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#4517159 - 09/15/17 03:10 PM Thin oil for better winter performance
camrydriver111 Offline


Registered: 07/01/14
Posts: 1488
Loc: Canada
My car (2005 325i) takes a lot longer to heat up in the winter than some of my previous cars.

The car feels rather sluggish in the winter. In the summer the engine runs super smooth and is a lot more responsive.

Do you think switching from a 0W40 oil to a thinner one can improve my winter performance?

How thin do you think I could go on a M54 motor?

If you are thinking thermostat, mine is 2 years old. It seems to operate at 92 Celsius instead of 97 Celsius like it's supposed to. However, there are only two brands available, Behr and Wahler. One brand leaks from the temperature sensor and one brand runs a bit cool. So given the choice between the two I would rather run a few degrees cold than leak coolant.
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#4517164 - 09/15/17 03:17 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
rfeir Offline


Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 219
Loc: NY
Great oil, keep using it. Slow warm up could be a design feature or your thermostat needs replacement.
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#4517167 - 09/15/17 03:21 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
bigj_16 Offline


Registered: 07/03/17
Posts: 1268
Loc: Douglas County, Colorado
Can you do a partial radiator or cooler blockoff and see what happens?

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#4517168 - 09/15/17 03:25 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
JohnnyJohnson Online   content


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2765
Loc: Wet side WA
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
How thin do you think I could go on a M54 motor?


What does your owners manual say?
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Out: QSUD 5W-30 Purolator One 5030
In: Valvoline ML 5w-30 TG4967 117530 2-8-18
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Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 73752 4-22-18

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#4517175 - 09/15/17 03:32 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: JohnnyJohnson]
camrydriver111 Offline


Registered: 07/01/14
Posts: 1488
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JohnnyJohnson
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
How thin do you think I could go on a M54 motor?


What does your owners manual say?


I think it says 5W30 ACEA oil.

Originally Posted By: rfeir
Great oil, keep using it. Slow warm up could be a design feature or your thermostat needs replacement.


I think it's the design. Big engine, small displacement. The car also has a fan clutch.
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#4517177 - 09/15/17 03:41 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1352
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111


If you are thinking thermostat, mine is 2 years old. It seems to operate at 92 Celsius instead of 97 Celsius like it's supposed to.


I would still verify the thermostat is opening where it should and is fully closed when cold. The easiest way this can be done is with an IR thermometer if you or someone you know has one. A stuck-open thermometer will still cool the car obviously, but will cause it to warm more slowly. This has knock-on effects on performance just like you describe.

Run a 5w-30 or 0w-30 that meets the relevant BMW spec, but also check the thermostat. What you are describing is not caused by oil choice.

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#4517184 - 09/15/17 03:52 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
JC1 Online   content


Registered: 11/29/08
Posts: 3010
Loc: Oshawa, Ontario Canada
Where are you located in Canada? Can you use a block heater or that's not an option?
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#4517191 - 09/15/17 04:03 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: JC1]
FZ1 Offline


Registered: 02/07/08
Posts: 4727
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: JC1
Where are you located in Canada? Can you use a block heater or that's not an option?
This ^^^^.

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#4517193 - 09/15/17 04:03 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
bioburner Offline


Registered: 09/19/16
Posts: 1418
Loc: Minnesota
If it were me I would both block off the radiator and get a block heater installed. I do here in MN. Just running the block heater for an hour or so before launch helps a lot in getting the cabin warm way sooner and no need to have much air flow past the cooling system in winter. Helps mileage too.
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#4517195 - 09/15/17 04:06 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: JC1]
camrydriver111 Offline


Registered: 07/01/14
Posts: 1488
Loc: Canada
Block heater is not an option.

My gut feeling is that if I replaced the thermostat it would be the same and I would be out $150.

That's why I am asking about the oil.
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#4517206 - 09/15/17 04:13 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
ArcticDriver Offline


Registered: 01/27/17
Posts: 1139
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
Block heater is not an option.

My gut feeling is that if I replaced the thermostat it would be the same and I would be out $150.

That's why I am asking about the oil.


$150. Ouch. You can't purchase a genuine BMW thermostat which is absent the two issues you described earlier? (Not as the solution to your winter performance concern.)

You have not mentioned fuel as a means of improving winter performance.

Can you describe your fuel practice in both winter and summer?

EDIT:

Would an engine running at 92*C instead of the design 97*C not run slightly richer and therefore result in no change or possibly slightly improved acceleration rather than less?


Edited by ArcticDriver (09/15/17 04:17 PM)
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#4517340 - 09/15/17 07:24 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: ArcticDriver]
camrydriver111 Offline


Registered: 07/01/14
Posts: 1488
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: ArcticDriver
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
Block heater is not an option.

My gut feeling is that if I replaced the thermostat it would be the same and I would be out $150.

That's why I am asking about the oil.


$150. Ouch. You can't purchase a genuine BMW thermostat which is absent the two issues you described earlier? (Not as the solution to your winter performance concern.)

You have not mentioned fuel as a means of improving winter performance.

Can you describe your fuel practice in both winter and summer?


A genuine BMW thermostat is a re-branded Wahler which will leak from the temperature sensor. I actually replaced a Wahler after 5 months because it leaked and I can't tell a difference between my current thermostat other than the digital temperature readout.

I use the cheapest 91 octane fuel and I don't let the tank get too low in the winter. Fill up every other week.
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#4517357 - 09/15/17 07:50 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
Oro_O Offline


Registered: 09/20/14
Posts: 1352
Loc: Seattle-ish, WA
Quote:
My gut feeling is that if I replaced the thermostat it would be the same and I would be out $150.

That's why I am asking about the oil.


Testing the thermostat is *free,* however. And what you should do before trying to force a diagnosis on an exceedingly unlikely cause. "Where you hear hoof beats, think horses...," etc. If the behavior is the same, that's a strong indicator it may NOT be the thermostat, but if you replaced one bad one with another, it wouldn't act differently. And that sometimes happens.

Another thing to investigate is the warming circuit for the throttle body. If the temp. sensor isn't working it could create this. I don't know if a code would be thrown on your car, presumably none are registering, correct? I would also verify the fan is not always on, providing extra cooling when it should not.

Arcticdriver also has a good point - if your area's winter fuel is particularly diluted, it will be the main cause if you are sensitive to it (I am; I feel it even in my granny-driven SUV). If you don't find a solution before winter, try buying real gas (there is an app for that which will show you who sells it - "Real Gas"). That could help neck down the problem.

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#4517363 - 09/15/17 08:01 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
andyd Offline


Registered: 09/25/04
Posts: 7158
Loc: Marshfield , MA
IR thermometers are not expensive <20$. The no frills method is a cheap thermometer and a pot of water. I haven't even located the oil filter on mine. A scanner is way easier. Do you know another Camry and could ask what normal is. If You're in the greater Toronto area, you prob'bly wouldn't need a block heater. If the t'stat is no good,at least it failed open. Supposedly, the good ones have that feature. grin2
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#4517366 - 09/15/17 08:11 PM Re: Thin oil for better winter performance [Re: camrydriver111]
LotI Online   sleepy


Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 1268
Loc: America's Dairyland
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
Originally Posted By: JohnnyJohnson
Originally Posted By: camrydriver111
How thin do you think I could go on a M54 motor?


What does your owners manual say?


I think it says 5W30 ACEA oil.

Originally Posted By: rfeir
Great oil, keep using it. Slow warm up could be a design feature or your thermostat needs replacement.


I think it's the design. Big engine, small displacement. The car also has a fan clutch.


ACEA doesn't rate oils by viscosity. Like the MINI I had, I bet the engine bay has a sticker that says Castrol/BMW oil is recommended. That marketing agreement has been dissolved. You can use any grade that meets BMW LL01.

If you run short trips of less than 20 miles I would say definitely run a thinner oil like M1 0w-30 or an A1/B1 oil that would be a 30 grade.

If your driving is more than 20 miles so you get some heat in the oil stick with the ACEA A3/B4 LL01 that BMW recommends.
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