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Charcoal Canister and Vent Solenoid Replacing
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Charcoal Canister and Vent Solenoid Replacing

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$200

Talent:

***

Tools:

T20 Torx driver, Flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 Coupe/Conv (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Charcoal canister, canister vent solenoid, hose clamp

Hot Tip:

Be careful when working with evaporative system, do not damage any hoses or connections

Performance Gain:

Repair evaporative system faults

Complementary Modification:

Replace evaporative hoses if needed

The effort to reduce automotive emissions has resulted in many changes in the structure of vehicles. For example, early fuel tanks were simply a can with a cap and a hose leading to the engine. The cap had to be vented in order to allow for fuel to expand and contract due to temperature changes and, of course, so fuel could flow freely to the engine as needed. It turned out that the vented fuel cap was the source of as much as 25% of total volatile gas emissions from vehicles. In an effort to control this huge source of unwanted emissions, automotive engineers developed the charcoal canister connected to the fuel tank vent. The charcoal in the canister can absorb large volumes of evaporated gasoline and store it. As the engine is driven, a vent and valve in the charcoal canister allow the stored gasoline fumes to be drawn into the intake manifold and combusted. 

The charcoal canister in the BMW Z3 is mounted in front of the left rear sub-frame. Attached to the charcoal canister is the vent solenoid that allows fresh air to be drawn into the canister as the fuel vapors are purged into the engine. This prevents the evaporative emission system from being pulled into a vacuum during purge events. The charcoal canister can crack and fail, creating emission fault codes relating to evaporative leaks. You may have a P0455 or P0422; both are evaporative emission leak codes that can be caused by components in the charcoal canister area. 

In this tech article, I will show you how to replace the charcoal canister and the vent solenoid. 

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Jack up the rear of your vehicle and support it using jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

This photo shows the location of the charcoal canister (green arrow).
Figure 1

This photo shows the location of the charcoal canister (green arrow). As previously noted, it is mounted in front of the left rear sub-frame.

Working at the large plastic hose at the bottom of the charcoal canister, use a flathead screwdriver to lever the hose clamp open.
Figure 2

Working at the large plastic hose at the bottom of the charcoal canister, use a flathead screwdriver to lever the hose clamp open. Place tip of screwdriver into clamp crimp and twist to detach clamp. This large hose is the vent inlet hose. You do not have to remove it, but removing it does make getting the canister out easier.

Once clamp is open, remove it from the hose and discard it.
Figure 3

Once clamp is open, remove it from the hose and discard it.

Then pull large plastic hose out of rubber hose.
Figure 4

Then pull large plastic hose out of rubber hose.

Next up, remove two 10mm charcoal canister fasteners (green arrows) When removing these fasteners, support the canister while you remove the last one.
Figure 5

Next up, remove two 10mm charcoal canister fasteners (green arrows) When removing these fasteners, support the canister while you remove the last one. This will prevent unwanted stress on the canister, hoses and electrical connections.

Once the fasteners have been removed, support the canister from below while pushing the metal mounting bracket up to disengage the rear hook (green arrow).
Figure 6

Once the fasteners have been removed, support the canister from below while pushing the metal mounting bracket up to disengage the rear hook (green arrow). Once the hook is disengaged, remove the strap from vehicle.

Working at the left side of the charcoal canister, press the wire spring and remove the electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 7

Working at the left side of the charcoal canister, press the wire spring and remove the electrical connector (green arrow).

Next, you have to disconnect the plastic lines to the canister.
Figure 8

Next, you have to disconnect the plastic lines to the canister. The lower line has a plastic U-shaped tab, squeeze this tab and hold, then pull line off canister. If it is stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to gently lever it off. Be careful not to damage the line or the canister. Then the line above this one has to be removed. To remove the next line, squeeze the plastic collar and pull it straight off the canister. Once the lines are disconnected, slowly guide charcoal canister out of rear fender and remove from vehicle.

If you are replacing the vent solenoid, remove the T20 Torx vent solenoid fastener (green arrow).
Figure 9

If you are replacing the vent solenoid, remove the T20 Torx vent solenoid fastener (green arrow).

Pull vent solenoid out of canister to remove.
Figure 10

Pull vent solenoid out of canister to remove. Reverse steps to install new vent solenoid.

Before reassembling the charcoal canister, inspect the canister lines and hoses for cracks or damage.
Figure 11

Before reassembling the charcoal canister, inspect the canister lines and hoses for cracks or damage. You donÂ't want to reinstall a defective part, your check engine light will be on soon after if you do. Install canister in reverse steps of removal. Remember to replace the clamp (green arrow) you removed earlier.

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Comments and Suggestions:
jon Comments: wasn't aware of how fragile this system is and topped off my fuel during a shortage... now the Service Engine Soon light is on. Is this a system that can be dried out? and aired out? or is replacement my only option? and what are the part numbers for both canister and valve?
September 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if saturated, it has to be replaced. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rookeworld6 Comments: Hi. I currently have a CEL code of P0443 "Evap purge valve CIRCUIT" on my 1999 BMW Z3 2.5. I have replaced the EVAP purge valve/solenoid that is located under manifold right behind the PS reservoir. After replacing and clearing the light, the CEL light came right back on. I haven't even pulled it out of the drive way. Is there another area I should troubleshoot given this code? maybe the charcoal canister itself, or hoses, or a worn/loose gas cap?
February 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Circuit points to the electrical portion of the solenoid. The wiring may be damaged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Frank Comments: Hi just wondering what the symptoms are when your vent soleniod doesn't work anymore? Reason I ask is, my Z3-M starts and runs beautifully first thing in the morning, but when I fuel up, or go for a short drive the shops and get back in it, the revs drop off violently, so I have to keep my foot on the gas to keep things smooth. Could this be the solenoid?

Cheers Frank
January 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not likely an evap part causing that. Is the check engine light on? Sounds like an engine misfire. I would check spark, fuel and compression on all cylinders. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jj9215 Comments: Hello. I was wondering what the container was called located Next to the filler neck for the gas tank?. It's inside the wheel well passenger side rear tire. Black container with the blue hard plastic line from the front charcoal canister connected to it. Plus other lines from the charcoal canisters in the trunk connecting to it also. Any idea what it's called?
October 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it's called the overflow tank. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:08:09 AM