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      04-19-2013, 08:37 AM   #1
westphone
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Why is oil temperature and water temperature hidden from our cars?

Friends I have this question.

I do not understand why are oil temperature and water temperature not displayed in our F20 1 series cars. In the old days when I was driving a truck I was told to slow down several kilometer before the destination so either the turbo or the oil would cool (or both).

Some friends would always ask and worry if they should put a fan to cool their modified Impreza after a spirited driving session.

However, either the truck or the Impreza have oil and water temperature gauges, so the driver would know how they're doing. Not in our cars, I do not understand why. I believe they are just as relevant as ever.

My dealership told me to just drive it, race it, or get stuck in traffic anyway I like, and stop worrying so much. I learn nothing but a huge question mark in the face.

Sincerely thanks for replies in advance,

Charles
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      04-19-2013, 08:56 AM   #2
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First of all the oil temperature was displayed only in very few BMW's, i.e. only M cars and the 335i. For the water temperature it is a good question and I do not have a definite answer. From what I understand, manufacturers do not want to feed the drivers with many info. Also, newer drivers do not care much about this info.

Also, newer cars have much better cooling systems and also safety precautions and monitoring sensors, so it is almost impossible for a car to overheat (unless it has a problem). It is not like the old days. Today we do not even have to worry about the Turbo (although I do take care a bit), since it is cooled via a seperate electric water pump, even if the engine is not running.

Finally, you can always check the water and oil temps, via the hidden menu.
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      04-19-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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BMW could at least have put the info in an iDrive screen or something. Some of us regard the oil- and water temperatures as very relevant information when driving.
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      04-19-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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An interesting question and looking back at bmws over recent years, I can only draw the conclusion that we are missing this information as a form a cost cutting.

The reason I say the above is from looking at bmw instruments over the past few years in various models. Up until the previous one series, all bmws had their normal water temperature gauges. The 1 series had nothing, as did the E90 3 series. The 135i models had an oil temp gauge as did the 335i models. But in the 5 series, the rev counter had a scale on it that decreased as the engine got warmer. E.G. you start the car cold at the scale is at 4000rpm, indicating you shouldn't rev higher than this. As the car gets warmer the scale gradually decreases until it disappears completely. The 7 series had a similar system, and M cars do as well, although their information is based on oil temperature, while I believe the regular scale used water temperature.

The latest generation of cars from the 3 series upwards all include a oil temp gauge. No water temp. So what information is relevant and how should it be interpreted by the driver to take the best care of their car? Bmw doesn't use the sliding scale rev counter any more, except for on their M cars, strange as it is the most effective way of communicating how high you can rev the engine based on its current temp I think.

I found out recently with I tried my limit function that my speedo is actually surrounded by LED's, so that a green LED lights up at the speed I've chosen, I have the standard, not extended instruments.

So... while that is a very nice touch, I would much rather have info displayed on my rev counter about how many revs I can use based on my engine temp, something I would use every time I drove the car. Don't you agree?

Or should I just forget everything I know about mechanical sympathy and floor it from ice cold? We already don't have the chance to cool down our turbos after hard use because of the stop/start function, so BMW are making it very difficult to implement anything I've ever learnt in terms of looking after a turbocharged engine!
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      04-19-2013, 02:44 PM   #5
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Perhaps as technology advances the less important it becomes to worry about it. After all, automatic gearboxes have made it difficult to implement all you've ever learned about looking after your clutch.
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      04-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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I would rather have the oil temp displayed rather than the date! Why couldn't it be accessible via the dash screen? I like to let my car warm up before giving it a few more revs.
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      04-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #7
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I think the issue is that 90% of owners ignore these gauges or don't understand what they mean, and BMW simply gets a lot of calls from people in the latter situation.

two quick questions: at what water temperature would you become concerned about your car? At what oil temperature?
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      04-19-2013, 05:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diesel20 View Post
I found out recently with I tried my limit function that my speedo is actually surrounded by LED's, so that a green LED lights up at the speed I've chosen, I have the standard, not extended instruments.
not exactly, it's another needle with an LED on the end behind the central dial - the needle moves the LED
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      04-19-2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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It just so happened I saw a E30 325i, and a 525i for its time, and their dash look the same. I would think cars with similar engine size use the same dash would probably do the job and lower costs. Then again, they probably want to furnish a more upscale environment in higher models. (I don't mind sharing the dash with 640i )

Both dash show only water, no oil. I would start worry about water and oil (if it's there) if it moves off the center, since there are no numbers.

Funny thing is that, if you buy the (very expensive) supposedly M steering wheel or whatever they call it, the water and oil temperature are shown directly in front along with rev counter lights. They have also fit dry sump oil system in 135, so it seems they recognize the need for it. It almost feel like they know but just want money for it.

Or it may just be one of the mysteries we will never find out Thanks gents for all the answers.

Sincerely,

Charles
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      04-20-2013, 02:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovekvam View Post
BMW could at least have put the info in an iDrive screen or something.
That is exactly what I was thinking of! It pisses me off every time I have to access the hidden menu just to check those so important parameters. I wish there was a firmware upgrade for this. I guess it would be very easy for BMW to display those values on the iDrive screen.

When my father first saw the car, he loved it. A few minutes later he came with the question: "Where is the temperature gauge?". To tell you the truth, I was a little embarassed (I've done this question to myself many times...). I spent a bucket of money and the car had one reverse lamp and no temp gauge...

Why the 3-Series (even 316i with exactly the same engine as mine) have the water temperature gauge on the instrument cluster? Is it a matter of design or cost cutting or both? I cannot accept that those features are "decorative"!

No matter how technology and cooling systems evolve through the years, this info is important and a precaution for any potential failure (no matter how rare this may be). I 'd rather pull over and turn off the engine if I see the temp gauge rising than seeing the smoke coming out of the hood first and then trying to find a place to stop.

Last edited by Dim73; 04-20-2013 at 02:31 AM.
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      04-20-2013, 03:43 AM   #11
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Perhaps there's a warning that appears when the temperature get overly hot, like there are for dozens of other things on the iDrive. Has anyone ragged their 1er enough to cause smoke to billow out the hood yet?
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      04-20-2013, 03:51 AM   #12
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For everyday driving, it is more relevant that the engine is too cold. For track days, it is more interesting to see how warm it gets.
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      04-20-2013, 04:21 AM   #13
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I get that it's valuable information, I'm just not entirely convinced it's such a massive loss. For everyday driving, as you say, it's important not to stress the engine when cold but 95% of drivers won't be stressing the engine even when it's up to temperature. The remaining 5% should know enough about mechanics to ease the engine in for the first 15 minutes- or so you would hope. As westphone said, he'd be concerned if the needle moved off centre, a warning light can easily replace that information. I don't know if there is one but I wouldn't be surprised.
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      04-20-2013, 04:36 AM   #14
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I agree it is possible to drive the car without the gauge, but it would have been a lot better to have it, and the extra cost for BMW to provide it in an iDrive screen would be close to zero. It would definitely be an added value to me as a customer.

I think BMW is slowly leaving its core values behind by small things like omitting temperature dials, limited slip differential, non run flat tires, naturally aspirated engines and so on. If they also choose to sacrifice rear wheel drive for the hatchbacks, the cars do no longer stand out from the crowd as something special for those of us who really like to drive.
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      04-20-2013, 04:58 AM   #15
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If enough people demand it it should be easy enough for them to include it on the iDrive in a software update, perhaps a petition should be started.

I agree it's a shame that BMW have had to compromise over things like LSD's but I can also understand that they have no choice if they want to stay competitive. They don't have the same luxury that Audi has in using the same VAG platforms for several different cars and that's always been the appeal for me - when you buy a BMW it's a bit more special, no one can tell you that your 1 Series is a Golf/Fabia/Ibiza/Passat etc. unfortunately 95% of car buyers don't appreciate this. With restrictions on emissions, pedestrian safety etc, they have to adapt if they want to survive in an ever tougher market. As long as they still cater for the enthusiasts at one end of the scale I can accept a more mass market approach at the other, we just need to keep being the vocal minority and not let them forget.
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      04-20-2013, 05:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elstoof View Post
If enough people demand it it should be easy enough for them to include it on the iDrive in a software update, perhaps a petition should be started.

I agree it's a shame that BMW have had to compromise over things like LSD's but I can also understand that they have no choice if they want to stay competitive. They don't have the same luxury that Audi has in using the same VAG platforms for several different cars and that's always been the appeal for me - when you buy a BMW it's a bit more special, no one can tell you that your 1 Series is a Golf/Fabia/Ibiza/Passat etc. unfortunately 95% of car buyers don't appreciate this. With restrictions on emissions, pedestrian safety etc, they have to adapt if they want to survive in an ever tougher market. As long as they still cater for the enthusiasts at one end of the scale I can accept a more mass market approach at the other, we just need to keep being the vocal minority and not let them forget.
But by adding an LSD as an option, it would seem to me that they would be even more competetive. It would be an extra source of income. Now the enthusiasts are buying aftermarket parts to make the car into what it should have been from the factory.

Or maybe they will simply buy a Toyota GT86 instead. It has a temperature dial, LSD, RWD and naturally aspirated engine as standard equipment. I know quite a few people who are considering this car (or has already bought it) instead of the BMW

Please, BMW, go back to the core values, and don't make a KIA/Hyundai copy from Bavaria. I would prefer a BMW GT86 instead of a Toyota GT86, but if it can not be provided, I will eventually buy the Toyota.

(The upcoming BMW Z2 is rumoured to have FWD!)
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      04-20-2013, 07:41 AM   #17
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Like ovekvam said, BMW is moving away from its core values.

If two more seats are somehow added to the GT86, it looks awfully similar to the E30 M3. If they manage to squeeze that 3.5L Camry engine in the 86, BMW will have to be very careful, but, one can always fancy.

It seems that BMW has gone from an engineering-driven company to something following the decisions of bean counters. The appearance of FWD is because a good portion of the cars are used by corporate cars, and most simply can't tell the difference in daily traffic jam.

I find it deeply disappointing not to have a factory backed LSD even as an option. I have begun playing with the temperature gauge and start keeping a little journal for my own interest. I doubt anyone will pay attention to real drivers as they are (all 'em big German car makers) busy trying to fill up Every Single Segment of the market from 1 Series to 7 series with coupes but with four doors ("gran coupe") and sedans with trunks from vans (GTs).
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      04-21-2013, 12:57 AM   #18
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Well, there are no gauges on F1 cars, or many other professional class racing cars these days. The "engineering" is all in the various computers,sensors and control system (plus telemetry, in the case of race cars). I certainly like the idea of gauges, but I'm not sure they convey clear information that many drivers can readily interpret, and respond to, ie, how hot is too hot and at what point is the oil temp being measured. And what about oil pressure!?. So instead, we get a range of warning lights, plus 'limp modes' etc. Welcome to the 21st century
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      04-21-2013, 02:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttimbo View Post
Well, there are no gauges on F1 cars, or many other professional class racing cars these days. The "engineering" is all in the various computers,sensors and control system (plus telemetry, in the case of race cars). I certainly like the idea of gauges, but I'm not sure they convey clear information that many drivers can readily interpret, and respond to, ie, how hot is too hot and at what point is the oil temp being measured. And what about oil pressure!?. So instead, we get a range of warning lights, plus 'limp modes' etc. Welcome to the 21st century
There are tons of dials and graphs available for the formula one cars, but they are in the depot, on a screen in front of the race engineers. Some of the BMW customers are also engineers, and should have the ability to understand the dials.

Saab used to have an interesting concept, called black panel. When you enabled this, pretty much all instruments (except speedometer) went black. If the dial was about to show interesting values (outside normal range), it would light up and get the attention from the driver.
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      04-21-2013, 05:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ovekvam View Post
There are tons of dials and graphs available for the formula one cars, but they are in the depot, on a screen in front of the race engineers. Some of the BMW customers are also engineers, and should have the ability to understand the dials.

Saab used to have an interesting concept, called black panel. When you enabled this, pretty much all instruments (except speedometer) went black. If the dial was about to show interesting values (outside normal range), it would light up and get the attention from the driver.
I think we're saying the same thing, angel I guess the solution for those who understand vehicle metrics is to use one of those OBD dongles, and a smartphone. I haven't checked what gets reported via the BMW OBD, can anyone advise? I'll try my ScanGauge later today.
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      04-21-2013, 05:50 PM   #21
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So how do you access the hidden menu in order to ascertain temperature?
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      04-21-2013, 08:13 PM   #22
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It's in the "DIY Guides and Instructions" section.
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