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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW Camshaft Timing
and Vanos Unit Installation

Difficulty Level: 6
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
      This technical article is designed to be used in conjunction with other ones in our Technical Library.  If you replace your head gasket, you will need to retime your camshafts and re-install the Vanos unit.  For the purpose of instruction here, we'll assume that you have your cylinder head installed on the engine block, the crankshaft is locked at Top Dead Center (TDC), and your two camshafts are locked using the BMW camshaft locking tool.  This article will guide you through the process of retiming your camshafts, and re-installing the Vanos variable camshaft timing unit.

     This article departs from our normal format of text and words mingled together.  Since there are so many photos associated with this article, I have arranged them in assembly order with captions for each.  Read through each caption as a step in the assembly process.

Figure 1
We start the procedure by making sure that the engine is at Top Dead Center (TDC).  At this point, the TDC pin is installed into the locking position, and is holding the flywheel steady (see Head Gasket Replacement article for more details).  The camshafts are locked in place using the camshaft locking tool.  This will allow us to properly align and time the camshafts and the Vanos unit.
Figure 2
Shown here is the sprocket for the exhaust camshaft.  Prior to mounting it on your engine, verify that the teeth of the gear are not worn or damaged.  Also inspect the inner mounting slots to see if there is any wear from being loose at one time.
Figure 3
Install the sprocket onto the exhaust camshaft.  Make sure that the mounting holes located on the camshaft flange are visible through the slots in the sprocket, and also make sure that the holes are biased towards the left side of the slots, as is shown by the red arrow.  It may require some maneuvering to get the sprocket into it's proper position.  Normally, it takes multiple attempts to get it to look exactly like the photo on the left.
Figure 4
Turn your attention now to the lower chain tensioner, which is located on the lower part of the block, on the right side of the car.  We will be removing this tensioner and replacing it with a tensioner tool, which will keep the chain tight while we time the cams.
Figure 5
Here is the tensioner tool, which we use in place of the spring-loaded tensioner when timing the camshafts.  It's important to use this tool, and not to rely solely on the spring-loaded tensioner - it does not provide enough tension when the car is sitting to accurate time the camshafts.  Use the tool, and get the accurate reading that your engine deserves.
Figure 6
Remove the tensioner by placing a socket on the end piece of the tensioner.  Do not remove the tensioner block which is attached to the housing (not necessary).  When the tensioner comes out, it is spring loaded, so be prepared for it to pop out when you release the tension with your socket and driver.
Figure 7
Here is the tensioner assembly when you remove it.  The assembly consists of a plunger, spring, cap, and sealing ring.
Figure 8
Replace the tensioner with the proper tensioning tool.  For now, simply tighten the tool so that it is hand tight - we don't need or want the chain tension to be super-tight right now.
Figure 9
With the left sprocket installed, install the center plastic chain guide and torque down the long bolts that hold it in place.  Don't over torque (10 Nm) - the first time I did this, the long bolt was brittle and broke off in the cylinder head.  I had to take the assembly back apart, fish out the bolt, and then special order a new one (3 days wait).
Figure 10
With the guide in place, reinstall the top chain tensioner.  These tensioners sometimes fail, but there really isn't a good method for testing them.  I recommend replacement if your engine has at least 80,000 miles on it or so.  A little bit of preventative maintenance can go a long way here.  Tighten the bolts down to 10 Nm.
Figure 11
This photo shows the tensioner installed and ready to go.  Inspect the ramp before you install it to see if there is any significant wear or obvious deformations.  The ramp should still be held in place using the two small hex keys that you inserted when you removed it.  Do not release the tensioner yet.
Figure 12
Place the camshaft sensor cap onto the intake camshaft.  This metal cap serves to trigger the camshaft position sensor, and lets the engine know whether the engine is on an intake or exhaust stroke of it's 4-cycle process.  The camshaft position sensor fits into the hole on the right side of this photo (you can make out the small green o-ring to the lower right).
Figure 13
Shown here are the studs for the thrust washer and sprocket.  These studs look very similar to the ones that mount the valve cover to the head - don't mix them up.  Compare yours carefully to the ones in the photo to make sure that you have the right studs.  It is also important to keep in mind that there are two types of Vanos units (early/late).  The early units do not have a plate spring, whereas the later ones do.  The plate spring fits over the intake camshaft thrust washer, and requires slightly longer studs.  This particular car does not have the spring plate.
Figure 14
Install the thrust washer onto the intake camshaft.  Use the special studs, and install it in the same configuration in which it was removed.  In other words, in this photo, you can see the oil stain from the slots that surround the studs.  Install this side facing you when you reinstall this thrust washer (copy the photo).  Torque the studs to 20 Nm.
Figure 15
Now, take the two intake sprockets and chain and attach it to the assembly.  See the photo for the proper orientation of the two sprockets.  The exhaust sprocket should have it's cup facing outwards, and the intake sprocket should have its cup facing inwards.  Verify that both sprockets are correctly mounted flush to the surfaces behind them.  The intake sprocket is installed with the flat side facing you (the Vanos unit).  The collar of the intake sprocket faces and points to the camshaft.  Align the two sprockets and the chain so that the slots are centered on both sprockets (see arrows).
Figure 16
Here's another view of the intake Vanos sprocket, correctly mounted flush against the thrust washer behind it.  Soak all of the sprockets, gears and chains in clean motor oil before you install them - these are sliding parts that need lubrication. 
Figure 17
Now, install the thrust washer onto the intake camshaft and tighten the nuts down.  It's okay to reuse the old nuts.  If you have the Vanos unit with a spring plate, then install it first, before the thrust washer (not shown).  Tighten the nuts down to 10Nm.  IMPORTANT: With the nuts tight, the inside sprocket should be free to rotate back and forth about 20 degrees, along with the chain.  When I assembled this engine, I found that it could not.  Some of the bolts and flanges were worn, and I had to order new ones.  The Vanos unit requires that this "sandwich" of parts be able to rotate smoothly.  Verify this prior to proceding.
Figure 18
Install the screws onto the exhaust camshaft.  Place them onto the sprocket and tighten them only HAND TIGHT.  We will be making adjustments later on, and these bolts only need to be in place to hold the exhaust camshaft in its proper position.
 NOTE: From this point on, these are the instructions that you will want to look at if you are simply replacing the Vanos unit.
Figure 20
Here is what your engine should look like now.  You have the new camshafts installed, you have the chain and sprockets properly setup, and we're ready to install the Vanos unit.
Figure 21
Shown here is the Vanos unit.  It consists of a solenoid, and a hydraulic gear that is activated when oil pressure is released into the unit by the solenoid.  It's a rather simple device.  The gear on the unit is pushed out by oil pressure and as it moves outward, it rotates the small sliding camshafts sprockets, thus advancing the camshaft timing.
Figure 22
Test the Vanos unit by pulling out the gear plunger all the way.  You should be able to simply pull on it with your hand, and it should extend from the housing (see arrow).  If the unit still has oil in it at this time, it will make a gurgling noise or two.  Push the plunger back into the unit when you are finished.
Figure 23
The BMW service manuals recommend that you place some silicone sealant around the left and right mounting points (alignment pins) for the front Vanos seal.  This photo shows the right side (looking at the engine from the front).  Repeat for the left side alignment pin.
Figure 24
Install a new seal onto the front of the cylinder head (indicated by the arrow).  The seal should be made of a thin metal.
Figure 25
Now comes the tricky part.  Rotate the front sprocket/chain assembly all the way clockwise to the right (towards where the air cleaner sits).  With the plunger of the Vanos unit pushed all the way back into its housing (important), place the Vanos unit on the cylinder head.
Figure 26
The Vanos unit has inside gears that need to mesh with the ones on the sprocket (see arrow).  When you push the Vanos unit onto the cylinder head, it will not want to easily mesh with the gears on the sprocket.  Important: the sprocket/chain assembly should still be rotated as far clockwise as possible.
Figure 27
With your fingers, rotate the spline shaft on the Vanos unit, until you can engage one spline of the sprocket.  Pushing forward on the Vanos unit, carefully rotate the sprocket/chain assembly counter-clockwise.  As you do this, the Vanos unit should slide in towards the cylinder head.  Always ensure that the FIRST suitable tooth combination between the sprocket and the Vanos unit engages.
Figure 28
Reinstall the main mounting bolt and the engine lift ring.
Figure 29
After tightening down the Vanos housing, and clean up any squeeze-out from the silicone that you used to help seal the unit to the cylinder head.
Figure 19
With the sprockets properly installed, now pull out the retaining pins and reapply tension to the chain.  The tensioner should spring back with some force and tight the chain quickly.  If it appears sluggish, or does not spring back, then replace the tensioner before continuing.
Figure 32
Now, tighten down the tensioner tool to 1.3 Nm.  This is such an incredibly small amount, that you can simply use a hand-wheel ratchet to tighten the chain very tight.  You want to remove all slack in the chain prior to tightening down the exhaust sprocket.  Use of the regular spring-loaded tensioner does not place enough tension on the chain to correctly tighten the sprocket.
Figure 30
With the tensioner tool still in place, tighten down the four nuts on the exhaust sprocket (15 Nm).  Reinstall the plugs on the outside of the Vanos cover.
Figure 34
Remove your tensioner tool, and replace it with the real tensioner.  Make sure that the slot in the end of the tensioner is correctly aligned with the ramp on the inside of the engine.  If you make this mistake, it will cause the chain to rattle fiercely and may cause damage to your engine.
Figure 35
Remove the camshaft holding tool from the rear of the engine.  Also remove the flywheel locking tool.
Figure 36
You're finished!  Your Vanos unit should be installed, the camshafts will be timed properly, and all you have left to do is:
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Comments and Suggestions:
Alex 1993 525i autoComments: Ok I got it working fine now!

I did a silly mistake when putting back my solenoid piston, I put it the other way arround... damn I felt bad for 4 days thinking what the hell did I do wrong when putting back the Vanos and redoing the timing... at least I didn't have to open it the cover to find nothing was wrong in there.

This part:11361738495

The car runs super well now.
April 15, 2014
Alex 1993 525i autoComments: Hi there, I have a 199305 525i auto M50TU, I finished putting together the engine after replacing the upper timing chain, sprockets and tensioner. The nuts holding the stop plate and diaphragm spring went loose and were destroyed, the sprocket on the intake cam was loose on the cam and the chain chewed the tensioner. This was causing power surge in RPM below 2000 and no-start below 0 oC/32F.
I did the job exactly as described here and in the Bentley with all the tools etc. even tightening the primary chain tensioner to 11 in/lb of torque in the timing setting sequence, as told in the Bentley for M50. I was very cautious as to putting the VANOS back in properly, with the piston fully pushed-in, with the chain and secondary sprockets turned fully clockwise before inserting with the first matching tooth of the gear and so on.
The car started fine but the idle is now uneven and sometime the engine stalls when stopping at a red light or after I give it a burst of gas let’s say from the throttle body idle was fine before this repair. One good thing is the the power loss below 2000 RPM is now gone; when I take-off it doesn’t surge, it accelerates like before the problem appeared.
Upon searching like crazy what is wrong, I found your comment on September 16, 2013: There's also a BMW tech bulletin on the non-M3 motors that dealt with advancing the timing. So, sometimes if you replace a gasket and don't advance the timing back to where it was, then that might make a difference. That's about the extent of what I know on that issue. The advancing wasn't for more power, it was to eliminate a shaky idle. So, if your car is running well, I wouldn't mess with it
Can you find more info on this advance timing BMW tech bulleting? I can’t find anything on the TIS, neither Googling it… Do you think it can be related to my rough idle symptom? Any other ideas what to check beside this? Do you know if I can test my VANOS system without the special tool that I can’t find anywhere? 12 6 410 to simulate the solenoid function
Thanks for any hints and for your fantastic site!
April 12, 2014
alan limComments: e39 1998 m54-engine oil symbol keep flicking intermitently and the car seems no power. and recent stop often at traffic light and could not start the engine.
March 31, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you are low on oil. I would start by checking and topping it up if needed. I can't help with the no-start without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
AdamComments: Replacing 1999 e39 540i engine with rebuilt engine. Keep getting P0021 error code, despite setting marks aligned. Getting frustrated as car drives for 10-15 min without error, then code reappears.
March 27, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Either the timing is off or you have a faulty VANOS actuator. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark-93-325isComments: I am just replacing the gasket on the Vanos unit on my 1993 325is last several characters of VIN = much of this procedure will apply? Can I leave the cam sprockets and chain attached? No special lock-down tools required for cams and such? Will I need the manual chain tensioner? Can I just pull the VANOS unit out and put it back in, following the instructions in figures 25, 26 and 27 and following? If not, can I pull the VANOS out just part-way, or are the alignmnet pins taller than the VANOS splines, so you can't get the new gasket on without completely removing the VANOS?
March 23, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest locking the crankshaft and camshafts down to be safe. Once locked, you can remove the actuator, then replace gasket and reinstall with no worry. You can use this article as a guide. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
WireflyerComments: I have a 95 M42 and I am replacing the timing chain guides as they have broken and caused the motor to jump time. 1Do you have any articles on that motor? 2 Is there a place to rent the Cam holding blocks and pin?
March 17, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: This engine is similar: Nick at Pelican Parts
peljoppiComments: Hi, I have BMW 323 with single vanos. I renewed Vanos studs, but refitted old plates cleaned them and water sanded with p800. All the parts are well oiled, correctly torqued but I feel the cam plates are very tight to turn. I measures the stud and they were some 8 mm. The plates are 2mm+ 0,8 mm spring plate+4mm so there is not much room for easy turning. Is the Vanos unit really that strong or did I something wrong ? I have no idea how tight they should be to turn. I able to turn the cam plate system by hammering slightly to the teeth with help of screw driver and rubber hammer.
March 5, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The VANOS actuator usually stays put when the camshaft is slightly rotated. Once the limit is reached, it will move along with it, when being moved manually. What year vehicle are you working on? engine code, etc. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JCoderComments: Hello Wayne,

I am having an issue. I am in the process of replacing my headgasket on my 1997 328i. I am to the point of putting the timing blocks on the back side of the camshafts. I have the motor at TDC however the square ends of the camshafts don't align properly. I can only get one side of the timing block flush and I can't seem to be able to rotate the intake shaft in order to get them to align. I was hoping you could possibly give me some insight on what I am doing wrong.

Thank you for your time and hard work sir!!

Jacob C.
March 4, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You want to install the blocks before locking down the camshaft sprockets. did you do it this way? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RickComments: I have a 2011 BMW 535i and currently having the VANOS Adjustment Unit replaced at the dealer. The check engine light and "Drivetrain Malfunction" warning light came on also. Is this due to the same problem and does BMW have a problem with these VANOS units. My car only has 52K miles!!
February 17, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The warning light may have been due to the VANOS unit. The fault code would have identified the faulty component. The VANOS units do fail, however there is not a large number failing that I know of. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ArtisComments: Hello there , i have a bmw e39 1996 520i and i am wondering how do i put everything back if the head is already out without no lock on at all? turn the wheel til i see first cylinder is on top and put lock pin to flywheel? The Most i am afraid of is chains. How do i put them back correctly so timing would be ok? thanks :
February 14, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: With the head off, get the crank locked in TDC using the tool. Then install the head, without camshafts. Then install the cmashafts and lock them into place. Once everything is locked down, you can install the chain. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
skComments: hi,540i m62 1998 model, misfire on cylinder 5, compression is ok injectors are ok, coil and plugs are ok, there is no spark or pulse on the coil, swaped the coils still the same, checked the wiring from coil to ecu that is also ok, any suggestions please, ecu???
February 2, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you gave good injector pulse and compression, yet the DME does not fire the coil, the DME sounds faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
steve914Comments: Hi,
I have a 1999 540i. I am getting p1519 and p1522 codes. Replaced both cps sensors, no change. idle is a little rough. Accelerates fine. This could be a vanos issue or a timing chain issue. Is there a way to diagnose before tearing it apart.
January 29, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: These codes are for correlation. I would check mechanical engine timing. If it is OK, the VANOS actuator may be faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
PorschemanComments: Got bmw 318i 2002, will run fine until turned off then will not start, it has no compression, the only way to start is to disconnect vvt motor, it then starts with lack of power, with all connected I'm getting inlet camshaft sensor faults, cam chain all set up, don't know what activates motor
January 29, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you have no compression, the valves may be stuck open when cranking. My guess is there is a fault in the Valvetronic system. I would start by checking the DME for fault codes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jks2005Comments: I need the instructions to replace the exhaust vanos solenoids on my 2005 645ci
January 27, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: We don't currently have that information. Ty grabbing a repair manual for your vehicle - Nick at Pelican Parts  
drGComments: Does the washer that goes on after the spring on the intake rest on the shelf of the studs, or directly on the spring for the intake assembly that engages the vanos?
January 21, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Can you share your vehicle information? If I understand your question, it does not rest on the stud. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
james Comments: replaced the head gasket on my 98 528i retimed chain according to your article using crank pin, cam bar & tensioner bolt. cranks after a couple rev run & idle good but the auto trans seem to start off in 3th or 4th when reaching road speed it seem to do great but won't down shift. I'm getting codes on cam, crank, idling control valve, speed control valve and emission system purge valve could I still be out time causing this. thanks for your help
January 17, 2014
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would address one of the fault codes, you may have some thing plugged in wrong. The transmission issue seems like it is in fail safe. I would check the trans control module for fault codes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
HB540iComments: hi,I was wondering if some one can help with my problem ,I have e39 540i,adjusted my timing with all proper tools and my check engine light keeps coming on with dtc22 inlet camshaft control bank2, runned test on vanos and the readings are cam position bank1 0.043 bank2 6.236 duty factor bank1 1.961 bank2 2.353 vanos advancement time bank1 0.570 bank2 0.610 retardation time bank1 0.000 bank2 0.610 any one any idea?
December 25, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fault may be related to an expected timing change not being seen. I would check if timing is in target via a scan tool when running. Expected verse actual value. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Raul haComments: Hi, I was read all the articule., because I have a problem with a BMW 1998 323i..., I was changed the head gasket and fix the head..., affter make all this you have wrote..., the car does not start, only make some explosions but does not start..., what can I do??..., can you give me a tip??...., thanks a lot
December 24, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: If engine timing is correct, it could be a faulty component (coincidecne).
I can't help without knowing what is missing from the system when you are trying to start it. When your engine doesn’t start you’ll want to check the basics. Check spark, fuel injector pulse and pressure fuel, volume and quality. Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Coop33Comments: My name is Cory I have a2000 740 il code 1519 sounds like pennies in a soda can I replaced selinoid and cps what parts do I need to rebuild the Vanos ?
December 7, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
puravidaComments: Hello Pelican Staff, I need an advise.

I have an X5 2007 E70with 75K miles. Last March Enine check light came on. Car was on BMW extended warranty. Took Car to dealer here in Florida and found lots of sluggesh inside engine. SA told me that they flush engine and change oil. While taking the car from the dealer Engine Check light came on as soon I started car. Dealer keep the car for 4 more days and they clean again taking oil pan and valve cover off. Got the car out and drove above 5k miles 6 months and last week Light came on again. I put my code reader and gave me P00015.
Took car again to dealer last Monday and today they call me car is ready. SA flushed again and new oil and recommended to change oil in 3 months and do it again.
When I was getting out of the dealer as soon I started engine the light came on again. so now is the 3rd time in 6 month same issue.
This dealer is the same that is been doing the maintenance sine we bougth the car. Oil changes and all service.
They are telling me that they dont know why is so much sluggesh inside engine.
Please advise, Car was under warranty in March, but not now, expired in july. They told me that BMW warranty any repairs for two years?
December 6, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Among the possibilities: The engine is not warming up properly due to a bad thermostat or other cooling system issue. Or the crankcase breather system is clogged. Or the head gasket is blown, allowing leaking antifreeze to create a mayonnnaise-like substance inside the crankcase. Your best best is to find a reliable shop that specializes in BMW and have them give you the straight scoop. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
SantaComments: Hi Pelican, I have a 320i coupe, just under 4 years old with less than 20k miles. It has failed it's MOT Annual UK health check as the lambda emissions are too high. It's been suggested this could be a faulty timing chain which may need replacing. Does this ring true?
December 3, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is unlikely that a faulty timing chain could cause this problem. Make sure the oil is fresh, then check engine compression, spark and fuel delivery. Depending on the year of the vehicle, a scan tool diagnosis may pinpoint your problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BMTroubleUComments: Hi pelican, i would like to ask that if the vanos did not install properly, will the idling will raise up high like cold start 1500RPM and normal 1000RPM? My engine is M54 double vanos. If not, what will cause the problem? I have check with the ISIS, stated no fault code.
December 2, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is unlikely to be anything to do with VANOS. The likeliest cause is a vacuum leak at the intake manifold. However, it is odd that no fault codes are being displayed. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
AgarComments: Thanks Pelican Parts for the tips,
I am changing a headgasket for my 323i 1999. i dont know how to set the timing for this engine.
November 26, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article shows the tools needed and how to set up engine timing. Nick at Pelican Parts
Bmw 704iComments: I have a 2000 BMW 740i, a few days ago my service engine soon light came on and got the code P1519. There is a real loud "ticking" kind of noise coming from the front passenger side of the engine block. Now this mourning I was driving it and the dash light up like a Christmas tree saying Stop engine low oil pressure/low oil level. I checked the oil level and it was the same level as it always has been. Is this all because of the Vanos?
October 21, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: That fault code is for the bank 1 camshaft timing components. There could be an issue with the solenoid or the actuator. You will need a BMW scan tool to properly diagnose. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
-Comments: BMWE39/2.2/520i/M54B22/2002-After,headgasket,replced,unable to achieve more than 3,000rpm,without loss of power,could you suggest reasons/specific tools to remedy. Compressions within tolerances.Thanks, cbc.
October 18, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: check the basics, fuel pressure and volume, check for codes, check the cam timing, perform a leak down test and measure the engine vacuum. This should give you a starting point.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
hayawanComments: Hi, I have a 2004 Range Rover with the BMW 4.4L M62 engine, 81,000 miles. I got the SES with code p0011, camshaft position actuator A, Bank 1 - Timing over advanced. I also hear a little rattle from the engine at idle, but goes away over 1000 rpm. the vehicle drives normal. What is the problem? vanos? chains? guids? solenoid? or ? I replaced the main tentioner about 10,000 miles ago, as preventive measures. Thanks in advance
September 23, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: On an M62 engine, this could be a worn chain guide or a faulty VANOS actuator. You can inspect your oil and oil filter element for plastic, if plastic is present the chain guides are worn. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bass66Comments: nick would a bad cam sensor result in hard start and rough idle
September 18, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could but there would be faults stored. Are there any faults stored?
- Nick at Pelican Parts
bass66Comments: replaced head and gaskets on 98 528i all back together starts hard idles rough used your article to put back together
September 17, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Start by checking the cam timing, make sure it is correct. Also check the compression and leak down on the engine to look for damaged valves.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
SinghComments: Wayne, thanks for the info... I feel ALOT better now... it was really confusing about where they should be with or without slack. I assume the motor shouldn't run smooth whatsoever if the cams are slightly off... and the feeling that the motor was a bit slower is probably just mind games.

September 16, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yup, indeed, probably mind games. There's also a BMW tech bulletin on the non-M3 motors that dealt with advancing the timing. So, sometimes if you replace a gasket and don't advance the timing back to where it was, then that might make a difference. That's about the extent of what I know on that issue. The advancing wasn't for more power, it was to eliminate a shaky idle. So, if your car is running well, I wouldn't mess with it. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
SinghComments: You say in this article that you should have the holes biased to the LEFT on the exhaust sprocket for the timing chain main chain and is that WITH no slack? or WITH chain slack?

In the bentley manual we found they stated that the holes should be biased to the left WITHOUT chain slack... and when putting tension onto the chain the holes should come closer to the CENTER of the slots on exhaust sprocket????

Now i feel like thats too much of a difference to not worry about ... we installed the sprocket according to the manual .... holes to center WITH tension, but biased to left without tension...

I feel like thats wrong but its what the manual said... wasn't sure what to do... and now the car runs very well... but i feel like its not as fast as before? S52 from 97 M3
September 16, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The reason why it's suggested to put them off to the left without slack is that they will move to the center under tension. If you have them in the center when they are tightened up, then you should right on track. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
ferry007xComments: sorry I have bmw e46 318i 2002. n42b20engine Thanx
August 20, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ferry007xComments: Hi Iv got a fault code camshaft sensor intake 2781. I cant clear this and my car is very lazy. I chaged sensors 6 times and two vanos solenoid and camshaft pulley intake. all rigt with the timming chan and tensioner .And all right with the wires. I dont know what can i do.please help! thanx
sorry I have bmw e46 318i 2002. n42b20engine Thanx
August 20, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would confirm the signal is in fact good and reaching the DME. This will likely be your issue if everything else you stated is good. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
YvrpilotComments: I should add that I did have the special tools to lock the flywheel and the cams, and solid tensioner. I'm also wondering if I should replace the vanos studs, as it was fairly stiff to turn, even with the cam sprocket lever tool. This one does have the spring washer. After reading all the previous posts, I'm thinking that I have two issues, finding the right starting point for that secondary sprocket, and maybe also worn vanos studs, causing the sliding sprocket to be way too tight ?
July 26, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check that the vanos shims and plates are stacked correctly and that they are clean of debris and have a film of oil. The nuts are torqued correctly. The vanos start position is locked in via the cam timing from the exhaust cam sprocket bolts, so if the cam timing jig is flush after rolling the engine over by hand the start position is correct. When the vanos is actuated the oil preasure advances the intake cam. This can be simulated after assembly by putting regulated shop air put into oil fitting in the vanos unit and jumping the vanos solenoid. The amount of movement can be measured at the intake cam/sprocket area. If you still get vanos jamming codes look at the vanos unit, vanos solenoid, and vanos sprocket spring and stud area for wear.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
YvrpilotComments: Thanks for the great DIY tips on here.
I have been struggling with the vanos setup on. 1998 528i.
When you install the vanos unit, how far are you supposed to turn the secondary exhaust cam sprocket that's connected to the intake sprocket in order to have the proper intake cam timing. I've had the valve cover off four times today. I do get about 25 degrees of cam movement seen on the snap-on soleus data display, but depending on where you set the sprocket the cam timing moves from 6degrees at idle to 32 degrees under load. I compared it with a known working m52 and that ranges from -7 degrees at idle to 18 degrees under load. So this leads me to believe that the vanos is moving through the proper range, it just its starting point is incorrect on the 528. I pulled the cover again and rotated it one tooth counter clockwise and rechecked. It was now starting at -19..... So too much. Tried again 1/2 tooth clockwise, it's now starting at -3 degrees. How do you set this secondary sprocket to get the proper starting point, and how critical is this so that you don't get code saying vanos mechanical fault ?
July 26, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The most common vanos problems to check are that the two cam sprocket slots can move throughout the entire widow(fig 15). When engaging the helical gear in (fig. 25,26,27) verify the chain and sprocket are all the way clockwise and the helical gear engages within the first 1/8 to1/4 inch of counter clockwise movement of the chain, and the vanos piston is all the way in. This will allow enough movement in the slots in the sprocket when the vanos is actuated. When finished the assembly by fallowing the rest of the instructions its always a good practice to roll the engine over by hand and reinstall the cam timing jig and crank pin, this will ensure cam timing is correct. If the cam jig is not completely flush on both cams repeat the steps from (fig 32) down.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
SofiaComments: Nick - Oddly enough the “Check Engine” has now turned off again on its own. 3 different mechanics have told me “Cylinder 5 misfires.” That’s the only code I know of that has gone on other than the occasional on/off of “Check Engine.” Perhaps im using the wrong terminology but the first mechanic told me he “switched” something I thought a cylinder to see if the cylinder was bad or the location was bad. After the change my “Check Engine” did not return for a year or so but the next mechanic said “Cyl 5 Misfire” again. Ive never noticed the gas issue before until this one time. So is my gas leaking out? Or is the car reading the quantity wrong? The next day the gas gage went back up then hours later way down. Bottom line, if I change the Vanos, will this fix that misfire which would allow me to pass smog? Smog place says Cyl 5 is the hold upThe car has over 200k, am I wasting my time trying to fix it?
July 16, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Changing the VANOS will not help because it affects all cylinders the same. The mechanic probably swapped coil positions and the problem stayed the same so it's not the coil. Possible injector and /or check compression. Maybe squirt some oil in that cylinder and see if that helps - Nick at Pelican Parts  
SofiaComments: Question: I have a 2000 328I. I've had a misfire on Cylinder 5 a few times. Cylinder has been switched, spark plugs and coil changed out. A year later my "Check Engine" is back on. Light goes on and off occasionally on the dash. Was off but still failed smog. Car runs smooth though. Mechanic says I need a new Vanos. Will replacing this fix the issue and help my car pass smog?

Yesterday I noticed gas gage is reading incorrectly also don't know if that's connected Please advise.
July 11, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: What are the codes now? You can go to most auto parts stores and get the codes pulled for you. Do you still have a misfire on cylinder 5? What do you mean when you say the "cylinder was switched"? How do you switch a cylinder? The gas gauge problem usually leads to EVAP codes and a bad VANOS you should notice with lower performance from your engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
rolandComments: i just did a head gasket on my 99 528 and had a ruff idle vanos was unplugged and now if i rev in neutral it revs fine but when i drive it will only go to to 1500 rpm then shift hard and when i slow down it down shifts hard
July 1, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Double check your camshaft timing. Also check the DME for fault codes. There may be a system fault stored that will help you locate the source of the problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
davComments: hii, I have e36 M50 non vanos engine, and I think the timing of the engine is done properly, but the valve cover is sitting on the timing, is that normal??
June 16, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not sure what you mean by, "the valve cover is sitting on the timing". If you are stating the valve cover is hitting the timing components, no that is not normal.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
LeoComments: '01 740il VANOS issue

So my neighbor have an '01 740il the ses light comes on recently, so I scanned it with my peake reader and it shows code 21 "camshaft vanos control 1-4". So I helped him replace the vanos solenoid for cylinder 1-4 and also replace the camshaft position sensor. The ses light kept coming back, anything else I should try?

Car seemed to drive ok, and idles ok, no hesitation on acceleration. What do you guys thing I should try next?

June 14, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The VANOS actuator could be faulty. The internal seals wear out over time. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
LeoComments: How much vanos cost for a 2001 740il?.
June 14, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JoeComments: Recently replaced valve cover gasket and vanos seal on a 1997 528i e39. Engine started up fine and sounded great at first. I let it run for a few minutes and then took it form a ride. Once I got on the road, the car would not get above 1000-1500 rpms and would make a horrible whining noise. Once returned, car idle was very rough. Any ideas?
May 7, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could have an intake air boot or crankcase breather problem. Locate where thenoise is coming from. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
williamComments: e46 ****
April 24, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, Thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
will.i.amComments: hello i have a e45 318i bmw 2002
i have just put a new drive chain on it, but to do that i had to take of the cam gears both of them and once they are loose! they spin freeley from the cam rod/lobes ect
so when i put them on the holes that im origanaly menna line up at a 90 degree angle wont be right!
so how can i possibley do it ?
tbc 1st cylinder open then close some valves on that one im not sure can anyone help?????? pleasee
April 24, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Did you lock the camshafts and crankshafrts in place? There are special tools required to time the engine. Give our parts specialists a call: V they will help you find the right ool kit for your engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
March 2, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1998 740i engine has a timing chain not a belt. Are you replacing your timing chain? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
RickComments: Hi, My 1995 E34 540i everyday driver was running fine when parked in my garage. It sat for 1 week and now it will not start. It cranks over fine but no start. Fuel rail pressure is 54psi, fuel pump is good, filters clean, return line to tank is clear. Fuel pressure regulator seemed ok but replaced anyway. LOTS of spark on all plugs and all coils. I pulled the fuel rail and witnessed fuel spray from all 8 injectors when cranked over. Crank sensor reads 525ohms but replaced anyway and no help. Changed Vibration Dampener with a known good one. Air is good. No codes.
I'm at a loss.

Thanks in advance.
January 13, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like you have everything you need to start. The final item to check would be engine compression. if the engine has spark and fuel, there may be an issue with engine mechanical. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
buckoComments: hi rebuilding a e36 320i 1995 coupe -i have the haynes manual and numerous articles off the web ! but i am stump by the differnt answers i am getting back
on the exhaust outlet cam are the slots in the middle /centre Dr vanos says center - you say to the side i am at a lose which one to do -please advise !!!
January 5, 2013
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Double check that our tech article applies to your vehicle. If it does, then the camshaft timing procedure therein will help you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
fxComments: I am starting a single vanos repair and came across the best Youtube video ,two parts start to Youtube for" BMW E36 Vanos & Tensioners Removal part 1" and part 2.
December 27, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the info. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeff328iComments: Hi Wayne, On my E36 I have the VANOS with the thrust washer on the intake cam. It seems so tight the cams couldnt rotate. Your thoughts?
December 20, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check to see if you assembled the parts in the correct order, (the same way they came off). They shouldn't bind, but keep in mind the camshaft does have tension on the lobes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
nekuda9Comments: Hi Wayne,

I recently replaced the cylinder head on my 1998 bmw 528i after putting it back together I got a p1519 error code VANOS mechanically jamming. I ordered a rebuilt VANOS unit from Dr. VANOS and installed the car ran great for a week and a half then started a rough idle and the CEL appeared. Once again it was the p1519 code and the VANOS unit is sticking in the advanced position. I've checked the solenoid and it is working correctly....any ideas or experience with this? Thanks
December 17, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Some debris could have entered the VANOS oil circuit during your repair. Your best option os to perform a VANOS funtion test using a BWM scan tool. You may find it is sticking or not reacting properly due to a restriction. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
GeorgeComments: Hi my name is george i have a 2004 range rover hse 4.4 it has a bmw M62 venos engine we are replacing the timing chain with all other parts associated with timing. I need to know where or how can you help get special tool for setting everything back to time, & timing mark indications. Do you sell a book or instructions for just the timing? Thanks
November 12, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialist a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find the tools and repair manual you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
minnie123Comments: These are excellent instructions on how to do you BMW Timing and setting the Vanos, You need special tools to perform these repairs i got them here i rented them at
October 20, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the information. You can also buy the tools from us. Just give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 - Nick at Pelican Parts  
October 4, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fuel pump relay sends power to the fuel pump through the fule pump fuse. Check operation of the fuel pump relay. It is located in the E-box behind the right front shock tower. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
minnie123Comments: please help do the plastic chain guard hex bolts also hold the cylinder head on? do they have to come out? because all my bolts are out to remove the cylinder head every bolt and it wont budge just thinking that these hex bolts that hold the plastic chain guid are holding my cylinder head also,,
September 4, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Are these the bolts? If so, you will have to remove them - Nick at Pelican Parts  
scottyComments: hi someone please tell me what tools you need to remove vanos of a 1998 m3 evo been told you need bmw tools to do this.
August 27, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find the tool set you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
S54guyComments: I have a 2004 e46 M3 with 93K miles gentle miles. Never been tracked/raced. I'm replacing my water pump and belts. While a friend was over helping me he said that the e46's are know to have faulty bolts in the VANOS. I thought that true for the 01,02 models but corrected by 03. Should I be worried? Should I have a mech check my bolts on the intake portion of the VANOS?
June 28, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be OK. If you are concerned, I would remove the valve cover and replace them. I have seen them break, usually the vehicle is brought in sue to a noise. Remember to grab a valve cover gasket and new VANOS bolts.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roy Comments: Sorry 325i
June 25, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank, got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Roy Comments: need help have a double Venos 2002 325i need info on how to put it back. need diagram on parts after the front gears, how all parts go in place . a diagram will do......
June 25, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 you'll want to grab a repair manual to help witht he repair. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
eddyComments: i have a 1999 528 it has rough idle but only sometimes, i turn the car off and it goes away but comes back latter; also i lose power but again turn it off and on and it goes away please help me , when to a mechanic for something else they took the engine apart but got this problem instead and they couldnt pin point the problem after it drives but a have to turn it off and on all the time
June 9, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: First you'll want to check the DME for fault codes. If there are any stored, start there. If the rough idle is only present when the engine is cold, you may have a sticking VANOS unit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
firmanComments: we thank you for information draw very assisting once in repair of my car
June 2, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
srjComments: guy is claiming my mechanic caused damage to the VANOS system by changing oil & putting in too much oil 1.5liters too much and by changing the fly wheel caused damage to the VANOS system 2006 BMW M5; engine fault codes showed problems with dual VANOS? Seems like the guy is trying to blame my mechanic for having to replace VANOS? What do you think?
May 3, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Over filling the oil would not damage the VANOS units. Also I amnot sure what relation the flywheel repair would have with the VANOS issue. I would bring the vehicle to your mechanis and have him diagnose the fault codes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MusicmanComments: 94 525i after starting the engine reves up and down, after it runs for a moment and i put a little torch on it from the cluth it idle fine, little ruff. when you give it gas it stalls.

what am i missing, i have done 50 motors never a vanos system.

What advise do you have.
March 29, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check your idle control circuit. You could have a problem with your idle control valve. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MusicmanComments: I just replaced the head on my 94 525i followed the instructions, according to any videos i find the vanos unit shouls slid in once timming is lined up. problem is i have on 3 occasions installed unit and put back together and the car will start but when i give it gas it stalls.
Question#1, I was not sure the vanos seeted correctly into the cam shaft, it would not slide further in as video show on you tube. e34 m50 vanos install. what am i doing wrong?

question #2 someone told me to reset the computer, take the battery terminal off while the car is running. would you do this while running or before starting the care to reset.

March 29, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual and a set of camshaft alignment tools. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find the right stuff. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JoshComments: For an E39 with Single VANOS, how much time should I budget to do this project?
March 13, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Depends on your experience level. I would say 4 hours to be safe. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jaime Comments: ola deixei o comando de adm 2 dentes fora, sera que entortou alguma valvula de admiçao
February 22, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You could do damage to your engine if camshaft timing is off. If unsure, take it to a qualified mechanic. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
tiffanyComments: i have a 325 i 2003 and had work done went to pick it up and they say i need a exhaust cam adjustor and now jumps and runs like a old ford truck, but it was fine when i left it what could cause this... please help
February 14, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is the check engine light ON? I would start by returning the vehicle to the shop. If the problem was not presetn before you dropped it off, I'm sure they will look at it for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
julianComments: and i also forgot to mention white smoke comes out exhaust with cold start and my car is knocking and i also replaced chain guides and tensioners
January 29, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. I added it to your original post. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
julianComments: hi i have a 2000 e39 540i and i keep getting a p0022 code and i already changed my cps sensor that i got from bmw ive searched everywhere and cannot find a solution to this code pleeeeeeeeeeease help

and i also forgot to mention white smoke comes out exhaust with cold start and my car is knocking and i also replaced chain guides and tensioners
January 29, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The code refers to camshaft timing being off. I would pull the valve covers and install camshaft alignment tools and see if the timing is correct.

The white smoke may be due to a faulty crankcase breather. - Nick at Pelican Parts
mechanical manComments: Im a big fan of bmw just bought my first one its a 1996 318 i four door for a great price but it had a head gasket problem i took the head off and had it redone it put it back together step by step everything lookes good no leaks anywhere but! i am having problems with its idol i can manualy take it to a 1000 rpms an it smooths off but if i just let it set there on its own it seems to be jumpy im stumped i have got a lot of time an new parts to be givin up on her...please help me before i pull all my hair out starts it runs but not like it should my test ride i found if i exselarate it would lag power my buddy said it seems its got bad gas or feels like it i know its not the gas an as well i checked it for vac leaks on intake an on injection rail no leaks...i just dont get it....i have been a mec for 28 years an have never had one stump me lol until now....
January 9, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You might be on the right track with the vacuum leak. I would check engine misfire and fuel trim using a BMW scan tool. This will likely get you to the area of concern.

If you suspect an engine mechanical problem, check engine compression - Nick at Pelican Parts
TYComments: Would someone show me how to retime VENOS for 98 bmw 528i . The check Engine light on code P1519 after I replaced head gasket ; the engine run miss a little bit early morning . THANKS A LOT FOR ALL YOUR HELP .
January 2, 2012
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have a double-VANOS timing article on my list of ones to do, unfortunately, all I have is this single one here. The good news is though that it's pretty similar... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
bilko26Comments: hi my friend got a bmw 2003 316i driving home the car started to loose power and a poping noise was coming from the air intake done a compression test 140lb on all cyclinders but engine oil very low topped it up will not start been told the timming chain has jumpped if so can you tell me how to repair it thanks
December 30, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Loony14Comments: I have a 94nice bmw 325i and im changing the head gasket and I was wondering if I take the timing chain cover or what do I do help please
December 28, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jimboComments: hi ive got a bmw e46 2l ive just had to change engine and its not sparking or fueling can u help? do you no wot it could be
December 9, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check operation of the DME main relay. If it is not powered up, you will not have fuel injector pulse or spark. If it is working, check the crankshaft position sensor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
AhmedComments: Good Morning Sir My BMW 320i 1995 6 cylinder having bad turn on in the morning I have to pour a hot water on the radiator in the morning and then keep trying to turn on the engine, also try to fix this problem by changing the fuel pump, sparks, fuel sprayer, all filters, morning sensor, cranks shift sensor and engine oil.
also I had this problem when the weather start getting cold in Iraq where I live, also I just check my car by using the computer device to check the engine and pound there is no problem accept the oxygen sensor is unplugged since 2 years.
Many thanks if you give me answer to fixing my lovely car
Best regards
December 4, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: If having a cold start problem, check your engine coolant temperature sensor. If it is OK, check that your fuel pump is delivering enough fuel during cold starts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BradComments: Wayne thanks for tools/parts for cyl. head project on my M50B25. Can you please clear up something relating to figure 32 and dialogue that goes with it. Tensioner tool is listed to have a 1.3 Nm torque value which we all know is hardly anything. It is so little, that it would clearly not take hardly any slack out of chain let alone even move it. So, why do we need to hand-wheel ratchet to tighten the chain very tight? Enough to take out all slack? Is this another case of BMW with incorrect TIS info? Thanks for your dedication to the tech site and hopefully clearing up this discrepancy.
November 14, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: This amount of torque is correct. It is used just to apply tension and remove slack from the timing chain. ON later BMW models, the torque amount can be even lower. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jose reyesComments: pelican staff thank you so much for this article you guys put online. i just replace my head gasket on my e36 n if it wasnt for this site i wouldnt get it done. you guys are the best. my e 36 is running like it just came out of dealer n no more oil or anti freeze leak. thank you so much guys.

one more think now that my car is running so nice what you guys know about d performance chip. its safe for d car or not. i want to know d positive n negative. thank you
November 13, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Performance chips can be safe for your engine. It all depends on the reliability of the brand you buy and how far they push the tune. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dob3rmanComments: Hello. I have some noise in the engine e39 540i M62TU. Please listen to my noise here: . Is this VANOS or something else? Thanks a lot!!!
November 3, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like it could be a noisy VANOS. Hard to tell without being there in person. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
malikComments: naveed.thanks i am vist this site very help me in fiting timing setting and adjusting / my vehicle over heated and chang gas kit .
October 31, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DarrComments: I have a BMW 116i and the product recall issue on these cars has affected my car. I had teh tension timing fixed in March and June and then the vanos unit changed in September. It cost me 1000 GBP in total!!! BMW state that the tension timig issue is not related to the vanos unit but it looks like it is. Are BMW pulling the wool over my eyes or do these problems occur independently? I am desperate because the costs are adding up enormously and BMW will not provide me with diagnostic test results. Please help!!!
October 13, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Timing chain tensioners being faulty would usually create a problem witht he tiiming chain before the VANOS unit. I would assume they are separate issues. It is not in the best interest of a dealer to hide the truth from you. They want your trust and want you to return as a customer. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
bryanComments: hi i got a 2000 model 318ci on morning sartup its silent but after temp is reached it makes a sound like timing chain slapping ,how do i fix it is there a diy image to show repairs and whats wrong exactly?
October 8, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's hard to say exactly what is wrong. The engien noise could be the timing chain or something else mechanically failing in your engine. If you cannot locate it, have a shop look into the problem for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: I have a 1997 BMW528i i am replacing the head my casting#173400 i bought a nother head with casting #1738070 i was told it would work on my 528i it dont have as many waterjacket holes as my 400 casting head does will the 8070 head interchange with my 400 head thanks Rob
September 19, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can't answer that question. When buying parts, I let the parts specialist tell me what will work with my engine. I opened a forum post, maybe someone in the Pelican comminuty has the answer for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Big JessComments: Im switching out the chain guides on my '02 745Li the new guide is longer so it hits the oil spray so it makes no sense, what purpose the revised guide has if it doesnt fit? Ive been to BMW to ask about this and they seem to have no clue, what do you recommend?
September 17, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It doesn't look like it is hitting the nozzle on the oil sprayer. I would check with BMW again, this might be OK. I won't have better information for you then they do, being they created the part revision. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lbreevesiiComments: Torque spec for the small chain tensioner is incorrect. They are M6 8.8 bolts. Per the bmw torque guide these should only be torqued to 9.9nM.

Just spent the last 10 minutes fishing the shortest of these bolts out of my block due to the head coming off...
September 14, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. We'll look into it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chris325eComments: Hello Wayne I have some questions regarding my 1984 BMW 325e not too long ago my stock 84 325e just died on me due to snapd timing belt and crushed my pistons into two pieces so I have to swap a 1986 325e engine preety much everything brand new clutch,starter alternator ,hoses clean out the cylinder head,adjust valves .but now time to put back everything back to the car and finish but I couldn't get the car to start so I'm wondering is the ecu for 84 325e and 86 ecu are the same ?
September 6, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The DME in a 1984 and a 1986 appear to be the same part number. I would check if you left something disconnected and inspect engine speed sensor condition. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
DesperateComments: Hi everybody,

I have an 1994 E34 530I. I replaced the head gaskets, some how I messed up the timing on the camshafts. when I set the crankshaft to TDC cyl #1 I think I got the 2 camshafts cyl 1-4 lining up alright but I think the 2 camshafts cyl 5-8 are the big problem. I don't know how to get it right. Benley book does not show how to set timing on cyl 5-8. any body have exact pictures to show how to set both heads timing vs TDC. I reinstalled the camshafts 5 times already but the engine still running so rough .The fifth time I hardly got the engine to start. Please help, many thanks to you all first.
August 19, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will want to bring the engine to TDC 1. This is where you will time the engine, lock the cmashafts down using the BMW camshaft tool kit. This will time the engine correctly.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
540iDriverComments: I have an e39 540i Vanos. Because of some erratic rattling sound I opened up the engine to see if the guide rails were toast. Everything including the Vanos is strong except for the upper tensioner on the Driver's sidelooks exactly as the one in the center of Fig. 11 above. The tensioner on that side is loose and moves from side to side. I cannot find a DIY to replace this. Is there a particular site where a DIY for this can be found?
August 11, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts

specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
EddieComments: Hi Wayne, Is it possible to replace the upper chain tensioner without removing the vanos unit.
August 2, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't think so. You have to lift the tensioner up to clear the cylinder head, and the timing chain for the VANOS would be in the way. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
krazybudComments: Hi Ya wayne,Im still wondering what the knocking noise is at start up on these 2 740il 4.4/m62,1 has 121,000 miles. and the other 170,000..they both do it hot r cold and not all the time,thats what gets me. i just bought all my parts form Pelican for replacing the chain guilds and everything else that i need to do it in the high mileage 1,any ideas?..could it be the vanos solinoids,or maybe losing oil pressure on the tensioner? any help would be fansatic... i been an auto tect over 30 yrs.andi drove 1of these 740 about 5 years ago and and to get 2, ofcourse my wife needed 1 .i also bought the bmw gti scanner good to 2006,i think they went to fiber optic in 07......looking forewards to your input,and keep up the awesome job bud....thankz
July 29, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The noise could be your VANOS units. If worse when cold and accompanied by a rough idle, suspect the VANOS units. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MESSOZDER Comments: PLS, need pdf of double vanos procedures for e46 320i 2171 ccm3 170 hp engine , four valves per cylinder . that would help . thank you ....
July 21, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will list the special tools and each step of the procedure. Give our parts

specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 They will help you find what you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
geo528Comments: Why do you need to pressurize the vanos before you remove it?
June 21, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pressurizing the VANOS moves the VANOS actuator into the correct positon to align the camshaft to lock the engine in position.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
Cloud365Comments: HI, i am working on a 2003 bmw 745li 4.4 and i changed the valve cover gasket on the drivers side now i am getting a code P0024 Exhaust B Camshaft Position - Timing Over Advance. does anyone know why this code is coming up. and also is there a way you have to set the timing actuator or servo motor ontop of the valve cover? Can anyone help?
June 20, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The fault indicates a timing problem. If you didn't change anything except the valve cover gasket, it may a coincidence.

The Valvetronic motor limit stop has to be set using a BMW scan tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts
ChanComments: I have a 98 BMW M3 e36, S52. I have a problem with my car reving at random times. I have my foot on the brake when it happens, and if I let go of the break the car will accelerate at a higher speed. The only thing I can do is put the car on neutral. The last time it happened was when I put the car on reverse. Have you heard of this problem before? And how did they fix it? Please advise. Thamk you.
May 18, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may have a major vacuum leak. I would not drive the vehicle until you fix this problem. Check the DME for fault codes using a BMW scal tool. Monitoring fuel trim at idle will indicate if a vacuum leak is present. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mrbeemComments: I had my timing reset on my M3 Evo euro version a while ago, everything checked, timing spot on, new camshaft sensors, live data showed timing was perfect and i still get the popping from exhaust whn the car gos into closed loop and the warmer the engine the more noticeable it is. It's like single pop from exhaust every couple of seconds that i can also feel in the drivers seat. Can the timing go out within a couple of months? Vanos issue? My engine is NOT down on power or anything. Just a little hesitation from time to time at cruising speed and the popping at idle. Can that also be caused my a MAF goin bad?
May 1, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would check the engine for a misfire. This is the most likely cause of the intermittent popping sound of out your exhaust. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chan ChanComments: I recently ordered a head gasket and head bolts, etc. I will redo the process again. I want to check all the valves to make sure the not bent. On the secondary chain, I used a tool to turn, it will not turn and I had to loosen the torque bolt on the exhaust procket to get the secondary chain turn in order to remove the VANOS unit. Is it supposed to be like that? installing the VANOS unit on figure #30, on what position do I torque the bolt all the way down. Please advise. Thank you.
April 3, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention which year your car was - on the dual VANOS units, it's very difficult to turn the sprocket by hand. BMW has a tool to perform this adjustment. So, if yours was too tight to turn by hand, then that is typical. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Chan ChanComments: I recently purchased the camshaft holding tool, camshaft sprocket turning tool from pelican. I took the unit apart and redo exactly as the article above. I advanced the secondary timing chain just like the article said and installed VANOS unit. When I start it up, it still shakes and making rough noises and quit. Please advise. Thank you
March 20, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm not sure what to say, I would double-check the procedure again and make sure that you didn't accidentally skip too many teeth on the VANOS installation? I'm going to copy this question to the forums, perhaps you can post some more information there on the issue? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
klystron2Comments: One this that is not specifically mentioned in this tutorial, or the Bentley Manual is;

After installing the Vanos Unit, you can move the Vanos sprocket in and out of the intake came by moving the secondary exhaust sprocket back and forth.

What position should the Secondary exhaust sprocket be at before tightening down the 4 Torx bolt on the exhaust cam? You can have it all the way counter clockwise, or all the way clockwise.... or even somewhere in between, there is about 20 degrees of freedom there to play with. I have found no information about this anywhere.
March 18, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: if I remember correctly, there is an alignment mark on the impulse wheel that aligns with the cylinder head. Then once the cmashafts are locked into position, you torque all the bolts. This is why there is room for adjustment, it allows for movement when installing the alignment tool. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chan ChanComments: I am changing the head gasket on a 1998 M3. Before I install the Vanos unit, I read on this sit it say that "Rotate the front sprocket/chain assembly all the way clockwise to the right towards where the air cleaner sits. With the plunger of the Vanos unit pushed all the way back into its housing important, place the Vanos unit on the cylinder head." I can't turn it so I loosen the bolts and nuts to be able to turn it and tighten the bolts and nuts back up. After that I installed the Vanos unit. When I started it up, it misfired. What did I do wrong? What should I do? Could you please let me know? Thank you.
March 3, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The later-style VANOS units are spring loaded, unlike the earlier ones. You need to advance the VANOS unit (there's a tool that will allow you to do this, but you can also rig your own tool) against this spring in order to enagage the unit for installation. I really need to get ahold of one of these cars so that I can do a proper article on this particular installation. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
marfaComments: wayne, this part of pelican q and a is indeed very useful.
and therefore should be maintained and allowed to expand in the face of growing bmw population worldwide.
thanks. yours from the phlippines. MARFA
February 20, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm working on it daily! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
marfaComments: i have a 2005 318i M. the reapir shop purchased a "new" DME and EWS,installed them, engine cranked but wont start? a new set of keys were also supplied? what could possibly be wrong?
can you supply me with a new set of DME AND EWS? how much?
please help. thanks.
February 20, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: All three of these need to be coded together in order to operate properly. You can't simply plug them in and expect them to work. You need to have a BMW compatible computer to program the codes for each of these so that they will work with each other. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
rmx1252001Comments: Step 17 - "With the nuts tight, the inside sprocket should be free to rotate back and forth about 20 degrees, along with the chain."

When I reassembled, my sprocket was really hard to move. What parts did you replace to correct this?
February 20, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: When I had a similar problem on my E36, I replaced the two bolts that are shown in Figure 15 by the green arrow. I didn't think that this would fix the problem, but it certainly did. Keep in mind that with the later-style VANOS unit, the whole mechanism is spring loaded, so it will be difficult to turn by hand by default. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
toniComments: what happen with my engine M50 series E36 if i push the pedal with RPM 1600 the engine have knoking ,if I push more the knoking lose.
January 23, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It could be that your knock sensors are bad, or it could be that you're using really poor quality gasoline. Either way, knocking or pinging is pretty bad for the engine. I would pull the trouble codes from the car to see if there are any sensors that may have failed, contributing to this problem. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
speerzieComments: when rotating the exhaust sprocket anti clockwise to engage the first tooth, do i stop turning as soon as the tooth engages and just push in on the vanos then do up the exhaust sproket or do i rotate it fully anticlockwise before tightening the sprocket? should the piston come fully out of the unit?
January 18, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You just need to get the VANOS unit to engage the gears on the sprocket. After turning it back to engage, you should be able to push the whole unit forward and install it back onto the car. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
tldComments: thanks to your help i replaced the head gasket on my 1998 528i the car is running fine but the check engine light came on and code p1519 somthing to do with vanous unit. like i said car is running fine. any suggestions on what i need to do? maybe retime the vanous unit. thanks alot for all your help
January 18, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Indeed, the VANOS unit may be timed a bit too early (easy to do when reinstalling the unit). I would maybe take it out and see if you can retime it and see if the code goes away. If the unit's timing is off, then you might see reduced power at the upper rpm range. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
toniComments: I have a engine M50 with single vanos every morning i try to crangking the engine I hear smale noise in front cover of engine look like tik.tik.tik.tik, please suggestion what fault with my engine
January 16, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be one of a hundred things - could just be a sticky lifter... - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
ricks5seriesComments: After the heads are reinstalled with the camshaft holding tool, does it place the lobes in the proper position to the crank?
January 6, 2011
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, but only if you have the crankshaft locked at TDC for cylinder number one beforehand. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
m3powerComments: I have a 95 M3 Automatic Trans. and the other day it started making like a whinning noise. it had drove fine all that day and i parked it, left it for maybe 2 hours and when it crunk back up i heard the whinning. It does it weither the engine is idle or not and the noise goes up with the rpm. It sounds like its coming from the rear of the engine. Any ideas?
November 30, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, it could be the transmission or something else in the drivetrain, like the differential carrier bearings, or the driveshaft bearing. I would check those out first, as they are much cheaper to replace than a transmission. I have an article on replacing the driveshaft bearing in the tech articles section. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
cmyersComments: Okay, we removed the vanos unit without the engine in tdc. but nothing has moved, the sprokets bolts are tight, chain is in same place. the problem from here is getting the vanos unit back in. Do we need to lock the cams and then turn the chain to relase tension to get the vanos unit back in? or is there another route we need to go?
November 20, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you haven't removed any of the chains, then the timing should still be in place and correct. If you've removed the chains, then you'll have to set at TDC and retime the cams. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
mrbeemComments: Hello. I had a vanos unit changed on my M3 Evo a month ago and recently i found that my exhaust cam is 3.5 degrees out. Is that within tolerance or do i have to have it spot on? My car pops from the exhaust a little when warm and it has a little shaky idle. Can that be caused by the exhaust cam being out by 3.5 degrees??
November 4, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, those symptoms are exactly what I would expect from a camshaft that is slightly out of sync with the rest of the engine. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
appieComments: I changed the vanos piston o-rings they where worn out,
and i used washers and spring on my intake cam for a 1995 model and my car is a 325i 1994 that dont have the spring. I think its the spring that is the problem that my vanos not working well

October 31, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is an early and a later version of the VANOS unit, the one with the spring is very different - you can't interchange them. I would swap them back. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
appieComments: hi there i changed my vanos piston rings and the ring for the bearings from beisan systems. and i upgraded my intake cam with the springs of the 95 models, and now i have the problem when i hit the 2800-3000 rpm it loose power. and sometimes i think it has no power above 4500-5000 rpm, and in the 4th gear it has no power above 4500 rpm do you know what the problem can be. maybe the timing of the vanos is wrong ? or do i need to remove the springs on my intake cam

sorry for my bad english hope that you can help me
October 31, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: No power above 3000 rpm means that the VANOS unit is not working properly. I don't fully understand exactly what you did with the VANOS unit from your description, but it's clear from your problem description that the timing is not advancing, and the VANOS unit is not working properly.- Wayne at Pelican Parts 
JuniorComments: I have an 97, M3, E36, S52. My question is after moving the motor to TDC. Does the intake manifold have to be removed to insert TDC pin into the locking position. Also can the chain tensioner between cams be replace with out removing sprockets or Vanos unit. Can I just pull link on the chain?
September 17, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to insert the TDC pin without removing anything on the car. You need to remove the VANOS unit to get to the chain tensioner, but if my memory serves correctly, I think that you can remove and replace the tensioner without removing the cams (but I can't recall 100% either). - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
jugtarComments: my e36 325 is backfiring and doesen't idle by itself after the i did the timing, help please!
September 5, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You just need to go back and triple-check everything - you probably forgot something on the setting of the timing which is causing the car to run rough. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
kurt380Comments: I replaced head gasket on 02 325i. cant pass emissions. I did the timing wrong, I can figure out the vanos or the splined shafts that connect the cams to the vanos. I have a double vanos. Do the splined shafts go all the way in before the vanos goes back on? I've got it running but code p0011 and p0036 are causing emission problem I will be changing the o2 sensor but think I did some thing wrong
August 25, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should use the tool to time the camshafts. The splined shafts should turn as you're installing the unit, there's a procedure, but I only have the one documented here for the single VANOS unit. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
JoshComments: Wayne, On my 97 m3 the chain tensioner on the chain with crank and exhaust cam is not spring loaded, It has oil in it, and looks diffrent then the one in your picture. It will also tighten the chain very tight when screwed in. I'm having problems getting the timming right after replacing the head gasket. I belive I got the timming off. Because the way it runs really rough & backfires a little. I did use the blocks & tdc pin. I'm going to try & reset them. Should I need the chain tool? Is there soming else I may be doing wrong? Thanks, Josh
August 20, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you do need the timing tool. The photos show the single VANOS unit, you have the dual one, with the later style springs that you can't turn by hand. I would recheck the timing with the tool - be careful, your motor is an interference motor and will have problems with pistons hitting the valves if the timing is really far off. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
Sam_G_AComments: hey just was confused as to how i am suppost to rotate the sprocket chain assembly towards the air box with the cams locked at TDC. This is right before installing the vanos. Thanks
July 24, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: With the camshafts locked, the front part, the advance part that the VANOS unit connects to, will still be able to be moved back and forth. This sprocket chain assembly is what you move, not the actual cams themselves. It's pretty obvious when you're walking through the procedure with the car right in front of you. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
JustinComments: Wayne, I ordered the studs as you suggested. PelicanParts saved me about $6.00 each over the dealer. I noticed on disassembly that I had a couple of the thrust washers in the wrong places, so this may have been the reason I had VANOS knock.

The only problem I have now, is that even after reassembly with new studs, my sprockets can not spin freely or even with moderate force by hand. My question to you is; Are you certain that even assembly versions using the spring plate are SUPPOSED to spin by hand?

Thank you,
July 23, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Actually, versions using the spring plate will be difficult to turn by hand. The factory manual has a small tool that you can use to get some leverage to turn the mechanism. So, yes, it should turn, but probably not by hand with the later-style spring-loaded VANOS. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
jmfigsComments: Where can i get a diagram of the timing chain synchonization points in order to install new chain om a 2003 4.4l x5.
July 20, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sorry, I don't have that info - I would check to see if the dealer can print that out for you. I believe you need a pair of camshaft locking tools as well. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
JustinComments: Wayne, can you please elaborate on what parts you replaced to allow your VANOS unit to function properly? My sprocket assembly was not able to rotate easily, and after assembly, a slight knocking noise has developed. I do not see that any of these items are visibly worn. It seems to me, that to get the specified torque, there is no way the unit would be able to rotate by hand. 20 degrees as your posting suggests.
July 12, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I replaced the three precision bolts shown in Figure 13. Mine didn't look like they were worn, but when I replaced them, then I was able to freely rotate the VANOS unit no problem. I would replace those bolts and see if that helps the operation of the unit. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
jaxComments: hi
new to beemers
my question is ...... does a 1995 320i tourer have a cambelt or a timing chain?
i understand that as a 6cylinder it has a chain? this correct?
many thanks
July 5, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: That's correct, I believe that your car has a timing chain. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
Dee ManComments: i am installing a cylinder head on a 318i ,1995. But, where direction should the timing marks face on the crank pulley,
May 23, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The engine should be set at top dead center, which is different for every car, but is generally a Z1 mark or similar mark on the pulley / case. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
chippyComments: hi there my vanos on the drivers bank of my 535i 1999 as just gone down and im gettin told 2000 quid is it easy and do i need the special tools there telling me i need at 850 pound many thanks chippy
April 28, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: These VANOS units are so simple, I find it hard to believe that there are so many "failures". Yes, I did not find it terribly difficult to install the VANOS unit here. It may be just that some of the plates are worn out? - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
dallasComments: I Have a 2002 325i 2.5 M54 with noisy lifters,Replaced the lifters still noisy.oil pressure is 20 at idle 52 at 3000 noise is quit when cold as it warms up lifters get louder
April 28, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would try varying the viscosity and brands of oils and change the oil frequently and often over a few months (like once every few weeks). Changing up the oil like this worked for me when I replaced the head gasket on my E36. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
Adam HComments: First off, I would like to thank everyone for their hard work at Pelican that is associated with the tech info. I have used the info for several projects.

I do have one issue though. When I set the torque wrench to 20Nm verified by the guy that was helping me, I also had one of the upper chain tensioner bolts shear in half and two others begin to stretch. Luckily, I was able to remove the bolt that sheared from the head.

I did a google search and came across a couple other people on other forums that had the same issue. Their solution: tighten the bolts hand tight whatever that means.

I asked one of my friends that has a book detailing recommended torque specs for different grades and sizes of bolts about this. We looked in his book and for a plated grade 8.8 M6-1.00 bolt, the book recommends 10Nm.
April 5, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: These bolts should be torqued to 10Nm. Thanks for the feedback. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
JayComments: A couple of questions.

1. Should I be able to press the upper timing chain tensioner down with my fingers while it is installed in the car? It felt like it was giving good tension to the chain but I could easily press it down.

2. Would a bad upper chain tensioner cause the engine to run very poorly. Right now my engine is sputtering and backfiring and will not idle on it's own. The timing chain tensioner seemed to be the only thing that didn't seem normal, I've changes the fuel and air filters, sparkplugs checked each coil pack, fuel pump, fuel pump relay, checked lower chain tension good, checked valve play minimal to none. The chain tensioner is my last option. Thanks for your help.
March 1, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The chain tensioner will compress with little effort when not pressurized by engine oil. If you do not have a timing chainnoise, I would suspect it is OK.

Check the DME for fault codes using a BMW scan tool. If your engine is runingpoorly there may be fault codes that can help point you inthe right direction. - Nick at Pelican Parts
alemanoComments: I am replacing the upper and lower timing chain gaskets TCGon my 1991 318is M42 and the "profile" gasket. I have the motor torn down to the head and I would rather not proceed any further i.e. setting time and camshaft removal if it is not necessary. Do I need to remove the head if I am changing the TCG? I have read in forums that removal of the old TCG would damage the existing head gaskets. Any truth to this?
January 10, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: The head gasket does seal the upper and lower timing covers. If you are careful, you may be able to reuse the headgasket. Just apply some sealant to it when reassembling.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
reeshComments: i have a e36 m3 97 can this cause a starting issue if not timed correctly after the car sits for 2 hours or more? and cause it not to inject correctly
January 1, 2010
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: VANOS problem are more common when the engine is cold, before the oil is thinned out from warming up. It is a not bad place to start looking. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
georgeComments: Hi I have a 740 i 2000
the prosses for vanos on this 740 will be the same ?
December 3, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Since you have an eight cylinder, it's not exactly the same, but it's very similar. I believe that on your car there are two VANOS units, one on each side that are very similar to the single one on the six cylinder engine featured here. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
antarComments: Can the chain slip out of the crankshaft sprocket when exhaust sprocket is removed? Is it possible to the sprocket using screw driver instead of tensioner tool? Thanks
October 5, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure can, but when you remove the exhaust sprocket you need to retime the cams anyways. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
someguy800Comments: Thank you so much for giving this information out to the public! I have had a turbo e30 for a few years and I recently decided to step up to a turbo 2.8L m50. I've found your tech artcles to be extremely helpful on my new project. I will be ordering all my parts from you well into the future. Thanks agian!
October 3, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. That's a mean looking engine! - Nick at Pelican Parts  
gjgComments: hi there i got the 3 spring set up on mine can you just confirm to install vanos you wind the sprockets all the way clockwise then on return make sure it catchs the frist tooth but how far do i turn it back i turn it back all the way anticlockwise untill it stops or turn it back till the bolt holes are in the middle of the slots?
September 22, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should catch the first tooth fairly quickly. Then when you push the unit back onto the camshaft, it will turn as well. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
JamesComments: Are the chain tensioner bolts 1 time use? Mine wouldn't torque correctly and snapped.
September 21, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Not that I'm aware of. I would guess that your torque wrench is out of spec, or you dialed in ft-lbs instead of N-m. It's a common mistake to make. I'm assuming you're talking about the very small bolts - they don't require much torque at all. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
EvinrudebigtwinComments: I am getting a little confused. When I install the primary sprocket on the exhaust camshaft how should the bolt holes be aligned after I have installed the tensioner tool. When I began the bolt holes were biased to the left with no slack in the primary chain. They were still biased to the left after I tightened the tensioner hand tight. The bently manual says for 93 and up engines the bolt holes should be in the center after tightning the tensioner tool.
August 16, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's been about 3-4 years since I wrote the book, but I believe the left-biasing information is from the BMW factory procedure for the camshaft timing. In reality, you are fixing this sprocket with onto the camshaft, so your final positioning is what really counts. You want it on the left so that you can turn it to the right to take up slack. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
vicComments: Im sorry about commenting again but what is that click and why does it do it?
July 24, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: It's probably just the tensioner as you mentioned previously. The engine is technically not supposed to be turned backwards, so it will make all sorts of clicking noises that it wouldn't make when being turned forwards. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
July 24, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your timing should be okay if you didn't remove the chain on the engine. If you did remove the chain, then simply set the cams to TDC for #1 and the crankshaft to TDC for #1 when you reinstall them (use the camshaft alignment tool), and you should be fine. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
steyr556Comments: my intake sprocket does not rotate easily and it is the later spring plate type but no reason visible why it should or should not move easily i torqued nuts to 89 inch pounds it will move but need lever to do so, is this correct for this type?
July 3, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: You're on the right track - the later-style VANOS units with the heavier spring should be able to turn, but you will need a lever arm to do it. It says this in the BMW factory manuals. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
gfureszComments: Answer to Question below this came up while replacing my head gasket, see that great DIY guide as well, very useful: while on some models the intake camshaft might be slightly adjusted respect to the exhaust camshaft due to rough idleing, such adjustment would be small, 5 deg. On my '97 528i, as it turns out, the VANOS unit stopped working and got stuck at the mentioned 15 deg advanced position. Look carefully at the thrust washer: if the 3 oil marks caused by the 3 slots of the intake timing sprocket have very well defines, sharp perimeter, that could be a sign that your VANOS unit got stuck. See images 13 and 14 of the also great VANOS / cam timing article, and the comments of Fig 17. For single VANOS units with 3 discrete positions you should see at least some shading-steps in the marks. For double-VANOS systems with continous adjustment you should see a smooth, washed-out ends, not the sharp half-circle like ones as shown on the mentoned photos. The spring belleville washer must be NOT fully compressed, the 20 NM torque of the nuts should hold against the solid end surface of the studs, not the spring washer. What I did is that i set the mentioned edges of the square end blocks of the camshafts parallel before re-installing the VANOS unit. The car now has definitely noticeable acceleration increase in situations like entering highways. The VANOS unit is a great thing, make sure it works when you put it together. And be SUSPICOUS if you find your camshafts timed so much off that you can not use the camshaft locking tool. You should be able to although i just used a hardwood block cut out with a saw - worked just fine and saved me 80 bucks. Happy wrench-turning - and one more time, THANKS for the great DIY guides of this site!
June 29, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Right - As I mentioned in the article, when you tighten the bolts down, they compress the assembly, but still allow it to rotate. My bolts were old and worn out, new ones allowed the unit to rotate freely, although honestly, the new bolts and old bolts looked exactly the same to the naked eye. This concept is very difficult to explain in words unfortunately. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
gfureszComments: Quiestion: on my '97 528i the intake cam had been adjusted. For some reason unknown to me the edge of the square blocks at the end of the intake and exhaust camshafts are not parallel, but have a ~15 degree angle. The special BMW locking tool and any aftermarket ones seem to work only for parallel-edge blocks, based on the pictures of these tools. I made a special tool to lock the cams in the as-is position, but should I be concerned about such default timing difference? Thanks in advance!
June 29, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: I mention this in the book somewhere - there is a BMW tech bulletin where they recommend advancing or retarding (can't remember which) the cam timing on some cars to eliminate a rough idle. Your car probably had the cam timing altered slightly by a dealer at one time. I would say that you're safe to put it back at TDC locking, or in the same spot as it was when you took the car apart. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 
mindbogglingComments: Is setting up an E46 Vanos the same as this?
June 24, 2009
 Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, very similar. The E46 units use a double-vanos unit, this one here shows a single vanos. - Wayne at Pelican Parts 

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