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      08-09-2022, 07:27 PM   #1
esauloff
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E82 Broken Vanos question

Hi there.
Could you please advise me about broken Vanos on my E82?

2012 E82 coupe, about 77k miles.
Sometimes I've got "0x2A7C VANOS Inlet Cold start" but it was on and off.
I do not drive much now so it happened for about 6 months.
Finally now have some time to fix it.
  • I started with both new Vanos solenoids, not OEM but not the cheapest made in China. It does not matter probably.
  • Cleaned both Vanos filters on the left side of the engine. Both were in good shape.
  • New oil and filter.

But it did not fix the error.
Went to two places for diagnostics - BMW service and good proven but small shop.

At BMW service, they blamed Vanos gears but could not make any guarantee, without removing the valve cover.

Small shop said that Vanos probably is ok but thought it is oil pressure during engine startup.
They wanted to check camshaft bearings, whatever it means.
Most probably they referred to this info - https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/20...46779-9999.pdf and https://static.nhtsa.gov/odi/tsbs/20...47067-9999.pdf.

Decided to do whatever I can so far by myself, especially with $3k estimated price at both places.

And here is what I see after valve cover removal.
Intake Vanos gear is missing one bolt head, on the photo, other bolts are very loose. Exhaust gear has all bolts loose.

I want to clarify please:
  • Since it is definitely Vanos gears, do I need to check camshaft too, while valve cover is of?
  • How to find broken bolt head? By removing oil pan completely and hoping it is there? Maybe any other options?

Thank you.
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      08-10-2022, 07:12 AM   #2
mad1stgen
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Ha. Every N52 will have this happen sooner or later.
Replace the bolts with updated parts, hopefully you can get the remnant out somewhat easily with a pick tool. Pay attention to angles and tq specs. No need to replace the gears.
Look for the bolt head somewhere in the head, plenty of nooks in that area. Otherwise it will be in the pan. You can try looking for it after removing the oil level sensor, too bad it's not magnetic.
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      08-17-2022, 08:06 AM   #3
mkeiser
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Hey there!

If any of the vanos gear bolts are loose or broken, then the entire vanos gear should be replaced. Reference Recall Campaign 14V-176 and Service Information bulletin SI B11 07 14. Depending on the date of the first service of your vehicle you might be just within the 10 year warranty or just past it... godspeed.

If you don't see the bolt when taking the valve cover off then it is most likely in the oil pan and you will need to fish it out. drop subframe, drop oil pan, find bolt heads, seal it back up with new oil pan gasket, new oil pan bolts, and oil level sensor gasket while you're in there. Now would also be a good time do to motor mounts, water pump, and thermostat.
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      08-21-2022, 03:18 PM   #4
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The recall does state to replace the entire cam gear if any of the bolts are broken/missing. However, I ignored that warning and just replaced the bolts while keeping the cam gears. The amount of labor to swap the gears is 100x harder than the bolts so I decided to roll the dice and so far no issues. After replacing the bolts, the car saw a full track day and an autocross event without any issues. Engine runs great now.

For the missing bolt head, that's a tough call.. I don't know if I would feel like dropping the oil pan. Maybe try getting a bore scope camera and see if you can find it in the pan. There's a possibility the bolt head would have been drained out with the oil too.
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      08-24-2022, 02:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wootloops View Post
The recall does state to replace the entire cam gear if any of the bolts are broken/missing. However, I ignored that warning and just replaced the bolts while keeping the cam gears. The amount of labor to swap the gears is 100x harder than the bolts so I decided to roll the dice and so far no issues. After replacing the bolts, the car saw a full track day and an autocross event without any issues. Engine runs great now.

For the missing bolt head, that's a tough call.. I don't know if I would feel like dropping the oil pan. Maybe try getting a bore scope camera and see if you can find it in the pan. There's a possibility the bolt head would have been drained out with the oil too.
Good to hear it worked out for you! I didn't want to take any chances so I just followed the recall

The one thing I will disagree heavily on is that replacing the gears is hardly any more more than replacing the bolts. You need a n52 timing kit (that you can pick up for ~$100) and also need to replace the camshaft bolts ($7ea) but besides that it's just locking the camshaft at TDC, undoing the camshaft bolts, pulling out the gears, putting in the new gears, aligning the impulse sending wheel, and torqueing down the new camshaft bolts. the most annoying and time consuming part of the job is messing about with the valve cover, which you have to do to replace bolts anyway.

the bolts in the oil pan will fall down towards the front of the pan and sit there. I tried getting the oil a little warm and then jacking up the front of the car and draining the oil but none of the bolts moved too far back. You might be able to fish them out but my oil pan gasket was weeping a little bit anyway so I just supported the engine with the harbor freight support bar ($80) and dropped the subframe (6 bolts). Easier job than valve cover IMO.
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      12-05-2023, 04:23 PM   #6
esauloff
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mad1stgen, mkeiser, wootloops: Wow, I'm so slowpoke. My bad, life always has other plans.

I ended up replacing both gears entirely. I saw couple other forums where just bolts replacement was suggested as well, but I was really hesitant about that. While work is not complicated, I did not want to buy yet another head cover.

It was a little more complicated as I had to time it then, but I guess it was worth it. Almost one year later and maybe 5k miles, it works fine.
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      02-01-2024, 11:19 PM   #7
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I just had the dealer to the complete recall service on my 2011 128i. Three of my bolts were broken on the exhaust side. I then had to bring it back because I was still getting the codes exhaust VANOS codes and they recommended replacing the VANOS solenoids with the BMW brand. I was reluctant but I let them do it because I previously replaced them myself with an aftermarket before I brought it to the dealer. After they replaced my aftermarket ones with the BMW solenoids, no more codes.
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      02-25-2024, 03:10 PM   #8
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Got an endoscope to check out the bolts on my new to us, '12 128i with 20k miles. Bolts look great...I suspect they'll hold up until there is a "remedy available".

I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding how they couldn't have dealers ready to perform this recall by now.
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      02-25-2024, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOTO View Post
I have to admit that I have a hard time understanding how they couldn't have dealers ready to perform this recall by now.
I heard that the actual VANOS gears are back ordered to oblivion.
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      02-25-2024, 03:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkeiser View Post
I heard that the actual VANOS gears are back ordered to oblivion.
Figures thatís the case. Not a great response from BMW, on an issue that is a clear safety hazzard. Iím glad my bolts look good thenÖmy wife is daily freeway driving this thing.
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      02-25-2024, 06:46 PM   #11
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2013 BMW 128i  [9.00]
Do we know if those cars currently showing no recall (my '13, for example) is because the problem part was addressed during build, or because BMW haven't included them yet?
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      02-26-2024, 10:18 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19Neil View Post
Do we know if those cars currently showing no recall (my '13, for example) is because the problem part was addressed during build, or because BMW haven't included them yet?
I'm assuming the problem was addressed during production. The original recall campaign involved vehicles with the N51, N52K and N52T engines produced from September 2009 to November 2011. Of course this new recall campaign widens it up a little bit to vehicles that were produced between September 2, 2009, and July 12, 2012.

If you have a borescope you could confirm this by taking a look at the bolt heads on the vanos gears. The faulty bolt heads were silver in color and security torx. the updated bolt heads are black in color and regular torx.
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