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Old 06-19-2011, 11:24 PM   #1
Das Borgen
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Default VANOS PARTY!

My friend Gordon and I had been talking since the winter about have a VANOS man-date. He had done multiple VANOS on E36 so he had some good knowledge to share

We each prepared by getting spare VANOSs which we rebuilt with stuff from Beisan Systems (www.beisansystems.com). The VANOS I bought on ebay was completely dead and I got it for 35 bucks...the seals cost 60 so for 100 bucks + 45mn of my time, I had a built VANOS ready to go in.

I also sourced the VANOS tools from a coworker
- flywheel lock tool (only one I didn't use)
- cam blocks
- secondary chain tensioner holder
- VANOS wrench
my car with new VANOS



I got to Cincy at Gordon's at 9am, we munched on donuts and coffee and got to work. Valve covers were off in an hour as we worked simultaneously....






my cams looked GREAT..Amsoil, German Castrol, Brad Penn Oil are all awesome



In order to rotate the engine to TDC, spark plug 1 was removed (well, all were removed anyway since I was doing plugs too) and a long screwdriver was used to feel out the position of the number 1 piston. I had to remove my Spal fan to get a ratchet/socket on crank pulley to rotate engine.

On Gordon's salvage engine from Bavarian Auto Recyclers, we found a nasty surprise...his intake cam was 30 degrees off time and the engine was put in months ago (before winter). Miraculously, no valves were bent but this explained why his car felt so damn sluggish. No matter since we retimed the engine (for him, the flywheel lock was used) and put in his VANOS. It was evident somebody at some point had been in
3 teeth off was the intake cam....scary the car was even able to run


my engine at TDC with cam locks


working on the 325is


plugs!


re-timing Gordon's car


the 325is benefited more from the VANOS and PROPER re-timing of course but my car felt better too
He said "Massive improvement in throttle response, power and powerband best project ever "hah""


I also did a new accelerator cable on my car and a new valve cover gasket (but the old one was really in great shape still).....VANOS was a necesary thing to do
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cliffs: Gordon's 325is and my M3 get new VANOS
-325is needed re-timed due to bad-but-could-have-been-disastrous previous owner timing
- work went rather smoothly actually
- engines on our cars feel awesome
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But why do we bother doing anything that's pointless. What would Leonardo Da Vinci have done if a management consultant forced him to run a P&L on the Mona Lisa? He'd stab the son of a bitch in the eye with a charcoal pencil. Then he'd go invent the helicopter.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:29 PM   #2
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Totally would have been there with you guys if my brother hadn't been getting married yesterday. I'd very much like to do the same operation on my car this summer sometime. Now I know who to call!
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rittmeister View Post
Totally would have been there with you guys if my brother hadn't been getting married yesterday. I'd very much like to do the same operation on my car this summer sometime. Now I know who to call!
ghost busters?
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But why do we bother doing anything that's pointless. What would Leonardo Da Vinci have done if a management consultant forced him to run a P&L on the Mona Lisa? He'd stab the son of a bitch in the eye with a charcoal pencil. Then he'd go invent the helicopter.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:48 PM   #4
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Sorry I couldn't make it guys, now you can help me do it
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:52 PM   #5
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Nice.... I only took a couple pictures of my install. I need to upload them. All I know is that something were way different than the online directions since I had the M56 motor... lol.

Just glad I didnt have to touch anything with the timing on mine.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:20 AM   #6
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Should the VANOS be fixed/updated/replaced after X number of years or a certain mileage?
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:45 AM   #7
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seals go dead I'd say between 80-->100k miles....maybe less? BMW's seals in the original parts were really ****ty quality
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But why do we bother doing anything that's pointless. What would Leonardo Da Vinci have done if a management consultant forced him to run a P&L on the Mona Lisa? He'd stab the son of a bitch in the eye with a charcoal pencil. Then he'd go invent the helicopter.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:28 AM   #8
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I'm running 177k right now. When can we do this to mine?
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:25 AM   #9
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I'd definitely like to tackle this as well this summer. How do you get the engine to TDC and how do you know where that is?

Also, instead of rebuilding another Vanos unit like you guys did could I just rebuild mine with the Beisan kit?
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:35 AM   #10
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New VANOS seals do make quite the difference...
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:34 AM   #11
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Holy hell yes batman... bad timing is bad. That was a not a good surprise, but after the work through the afternoon, it was worth the investment to re-time the cams..

For anyone else looking to do JUST the vanos. If you are able to rebuild one ahead of time, and have easy(ish) access to your crank pulley (22mm socket + ratchet) then with assistance, you could likely do this in <3 hours... very easily. If you have to rebuild the vanos, add another 1-2 hours depending on what tools you have (soft jaw vise, impact, and proper torque wrenches are all suggested). If you don't have easy access to your crank bolt (Rich and I both are running fan-deletes of some kind), then add another chunk of time to get around that one.. Lastly - if your engine is out of time and whack like mine was, then add another 1-2 hours max for a re-time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thing View Post
I'm running 177k right now. When can we do this to mine?
Whenever you want! It's easy, assuming you have no roadblocks..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman328is View Post
I'd definitely like to tackle this as well this summer. How do you get the engine to TDC and how do you know where that is?

Also, instead of rebuilding another Vanos unit like you guys did could I just rebuild mine with the Beisan kit?
You can, but here's another option for you (and anyone who's wanting to rebuild a vanos for an E36). Rich and I both have spare VANOS units now. I actually have 2 if you want to be technical about it... We're no longer going to use them, and the units are the same across the board from what rich tells me. SOOO... you borrow & return/buy one of the extras we have, rebuild it, and swap much faster.. In the case of borrowing one, QtheGenius and I swapped a pair - he borrowed my old one a couple summers ago, rebuilt it, swapped it in, and then returned the unit he pulled out.. Easy peasy.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #12
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:14 AM   #13
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Are they the same for an M54 engine??

For some reason I am doubting it.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:22 AM   #14
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Sorry I couldn't stop by, I was in Indiana picking a free M-Tech I bumper

Glad things went relatively smoothly!.
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotDoggin View Post
Holy hell yes batman... bad timing is bad. That was a not a good surprise, but after the work through the afternoon, it was worth the investment to re-time the cams..

For anyone else looking to do JUST the vanos. If you are able to rebuild one ahead of time, and have easy(ish) access to your crank pulley (22mm socket + ratchet) then with assistance, you could likely do this in <3 hours... very easily. If you have to rebuild the vanos, add another 1-2 hours depending on what tools you have (soft jaw vise, impact, and proper torque wrenches are all suggested). If you don't have easy access to your crank bolt (Rich and I both are running fan-deletes of some kind), then add another chunk of time to get around that one.. Lastly - if your engine is out of time and whack like mine was, then add another 1-2 hours max for a re-time.



Whenever you want! It's easy, assuming you have no roadblocks..



You can, but here's another option for you (and anyone who's wanting to rebuild a vanos for an E36). Rich and I both have spare VANOS units now. I actually have 2 if you want to be technical about it... We're no longer going to use them, and the units are the same across the board from what rich tells me. SOOO... you borrow & return/buy one of the extras we have, rebuild it, and swap much faster.. In the case of borrowing one, QtheGenius and I swapped a pair - he borrowed my old one a couple summers ago, rebuilt it, swapped it in, and then returned the unit he pulled out.. Easy peasy.

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Old 06-20-2011, 10:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman328is View Post
I'd definitely like to tackle this as well this summer. How do you get the engine to TDC and how do you know where that is?

Also, instead of rebuilding another Vanos unit like you guys did could I just rebuild mine with the Beisan kit?
I wrote in the OP, Josh
In order to rotate the engine to TDC, spark plug 1 was removed (well, all were removed anyway since I was doing plugs too) and a long screwdriver was used to feel out the position of the number 1 piston. I had to remove my Spal fan to get a ratchet/socket on crank pulley to rotate engine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill-H View Post
Are they the same for an M54 engine??

For some reason I am doubting it.
different... M54 is double VANOS but i m sure the procedure is not TOO different. this is a very detailed (probably best write-up out there) procedure for M54
http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm

---------- Post added at 09:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 AM ----------

UPDATE:
I got a "VANOS Mechanically Stuck" code after ~150 miles of driving and it could be two things according to a very knowledgeable source

1) a badly installed VANOS.. I severely doubt this is the case since Gordon was pretty confident (am me) the VANOS-head install was spot-on as he had done this before a few times and we were doing his car too that day
2) a bad solenoid... the spare VANOS I got, I never tested the solenoid opreation. I m leaning toward this since my old solenoid was fine and maybe the new one is crap...

in any event, I should have tested VANOS operation in car with air and 12V to the solenoid....I'll take out this solenoid (doesn t even require taking out the VANOS unit) and give it 12V off-car and see if it works... and I ll salvage my old solenoid and put it on there if that s the case..... If not a bad solenoid, I'll get around to redoing the VANOS install...

the VANOS isn t actually that hard...it s kind of danuting but it s honestly pretty easy with the right tools and toughto mess up if you follow procedure
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But why do we bother doing anything that's pointless. What would Leonardo Da Vinci have done if a management consultant forced him to run a P&L on the Mona Lisa? He'd stab the son of a bitch in the eye with a charcoal pencil. Then he'd go invent the helicopter.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:02 AM   #17
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Very good write up and pictures. I have been planning to do this and a valve adjustment. If any one is interested in doing this ill set up a day were we can use my dads shop and do about 5 to 6 cars

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:34 AM   #18
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I decided I'm going to try and give bavarian auto recycling a piece of my mind.. being that this would be the 2nd/3rd MAJOR issue with an engine of theirs, that's just complete bull crap.. As Rich mentioned, it was evident someone had been in the engine before... There was also some remnants of a paper gasket on the vanos seal face (Didn't even know a paper gasket existed there at any point?) so when the metal seal was used, it never sat flush... Thus, my oil leak that I've had since the engine was put in... you could easily see the staining of it seeping past the paper/metal interface and right down the side of the engine. Total lack of concern for the proper installation of the pieces..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Das Borgen View Post
I wrote in the OP, Josh
In order to rotate the engine to TDC, spark plug 1 was removed (well, all were removed anyway since I was doing plugs too) and a long screwdriver was used to feel out the position of the number 1 piston. I had to remove my Spal fan to get a ratchet/socket on crank pulley to rotate engine.



different... M54 is double VANOS but i m sure the procedure is not TOO different. this is a very detailed (probably best write-up out there) procedure for M54
http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm

---------- Post added at 09:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 AM ----------

UPDATE:
I got a "VANOS Mechanically Stuck" code after ~150 miles of driving and it could be two things according to a very knowledgeable source

1) a badly installed VANOS.. I severely doubt this is the case since Gordon was pretty confident (am me) the VANOS-head install was spot-on as he had done this before a few times and we were doing his car too that day
2) a bad solenoid... the spare VANOS I got, I never tested the solenoid opreation. I m leaning toward this since my old solenoid was fine and maybe the new one is crap...

in any event, I should have tested VANOS operation in car with air and 12V to the solenoid....I'll take out this solenoid (doesn t even require taking out the VANOS unit) and give it 12V off-car and see if it works... and I ll salvage my old solenoid and put it on there if that s the case..... If not a bad solenoid, I'll get around to redoing the VANOS install...

the VANOS isn t actually that hard...it s kind of danuting but it s honestly pretty easy with the right tools and toughto mess up if you follow procedure
Rich - the more I think about it, I'm almost positive it's not the physical piston.. There's no way that system can "bind" and still rotate with the camshafts... secondly, the vanos housing is aligned with sleeves... lastly - we moved the piston by hand as well as when you're installing it to get it all in... so that pretty much ousts that as an option.

Being that the solenoid is a finicky electrical thing, I'd be willing to bet that's your culprit.. seems highly likely..

Quote:
Originally Posted by billybilly2 View Post
Very good write up and pictures. I have been planning to do this and a valve adjustment. If any one is interested in doing this ill set up a day were we can use my dads shop and do about 5 to 6 cars

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
I may just be ignant, but being that the E36 has hydraulic lifters, I would assume the E46s have the same... how do you do a valve adjustment if you've got self adjusting hydraulic lifters/valves?
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billybilly2 View Post
Very good write up and pictures. I have been planning to do this and a valve adjustment. If any one is interested in doing this ill set up a day were we can use my dads shop and do about 5 to 6 cars...
I'm interested! I eventually need to do this on my 530, but I will not have time until mid-August.

Gordon, the E46 M3 S54 engine has solid lifters.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotDoggin View Post


I may just be ignant, but being that the E36 has hydraulic lifters, I would assume the E46s have the same... how do you do a valve adjustment if you've got self adjusting hydraulic lifters/valves?
you're just ignorant

the S54B32 is more similar to the S50B30 than it is to the S50B30US and S52B32
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But why do we bother doing anything that's pointless. What would Leonardo Da Vinci have done if a management consultant forced him to run a P&L on the Mona Lisa? He'd stab the son of a bitch in the eye with a charcoal pencil. Then he'd go invent the helicopter.
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