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M54 6-Cylinder Engine Camshaft Sensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6-Cylinder Engine Camshaft Sensor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-06)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-06)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006)

Parts Required:

Intake or exhaust camshaft sensor, sealing O-rings, fasteners, blue Loctite

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Car will run well

Complementary Modification:

Replace sensors in pairs

The digital motor electronics (DME) engine management system in BMW E60 vehicles with the M54 engine uses the engine control module (ECM) to control fuel injection, ignition and other important drivetrain functions. The ECM sequentially triggers the fuel injectors to spray fuel into the intake ports and then, a split-second later, triggers the ignition coils to fire the spark plugs. This sequence of events is timed by using crankshaft position information. Using the signal from the crankshaft sensor, the ECM "knows" which cylinder is ready for fuel intake and then, later, for ignition.

In addition to the crankshaft position signal, the ECM needs a signal to distinguish the crankshaft valve-overlap top-dead-center (TDC) position from the TDC just prior to the power stroke. This signal is provided by camshaft position sensors, which help synchronize fuel injection and ignition. In addition, camshaft sensors serve as feedback devices for VANOS (variable camshaft timing) control.

When a camshaft sensor fails, the check engine light will illuminate and a fault code will be stored. I have seen faulty sensors cause engine stalling and poor engine drivability. If you have a camshaft sensor fault code and your engine isn't running right, I suggest replacing the sensor before digging too deep. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the intake and exhaust camshaft position sensors. The procedures are different, so they will be described separately. BMW suggests replacing the sensor fasteners when removing. This is due to Loctite used at the factory. If you do not want to replace the fasteners, be sure to apply a small amount of blue Loctite on the fastener threads.

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

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

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

On E60 models with a M54 6-cylinder engine, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located behind the VANOS solenoid (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

On E60 models with a M54 6-cylinder engine, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located behind the VANOS solenoid (yellow arrow). The exhaust (outlet) camshaft sensor is located at the right front of the cylinder head (green arrow).

Intake camshaft sensor:
Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the engine covers.
Figure 2

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the engine covers. See our tech article on engine cover removing. Working at the left front corner of the cylinder head cover, disconnect the crankcase vent hose by squeezing the release collar (green arrows) and pulling it away (inset) from the cylinder head cover.

Intake camshaft sensor: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector.
Figure 3

Intake camshaft sensor: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector. Press the metal release wire (green arrow) and pull it straight off the solenoid.

Intake camshaft sensor: Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen the VANOS solenoid.
Figure 4

Intake camshaft sensor: Then, using a 32mm wrench, loosen the VANOS solenoid. If the VANOS oil line prevents access to the VANOS solenoid hex, remove the oil line's 19mm Banjo bolt. This will improve access to the VANOS solenoid. Be prepared to catch dripping oil in a rag. If you do not own a 32mm open-end wrench, a medium adjustable wrench will work (as shown here) due to the solenoid not being secured with high torque. Remove the VANOS solenoid from the cylinder head (inset). Be ready to catch any dripping oil in a rag.

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the intake camshaft sensor with a 5mm Allen fastener.
Figure 5

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the intake camshaft sensor with a 5mm Allen fastener.

Intake camshaft sensor: The camshaft sensor electrical connector (blue arrow) is located at the electrical junction behind the alternator (yellow arrow).
Figure 6

Intake camshaft sensor: The camshaft sensor electrical connector (blue arrow) is located at the electrical junction behind the alternator (yellow arrow). The connector can be accessed without removing the air filter housing (green arrow). If you are having trouble, see our tech article on alternator replacing to gain access to the rear of the alternator. Disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing the release wire and pulling the male end of the connector out of the electrical junction.

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the camshaft sensor from the cylinder head.
Figure 7

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the camshaft sensor from the cylinder head. Be ready to catch any dripping oil in a rag. Feed the sensor wiring harness up and out of the engine compartment. Feed the new sensor wiring harness into the engine compartment the same way it was previously routed. Install the sensor in the cylinder head and tighten it. Connect the camshaft sensor electrical connector. Reinstall the VANOS solenoid and tighten it. Install the air filter housing. Install the engine covers and clear the DME fault codes.

Exhaust camshaft sensor: 
Exhaust camshaft sensor: Working at the right front of the cylinder head, disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing the release tabs (green arrow) and pulling it straight off in the direction of the yellow arrow.
Figure 8

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Working at the right front of the cylinder head, disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing the release tabs (green arrow) and pulling it straight off in the direction of the yellow arrow.

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Using a 5mm Allen bit, remove the camshaft sensor fastener (green arrow).
Figure 9

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

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head.
Figure 10

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Pull the camshaft sensor out of the cylinder head. Be ready to catch any dripping oil in a rag. Install the new camshaft sensor with a new O-ring (yellow arrow) and fastener. When installing, lubricate the O-ring with new engine oil and push it into the cylinder head until the retaining flange (where bolt fastens through) is flush with the cylinder head. Install the new fastener and tighten and reconnect the electrical connector.

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Comments and Suggestions:
JJ Comments: Hi quick question, I know that many other things can cause misfires, But would any of the faulty camshaft sensors or crankshaft sensor cause a misfire in cylinder #2. Everything was changed except those 3 sensors such as plugs, coils, ccv, valve cover gasket not sure why the misfire. But going to replace all three sensors.
March 19, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is possible but I doubt it. Have you checked compression in cyl 2? Make sure you don't have any leaks in the manifold which would affect cyl 2. - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Mac Comments: I've looked all over the website, and I am having difficulty locationg the second camshaft position sensor on my 2007 525i. The engine appears different than the one in the photos above. I have replaced the sensor on the front of the engince, however the code is persistent. Are these photos and instructions accurately for my 2007 525i? Thanks in advance for any and all help.
January 1, 2017
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article applies to M54 engine equipped vehicles. If your engine has an M%4 it applies. You likely have the NG6 N52 engine. The location should be similar to this engine: http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MATT Comments: Is this tutorial valid for the N52 engine? I have the 2006 BMW 530xi wagon
December 13, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is for the M54 engine only. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mr.P Comments: BMW X5 3.0i : have changed the intake cam sensor the intake solenoid valve and done the VANOS seal kit, after having some issues with loss of power under 3000 rpm and 5 gear have no power at all, now it's little bit better but have got code P0011 Pending A camshaft postition timing over advanced or system performance bank 1? and still a lack of power? what can it be?
November 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Either mechanical timing of VANOS actuator issue. Check if the mechanical timing marks line up. If they do, this will rule out worn timing components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
boriska00 Comments: Is there a similar procedure for 8 cylinder motor 2006 550i. Thanks
June 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Somer boykins Comments: I have a 2007 bmw 525i 6 cylinder and I replaced the camshaft sensor located by the intake, and I was told there is two and the other is a exhaust camshaft sensor where is that located at on the vehicle? Please help skin my across well run great again.
April 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Use this article

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing.htm


the locations are shown and the engine is similar to your model. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Zenadrin Comments: I wanted to know if you can post this for ng6 motor. Thanks
December 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This is for a different model with an NG6 engine. It should get you done.

http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing/FUEL-Camshaft_Position_Sensor_Replacing.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Vahid Comments: Hi
My 525/E60 shut off it self when driving,,engine dosen't start again so after a few minuets starting engine and go away..my car was sludge so company cleaning engine by dissembling it..but my problem still yet..
I have replaced fuel pump and filter
And there is inlet camshaft mechanical fault in issid
Thank's
August 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 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 fuel pressure, volume, quality and engine compression. Are there any fault codes? Once you figure out what is missing, it will be easier to diagnose.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
sp680 Comments: Hi, i recently replaced the thermostat on my 2004 e60 530i, cleared the codes and just now got a p0015 error. SES light and increased emissions light showed up. Car was also showing a loss in power during acceleration. Do you think its a faulty camshaft sensor? before thermostat replacement, i was receiving lean codes, which were throwing emissions light. Was planning on replacing o2's, but now this code is coming up. What do you think?
April 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That fault code is for engine timing not as expected. You will have to check the desired verse actual camshaft angle using a BMW scan tool. This will confirm there is an issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Mon 7/24/2017 02:27:17 AM