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Changing Engine Oil
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Changing Engine Oil

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

13 and 17mm socket, small pick, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 M3 Coupe/Conv (2006)
BMW Z4 Coupe/Conv (2006)

Parts Required:

Engine oil, oil filter, drain plug sealing washer

Hot Tip:

Work with a slightly warm engine

Performance Gain:

Maintaining engine longevity

Complementary Modification:

Change oil every 3,000 miles

Engine oil is the essential lubricant that maintains low friction among engine moving parts and additionally cools the engine. It is important to understand the role of oil viscosity in engine longevity.

A cold engine needs the oil to be low viscosity (thin) in order to circulate it. Low viscosity oil has the ability to remain as a low-friction layer between cold engine components. As the engine and oil heat up, it is important that the oil remain viscous instead of thinning out and losing its ability to maintain the lubricating layer. Modern engine oil is engineered to operate in a wide range of temperatures. Additives are used in both petroleum based and synthetic oils to maintain relatively stable viscosity through a range of temperatures.

Oils are designated with a standard scale of viscosity markers: low numbers such as 5W indicate low viscosity (thin), and high numbers such as 50W indicate high viscosity (thick). Modern multiviscosity oils are designated with a high and a low range. For example, 5W-50 indicates an oil that is as thin as 5W when cold but remains thick like 50W when hot.

For most of North America the climate is such that BMW's synthetic 5W-40 is adequate nearly year round. However, for certain climate regions (extremely hot or extremely cold) or for sustained high-speed driving towing a trailer (for example) it may be necessary to consider oil with a more specialized viscosity range. On Z4M or S54 engine equipped models, BMW suggests using 10w 60 weight synthetic oil. Consult your owner's manual for the multiviscosity oil suited to your climate and vehicle use.

Remember that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the engine oil and filter on the BMW Z4 models. Be sure to work with a cool engine, and have a drain pan with a capacity of at least 10 liters. You should replace your engine oil and filter every 5,000 miles. Changing your engine oil is one of the most frequent and basic tasks you will perform on your Z4. Remember to use high quality oil that meets BMW specifications (specifications can be found in your owner's manual), a high quality oil filter and keep your engine protected with new and fresh engine oil.

Run the engine for two to three minutes to warm the engine oil. Do not allow the engine to get too hot.

Raise and support the front of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up the vehicle and securing the front of the car with jack stands.

Using a 13mm socket on a six-inch extension, loosen the oil filter housing lid bolt (green arrow).
Figure 1

Using a 13mm socket on a six-inch extension, loosen the oil filter housing lid bolt (green arrow).

Remove the bolt.
Figure 2

Remove the bolt. Be sure the sealing washer comes off with it. It may be stuck at the top of the bolt or on the filter lid (green arrows). Next, you will have to disconnect the throttle position sensor (TPS) (red arrow) to make room for the filter to come out.

Press the wire retainer (red arrow), and pull the TPS connector straight off.
Figure 3

Press the wire retainer (red arrow), and pull the TPS connector straight off.

Remove the lid (red arrow) and the filter (green arrow).
Figure 4

Remove the lid (red arrow) and the filter (green arrow). Place them into a pan and let the oil drain out of them. Removing the lid before the drain plug allows oil in the filter housing and filter to drain into the engine oil pan. If you do not do this first, you will leave about a liter of old engine oil behind.

Open the oil drain plug access door, if equipped.
Figure 5

Open the oil drain plug access door, if equipped. Most Z4s I see no longer have the doors. Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate the door lock 180 degrees. Then swing the door down. You can also remove the door to make a little more room for you to work. This photo shows the oil drain plug location on S54 6-cylinder models (red arrow). Place the drain pan (green arrow) centered below the oil drain plug. Using a 17mm socket, remove the oil drain plug (inset). Allow the engine oil to drain until it stops dripping. Keep an eye on the oil as it drains. The stream of oil will move, and there is a chance it will miss the drain pan. Install the oil drain plug with a new sealing washer and tighten. Close the oil drain plug access door. Remove the drain pan from below the vehicle.

Using a small pick, remove the sealing O-ring from the oil filter cover (green arrow).
Figure 6

Using a small pick, remove the sealing O-ring from the oil filter cover (green arrow). Using a small pick, remove the sealing O-ring from the oil filter cover fastener (red arrow).

Be sure to replace the sealing O-ring (red arrow) and sealing washer (green arrow) on the lid fastener.
Figure 7

Be sure to replace the sealing O-ring (red arrow) and sealing washer (green arrow) on the lid fastener. 

Install a new oil filter.
Figure 8

Install a new oil filter. Push the filter on as far as it will go. Keep the text (red arrow) facing up. Then install and tighten the lid. Reconnect the TPS.

Fill the engine with new BMW specified engine oil.
Figure 9

Fill the engine with new BMW specified engine oil. The engine oil capacity is (S54 6-cylinder) 6 US quarts. Start the engine and confirm that the oil warning light goes out. Then pull the dipstick and recheck the oil level. The oil level should be within the area marked by green arrows. Check that there are no oil leaks. Lower the vehicle from the jack stands, and you are done.

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Comments and Suggestions:
bob Comments: There is no dipstick.
May 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use the oil level reading in the cluster then. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sun 12/11/2016 02:54:32 AM