Formerly know as phatbimma
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Monaco - Marbella
My Ride: 03.5 ///M3 Coupe
e46 M3 Vanos problems (solution)!!!
Sorry for the long write up but I think its worth it for those experiencing Vanos troubles as it could save them a lot of money.
Out of nowhere my car started experiencing on and off idle & poor power issues accompanied by a CEL (Check Engine Light) and the only way to get rid of the symptoms and CEL was to clear the codes, the car would not go back to running normally by itself.
The codes we're cleared 3 times and the car would run fine (absolutely normal) for 500 kms or more, and then the problem would come back.
The code that kept popping up was a P0012 code on a general diagnostic machine, which made us think intake camshaft position sensor, which I replaced (I broke the bolt when tightening it, long story short, DO NOT BREAK THAT BOLT, as its not fun to drill out), after the swap the car ran fine for a little longer than the previous times when the codes were cleared, so I thought my problem was fixed.
Unfortunately I was wrong, the light came back on, it ran fine for a couple of days with the light on but then went into limp mode again, bad (very rough) idle (shaking), and low power, so I took it to BMW for a full diagnostic to see if they could put it right, my codes where as follows:
B8 = Intake camshaft position and control
CD = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #1
CE = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #2
CF = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #3
D0 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #4
D1 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #5
D2 = Misfire During Warm-Up Cyl #6
D5 = Misfire During Warm-up Multiple Cyl
48 = Intake camshaft VANOS retard valve 1
95 = Misfire with empty fuel tank
They then told me the Vanos was shot, and hit me with a 2700 Euros repair estimate.
So I went looking through the forums to see what other people did with similar codes, as I knew some people only swapped out the solenoid, in some of the result I saw people saying that Rajaie from Beisan Systems had given them advice on trying the solenoid and it worked, so I decided to contact him.
After talking to Rajaie about the codes he underlined some of the symptoms and asked which of them I was or wasnt experiencing, he said he was pretty sure it would be the solenoid which I was willing to order from BMW and give a go anyway as it would be a much cheaper fix than the full Vanos unit.
He then proposed his upcoming solution (a repaired solenoid unit) instead of buying a new complete unit from BMW, and asked if I wanted to be part of the test cars, he had 4 test cars with postive outcome so my car would be number 5.
Not long later I recieved the part, and I went straight into my garage for install.
The install was very easy, it took maybe around 30 mins in total (and that was taking it easy to double check Im not doing anything wrong), Rajaie's instructions made it a piece of cake, and anyone with the proper tools should be able to do this even if you have very little mechanical experience.
The car instantly felt better, the CEL light was still on and didnt go off after a couple of days of driving, so we then erased the remaining fault codes, and boy the car came alive.
Eventhough the car ran a lot better with just the part swapped it came out of limp mode completely and it was a whole different animal, it was as if I just installed an SC thats how much of a difference it made.
Ever since that day its been absolutely fine, not missed one beat, idles perfectly and runs strong.
Its been over 2000 kms now and the problem has not come back, so I think we can say the car is fixed as the problem would return in about 3 days before when just clearing the CEL and codes.
The solenoid unit that is currently installed in my car came from another test car where it had completely failed, but Rajaie and his team fixed it and my car is running great again without a 2700 Euros repair bill.
This solution is a lot and I mean a lot cheaper than getting a new solenoid from BMW, which will fail again over time as the solder joints are no good and the parts inside can vibrate and move, Beisan Systems fixes and rebuilds the part so that it no longer has the issues they came across when researching this problem.
More information can be found here:
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