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Old 02-20-2014, 08:20 AM   #1
Gr1f
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330ci Replaced Vanos seals, replace rocker gasket was great, now back to power loss..

Hi all,
When I got the car I had a diog check where the Indy said it reported it needed Pre-Cat o2 sensors and oil was leaking onto Exhaust Manifold so probably Rocker Gasket . The Engine management light came on and off intermittently. I drove the car for a while in that state but it got progressively worse. Misfires, loss of power and eventually hobbled home on about 3-4 cylinders and Engine Management Light came on permanently.

So, dropped it into another Indy. He came back saying that the errors related to the Vanos and I needed to have it replaced. I sent him a link to the Beisain site wondering why we needed to replace the entire Vanos as opposed to just the seals. (think it was a BMW standard procedure). So he then agreed to try the seals. He also felt the Exhaust Solenoid was a bit iffy so switched them around for an easy replacement if it failed.

When I got the car back I was amazed at the difference! Completely different experience and truck-loads of power from all ranges.

However, in the past 3 weeks it seems to be slipping back again. Loss of power, especially below 3k rpm, no pull at all in 6th, small dropouts while idle. Idle went from 550rpm to 750rpm. Dropouts (Hiccups) when accelerating below 2.5-3k rpm. When I turn off ignition there's a slight rattly run-on. The Engine management light has NOT come on yet either...oddly.

The Car only gets about 25.6 mpg combined I think it should be getting 28ish.

Also odd is that every now and then, it seems fixed! Idle drops to 550 and I get my power back!

Another issue which may or may not be related is the climate control. If I set it to say 19.5c it reaches that temp but after about 15mins or so it starts to get cold and I have to whack it up a bit, to like 23-5c. Never experienced this before on either this car or my previous E46 Convertible.

So I dropped it back into Indy this morning to get codes read. He says is the Vanos again with an exhaust side issue but he 'reset it' so see if there's an improvement. I asked what if there isn't an improvement and he mentioned that the entire Vanos be replaced along with pulleys...etc... sounds massive.... Drove it away and the car was exactly the same. I asked him for the codes too late so I'll need to get it read again.

Any ideas on this greatly appreciated. Should I even bother with the usual suspects of rough idle/power loss like MAF, Disa, O2 sensors etc?

Thanks all.
Grif

E46 330ci MSport
2003
84k
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:31 AM   #2
330XiNamedBif
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Definitely sounds Vanos related. It actually sounds much like the behavior I saw when I forgot to re-attach the intake camshaft position sensor (the vanos unit has two plug in sensors). These are known to fail, but first try cleaning connectors and make sure they are connected securely. In theory this could also be a Vanos solenoid failure, but I would start with the sensors. I highly highly doubt a complete new Vanos would be necessary. Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:02 AM   #3
Gr1f
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Thanks for the feedback. Yea he mentioned the Solenoids, said the Exhaust side one was a bit gunky but the other was fine so he switched them as the top one is easier to replace... as the fault seems to come from the Exhaust side he doesn't suspect the solenoids. Again, I'll post the codes when I can get it read again. Timing is definitely all over the place.

I'm with you on the Vanos itself, reading about it there's not much to fail other than seals, sensors etc unless something gets in to it a scours it. Might be wishful thinking on my part tho! :-)

Thanks again.
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Old 02-20-2014, 09:58 AM   #4
Stinger9
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And just for perspective, even if you had to replace the entire vanos, brush up here:
http://www.drvanos.com
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:25 AM   #5
Gr1f
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Thanks, how would one tell if the Vanos itself needs replacing bar chucking in a used one from somewhere?
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:51 AM   #6
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Your problem is not likely the vanos. Here's a list of common performance problems.

The idle control valve air intake boot branch gets cracks in the outer elbow accordion valleys. This can be inspected with a flashlight and mirror.

The idle control valve gets gummed up and sticks. Take it out and clean it with brake cleaner and towels.

The DISA valve is problematic on 01+ cars.
The DISA is a black box 4" high 6" wide on the side of the intake manifold adjacent to the MAF. Remove it. The flap should rotate with resistance and spring back when released. It shouldn't have any play. It breaks at its base axis. If it's broken, the flap end axis pin can be removed and the flap will fall off.
The 01+ DISA has a base gasket built into the DISA. It shrinks over time and creates a small vacuum leak. Place an 8" piece of electrical tape on a table top. Cut the tape half width with a razor knife. Place one layer of half width electrical tape over the base gasket. This will thicken the gasket and create a tight seal with the intake manifold.

The crankcase vent valve and 4 associate hoses fail and cause a vacuum leak. The valve gets stuck open and the hoses crack. These last 70-120k miles and usually fail 80-90k miles. Here are a couple diagnoses.
At warm idle, place a small plastic freezer storage bag on its side over the oil fill hole. If the bag sits on top or gets slightly sucked in, ~1", the valve is good. If the bag gets significantly sucked in the hole the valve is stuck open and bad.
With the engine off and cold, carefully remove the hose at the valve cover front corner. Blow hard into the hose. You should hear oil bubbling in the oil pan. If you don't hear the bubbling the top or bottom hose is likely cracked. The bottom hose often breaks just below the valve connection. There can also be cracks in the other two hoses.

The MAF sensor can be dirty and not perform well or can be failing. Aftermarket oiled air filters foul the MAF.
Take out the MAF and clean it with CRC MAF spray cleaner. Spray the MAF lightly. There are delicate wires that can be damaged. Let the MAF fully dry before reconnecting.
Cold air intake setups can drive the MAF beyond its intended operating limits and cause it to fail.
The MAF can be tested by disconnecting its electrical cable connector. If the performance problem resolves it might be the MAF. But this test can be deceiving and should be used with great care. When the MAF is disconnected the DME will err on enriching the air/fuel mix. This can easily cover up another performance problem like a vacuum leak. If the problem is unchanged after disconnecting the MAF the problem is not the MAF.
Aftermarket MAF sensors don't work.

The fuel filter gets clogged and inhibits the flow of fuel. Replace it every 60-100k miles.

Sparkplugs should be replaced every 60k miles.

Replace air filter every 15k miles.

Pre-cat O2 sensors have a lifespan of 100k miles. They have a significant effect on fuel consumption. They also affect performance. When they start degrading they cause a rich air/fuel mix. This will degrade performance some but will not cause any rough running symptoms. The main symptom is degraded fuel consumption.
The pre-cat O2 sensors are not used on cold weather cold start. The O2 sensors don't function when cold and are thus not utilized by the DME.
Aftermarket O2 sensors don't work.

Camshaft position sensors can fail and cause problems. They will usually produce a code, but they might initially malfunction without producing a code. A failing exhaust CPS will cause light performance problems. A failing intake CPS can cause significant performance problems.
Aftermarket CPS sensors don't work. OEM CPS sensors are only available through BMW. OEM CPS sensors have a BMW logo or series of numbers and this can be used to check if a CPS sensor is OEM.
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Old 02-20-2014, 02:34 PM   #7
Gr1f
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Rajaie,
Thanks for this really extensive list!
Tested the MAF already, same issue but might as well clean it over weekend anyway... Hmm, where to start! Limited set of tools (and knowledge) but i can probably find good instruction on how to do a lot of this.

Just read this post which has an interesting perspective, might be worth a try too as seems easy enough; http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=856781

I'll check the DISA over the weekend, read up on this already so have a fair idea what to look out for.

I'll give your CVV diagnostic a try too.

Very interesting about the pre-cat lambda sensors. First I have read that they're not used in cold weather? Well, cold here is like 44f... cold and wet! I guess no point in spacing out for replacements yet. I realise that the BMW OEM are the Bosch which can be fauns readily enough. It does flag something with me tho. The intermittent aspect of my issues. Wonder if temperature was having an effect...

Fuel filter should have been done at last service, Had a BMW Dealer one done last July according to Log book... but not sure. I'll ring BMW dealer tomorrow and ask them to look up what was done...

I'll replace Air Filter too and a set of plugs.

I'll get codes read tomorrow and post them. Still no management light even though it's almost as groggy as it was before I had the vans seals done.

Again thanks for your list!
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Old 02-20-2014, 04:05 PM   #8
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I had a similar issue briefly which was followed shortly by a "camshaft position actuator A" code (can't remember the code). I checked the plug for the intake VANOS solenoid and found that months before when I'd plugged it back in after doing the VANOS seals the metal prongs on one of the connections has been pushed back instead of slipping onto the other part of the connector. I pushed it back into the connector, plugged it back in and checked carefully to see if it had gone on correctly and the problem was solved. Wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happened to you. One of the connections might have not gone fully into place even though the connector for that sensor or solenoid as a whole did click firmly in place. The contact was good enough for a while, but vibration and heat cycles finally got it so it's barely connecting and affecting performance.
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Old 02-25-2014, 11:10 PM   #9
Rajaie
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Looking again at your post I see the shop saw a vanos exhaust code. This is likely due to a sticking vanos exhaust solenoid piston.

Here's how to check and resolve a sticking vanos exhaust solenoid piston.
With the vanos mounted on the engine, remove the vanos exhaust solenoid with a 32mm deep socket.
Most 32mm deep sockets aren't deep enough for the vanos solenoid. The Advance Auto AutoCraft 32mm deep socket works. Also a showerhead socket works.
Place paper towels on the radiator lower hose to catch dripping oil. Also have a paper towel under the solenoid junction when removing the solenoid.
Where the solenoid screws into the vanos is a cylinder with red spring loaded piston. Press in the piston and release. It should press in with resistance and spring back when released. The piston movement should be smooth. If it's not then this is likely the problem.
Pull out the piston while holding a paper towel under it to catch oil.
Spray clean the piston and it's cylinder with brake cleaner. Dry the piston and cylinder.
Oil the piston and cylinder and reinstall the piston.
Check the piston movement. Press in and release the piston multiple times. Its movement should be very smooth.
Reinstall the solenoid.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:20 PM   #10
DEADF15H
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Rajaie,
Are you a mechanic? My brother-in-law has a 330 in Henderson and is looking for a good indy shop,any suggestions?
BTW, thanks for the excellent post, very detailed and informative.
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Old 02-26-2014, 09:32 PM   #11
Optio
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I suspect sticky solenoid piston and/or poor electrical connection for the solenoid. I like the electrical enhancement spray stuff........
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Old 03-01-2014, 08:42 AM   #12
Gr1f
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OK so before I went any further with this I decided to get a code reader.... That'a take a week to get INPA working!!

Anyway. I cleared to codes and the following code appeared shortly afterwards:
Date: 03/01/14
ECU: MS430DS0
JobStatus: OKAY
Varient: MS430DS0
______________________
RESULT: 1 errors in error memory !
______________________
104 control-VANOS mecanical outlet
Error Frequency : 1
Logistic counter: 40

CAM_AV_EX_RAW -10.11 Grad CRK
CAM_REF_EX -11.80 Grad CRK
N_32 864.00 rpm
TOIL 80.16 Grd C
aufgetreten vor (edel. BZ) 0.30 h
____
____
____
Adaption value out of Tolera.
Error to relevant
Error denouncer
Error currently available
stat. Error
Errorcode: 68 78 01 28 3B 39 1B A1 66 41
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Old 03-01-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
Gr1f
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optio View Post
I suspect sticky solenoid piston and/or poor electrical connection for the solenoid. I like the electrical enhancement spray stuff........
Deffo worth a try, is it a big job? Mechanic said he moved the gunky one to the top more easily accessed intake one.
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:12 AM   #14
Gr1f
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Hi folks just to update this thread.
Replaced Exhaust Cam sensor - no difference. Getting the following from INPA

So far I have done the following
Replaced VANOS rings
Switched around the VANOS solenoids
Cleaned MAF
Cleaned few electrical contacts

I'll have a look at the intake solenoid to see if it's moving smoothly or not.

RESULT: 2 errors in error memory

104 control-VANOS mechanical outlet

Error Frequency : 1
Logistic Counter: 40

CAM_AV_EX_RAW -10.11 Grad CRK
CAM_REF_EX -10.11 Grad CRK
N_32 896.00 rpm
TOIL 87.32 Grad C
aufgetreten for (del. B2) 0.20 h

___
___
___
Adaptation value out of Tolera.
Error to relevant
Error Debounce
Error currently not available
sporadic error

Errorcode: 68 B8 01 28 3B 1C AA 69 D3
_______________________________________

31 Ignition Zyl. 5
Error Frequency : 15
Logistic counter: 40

N_32 1728.00 rpm
MAF 217.88 ng/stk
V_DVR_ICG_5 HIGH 125.61 ms
V_DVR_ICG_5 LOW 0.49 ms
aufgetreten for (del. B2) 0.20 h

___
Spa to small
___
___
Error to not relevant
Error debounce
Error currently not available
sporadic error

Errorcode: 1F A2 0F 28 36 28 00 5C 69 D3


Only other thing I spotted was this:

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Old 05-07-2014, 05:12 AM   #15
Gr1f
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Talking to another board one guy suggesting changing the entire VANOS. At least to rule it out.... ugh
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:25 PM   #16
Stinger9
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In the USA we have http://drvanos.com/index.php?option=...&id=2&Itemid=3
to accomplish this and reasonable $
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Old 05-07-2014, 08:34 PM   #17
bmwgeo330ci
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Hi I got my 01 330ci in Nov. 2013 with 168k. I had a serious lack of power between 2 to 3 k rpm range.. Once you go over the power starts to come in.. I had a code for exhaust cam sensor. I replaced it. No change. I then read a post about checking all electrical connectors to injectors. I re crimped them also the one to the alternator and all six coil packs. Seemed like it helped out for a day or so. next I did the vanos seals, no changes, then a new fuel filter, no change, then six plugs, no change, air filter, no change, checked disa valve, it was fine, ordered a new idle control valve, no change, cleaned maf, no change, by now I am done, I also had a code for o2 pre cat. I did not have the money to change them, so I simply did connected them. I took the car for a drive and something strange happened, the car has so much power now. I could not believe it. I have been driving the car for the past five months with them disconnected and yes the gas mileage is down about 24 to 25 mpg. The check engine light is on. But with out changing the o2s its not to bad.
All the parts I replaced in my car have been from Bmw dealers all Oem. I am going to buy all four from the dealer when I get the money. I would suggest disconnecting them and seeing if it helps out.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:52 PM   #18
Stinger9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwgeo330ci View Post
Hi I got my 01 330ci in Nov. 2013 with 168k.
Remarkable and well-told story. Thanks for outlining things.
I almost feel like we should take up an O2 sensor collection for you!
Seriously I hope you can come up with the $ for the pre-cats in short order. I'd not touch to post cats as they are not hooked into engine performance. They should not have anything to do with your driving power. That 330 with 5 speed should take off like a scalded cat when all is running right.

Do note that additionally if you run without the pre-cats hooked up, you are running rich and could seriously damage your expensive cats. I'd be motivated to get those two sensors asap.
And do come back when you get them to report the rest of the story!!


OH, and BTW, you can get the proper Bosch sensors much cheaper than from the dealer from some of these guys:
www.furiousmethod.com

Think I got mine at eEuroparts for a good price.

Last edited by Stinger9; 05-07-2014 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:29 AM   #19
bimmerfan94
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You guys are all saying up to almost 30mpg and that you would expect this out of a 330ci. I have a 2002 330ci and I only get around 22-24 mpg and when you say a lot of power between 3000-5000 rpm what would you say is a lot i cant tell if there is something wrong with my car. It has always ran this way since i bought it
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:50 PM   #20
Stinger9
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Your mileage is normal for around town. Close to 30 is if you're running most all on the highway.
What transmission do you have?
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