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  #1  
Old 07-23-2021, 10:46 AM
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Blackstone Oil Analysis - thoughts?

This is VERY interesting and I am wondering if we are seeing a record of something here that has happened to many of us over the years.

I got this car in Sep 2018 with 70k miles on it. It was dealer serviced and came with a Genuine BMW air filter, 5w30 Genuine BMW oil bc the sticker was still on the window.

I rode out the existing oil for 4000 miles and then changed over to Motul 8100 x-cess 5w40 bc that's what was in my other Xer and I didn't want 53 different jugs/grades in the garage.

Admittedly I have gotten a tad lazy, running out my last oil change to 8100 miles, but that's not exactly straight up engine abuse.

But as you can see, there is something I am not doing right. You can read the guy's comments. He's downright concerned.

And over this 30k mile period, I have seen consumption go up massively, from about 1 qt every 3000 miles to about 1 qt every 1200 miles (the 'generally accepted' M54 usage level). More specifically, this seems to have happened all of a sudden...during this last oil change period. Did the tension rings finally freeze up solid?

The trend here is a little disturbing. What's the best way to approach this? Think i should do what he says and try a 4k interval? That sounds kinda ridiculous no? Definitely has me thinking about trying another type of oil though. Maybe this younger engine wanted 5w30? It's running great, I'd just prefer not to have to put in so damn much oil like on my other Xer.

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Old 07-23-2021, 11:45 AM
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Looks like another M54 that will need rod bearings.
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:07 PM
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Haven't seen too many M54 with rod bearing issues. Perhaps, it's caused by the oil being contaminated with iron, thus, also caused excessive lead (bearing wear)? You can see that your bearing wear (lead level) were pretty well in check until iron spiked to 50ppm. Copper is also on the high side, which somewhat confirm that you're due for a new set of rod bearings as it's made from lead/copper/steel. Who know, the high iron (steel content) could very well be a bearing that's about to spin as it had already gone through the lead and copper layers?
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:33 PM
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serious? this car doesn't even have 100k. it's been babied for 16 years.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russianblue View Post
serious? this car doesn't even have 100k. it's been babied for 16 years.
BMWs don't like to be babied, but with your ownership history I'm sure you're aware of that. Change oil brand and do another analysis at 5000 miles.

But your results have me thinking maybe I should get mine done on next change (damn, just changed oil)... poor thing sits more than I would like. Though I do drive it hard when I do get her out. Hah, mine has been getting <2500 mile oil changes for the last few years. Yes, I know I'm probably wasting money... but it helps me sleep better.
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Old 07-23-2021, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russianblue View Post
serious? this car doesn't even have 100k. it's been babied for 16 years.

I had to replace mine at 95,000. Iíve always kept my maintenance a priority! Top of the line fluids, the whole 9. Like dkl said, get to it before it spins, or causes crank damage. The more wear, the more money to repair.

My service shop said, one of the main causes is not warming the oil to a temp of 160 before operation, poor oil intervals, and extreme spirited driving.

I personally warm my truck up for at least 5 to 7 minutes, and I always change my oil at 3500 to 5000 miles. I do drive her with enthusiasm, and itís a rarity, but nothing I feel would call for rod bearings.

Maybe some of us have some that are faulty?
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Old 07-24-2021, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crystalworks View Post
BMWs don't like to be babied, but with your ownership history I'm sure you're aware of that. Change oil brand and do another analysis at 5000 miles.

But your results have me thinking maybe I should get mine done on next change (damn, just changed oil)... poor thing sits more than I would like. Though I do drive it hard when I do get her out. Hah, mine has been getting <2500 mile oil changes for the last few years. Yes, I know I'm probably wasting money... but it helps me sleep better.

OP already got 4 analysis to be able to see a trend - not sure if another one will yield any more useful info. I'm not sure I understand the logic from Blackstone's recommendation for cutting back the oil change interval at this point. Sure, cutting back the change interval will result in lower wear content shown on the next analysis, but it doesn't prevent the fact that the problem is already present.

If you look at the oil analysis on my S54 M Coupe attached, you may think it's fine based on the last analysis on 1/14/2018. But look at my bearings when I pulled it out just after that analysis at ~55k miles.

Oil analysis needs to be use regularly and you need to look for trends. I've seen plenty of people that get oil analysis regularly, but then won't do anything when they see a problem or that they'll just do spot checks, which won't provide any useful results.
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Last edited by dkl; 07-24-2021 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 07-24-2021, 02:43 PM
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was yours knocking by the time you brought it in or did you catch it in time? any crank damage?

I had actually planned to take the car in to have an oil pan gasket done. I suppose if the damage is not too too bad, rod bearings would be a fairly straightforward add-on to that repair no? does that take a lot of time if everything is already dismantled? bearing kit is what? a couple hundred bucks.

to your point, I kept wondering myself about how if I just shorten the change interval, obviously things are going to improve (you would think).

I love these cars but this is a real kick in the pants to be honest (after the recent head gasket change on my other Xer). This car was supposed to be my dependable one but it really does appear that I have a fairly serious problem with it after reading up on this topic.

It's just crazy that of all the issues with the M54 and the hundreds of hours of reading for the past 10+ years I don't think I have EVER seen anyone mention rod bearing problems. Not that they don't exist, but that's not typically something i'd have ever bothered to check even if there was a way to do it.
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Old 07-24-2021, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy View Post
I had to replace mine at 95,000. Iíve always kept my maintenance a priority! Top of the line fluids, the whole 9. Like dkl said, get to it before it spins, or causes crank damage. The more wear, the more money to repair.

My service shop said, one of the main causes is not warming the oil to a temp of 160 before operation, poor oil intervals, and extreme spirited driving.

I personally warm my truck up for at least 5 to 7 minutes, and I always change my oil at 3500 to 5000 miles. I do drive her with enthusiasm, and itís a rarity, but nothing I feel would call for rod bearings.

Maybe some of us have some that are faulty?
I'll offer another, contrasting data point = my 2001 3.0i at 199k miles, running well, only engine work was the head gasket job 3 years ago.

I got it at 169k miles. PO had it from 46k-169k, had pro's do everything ... badly. Mostly at the dealers, but Jiffy Lube had done a synthetic oil change a couple of hundred miles earlier. I did an oil change anyway, not trusting anything. Very dark oil came out. Oil filter was crumpled / collapsed. I later found that this was because the bottom of a previous filter had come off and was stuck in the bottom of the filter housing. So the only way to get the filter in there was to jam it in and make it work.

^^^ Point of that is that the PO probably thought it was well taken care of (and he sure spent a lot of $$ on repairs), but if that is any indication, it was definitely not.

Since I got it, I've done synthetic 5W-30 (whatever brand I have on the shelf - Castrol Edge, Mobil 1, Pennzoil, whatever) changes. Mann / Mahle filter. Never more than 5k miles interval, which is usually about a year. I even usually re-use the drain plug washer.

^^^ So I take care of it, but nobody will be calling me an enthusiast about it.

I have some leaks which keep the bottom of my engine rust free and low drag. I never add more than 1 qt between the 3-5k OCI changes, despite the leaks. So I might have near zero internal oil consumption.

Have never done a Blackstone analysis on this car.

Warm up protocol: immediately after starting the engine, turn off all the HVAC, radio, computer display nonsense that powers up. Seatbelt on, and drive away, usually within about 10 seconds.

It is neither babied nor raced. Driven pretty normally, tending towards slower rather than faster.

----

And I basically have no engine problems that I know about. I do know the car has made it to 199k (no AT problems either) with no end in sight. When the head work was done, everything up top looked perfect, chains and sprockets too.

So my conclusion is that these engines are not especially fragile if they are used normally, which it sounds like @RussianBlue does. Bottom end engine problems do seem rare on this forum, for the M54s at least.

The only thing he does that does not match my protocol (other than getting the oil tested) is the slightly longer OCI he uses.

---

Random thought to consider:
is the experimental procedure consistent between all those samples? Catching the oil midway through the drain? Is the drain plug washer Copper? Could that contaminate?

I think you noticed some cam wear when the head was off. Could that (lobes and bearings) be the source of some of this? Any other things that you uncovered up top that could lead to these readings?
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Old 07-24-2021, 04:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Russianblue View Post
was yours knocking by the time you brought it in or did you catch it in time? any crank damage?

I had actually planned to take the car in to have an oil pan gasket done. I suppose if the damage is not too too bad, rod bearings would be a fairly straightforward add-on to that repair no? does that take a lot of time if everything is already dismantled? bearing kit is what? a couple hundred bucks.

to your point, I kept wondering myself about how if I just shorten the change interval, obviously things are going to improve (you would think).

I love these cars but this is a real kick in the pants to be honest (after the recent head gasket change on my other Xer). This car was supposed to be my dependable one but it really does appear that I have a fairly serious problem with it after reading up on this topic.

It's just crazy that of all the issues with the M54 and the hundreds of hours of reading for the past 10+ years I don't think I have EVER seen anyone mention rod bearing problems. Not that they don't exist, but that's not typically something i'd have ever bothered to check even if there was a way to do it.
Wasn't sure if your question was for me...if so, there was no knocking of any sort. Caught it in time, there were no crank damage. The 3 oil analysis (attached) following the bearing change validated it.

If you're planning on doing your oil pan gasket, then you're already 80% there. It's a no brainer to do the rod bearings at that point!

I haven't seen rod bearings being an issue on the M54 engines either, but there's an exception to everything. All the rod bearings issues that I've seen/read are on the S54, S65, and S85 motors.
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