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Old 11-05-2012, 11:56 AM   #1
vlcmstnsct
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BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

I replaced my VANOS seals and did the anti-rattle kit this past September. As far as I could tell everything was working very well and the install was as close to perfect as humanly possible. My friend and I are very mechanically inclined and I made sure to take my time and clean everything up really well etc. For the past 3 or so weeks something has felt off with my 2002 330i; nothing drastic. My car has never thrown any CEL. I was snooping around with INPA tonight and found where the DME has a separate place for stored VANOS codes and there it was...BMW TC 103. I went back and I was observing the values for the intake vanos and sure enough the the value for the actual position of the intake vanos was slightly off the target value for the intake vanos. And by off we are talking less than 1 degree and for the most part it seems to be when idle. I'm going to monitor it a little more extensively within the next few days. Now in comparison the exhaust vanos target value and actual position value are dead on. I don't know how long it's been going on because it has never thrown a CEL or anything. With the car running in INPA I can clear the code and it comes back on and stores it within 1-2 seconds. I also tried clearing all the adaptations again and its still there. This sucks but at the same time I am happy because I knew something did not feel right. Any help, thoughts, or ideas would be helpful.

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Old 11-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #2
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Interesting. where exactly in INPA did you find these extra values? screenshot?
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Interesting. where exactly in INPA did you find these extra values? screenshot?
Off the top of my head I went under Body -> Central Body Electronics ZKE and it was under there somewhere; I may have just read the TC's from there. I don't have time at the moment to play with my car but I will hook it back up ASAP and post a screenshot.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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Congrats on the vanos repair.

Here are the things that can cause this code.
1. Wrong timing. But the timing would have needed to be disturbed by loosening the sprocket mounting bolts/nuts.
2. Failed vanos seals. But you've replaced these.
3. Aftermarket or failing camshaft position sensor.
4. Sticking vanos intake solenoid piston.

Here is how to resolve a sticking vanos intake solenoid piston. Looking at the vanos from the front of the car, on the right side is a 2" long silver cylinder with an electrical connector at the end of it. This is the intake solenoid. Remove the cable electrical connector. At the base of the solenoid is a 32mm hex. Use a 32mm open wrench to unscrew the solenoid. Turn the wrench clockwise from the front of the car since the solenoid is screwed in from the rear of the vanos. Unscrew and remove the solenoid (hand). Where the solenoid is screwed into the vanos body there is a cylinder and finger size red spring loaded piston in the vanos body. Press in and release the piston. It should press in with a little resistance and spring back when released. It should move very smoothly. If it's slightly sticking that's the problem. Pull out the piston form the vanos. Clean the piston and cylinder with brake cleaner and towels. Let dry. Re-oil the piston and cylinder. Reinsert the piston in the cylinder and check its movement. It should reciprocate very smoothly. Reinstall the solenoid and plug in its cable electrical connector.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rajaie View Post
Congrats on the vanos repair.

Here are the things that can cause this code.
1. Wrong timing. But the timing would have needed to be disturbed by loosening the sprocket mounting bolts/nuts.
2. Failed vanos seals. But you've replaced these.
3. Aftermarket or failing camshaft position sensor.
4. Sticking vanos intake solenoid piston.

Here is how to resolve a sticking vanos intake solenoid piston. Looking at the vanos from the front of the car, on the right side is a 2" long silver cylinder with an electrical connector at the end of it. This is the intake solenoid. Remove the cable electrical connector. At the base of the solenoid is a 32mm hex. Use a 32mm open wrench to unscrew the solenoid. Turn the wrench clockwise from the front of the car since the solenoid is screwed in from the rear of the vanos. Unscrew and remove the solenoid (hand). Where the solenoid is screwed into the vanos body there is a cylinder and finger size red spring loaded piston in the vanos body. Press in and release the piston. It should press in with a little resistance and spring back when released. It should move very smoothly. If it's slightly sticking that's the problem. Pull out the piston form the vanos. Clean the piston and cylinder with brake cleaner and towels. Let dry. Re-oil the piston and cylinder. Reinsert the piston in the cylinder and check its movement. It should reciprocate very smoothly. Reinstall the solenoid and plug in its cable electrical connector.
Good tip. as PM, i will do this. I'm assuming the same would be true for the exhaust side as well?
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by E46Mango View Post
Good tip. as PM, i will do this. I'm assuming the same would be true for the exhaust side as well?
Yes, the same applies to the exhaust side. Except the exhaust solenoid needs a special deep 32mm socket to remove.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #7
vlcmstnsct
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajaie View Post
Congrats on the vanos repair.

Here are the things that can cause this code.
1. Wrong timing. But the timing would have needed to be disturbed by loosening the sprocket mounting bolts/nuts.
2. Failed vanos seals. But you've replaced these.
3. Aftermarket or failing camshaft position sensor.
4. Sticking vanos intake solenoid piston.

Here is how to resolve a sticking vanos intake solenoid piston. Looking at the vanos from the front of the car, on the right side is a 2" long silver cylinder with an electrical connector at the end of it. This is the intake solenoid. Remove the cable electrical connector. At the base of the solenoid is a 32mm hex. Use a 32mm open wrench to unscrew the solenoid. Turn the wrench clockwise from the front of the car since the solenoid is screwed in from the rear of the vanos. Unscrew and remove the solenoid (hand). Where the solenoid is screwed into the vanos body there is a cylinder and finger size red spring loaded piston in the vanos body. Press in and release the piston. It should press in with a little resistance and spring back when released. It should move very smoothly. If it's slightly sticking that's the problem. Pull out the piston form the vanos. Clean the piston and cylinder with brake cleaner and towels. Let dry. Re-oil the piston and cylinder. Reinsert the piston in the cylinder and check its movement. It should reciprocate very smoothly. Reinstall the solenoid and plug in its cable electrical connector.
Thanks for the great response. I will definitely check out the solenoid piston in the next day or so and if it's not that than I suppose I can assume it's the stupid sensor. I'll post an update after I take it apart.

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Old 11-12-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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I took the cylinder and spring out and cleaned them up and I'm still getting the same code. It seemed to move smoothly but I cleaned it anyways. So, I guess I'll swap the CPS's and see if the code switches to "faulty reference value exhaust"...idk.

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Old 04-26-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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Re: BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

From what I've read the VANOS solenoids typically do not fail correct? I don't have a socket at the moment to remove the exhaust side solenoid. Could I try swapping the CPS's?

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:20 PM   #10
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I have never been into the E46 Vanos, but I can tell you a few things based upon my E39 M5 experience.

1. Many VANOS test fail by just a few/slight margin when using DIS/Progman/SSS to run the VANOS test on the E39 M5. This is somewhat normal from my experience.

2. Camshaft position sensors soft fail all the time on the E39 M5 and never throw a code, but because the VANOS impacts the engine performance so much, people usually figure out something is wrong. The CPS are Hall Effect devices and they just seem to get sloppy and do not report well when they age.

3. VANOS solenoids are a big issue on the E39 M5. Everything from cracked solder joints to the fine plastic mesh filter getting hard and breaking down with age and then getting caught or plugging the VANOS solenoids. We just pull the solenoids, remove the filters, use a 9 Volt battery, jumper wires, brake cleaners and compressed air to clean the out, then install new O-rings and reinstall the solenoids.

I expect that some of the same symptoms may show up on the E46?? So keep this in mind when you are poking around and looking at things that are related to the VANOS.
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Last edited by jfoj; 04-26-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #11
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Re: BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

I've never done a VANOS test via DIS etc. I've observed the values in INPA and viewed and cleared the code. I'm thinking it's the CPS more than likely...I'll order a new one and report back.

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Last edited by vlcmstnsct; 04-26-2013 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:04 PM   #12
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Re: BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

Update: My intake CPS had SOFT Failed 100%. I replaced my intake camshaft position sensor today and cleared the code (TC 103) and also my adaptations, started her up and it did not come back on. Before replacing my CPS with the car at idle I could clear the code and it would come back almost instantly.

FYI there was no MIL or CEL on the DASH for a soft failed CPS and the only way I could view the code was with INPA. It was only viewable under E46 -> Chassis -> Body Electronics ZKE. It would not show up under E46 -> Engine -> MS43 M54.

What led me to find all this was after rebuilding my VANOS I would still experience a very slight hesitation and/or slight throttle surge and I could only feel it in 1st gear from a dead stop.

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Last edited by vlcmstnsct; 05-07-2013 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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Re: BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

I hope this helps anyone else that is experiencing a similar problem.

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:40 PM   #14
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Re: BMW TC 103 - VANOS Faulty Reference Value Intake

You can check your vanos solenoid by connecting a 12V battery to it.

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