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-   -   OEM spec 5-30 vs 0-40 (https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/x5-e53-forum/112504-oem-spec-5-30-vs-0-40-a.html)

Boston01X5 10-12-2020 10:10 PM

OEM spec 5-30 vs 0-40
Hey guys was curious what you run for oil. When I first bought my E53 noticed lifter noise on startup and asked a friend who knows BMW so I switched from using factory spec 5-30 to 0-40 and it seems to help with the noise. Thatís what he recommended on higher mileage E53 4.4, from what he said it is thinner on a cold start and is thicker in hot conditions vs the 5-30. I live in New England so temps range from 100 during summer and 0 or colder during winter. Been running 0-40 for about 8 months and time for oil change. Seems to have worked well. What do you guys recommend going with next oil change? And are there any downsides to running 0-40?


Overboost 10-12-2020 10:13 PM

I just changed to LiquiMoly 5W-40 in both my E53 and E46. Both engines have around 200,000 miles each. Happy so far. :dunno:

crystalworks 10-12-2020 10:19 PM

With your cold winters you might want 10w40 for that time of year. Here in Texas I run 5w40 all year long. I've also run 20w50 here on very high mileage older BMWs. On newer (by model year) ones like the e53 though I am hesitant to go that thick due to valvetronics, vanos, and all their associated small oil passages.

But oils are a very contentious subject so let's see what others say.

wpoll 10-13-2020 12:36 AM

5W-40 in my 250,000km M57TU - been running that for the last two or three years, after previously running with 5W-30. Made the switch at about 200,000kms.

Trying the get the last km of life from my aging turbo-charger! :rolleyes:

Temps are less extreme than yours - more like 0Deg.C to 30Deg.C.

andrewwynn 10-13-2020 12:59 PM

Just did a solid night of research on the subject and came across this website with the best lesson on oil that I've seen to date:.


Motor oil 101. It's a very good read.

The summary is that most of the wear happens at start or with a cold engine so low viscosity on the cold side is a good thing, but that for non race driven cars the high side viscosity determined by the engine manufacturer is likely the best until enough wear in the engine happens that the oil shoots though too fast to be effective lubrication.

Here's the thing: you would have to be able to measure the oil pressure at say 5000 rpm on a new motor and do again on a worn motor to know if your motor is worn enough that it will be helpful or hurtful to use a thicker oil.

Diesels have much hotter zones where 40 weight oil will be just as thin as 30 weight and will flow properly to both cool and lubricate.

Here's my takeaway; the startup and warming zone is critical. Though the coolant may get to temp in five minutes it takes 30 or so for the oil to reach temp. So if you *guess* wrong you will be pushing too thick of oil and it won't be high enough flow in the tight spaces to properly lube or cool.

With a few dozen web searches over the course of a couple hours i found zero objective tests involving a modern engine with variable valve timing and especially finicky giant one chain timing like the M62.

I would love to see some objective data that shows for example after 150,000 miles the m54 will generate the same oil pressure at 4000 rpm with w40 as it did when be using w30.

There is a shit ton of anecdotal "advice" on using thicker oil when older and there is definitely some objective data on 30-50 yr old cars that logically would transfer over, but what even need to know is what oil are the srmmmm's of the BMW world using in their super high mileage engines.

I like to use the OEM weight oil but in the high mileage variant when available. Until I can find a case study that does some actual measurements it's literally a gamble like a coin toss is it better or worse.

Thicker oil = less flow = less lubrication and less cooling, but if the parts wore enough that pressure can't build, then the film thickness won't support the journal bearings and they won't last as long. I would sure like to know the answer having two m54 with 180-190,000 miles would it be a good plan to switch to w40 oil.

By switching to 0-40 from 5-30 that will definitely help when the engine is cold because even w0 is too thick at room temperature to say nothing of freezing temps but how long is that transitional period while the w40 is getting warmed up and does it ever reach a hot enough temp to properly lubricate gas powered variable cam BMW engine?

srmmmm 10-13-2020 03:12 PM

:thumbup: Thanks for the reference Andrew.

I run 5W-50 Castrol Edge March through October, and 5W-30 during the "Texas Winter", November through February). Even though it leaks out faster :(, I'll use the light weight in the winter to give the starter motor a break. I know they say both are starting out at a 5 weight base, but I can tell a difference in how fast the starter is turning the engine over when it's 20 degrees F outside in the morning.

Now on the CEO's 428i, I stick with the factory oil which I believe is 0W-30. I don't want to starve that turbo bearing on start-up.

2002 X5 3.0 383,500 miles
2014 428i 71,700 miles

2004 325i sold at 123,600 miles
2001 325i sold at 66,000 miles

1970 Firebird Under restoration (Engine dyno break-in was with Castrol 10W-40 GTX. Will change to 10W-40 Castrol Edge for street)

andrewwynn 10-13-2020 03:22 PM

How many miles before switching to thicker oil? I'm curious if the suggested 0-40 would be thin enough for TX winter starts perhaps a year 'round option. Clearly if you aren't having a problem with the odometer reading and 50 weight that I would not expect 40 to be a problem though it's a different engine than brought up in the first post.

srmmmm 10-13-2020 08:29 PM

I've been doing the seasonal split since I bought it with 53,000 miles on it. With the summertime towing I do at "highway speeds" and Texas temperatures readily topping 100 Deg F, the added viscosity protection is worth it in my opinion. And I'll say I have no lifter or rod noises on startup or at temperature.

wpoll 10-13-2020 08:31 PM


Originally Posted by andrewwynn (Post 1193054)
Just did a solid night of research on the subject and came across this website with the best lesson on oil that I've seen to date:.


Motor oil 101. It's a very good read. ...

Gotta love a good 'ole oil thread! ;)

Great find, Andrew and an interesting read. The author makes some good arguments for the "lighter" oil grades.

Out of curiosity, I pulled the PDS for the Castrol range I've been using for years - and there's not a lot of difference in stated (measured?) viscosity between the 5W-30, 5W-40 and 0W-40 oils: -

Castrol Edge 0W-40 A3/B4

Castrol Edge 5w-30 A3/B4

Castrol Edge 5W-40 A3/B4

These PDS only specify the viscosity at 100C and 40C but clearly there is a lot more at play here than just the label values (as is stated in the oil article above), given the small differences in stated (measured?) viscosity.

Only the 5w-30 and 5W-40 are rated BMW LL-01 - but I'm guessing the the 0W-40 would be suitable also, in hot climates anyway.

EODguy 10-13-2020 10:57 PM

Great job with the info Andrew!

I'm glad nobody on this site has asked about reusing fasteners if they're lubricated with different weights of engine oil...[emoji1787][emoji1787]

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