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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 11-22-2010, 05:02 PM   #1
e9coupe
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Need help/opinions about Cam Sensor fault code / VANOS

Okay, I've just about given up on this problem and need some help. 2003 325i, 99k miles, A/T. I bought the car with an overheated engine and don't have any history on it. I had the cylinder head rebuilt and installed it myself, which I've done in the past on other BMW engines with VANOS systems. BTW, one of the head bolt holes was stripped in the block so I used the Time-Sert kit and repaired all 14 holes. I was VERY impressed with the kit and highly recommend it if you ever come across this in the future! The car now runs very good and idles smoothly, but I can't get rid of a fault code:

28BC: Camshaft Position Sensor Input; Mechanical.

I'm assuming that the MECHANICAL portion of the code means its relating to the physical setup/timing of the camshaft gears/sprockets/plates, but I've checked everything five times with the special tools for setting it all up and everything is dead on. I've also replaced both camshaft sensors with used sensors off of another engine and the VANOS seals with the kit. Anyone have any suggestions what to do next?

Dan

Last edited by e9coupe; 11-22-2010 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:31 PM   #2
e9coupe
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Nobody has an option? 8-) Should I post this in a different forum?
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:37 PM   #3
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Dan this required some really deep knowledge into the modern BMW ECU's etc, you might have to consult well known BMW shops for an answer. A lot reputable BMW garages are willing to share reasonable amount of knowledge.
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:42 PM   #4
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You didn't set the cams up right. Pretty simple you need ALL the right tools. What are your reading on the exhaust cam and intake cam in live data
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Old 11-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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^ reputable shop mechanic to the rescue!
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
e9coupe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeurotech View Post
You didn't set the cams up right. Pretty simple you need ALL the right tools. What are your reading on the exhaust cam and intake cam in live data
I used the VANOS tools to set the cams up. Locked the crank at TDC with the pin in the flexplate, locked the cams with the locks in the rear of the cams and used the VANOS actuators tool to set the actuators in place. All the arrows point where they're suppose to point. The car runs really good and if the light wasn't on you wouldn't suspect any problems. I have a Snapon scanner. Will that work for what you're asking about the live data? Where do I find what the readings should be, or what do I look for to identify a problem?

I also have access to another VANOS unit that I was considering swapping with just to eliminate that as the problem.

Last edited by e9coupe; 11-23-2010 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:16 AM   #7
jbeurotech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e9coupe View Post
I used the VANOS tools to set the cams up. Locked the crank at TDC with the pin in the flexplate, locked the cams with the locks in the rear of the cams and used the VANOS actuators tool to set the actuators in place. All the arrows point where they're suppose to point. The car runs really good and if the light wasn't on you wouldn't suspect any problems. I have a Snapon scanner. Will that work for what you're asking about the live data? Where do I find what the readings should be, or what do I look for to identify a problem?

I also have access to another VANOS unit that I was considering swapping with just to eliminate that as the problem.
You put the exhuiast reluctor wheel on wrong... i see it all the time, you need another tool to line it up correctly....
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeurotech View Post
You put the exhuiast reluctor wheel on wrong... i see it all the time, you need another tool to line it up correctly....
I appreciate your time to respond to my questions, but telling me the reluctor wheel is on wrong and I need another tool doesn't really help me much. The reluctor wheel bolts on with three holes and an arrow that points to the valve cover surface. How can that be put on wrong? I also can't see how the wheel could be put on wrong and the engine run so good.

I'm using a Bentley manual for reference. I'll go back into the camshaft timing setup section and re-read everything again, but when you use the BMW tools to set everything up it seems pretty simple.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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Make sure you have good working OEM CPS sensors. Spray clean the connectors with electrical contact cleaner.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:00 PM   #10
jbeurotech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e9coupe View Post
I appreciate your time to respond to my questions, but telling me the reluctor wheel is on wrong and I need another tool doesn't really help me much. The reluctor wheel bolts on with three holes and an arrow that points to the valve cover surface. How can that be put on wrong? I also can't see how the wheel could be put on wrong and the engine run so good.

I'm using a Bentley manual for reference. I'll go back into the camshaft timing setup section and re-read everything again, but when you use the BMW tools to set everything up it seems pretty simple.
Well its not quite that simple. The additional tool makes sure both cam gears are properly aligned I suspect this may be an issue.

http://www.toolsource.com/assenmache...-p-105965.html


if its easy and you don't want my help by all means keep plugging away and insist your right....
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Last edited by jbeurotech; 11-24-2010 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:21 PM   #11
e9coupe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeurotech View Post
Well its not quite that simple. The additional tool makes sure both cam gears are properly aligned I suspect this may be an issue.

http://www.toolsource.com/assenmache...-p-105965.html


if its easy and you don't want my help by all means keep plugging away and insist your right....
Please don't get me wrong, like I said, I appreciate the time you're taking to help. The point I was trying to make was "You didn't do it right" and "You need another tool" was good info but not quite enough for me to do anything about it. The chain alignment tool you're referring to is part of the tool kit I have and I used it to align the chains.

As far as the CPS... I swapped the original sensors with two off of an engine that was running fine when it came out of the car (now in storage). I'll clean them really good and swap them out again if it doesn't help.

Is there anymore info about the "28BC" code? Meaning, does BMW dealerships have an explanation of what the cause usually is?
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:51 PM   #12
jbeurotech
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e9coupe View Post
Please don't get me wrong, like I said, I appreciate the time you're taking to help. The point I was trying to make was "You didn't do it right" and "You need another tool" was good info but not quite enough for me to do anything about it. The chain alignment tool you're referring to is part of the tool kit I have and I used it to align the chains.

As far as the CPS... I swapped the original sensors with two off of an engine that was running fine when it came out of the car (now in storage). I'll clean them really good and swap them out again if it doesn't help.

Is there anymore info about the "28BC" code? Meaning, does BMW dealerships have an explanation of what the cause usually is?
All code definitions and test plans are contained in the tools Now called ISTA/D.


Something must not be assembled right is it an automatic?? Does it feel like a honda V-tect when it run fine and smooth but lacks power or gets a kick at about 5000 RPM?
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
e9coupe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbeurotech View Post
All code definitions and test plans are contained in the tools Now called ISTA/D.


Something must not be assembled right is it an automatic?? Does it feel like a honda V-tect when it run fine and smooth but lacks power or gets a kick at about 5000 RPM?
To be honest, I haven't driven an E46 before now, but based on other BMW's and other cars I'd say that it has normal power at lower and higher rpms. If I stomp on the pedal from a stop it "almost" breaks the tires loose (makes a few chirps) and accelerates up through the rpms fairly strong.

I'm with you, I still think something might be assembled wrong, but I've gone over everything so many times I've run out of things to look at. Could a faulty VANOS unit through a code like that without a VANOS specific code?
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Old 11-24-2010, 10:57 PM   #14
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I'm on the road and don't have access to my code tables. Can someone provide a P code equivalent.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:09 PM   #15
e9coupe
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Okay, I cleaned all the connectors and no change. I also swapped a different VANOS unit on and now get a 28b8 code (was 28bc). The description next to the code is still the same "Camshaft Position Sensor Input; Mechanical". Car still runs fine.

I've run out of ideas. I guess I'm taking it to the dealer and paying whatever it takes. I hate this. I feel like I'm so close to fixing this thing and can't do it.
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Old 12-10-2010, 07:39 PM   #16
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This is a follow-up to the problem with the camshaft fault code I posted a while back...

The code I had was from a Snap-on scanner and said "28BC Camshaft Position Sensor Input; Mechanical". After doing everything I could think of with the VANOS, gear/chain assembly, sensors, etc, I took it to a shop to help diagnose it. One of the first things they noticed was that two of the exhaust camshaft journal caps were reversed! They started by swapping those two caps but noticed that the nuts were on with different torques. After checking all the rest of the caps they found that they had all been put on different torques, like they were done without a torque wrench. After inspecting the cams and retorquing everything, the engine ran good and the code went away.

Two swapped caps and the rest of the caps mis-torqued was the problem!

I called the machine shop that did the head work and he owned up to his mistake, although I didn't try to get him to pay for any of the expense of having it fixed. I feel like I should've double-checked the torque before installing the head, so I'm a little pissed off at myself.

Dan
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:25 PM   #17
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To troubleshoot and hopefully resolve the 28b8 code (in OBDII it shows as P0014) I bought another/used VANOS unit and I replaced the one I had.

I trusted the pistons in my unit were good with the new seals from Rajaie. Thus, after a very thourough cleaning (I took out all the screw caps for the various oil channels), kepping the pistons from my unit, solenoids and solenoid pistons from the unit I bought and exhaust CPS from my unit (bought a new one a short while back as the second step to try to get rid of the code) I FINALLY got it working.

I did reset the error code before starting the car for the first time once I put everything together. Also, when I installed the VANOS, I moved the crank shaft to TDC and checked the cam shafts position to be correct (search this web site how to determine that), although this step is not necessary to do a correct VANOS installation but I wanted to reset the CPS once I would have the code cleared and before starting the engine first time.

I really hope this will help somebody else who may run into a similar issue. This error code used to drive me nuts. The car drove OK, however before all this exercise it used to idle really rough from time to time.
I have been driving it for a while now and I haven't run into any issues. Car's pick up is however much better.

At the end of the day, I believe that in my case the culprit was the solenoid on exhaust side (hence the code) but what is extremely weird to me about this entire fixing routine is that up until I decided to buy the used VANOS I swapped the solenoids from the unit I had and still the issue was shown on the exhaust side. That is when I decided to buy a new CPS but that didn't do it either. I was in this kind of pain:

The rest of the story is above ... and now I am like this

And many thx for a wonderfull web site and to everybody contributing.

Last edited by FutureFast; 10-21-2012 at 05:31 PM.
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