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      07-11-2013, 12:35 PM   #1
swmrdrn
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Broken VANOS Bolts

Yesterday morning on startup my N55 2011 135i DCT through a yellow engine malfunction light followed by the SES light. The engine made a faint whining sound and when pulling away from the first start it was noticeably down on power. As such I drove it straight to the New Century BMW (my local dealership).

The SA called yesterday afternoon to inform me that all of the bolts on the VANOS "controller" (actuator) were broken off. The work is going to be done under warranty and the dealer had the parts in stock.

This morning I went over to pick up the loaner (X1) and the SA offered to take me back to the call and talk to the mechanic. The mechanic informed that they are seeing a lot of N55 with broken VANOS bolts. He showed me where the bolts which are located on the backside of the VANOS controller have been sheered off. The VANOS Controller/Actuator is a cogged sprocket with some sort of mechanism on the inside. He explained that the bolts are made from Aluminum and the new VANOS controller has bolts made from a different material.

I asked him where the sheered bolt heads are in the engine and he assured me that the drop into the oil pan without doing harm. There is very little room between the cam chain and the block for these to fall through so I'm not to sure that they don't get bounced around before finding their way to the sump.

Major internal engine failures on a car with 22,000 miles that has been dealer maintained by the book and never thrashed on a track really bother me. With this in mind I have requested in writing the VANOS units back and the bolt heads that supposedly dropped to the oil pan. My plan is as follows:

1. Confirm that this is an update VANOS part and that the updated part was installed.

2. If those bolts show any sign of being torn up from the cam chain or if they can't "find" all of the bolts then I will demand that BMW extend the engine warranty to 100,000.

The dealer has been very accommodation so far but I have not heard back on my request for the old parts back. I had a similar issue with a different car/make and the dealer claimed to have lost the parts instead of returning them. It later came out that they turned the parts over to the manufacture and that it was the beginnings of a coverup that did eventually turn into a recall. So if the part "disappear" this time I will refuse to pick up the car.

I know that I'm not the first person to have this happend to. Can anyone confirm that there really is an updated part? What have your experiences been?
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      07-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #2
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Update: Just talked to dealer and they are refusing to return the parts. The SA claims that BMW wants them and that because the work is under warranty they are not required to return the parts to me. Not to sure if that is true but I'm going to check on that.
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      07-11-2013, 12:54 PM   #3
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Whoa this is scary, I expect the water pump to poop out or the vanos system but bolts breaking off "inside" the engine is crazy.
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      07-11-2013, 03:09 PM   #4
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Oh boy...

Would you mind listing the build date of your car? Might be worth tracking...

Last edited by sea6speed; 07-11-2013 at 03:17 PM.
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      07-11-2013, 03:27 PM   #5
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I don't have the build date at hand but if I recall correctly it was September 2010. I'll update that when I get the car back.
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      07-11-2013, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swmrdrn View Post
I don't have the build date at hand but if I recall correctly it was September 2010. I'll update that when I get the car back.
FYI - you can get the exact production date by putting in the last 7 of your VIN:

http://www.rubmw.ru/vincode/eng/
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      07-11-2013, 03:37 PM   #7
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Thank you for the link. My car was produced May 27, 2010.
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      07-12-2013, 07:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swmrdrn View Post
Update: Just talked to dealer and they are refusing to return the parts. The SA claims that BMW wants them and that because the work is under warranty they are not required to return the parts to me. Not to sure if that is true but I'm going to check on that.
My dealer said that they need to return parts to BMW in order to get paid for the warranty work.
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      07-12-2013, 08:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swmrdrn
Update: Just talked to dealer and they are refusing to return the parts. The SA claims that BMW wants them and that because the work is under warranty they are not required to return the parts to me. Not to sure if that is true but I'm going to check on that.
This is correct, you have no right to have any parts replaced under warranty, BMW is paying for it and they get the parts back, it's the same for any brand really.
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      07-12-2013, 10:06 AM   #10
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you should still be able to view the parts even if they do not allow you to take them. Just ask to inspect th eparts that hey recovered for documentation purposes. If they refuse as them if they are willing to litigate the issue? You have the right to make sure the parts did not cause further damage especially if they did not inspect the other areas of the engine where these parts fell.
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      07-12-2013, 11:30 AM   #11
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I will pursue the viewing strategy and and try and photograph the parts. As to the question of litigation, after the car is back on the road there isn't any real damage done to me so litigation wouldn't be a very good option. There may well be additional internal damage to the engine that won't manifest itself for years and even when it does it will be difficult to show that the bolts caused the problem. Besides having lived through "litigation therapy" several times in my life I honestly don't think that I would ever do that again for under $500k it just consumes your life. In the end the car is a lease that ends next April. Last week I would have kept the car but now I think I will turn it in and make sure that I drive a car in warranty. The SA said that this is a $4,500 repair... that is almost 20% of the car's value and it only has 22,000 miles on it!
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      07-12-2013, 02:13 PM   #12
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Take some pics if u can.
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      07-12-2013, 02:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swmrdrn View Post
The SA said that this is a $4,500 repair..
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      07-15-2013, 11:00 AM   #14
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Hi,

The same happened to me last week. I have a 2011 N55 135i with 26,000 miles.

The car was working fine, when all of the sudden it started with the exact same symptoms. Only for my luck, the car stalled and had to be towed to the dealer. It took 5 days to fix, and they assure me that the remaining of the bolt was in the oil pan, and that they took it away.

Apparently a bolt in the VANOS broke down, messing with the timing of the car.
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      07-15-2013, 11:04 AM   #15
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BTW my SA told me that it was something mechanical and not a condition of these cars like previously with the HPFP. LOL now I know what to do with the car once the warranty expires in 2015.
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      07-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #16
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sigh...how sad is this?
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      07-15-2013, 11:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karlitox09 View Post
Hi,

The same happened to me last week. I have a 2011 N55 135i with 26,000 miles.

The car was working fine, when all of the sudden it started with the exact same symptoms. Only for my luck, the car stalled and had to be towed to the dealer. It took 5 days to fix, and they assure me that the remaining of the bolt was in the oil pan, and that they took it away.

Apparently a bolt in the VANOS broke down, messing with the timing of the car.
Can you post your build date?
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      07-15-2013, 12:50 PM   #18
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Thank you for the link. My car was produced May 27, 2010.
Damn mine is 2010-07-15
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      07-15-2013, 02:51 PM   #19
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Prod.date 2010-10-19
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      07-16-2013, 07:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08LMB135i View Post
This is correct, you have no right to have any parts replaced under warranty, BMW is paying for it and they get the parts back, it's the same for any brand really.
So says the warranty book.
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      07-17-2013, 11:50 AM   #21
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Pixs

I posted this in the wrong thread on Friday... Below are the pictures of the broken Vanos Bolts. You can see that the intake side Vanos unit has for bolts still intact while on the exhaust side the heads are all missing. The second image shows the 4 bolt heads and the threaded part of one of the bolts. These parts were recovered from the oil pan. After reassembly with the new parts the Vanos solenoid failed on the test drive and that was replace. The mechanic said the failure was due to metal shavings in the oil. They then did an oil change as well.



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      07-17-2013, 03:48 PM   #22
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They didn't do an oil change as part of of the procedure? Knowing that the bolt heads were in he pan they should have done a change. So they run the car with metal in the oil, solenoind fails due to metal in the oil then do a change. I might have some concern about that in the future. Maybe you can find the repair procedure. But whenever something is found in the oil that happened when the car was running it is imperative to change the oil. No one can argue why not to change it.
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