "thinner" Oil. So all in all, oil isn't just oil.

Just a quick update on the situation, the dealership has agreed to change the oil tomorrow morning. I'll make sure they do it while I'm present.

According to the service manager and foreman they always use 15w40 in these N47t motors because they are older...now just imagine his reaction when I confronted him with the invoice for the previous service showing the correct oil grade. Mind you this guy was the service manager at VW previously...

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11-04-2019, 10:40 PM
Post: #13
RE: Oil Issues
Given what you are studying I propose that you have a good understanding of tolerances and measurements.

An engine when new may be running 500ths clearance in the mains and big ends for example.
The oil that may be specified by the manufacturer may well be a 10W30
As the engine wears and the clearances become larger say in this case 600ths in the mains and big ends the use of a 10W40 may be justified as the 30 may be too thin...

By way of example the S54 as well as S65 and S85 were all designed for 0W40 oil yet when BMW experienced bearing issues during their test phase they changed to 10W60.

The Rimula 15W40 will in all likelyhood keep your engine cleaner and happier over its life span now that it has 160Ks.


Not proposing that you stick to 15W40 just saying that a slightly thicker oil will not damage your engine and neither will your oil pump labour to move it.

In addition a slightly thicker oil will absorb heat better which will be good for your turbo.

I would be interested to hear from you as to why you believe that a marginally thicker oil will have negative side effects.

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11-04-2019, 11:51 PM
Post: #14
RE: Oil Issues
wow, this was very educational. I wasn't sure what was being used in my car, just check my last invoice and this is what was used.

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12-04-2019, 07:46 AM (This post was last modified: 12-04-2019 08:19 AM by StrollingCoal.)
Post: #15
RE: Oil Issues
(11-04-2019 10:40 PM)[email protected] Wrote:  Given what you are studying I propose that you have a good understanding of tolerances and measurements.

An engine when new may be running 500ths clearance in the mains and big ends for example.
The oil that may be specified by the manufacturer may well be a 10W30
As the engine wears and the clearances become larger say in this case 600ths in the mains and big ends the use of a 10W40 may be justified as the 30 may be too thin...

By way of example the S54 as well as S65 and S85 were all designed for 0W40 oil yet when BMW experienced bearing issues during their test phase they changed to 10W60.

The Rimula 15W40 will in all likelyhood keep your engine cleaner and happier over its life span now that it has 160Ks.


Not proposing that you stick to 15W40 just saying that a slightly thicker oil will not damage your engine and neither will your oil pump labour to move it.

In addition a slightly thicker oil will absorb heat better which will be good for your turbo.

I would be interested to hear from you as to why you believe that a marginally thicker oil will have negative side effects.

I'm just a bit occupied this morning to give a lengthy response, but I'm a toolmaker by trade so I believe I've got a relatively good understanding about tolerances. However I'm always willing to learn and if my logic is flawed, I'm ready to be corrected.

I'm busy putting together a document which gives reasons and necessary references as to why I believe you shouldn't deviate from what is recommended. I'll post this ASAP. If I can quickly put it in perspective, the 15w40 is almost 3 times thicker at start up as compared to the 5w30, so with the engine experiencing the most stress at start up, I believe it's important for oil to get into the necessary space almost immediately.

The effects of the thicker oil which I mentioned might be slightly exaggerated, however we're talking long term effects.

Wrt to the engines mentioned which run on 10w60, my immediate opinion is that they were designed with the intent to be used on a track where the engine experiences a larger amount of heat which caused the previous oil to break down to such an extent that it caused bearing failure.

Update: the oil was changed while I was present, the following was immediately noted:

1. The car idles so much quieter
2. Performance has increased, the car is no longer sluggish

This will however be escalated to BMW SA, since I find it unacceptable for a dealership to do this without consulting the client first. Especially since I haven't complained about any noises.

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12-04-2019, 08:37 PM
Post: #16
RE: Oil Issues
Glad you changed the oil...stick to the recommended oil for your car irrespective of age. The older the car gets just change oil more frequently. Thumbs

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