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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 02-28-2012, 12:39 PM   #1
Earendil
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8 months post VANOS repair, getting code

So here is the bulleted short history to catch people up.
  • 12 months ago I started getting cold engine surging and knocking sounds.
  • 8 months ago, after waiting for warm weather, I replaced the VANOS seals with the 3rd party Beisan Systems seals using their awesome DIY. Car ran perfect after this.
  • 3 months ago the CEL light lit up after the car felt a little weak. I took it to the local auto store and using a generic OBD-II reader they read the code "Random/Infrequent misfire". They never reset the code. I made a mental note to do spring maintenance sooner rather than later.
  • Last week I had reason to attempt to pull additional codes from the car, so went ahead and purchased the Peake Tool for getting at the BMW ECU specific codes. Last night I pulled the code "6A VANOS, Exhaust Mechanical Stuck". Since the codes were never reset, this would be the original code.

And now we are to this post. All the searches I've done here and on Google return almost nothing on this error. What little is returned, is information pointing to possible VANOS seal failure. I'm not experiencing any of the same symptoms I did before, besides a slight loss of power, and the VANOS seals are new. Of course, it could be possible that my repair was inadequate, but it lasted for a number of months, not a few days.

So the question I would pose to the more knowledgeable is this, What exactly does it mean to have the exhaust mechanical become stuck? Is this anything like having a stuck valve? While the VANOS certainly effects the valve timing, I would think the error would be worded differently if it were a tuck valve.

I'm quite new to these VANOS systems. I'm used to working on an E30 where you can usually fix it by hitting the dash a few times

Thoughts?
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Old 02-28-2012, 01:34 PM   #2
fastjasonbmw
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Stuck, meaning the DME is attempting to advance or retard the camshaft and the cam isn't moving. Could be as simple as a bad solenoid. I would clear the codes and see if they come back 1st, if the code comes back, swap the intake and exhaust vanos solenoids and see if the fault moves to the intake side. If the code stays on the exhaust side, I would check the seals and all the mechanical bits of the vanos.
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Old 02-28-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by fastjasonbmw View Post
Stuck, meaning the DME is attempting to advance or retard the camshaft and the cam isn't moving. Could be as simple as a bad solenoid. I would clear the codes and see if they come back 1st, if the code comes back, swap the intake and exhaust vanos solenoids and see if the fault moves to the intake side. If the code stays on the exhaust side, I would check the seals and all the mechanical bits of the vanos.
Awesome! Thanks for the trouble shooting tip. I would not have thought to check and see if the solenoids were interchangeable, but this should help narrow things down a bit without dismantling the entire front end again.
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Old 02-28-2012, 05:50 PM   #4
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Search the (very long) Beisan VANOS seals thread. Rajaie says somewhere in there that sometimes the exhaust solenoid piston gets stuck and you can remove it and clean it to fix the situation. IIRC, you need a 32mm box wrench to remove the intake solenoid and a 32mm deep socket to remove the exhaust solenoid, though not all deep sockets work. I guess you could use some vise grips instead. Basically what fastjasonbmw said.
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Old 02-29-2012, 10:40 PM   #5
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Update?
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:46 AM   #6
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I had to buy every deep 32mm socket in town before I found one that worked. You could just remove the VANOS from the head though. I was trying to remove the solenoids from the VANOS while it was still on the head.

If you remove the solenoids, you'll see that there are springs in there. Maybe one of them has snapped or it's just too gunked up.
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Old 03-01-2012, 02:32 PM   #7
Earendil
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Update?
Update: It's been snowing, and I don't have a garage or any sort of covered area

I cleared the codes the night that I read them, and have not had the CEL come on since. I'm aware that some codes can occur and be stored without setting off the CEL. I'm not sure if this is one of them, or under what conditions it would light up the CEL, so I intend of checking the codes again to make sure they're blank. The car still runs a little rough though, so the symptoms are still there. Could just be in need of some spring maintenance though.

If I pick up the code again I'll swap the solenoids. I think I have a 32mm deep socket for axle nuts. Hopefully that works if it comes to that.
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Old 03-08-2012, 09:57 AM   #8
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I bought 3 different sockets, including the one that was supposed to work. No luck.

I'm going to just remove the whole thing and clean it out. I wish I would have known to do it while it was off when I did the seals years ago... or when I did my cams.

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I had to buy every deep 32mm socket in town before I found one that worked. You could just remove the VANOS from the head though. I was trying to remove the solenoids from the VANOS while it was still on the head.

If you remove the solenoids, you'll see that there are springs in there. Maybe one of them has snapped or it's just too gunked up.
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Old 03-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #9
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Well, 2 weeks later and still no new codes. I'm assuming that a faulty VANOS solenoid would have appeared again by now.
So I guess I do a little spring maintance as soon as the weather picks up and see if that takes the rough running away. I sometimes forget that I am very much in tune to my own cars. Other people would probably think the car runs great. I can feel engine vibration in my toes and know exactly how the power curve should feel.

Now this thread reads more like an advertisement for Peake instead of a good trouble shooting guide
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:19 PM   #10
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Yep. That's what makes us fanatics. We KNOW how the car is supposed to feel.

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Well, 2 weeks later and still no new codes. I'm assuming that a faulty VANOS solenoid would have appeared again by now.
So I guess I do a little spring maintance as soon as the weather picks up and see if that takes the rough running away. I sometimes forget that I am very much in tune to my own cars. Other people would probably think the car runs great. I can feel engine vibration in my toes and know exactly how the power curve should feel.

Now this thread reads more like an advertisement for Peake instead of a good trouble shooting guide
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