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      04-18-2019, 12:35 AM   #1
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Got a low oil indicator

EDIT - It was a faulty sensor -

I had this before on a an E90 335 (with tune), I topped it off and it went away, but I was getting close to a service interval.

Going to be cautious and get the oil changed, but in doing research on this, the N54 is notorious about giving this indicator for reasons outside of the actual oil level. Also seems the sensor can fault for various reasons.

Assuming this is not a faulty sensor....

My question is, on the 1M, can a tune and a mid-pipe burn through larger amounts of oil that need more frequent changing of the oil? Say every 4-5k miles? Not tracking the car, mainly just spirited canyon carving.

Thanks for any input!

Last edited by seis-speed; 04-20-2019 at 10:17 PM..
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      04-18-2019, 06:35 AM   #2
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I think thats normal .
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      04-18-2019, 09:32 AM   #3
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In my humble opinion, and 45+ years of automotive "backyard" experience, plus having owned many BMW's and high performance cars, the answer is no. There may be some increased oil consumption due to higher compression and its impact on oil flow around the piston rings, however particular to the 1M, the tunes most of us have are mild relative to the increased load placed on the mechanical parts of the engine.
That being said, all engines burn oil, each at a different rate depending on how the motor was broken in. This is especially true with motors using synthetic oil, which is more likely to find its way past the rings.
Your most likely issue is a bad sending unit. You don't mention the miles, but most of our 1M's, regardless of mileage are virtually new with respect to the motor.
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      04-18-2019, 09:39 AM   #4
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Also, and this will cause a tremendous amount of heartburn with my fellow 1M owners, the need to change oil, or interval, is nowhere near 5K miles unless you are running the car hard (tracking). For years I used AmsOil synthetic in my heavy duty diesels and had the oil analyzed by the company. Assuming street use (yes you can drive it fast) and normal filter replacements at ~5K miles, the synthetic oil is still very good at the 20,000 mile mark. The whole notion of changing oil super frequently is just a waste of money, even though it makes us feel good. If you want to challenge this notion, submit samples of your motor oil for analysis. The results will surprise you. Synthetic oil is absolutely the best thing to ever hit the market.
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      04-19-2019, 09:08 AM   #5
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Also keep in mind the N54 PCV system isn't ideal, contributing not only to consumption but and dirty intake valves.

How many miles on your 1M?
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      04-19-2019, 09:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekraps View Post
Also, and this will cause a tremendous amount of heartburn with my fellow 1M owners, the need to change oil, or interval, is nowhere near 5K miles unless you are running the car hard (tracking). For years I used AmsOil synthetic in my heavy duty diesels and had the oil analyzed by the company. Assuming street use (yes you can drive it fast) and normal filter replacements at ~5K miles, the synthetic oil is still very good at the 20,000 mile mark. The whole notion of changing oil super frequently is just a waste of money, even though it makes us feel good. If you want to challenge this notion, submit samples of your motor oil for analysis. The results will surprise you. Synthetic oil is absolutely the best thing to ever hit the market.
All that said, BMW recommends annual oil changes, regardless of miles...
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      04-19-2019, 10:26 AM   #7
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You are correct.
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      04-19-2019, 12:28 PM   #8
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Bad oil sensor was indeed the case, ouch these things are expensive. ~ $400
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      04-19-2019, 12:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 Racer View Post
Also keep in mind the N54 PCV system isn't ideal, contributing not only to consumption but and dirty intake valves.

How many miles on your 1M?
27k, has been flawless the only issues are two bad sensors, oil and battery.

I have a good relationship with my local dealer and we talked about annual oil change regardless of miles as you indicated above.
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      04-19-2019, 12:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by seis-speed View Post
Bad oil sensor was indeed the case, ouch these things are expensive. ~ $400
Ouch. How was the sensor failure diagnosed?
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      04-19-2019, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 Racer View Post
Ouch. How was the sensor failure diagnosed?
It was reading low oil, when the oil was not low - it was full.

In researching this before I took the car in, this was a fairly common problem on other N54ís 135ís/335ís....

You donít need to change out the sensor, but you will get a low oil warning off and on, reading on the dash.
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      04-19-2019, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seis-speed View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 Racer View Post
Ouch. How was the sensor failure diagnosed?
It was reading low oil, when the oil was not low - it was full.

In researching this before I took the car in, this was a fairly common problem on other N54's 135's/335's....

You don't need to change out the sensor, but you will get a low oil warning off and on, reading on the dash.
Was the warning intermittent? Unfortunate the sensor can be problematic without a physical dipstick to confirm or dismiss the alert being legit.

On an unrelated note, I was floored to see our '19 GLC had one. Wonder why?
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      04-19-2019, 02:59 PM   #13
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E30 Racer, when you mentioned the 19 GLC with dipstick, I ran outside because I just bought one myself and sure enough there it is! I imagine it's there because a dipstick can't go bad.
I know we're off topic, but I got the standard version and am very surprised as to how quick the car is. Really pleasantly surprised. Very nice quality and what a great DD.
I test drove both AMG models and the one I could afford (GLC 43?) sounded disgraceful and really wasn't that much faster. Had I had the cash, I might have taken the dive on the 500 HP version (GLC 63?).
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      04-19-2019, 03:00 PM   #14
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Back on topic, I'm glad it was just the sending unit. These motors are too good to burn oil, and the synthetic oil almost assures no ring wear.
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      04-19-2019, 03:18 PM   #15
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Short trips and infrequent driving can cause water to build up in the oil, which can damage the sensor. The water will settle at the bottom of the pan, where the sensor is.
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      04-19-2019, 10:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 Racer View Post
Was the warning intermittent? Unfortunate the sensor can be problematic without a physical dipstick to confirm or dismiss the alert being legit.

On an unrelated note, I was floored to see our '19 GLC had one. Wonder why?

It was not intermittent just failed and would not give a correct reading.
Oil was full and it read as critically low.
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      04-19-2019, 10:45 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekraps View Post
E30 Racer, when you mentioned the 19 GLC with dipstick, I ran outside because I just bought one myself and sure enough there it is! I imagine it's there because a dipstick can't go bad.
I know we're off topic, but I got the standard version and am very surprised as to how quick the car is. Really pleasantly surprised. Very nice quality and what a great DD.
I test drove both AMG models and the one I could afford (GLC 43?) sounded disgraceful and really wasn't that much faster. Had I had the cash, I might have taken the dive on the 500 HP version (GLC 63?).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekraps View Post
I know we're off topic, but I got the standard version and am very surprised as to how quick the car is. Really pleasantly surprised. Very nice quality and what a great DD.
We had the same impression, and have been very pleased with it. That said, with the stock AMG line wheels (19s with 235s), the handling was unremarkable. Adding some rear spacers helped immensely. Looks better too. 20mm work (we're using H&R), but 15mm probably fit the stock rear flares better. Switching to the GLC43 rear flares allows up to 25mm spacers. If you have a chance, give them a try. It won't make the thing into an autoxer, but the handling is now quite good for what it is.
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      04-20-2019, 09:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rekraps View Post
Also, and this will cause a tremendous amount of heartburn with my fellow 1M owners, the need to change oil, or interval, is nowhere near 5K miles unless you are running the car hard (tracking). For years I used AmsOil synthetic in my heavy duty diesels and had the oil analyzed by the company. Assuming street use (yes you can drive it fast) and normal filter replacements at ~5K miles, the synthetic oil is still very good at the 20,000 mile mark. The whole notion of changing oil super frequently is just a waste of money, even though it makes us feel good. If you want to challenge this notion, submit samples of your motor oil for analysis. The results will surprise you. Synthetic oil is absolutely the best thing to ever hit the market.
I hear what you say but past experience is really not a good indicator or case study on some issues. I have also heard people say things like I ran 30K mile intervals on my E90 328 and it lasted 200K miles. There are a lot of variables from viscocity, different grades of synthetic oils to lump all into a one category.

The biggest change from your past experience is that our cars are now direct injection. Just that fact alone nullifies past experience from port injected cars. The fuel is directly sprayed into the combustion chamber on top of the piston during the compression stroke. At this time the piston is low and the oil covered cylinder walls are exposed to a gasoline spray. The oil has to be able to withstand being diluted by gasoline and after combustion, the piston scrapes the oil from the walls along with any unburned fuel. Over time this unburned fuel mixes with the oil. The longer the interval, the more fuel that ends up in there. Another difference is that your diesel probably had an aluminum piston with a cast iron cylinder. Our cylinders use a newer process whereby metal is fused into the aluminum block. These are two variables that need to be accounted for.

There are many factors that come into play now. If the injectors get mucked up and are not atomizing, you could get more a spray on the walls and more unburned fuel. As rings wear, you get more blow by and fuel again to mix with the oil.

This is why Synthetic oil is so critical to direct injected motors. Organic oil would break down faster when mixed with fuel but synthetic can still dilute too.

So depending on the age and condition of the motor I wouldn't go as far as calling a lower oil change interval on a semi collectible car a waste of money.

Personally, I have my interval of ~7500 miles or 12 months whichever comes first on the 1M. On my normally aspirated port injected 330i running synthetic oil, I would go up to ~10K miles or 12 months whichever first.


Finally, the really tough part is this. Are you willing to run 15K intervals on your 1M for the life of the car and perform oil analysis and let us know how it goes at 120K miles? That would be great way to validate that it's a waste of money. Personally, I'm not willing to do it on my 1M because direct injection is relatively new on BMWs with the first ones coming out about 12 years ago. So we should start seeing pretty soon how these cars hold up with 15K oil change intervals. We probably won't see it among 1M owners but among the general population of 335i and X35i cars as they hit 120-150K with regular owners that used 15K mile intervals. You might eventually be proven to be correct that it makes no difference but that data is only coming in now as BMW engines with DI and new cylinder lining are reaching old age. But 8 years ago and even 3 years ago, i was not willing to go with 15K interval with my baby because of these two key variables that are often overlooked.

I am rooting for you to be correct but I will not feel I wasted money by being prudent based on the data that was available in the past. Just like when I had to buy powdered formula for my infant son. I went to Walmart in the middle of the night to get regular Similac but right next to it, they had Similac Plus! Man, I agonized....maybe if I go Similac Plus that might make the difference? So I went Similac Plus.... I probably wasted a few dollars but don't feel foolish for trying.

So fingers crossed!!!

Last edited by nachob; 04-20-2019 at 09:20 PM..
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      04-21-2019, 07:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seis-speed View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by E30 Racer View Post
Was the warning intermittent? Unfortunate the sensor can be problematic without a physical dipstick to confirm or dismiss the alert being legit.

On an unrelated note, I was floored to see our '19 GLC had one. Wonder why?

It was not intermittent just failed and would not give a correct reading.
Oil was full and it read as critically low.
When my sensor failed it started intermittently. Had an oil change, next day low oil. I topped it off. Then ok, then low again. I topped it off and was ok. Then low again. Hmmm... changed sensor and no low oil light since.
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      04-21-2019, 12:21 PM   #20
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I would kill for a dipstick.
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      04-21-2019, 11:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayao View Post
I would kill for a dipstick.

i agree. I was fighting a low oil light all last summer. Figured i was losing some somewheres. Turns out the sensor is on its way out. Somedays it comes on, somedays it wont. Fresh oil change
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      04-22-2019, 12:38 AM   #22
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Speak of the devil ...


Was driving my 1M a few days ago and get a low oil message come up
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