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The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 05-01-2010, 07:22 AM   #1
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Thumbs Up Useful info to help diagnose E46 M3 VANOS solenoid valve problems

I was trying to diagnose my own solenoid valve problems (see thread here) and I was in contact with Beisan Systems which make replacement VANOS seal kits (but NOT for the E46 M3 S54 engine as it has the right type of VANOS seals). They provided the following very helpful guide on diagnosing E46 M3 VANOS solenoid issues:

The double vanos seals kit on the Beisan website does not apply to the S54 vanos.

The S54 vanos piston seals are made of the correct materials and are in good condition.

The main failure on the S54 vanos is the solenoid pack.

Here is some info on S54 vanos related problems. If you replace your solenoid pack please send me your failed one as I'm looking into rebuilding them.

The vanos can fail and cause the DME to generate fault codes. The codes are usually for the intake side. They include:

Fault 0x43 (67) DME: Inlet vanos, advance valve

Fault 0x48 (72) DME: Inlet vanos, retard valve

Fault 0xB8 (184) DME: Function, inlet vanos

There are two common failures that can cause the vanos codes. The vanos solenoid pack can fail and the exhaust sprocket vanos oil pump driver teeth can break.

Vanos solenoid pack is #2 in this parts diagram.


Exhaust sprocket vanos oil pump driver teeth are part of #2 in this parts diagram. The driver teeth can be seen on the exhaust sprocket outer component.


Here is a method to distinguish between the two failures. Reset the codes and start the engine. Let the car idle for 3 minutes. If the codes reappear while the car is idling the problem is likely the exhaust sprocket driver teeth are broken. If the car has to be driven for a period before the problem recurs and the fault codes reappear then the problem is the vanos solenoid pack.

The solenoid pack failure is in most cases intermittent and the car has to be driven for some period, sometimes hundreds of miles, before the problem reappears. But there are some cases where the failure is permanent and the codes appear immediately after starting the car.

In the case where the problem and codes reappear just after starting the car the valve cover needs to be removed to acquire and definitive diagnosis. If the exhaust sprocket driver teeth are broken then that is the fault. If the teeth are still present then the solenoid pack is the fault.

Although the BMW ETK (parts catalog) shows the vanos solenoid pack is discontinued, it is available under a new part number, 11-36-7-839-180, $600-$700.

Replacing the vanos solenoid pack is simple. 2 short and 3 long bolts at the top of the vanos mount the solenoid pack onto the vanos. For access, the fan shroud exhaust side air scoop needs to be removed (2 rivets). There is a sealing plate with O-rings that seals the solenoid pack and vanos connection. The OEM O-rings on the sealing plate are made from Buna and thus fail. Therefore the sealing plate needs to be replaced when replacing the solenoid pack. The sealing plate is #7 on the vanos parts diagram referenced above. The mounting bolts should be tightened evenly to 5 Nm.

If you replace your vanos solenoid pack please send your old unit to Beisan Systems. We are investigating rebuilding the solenoid pack and providing it as a more economic solution.

If the exhaust sprocket teeth are broken then the sprocket component with the driving teeth needs to be replaced. Unfortunately this component is not available separately from BMW and needs to be purchase as a set with the rest of the exhaust sprocket components, #2 on the sprockets parts diagram referenced above.

The timing is disturbed in the installation process and special tools are needed to reset the timing.

A rattle occurs that emanates from the valve cover front. The rattle is due to loose sprocket bolts. This usually occurs on the intake sprocket but can apparently also occur on the exhaust sprocket. The sprocket bolts that come loose are #5 on this parts diagram.


The #5 bolts are mounted underneath the outer sprocket component, so they can't be seen when the valve cover is remove. The outer sprocket will be found to have some movement.

The bolt threads will be damaged and need to be replaced.

The timing is disturbed in the repair process and special tools are needed to reset the timing.

Here is a forum post thread with pictures of the loose and damaged bolts.




Rajaie Qubain (Raj), President
Beisan Systems LLC (bee-saan), www.beisansystems.com
2109 Longwood Drive, Raleigh, NC 27612
rajaie@beisansystems.com, W (919) 676-1939, M (919) 345-2000
Great service and information from Beisan

Last edited by rte1; 05-01-2010 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:08 AM   #2
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You should get the autoenginuity tool. Good info though.
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Old 05-01-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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If you get (warmup misfire codes) and the cars runs rough with lack of power- then you have a broken exhaust gearbox sprocket. If you clear the codes and they come back immediately at startup.

If you are get inlet VANOS codes advance/retard- mostlikely then you can reference the solenoid pack. These codes sometimes take a while and sometimes will occur on startup.

** Removed - Tim330i **
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Old 09-29-2010, 02:19 PM   #4
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do you know where i can can a link / video to installation
of the front camshaft gear on m54 engine, some one took it parts
and im lost on the front vanos gears /cams
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Old 09-29-2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 325ifelix View Post
do you know where i can can a link / video to installation
of the front camshaft gear on m54 engine, some one took it parts
and im lost on the front vanos gears /cams
2004 Silver Gray/Black M3 Convertible
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Old 06-07-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Whats your take on slow response times on an S54 motor after running the VANOS test?

DIS says to check the check valve or replace the solenoid pack. I thought I would run it by you before going further. Is this indicative of solders gone or going bad on the soleniod pack?

Bilstein HD's | E30 M3 FCAB's | H&R OE Sports | F+R strut bars | Self tuned 027 93 octane chip | KoseiK1's on R888's | + crazy OCD maintenance
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:05 PM   #7
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Beisan Systems now offers Vanos Solenoid Pack rebuilds and replacements for the S54, so now people know.

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e46, s54, solenoid, valve, vanos

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