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Thread: Low oil pressure on idle [E46 320i, M54]

  1. #1
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    Low oil pressure on idle [E46 320i, M54]

    The oil light starts to flicker (red) once the car has been driven for a short while (~10min).
    Light immediately goes out when idle speed increases.

    The car:
    BMW E46, 320i (M54),
    year: 2003
    Miles: ~15.0000 (~240.000km)
    Oil: 0w30 Castrol Edge

    I took the Oil Pressure Sensor out and attached an *oil pressure gauge and here is the output:
    Notice:
    These are the values when the oil has reached 212F (100C).
    The oil level is at max.

    Results:

    RPM PSI / Bar
    700 6 psi / 0.4 bar
    800 9 psi / 0.6 bar
    1000 12 psi / 0.8 bar
    2000 26 psi / 1.8 bar
    3000 45 psi / 3.1 bar
    4000 51 psi / 3.5 bar


    The following has been done so far and the issue still persist:
    * Used Castrol Engine Schampoo
    * changed to new oil 0w30 Castrol Edge
    * changed to new oil filter (Bosch)
    * new oil filter house gasket
    * Inspected the two O-rings and they look "fine" : part nr: #5 https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/sho...diagId=11_2201 (maybe I should changed them since they have never been replaced since year 2003 ? )



    The sound of the engine when it's cold:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68QU78NXjQs



    Any more ideas?
    I'm think of trying with another mechanical oil pressure gauge, since I don't trust so much in cheap Amazon stuff. (I bought mine from Amazon).
    Last edited by Slajfoo; 09-14-2022 at 03:34 PM.

  2. #2
    dworthy's Avatar
    dworthy is offline Wagon meister :) BMW Tech Expert
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    As it's been years, then I would start there for I have noticed for about 5 years now they do not include them anymore in most oil filters, the large one yes, but not the small ones. If they get hard it will lose oil pressure and this very well can be your issue.
    Last edited by dworthy; 09-14-2022 at 03:37 PM.
    Darin
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  3. #3
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    If the new tiny o-ring doesn't fix it, you'll need a new oil pump. I had the same issue on my 325i. It's probably a worn pressure spring in the pump, but once you've gone to the trouble of pulling the pump out you may as well just replace it. Liqui-Moly has a nice oil stabilizer product, Visco Plus, that you can use as a crutch until you can get the pump replaced, if it turns out that the pump is the problem.
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  4. #4
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    I always ran a 0W40 oil in my M54. 0W30 is too thin IMHO.

  5. #5
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    Sorry, I am not trying to highjack the thread but what is the typical time while the red oil indicator remains red on the dash after a cold start? On our N52 the battery light goes out immediately after start but the oil indicator stays on for another second and I'm not sure if it is normal or not. Otherwise engine runs like a clockwork.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewB2Beemer View Post
    Sorry, I am not trying to highjack the thread but what is the typical time while the red oil indicator remains red on the dash after a cold start? On our N52 the battery light goes out immediately after start but the oil indicator stays on for another second and I'm not sure if it is normal or not. Otherwise engine runs like a clockwork.
    Interesting question. Mine goes off immediately. What weight oil are you using? IMHO, 0Wanything is too thin unless you live in Alaska. I use Liqui-Moly High Tech 5W40 here in SoCal. Colder climates maybe 5W30.
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  7. #7
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    Mobil-1 0w40 at the moment.

  8. #8
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    Did a bit of a reading and it is possible that the o-rings in my oil filter housing are not sealing properly and let the oil drain back which typically causes what I just described. I'll order a set and replace.

    Oil filter housing should be full of oil and NOT drain until the cap is loosened. The check valve and small o-rings at the end mentioned earlier prevent it. The engine will run unnecessarily long without oil pressure every time you start it.

  9. #9
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    Short update:

    I have changed to 5w40 oil (Mannol Extreme) and oil filter and I have measured the oil pressure once again.
    Here is the result:


    IMG-31300cbdad6a96f6ae64a7fad43138a0-V (1).jpg


    The question is now:
    Is this OK ?
    Should I drive the car as usual ?
    Last edited by Slajfoo; 09-26-2022 at 01:45 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slajfoo View Post
    Short update:

    I have changed to 5w40 oil (Mannol Extreme) and oil filter and I have measured the oil pressure once again.
    Here is the result:


    IMG-31300cbdad6a96f6ae64a7fad43138a0-V (1).jpg


    The question is now:
    Is this OK ?
    Should I drive the car as usual ?
    No, that is too low. It's not far off, but it's too low. You need to have a look at the oil pump.
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  11. #11
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    Hold off on the oil pump, I saw that you mentioned the two o-rings are new, but are they seated properly? If they rolled up upon insertion of the filter, that could be the issue. I too bad the same issue not too long ago on my 2003 525. It happened only in the summer, but went away as soon as fall kicked in. And it only kicked on when the engine was hot, on the return leg home, but then fall started, and once the temps cooled down, I didn’t h anymore, this was two days after the oil light came on. So all was fine, until the middle of this summer, then it started up again. I use 0W-40 Mobil1, been using it forever. But this particular wagon has 384,000 miles, so I was worried that thes pump was going bad. But it is not, pressure is fine. So, I went ahead and ordered new o-rings for the filter basket, a new oil pressure sensor, and a new oil level sensor for the oil pan. Well, one of those items fixed the problem. If it wasn’t that, it could also be Vanos if your o-rings are wasted.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BimmrMeUpSnotty View Post
    Hold off on the oil pump, I saw that you mentioned the two o-rings are new, but are they seated properly? If they rolled up upon insertion of the filter, that could be the issue. I too bad the same issue not too long ago on my 2003 525. It happened only in the summer, but went away as soon as fall kicked in. And it only kicked on when the engine was hot, on the return leg home, but then fall started, and once the temps cooled down, I didnt h anymore, this was two days after the oil light came on. So all was fine, until the middle of this summer, then it started up again. I use 0W-40 Mobil1, been using it forever. But this particular wagon has 384,000 miles, so I was worried that thes pump was going bad. But it is not, pressure is fine. So, I went ahead and ordered new o-rings for the filter basket, a new oil pressure sensor, and a new oil level sensor for the oil pan. Well, one of those items fixed the problem. If it wasnt that, it could also be Vanos if your o-rings are wasted.
    The two o-rings on the filter basket is set properly but they are NOT new. These o-rings has not been replaced since year 2003.

    Have you ever measured the oil pressure?
    My car does not flicker anymore but the oil pressure is still at 0.5bar (7psi).

    Could you please be kind and be more specific regarding the Vanos o-rings? It would be great if you could provide a picture from the realoem.com homepage.

  13. #13
    dworthy's Avatar
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    Lad, if you never replace the 2 small O-Rings on the filter basket, it will never seal properly and not build proper pressure, end of story.
    Darin
    Current:
    16 220i Active Tourer Platinsilver MET (C08)/Dakota Black (PDSW), P7ACA, P7LDA, P7LHA, P9BDA, 6sp Manual - Wife's new toy!
    05 325it Electric Red(438)/Gray(N6TT) ZCW, ZSP 5sp Manual Back set cover, trunk mat, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield, and mud flaps! Mr. Wagon My new Winter car.
    05 M3 Imolarot II(405)/Gray(N5TT) ZCW, ZPP 6sp Manual C.F. Lip, CSL diffuser, SSK, Euro Infra-Rot front windshield and a trunk liner! Mr. Go_Fast Stored for the Winter
    Past:
    95 318is Montreal Blue Met (297)/Beige(K1SN) RIP, killed by an Idiot.
    84 M535i gray market Burgandy Rot Met/Black Leather Lowered by Intrax on bilies, poly everywhere, B&B cat back system, K&N, and a hitch! Da Beast - Still running w/400k+!
    91 316i euro Tizianrot/Gray cloth - E-36 w/M-40 RIP, but great on gas! Best was 38 MPG
    82 528i euro Saphire Blue Met/Blue Leather RIP
    79 525 euro Green/Green RIP
    79 318 Silver/Black - The first one that got it all started
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