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#3466162 - 08/27/14 10:04 AM BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL?
EricWalls Offline


Registered: 08/26/14
Posts: 1
Loc: Ohio USA.
Hey guys, first time posting here. But yes I have searched an have come up with no real definitive answer so I thought I'd try a more direct approach by simple asking you all. With my 2002 BMW 325CI I have somewhat of a unique situation.

My car is used as a company delivery vehicle, 5-days per week 10 hours driving time per day, Approximately 1000 miles driven per week.
The driving is 100% in town city street driving only, and the car will never see more then 45mph. or get higher then 4th gear, and the M54 motor will see multiple hours of "idling" time per week.

Which oil do you well informed folks recommend for these extreme driving characteristics. I live in Ohio so summer time weather hover's around 90*F. winter time temp drop as low as 10*F. I have an oil change up coming rather soon and need to make up my indecisive mind.
Personal preference is Castrol of some kind but I could be completely wrong. Price is NOT a factor, Engine protection is #1 importance.

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#3466165 - 08/27/14 10:07 AM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
rfeir Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 217
Loc: NY
Mobil 1 (European Formula) 0W-40 is on BMW's approved list. Highly recommended.
_________________________
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#3466178 - 08/27/14 10:17 AM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
OVERKILL Offline


Registered: 04/28/08
Posts: 34239
Loc: Ontario, Canada
M1 0w-40, PU 5w-40, GC 0w-40....etc. All would perform fine in this application.
_________________________
2016 Durango Limited
2016 Grand Cherokee SRT

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#3466190 - 08/27/14 10:27 AM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 34342
Loc: Great Lakes
Anything with the LL-01 approval.
_________________________
'02 530i (Edge HM 10W-40)
'15 Q5 3.0T (Edge 5W-40)

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#3466397 - 08/27/14 01:51 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
CATERHAM Offline


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 10139
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Since you're driving 1,000 miles/week you're going to be performing fairly frequent oil changes. Any 5W-30 synthetic will do the job in your 13 year old Bimmer but if you just want to use only BMW approved oils Castrol 0W-30 will work well.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa, 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S, TGMO 0W-20 25% / M1 0W-40 75%
96 BMW 328i, Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70% / M1 0W-40 30%
94 Caterham 7, FUCHS 0W-20

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#3467845 - 08/28/14 08:05 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: rfeir]
bigjl Online   content


Registered: 09/06/12
Posts: 2045
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: rfeir
Mobil 1 (European Formula) 0W-40 is on BMW's approved list. Highly recommended.



What he said.

Can't really go wrong.

Can't agree with going for 5w30 or 0w30 as with all the idling and city traffic i would expect oil temps to be relatively high.

Just my opinion based on using a petrol engined car for similar duties many years ago.

And even if there is an oil cooler it isn't going to be as efficient as it would be if driving on the open road.

I do remember using a Scirocco with an oil temp readout and i noted that the oil temperature would be relatively high.

And anyway i have never had any problems with Mobil oil
_________________________
07 Pilot EX-L 2WD 124k U/K Honda Filter
16 S350dL SE Line Exec 13.8k. Merc Oil and Filter
17 Smart For Four Auto 771miles Factory Fill

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#3468416 - 08/29/14 01:16 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: bigjl]
CATERHAM Offline


Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 10139
Loc: Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: bigjl
[quote=rfeir]

Can't agree with going for 5w30 or 0w30 as with all the idling and city traffic i would expect oil temps to be relatively high.

Well BMW would disagree with you as 5W-30 is what's spec's for all Bimmers and it's even the factory fill on the M3. BMWs have to be driven very hard with high rev's to generate high oil temp's and being stuck in traffic on a hot day isn't going to do it. Besides even if it did if you're not using WOT it's not an issue anyway.
_________________________
74 Lotus Europa, 5W-50
86 Porsche 928S, TGMO 0W-20 25% / M1 0W-40 75%
96 BMW 328i, Idemitsu/TGMO 0W-20 70% / M1 0W-40 30%
94 Caterham 7, FUCHS 0W-20

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#3469256 - 08/30/14 12:03 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
MCompact Offline


Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 3610
Loc: KY
M1 0W-40 works for me in all my Bimmers save the '02.
_________________________
Mine:
2014 M235i
1999 Wrangler Sahara
1995 318ti Club Sport

Wife's:
2016 i3 REX
2009 Cooper Clubman

Son's
2009 328i

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#3469504 - 08/30/14 05:50 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: Quattro Pete]
grijo Offline


Registered: 03/02/08
Posts: 3
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Anything with the LL-01 approval.


+1. Do a google on "BMW LL-01 approved oils". Pennzoil, Castrol, Mobil, Valvoline, and Havoline just to name a few have synthetic oils that meet BMW LL-01 requirements.


Edited by grijo (08/30/14 05:50 PM)

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#3474461 - 09/05/14 01:29 AM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
tommersyip Offline


Registered: 11/08/10
Posts: 62
Loc: San Francisco, CA
As everyone said, a BMW LL-01 oil is that you want. There are a number of oils on the list but the ones that you can find the easiest @ Walmart will be Mobil 1 0w-40 and Castrol Edge 0w-40, both in cost effective 5qt Jugs.

I have a 330Ci, I have used both of these and they both work very well in the M54.


Edited by tommersyip (09/05/14 01:30 AM)

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#3475142 - 09/05/14 08:14 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
97tbird Offline


Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 9200
Loc: Fayetteville, NC
I sure wish those WM jugs were 7 qts smirk
_________________________
Sufficiently Caffeinated...
Cars: 1997 Thunderbird v8 sports(sold), 2003 Elantra GLS, 2005 BMW 330Ci ZHP, 2014 Mazda 6 Touring

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#3475144 - 09/05/14 08:15 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: 97tbird]
Quattro Pete Offline


Registered: 10/30/02
Posts: 34342
Loc: Great Lakes
Originally Posted By: 97tbird
I sure wish those WM jugs were 7 qts smirk

You buy 3 jugs and you have enough for 2 oil changes and some top-up.
_________________________
'02 530i (Edge HM 10W-40)
'15 Q5 3.0T (Edge 5W-40)

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#3475423 - 09/06/14 04:31 AM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: EricWalls]
Noobie Offline


Registered: 11/23/11
Posts: 378
Loc: None
Get the cheapest, good oil you can. Personally i recommend Mobil 1 0W-40 since its widely available and not really expensive.

Given the time that this car will be idling and driven i seriously recommend you doing some other things which could be more important than the oil. The M54 (As with most BMW engines) engines are known to have fragile and weak cooling systems.
You should check the radiator reservoir, all water/coolant pipes, water pump, belts and one of the most important thing IMO . . . the CCV. If that thing fails and you drive your car without noticing it you will cause some serious engine damage. (I know because i went through it in my own M54)

The rest is just usual preventive maintenance like spark plugs and fluids. As long as you keep the cooling system properly and do regular oil changes the M54 is pretty much bullet proof. That thing never dies, even with heavy sludge and without oil. (Yeah, also happened to me)


Edited by Noobie (09/06/14 04:32 AM)
_________________________
03 BMW 525i M54 - / Everclear 10W-30
10 BMW 530i N52K - / MaxiGuard 10W-40
12 Audi A6 V6 2.8FSI - / Orbit 10W-40
15 Toyota LC Prado 1KD-FTV - /

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#3475789 - 09/06/14 02:19 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: Noobie]
bimmerdriver Offline


Registered: 09/07/10
Posts: 104
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: Noobie
Get the cheapest, good oil you can. Personally i recommend Mobil 1 0W-40 since its widely available and not really expensive.

Given the time that this car will be idling and driven i seriously recommend you doing some other things which could be more important than the oil. The M54 (As with most BMW engines) engines are known to have fragile and weak cooling systems.
You should check the radiator reservoir, all water/coolant pipes, water pump, belts and one of the most important thing IMO . . . the CCV. If that thing fails and you drive your car without noticing it you will cause some serious engine damage. (I know because i went through it in my own M54)

The rest is just usual preventive maintenance like spark plugs and fluids. As long as you keep the cooling system properly and do regular oil changes the M54 is pretty much bullet proof. That thing never dies, even with heavy sludge and without oil. (Yeah, also happened to me)

Agree that BMW 3 series have notoriously poor cooling systems, prone to catastrophic failure. The radiator let go on my E36 328is and I consider myself very fortunate to have not lost the engine. It's worth doing the radiator, expansion tank, water pump and belts on a preventative basis rather than waiting for them to let go, because it's not a matter if, it's a matter of when. That and don't be cheap in general on preventative maintenance. Regularly change ALL of the fluids including coolant, lubricants, power steering and brake fluid.
_________________________
2002 BMW M3 (mine)
1997 BMW 328is (sold)
2002 MB ML320 (hers)
2004 VW GTI (son)

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#3476046 - 09/06/14 08:28 PM Re: BMW E46 3-SERIES: M54 inline6 engine. WHAT OIL? [Re: bimmerdriver]
BMWTurboDzl Offline


Registered: 04/15/10
Posts: 1823
Loc: Atlanta,GA
Originally Posted By: bimmerdriver
Originally Posted By: Noobie
Get the cheapest, good oil you can. Personally i recommend Mobil 1 0W-40 since its widely available and not really expensive.

Given the time that this car will be idling and driven i seriously recommend you doing some other things which could be more important than the oil. The M54 (As with most BMW engines) engines are known to have fragile and weak cooling systems.
You should check the radiator reservoir, all water/coolant pipes, water pump, belts and one of the most important thing IMO . . . the CCV. If that thing fails and you drive your car without noticing it you will cause some serious engine damage. (I know because i went through it in my own M54)

The rest is just usual preventive maintenance like spark plugs and fluids. As long as you keep the cooling system properly and do regular oil changes the M54 is pretty much bullet proof. That thing never dies, even with heavy sludge and without oil. (Yeah, also happened to me)

Agree that BMW 3 series have notoriously poor cooling systems, prone to catastrophic failure. The radiator let go on my E36 328is and I consider myself very fortunate to have not lost the engine. It's worth doing the radiator, expansion tank, water pump and belts on a preventative basis rather than waiting for them to let go, because it's not a matter if, it's a matter of when. That and don't be cheap in general on preventative maintenance. Regularly change ALL of the fluids including coolant, lubricants, power steering and brake fluid.


Thankfully the models from say 2006 on do not have fragile coolant system parts
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'15 435i - BMW branded Shell 5w30.
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