Pelican Parts
BMW Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog BMW How To Articles BMW Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
View Recent Cars  |Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help
 >  >
M54 6-Cylinder VANOS Actuator Replacement
 
Bookmark and Share

Pelican Technical Article:

M54 6-Cylinder VANOS Actuator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

12 hours12 hrs

Tab:

$700

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, Allen, Torx, wrenches (19mm, 32mm), engine timing tools.

Applicable Models:

BMW X3 Sport Utility (2004-06)

Parts Required:

Head gasket kit, coolant pipe and O-rings, engine oil, filter, engine coolant

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Repair oil and coolant leaks

Complementary Modification:

Replace VANOS oil line

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 the 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. This is 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.

The VANOS actuator is responsible for adjusting the camshaft timing to achieve the highest engine efficiency. Over time oil sludge can build up and the seals can fail, which leads to a malfunctioning VANOS actuator. You may experience an engine with low power, rough idle or stalling when coming to a stop. If these symptoms occur and are worse when cold, your VANOS actuator may be faulty. Use a BMW scan tool and check for any fault codes relating to camshaft timing deviations or camshaft timing reference signal - double check that your camshaft sensors are operating normally and replace if questionable. If problem persists, replace the VANOS actuator.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below.

Read through entire procedure before beginning. Be sure this is not above your skill level, as engine damage can occur if engine timing is not correct.

The majority of the procedure will be shown on an engine that is not installed in a vehicle. The steps are the same as if it was installed.

Disconnect negative (-) battery cable. See our tech article on Battery Replacing for connection notes.

Remove the valve cover. See our tech article on valve cover removing.

Remove the intake air ducts. See our tech article on intake air ducts and housing removing.

Remove engine cooling fan. See our tech article on engine cooling fan replacing.

With the valve cover removed you have access to the VANOS actuator (red arrow).
Figure 1

With the valve cover removed you have access to the VANOS actuator (red arrow). Remove plastic camshaft cover (blue arrow) from cylinder head by pulling up and off cylinder head.

Use a 22mm socket on the crankshaft pulley fastener (red arrow) to rotate engine.
Figure 2

Use a 22mm socket on the crankshaft pulley fastener (red arrow) to rotate engine.

Rotate engine clockwise until the first camshaft lobes point toward each other (green arrows).
Figure 3

Rotate engine clockwise until the first camshaft lobes point toward each other (green arrows). This brings engine to cylinder #1 TDC position. This is the first step in locking the engine timing position.

Next you are going to remove the dust plug from crankcase.
Figure 4

Next you are going to remove the dust plug from crankcase. It is located below engine, inside of the crankcase. The plug covers a hole used to lock the crankshaft in TDC. To access the plug, remove the intake air housings and ducts. Remove the throttle body. See our tech article on throttle body removing. With the throttle body removed, next remove the vacuum reservoir (red arrow).

Remove the vacuum reservoir 13mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 5

Remove the vacuum reservoir 13mm fastener (red arrow). I use a long 1/4 drive extension with a 13mm universal socket.

Pull the vacuum reservoir up enough to remove the front vacuum hose (red arrow).
Figure 6

Pull the vacuum reservoir up enough to remove the front vacuum hose (red arrow).

Pull the vacuum reservoir up enough to remove the rear vacuum hose (red arrow).
Figure 7

Pull the vacuum reservoir up enough to remove the rear vacuum hose (red arrow). Then remove the vacuum reservoir from the engine.

With the vacuum reservoir removed, you now have access to the dust plug (red arrow).
Figure 8

With the vacuum reservoir removed, you now have access to the dust plug (red arrow). It is located just below the crankshaft sensor (blue arrow). Remove the dust plug from crankcase. The dust plug can become stuck over time. If needed, pry out using a flathead screwdriver.

Next, install crankshaft locking pin tool (11 2 300) into the hole dust plug was removed from (green arrow).
Figure 9

Next, install crankshaft locking pin tool (11 2 300) into the hole dust plug was removed from (green arrow). When installing tool, push in until it bottoms out. Slowly rotate engine until pin drops in about 12mm further. Once the tool is installed, confirm the crankshaft can no longer be rotated. Follow the instructions that came along with your special tool kit to ensure proper use. If needed, clean the bore where the tool inserts of corrosion. At times corrosion will prevent the tool from entering the bore.

Working at the left front of the cylinder head, disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the wire release and pulling it straight off.
Figure 10

Working at the left front of the cylinder head, disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the wire release and pulling it straight off.

Then working at the right front of the cylinder head, disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the wire release and pulling it straight off.
Figure 11

Then working at the right front of the cylinder head, disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow) by pressing the wire release and pulling it straight off. Then disconnect the intake camshaft sensor by squeezing the tabs at sides of connector and pulling it straight off.

Remove the studs at rear of cylinder head using a 10mm deep socket (green arrows).
Figure 12

Remove the studs at rear of cylinder head using a 10mm deep socket (green arrows).

Install camshaft locking jig (11 3 240) at rear of camshafts (green arrow).
Figure 13

Install camshaft locking jig (11 3 240) at rear of camshafts (green arrow). Jig should slide down onto square bosses on end of camshafts, then secure together. Follow the instructions that came along with your special tool kit to ensure proper use.

Working at front of VANOS actuator, remove upper 8mm Allen plug.
Figure 14

Working at front of VANOS actuator, remove upper 8mm Allen plug.

Next, remove lower 8mm Allen plug.
Figure 15

Next, remove lower 8mm Allen plug. When you remove the lower plug, be prepared to catch a small amount of oil in a container.

Using needle nose vise grips, pull plastic plugs out of VANOS actuator (green arrow).
Figure 16

Using needle nose vise grips, pull plastic plugs out of VANOS actuator (green arrow). There is one plug for each camshaft.

Next you are going to remove the VANOS fasteners.
Figure 17

Next you are going to remove the VANOS fasteners. The fasteners are T30 Torx and left hand thread. To remove, rotate in clockwise direction.

Working at the VANOS oil line, remove the 19mm Banjo bolt (red arrow).
Figure 18

Working at the VANOS oil line, remove the 19mm Banjo bolt (red arrow). Be sure to replace the metal sealing washers when reinstalling.

Remove engine hoisting hook fasteners then remove hook from engine (green arrows).
Figure 19

Remove engine hoisting hook fasteners then remove hook from engine (green arrows).

Remove seven 10mm VANOS actuator fasteners (green arrows).
Figure 20

Remove seven 10mm VANOS actuator fasteners (green arrows).

Slide VANOS actuator off cylinder head and remove.
Figure 21

Slide VANOS actuator off cylinder head and remove. Be prepared to catch excess oil in a rag. If VANOS unit is stuck, remove the camshaft locking tools. Then wiggle the camshafts back and forth to break the bond from oil pressure. Once off, reinstall camshaft locking tools. If only replacing the VANOS actuator, do not further disassemble the engine. No need to remove the chain or plates on camshaft ends,

If tools were removed: Lock camshafts in place.
Figure 22

If tools were removed: Lock camshafts in place. Install camshaft locking jig (11 3 240) at rear of camshafts (green arrow) .Jig should slide down onto square bosses on end of camshafts, then secure together. Follow the instructions that came along with your special tool kit to ensure proper use. If needed, rotate camshafts slightly to properly engage tool.

Confirm proper tool alignment.
Figure 23

Confirm proper tool alignment. The camshaft locking tool should be flush or almost flush with intake side of cylinder head sealing surface. 1mm is allowed if using a feller gauge to check. Once you have confirmed the camshafts are timed correctly, remove the special tool from the front of the cylinder head (11 6 150). Clean VANOS unit sealing surface, then install new VANOS actuator gasket. Install VANOS actuator on cylinder head. Install VANOS actuator fasteners and tighten. Install engine hoisting hook and tighten. Next you will install the left hand thread VANOS fasteners and tighten, be sure to use the correct amount of torque, this connection is very important. Install the plastic plugs, they just push back into place. Then install the VANOS actuator metal plugs. Next remove the camshaft and crankshaft locking tools. Reinstall the studs at rear of cylinder head and reassemble valve cover and other items removed. Hydraulic VANOS piston to the camshaft splined shaft torque is 10 Nm (89 in-lb). VANOS sealing plug torque is 50 Nm (37 ft-lb). Remove the crankshaft and camshaft locking tools. Then install VANOS line with sealing washers. Install the valve cover. See our tech article on valve cover gasket replacing. Install the engine cooling fan. See our tech article on engine cooling fan replacing. The remainder of the reassembly steps are reverse of removing. Be sure to replace engine oil and engine coolant when done. Bleed cooling system and check for leaks.

Bookmark and Share

QUICK LINKS
About Us
Careers
Pelican Parts, Inc.
1600 240th Street
Harbor City, CA 90710
Order Online or Call:
888-280-7799
CONNECT WITH US
NEWSLETTER
Sign Up for Pelican Pit Stop News & Special Offers
Page last updated: Sat 10/21/2017 03:15:20 AM