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      09-12-2009, 05:29 PM   #1
JimD
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First Oil Change on my 128i Convertible

I passed 1200 miles, the old breakin period, on my trip to the tail of the dragon on Monday. I got over 1600 miles and was at 1650 when I changed. A little long, perhaps, but much earlier than BMW was going to pay for. The oil looked surprisingly dark but I don't think that means much. I'm enclosing some pictures. I made the small (640x480) but I think you will still see what is going on.

You need only a 17mm socket, 3 inch extension (might get by without it but it is easier to take off the drain plug with it), and a cap wrench for the oil filter housing (mine came from bavarian and has a 17mm hex head on it - it is also reasonably priced (I think it was $15).

The hardest part is getting the bimmer up in the air. I have ramps but not rubber mats to put them on so they slide around. So I used my floor jack and stands. Once it's up, remove the fill opening in the valve cover and then the drain plug. Mine was pretty tight, might have been painted on. While the oil is draining, you can remove the oil filter cap. It screws off. The housing will be full of oil so once you pull up on the filter housing cap, have something for the oilly filter to go into. Actually, I just raised it above the housing and let it drain down into there. It goes back down in the engine and out. At least most of the oil does. The new filter has two O rings, one goes up high in a groove (I have my leatherman micra under this O ring in one of the pictures) and the other is green, small, and goes at the bottom. The new filter just slides on and then you screw the housing cap on until the green marks line up (there is a picture for that too).

Oil comes out straight down in the N52 which I gather is not the case in the N54. Makes draining easier. I put in 6 quarts and checked the level and the system said it was full. So I did not add the seventh quart. It might not have drained as effectively because the rear end was not raised, so the car was at an angle. Next time I will try raising both.

Seven quarts pretty well filled my drain plan as you can see but it did not overflow. Overall, went well. I will jack it up using the front center jacking point next time. I used it to take the car off the stands and was surprised that I could get the floor jack out OK. I made a wooden piece to go into the jack so the metal does not tear up the platic jacking area of the bimmer.

Jim
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      09-13-2009, 04:30 AM   #2
polskamafia mjl
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Great write up.
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      09-13-2009, 10:09 AM   #3
jkp1187
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I had the same trouble with my ramps - I ended up getting some big cinder blocks from Home Depot and using those to brace the ramps. (They still slid a little, but not as much as when they were unbraced, and it worked well enough.)

I found that by covering the oil filter housing lid with a towel, I could use my standard oil filter wrench to remove it without causing any damage. (I do love the filter-on-top idea, much better than my other cars, where I have to snake my hands in from below.)
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      09-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #4
JimD
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The filter on my Suzuki SUV is the worst I've had. The best way to get to it is to jack up the drivers side front, pull the wheel, and go in through the wheel well. I checked into this before buying the bimmer. Much easier (although supplies are pricey).

Jim
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      09-13-2009, 02:56 PM   #5
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awesome write up! whats weird is BMW warrants our cars without changing the oil until it tells you! another funny thing is they tell us its not even break in oil its just BMW synthetic oil. anyway Great write up!
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      09-13-2009, 05:24 PM   #6
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great write up! i had my oil changed at 1300 miles and i notice a difference
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      09-26-2009, 04:27 PM   #7
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I changed mine at 1245 miles i think. It did come out very dark, and i added 6 qts like the OP, and it said full, but after 10 miles it said i was 1 qt low. So i added the 7th quart and now (at 4200 miles) it reads in the middle. Time for another change.
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      11-04-2009, 11:03 AM   #8
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I always just added the 7 quarts straight up as BMW recommends for their I6 engines all the way back to the M52. Why screw around and add 6 quarts when the car will tell you to add another quart a week later? I'm sure the factory and dealer just bam shoots 7 quarts right in, no questions asked and call it a day.
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      11-04-2009, 03:46 PM   #9
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My oil level indicator is still at maximum after about 900 miles since I changed oil. I only added 6 quarts. So if I had added 7, it would be above maximum which would be hard to fix. I still don't know if it was the angle I had the vehicle at did not allow it to fully drain or what.

Any time you are not 100% confident how much oil to add it is a good idea to stop and check before adding the last amount. On a car that takes 4 quarts, I might add half the last quart and check it. On the bimmer, it seems safe to check after 6 quarts (i.e. running a quart low is not a big deal if you know you have 6 quarts in the engine). If you ever have to drain oil out, and I have, you will probably not add everything you think you need to without checking. Unfortunately, with no dip stick, you have to drive for a few miles to get a reading. It is a WHOLE lot easier to add a little bit more than it is to take some out in a controlled manner.

Jim
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      03-07-2010, 12:11 AM   #10
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A question on this: pic 6 shows the small trap door in the under tray that needs to be removed to access the drain plug. I read another fellow's comments here and he said that the oil did not actually drain straight out, but at an angle which caused it to soak the top of the undertray causing a terrible mess. Yet another fellow said he used the removed trapdoor to divert the flow into the drainpain.

I was thinking about this when I saw pic 6, but your comment is also rather confusing on the subject:

Quote:
Oil comes out straight down in the N52 which I gather is not the case in the N54
What exactly do you mean by that? Does it flow straight down or not? If not, which way does it flow? Is there any merit to the fellow's suggestion to use the trapdoor to divert the oil?

Also, I seem to recollect seeing stickers under the hood saying BMW recommends Castrol, but not which specific oil. Which oil did you use?

Thanks for any info,

ianc
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      03-07-2010, 10:21 AM   #11
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On the 128 the oil drain bolt in mounted vertically. SO when you remove the drain plug the oil just shoots downward, into your catch pan.

On the N54 engine it is mounted at near 90' angle. Sow ehn you remove the drain plug the oil will shoot a little sideways. More so IF your can is not level when jacked up from one side! Ask me how I know this! lol So... I just put some old oil rags up in that access pannel to stop any oil getting up inside the belly pan. No big deal.

Asking what kind of oil is like getting into religion or politics. Don't ask. What ever oil you do use it MUST say... "BMW Long Life 1" or BMW LL-1"

So far the only oils sold in the usa that meet this are: Mobil-1's 0w40 LL1 (black bottle logo) and the Castrol oil that you can buy thru any BMW dealer.

I would also use a BMW original oil filter. I bought an OEM Mahle one, but the BMW filter looked like it was made better. IF someone can tell me(PM) how to post pics here... I can show you the pics side by side.

When you do your own oil change I would also have a clean turkey baster handy to suck the old oil out of the filter housing - bc there is alot of old oil left in there.

Btw... when I changed my oil I just dumped sven quarts of oil in there. I thin the reason why some people are getting a "full" reading on their electronic dipstick is teh same reason why you can fill up your tank NEARLY full, but the gauge still reads full. There must be some sort of "buffer" on that dip stick gauge, like there is on a fuel gauge sending unit.

Good Luck,
David
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      03-07-2010, 12:36 PM   #12
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BMW OE oil filter vs Mahle OEM...

Here are two 135i oil filters. OEM Mahle's & BMW's

This is my first atempt at posting pics - so bare with me.

Mahle oil filter OX 387 D vs BMW's 11 42 7 566 237

price: 8 euros vs 10 euros for the BMW filter.









Interesting enough, the BMW OE filter is made by MANN in Germany, while the OEM Mahle is made in Austria. The Bmw filter just looked better made to my eyes. Esp where the base of the filter comes together with the verticle folds of the paper filtering element. Maybe its nothing, or maybe its something? I will probably just buy and use the BMW filters from now on. Its only two euros more for the BMW filter.
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      03-07-2010, 08:48 PM   #13
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Hi David,

Thanks for the info on the oil change bits. I used to use the Mahle filters on my 911 rather the OEM Porsche ones and never had an issue with them. I even stooped to using Bosch a time or two.

Based on your information about the drain plug on the N54, I assume it will become obvious to me which way the drain plug is mounted when I pull the trapdoor under it and I can then take the appropriate measures to redirect the flow.

My question about oil was not about preference or to spark the oil Jihad, but just to find which type of oil was used in the factory fill and which type BMW will likely be using when they do maintenance on my car, since I would like to use the same type as well. The car only has ~1K miles on it at present, but I believe I will change at 1500 or so after the breakin period.

Thanks for the info!

ianc
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      03-07-2010, 08:56 PM   #14
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I have always used Mahle filters before too. On my Porsche 944 Turbo and on my e36 323i Never had a problem either. Thats why I was kind of surprised to see a differnce in filter designs bewteen the OE and OEM filters. Maybe I am being to OCD. lol

As for your original Q, on what oil BMW uses as a factory fill. It is Castrol. It says that on our engine oil caps! "BMW Recomends Castrol Synthetic oil". I think its probably Castrol RS Edge full synthetic - but I am not 100% sure on that. I just know BMW dealer sell the Castrol oil for our cars at the dealers. In the states and over here in Germany. I will have to look at my aftermarket suplier for which Castrol Oils comply with BMW LL1 rating.

bye,
David
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      03-07-2010, 10:37 PM   #15
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Thanks again for the info David,

I will just stop in at my dealer and pick up the oil and filters prior to doing this first change. I'll definitely do this one right after the breakin period, but not sure whether I'll wait BMW's full 15K interval in future. If I elect to do it more often myself (7.5K sounds good) I'll probably look for another supplier...

ianc
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      03-07-2010, 11:28 PM   #16
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I did my first oil change at 1,200 miles. I will probably change the oil & filter again around 3K miles.

Just because there is old oil in the oil cooler & lines and in the motor - that we can't drain all of it out of. I think after that, I will be doing oil changes every 7.5K too. I do not think you can change the oil too often. Maybe I am just too old school, but it brings a certain peace of mind to me - knowing it was done and done RIGHT!

take care,
David
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      03-09-2010, 08:22 AM   #17
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Btw... for those of you DIY guys... here is a nice Hazet tool for removing the oil filter cartidge cap. Hazet #2169-6 cost me 18 euros from StahlGrube.

The outer filter dia is 97mm and the tool has a 3/8 drive AND a 24mm nut built into its form. This filter cap works for both the 128i (N52) and 135i cars(N54).







good luck
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      03-09-2010, 10:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
The outer filter dia is 97mm
Hey, are you sure about that? I measured the filter element cap myself this weekend for the purposes of obtaining a similar tool and I counted 16 flutes around its circumference, but I could swear I measured the OD of the cap (across the flats) at ~86 mm. How did you measure?

ianc
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      03-09-2010, 12:32 PM   #19
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Hello ianc,

You are correct! I was just reading the ID specs from my Hazet tool catalog. Its weird bc I double check'd, it clearly says 97mm but thats wrong. Here I went and measured the ID (inner diameter) myself. I am guessy a +/- 1 mm tolerance is ok. I just know this is the CORRECT tool from Hazet, # 2169-6 It fits very snug too. So I would say 87 mm is the corect ID. Sorry for the confusion. Don't know why Hazet has a type-o like that in their catalog.

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      03-12-2010, 10:56 AM   #20
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I bought an oil change kit, 7 quarts of BMW oil and the filter, from United. I will do the same, possibly from Tischer next time. It didn't seem like I would save a lot by trying to find Mobil 1 0W40 and I like using BMW parts while the car is still under warranty.

If the N54 drain plug is nearly horizontal, you turbo guys might want to look into the quarter turn ball valve drain plugs that have a tubing nipple on the outlet. They are available at "quickoildrainvalve.com". It looks like their F109N ($32) might work if you also got their $6 adapter (the warning suggests the drain plug is recessed which means you need the adapter). The advantages are you need no wrench to change oil but the key advantage is you can direct the tubing to go straight into your pan. I did this on my Grand Vitara and it works great. If the drain plug is not horizontal, however, the longer valve arrangement will hang down creating a possible ground clearance issue I wouldn't risk. One of the last thing syou want hitting the pavement is your oil drain plug.

Jim
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      03-12-2010, 12:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimD View Post
I bought an oil change kit, 7 quarts of BMW oil and the filter, from United. I will do the same, possibly from Tischer next time. It didn't seem like I would save a lot by trying to find Mobil 1 0W40 and I like using BMW parts while the car is still under warranty.
I bought the oil change kit from Tischer. It was less expensive, including shipping, than buying it at my local dealer.
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      03-12-2010, 08:29 PM   #22
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I did my 1st oil change at 6000 miles, it was fine. I am at 12k and I haven't lost a quart oil nor performance of my 1er. Before this change thou, I am going to get the oil sent to a lab for test. Just to make sure.
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