BMW Coupes and Sedans 1970-1988 Repair Guide

Engine

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OIL LEVEL CHECK



See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

Every time you stop for fuel, check the engine oil as follows:

  1. Make sure the car is parked on level ground.
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  3. When checking the oil level it is best for the engine to be at normal operating temperature, although checking the oil immediately after stopping will lead to a false reading. Wait a few minutes after turning off the engine to allow the oil to drain back into the crankcase.
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  5. Open the hood and locate the dipstick on the left side of the engine compartment. Pull the dipstick from its tube, wipe it clean and then fully reinsert it.
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  7. Pull the dipstick out again and, holding it horizontally, read the oil level. The oil should be between the 2 marks on the dipstick. If the oil is below the upper mark, add oil of the proper viscosity through the capped opening in the top of the cylinder head cover.
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Fig. Fig. 1: After allowing the oil to drip into the oil pan, remove the dipstick



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Fig. Fig. 2: The correct oil level is between the two hash marks



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Fig. Fig. 3: To add engine oil, remove the filler cap ...



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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then add the oil in small amounts until the correct level is reached. Check the dipstick after each addition

  1. Replace the dipstick and check the oil level again after adding any oil. Be careful not to overfill the crankcase. Approximately one quart of oil will raise the level from the lower mark to the upper mark. Excess oil will generally be consumed at an accelerated rate.
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CHANGE INTERVAL



The oil should be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles (4,831 km) in all models. It is recommended that you change the oil based on whichever interval comes first.

The oil drain plug is located on the lower right hand side of the oil pan (bottom of the engine, underneath the car). The oil filter is located on the left side of the engine.

Certain operating conditions may warrant more frequent oil changes. If the vehicle is used for short trips, where the engine does not have a chance to fully warm up before it is shut off, water condensation and low temperature deposits may make it necessary to change the oil sooner. If the vehicle is used mostly in stop-and-go traffic, corrosive acids and high temperature deposits may necessitate shorter oil changing intervals. The shorter intervals also apply to industrial or rural areas where high concentrations of dust and other airborne particulate matter contaminate the oil. Finally, if the car is used for towing trailers (in spite of BMW's recommendation to the contrary), a severe load is placed on the engine causing the oil to thin out sooner, making necessary the shorter oil changing intervals.

PRECAUTIONS


CAUTION
Prolonged and repeated skin contact with used engine oil, with no effort to remove the oil, may be harmful. Always follows these simple precautions when handling used motor oil:

  1. Avoid prolonged skin contact with used motor oil.
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  3. Remove oil from skin by washing thoroughly with soap and water or waterless hand cleaner. Do not use gasoline, thinners or other solvents.
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  5. Avoid prolonged skin contact with oil-soaked clothing.
  6.  

OIL AND FILTER CHANGE



BMW cars are equipped with either of 2 styles of oil filter. One is the familiar spin-on cartridge type and the other is a housing enclosed full flow element. The types are easy to identify. If there is a cast aluminum housing with a bolt through the top center, towards the front of the engine, it is the full flow element type. The spin-on cartridge type is easy to recognize on the side of the engine block.

Use only a BMW approved filter or its commercial market equivalent. Use only a high grade filter as it is there to protect a high grade engine. Some low grade filters do not fit correctly and may cause the filter housing not to seal correctly. Always use new O-rings when changing the oil filter and replace the oil pan plug crush washer.

Gasoline Engine

See Figures 5,6,7,8 and 9

  1. Run the engine until it reaches normal operating temperature.
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  3. Jack up the from of the car and support it safely on jackstands.
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  5. Slide a drain pan of at least 6 quarts (3.8l) capacity under the oil pan.
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  7. Loosen the drain plug with a suitable wrench. Once loosened, finish turning the plug out by hand.
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By keeping an inward pressure on the plug as you unscrew it, oil won't escape past the threads and you can remove the plug without being burned by hot oil.

  1. Allow the oil to drain completely and then reinstall the drain plug, using a new sealing washer between the drain plug and oil pan. Do not overtighten the plug, or you may strip the threads on the oil pan.
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Fig. Fig. 5: Loosen and remove the oil pan drain plug



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Fig. Fig. 6: Allow the oil to drain into a suitable container



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Fig. Fig. 7: Using a filter removal tool, remove the oil filter. This is a spin-type filter



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Fig. Fig. 8: The 2002 oil filter, mounted to the driver's side of the engine

  1. Using a strap wrench or other suitable filter removal tool, remove the oil filter. Keep in mind that the oil filter holds about 1 quart oil, and some will spill out during removal.
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  3. Empty the old filter into the drain pan and dispose of the filter properly.
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  5. Using a clean rag, wipe off the filter adapter on the engine block. Be sure that the rag doesn't leave any lint which could clog an oil passage.
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  7. Coat the rubber gasket on the filter with fresh oil. Spin the filter onto the engine by hand; when the gasket touches the adapter surface, give it another 1 / 2 - 3 / 4 turn. No more, or you'll squash the gasket and it will leak.
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Fig. Fig. 9: Always coat the new spin-on type oil filter gasket with clean oil

  1. Refill the engine with the correct amount of fresh oil. See the Capacities chart at the end of this section.
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  3. Check the oil level on the dipstick. It is normal for the level to be a bit above the full mark. Start the engine and allow it to idle for a few minutes.
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CAUTION
Do not run the engine above idle speed until it has built up oil pressure, indicated when the oil light goes out.

  1. Shut off the engine, allow the oil to drain for a minute, and check the oil level. Check around the filter and drain plug for any leaks, and correct as necessary.
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Diesel Engine
  1. Place the drip pan beneath the oil filter.
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  3. Remove the drain plug from the filter housing.
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  5. Remove the 2 oil filter housing cover attaching nuts, then lift out the cover and filter cartridge.
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  7. Clean the cover in a safe solvent and dry it thoroughly.
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  9. Install a new gasket on the cover.
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  11. Install the cover and a new filter cartridge. Tighten the cover nut and drain plug to 15 ft. lbs. (19 Nm).
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