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      11-05-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
Harpua
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Another E-Dipstick Frustration Thread

I brought my '08 E90 M3 into my local independent mechanic today for routine oil change. He has changed my car's oil twice before and he is more than competent at working on imports.

When I picked up the car, the >MAX oil reading came up, so I brought it back to him. It turns out that he mis-counted and had put an extra litre of oil in. I'm a little annoyed, but it should be no problem -- Just remove a litre to get it to the prescribed 8.8L fill. Done, then car keys handed back to me.

I drive off -- >MAX oil reading comes up again. I manually reset the oil level meter and it still reads too high. So back to the mechanic I go.

This time he drains all the oil, which measures 8.5L, which puzzles the both of us as it certainly wasn't over-filled. He purposefully underfills the oil. This time the iDrive reports Warning -- Add Oil. So he adds a 1/2L at a time and rechecks. Car continues to ask for more oil. Then, after adding the final 1/2L of the 8.5L, it now reads >MAX oil. Huge frustration sets in.

He assures me that he has only added 8.5L. It is definitely not over-filled and I have two spare litres to top up the oil should the reader change. He was adamant that there is absolutely no risk in driving the car now and he will 100% stand behind his opinion that there is something amiss with the sensor.

The last two oil changes were completely uncomplicated, with perfect fills just below the the top marker. I've recently had my software upgraded to 240e, and I've noticed that the oil reader now takes much longer to get a reading. That is the only thing that I've modified on the car since the last oil change.

Could the sensor be faulty? Does the new oil have to "settle" to a steady level after the engine is filled? What the heck is going on here? Many thanks to any and all insights into this frustrating situation.
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      11-05-2014, 08:15 PM   #2
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On level ground, draining both sumps and the oil filter cannister requires a re-fill of 8.70-9.0 liters. As long as your mechanic drained both sumps, adding 8.5 liters should be fine. It is possible to get false readings with this system and also it is of course possible to have the level sensor fail or get contaminated. I would drive it for a day with the 8.5 liters in there and monitor the level.
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      11-05-2014, 08:59 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.
My mechanic assured me he drained both sumps and added exactly 8.5L to ensure that there was no overfill, with the understanding that I may need to add a bit of oil once the reader stabilizes.
I am going to drive it over the next few days and closely monitor the the oil readings.
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      11-06-2014, 08:18 AM   #4
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For a fresh oil change I would rely on the quantity I know I poured in vs the dipstick if there was an inconsistency. I always add 8.5L/9qt and get a perfect reading on the oil level.

However, I generally find that after changing my oil, the oil level gradually drops over the next several days and I usually need to add another 1/2 qt in the first week or so. Just changed my oil this past weekend and the level read at the highest point immediately after. On my way to work this morning it was reading at the half way mark. Go figure.
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      11-06-2014, 08:41 AM   #5
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For me, I have found the safest bet to avoid the overfill warning is to add oil 1/4 to 1/2 liter at a time with short drives between each addition.
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      11-07-2014, 10:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorfast View Post
For a fresh oil change I would rely on the quantity I know I poured in vs the dipstick if there was an inconsistency. I always add 8.5L/9qt and get a perfect reading on the oil level.

However, I generally find that after changing my oil, the oil level gradually drops over the next several days and I usually need to add another 1/2 qt in the first week or so. Just changed my oil this past weekend and the level read at the highest point immediately after. On my way to work this morning it was reading at the half way mark. Go figure.
Update:

After driving significant distances over the past two days (>500km) with the >MAX oil reading, it has now finally settled to the top "arrow" on the E-dipstick, so all is well.

I suppose the "moral of my story" is to trust the amount that has been put in and not the initial oil level readings, then wait a couple days before adjusting.
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      11-21-2014, 12:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorfast View Post
However, I generally find that after changing my oil, the oil level gradually drops over the next several days and I usually need to add another 1/2 qt in the first week or so. Just changed my oil this past weekend and the level read at the highest point immediately after. On my way to work this morning it was reading at the half way mark. Go figure.
After my last BMW oil change, within a week, I had to add a full liter (which sucked, because I was on a trip and forgot my spare Castrol liter). I guess they were so paranoid about overfilling that they underfilled. Since then the level hasn't budged a bit. I will agree the sensor is a pain in the ass. Often in the winter I can never get a reading because I have a short commute, and the oil doesn't get warmed up enough (at least not until I take a longer trip). I like the sensor as an addition to the dipstick, but not as a complete replacement.
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      11-21-2014, 01:05 PM   #8
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Yeah, my lesson learned when adding oil was to wait for the oil reading to adjust. My car seems to take about 10-12 miles of freeway driving before any changes seem to register.
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      11-24-2014, 03:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marksae View Post
Yeah, my lesson learned when adding oil was to wait for the oil reading to adjust. My car seems to take about 10-12 miles of freeway driving before any changes seem to register.
This is the key, to let the car reset the oil level by driving a bit and letting the car get to temp and then checking oil again.

Drain both sumps and don't overfill. Easier to add some than drain some.
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      11-24-2014, 11:14 AM   #10
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Suck the oil out of the filter housing too. That's a decent amount of oil right there. I'd say it's pretty damn close to half a quart in just that housing alone.
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      11-24-2014, 01:11 PM   #11
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And maybe 1/2 quart or more in the cooler and lines. You won't hurt anything by running a little under max while you drive gently for 15 miles or so until you can get an accurate reading. I typically add the last quart after changing the oil not during the oil change.
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      11-25-2014, 07:58 PM   #12
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OP, I know you've figured it out already, but I didn't read anything about draining the FRONT SUMP as well when you're draining oil. You need to drain the front sump in addition to the oil pan to get 99% of the oil out. The balance is in the oil filter housing, which you can suck out.

As others have mentioned, add oil at 1/4 bottle increments, and do an extended drive afterwards. After every add, the level indicator fluctuates after a few days of driving.

What scares me with your car is, to trouble shoot, you intentionally under filled the oil. Just make sure you didn't under fill too little, I wouldn't be comfortable under filling it at less than 8L. When I change my oil, I under fill to about 8.25 and slowly add in the last 0.25 to 0.5 bottle.

Finally, don't let you OCD set in with the level indicator. You DON"T need to be at the top of the line, as long as you're within the bars, it's okay. Also, some people mentioned the increments aren't that minute on the indicator. So if you add 1/8 bottle, sometimes it won't show up on the indicator.

Last edited by Flying Ace; 11-25-2014 at 08:10 PM.
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