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BMW E39 Camshaft Sensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Camshaft Sensor Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$500

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets 5mm Allen bit, wrenches 19mm, 32mm, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Intake or Exhaust camshaft sensor, sealing O-rings

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Car will run well.

Complementary Modification:

Change engine oil

The camshaft position sensor is used to synchronize fuel injection and as a feedback device for VANOS (variable camshaft timing) control (if equipped). When a camshaft sensor fails, the check engine light will illuminate and a fault code will be stored. I have seen faulty sensors cause engine stalling and poor engine drivability. If you have a camshaft sensor fault code and your engine isn't running right, I suggest replacing the sensor before digging too deep.

In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the intake and exhaust camshaft position sensors. The procedures are different, so they will be described separately.

Models with 6-cylinder engine:

Remove engine covers. See our tech article on engine cover removing.

Intake camshaft sensor:

Remove the air filter housing assembly.
Figure 1

Remove the air filter housing assembly. Remove the 10mm fastener (green arrow), then disconnect air flow meter electrical connector (yellow arrow). Now loosen the air flow meter clamp (red arrow) and lift the air filter housing out of the engine compartment.

Working at the left front corner of cylinder head cover, disconnect crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling away from cylinder head cover.
Figure 2

Working at the left front corner of cylinder head cover, disconnect crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling away from cylinder head cover.

Disconnect VANOS solenoid electrical connector.
Figure 3

Disconnect VANOS solenoid electrical connector. (green arrow) Squeeze metal release clip and pull straight off solenoid.

Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen VANOS solenoid.
Figure 4

Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen VANOS solenoid. If VANOS oil line prevents access to VANOS solenoid hex, remove oil line 19mm Banjo bolt. This will improve access to VANOS solenoid. Be prepared to catch dripping oil in a rag.

Remove the VANOS solenoid from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 5

Remove the VANOS solenoid from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.

Remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener.
Figure 6

Remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener. (green arrow)

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is located below the throttle and behind alternator.
Figure 7

The camshaft sensor electrical connector is located below the throttle and behind alternator. Disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector. Remove camshaft sensor from cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag. Feed sensor wiring harness up and out of engine compartment. Feed new sensor wiring harness into engine compartment the same way it was previously routed. Install sensor in cylinder head and tighten. Connect camshaft sensor electrical connector. Reinstall VANOS solenoid and tighten. Install air filter housing, install engine covers and clear DME fault codes.

Exhaust camshaft sensor:
Working at right front of cylinder head, disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing release tabs and pulling straight off.
Figure 8

Working at right front of cylinder head, disconnect camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing release tabs and pulling straight off. (green arrow)

Using a 5mm Allen bit, remove camshaft sensor fastener.
Figure 9

Using a 5mm Allen bit, remove camshaft sensor fastener. (green arrow)

Pull camshaft sensor out of cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 10

Pull camshaft sensor out of cylinder head, be ready to any catch dripping oil in a rag. Install new camshaft sensor with new O-ring and fastener. When installing, lubricate O-ring with engine oil and push into cylinder head until retaining flange (where bolt fastens through) is flush with cylinder head. Install new fastener and tighten and reconnect electrical connector. Models with 8-cylinder engine M62 8-cylinder models camshaft sensor is located at the right front timing cover. You will have to remove the air filter housing lid and cut to access it.

Using a flathead screwdriver, unclip all four air filter housing retaining clips.
Figure 11

Using a flathead screwdriver, unclip all four air filter housing retaining clips. (green arrows).

Once you release all the clips, unscrew the mass air flow sensor electrical connector (green arrow) by rotating it counterclockwise and pulling it off sensor.
Figure 12

Once you release all the clips, unscrew the mass air flow sensor electrical connector (green arrow) by rotating it counterclockwise and pulling it off sensor. Then disconnect the intake air temperature sensor by pressing the wire release tab and pulling the connector (yellow arrow) straight off the sensor.

Then lift up the air cleaner to access the 10mm fastener for the air duct and remove it (red arrow).
Figure 13

Then lift up the air cleaner to access the 10mm fastener for the air duct and remove it (red arrow). Then remove the breather hose from the intake air duct by pulling it straight off (green arrow), then loosen the hose clamp (yellow arrow) and remove the intake air duct with air filter housing lid from engine.

Next, remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener.
Figure 14

Next, remove the intake camshaft sensor 5mm Allen fastener. (green arrow)

Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head, catch any dripping oil in a rag.
Figure 15

Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head, catch any dripping oil in a rag. Be sure the O-ring comes out with sensor.

Then disconnect the electrical connector, it is located at the front of the wiring junction on the right side cylinder head.
Figure 16

Then disconnect the electrical connector, it is located at the front of the wiring junction on the right side cylinder head. Press the wire release tab (green arrow) and pull it straight out of the junction. With the harness disconnected, feed the old wiring harness out and around the dipstick tube. Install the new sensor wiring harness and route it as the old one was. Listen for the snap of the wire retainer to be sure it is properly engaged. When installing, lubricate O-ring with engine oil and push into cylinder head until retaining flange (where bolt fastens through) is flush with cylinder head. Install new fastener and tighten.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Troy Comments: Is the wiring harness available for the exhaust cps? Mine is in bad shape. Thanks Troy
August 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not as one piece, but the terminals with wires and connector can be had and assembled to replace your's.

Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Buggs Comments: Hi guys, very easy directions to follow and I had done exactly what has been described, although I have noticed that my camshaft sensors from my 2001 E39 M62B44TU are slightly longer than the ones I was supplied with? The new sesors are a perfect fit, but of course sit around 6mm further out than the originals. This was not a problem until I first started the car....Would not fire on the first key turn, engine rotates, but I'm guessing the fuel cut off is engaged as the cam sensors are not picking up a clear signal as they are not close enough to the camshaft to obtain an accurate trigger response? Turn the key off and immediately try again and it fires up? a little Odd I know, but it seems that the first start is the one that cuases issues? I have had odd occasions where even the second attempt at starting the car just ends up with the engine cranking and no ignition taking place, but mostly it fires on the second attempt? I guess my question is are there different camshaft position sensors for the M62B44TU and the std M62B engine? It would seem that there are, and the variations are in the lengths of the cam sensors in regards to how far in to the engine they sit once installed.
I have to say that once the car is started with the newer short sensors it runs just fine, but having to crank it twice each time I want to start it is just a pain in the #$$. Any recomendations you can give would be greatly appreciated.....Cheers Dale M.......Australia......
September 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You probably have the wrong parts. Double check the numbers you got against your vehicle info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: Hello,
Are camshaft position sensors the same part for the six cyl E39 and the V8?
Also, my check engine light is not on but the BMW dealer here in France says there is a faulty cam position sensor. They want 400 Euros to change that and a front wheel ABS sensor!
Thanks
November 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, each engine has different sensors. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:06:18 AM