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Faults, Fixes and DIY Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix!

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Old Mon, Jun-14-2004, 04:05:06 PM   #1
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Default E46 M3 step by step DIY oil change

Thanks to Carver for such a complete DIY.
Thanks to TigerDave for the great photos.

You need:
Creeper (optional)
Clean lint less (washed) shop towels/rags
3/8" drive ratchet wrench
Torque wrench
13mm socket
6mm allen bit/socket
Short extension
Latex/Poly gloves (like surgical)
6qt. minimum oil drain pan
Oil filter kit
6 Qt. Castrol TWS 10w-60 oil
CCA membership for the discount and cool magazine

With my CCA discount I paid $8.06/qt. for the oil and $7.60 for the filter kit at South Bay BMW in Hermosa Beach.

I don't think BMW's oil change instructions are thorough enough so here's the whole story.

1. Prepare a clean area for parts with a clean shop towel/rags etc. Cleanliness is critical, be focused on no contamination going back inside your engine. Why? Scratched bearings/clogged oil filter screen are a big no-no in an S54. If you want to do oil analysis', use a tube and suction bellows etc. to remove oil out of the dipstick tube. If you use the oil coming from the drain plug, it can be contaminated with dirt etc. and give false readings. Make sure the suction tube is perfectly clean.

2. Run car until oil temp in normal operating range. Stop the car with the front wheels at the point of your driveway where it changes from a slope to a flat surface. Place the ramps at the front foot of the front tires. Drive the car up on the ramps, leave in gear, set parking brake, chock rear wheels. Why? a) the slope change gives you more clearance under the front of the car with the ramps b) the steeper slope provides a better angle in the oil pan/passages for more old oil to drain out c) the M3 is the perfect car to use ramps for on an oil change because the drain plug is at the back of the oil pan (drainage)

2. Creep/Slide under car and carefully pop off the black plastic cover under the oil pan/skid plate/ducting with a screwdriver.

Use 6mm allen bit and ratchet to loosen oil drain bolt by turning counter-clockwise.

As the threads get toward the end of their grip (be careful; hot oil), slide yourself out of harms way and position the pan under the drain bolt and using your extension on the 6mm allen bit unscrew the drain bolt fully while you and the extension/bolt/bit are angled to the side to miss the draining oil. Clean the drain bolt and replace the washer using the one supplied in the oil filter kit. Place bolt/new washer on clean towel.

3. Open hood, unclip the fuel injection connector next to the oil filter housing by releasing the metal wire clip on the connector.

Wipe off oil filter housing. Remove the oil filter housing cover (round silver cap just to the right of the front of the engine) with 13mm socket by turning wrench counter-clockwise.

Clean the cover, replace the large rubber o-ring with a new oil dampened o-ring supplied in the oil filter kit and place on clean towel.

Remove oil filter.

Examine for metal/unusual contamination. If there are metallic pieces/reflections on filter media, take the filter to the dealer and have them look at it. (Very unlikely)
Clean inside of filter housing making sure to not leave lint/dust/threads inside housing.

Clean oil filter cap bolt and replace rubber o-ring and seal washer with ones supplied in oil filter kit.

Place bolt/washer/o-ring assembly on clean towel.

4. By now the oil should have drained out completely. Replace clean oil drain plug with new washer in drain hole and torque to 18 ft.-lb. Wipe plug/pan surface. Replace black plastic cap/cover. Wipe pan surface.

5. Using fresh oil, dampen the rubber gaskets on the new oil filter and place in housing.

Now, here's a little anal engineer trick. Pour the first quart of oil in through the opened oil filter housing on the outside of the filter and inside of the housing. This will saturate the filter with fresh oil and reduce the time the engine experiences no oil pressure by a couple of seconds during the first start-up.

Replace clean oil filter housing cover with the new oiled large o-ring on it and clean bolt with the new o-ring and washer on it and torque to 18 ft.-lb. Re-attach fuel injection connector and wire clip. Pour 4.5 qt of oil into engine (5.5 total), replace oil filler cap.

6. With your foot OFF the throttle, start the car and look for the oil pressure light to go off in a couple of seconds. If the light doesn't go off, shut the car off now! Check the oil level/plug etc. I have seen people leave the plug out and drain 5 fresh quarts into a 12 qt drain pan and start the car......don't laugh....although we all were at the dyno!! .....Once the oil pressure light goes out, let it idle for 30sec. Remove chocks, back the car off the stands and check for leaks while it's running. If no leaks, pull the car to a level surface and shut it off. Wait 1 min. then check the oil level between the two "cut marks" on the plastic dipstick surface. My car shows about 1mm below the full line at 5.75 qt. (so I added 1/4 qt. more after the 1qt. in the oil filter housing and 4.5 qt in the filler hole) I do one more step. I get the oil up to operating temperature on the oil temp gauge, and then go out and take the car up to 8000rpm. I then come back and shut down. After 1min. re-check the level and the oil filter housing cap seal. If the seal is going to leak, your little 8K run will expose it. If everything is as clean and dry as you left it, you're good to go.

Now ask yourself, do other people use that kind of care with your car? Right, that's why I do it myself. If I ever blow an S54, it won't be from external oil contamination or starvation. Just an extra level of care with your maintenance.

Here is a link on how to reset the service light.

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Old Fri, Jan-16-2009, 02:06:37 PM   #2
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TigerDave was nice enough to embed the photos in the DIY. Thanks again to both him and Carver.

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Discussing E46 M3 step by step DIY oil change in the Faults, Fixes and DIY Forum - Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix! at BMW M3 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)