E90 vanos gears

image I haven’t seen this in awhile,,,,E 90 intake vanos gear bolt all broken off,,,customer said car stopped running,,,I wonder why,,,,customer never came in for the vanos gear bolt recall,,,the exhaust vanos had 2 bolt broken.image I don’t know if you can see it,,,,but on the intake vanos you can see the bolt stud part still in there,,,,and it got jammed between the gear.image Here are the old and the new vanos gears,,,the only difference is the new one already have the new updated gear bolts.image Seen the vanos gear bolt broke off,,,,I had to pin the motor on 1 cylinder,,,,I have always had a problem with the way BMW has you pin a motor,,,,it’s not the easiest place to pin a motor and you are working blindly,,,the place where you have to pin a motor is right under the starter motor at the flywheel,,,,,,you are doing it by feel and you have to make sure you are pined correctly,,,,many techs have done this wrong,,,,and then the engine won’t start,,,,here are the timing lock out tools for the camshafts and vanos gears sensor,,,you must make sure they are sitting flat and secured while timing the engine,,,,also once you are done,,,,you rotate the engine counterclockwise 1 time,,,the make sure the timing lock out tools fit properly without any adjustments,,,,and this car I also removed the oil pan to remove some of the broken pieces that fell into oil pan,,,,so after all she got new vanos gears,,,valve cover gasket,,,and new oil pan gasket during the recall.

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13 Responses to E90 vanos gears

  1. BMW US. says:

    Hello BMW Tech. Recently the dealer replaced both VANOS actuators on my 328i N51 motor due to broken bolts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • BMW US. says:

      When I asked the service advisor, he told me the tech said that he did not reprogram anything or reset any adaptations. The car does not feel as fast for some reason ever since I got it back. Do you think I should reset the ECU adaptations?


      • No I don’t think resetting the DME or adaptation value will help,,,,how does the car start up and idle,,,,,I’m asking because maybe the timing is not correct which would cause the lose of power,,,,I hope this helps


  2. BMW US says:

    Starts up and idles normal. Here is the thing. Dealer put in 0W-30. I just changed the oil with BMW LL01 approved 0W-40. Car pulls better now. I also noticed that with the 30 the car pulled fine at around 220 oil temp but will the lose power at 240 which is operating temp for this car. But with 0W40 it pulls good even when it gets to operating temp now. Is it because the vanos system needs a thicker oil to have more oil pressure to run? Have you heard anything like this? Thank you kind sir!


    • This is the first time I have heard this,,,,we have been using 0-30 for years now with no problem,,,,now BMW is using 0-20 and we still don’t have any problem,,,,what you can do is change the oil back to 0-40 and see if everything is fine again.


      • BMW US says:

        Yes. I changed it back to 0W-40. Everything runs fine now. I’ve always ran 40 weight oil and never had a problem until the dealer changed the actuators and dropped the pan to get the broken bolts. Which made them put in 0w30 of course. The difference is not huge but the car just seemed to loose a little bit of top end power at operating temp when the oil gets thinner for some reason. I appreciate your input on this. What types of oil weights have you seen on N51/N52 engines with no problem? Do people run 20 weight on these cars?


      • No we don’t run 0-20 on those cars,,,just the newer cars from 2016 are starting to get 0-20,,,,but not the V8 they still get 0-30


  3. BMW US says:

    Hello BMW Tech. Yesterday I used an Autel scan tool to reset ECU adaptations. What’s the difference between resetting adaptation and resetting adaptation and variation?
    It gave me 2 options. Says I can reset “ adaptation and variations (coding)”. I was wondering what the difference was.


    • No you just want to reset the adaptation values,,,,the other one will reset and code modules,,,you will have to reset steering angle sensor,tpm,relearn trans shift point,engine operations don’t do it.


      • BMW US. says:

        Thank you very much for clarifying. That is what I thought too. Yesterday I only reseted the adaptation value and did not mess with the variations. 2 questions. The car now drives a little weird, how long will it take for it to fully adapt? Anything I need to do after resetting adaptations? Also my N51 has a Tune on my. Not a piggy back but an actual tune in the DME. Do you know if resetting the adaptations will affect the tune? Thank you.


      • It should take about 20 to 30 miles to adjust,,,,I’m not for sure but I don’t think it will effect your tune


  4. Mike Maloney says:

    Thanks for this article. My 2010 X3 (N52) suddenly started making a significant rattling in the upper timing chain area. Purchased a $30 borescope on Amazon and through the oil fill port could view the sheared off vanos bolts on the intake. My car was not under the recall, but still under the extended 10 year warranty, with 4 months to go. The liberated bolt heads did so much damage that the dealer, after replacing vanos and timing chain guides, ordered a new engine from Germany and replaced the engine. I believe the first clue that I had to this may have been a code on retarded vanos timing on intake sometime before the noise. Thanks


    • Wow that the first time I have heard the vanos bolts doing a lot more damage to the whole engine,,,usually it’s only the vanos units and getting the broken pieces out of the oil pan.,,,but a whole engine,,,sound like you got lucky


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