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Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine #5358297 02/23/20 06:43 PM
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Lucase483 Offline OP
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Hello people,

I've been a long time lurker but just registered.

I got the following situation in which i'd like to have a 2nd opinion on what would be best.
I'm living in the netherlands and i've got a 1992 bmw 325, with the m50 non vanos engine, runs like a champ.
Right now it's on about 365.000 kiometres, about uh 225K miles.
I've had it for the last 140.k my oc interval is at about 10k km, thats about 6k miles.
A friend of mine has a shop where i get the oil on good prices, which often was the simple total 9000 5w40, sometimes gulf formula G 5w40 or liqui moly
Your basic HC synthetic oil, the engine consumes nothing and runs fantastic.
But due to a change in his suppliers he no longer carries those oils and brands.
Now he's got less choices too and i can only give me special prices on Valvoline's 10w40 maxlife and 10w40 synpower... but real good prices:)
Now i've read good things about maxlife, but the full synthetic 5w40, not the semi synth 10w40.

I don't use the car daily, but when i do, i do drive pretty hard on it.
Mostly when i visit family which lives further away i easily drive a constant 140-150kph running the engine at 4k rpm for longer times.
And yearly i make a trip to the swiss alps, through germany... do a round at the nordschleife.

Would switching to a semy synth maxlife/synpower be a wise choice?
Or should i just pay extra and continue with the basic 5w40's?
usually i don't really put that much thought in it, cause i stick with the same grade but i do specifically get a max bmw LL-01 oil, NOT LL-04, with Porsche a40, mb 229.3 which i read are mostly good general specs.
The original manual only specs for API SG, 15w40, but i know not to get mid saps [censored].

Anyway long story short, will a semi synth be allright with this usage?
I actually started using 5w40 due to the allround climate, and the hydraulic lifters are pressurised earlier, less and less longer startup rattle, and here basicly no 10w40 is synthetic, not even grp3 hc, oh and a 5w30 mineral "dino" as you guys call it is just not sold here.
But i think synpower might be the only one, i know the grp4 pao's are the best but i figured any 5w40 grp3 hc would be better than a semi and good enough for this old engine spec.

Ps, prices for oil here are MUCH higher than in the states, 5 litre M1 0w40 is on average about 50 usd.
And i can get the valvoline stuff for 20 usd 5 litres, car needs 6.5L.

I know there are many other brands but this is specifically about the current options i'm given by my buddy's shop.

Last edited by Lucase483; 02/23/20 07:11 PM.
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358318 02/23/20 07:09 PM
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edyvw Online Content
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Ah man, I had 1991 520i with M50. Made 485,000 km before I sold it.
I used mostly 10W40 INA Semi-Synth (INA is Croatian oil company). Ran like a dream. By all means you can use 10W40.
However, considering that now there are a lot of 5W40 oils available for cheap, I would use that. Still, 10W40 will do the trick with no problems. What I would not do is go lower grade like 5W30.


11' BMW 328i xDrive 6MT (Pennzoil Platinum Euro 5W40+ MANN filter)
11' VW Tiguan 2.0T (Castrol 0W30+OE filter)
15' Toyota Sienna AWD (Mobil1 5W30 EP+OEM filter).
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358545 02/24/20 02:45 AM
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Olas Offline
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5w40 is correct for the Dutch weather, anything A3/B4 is good enough, A40 is even better.

Semi or Fully synthetic? It depends if you want ok ( a3/b4 semi) or the best (A40 fully). Redline is very very good at protecting engine internals.


Cable ties should hold it
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358553 02/24/20 03:06 AM
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Lucase483 Offline OP
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Most 5w40 on the bottle will say synthetic technology or something like that.
I always check them first on a german webshop because due to strict law it can't say on the bottle synthetic unless it really is a grp 4 or something like that.

I also wanna try to stay around 15 cst @100c or a bit higher maybe, ironically the valvoline 10w40's are a low 13.9.
Shouldnt be a problem, but yeah sometimes i really punch it for longer times...
Last year due to emergency i headed back from vacation from southern france in 1 blasting stint in the night.
Did 1300 km averiging 145 kph. So i pushed the engine for like 9 hours to sit at about 4.5 krpm.
I did a change shortly after that off course, so i dont want a semi synth if it shears much quicker.

Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358587 02/24/20 05:10 AM
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Olas Offline
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Redline 5w40 is 15.6cst at 100c, and 4.6 HTHS. It will give you ALL the protection you could ever need.

Look at their gear oils too


Cable ties should hold it
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358588 02/24/20 05:11 AM
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Olas Offline
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Redline 5w40 is 15.6cst at 100c, and 4.6 HTHS. It will give you ALL the protection you could ever need.

Look at their gear oils too


Originally Posted by Lucase483
i dont want a semi synth if it shears much quicker.


semi Vs. fully is not relevant for shear - shear is caused by VIIs breaking down, and VII content is not related to mineral/semi/fully synth. its more of a base stock property, which is another reason redline is good. very low VII content.


Cable ties should hold it
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Olas] #5358605 02/24/20 06:05 AM
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Lucase483 Offline OP
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Redline is not an option here.
Not a european oil, so it's imported and hella expensive.
I just checked, 5 litres would cost approx 105 usd. Aint gonna happen lol.

What do you reckon about the Valvoline choices?

Last edited by Lucase483; 02/24/20 06:07 AM.
Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358613 02/24/20 06:25 AM
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riggaz Offline
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Stick to a 0w-40 or 5w40 LL01 in those engines.

Valvoline make quality products but it's best to find the same viscosity and performance spec to the one you're currently using (it's been working pretty bloody well so far).

10w-40 semi-synthetic is a cheaper oil for a reason and, according to my tech data which is up to date, 10w-40 isn't recommended.

BMW 3 (E36) 325i

Engine oil (Preferred lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-01 SAE 5W-30 All temperatures
Engine oil (Preferred lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-01 SAE 0W-30 All temperatures
Engine oil (Preferred lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-01 SAE 5W-40 All temperatures
Engine oil (Preferred lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-01 SAE 0W-40 All temperatures
Engine oil (Alternative lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-04 SAE 5W-30 All temperatures
Engine oil (Alternative lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-04 SAE 0W-40 All temperatures
Engine oil (Alternative lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-04 SAE 5W-40 All temperatures
Engine oil (Alternative lubricant specification) BMW Longlife-04 SAE 0W-30 All temperatures

These are all the current oil options for your M50 engine.

Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358639 02/24/20 07:25 AM
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Lucase483 Offline OP
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LL-01 spec is way newer than the M50 engine, but i guess you're right about the fact that it's been working bloody well.
And i figured the important viscosity is the 100c one, and valvoline synpower would be in the right range but it doesnt even meet Porsche A40.
Then again maybe i'm overthinking... it's not such a complicated engine, and i'm running without cats too.

Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: Lucase483] #5358775 02/24/20 10:30 AM
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riggaz Offline
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How much do you pay for 5 litres of 5w-40 LL01 at the moment?

Re: Advise for Euro E36 M50 engine [Re: riggaz] #5359450 02/25/20 04:29 AM
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Lucase483 Offline OP
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Depends on brand, but i can get Total Quartz 9000 energy for a good price of 25 ish euro LL-01, A40, mb 229.

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