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#2459596 - 12/11/11 02:16 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: fdcg27]
CATERHAM Online   content


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 9438
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Caterham, M1 0W-30 is a little shy on HTHSv for this engine, at least according to its maker.
0W-30 M1 has an HTHSv of ~3.0, while oils complying with BMW's spec have a minimum HTHSv of 3.5.
You don't think this matters?
Maybe it doesn't, but I'm thinking that BMW had a reason for specifying fairly thick oils, as did Mercedes.
I'm not sure that a mechanical oil pressure gauge tapped into the same spot as the stock sender would tell the whole story, either.

The spec' oil of the day was an energy conserving API 5W-30 dino for winter use with ambient temp's up to 10F. Many used a 10w-30 dino in the summer or a 5W-30 synthetic for year round use.
A mechanical oil pressure gauge will tell you what your oil pressure and therefore how thick or thin your oil is every for second the engine is running. Does it "tell the whole story"? Yes in terms of the oils operational viscosity but no interms of oil consumption or TBN level.
Running a 0W-30 or 5W-30 synthetic oil with a HTHSV in the 3.0cP-3.2cP range with not test the minimum viscosity requirements of an M52 engine driven on the street.

I don't know why the OP's oil consumption is so high. I get about 5,000 miles/L in my bimmer on lighter oil. My neighbour who had an E36 M3 got similar oil consumption and he used M1 5W-30 year round.

Anyway, dispite the high oil consumption I wouldn't recommend anything heavier than M1 0W-40, especially for short trip winter use.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S TGMO 0W-20 25%/M1 0W-40
96 BMW 328i Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70%/M1 0W-40
94 Caterham 7 Sustina 0W-20 80%/0W-50

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#2459614 - 12/11/11 02:39 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 9236
Loc: OH
Caterham, I understand your point.
The lubrication system is a closed loop, so pressure must be constant throughout, right?
Also, if oil were being squeezed out of the main bearings more quickly than it could be replenished, then we would see a drop in oil pressure, right?
Now, do we really know that an oil with the HTHSv of M1 0w-30 can provide an adequate hydrodynamic wedge at the main bearings of this engine under all conditions?
If it can, why did BMW recommend such thick oils when this e36 was new, and why do they now require oils with HTHSv of 3.5 minimum?
Not questioning your rationale, just wondering why BMW isn't on the same page, particularly for US market street driven cars.
_________________________
12 Accord LX 22K HGMO 0W-20
09 Forester 64K PU 5W-30
02 Accord 127K G-Oil 5W-30
01 Focus ZX3 98K Synpower 10W-30
95 BMW 318iC 146K Defy 10W-40

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#2459658 - 12/11/11 03:26 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: antonmnster]
batook Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 51
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: antonmnster
I doubt that the sputtering and CEL has anything to do with the oil.

I'd look into that. Probably a lazy o2 sensor or a vacuum leak. Those are issues that need to be addressed, if anything, from a MPG standpoint.


Could be, just always seems to do it with cold oil once the temps drop below 40, and never otherwise. MPG is always 25-26, unless I was driving a little faster since the last fill-up, might drop to 24. Anyway, I'll get the issue sorted during the winter down-time over the next few months.
_________________________
1997 BMW M3 Black 5Spd MT
1991 Toyota Previa AWD Blue 5Spd MT
1988 Toyota Van 5Spd 4WD

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#2459669 - 12/11/11 03:38 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
batook Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 51
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
The spec' oil of the day was an energy conserving API 5W-30 dino for winter use with ambient temp's up to 10F. Many used a 10w-30 dino in the summer or a 5W-30 synthetic for year round use.

Yeah, an independent BMW mechanic I used to take my car to in San Diego only used synthetic 5W-30 year-round in that hot climate.

Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
I don't know why the OP's oil consumption is so high. I get about 5,000 miles/L in my bimmer on lighter oil. My neighbour who had an E36 M3 got similar oil consumption and he used M1 5W-30 year round.
Anyway, dispite the high oil consumption I wouldn't recommend anything heavier than M1 0W-40, especially for short trip winter use.

You mean you burn 1L every 5k miles in your bimmer, and the same story for your neighbor with the M3? That's not bad at all. I have to remember to check the oil at least once a month, and it usually needs a little topping off whenever I check it. If I let it go for 1,000+ miles, it will be over a pint low, but not a full quart. It might lose a full quart if I let it run for 3-4k miles without topping off.

Anyway, sounds like you're recommending 0W-40 or 0W-30 M1. I like both of those oils, so that sounds good to me. Maybe 0W-30 in winter and 0W-40 in summer? The 0W-40 is a superior group Iv oil, so maybe I'll just use that year-round, although I would like to see if it likes the lighter 0W-30 in the winter.
_________________________
1997 BMW M3 Black 5Spd MT
1991 Toyota Previa AWD Blue 5Spd MT
1988 Toyota Van 5Spd 4WD

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#2459739 - 12/11/11 04:35 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: fdcg27]
CATERHAM Online   content


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 9438
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: fdcg27
Caterham, I understand your point.
The lubrication system is a closed loop, so pressure must be constant throughout, right?
Also, if oil were being squeezed out of the main bearings more quickly than it could be replenished, then we would see a drop in oil pressure, right?
Now, do we really know that an oil with the HTHSv of M1 0w-30 can provide an adequate hydrodynamic wedge at the main bearings of this engine under all conditions?
If it can, why did BMW recommend such thick oils when this e36 was new, and why do they now require oils with HTHSv of 3.5 minimum?
Not questioning your rationale, just wondering why BMW isn't on the same page, particularly for US market street driven cars.

That's right, an oil's viscosity is temperature related so if you keep the oil temperature down you reduce the engines need for a thicker (high HTHSV) oil.
That's way I can run a 0W-20 without issue during the winter months in my Bimmer, the oil temp's rarely gets above 80C.

Why does BMW and most other German manufacturer's now specify a min' HTHSV 3.5cP oil? Because these are sporting cars and the oil temp's can rise quite high when driven hard; i.e., continuous cruising speeds well in excess of 100 mph. But here in NA we can't drive that fast and unless you track your car it's simply not possible to generate high oil temp's. BMW doesn't know if you're going to track your car, hence the min' 3.5cP spec'.
I drive reasonably fast, cruising in the 85-95 mph range, traffic permitting with occational bursts over 100 mph and I've never seen my oil temp's exceed 100C on the street even on the hottest summer days.

Additionally, most manufacturers have gotten away from recommending lighter oils for the winter based on ambient temp's. It still makes sense but with the move to long drain periods that can exceed a year and the advent of synthetic oils it's no longer necessary. For example, Porsche used to recommend 5W-20 for ambient temp's below freezing but with no high speed driving. So what happened if a clueless owner didn't change out the light oil for the summer and took the car for a nice 150 mph run? The engine could be toast and I'm sure it happened often enough for the manufacturers to want to get away from winter use only oils entirely.
The advent of high VI oils like M1 0W-40 for all ambient temp's and driving conditions made engine oil recommendation very simple. Are there better oils for extreme cold operations; for sure, and for track/racing use, possibly, but for overall street use I don't know of one oil that's better.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S TGMO 0W-20 25%/M1 0W-40
96 BMW 328i Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70%/M1 0W-40
94 Caterham 7 Sustina 0W-20 80%/0W-50

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#2459776 - 12/11/11 05:06 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 9236
Loc: OH
This is starting to make sense.
An oil's viscosity is related to temperature, so if low oil temperatures are known to prevail, a much thinner than recommended oil would work with no problems.
I notice that you've put your engine where your mouth is, so I think you must have carefully considered any potential downside to using a much thinner than recommended oil in your 328i.
Maybe my M42 can get some 10W-30 (which I believe you consider an obsolete grade) or 5W-30 once I've run all of the thicker stuff through it.
_________________________
12 Accord LX 22K HGMO 0W-20
09 Forester 64K PU 5W-30
02 Accord 127K G-Oil 5W-30
01 Focus ZX3 98K Synpower 10W-30
95 BMW 318iC 146K Defy 10W-40

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#2459810 - 12/11/11 05:53 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: fdcg27]
CATERHAM Online   content


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 9438
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
That's the advantage of an OP gauge, it's virtually impossible to run an oil too light with one.
You determine what minimum OP at high rev's your comfortable with and if you can acheive that with a 20wt or light 30wt with the oil at normal operating temp's (after 30 minutes of running time)then that as thick an oil as you need. If oil temp's run higher than normal, it's almost always directly related to how fast you're driving, simply slow down and the oil temp's will recede with a corresponding rise in OP.

You will also know if the oil you've chosen shears in service and/or if you have a fuel dilution issue. These will both reduce you're OP and you can take immediate remedial action if necessary.

I like to think of an OP gauge as an on board viscosity meter or viscometer which is what effectively it is since the gauge actually measures the back preasure or resistance of the oil's flow though the bearings of the engine.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S TGMO 0W-20 25%/M1 0W-40
96 BMW 328i Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70%/M1 0W-40
94 Caterham 7 Sustina 0W-20 80%/0W-50

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#2459825 - 12/11/11 06:09 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 9236
Loc: OH
Too bad oil pressure gauges have become so rare, then.
What brand would you recommend?
Can you use the existing idiot light sender?
Changing the sender certainly isn't much of a job, though, although I'd prefer an electric gauge to a capillary tube one.
The last car I had with a real oil pressure gauge was my MGB, and it did indeed tell you when the oil was heating too much and becoming too thin.
Backing off a bit brought OP up as temperature was reduced.
A real gauge, with no built in damping, will show variations in oil pressure all of the time, which some owners might find disconcerting.
The same is true of a real temperature gauge.
Values change constantly, with a mild upgrade bringing an increase in temperature, while temperature declines noticeably on even a slight downgrade.
_________________________
12 Accord LX 22K HGMO 0W-20
09 Forester 64K PU 5W-30
02 Accord 127K G-Oil 5W-30
01 Focus ZX3 98K Synpower 10W-30
95 BMW 318iC 146K Defy 10W-40

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#2459883 - 12/11/11 07:03 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: fdcg27]
CATERHAM Online   content


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 9438
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: fdcg27

A real gauge, with no built in damping, will show variations in oil pressure all of the time, which some owners might find disconcerting.
The same is true of a real temperature gauge.
Values change constantly, with a mild upgrade bringing an increase in temperature, while temperature declines noticeably on even a slight downgrade.

Oil pressure values will change with rpm quite dramatically particularly once up to temperature. It's not a problem of course. I've never heard of damped gauges although some factory gauges in Mercedes and Porsches for example are pegged before maximum OP is acheived for some inexplicable reason.
Yes OP gauges used to be quite common particularly on European cars. But even with a gauge it takes some education and understanding of motor oil to fully appreciate it's meaning.

I have oil temp' gauges as well but I wouldn't agree that the temp's rise and fall that dramatically in my experience but it is very much vehicle specific. Oil temp's lag coolant temp's during the warming up process by a large margin although in a car with a coolant to oil heat exchanger that difference can be shortened considerably.
Once up to normal operating temp's, it usually takes quite an extended period of WOT to raise the oil temp's further but once raised as you'll see during some flat out running during a track session, on the cool down lap the oil temp's return to normal very quickly indeed.

To be honest, it is only us oil nerds that appreciate and benefit from oil gauges and that I'm sure is the main reason that cars today no longer come with them.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S TGMO 0W-20 25%/M1 0W-40
96 BMW 328i Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70%/M1 0W-40
94 Caterham 7 Sustina 0W-20 80%/0W-50

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#2459904 - 12/11/11 07:22 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
fdcg27 Offline


Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 9236
Loc: OH
You've never heard of damped gauges?
On our old Aerostar, the oil pressure gauge would settle into its normal range and almost never move.
On our old Mercedes cars, the oil pressure gauge was always pegged in normal operation, and came off the peg only on hot idle.
The same is true of coolant temperature gauges.
Both of my Hondas are like this, as is my BMW, as was the old Aerostar, as well as earlier Hondas that we had.
The coolant temperature gauge simply settles into its normal range and then never moves over what is a fairly wide range of coolant temperatures.
If the needle does head upward, something bad is probably happening and action is required.
_________________________
12 Accord LX 22K HGMO 0W-20
09 Forester 64K PU 5W-30
02 Accord 127K G-Oil 5W-30
01 Focus ZX3 98K Synpower 10W-30
95 BMW 318iC 146K Defy 10W-40

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#2460047 - 12/11/11 10:27 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: batook]
zoli Offline


Registered: 05/22/11
Posts: 162
Loc: Hungary
Yes, same questions. '98 SAAB 2.0 Turbo, manual recommends oils according to the temperature: from 5W-30 up to 20W-50. Silly thing to consider all circumstances and driving habits in advance the oil change, so high HTHS viscosity and high VI 'fully' synthetic 5W40 looks fine all-year-round.
(This car was owned by a family member of BMW dealership/garage: they put in Mobil 1 5W50 (probably, due to severe highway & German autobahn usage)).


Edited by zoli (12/11/11 10:38 PM)
_________________________
MY98 SAAB 9-5 LPT ECO SE B205E * 250K+ miles
Synthetic 0/5W-40, Mann O/F, 6K miles OCI

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#2460079 - 12/11/11 11:33 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: CATERHAM]
batook Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 51
Loc: Colorado
OP and oil temp gauges would be awesome...I think I'll look into installing those.
Originally Posted By: CATERHAM
That's the advantage of an OP gauge, it's virtually impossible to run an oil too light with one.
You determine what minimum OP at high rev's your comfortable with and if you can acheive that with a 20wt or light 30wt with the oil at normal operating temp's (after 30 minutes of running time)then that as thick an oil as you need.

That actually reminds me something Dr. Haas wrote in the Motor Oil University articles:
Quote:
"The best way to figure out what viscosity of oil you need is to drive the car in the conditions you will use. Then use the oil viscosity that gives you 10 PSI per 1,000 RPM under those circumstances. For some reason very few people are able to get this simple principal correct. I cannot explain further."

When I first read this statement it didn't make sense, because I didn't know how one would be aware of what oil pressure PSI you had at given rpms, but now I see that if you install an OP gauge, you can monitor the PSI at various rpms as you drive and see if you can get away with a thinner oil like an 0W-20 when the car specs a 5W-30. I really wish more cars did come with OP gauges now, but I agree, it's really only us nerds who obsess over this kind of stuff who would actually care to have one...

Thanks for all the info Caterham. This afternoon I fired up the old M3 and did some highway joyriding for about an hour, got it home and drained the oil. I'm letting it continue to drip out overnight in the garage, which is my typical oil change procedure. I picked up 7qts of M1 0W-40 European Formula at Wal-Mart while I was out running around and I'll throw that in tomorrow with a new OEM Mahle filter before heading off to work. Now I just wish I had an OP gauge so I could see how the motor is responding to the new oil and my driving style...
_________________________
1997 BMW M3 Black 5Spd MT
1991 Toyota Previa AWD Blue 5Spd MT
1988 Toyota Van 5Spd 4WD

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#2460999 - 12/13/11 12:34 AM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: batook]
batook Offline


Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 51
Loc: Colorado
Well the engine definitely idles smoother and quieter at sub-30F temperatures with the M1 0W-40 instead of the M1 10W-30 that I had in there. Wont ever use that stuff again...wish I would have found this forum a long time ago!

The car seemed to run a lot better when I drove it today too; I think it really does like this oil better than any other oil I've used before. I got out my Peak scangauge and read out the CEL codes--all were related to O2 sensor problems, so those are obviously due and I'll be replacing them ASAP.
_________________________
1997 BMW M3 Black 5Spd MT
1991 Toyota Previa AWD Blue 5Spd MT
1988 Toyota Van 5Spd 4WD

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#2461563 - 12/13/11 04:53 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: batook]
rg200amp Offline


Registered: 02/10/08
Posts: 3127
Loc: Phila,PA
I had a 97 M3 for a while. However, at the time, I was 18 and knew nothing about oil.

I took it once to a Strauss Auto where I got a oil change with 5w30 Castrol Dino because it was on sale. . . .

I would have a stroke now even if that stuff was in my VW!! lol

As said, M1 0w40 is a great oil. One of the best around. And with M1 on sale every so often, it's a good all around choice for your car!
_________________________
// 2013 Subaru WRX //
SOLD:
-11 Volkswagen Jetta
-04 Lincoln LS
-01 Ford F250
-04 Mazda Rx-8
-97 Jeep Wrangler
-97 BMW M3
-97 Nissan Maxima


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#2462613 - 12/14/11 04:32 PM Re: Motor Oil Selection for 97 BMW M3 [Re: batook]
dailydriver Offline


Registered: 03/14/06
Posts: 6977
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
Originally Posted By: batook
Well the engine definitely idles smoother and quieter at sub-30F temperatures with the M1 0W-40 instead of the M1 10W-30 that I had in there. Wont ever use that stuff again...wish I would have found this forum a long time ago!

The car seemed to run a lot better when I drove it today too; I think it really does like this oil better than any other oil I've used before. I got out my Peak scangauge and read out the CEL codes--all were related to O2 sensor problems, so those are obviously due and I'll be replacing them ASAP.


I would change those out ASAP since depending on which ones are bad, and how they are reading, you could be running VERY rich which results in fuel dilution (especially in cold ambient temps during open loop operation).

You do NOT want to pollute/dilute that phenomenal <--(I am saying this in ALL seriousness, NO sarcasm whatsoever!) M1 0W-40 with raw fuel. no-no
_________________________
2000 Z28 1SC 6 speed 170K miles
Red Line 0W-40/Sustina 0W-20 (80/20 mix)
Amsoil EaO 64 filter
Synpower 75W-140/4oz. XL-3
Ravenol MTF-2

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