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Old 11-24-2007, 11:45 AM   #1
Rajaie
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Vanos seals solution

As many of you know E46 6-cylinder cars are experiencing a vanos problem. A friend and I diagnosed this problem three years back. Hereís the link where we made our findings public. http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/7494631-2.html

The double vanos in question is part # 11-36-1-440-142, and is found on 6-cyl engines M52TU, M54, M56. These engines are all found on E46 models. If you have an E46 6-cylinder (non-diesel, non-M3) then you have one of these engines and implicitly this vanos.
On M52TU cars, 99-00, the failing vanos is manifesting cold weather cold engine start idle jolts and possible stall. I expect most 99-00 owners have experienced this symptom. On cold mornings the DME utilizes the vanos to help warm up the cats to bring them to operating temperature faster. When the vanos malfunctions the DME reacts badly and causes the idle jolts and possible stall. This scenario was addressed in the subsequent engines M54 and M56 with a software patch to address the DME reaction to the failing vanos. There is also apparently an update to the M52TU software that also addresses the symptom.
The failing vanos will reduce torque and power, particularly in the lower RPM range (< 3K). Hiccups and hesitations are also experienced in the lower RPM range (< 3k). Owners are now also beginning to encounter fault codes caused by the failing vanos. These codes are all related to the vanos exhaust side.
P1520 (BMW 104, 0x68): B (exhaust) Camshaft Position Actuator (faulty reference value).
P1523 (BMW 106, 0x6A): B (exhaust) Camshaft Position Actuator Tight or Jammed (mechanically stuck).
P1397 (BMW 18, 0x12): Camshaft Position Sensor B (exhaust) Circuit.
The Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS) is a common failure. But if replacing the exhaust CPS (w/ OEM CPS) doesnít work then itís likely the vanos failure.

The vanos failure is due to deteriorating vanos piston seals. The seals are a combination of outer Teflon seal ring and underneath supporting O-ring. The O-rings are hardening, shrinking, and having flat top and bottom surfaces. This causes them to lose their supporting function to the Teflon seals. This causes the piston seal function to fail and in turn the vanos function to fail.
The OEM O-rings were tested for material makeup and were found to be made from Buna-N (Nitrile, NBR). This material is not compatible with the engine synthetic oil and high temperature. The high temperature in particular is causing its failure.

BMW was engaged for some period regarding this matter but has indicated they have no intention of addressing the issue.
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/7613395-2.html

The O-rings can be replaced with a better material to withstand the synthetic oil and high temperatures, but to replace the underneath O-rings the outer Teflon seals need to be removed and necessarily damaged. Thus the Teflon seals also need to be replaced in the process. The Teflon seals are significantly more expensive than the O-rings and need to be semi-custom manufactured. This has to be done in large volumes (thousands) to even approach a reasonable cost.
I have taken the initiative in the past two years to pursue this endeavor and have succeeded in reverse engineering the seals and producing a seals repair kit that addresses the vanos failure. Here is the post where I recently introduced this solution.
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/8705552-2.html

Here is the website for the company I created to vend the product: http://www.beisansystems.com
You will find more information there, including a repair procedure: http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm
The procedure currently addressed the E46 with the electric fan. I hope to update it soon to show the E46 mechanical fan. For now the E39 mechanical fan removal can be referenced.

The vanos seals repair kit currently costs $60, plus $5 US shipping. It addresses all the known vanos failure symptoms. Owners have also been quite please with the performance enhancements attained from the repair.
A new (rebuilt) vanos will solve the vanos failure, but a new vanos costs ~$500. Even more problematic, a new vanos still comes with the same failing Buna O-rings. Numerous owners have installed new vanos units only to have them fail again. I inspected my new vanos seals after 20k miles and found them to be significantly degraded.

I will be happy to answer any questions. Please take the time to read the information in the referenced links.
In the future, please direct your questions to the vanos forum referenced by the Beisan website.
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:08 PM   #2
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Awesome job!!!
Your website came up in another thread and I'm going to buy the kit for sure.. Mine is really bad at the moment. Only thing is i'm going to do this myself and not having a garage is the biggest PITA. So I'm going to have to wait till it warms up. Most likely in march. Hopefully the prices don't increase then .

Unfortunately I got suckered in with this problem. Then dealer had the car already warmed up when I came to look at it
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Old 11-24-2007, 12:46 PM   #3
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wow great info!
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Old 11-26-2007, 07:36 PM   #4
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Nice write up!
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:12 PM   #5
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who wants to be the first guinea pig?
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Old 11-26-2007, 08:45 PM   #6
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who wants to be the first guinea pig?
If you click on his website and go to the vanos forum, you will see that a few people have already done the install.

I will be purchasing a modified vanos (to elinitate zhp vanos rattle) that already has the seal kit installed
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:15 PM   #7
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Im going to have to order this soon. I can't take it anymore.
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:04 PM   #8
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what is a vanos?
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Old 11-27-2007, 06:30 PM   #9
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Here's the FAQ page from the Beisan website.
Also here's the link to the initial vanos diagnosis post. The "technical background synopsis" section has a lot of detailed information.
http://bimmer.roadfly.com/bmw/forums/e39/7494631-2.html

I will be glad to answer any follow-up questions.

What's a vanos?
Vanos is BMW's name for its engine variable valve timing unit.

What's variable valve timing?
Variable valve timing is a way of modifying the engine intake and/or exhaust valve opening/closing timing dynamically to provide better engine performance.
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/camshaft.htm
http://www.bmwworld.com/technology/vanos.htm

What's wrong with my vanos?
If you own a BMW 6-cylinder auto 98-06 with an M52TU, M54, M56 engine, then you have vanos part # 11-36-1-440-142 which is experiencing a failure. This vanos utilizes engine oil and pistons/cylinders to manipulate the positioning of gears to facilitate variable valve timing. The seals on the pistons are leaking due to deteriorating seal O-rings. This leakage is causing the vanos to fail in its function.

Why are the vanos piston O-rings failing?
The OEM O-rings are made from Buna, and this material is not capable of resisting the engine temperature and chemical environment. As an outcome the O-rings are hardening, shrinking, and flattening. This causes them to lose their functional characteristics causing the vanos to fail.

What are the symptoms of a failing vanos?
On autos with the M52TU engine (98/99-00) the failing vanos is causing engine idle jolts (dramatic drops) and possibly a stall on cold engine starts (< 55 F / 13 C).
On other cars with the M52TU, M54, M56 engines, car performance will be degraded. The engine will bog and hiccup at lower RPM's (< 3k). There will also be a general loss of torque and power, mostly at lower RPM's (< 3k).

How can I verify my vanos is failing?
On M52TU engine autos (98/99-00) experiencing the cold engine idle jolts, the vanos intake solenoid (metal cylinder) electrical connector can be disconnected. If the idle jolts cease then the problem is most likely the vanos.
On other autos the vanos would need to be removed for verification. Once removed the vanos can be rotated and shaken a bit and the intake piston will be heard and seen slide from one end to the other end of the vanos cylinders. This is an indication of failing piston seals, and is surely caused by the piston seal O-rings.
It has been established that the piston O-rings are deteriorating within 20k miles (32k kilometers), so essentially all the vanos units have failed.

Should I install a new vanos?
A new (rebuilt) BMW vanos costs ~$500 and unfortunately comes with the same Buna O-rings. Thus the new unit will function well at first, but the O-rings will begin to deteriorate in short order and the vanos will start failing.

Is there a good solution to the vanos problem?
To correctly address the vanos problem the piston O-rings need to be replaced with O-rings made from higher grade material. BMW has been engaged on this subject and has elected to not address the issue, "No further development will be done".
To replace the piston O-rings on a vanos requires removing the piston Teflon seals to access the underneath O-rings. Removing the Teflon seals necessarily damages them, thus both the O-rings and Teflon seals need to be replaced. Beisan Systems (www.beisansystems.com) provides a vanos seals repair kit that includes both the upgraded O-rings and Teflon seals. A repair procedure is also provided for reference.

Who can I have perform this repair, and for how much?
The repair can be performed by a DIY owner with some auto repair experience. The repair is somewhat involved, but is of moderate difficulty.
Any independent BMW mechanic will be able to perform this repair. Labor time should be 4 hours. Parts include the seals repair kit, $60, a vanos gasket, $7, and two oil hose washers, $0.50.
It's prudent to change the valve cover gaskets during this repair since no added labor time is needed and the valve cover gaskets and bolt grommets cost $60.
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Old 11-27-2007, 08:02 PM   #10
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NICE!!! great job! Ive been waiting for someone to design better seals for the vanos. Ill be definately be getting these installed in the very near future. It really sucks to have the car idling and all of a sudden drop in rpm and about to stall. Its really embarrassing for bmw for to have issues like this, and whats worst is that they are not willing to come up with the solution themselves. Mad props its even has a DiY... Maybe Ill do this over the weekend.
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Old 11-28-2007, 02:34 PM   #11
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i have seen the DIY on the vanos but the problem is people have been saying that their is all these special tools needed to make sure the timing is correct? Is this true or can you just take off the vanos and put it back on without being concerned about the timing being thrown off.
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Old 11-28-2007, 03:09 PM   #12
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The BMW TIS (software repair manual) and in mimic the Bentley manual do call for resetting the engine timing when replacing the vanos. But there really is no reason to do so. I don't know a good reason why this is called for. Removing and replacing the vanos on these engines (M52TU, M54, M56) does not disturb the engine timing. Other engines like the M52 do disturb and need to reconfigure the timing when replacing the vanos.
The engine timing is set in the sprokets and chains and that is not disturbed. The splined shafts (helical gear cups) can even be theoretically removed and replaced without disturbing the timing. The splined shafts are keyed. Many owners, and I expect mechanics, have replaced the vanos without resetting the timing. Many have performed the vanos seals repair without resetting the timing.
It's also precarious to reset the timing, even with the special tools. I know two owners that have attempted to reset the timing (for non vanos issues) and have failed and are receiving fault codes. They used the special tools. I have spoken with one mechanic who has had trouble with this.

I understand that since the TIS calls for resetting the timing that owners will be concerned that it's necessary. I need to find a way to speak with some BMW dealership mechanics to see if they have an explanation for this. Maybe BMW felt that while so many components were removed that it's a good opportunity to reset the timing.

There is no reason to disturb and reset the timing when performing the vanos seals repair kit installation.
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Old 11-28-2007, 06:54 PM   #13
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I have a 2000 328ci do you know what engine is in this year?(M52TU,M54,M56)???????
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Old 11-28-2007, 07:03 PM   #14
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M52tu (99-00)
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajaie View Post
The BMW TIS (software repair manual) and in mimic the Bentley manual do call for resetting the engine timing when replacing the vanos. But there really is no reason to do so. I don't know a good reason why this is called for. Removing and replacing the vanos on these engines (M52TU, M54, M56) does not disturb the engine timing. Other engines like the M52 do disturb and need to reconfigure the timing when replacing the vanos.
The engine timing is set in the sprokets and chains and that is not disturbed. The splined shafts (helical gear cups) can even be theoretically removed and replaced without disturbing the timing. The splined shafts are keyed. Many owners, and I expect mechanics, have replaced the vanos without resetting the timing. Many have performed the vanos seals repair without resetting the timing.
It's also precarious to reset the timing, even with the special tools. I know two owners that have attempted to reset the timing (for non vanos issues) and have failed and are receiving fault codes. They used the special tools. I have spoken with one mechanic who has had trouble with this.

I understand that since the TIS calls for resetting the timing that owners will be concerned that it's necessary. I need to find a way to speak with some BMW dealership mechanics to see if they have an explanation for this. Maybe BMW felt that while so many components were removed that it's a good opportunity to reset the timing.

There is no reason to disturb and reset the timing when performing the vanos seals repair kit installation.
Back this with a DIY and you will have another customer
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:13 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by stremboli
Back this with a DIY and you will have another customer


http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:35 PM   #17
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Back this with a DIY and you will have another customer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titan3er View Post
Now you have to buy it lol...
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Old 11-30-2007, 01:10 AM   #18
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Is the M52tu motor the one that is most common with th vanos problem or is it all the e46 bmw's
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Old 11-30-2007, 08:41 AM   #19
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Will be doing the updated seal kit in a few years... just had my Vanos replaced this week under CPO warranty. Car runs MUCH better... at least for now.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:56 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ducati000 View Post
Is the M52tu motor the one that is most common with th vanos problem or is it all the e46 bmw's
The vanos in question is part # 11-36-1-440-142. It's found on engines M52TU, M54, M56. These engines are found on most BMW car models:
3-series E46 98-05, 5-series E39 99-03 / E60 & E61 02-05, 7-series E38 98-01 / E65 & E66 02-05, Z3 E36 98-02, Z4 E85 02-05, X3 E83 03-06, X5 E53 00-06

ALL cars with these engines are experiencing the vanos failure.
ALL E46 cars (non M3, non diesel) have one of these engines and this vanos, and therefore ALL are experiencing the vanos failure.

M52TU engines (99-00) were the first with this vanos. They experience the cold weather cold start ideal jolt symptom, which is quite aggravating. This symptom was patched up in the M54 and M56 software.

So, M52TU cars have the most aggravated owners due to the cold morning symptom, but the M54 & M56 engine cars are also experiencing the vanos failure. They will experience a loss of torque and power, particularly in the lower RPM range (< 3K). They might also experience the lower RPM engine hesitations and hiccups.

As you know, owners are also now starting to experience engine fault codes. The fault codes are all related to the vanos exhaust side. The vanos exhaust side cylinder has a powerful spring inserted in it. The spring advances the piston by default to cause advanced exhaust valve timing. This assures no overlap in intake and exhaust valve opening at startup, allowing for a smooth startup. It takes significant oil pressure to oppose the spring and retard the piston. Due to failing (leaking) piston seals the DME becomes unable to retard the exhaust piston. This scenario manifests in the following vanos exhaust side fault codes:
P1520 (BMW 104, 0x68): B (exhaust) Camshaft Position Actuator (faulty reference value).
P1523 (BMW 106, 0x6A): B (exhaust) Camshaft Position Actuator Tight or Jammed (mechanically stuck).
P1397 (BMW 18, 0x12): Camshaft Position Sensor B (exhaust) Circuit.
The Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS) is a common failure. But if replacing the exhaust CPS (w/ OEM CPS) doesn't work then it's likely the vanos failure.

Hope this helps.
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