Matt Zollo

N52 and N54 Vanos trouble

BMW N52 and N54 engines Vanos trouble

Posted in Tech, asked by Matt Zollo, 5 years ago. 3698 hits.

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Anyone who has been reading up on these engines will be aware there is a known problem with regards to the dreaded ‘check engine’ light and Vanos.
The Vanos units themselves are generally okay but they require the correct amount of oil pressure to activate and advance/retard the camshafts. Oil from the pump comes up the front of the engine to the front cam bearing and is directed into the Vanos units. To stop oil escaping back past the cam bearing, and thus dropping pressure, BMW fitted metal sealing rings to the cam. This seems like a good idea but the problem is that over time (and as little as 25,000 miles) the rings (spinning at half crank speed on the cams) wear a groove into the alloy bearing ledges.
Oil escapes past the groove, pressure drops and fault codes are generated: 2A82 (intake Vanos) and 2A87 (exhaust Vanos) are two. But before you panic (it’s a very, very expensive fix), you need to make sure the Vanos solenoids are not faulty. Read the fault codes again – if you also get 2A9A, 2A98 (inlet), 2A9B and 2A99 (exhaust) it’s likely that a solenoid is faulty. At around £100 each they are not too scary price-wise and are easy to fit. You may just have your day saved! Teflon rings are available as a repair if the cam carriers are not badly grooved, but it’s about time someone came up with a cost-effective repair – maybe take a scrapped head and carriers, and machine proper grooves to take a Teflon seal to the hardened steel cam runs in the seal rather than the seal rotating and wearing into the alloy castings?

Antonio Ghini
5 years ago
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