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Old 01-25-2012, 07:04 AM   #27
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Charlotte NC
Posts: 2,747
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330ci
2nd checking the SAP vacuum lines, and everything else jfoj said. There is a Plastic tube (part #3 in the drawing below) that has a connector on both ends that can split open, and the tube itself will become brittle and crack. It runs along the valve cover, above the exhaust manifolds. It is usually clipped in with the o2 sensor lines. It will not show up in a smoke test, unless you start with a dead cold engine, because it only opens up when it needs to open the valve for the SAP. I would replace all of it, parts #3 and #4 in the drawing below.
I seriously doubt it is the lifter, but I could be completely wrong. It just seems to be a long shot. I would also take a second look at the electrical connections for the coil and fuel injector on cylinder #5. It could be that they are not making connection when they are cold. Use some electrical parts cleaner on the connectors, and make sure they are engaging correctly. Look for bent pins, etc. You may even want to try one of the electrical connector repair kits on the injector connector. That seems to be a more likely problem. You have done good work so far, switching out the coils and injectors. That was a smart place to start. The DISA seal can be a source of leaks, that may not show up in smoke tests, so that is another reasonable place to look. My point is, I would double check all of these things, before trying a more extreme solution like changing a lifter. Most of these things will only cost you time, so you don't have much to lose by trying them, before spending money on a lifter change. I would also be a little uncomfortable changing just one lifter on a high milage car, but that may just be my own pickiness. As far as the Vanos being the problem, you can change the seals, but you may still develop a rattle, which means an anti-rattle kit. All of this will cost $120 from Bessian. But for another $130, you can get a complete Vanos from Dr Vanos. It not only replaces the seals with a much better set, they also replace thrust bearings and other items. In fact, they tighten all of the tolerances in the Vanos unit, it is a complete rebuild, and in fact, it is better than the original factory unit (not just my opinion, Google it). For the price difference, it is a far superior solution for fixing Vanos issues, if you decide that the Vanos is the issue. It is a good idea to change this out anyway, on a high milage car. But, that may be something to address another time. I would stay away from a $12 eBay set of seals for this, just my opinion, FWIW. But I would work through the items I mentioned, as well as what jfoj said, before any lifter change. If you think about it, why would the lifter only act up on initial start, and suddenly work when you shut off and restart? It should still act up until the engine completely warmed up. It sounds like your mechanic is just guessing, and making an expensive guess at that. Try some of these free checks before spending that money.
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