Cars / e12 / Engine / Oil Filter Canister Replacement (I6)

Oil Filter Canister Replacement (I6)

Article by:Johan

Article applies to all models with the M30 straight six cylinder engine.

Problem: On every cold start it takes 5 to 10 seconds for the oil pressure warning light to go out. Now you may not think much of it but that’s scary!

It means your engine is running without proper lubrication for that time.

Background: The lack of oil pressure the first couple of seconds is caused by a faulty valve in the oil filter canister.

When this valve doesn’t fully close the oil will slowly run out of the canister. When you start the car the oil pump first has to fill the canister before the there is enough pressure to run oil to the rest of the engine.

Now comes the expensive part: you will have to buy a new oil filter canister as the valve isn’t sold separately.

I wasn’t planning on spending cash on a new canister so I reused the one from my former engine.

But as that engine had an oil cooler I had to reinstall the cooler as well. Engine oil coolers are fitted standard to euro 730i/735i models until 11/87. After that the oil cooler wasn’t standard anymore.

Let’s get to work:

First undo the dipstick mounting to the oil filter canister:


Next remove the lid from the oil canister.

Then remove the oil filter and push the valve down with a screwdriver to drain some more oil out if there still IS any that can be drained.

Sorry about the unfocused picture:


Now remove the four screws that hold the canister to the engine. As it was impossible to photograph bolt number four I only marked three bolts:


To remove the canister I used a small ratchet with swivel joints and extensions. Not the easiest to undo but I guess it’s still easier then on the v12 engine.


After you have undone the four bolts remove the canister. It might be an idea to put some rags under the canister to catch the oil dripping out of the engine.


Well it’s all gone now! And lucky me the gasket stuck to the old canister so no gasket scraping for me!

This is where I tell you to check the brushes on your alternator! You will never be able to reach them this easy without removing the whole thing.

Here is a picture of the replacement I wanted to install. You can clearly see the connection for an oil cooler:


The one that come with the engine had two blind plugs installed at the oil cooler connection. I forgot to check if these can easily be removed for an oil cooler retrofit.


I couldn’t resist taking a focused picture of the inside of my “new” canister 🙂


As I knew the oil cooler lines would be in the way after their installation I first installed the “new” filter housing.

Of course with a brand new gasket which was surprisingly cheap from the dealer:


I decided to install the cooler with the lines still attached. . . BIG MISTAKE. You can’t maneuver the lines properly. I did manage but next time I’ll remove them.


To install the oil cooler remove the protection plate from under the car. Then remove the radiator clips at the top.

Have a friend pull the radiator up slightly while sliding the oil cooler under the radiator.

This is not as easy as it sounds so you may want to consider removing the rad and installing the oil cooler on your workbench.

Now the cooler is in place:


Now push the hoses into the canister and tighten the bracket that hold the hoses in. Don’t forget the fresh O-rings! Next refit the bracket holding the oil dipstick.

To prevent the hoses from hitting the fan you have to install the hose guide mounting bracket on the oil filter housing:


Now fix the mounting bracket from the hoses to the bracket of the canister and you’re all done!


Total amount of time: 2~3 hours, depending on your skills.

Money spent:

BMW Part NumberDescriptionQTYPrice
11421713345Oil filter housing with oil cooler connection*1$200.00
11421720690Oil filter housing without oil cooler connection~1$190.00
17222245358O-ring 13.4x1.78*2$1.00

Parts marked with a * are for models with an oil cooler and parts marked with ~ are for models without an oil cooler.

Now if you are thinking of retrofitting an oil cooler. It’ll cost over 290 euro just for a new cooler and the two pressure lines.

Total cost for models with an oil cooler: EUR 151.9
Total cost for models without an oil cooler: EUR 148.1

So people without an oil cooler are significantly cheaper off!

Of course you will also need some oil to compensate for the oil you spilled on your garage floor.

Skills needed/difficulty level: Not that complicated. The only problem is getting to the mounting bolts.

Satisfactory level after the job done: Excellent! I now have oil pressure within a second after a cold start.

I guess my bicycle can go back into the shed as I can now use my car for short drives without crying every time I start it.

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