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VANOS Solenoid Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

VANOS Solenoid Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$260

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets 10mm, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-11)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-11)

Parts Required:

VANOS solenoid, O-ring

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, MINI 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.

MINI 4-cylinder engines installed in R56 vehicles are equipped with a few different versions of VANOS, described below.

The MINI R56 N14 engine utilizes one VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoid for the intake camshaft, mounted to the cylinder head. It is 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 solenoid quite easily if needed. My suggestion is if you have determined you need a VANOS solenoid by cleaning, 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.

The MINI R56 N12, N16 and N18 engines utilize 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.

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.

The procedure for a normally aspirated N12 4-cylinder engine is below. Other engines are similar.

Inspecting VANOS solenoids once removed: Check the VANOS solenoid for cleanliness and or debris.
Figure 1

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, 2845 VANOS, actuator movement (red arrow).

Exhaust: The MINI R56 N12, N16 and N18 engines utilize two VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoids -- one for the intake camshaft (green arrow) and one for the exhaust camshaft (red arrow), mounted to the front of the cylinder head.
Figure 2

Exhaust: The MINI R56 N12, N16 and N18 engines utilize two VANOS (variable camshaft timing) solenoids -- one for the intake camshaft (green arrow) and one for the exhaust camshaft (red arrow), mounted to the front of the cylinder head. This tech article will show you how to replace each one. For turbocharged engines, see our tech article on charge air ducts removing, for access to the solenoids. Then follow the steps in this article for replacing or cleaning.

Exhaust: The VANOS solenoids are responsible for direct oil flow to the VANOS actuator and can become restricted over time on high mileage engines.
Figure 3

Exhaust: The VANOS solenoids 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. The red arrow shows a partially restricted solenoid and the green arrow shows a fully restricted solenoid. If you find one with debris, remove and clean (or replace) both. I usually find more debris in the intake solenoids than the exhaust.

Exhaust: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 4

Exhaust: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow).

Exhaust: Release the tab (red arrow) and pull it straight off the solenoid.
Figure 5

Exhaust: Release the tab (red arrow) and pull it straight off the solenoid. Pull the tab up slightly to release it.

Exhaust: Remove the VANOS solenoid 10mm fastener (red arrow).
Figure 6

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

Exhaust: Pull the solenoid out of the cylinder head (red arrow).
Figure 7

Exhaust: Pull the solenoid out of the cylinder head (red arrow). If stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to 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. 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. The VANOS solenoid O-ring can stay in the cylinder head when the solenoid is removed. Be sure to pull it out before reinstalling the solenoid. Clean the VANOS solenoid and be sure it is free of debris. The best way to clean it is to wash with a cleaner then lightly blow it out with compressed air. See Step 14 for more info. 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. Lubricate the O-ring with clean engine oil to facilitate installation.

Intake: The intake duct removal in this article only applies to normally aspirated models.
Figure 8

Intake: The intake duct removal in this article only applies to normally aspirated models. For duct removal on turbocharged engines, see our tech article on charge air ducts removing. Working at the mass airflow sensor duct, using a flathead screwdriver, loosen the duct clamp (red arrow).

Intake: Pull the duct (red arrow) off the mass airflow sensor.
Figure 9

Intake: Pull the duct (red arrow) off the mass airflow sensor. Then working at the lower part of the duct, near the throttle housing, loosen the lower duct clamp (green arrows). Use a stubby flathead screwdriver. Access is tight.

Intake: Pull the duct off the throttle housing and remove it.
Figure 10

Intake: Pull the duct off the throttle housing and remove it. Be careful and don't lever on the throttle housing. R56 models have moved to plastic throttle housings. Any excessive pressure in the wrong spot can break them.

Intake: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow).
Figure 11

Intake: Disconnect the VANOS solenoid electrical connector (red arrow). Release the tab (inset) and pull it straight off the solenoid. Pull the tab up slightly to release it.

Intake: Remove the VANOS solenoid 10mm fastener (green arrows).
Figure 12

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

Intake: Pull the solenoid out of the cylinder head.
Figure 13

Intake: Pull the solenoid out of the cylinder head. If stuck, use a flathead screwdriver to 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. 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. The VANOS solenoid O-ring can stay in the cylinder head when the solenoid is removed. Be sure to pull it out before reinstalling the solenoid. Clean the VANOS solenoid and be sure it is free of debris. The best way to clean it is to wash it with a cleaner then lightly blow it out with compressed air. See Step 14 for more info. 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. Lubricate the O-ring with clean engine oil to facilitate installation.

Cleaning: The best way to clean it is to wash it with a cleaner then lightly blow it out with compressed air.
Figure 14

Cleaning: The best way to clean it is to wash it with a cleaner then lightly blow it out with compressed air. Use a cleaner like brake clean (alcohol based) or soap and water to wash the debris off the solenoid screen. Then blow the solenoid dry using low-pressure air. Once dry, 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. Lubricate the O-ring with clean engine oil to facilitate installation.



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Comments and Suggestions:
jw Comments: I have a 2012 Mini Cooper Hardtop R56S and i lately have been getting codes 2D60 & 2C58. The check engine display with half illuminated, not in RED, comes on also. What could be the problem.
November 30, 2016
Josh Comments: Hi my mini come up with vanos position out nominal, it will idle ok for a couple of mins then it will start almost like a misfire then when i rev it has a high induction sound. Solenoids or timing? thanks
November 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most likely timing. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
flathead45 Comments: Hi,

Mini N14 2007 / 140kkm
Engine throws out faulty Throttle position sensor no other, lacks power in lower revs. Starts up without problems, in lower RPM range engine is noisy, exceed 2-3k rmp - drives smooth. Possible also VANOS or would it throw error code ?
October 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it would likely set code if VAnOS were an issue. I would inspect the throttle housing and connector. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
glassesgrl64 Comments: Typo - $1,900 for the repair
August 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
glassesgrl64 Comments: How critical is it to replace a vanos exhaust camshaft gear if it is throwing a 2845 code? My car still seems to run fine, it's just a little sluggish. I have only had it a few months but I am getting used to the way it drives. I was quoted $1,00 for this repair, so I am not sure what to do.
August 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if it fails, the vehicle can have starting issues or low power. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jeremy Comments: hey can you tell me why you need to reinstall the solenoid the reverse side ? and how do you do it ?
August 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If testing swapping sides helps to see if the fault follows the solenoid or stays put. Steps described in article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mike Z Bimmer Comments: I would like to replace the O-Ring on the Vanos for an R56 Mini Cooper exhaust camshaft is there a separate part number or dimension available ?

Thanks in advance
July 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Antwolves Comments: Hello Iv changed chain kit and getting fault code 2845 changed and cleaned still coming back as fault even changed of another car still same striped covers of checked timing it all lines up any ideas does it need setting or something
July 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If timing is good and the components aren't worn, you could have a faulty VANOS actuator on the camshaft. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kaffir Comments: Hi pleas help
what is the STD exhaust camshaft opening deg of n12/n14/n16 engine BBDC.or after TDC.if install correctly
This ex cam have no vanos or other variables ,it is a r56 bmw mini engine non turbo/blower. normal aspirated
Need info for cam re-profiling modification
thanks
May 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.



I would grab a repair manual. It may have it.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tjames Comments: Hi my car doesnt seem to idle the fault code readsas vanos , there is a play on the vanos gear , do I have to replace the gear or just try cleaning solinoid first
May 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it has excessive play, it may be faulty. I would start there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Caveman Comments: I RNR My timing chain kit in my 09 Mini Cooper thru the int retard code then the exe retard code I removed and cleaned both Vanos solonoids reinstalled them before this it ran great except throwing codes after I reinstalled solonoids it ran terrible wouldn't idle had a miss up to 3000 RPM could l have an air bubble in a solonoids or ? Where do I go from here
May 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can't have air. I would confirm the timing is correct before you go too far. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
miniuy Comments: Picture 6: "Do not reuse this fastener." What means this? I need to buy something new before removing the VANOS? Thank you!
April 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
stonekold Comments: Solenoids will rarely go bad and cleaning is all they should need, there is also CAMSHAFT position sensors that you should check first.
March 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would disagree. The solenoids do fail. Cleaning is a more common remedy though. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mrsb Comments: I have been unable to locate a part number or specs on the fastener/bolt I need to replace. Do have this information handy. I have the valves ready to go but don't want to start until I have all the parts.
March 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle or repair you are performing. For an immediate response, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Kencab Comments: Comments: where is the article for turbocharged engines?
February 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All R56 articles are here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/MINI_R56/MINI_Cooper_R56_Tech.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tremblaym54 Comments: I made a mistake: my fault code is 002B64
February 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tremblaym54 Comments: I have the 002B24 "suction tube" fault on my 2010 R56S and erratic idling. Engine light is on. I clear the fault and it reappears minutes later. Engine runs fine and performance is good but each time I put fuel in the engine cranks but refuse to start until I depress the fuel pedal and crank at least 15 seconds. From what I have read I suspect intake VANOS, do you agree?
February 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will have to check fuel trim to see when and which direction the fuel control is skewed. Once you determine when, you can look at what may be causing it. Vacuum leak, sensor, fuel delivery, etc. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rob Comments: Hi I have got a bmw 116i es which has recently developed a fault where the engine management light has come on and the car runs rough at idle but drives fine when in motion. I plugged the car into a scanner and it revealed a fault code of p0014 camshaft position actuator b bank 1 timing over advanced so I removed the soilenoids cleaned them both and replaced them the code was still there the same code. I then removed the soilenoids again and switched them into different positions or exhaust to intake and vice versa to my surprise the code then appeared as p0011 camshaft position actuator a bank 1 timing over advanced. So i switched back again and the code went back to p0014 so I assumed faulty exhaust soilenoid purchased a new one from bmw fitted it with hope of fixing the problem with no joy can you please advise me on what the problem could be thanks
February 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the code followed the solenoid, it usually is the solenoid or debris in the solenoid. If not, the issue could be a faulty VANOS actuator or worn timing components. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
racemini Comments: The plastic on my exhaust VANOS solenoid electrical connector is slightly chipped. Can the electrical connector be purchased / replaced separately?
December 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Connectors can be replaced.

I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jhadd Comments: where is the article for turbocharged engines described in figure 2?
August 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is in the process of being prepared for the website. Stay tuned. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Systemlord Comments: I recently removed my VANOS solenoid which was a pain in the you know what to remove, took almost all day! If I were to replace it soon would anyone expect that it might come out a little easier this time or is it going to be troublesome again? Also originally it felt as if something inside the head was gripping it from coming out the first time at 62,000 miles, it had never been remove before.

Thanks
August 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You were fighting the bond of the sealing O-ring, almost always like that. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Espen Comments: Hi

I got this problem with my Mini Cooper 2007 R56.

P0014
Camshaft position CMP actuator, exhaust!right! rear, bank 1 -timing over-advanced/system performance.


this may be the problem, as you explain on this page?
August 12, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, inspect the solenoids. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Systemlord Comments: What is the torque specifications for the VANOS solenoid?
Also where can we purchase a new fastener and O-ring?

Thank you.
July 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have the torque specs handy.
I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Pelican parts has the parts you need. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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