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Oil consumption

4120 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  alpywhite
I may be covering a previous post, but I read an article about Hartge and their use of M5 V8 engine in E46 coupe. The said that Hartge used a different Oil sump arrangement than BMW. When describing, they mentioned that one noted problem of BMW system was that when engine is hot/warm it still holds a large amount of oil in engine. This has lead to customers getting low readings and overfilling engine.

I wondered if this could be cause of numerous posts discussing high consumption.

Anyone else seen this? - is it true or just journo hype?

Does M5 have internal oil level and/or pressure monitor??
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Hi, Steve - and congrats on your new car.

This has been discussed. Briefly, there is a recommended procedure for checking the oil - get it warm, shut it down, wait one minute, then check. This allows the majority of the oil to drain down and you get consistent readings. Most of us are doing that. The cars do burn oil - between 750 and 2000 miles per liter, on average, with significant differences between cars. There are multiple theories for this, but I am not sure of any of them. Should reduce but not to zero once fully broken in.

The one experience some have had related to the large upper-end capacity is that if you falsely diagnose a low oil level (for failing to follow the procedure above) and add oil, you will have overfilled it. The undesired side effect of this is that evidently it will blow oil out the top all over the pretty bits. So avoid overfilling!

Lastly, although I check my oil religiously so this hasn't happened to me, several members have reported that the computer's low oil warning is extremely accurate - so, if you SHOULD forget, you should still be safe. Just remember to always carry an extra liter or two in the trunk.

Cheers -

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The car does have a low engine oil warning when it's a liter low. A message comes on
and says low engine oil.
Excessive oil consumption is considered "normal" on the M5 when new. This should stop happening by the time you reach 10000 miles (16000 kms). If not, consult your dealer as this 'problem' will be covered under warranty.

Thanks for the info Greg
Thanks to all for the recap. And for the record...what spare oil is everyone keeping in their trunks? (Weight, Brand)

Castrol 10W60 Racing Synthetic. It's the only oil approved for the E39 M5 that I know of. It's only available from the dealer here, and unfortunately costs me about $11/liter. That works out to less than 5% of the cost of gas for the beast, though (at about 14mpg and 1500mi/liter). It's not worth risking anything cheaper.

By the way, I experienced the overfill problem you refer to. At my 1200 mile service, I believe the oil level was checked incorrectly and too much oil was added. This caused the gasket on the oil cap to fail, and about about 1/4 liter of oil was leaked over my engine before I noticed. The oil cap needed to be replaced.

Also, the car's manual says don't top up the oil; you should wait until it's at least 1 liter low before adding more. Since this is exactly when the computer announces "check engine oil level", I've gotten out of the habit of checking the oil level at each fill-up.
Thanks for the input, will stock up.

Meanwhile, it sounds like we should just get on with our lives and wait for the warning before topping up...a warranty's a warranty...

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