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S54 Engine Camshaft Sensor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

S54 Engine Camshaft Sensor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets 5mm Allen bit, wrenches

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 M3 Coupe/Conv (2006)
BMW Z4 Coupe/Conv (2006-08)

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 Z4 vehicles with a S54 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 throttle body 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.

However, 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.

Depending on which camshaft sensor you are replacing, the procedure varies. For intake sensors, the intake manifold has to be removed, along with the fuel injector harness detached. This allows access to the fastener and wiring harness. Exhaust sensors can be removed simply by removing the engine cover to make room for the wiring harness to move around.

On Z4 models with a S54 6-cylinder engine, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located behind the cylinder head on the left side of the engine (red arrow).
Figure 1

On Z4 models with a S54 6-cylinder engine, the intake (inlet) camshaft sensor is located behind the cylinder head on the left side of the engine (red arrow). The exhaust (outlet) camshaft sensor is located at the right rear of the cylinder head (green arrow).

To remove the breather hoses, squeeze the collar and pull it straight up.
Figure 2

To remove the breather hoses, squeeze the collar and pull it straight up.

Place the breather hose and solenoid aside (green arrow).
Figure 3

Place the breather hose and solenoid aside (green arrow). You can leave the rubber hose attached. It only has to be moved enough to make room for the engine cover to come out.

Remove the six 10mm engine cover fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 4

Remove the six 10mm engine cover fasteners (red arrows). Then remove the oil filler cap (green arrow).

Lift and remove the engine cover.
Figure 5

Lift and remove the engine cover. If you're replacing the intake camshaft sensor, remove the fuel injector wiring harness and the intake manifold. See our tech articles on fuel injector replacing and intake manifold replacing. If you're replacing the exhaust sensor, see the steps labeled exhaust sensor.

Intake camshaft sensor: Working under the cylinder six throttle body, remove the three 10mm wiring harness bracket nuts (green arrows).
Figure 6

Intake camshaft sensor: Working under the cylinder six throttle body, remove the three 10mm wiring harness bracket nuts (green arrows). Then pull the bracket down and away from the throttle body (red arrow).

Intake camshaft sensor: Pull the wiring harness away from the rear of the cylinder head (red arrow).
Figure 7

Intake camshaft sensor: Pull the wiring harness away from the rear of the cylinder head (red arrow). This will expose the camshaft sensor and the camshaft sensor wiring harness (green arrows).

Intake camshaft sensor: Using a 5mm Allen bit (green arrow), remove the camshaft sensor fastener (red arrow).
Figure 8

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

Intake camshaft sensor: Working between the cylinder 5 and 6 injectors (red arrows), disconnect the sensor electrical connector.
Figure 9

Intake camshaft sensor: Working between the cylinder 5 and 6 injectors (red arrows), disconnect the sensor electrical connector. Press the metal release wire (green arrow) and pull it straight off the wiring housing.

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the camshaft sensor from the cylinder head (red arrow).
Figure 10

Intake camshaft sensor: Remove the camshaft sensor from the cylinder head (red arrow). Be ready to catch any dripping oil in a rag. Detach the sensor wiring harness from the wiring housing. Be sure to replace the sensor sealing O-ring (green arrow). The O-ring shown stayed in the cylinder head when the sensor was removed. Be sure to remove it with a pick before installing the new sensor. Install the new O-ring onto the new sensor and lubricate it with clean engine oil. 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.

Exhaust camshaft sensor: The exhaust (outlet) camshaft sensor is located at the right rear of the cylinder head (green arrow).
Figure 11

Exhaust camshaft sensor: The exhaust (outlet) camshaft sensor is located at the right rear of the cylinder head (green arrow). This photo is shown with the engine cover removed.

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Working at the right rear of the cylinder head, disconnect the camshaft sensor electrical connector by pressing the release tab (green arrow) and pulling it straight off.
Figure 12

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

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Using a 5mm Allen bit (green arrow), remove the camshaft sensor fastener (red arrow).
Figure 13

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Using a 5mm Allen bit (green arrow), remove the camshaft sensor fastener (red arrow). The inset shows the sensor when viewed from below the corner of the cylinder head.

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Pull the camshaft sensor (green arrow) out of the cylinder head.
Figure 14

Exhaust camshaft sensor: Pull the camshaft sensor (green arrow) 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 and fastener. Be sure to replace the sensor sealing O-ring (red arrow). The O-ring shown stayed in the cylinder head when the sensor was removed. Be sure to remove it with a pick before installing the new sensor. When installing, lubricate the O-ring with clean 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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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:57:05 AM