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6-Cylinder VANOS Solenoid Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

6-Cylinder VANOS Solenoid Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$260

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)

Parts Required:

VANOS solenoid, O-ring, VANOS solenoid fastener

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Remedy fault codes and restore engine performance

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

To improve engine breathing at a variety of rpms, thus improving fuel efficiency, emissions and power, BMW engines are designed with VANOS, an acronym based on the German words VAriable NOckenwellenSteuerung or variable camshaft timing. Though a number of VANOS systems have been designed and implemented, the basic principle behind all of them is the need to change the relative timing between intake and exhaust valve opening. The VANOS actuator on each camshaft is supplied with engine oil under pressure; a solenoid controlled by the engine control module (ECM) retards or advances camshaft timing by modifying the supply of pressurized oil to the VANOS actuator.

Intake valves:

  • Retarded during idle, improves smoothness of idle
  • Advanced during part-throttle acceleration, improves torque and emissions
  • Retarded at full-throttle, improves high power production

Exhaust valves:

  • Retarded during deceleration so that more exhaust can stay and mix with the cylinder charge, thus diluting the mixture, lowering combustion temperature and reducing NOx in the exhaust --similar to the effect of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR).
  • Advanced during warm-up phase in order to allow rapid warm-up and more efficient operation of catalytic converters

BMW 6-cylinder engines installed in E60 vehicles are equipped with two different versions of VANOS, described below.

The BMW E60 M54 engine (2004 - 2005) utilizes two VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoids -- one for the intake camshaft and one for the exhaust camshaft, mounted to the VANOS actuator at the front of the cylinder head. They are responsible for direct oil flow to the VANOS actuator and can become restricted over time on high mileage engines. You can clean or replace the solenoids quite easily if needed. The exhaust side solenoid is a little harder, due to space restrictions. The oil supply line to the VANOS actuator is also a problem area. It leaks over time at the hose clamp locations. The clamps are crimp type and cannot be replaced separately; you will have to replace the entire hose if it is leaking.

The BMW E60 NG6 engine (2006 - 2010) utilizes two VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoids -- one for the intake camshaft and one for the exhaust camshaft, mounted to the front of the cylinder head. They are responsible for direct oil flow to the VANOS actuator and can become restricted over time on high mileage engines. You can clean or replace the solenoids quite easily if needed. My suggestion is if you have determined you need a VANOS solenoid by cleaning or swapping side to side, replace both solenoids. They are fairly inexpensive and you're always better off replacing a degrading part. The sealing O-ring for the VANOS solenoid can also leak. If you have an oil leak down the front of the cylinder head, inspect the solenoid area for fresh oil.

Inspecting VANOS solenoids once removed: Check the VANOS solenoid for cleanliness and or debris. Clean both solenoids and reinstall. If the fault code for the camshaft position sensor goes away or swaps position from intake to exhaust (or vice versa), the fault code is being caused by the VANOS solenoid. Replace the solenoid that the code followed. Here are fault codes you may have if a VANOS solenoid is causing your problem: 2A9A Cam sensor, inlet signal invalid for synchronization, 2A98 (P0016) Crankshaft intake correlation value outside ref range, 2A82 intake VANOS jammed mechanically, 2A9B exhaust camshaft sensor signal invalid for synchronization, 2A99 (P0017) Crankshaft position sensor and exhaust camshaft, correlation value outside reference range, 2A87 exhaust VANOS jammed mechanically.

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

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

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

The procedures for each 6-cylinder engine are below. Remove the engine covers. See our tech article-describing engine cover removal.

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid:
M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Working at the left front corner of the cylinder head cover, disconnect the crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling them away from the valve cover.
Figure 1

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Working at the left front corner of the cylinder head cover, disconnect the crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release tabs and pulling them away from the valve cover. Be careful. This hose may be brittle. If it cracks or breaks, replace it with a new hose.

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (green arrow).
Figure 2

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (green arrow). Press the metal release clip and pull it straight off the solenoid.

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Then, using a 32mm wrench (red arrow), loosen the VANOS solenoid.
Figure 3

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Then, using a 32mm wrench (red arrow), loosen the VANOS solenoid. If the VANOS oil line prevents access to the VANOS solenoid hex, remove the oil line 19mm Banjo bolt (green arrow). This will improve access to the VANOS solenoid. Be prepared to catch any dripping oil in a rag when the solenoid is removed.

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Unscrew the VANOS solenoid from the VANOS actuator.
Figure 4

M54 Engine Intake VANOS Solenoid: Unscrew the VANOS solenoid from the VANOS actuator. Have a rag handy to catch any dripping oil. Install the new VANOS solenoid in the reverse order. When complete, check the engine for oil leaks.

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Remove the engine cooling fan and fan shroud.
Figure 5

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Remove the engine cooling fan and fan shroud. See our tech article on radiator fan replacing. Locate the VANOS solenoid at the lower right side of the VANOS actuator (green arrow).

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 6

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow). Press the metal release clip and pull it straight off the solenoid.

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Next, using a 32mm wrench, loosen the VANOS solenoid.
Figure 7

M54 Engine Exhaust VANOS Solenoid: Next, using a 32mm wrench, loosen the VANOS solenoid. You may have to use a short wrench or a 32mm crowfoot adapter, depending on the VANOS solenoid orientation in the VANOS actuator. Unscrew the VANOS solenoid from the VANOS actuator. Have a rag handy to catch any dripping oil. Install the new VANOS solenoid in the reverse order. When complete, check the engine for oil leaks.

M54 engine VANOS Oil Line:
M54 engine VANOS Oil Line: Remove the alternator.
Figure 8

M54 engine VANOS Oil Line: Remove the alternator. See our tech article on alternator replacing. Using a 19mm wrench, remove the VANOS oil line 19mm banjo bolt (purple arrow). Cover the line and opening to prevent dirt from entering the VANOS system.

M54 engine VANOS Oil Line: Working at the rear of the oil filter housing (purple arrow), using a 19mm wrench, remove the 19mm VANOS oil line banjo bolt (green arrow).
Figure 9

M54 engine VANOS Oil Line: Working at the rear of the oil filter housing (purple arrow), using a 19mm wrench, remove the 19mm VANOS oil line banjo bolt (green arrow). Cover the line and opening to prevent dirt from entering the VANOS system. Remove the VANOS oil line from the engine. Install a new VANOS oil line with new sealing washers and tighten the Banjo bolt. Reinstall the alternator and check the engine for oil leaks once complete.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid:
NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: The VANOS solenoids are located at the front of the cylinder head.
Figure 10

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: The VANOS solenoids are located at the front of the cylinder head. The intake VANOS solenoid is mounted on the top front of the cylinder head (yellow arrow) and the exhaust VANOS solenoid is mounted on the bottom front of the cylinder head (green arrow). This photo is from a turbocharged engine. Normally aspirated engines are similar.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Working at the intake VANOS solenoid, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the wire release tab and pulling it off (yellow arrow).
Figure 11

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Working at the intake VANOS solenoid, disconnect the electrical connector by pressing the wire release tab and pulling it off (yellow arrow).

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Remove the VANOS solenoid 10mm fastener (green arrow).
Figure 12

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Remove the VANOS solenoid 10mm fastener (green arrow). Do not reuse this fastener. Throw it away once removed and replace it with a new one.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Using a flathead screwdriver, gently lever against the metal bracket on the VANOS solenoid to extract it from the cylinder head.
Figure 13

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Using a flathead screwdriver, gently lever against the metal bracket on the VANOS solenoid to extract it from the cylinder head. Be very careful not to damage the solenoid or cylinder head when doing this.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Pull the VANOS solenoid sensor out of the cylinder head.
Figure 14

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Pull the VANOS solenoid sensor out of the cylinder head. Have a rag nearby in case some oil drips out of the cylinder head when the sensor is removed.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: The VANOS solenoid O-ring usually stays in the cylinder head when the solenoid is removed.
Figure 15

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: The VANOS solenoid O-ring usually stays in the cylinder head when the solenoid is removed. Be sure to pull it out before reinstalling the solenoid (green arrow).

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Clean the VANOS solenoid and be sure it is free of debris.
Figure 16

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Clean the VANOS solenoid and be sure it is free of debris. The best way to clean it is to lightly blow it out with compressed air.

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Install the VANOS solenoid in the reverse order of removing.
Figure 17

NG6 Engine VANOS Solenoid: Install the VANOS solenoid in the reverse order of removing. Replace the fastener and O-ring every time the sensor is removed from the cylinder head. Slide the O-ring (green arrow) onto the solenoid until it is against the spacer (yellow arrow). Lubricate the O-ring with clean engine oil to facilitate installation.


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Comments and Suggestions:
kenny smith Comments: I keep getting codes P0012 and P0012 P , any idea what they mean and what i need to change?

bmw e60 2009 535i xdrive
November 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be a VANOS solenoid issue or mechanical engine timing. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Macker Comments: Hi I am looking to purchase 2 Vanos solenoid valves intake and exhaust for 2005 BMW E60 5 series. I would appreciate if you could let me know the availability and cost please. I am also looking to purchase an Passenger Occupancy Sensor for this car if possible.

Brian
March 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: What are the last 7 digits of your VIN? Which engine do you have? - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Mo Comments: Where can I find JUST the metal clip shown in figure 2 of this DYI process? It states to remove it, well - I did. And now I can't find it!

Article:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/BMW-E60/107-FUEL-6_Cylinder_VANOS_Solenoid_Replacing/107-FUEL-6_Cylinder_VANOS_Solenoid_Replacing.htm

Exact photo reference:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/BMW-E60/107-FUEL-6_Cylinder_VANOS_Solenoid_Replacing/images_large/pic02.jpg
March 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The metal clip is pressed in and the electrical connector is pulled straight off to remove.

We should be able to get you a clip. 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
 

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Page last updated: Mon 12/5/2016 02:40:47 AM