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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 10-23-2012, 07:43 PM   #1
jared_wiesner
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 706
My Ride: 1999 328i
DIY: M54/M52tu Camshaft Removal, Installation, and Timing

Given how much went into this DIY, I figure I can get away with a quick shameless plug for my band. If you like heavy rock music in the vein of Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, we'd love to get your likes on Facebook. Link is here - The Marked

First of all, I want to thank German Auto Solutions for the great set of timing tools they offer that made this DIY possible and affordable for me. The tools are only $100.00 for the personal grade kit and $220 for the professional grade kit and can be purchased at http://www.germanautosolutions.com

My review of these kits is posted here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=952117

This DIY was made using the DIY's for Cam removal, installation, and timing already on the GAS website. Many of the pictures and wording used in this DIY are directly from their website and were taken and used at the permission of Gary from German Auto solutions. If you have any questions or doubts throughout this procedure you should consult their website. It is the ultimate reference and this DIY is just a streamlined version of the whole procedure as performed with the engine installed in a car. (The DIY's on their website were done with the engine on a stand.) I did not have to diverge from any of their instruction so it is really no different whether the engine is in the car or not, this DIY is just trimmed down a bit and all compiled into one big procedure where their instructions are split into Removal, Install, and Timing sections. You will see pictures throughout this DIY from their website because I felt they did a perfect job of illustrating the step already and it was not necessary for me to duplicate them.

Finally a disclaimer:

**** Perform this procedure at your own risk. It is only recommended for experienced wrench turners and you will have to take your time and be very careful to follow instructions exactly. You could severely damage your engine by screwing up while doing this job and I will not be held responsible. I am not an agent or in any way affiliated with German Auto Solutions, they are not at all responsible for any damages as a result of you following this DIY. Once again, the most detailed instructions can be found in the DIY section on their website. Use it if you have any doubts. ****

If you notice anything that should be changed or edited in any way, don't hesitate to contact me. The job will likely take 6+ hours depending on how fast you move.

Required parts to be changed during replacement.

VANOS Unit Gasket - OEM Part # 11361433817
VANOS Piston Oil Plug with O-ring - 2 required - OEM Part # 11361433513
VANOS Oil Feed Fitting Sealing Washer - 2 required - OEM Part # 32411093596
Pri Chain Tensioner Sealing Washer - OEM Part # 07119963418

Here is the car sitting ready to go in for major surgery.



1. I'm not going to go through the basic steps needed to get the engine prepped to work on the cams. If you don't already know how to perform the following steps, you have no business tackling Camshaft removal and replacements. You will need to get under the car during the proceedure. Make sure if you are using ramps you drive the car on before you imobilize it. Remove the engine under-cover/shield, cabin filter housing, engine covers, electric fan, and engine drivebelts (It's as good a time as any to spin your pullies and tensioner pullies to make sure you have no excessive play or noises). When you are done the engine should look like this.



2. Next, you need to remove the valve cover. Start by removing your ignition coils. (Again, you should already know how to do this from changing spark plugs...etc.)




3. Remove all ground straps including the brown wire in the centre.



4. Next remove all bolts holding down the valve cover.

5. Disconnect the CCV hose.




7. Lift off the Valve cover pulling wires away. You don't need to remove the main power wire for the ignition coils. Just place the valve cover off the driver side of the engine bay.




8. Cover over intake cam just unclips. Pull it straight up and off.





9. Set your crankshaft to top dead center by aligning the mark on the harmonic balancer to the mark on the block. Make sure car is in neutral Takes a 22mm socket to turn it. You can see the mark on the crank by looking down just a hair left of the waterpump pulley. The mark on the harmonic balancer is the line you see in between a 0 and 1, (looks like 0|1).



10. Verify top dead center by checking for holes in the back blocks on the rear end of the camshafts. When the engine is at top dead center, these holes should be facing upwards. Apparently there are two possible locations for the crank to be at top dead center that are 360 degrees apart. Ensuring these holes on the cam are facing upwards and the mark on the balancer is at the top dead center mark on the block, tells you that you are in the right place.



11. Next, install the top dead center lock pin. The hole for this is located on the engine block down near the driver side rear of the engine where it mates to the transmission. This pin locks the flywheel so that the engine cannot move from top dead center. "This is what the end of the pin needs to slide into. Verify the pin is fully engaged into the hole by trying to rotate the crankshaft with the pin installed. If you can still rotate the crank, rock the crankshaft back and forth slowly near TDC while pushing on the pin until it drops into place and locks the crank. This will be a two person job."





12. Remove the exhaust cam position and vanos solenoid electrical connectors.



13. Remove the intake vanos solenoid electrical connector and vanos oil supply fitting.



14. Remove vanos position access plugs with an 8mm hex driver.



15. After removing access plugs, remove both plastic oil plugs behind them. Grab with pliers and pull straight out.



16. Using a T30 Torx driver, remove the intake and exhaust piston screws. These screws are what hold the Vanos pistons to the helix cups. ***THESE ARE LEFT HAND THREADED***



17. Remove the VANOS unit from the cylinder head. Remove the hardware securing the VANOS unit shown in the picture.
10, 11 and 13mm sockets will be required here.



18. Remove vanos unit from cylinder head. If it does not come loose after pulling you may need to give it some love taps with a rubber mallet to break it free. Clean all mating surfaces of atv sealant/stuck gasket material.




19. Loosen the six nuts shown in the picture. Do not remove them yet.



20. Use an E8 Torx socket to crack loose the 3 Torx head bolts pictured. Do not remove them yet.



21. Insert lock pin from kit into hole as shown. Push down on chain lower tensioner shoe enough to slide pin over it to lock it down. There is no need for pin to go further than edge of shoe to hold it down. It does not need to go under chain.





22. Remove the primary timing chain tensioner with a 32mm (1-1/4") socket or wrench.



23. Slide intake block from kit (marked with "IN") over square at rear end of cam. Ensure block sits over end of cam and sits flush agains the back of cylinder head. Rotate cam slightly if needed to square things up.



24. Repeat process with exhaust block (marked "EX") on exhaust cam.



25. Get the socket head cap screw from the kit and lightly snug it into the hole joining the two blocks together.



26. Take the lock block clamp from the kit and install it using one of the valve cover barrel nuts that your removed to lift the valve cover.




27. Remove the three nuts you already loosened on the intake sprocket spring washer.



28. Remove the spring washer



29. Remove the three already loosened hex nuts holding the exhaust cam position sensor plate.



30. Remove the exhaust cam sensor plate.



31. Remove the exhaust sprocket spring washer



32. Remove the exhaust sprocket thrust washer. You might need to rock it to get free from its tight fit over the studs (or pull it off very straight) It's definitely not critical, but you may want to mark the side that faces outward for proper reassembly. The part is symmetrical and will work properly with either side facing out. Marking it just keeps previous wear surfaces mated to their original parts.



33. Remove the three already loosened E8 Torx head bolts holding the exhaust cam sprocket in place, but do not remove the sprocket yet.



34. While holding the intake cam sprocket from sliding off the cam, remove the intake cam helix cup by pulling outward on it.
(The intake and exhaust helix cups are identical, but should be reinstalled back on the cam that they were removed from.)




35. Support the exhaust cam sprocket as you remove the exhaust cam helix cup in the same way as you did the intake.
(Once the cup is removed the exhaust sprocket will try to fall forward. You want to remove the both sprockets and secondary timing chain together as an assembly, so preview the next step to see how the chain/sprocket assembly will be removed. Remove the cup, then the chain/sprocket assembly.)



36. Remove the chain sprocket assembly be grabbing both sprockets out the outside edges and pulling straight towards yourself.



37. Depending on how you grasped the exhaust sprocket in the previous step, you may have already removed this part. If not, remove the exhaust sprocket helix flange.



38. Using a 10mm socket, remove the three top and one side bolt securing the secondary timing chain tensioner.



Note from German Auto Solutions website regarding the next step, cam removal:

Important! Read this before using these instructions!

The camshafts in the BMW M54 & M52-tu engines are lightweight hollow castings that can brake in half during removal or re-installation if the proper procedure is not followed. This DIY procedure is a safe way to remove and re-install your camshafts without the need for special BMW factory tools.

There are other camshaft removal procedures that involve setting the camshaft rotation so that one set of lobes is placed in the maximum valve opening position, this leaves the other 5 sets in a position where the valves are closed and no pressure is exerted on their lifters.

There are three potential problems with that procedure:

1) The camshaft needs to be held from rotating with a wrench in one hand, while loosening the cap nuts with a ratchet in the other hand.

2) The nuts on the cap will run out of threads before the pressure is fully released from the cam lobes and lifters. This means that the camshaft will snap free, possibly causing the cam cap and nuts can go flying, once the nuts are completely loose.

3) The cam cannot be re-installed using that procedure because you cannot install the cap with 1 set of lobes in the fully open position, the threads on the journal studs are not long enough.

Our procedure involves positioning the cams so that 2 sets of lobes are set to a 30% open position and the other 4 sets are fully closed. This procedure is a little bit more time consuming, but is a safer, more controlled way of removing the cams.

Cam Removal

39. Your starting point point should be:

-All VANOS sprockets, secondary chain & guides removed.
-Crankshaft at Top Dead Center (TDC) mark.
-Cams set to proper VANOS timing position.

40. Begin by removing your cam timing blocks and TDC lock pin.

41. Rotate the crankshaft counterclockwise approximately 45 degrees from the TDC mark as shown in the picture. (I marked TDC mark on balancer with a marker) This will position all the pistons at a safe distance from the valves, and will prevent any possibility accidentally bending a valve during the procedure

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Last edited by jared_wiesner; 11-01-2012 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #2
///Mvious
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: SC
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My Ride: E46 330
Big thanks from all of us fanatics that have this mod on the goal list! I know this DIY took a $h1t ton of time to put together...
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:19 PM   #3
jared_wiesner
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 706
My Ride: 1999 328i
42. Hold exhaust cam at center hex portion with a 24mm wrench and remove 3 exhaust cam sprocket bolts with an 11mm deep socket.





43. Pull exhaust cam sprocket towards yourself and angle exhaust sprocket and chain and pull on chain/pull down on sprocket until you can slip chain off of the sprocket and remove the sprocket. (Be sure you do not drop chain down into engine, loop it temporarily over the end of the cam spline to hold it while you get ready to do the next step. )

44. Secure primary timing chain to stud behind where the secondary chain tensioner was mounted to prevent chain from dropping down inside engine.



45. Rotate exhaust cam using the same 24mm wrench on the hex portion at the center of the exhaust cam until the block at the rear of the cam matches the picture below. Do not rotate more than the approximately 40 degrees shown.



46. We are now going to take the positioning one step further than what is really necessary. This is just an added margin of safety to prevent the cam from trying to reposition itself while it's being loosened.
Compare the height of the valve lifters at journals A3 and A5. You may need to use a penlight to see well enough. Rotate the cam a little back and forth until the lifters at A3 & A5 are both at the same height relative to the top of their bores. This sets the cam so that there is equal pressure on the both sets lobes.



47. You can now remove the journal cap nuts from all caps except A3 and A5. DO NOT start to loosen caps A3 or A5 yet. Remove all journal caps except A3, A5 and A1 (Remove nuts from A1, but leave cap sitting on cam). as shown.
A3 and A5 are the only journals that are carrying any load with the camshaft in this position. It's 100% safe to remove the other caps.



45. You will be loosening the caps at A3 and A5 in 1/4 turn (90 degree) increments. They will be loosened in the order shown. Do not start to loosen them yet. Using an 11mm socket and ratchet, loosen the nuts in 1/4 turn increments in the order shown in the previous picture. I'm sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but the easiest way to verify how much you are turning, is to start with the ratchet in a horizontal position and rotate until it's vertical, or the other way around. While losening, use the cap you left on A1 and use it to compare the gaps at A3 and A5 to make sure cam is lifting universally.



46. Continue loosening the nuts at A3 and A5 in 1/4 turn increments until they are completely loose. After you've completed two complete revolutions of each nut you can bump up to 1/2 turn increments if you wish.
Remember to keep comparing the A3 and A5 cap gaps to the A1 gap as you go. If the A1 cap does not rise equally each time you loosen the nuts at A3 and A5, stop and find out why.

47. Remove nuts, caps, and exhaust cam.

48. Follow the exact same steps for the intake cam. This time, rotate the intake cam to the left 40 degrees (when looking at engine from front of car) so that rear block on cam is at an approximately 40 degree angle with the holes on the left side of peak (when looking to the back from the front of engine)



49. Inspect cam journals/caps E4 and E6. ensure they are at the same height relative to their bores.

50. Remove all caps and nuts except E4, E6, and E1 (Remove nuts from E1 but leave cap in place)

51. Loosen caps at journals E4 and E6 in 1/4 turns and watch cap E1 to make sure cam is lifting evenly.



52. Again, once you have loosened the caps a few quarter turns, you can start doing half turns until you are able to remove the caps.

53. Remove the caps and the intake cam.

54. The cams are now removed and new ones can be installed.

55. The Schrick intake cam I am installing needs to have the cam position sensor piece installed from the old cam shaft onto it.



56. As you can see, the new shrick cams do not have the handy holes on the one surface of the blocks at the ends to reference cam posistion. However they still retain the marker for the cam in this case 'E' (Intake Cam) on the same side as the block that would have the holes. The exhaust cam is marked the same way except with an'A'. Just remember that the letters go along with the flat part of the block that would have holes in it.



57. To remove cam position sensor piece from old cam and transfer it to a new one, place the two intake cams side by side on a flat surface. Position the cams so that the 'E' on both is facing up. Check that the lobes are all facing the same way on both intake cams. Undo the 3 bolts holding the position sensor piece onto the old cam. You may have to hold the wrench at the center point with the same 24mm wrench to keep it from turning.



58. Remove both peices from old cam while mainting orientation and place them onto new cam. Alternatingly tighten them until they are snug. Grip cam with wrench and snug them up to aproximately how tight they were on the old cam.

59. It's recommended that before you begin make sure you have a quality brand of engine assembly lube on hand. Make sure that the assembly lube is specifically designed for use on cams and lifters. You then apply a dab of assembly lube to all lifter faces and cam journal bearings.



60. I personally am installing a used cam on used lifters. I know that at work when the guys are installing used cams they simply use engine oil and not assembly lube. (I work at a Toyota Dealership). I just used regular synthetic oil to grease up my old cams.

61. Lay both your exhaust and intake cams in their positions on cylinder head.



62. Rotate your exhaust cam to the pictured rotation for installation. (Flat surface shown would be the surface with holes/ side marked with letters



63. Put journal caps A1, A3, and A5, in position and put their nuts onto the studs and start each nut one rotation by hand.
You may need to push the cam down slightly to get them started and if your really having trouble, you can turn one of the sets you get started by hand a quarter turn with a wrench to push the cam low enough to get the rest started by hand.



64. Adjust the finger tightening of all the hex nuts on the caps to make the gaps even on both sides of the caps and between all caps even.

65. You will be tightening the 4 nuts at A3 and A5 in 1/4 turn (90 degree) increments in the order shown. The 2 nuts at A1 will be tightened each time, finger tight, after tightening A3 and A5 with a ratchet. Just like during the removal process, we are using the cap at A1 to verify the flatness of the cam as we tighten it down. The goal is to keep an eye on both sides of all 3 caps, and adjust your tightening slightly as you go to keep all gaps equal.

The reason we finger tighten the cap at A1, instead of just setting the cap in place and watching it, is to make sure that the cam does not bind up on the thrust flanges as it enters the bearing. Finger tightening allows enough force to pull the thrust flanges into place, but does not unevenly load the cam (at that end) like wrench tightening would do.



Once the caps at A3 and A5 have been lightly tightened down with a ratchet, you can install the rest of the journal caps and tighten them all down lightly. After all the caps have been lightly tightened you can go back and torque them all to 14Nm-10.5ft/lbs.

66b. Orient the intake cam in this position for installation



Next is the intake cam. It follows the same proceedure as the exhaust cam. First, place journal caps E1, E4, and E6 over their respective studs. Install the 6 hex nuts and start them about 1 turn by hand.

68. Tighten down these 3 caps using the same method as above: 1/4 turn on caps E4 and E6 and tighten E1 following each set of 1/4 turns by hand.
Follow the tightening sequence in the picture below.



69. Once the caps at E4 and E6 have been lightly tightened down with a ratchet, you can install the rest of the journal caps and tighten them all down lightly. After all the caps have been lightly tightened you can go back and torque them all to 14Nm-10.5ft/lbs.

You are now finished with the intake cam installation.

70. The last step is to return the cams to their normal T.D.C. position in preparation for installing the cam gears and timing the VANOS. Using a 24mm wrench on the hex sections in the middle of the camshafts, rotate the cams until the flats with the two holes (or in my case with aftermarket cams, The flat parts that have 'A' and 'E' marked beside them) are parallel to the head surface.



71. Install the primary timing chain that you previously tied up back into the sprocket for the exhaust cam and slip assembly over the end of the exhaust cam. Don't worry much about putting this back in the right location yet, just get the chain on, we will slip it under the chain later to get the sprocket indexed properly.

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Old 10-23-2012, 09:20 PM   #4
jared_wiesner
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Location: Ontario Canada
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Here is where the DIY will get a little bit complex as It shows two different kits for to doing the cam/vanos timing.

At certain points I will show you how to set the timing using both kits and will designate each divergence of instructions so that you can follow directions that pertain to your kit.



Cam Timing

1. Align crankshaft to top dead center the same way you did at the beginning of the DIY and install TDC lock pin to lock engine at top dead center.

2. Lock down cams at rear blocks using cam lock/block the same way that you did at the beginning of the DIY.

3. Align the primary chain sprocket mark with the edge of the cylinder head, it will have moved. You will probably have to slide the sprocket off the cam flange several times while rotating it a link at a time until it lines up properly with the head surface.



3.

Personal Kit - Locate the OEM tensioner, we will be modifying it to work as a rigid tensioning tool. Slide the plunger out and remove the spring.



Professional Kit - After unscrewing the German Auto Solutions tensioner tool thumb screw most of the way, install the tensioner tool into the OEM tensioner location and tighten tensioner body just hand tight.

Slowly tighten the thumb screw just until you feel a little tension. All you need to do here is take up the timing chain slack enough to verify that the exhaust sprocket is properly indexed to the chain. Verify that the exhaust cam sprocket is still properly aligned to the cylinder head top surface. If not, fully loosen the tensioner and slip chain over sproken to lign sprocket mark with edge of cylinder head. Once you have verified proper alignment, install and torque the 3 hex studs shown to 20Nm-15ft/lb. Medium strength (blue) threadlock is optional but suggested.




4.

Personal Kit - Locate the longer of the two aluminum pins which came in the kit. Find the end with the small protrusion, this end goes in first in the next step.



Professional Kit - Skip Step.

5.

Personal Kit - Slide the aluminum spacer pin into the tensioner plunger protrusion end first.



Professional Kit - Skip Step.

6.

Personal Kit - Slide the plunger with pin into the tensioner body. You now have a cheap tensioner tool.



Professional Kit - Skip Step.

7. Install the modified tensioner into the OEM tensioner location. Slowly finger tighten the tensioner body just until you feel a little tension. All you need to do here is take up the timing chain slack enough to verify that the exhaust sprocket is properly indexed to the chain.



Professional Kit - Skip Step


8. Verify that the exhaust cam sprocket is still properly aligned to the cylinder head top surface. If not, fully loosen the tensioner and slip sprocket in direction it needs to go under chain and try again. Once you have verified proper alignment, install and torque the 3 hex studs shown to 20Nm-15ft/lb using a 12mm deep well socket. Medium strength (blue) threadlock is optional but suggested.



9. Locate the secondary timing chain tensioner. If the lock pin is not still in place from the disassembly procedure, compress the tensioner and install the tensioner lock pin. Install the tensioner, first snug the 4 mounting bolts, then torque to 10Nm-7ft/lb using a 10mm socket



10. Locate the exhaust cam helix flange. Note the orientation shown. The wide gap goes up.



11. Apply some motor oil or assembly lube to the front and back surfaces, and helix splines of the flange. Apply some motor oil or assembly lube to the exhaust cam helix splines. Slide the exhaust cam helix flange over the hex studs with the wide gap in the helix splines facing up.





12. Locate the exhaust helix cup. Intake and exhaust cups are identical, but if you are reinstalling used cups, it's best to keep the cups matched to the cams they came off from. Apply motor oil or assembly lube to the helix cup inside and outside splines. Line up the wide teeth on the exhaust cam helix cup with the wide gaps on the camshaft and helix flange. Install the helix cup and push in about half way. You might have to fiddle with it a little bit to get it started.



13. This is an easy but critical step. Lay the intake VANOS sprocket, exhaust VANOS sprocket, and secondary timing chain on the alignment sheet as shown on the left. Align the wide notch on the intake sprocket helix as shown on the sheet. While keeping the intake sprocket aligned to the sheet, keep repositioning the exhaust sprocket until they both line up with the outline. The exhaust sprocket technically does not have a front or rear so just pick a side to face up. As shown on the alignment sheet, the exhaust sprocket is symmetrical and has 3 possible correct orientations. This is hard to get wrong. If you have a one tooth misalignment it will be obvious.



14. Apply a film of oil or assembly lube to the front and back faces of both sprockets, the helix splines on the intake sprocket, and the helix splines on the intake cam before installation.

Preview steps 14, 15 and 16 before installing the chain and sprocket assembly. This will help you understand how the assembly will be positioned.

Grasp the chain and sprocket assembly as shown in the next step. As you lift the assembly off of the alignment sheet, keep the protruding section of the intake cam sprocket facing toward the engine. Slide the assembly onto the cams while keeping the wide notch on the intake sprocket splines facing up.

15. Slide the chain and sprocket assembly over the cams as shown.

(Please ignore the fact that the exhaust helix cup is not shown installed in this picture. Your exhaust helix cup should be installed.)



This is how it should look. Make sure everything lines up as shown in the picture.



17. Locate the intake helix cup and apply some motor oil or assembly lube to the outside and inside helix splines. Now install the intake helix cup using the same procedure you used for the exhaust side. Push the intake cup in until the splined section is flush with the sprocket as shown in the picture.



Professional Kit - Skip down to the bottom where the Proffesional kit instructions are labelled.

Personal kit, continue with instructions from here.

17. Locate the intake helix cup and apply some motor oil or assembly lube to the outside and inside helix splines. Now install the intake helix cup using the same procedure you used for the exhaust side. Push the intake cup in until the splined section is flush with the sprocket as shown in the picture.



18. Install the 3 torx head bolts on the exhaust cam as shown. Tighten them finger tight, then loosen 1/4 turn.



19. Locate the intake sprocket spring washer. Apply a little motor oil or assembly lube to the back face and install over the intake cam studs.

Note - the bent tabs face outward. Sometimes these will have a "FRONT" marking on the outside face.



20. Install the three 6mm hex nuts and finger tighten just until they contact the spring washer.



21. Starting with the intake helix cup, position the cups as shown in the picture. You want a little bit of the intake cup splines to be protruding as shown. After setting the intake cup, pull the exhaust helix cup out until it stops.

Tighten the 3 intake sprocket hex nuts until snug, then back the off 1/2 turn.

Tighten the 2 upper exhaust sprocket Torx bolts until snug, then back off just enough to break them loose. Next, snug the bottom Torx bolt, but DO NOT exceed 5 ft/lbs. Be careful that you do not disturb the helix cup position while working with the Torx bolts. You might want to pull out on the cup while tightening the bottom bolt.



22. Locate the VANOS unit, we will be setting it up to be used as an alignment plate. From the camshaft side of the VANOS unit, as shown in the picture, push the intake piston in as far as it will go.



23. Locate the other aluminum spacer that was included in the tool kit. Drop the pin into exhaust piston access hole as shown. The smaller diameter end goes in first.



24. German Auto Solutions exhaust piston spacer pin properly installed.



25. Locate one of the threaded access covers and screw it in over the spacer pin. Just lightly snug into place.



26. Make sure that cylinder head and VANOS gasket surfaces are perfectly clean with all traces of the old gasket removed.

Any pieces of old gasket material or dirt caught between the VANOS unit and head could have a minor effect on timing accuracy. Slide the modified VANOS unit onto the cylinder head studs.

Do not try to push it all the way on yet.



27. Push the VANOS unit on just far enough so that it contacts the protruding helix cups. This will be approximately up to the two alignment dowels as shown in the picture.



28. Install two of the OEM 6mm hex nuts and one OEM 8mm stud at the locations shown, but DO NOT tighten yet. Screw them on just until they contact the VANOS unit.



29. In this step we will pretension the primary timing chain. The tension is not overly critical. Once all the slack is taken out of the chain, further tightening does not accomplish anything. If you severely over tighten the tensioner you could damage the timing chain or guide. The easiest way to set proper tension without over tightening, is to firmly grasp the exhaust sprocket, (the one furthest from the front of the engine, that the primary chain wraps around) and wiggle it back and forth as you tighten the tensioner. Tighten the tensioner slowly until you can no longer wiggle the exhaust sprocket, then tighten one more revolution.



Push down on the secondary timing chain at the tensioner and remove the lock pin.



31. You will now slowly tighten the left hex nut, and right hex stud, to draw the VANOS unit up to the head surface. This will push the helix cups into their proper timing position.

Turn them only 1/2 turn (180 degrees) at a time, alternating between the left nut and the right stud. You do not need to tighten the bottom hex nut yet. Watch the gap between the VANOS surface and head surface, you want to close that gap equally on the left and right sides as you draw the VANOS unit up to the head. Make adjustments to your tightening pattern if necessary to keep a uniform gap as you go.

Once the VANOS unit fully contacts the head surface you can tighten the bottom hex nut. Torque the two 6mm hex nuts to 10Nm-7.5ft/lbs and the 8mm stud to 24Nm-18ft/lbs.



32. Using the 1/4 inch combination wrench supplied with the kit, firmly tighten the exhaust sprocket upper left torx bolt as shown. (Then tighten the upper right exhaust torx bolt the same way.)



33. Using a 10mm wrench, firmly tighten the intake sprocket upper left hex nut as shown. (Then tighten the upper left hex nut the same way)



34. Now remove the VANOS unit, then snug up the bottom hex nut on the intake sprocket and bottom torx bolt on the exhaust sprocket. Do not torque yet.

35. Locate the exhaust sprocket thrust flange and apply a film of oil or assembly lube to both sides. It doesn't have a front or back and is another symmetrical part. If you're fussy you can usually tell which side was originally facing out by looking at the polished contact areas. The side with shinny spots on the very outside edge (like in picture) faces outward.

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Old 10-23-2012, 09:20 PM   #5
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36. Slide the exhaust thrust flange over the studs as shown. Make sure you slide the flange past the threaded portion of the studs and onto the larger round section.



37. Locate the exhaust sprocket spring washer. Note the side marked "F" faces outward. Slip the spring washer over the studs like the thrust flange.



38. Exhaust spring washer properly installed.



39. Locate the exhaust cam sensor position plate. Note the orientation, it has an arrow marking like the exhaust sprocket. The arrow needs to line up with the left head surface.



40. Install the cam sensor position plate as shown. Install the three 6mm hex nuts and tighten a little at a time in a rotation pattern to compress the spring washer. Do not torque them yet.



41. While leaving all the other hardware tight, one at a time, remove each of the 6 hex nuts and 3 torx bolts, clean the threads, apply threadlock, and torque to the spec shown. Since you are only removing one piece of hardware at a time there is no danger of anything moving out of position. The BMW manual does not specify threadlock on these, but I feel that medium strength (blue) threadlock adds a margin of safety and has no down side.

Torque the 3 torx bolts to 20Nm-15ft/lbs, and the 6 hex nuts to 10Nm-7.5ft/lbs.

Your cams are now properly timed.



42. Remove the camshaft locking blocks.



43. Remove the crankshaft TDC locking pin.

44. Remove the modified primary tensioner and replace the spacer pin with the spring (preferably a new one). Install the OEM tensioner into the cylinder head.

Use a new sealing washer and torque to 70Nm-52ft/lbs using a 32mm socket.



45. Apply some RTV gasket sealer to the two areas shown in the picture. Install a new VANOS gasket over the studs and dowels, then apply some more RTV, at the same locations, on the outside face of the gasket.

I highly recommend Permatex "Ultra Grey" for all engine assembly applications where a RTV sealant is required



46. Remove the German Auto Solutions exhaust piston spacer from the VANOS unit, then slide the VANOS unit into place. Install the OEM VANOS mounting hardware and lift bracket. Torque the 6mm hex nuts to 10Nm-7.5ft/lbs, and the 8mm stud to 24Nm-18ft/lbs.





You can now jump down to labelled Universal Instructions


Proffesional Kit Cam Timing Cont.

1. Locate the intake helix cup and apply some motor oil or assembly lube to the outside and inside helix splines. Now install the intake helix cup using the same procedure you used for the exhaust side. Push the intake cup in until the splined section is flush with the sprocket as shown in the picture.



2. Install the 3 torx head bolts as shown. Tighten them finger tight, then loosen 1/4 turn.



3. Locate the exhaust sprocket thrust flange and apply a film of oil or assembly lube to both sides. It doesn't have a front or back and is another symmetrical part. If you're fussy you can usually tell which side was originally facing out by looking at the polished contact areas. The side with shinny spots on the very outside edge (like in picture) faces outward.



4. Slide the exhaust thrust flange over the studs as shown.

Make sure you slide the flange past the threaded portion of the studs and onto the larger round section.



5. Locate the exhaust sprocket spring washer. Note the side marked "F" faces outward. Slip the spring washer over the studs like the thrust washer.



6.Locate the exhaust cam sensor position plate.

Note the orientation, it has an arrow marking like the exhaust sprocket. The arrow needs to line up with the left head surface.



7. Install the sensor position plate as shown. Install the three 6mm hex nuts and leave them loose so that they are not preloading the spring washer.



8. Locate the intake cam spring washer and apply some oil or assembly lube to the back side. Install over the threaded studs.

Note - the bent tabs face outward. Sometimes these will have a "FRONT" marking on the outside face.



9. Install the three 6mm hex nuts but leave them loose so that they do not preload the spring washer.


10. This is the completed chain & sprocket install ready for the timing alignment procedure. At this point all 6 hex nuts and all 3 torx bolts should be loose. You should be able to easilly slide the helix cups in and out with no resistance. If there is any binding, you have something too tight, go back and find out what it is.

Note - the intake helix cup will slide all the way out if pulled, the exhaust helix cup will pull out part way then stop, this is normal



11. Make sure that cylinder head VANOS gasket surface is perfectly clean with all traces of the old gasket removed.

Wipe off the mounting surface of the German Auto Solutions VANOS Timing Plate Tool then slide it over the studs and dowels as shown.

Any pieces of old gasket material or dirt caught between the plate and head could have a minor effect on timing accuracy.



12. Secure the timing tool in place using OEM VANOS mounting hardware as shown. Lightly tighten the 2 nuts and 1 stud. You want the plate to be held firmly, but there is no need to over tighten. 6-7ft/lbs is plenty if you feel the need to torque them.



13. Remove the 2 LEFT HAND THREAD torx head screws from their storage locations and screw them into the intake and exhaust helix cups. If the cups have been pushed forward you will have to pull them back toward the plate in order to start the screws. These only need to be lighly snugged.



14. In this step we will pretension the primary timing chain. The tension is not overly critical. Once all the slack is taken out of the chain, further tightening does not accomplish anything. If you severely over tighten the tensioner you could damage the timing chain or guide. I found the easiest way to set proper tension without over tightening is to firmly grasp the exhaust sprocket, (the one furthest from the front of the engine that the primary chain wraps around) and wiggle it back and forth. Tighten the tensioner slowly until you can no longer wiggle the exhaust sprocket, then tighten one more revolution.



15. Next, press down on the secondary chain tensioner and remove the lock pin. Everything will now be in proper alignment.



16. Tighten the 6 hex nuts on the intake and exhaust sprockets. The bottom ones are accessible through the window openings on the timing plate. These do not affect timing, they only preload the spring washers against the sprockets to keep them from vibrating against the cam flanges during operation. Snug them up good at this point but do not torque them yet.



17. Next tighten the 3 torx head screws on the exhaust sprocket. These screws lock the relationship between the intake and exhaust VANOS sprockets which sets the proper timing. They are the only screws that lock the timing in place. Snug them up good at this point but do not torque them yet.



18. Next remove the German Auto Solutions VANOS timing plate. Don't forget to return the left hand thread torx screws to their storage locations to prevent them from getting lost.

While leaving all the other hardware tight, one at a time, remove each of the 6 hex nuts and 3 torx bolts, clean the threads, apply threadlock, and torque to the spec shown. Since you are only removing one piece of hardware at a time there is no danger of anything moving out of position. The BMW manual does not specify threadlock on these, but I feel that medium strength (blue) threadlock adds a margin of safety and has no down side.

Torque the 3 torx bolts to 20Nm-15ft/lbs, and the 6 hex nuts to 10Nm-7.5ft/lbs.



19. You can now remove the tensioner tool and install the OEM tensioner. Use a new sealing washer.

Torque to 70Nm-52ft/lbs.



20. Remove the camshaft locking blocks.



21. Remove the crankshaft TDC locking tool.



22. Apply some RTV gasket sealer to the two areas shown in the picture, install a new VANOS gasket over the studs and dowels, then apply some more RTV at the same locations on the outside face of the gasket.

I highly recommend Permatex "Ultra Grey" for all engine assembly applications where a RTV sealant is required.



23. You can now slide the VANOS unit into place.



24. Install the OEM VANOS mounting hardware and lift bracket.

Torque the 6mm hex nuts to 10Nm-7.5ft/lbs, and the 8mm stud to 24Nm-18ft/lbs.



You can now Jump to down to labelled Universal Instructions.



Universal Instructions:




47. Install the 2 LEFT HAND THREAD T30 torx head screws to secure the VANOS pistons to the helix cups. I recommend a drop of medium strength threadlock here as well.

Torque them to 10Nm-7.5 ft/lbs.



48. Locate the piston oil plugs. The o-rings on these tend to harden and need to be replaced. BMW does not sell the o-rings for the plugs separately. New plugs with o-rings cost less than $2.00 each. I recommend just replacing the entire plug rather than trying to find o-rings that fit the used plugs.

Apply some oil or assembly lube to the o-rings then push the plugs into the VANOS pistons until they snap into place.



49. Install new sealing washers on the access plugs, then install and torque the plugs to 50Nm-37ft/lbs using an 8mm Allen driver.



50. Reconnect the exhaust cam position sensor plug and the exhaust VANOS solenoid plug.



51. Install the intake VANOS solenoid plug and the VANOS oil feed line. Use new sealing washers on the oil feed fitting.
Torque the oil fitting to 32Nm-24ft/lbs using a 19mm socket. You are now finished with the VANOS system timing and assembly.



From here, just reverse the removal and make sure you do up all your connections and get everything back in place (no kidding... it was late when I wrote this)
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Old 10-23-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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Big thanks from all of us fanatics that have this mod on the goal list! I know this DIY took a $h1t ton of time to put together...
No Problem! I hope lots of people can get some good use out of this.
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Old 10-27-2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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Very good write up! This is a very involved and difficult job. Not for the faint of heart. You seem to be a good tech and know what you are doing. It's going to come in handy for a select few die hard fanatics willing to tackle this type of project, but it will be very helpful.
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Old 10-27-2012, 01:06 AM   #8
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Is there a way to set the helix cup's without the use of a jig? Like a measurment from how far they come out or align with the head edge or some thing..I have the cam holding blocks but would really like to get this thing back together without buying/waiting on a frt vanos tool...Also if the helix cups are set correct will it bend valve are just run poorly..Thanks
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:09 AM   #9
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I don't know if you could measure accurately enough to get the timing just perfect. You could probably get it close enough to run if you had measurements. You should get in touch with German Auto Solutions. If you already have the holding blocks, I'm sure he could work out a deal to send you just the pins from their personal timing kit that fit into your Vanos unit and tensioner. (they effectively slide into your Vanos to hold it at the right spot and then you use it as the Vanos alignment tool.)
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Old 10-27-2012, 09:40 AM   #10
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All this did is make me want to pay someone to do this

Awesome DIY! Just a word of caution. If you have an aftermarket flywheel...make sure it has the detent for the TDC pin. My UUC wheel does not. So its a ghetto prybar in the sprocket teeth on the flywheel.

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Old 10-27-2012, 10:11 AM   #11
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All this did is make me want to pay someone to do this

Awesome DIY! Just a word of caution. If you have an aftermarket flywheel...make sure it has the detent for the TDC pin. My UUC wheel does not. So its a ghetto prybar in the sprocket teeth on the flywheel.
It's definitely the way I felt for a while when I thought about doing this. (Though that was more when i was contemplating doing it without tools) Now that I've done it, if you have a couple days and some good German beer , then it's not that bad. It's long, but if you really watch yourself and don't rush, you'll be fine. And thanks for the note about the flywheel. That's part of the reason I make you lock the flywheel at TDC at the beginning of the DIY even though you will have to move it shortly after... to make sure you can and will be able to do it again when you need to. Sometimes the hole in the block gets really filled with crap and its very difficult to get the pin to slide through. (I did not know some aftermarket flywheels don't have the hole though, good to know)
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Old 11-02-2012, 11:51 AM   #12
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Amazing instructions well done i just did the same thing to my BMW 325i convertable but i needed special tools . Any Body needs the tools for this procedure i rented them.. This guy has all the tools they were so expensive to buy...should any-body need to do the same ,,ping me ill tell you were i rented them from , Hope this helps someone,,,
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Old 11-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #13
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Amazing instructions well done i just did the same thing to my BMW 325i convertable but i needed special tools . Any Body needs the tools for this procedure i rented them.. This guy has all the tools they were so expensive to buy...should any-body need to do the same ,,ping me ill tell you were i rented them from , Hope this helps someone,,,
Thanks Minnie. The tools I used cost as little as $100 to buy them.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:08 PM   #14
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Awesome write up!!!

Ill be doing this in the next few days. Do you suggest spending the extra $ for the pro kit?
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:55 AM   #15
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Great thread, bookmarked
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:27 PM   #16
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It's totally up to you whether you spring for the pro kit or not. I ended up keeping the pro version because I like the ease of use and frankly I like flashy special tools. But, if you just want to get the job done, the personal kit is more than enough.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:04 AM   #17
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Is it critical to insert the TDC pin prior to removing the Vanos? I haven't loosened the bolts yet (step19) and I was hoping I haven't screwed up already.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:05 PM   #18
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Is it critical to insert the TDC pin prior to removing the Vanos? I haven't loosened the bolts yet (step19) and I was hoping I haven't screwed up already.
If you are just talking about the VANOS unit you are OK. You can manually turn the engine over with the VANOS unit removed as long as the helix cups are in place and haven't moved, and none of the sprocket bolts have been loosened or removed. That being said, Murphy's law would dictate that you find TDC and lock the crank in place before removing the VANOS.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:21 AM   #19
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The helix cups are still on and the torx bolts are still tight. When I rotate the crank to position it to TDC the cups move in and out but I assume this is normal. I have the blue plug out and I inserted the TDC pin but it doesn't seem to catch. Its hard to tell if its in far enough. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:56 AM   #20
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Just to be safe I would bolt the VANOS plate back up with just one screw on each side and reinstall the left handed helix cup screws. Since you said the helix cups are moving around when you rotate the crank I can't say for sure that they wouldn't allow the cam timing to shift enough to cause piston to valve contact. I doubt they could, but you are talking about 10 minutes worth of time to slap the VANOS back on with a couple of screws.

If you have the GAS tool kit the TDC pin is a close tolerance to the hole in the block. The hole in the block usually builds up a layer of corrosion and needs to be cleaned out with a wire bottle brush if the tool is not going all the way in. If the TDC tool is going all the way in it should just be a matter of rocking the crankshaft back and forth slowly from the TDC mark on the harmonic balancer, while pushing in on the TDC tool. It usually helps to have another person help, so that one person can rock the crank while the other pushes the TDC pin in place. Once locked in place you should not be able to rotate the crank.
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