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-   -   540i Camshaft Vanos Control / Knock Sensor Fault (

boschtech1 09-29-2008 08:41 AM

540i Camshaft Vanos Control / Knock Sensor Fault
Well, today was a good Monday. I go outside to start my 99 540i and it sounds like Fred Sanford's truck. It is running real rough and knocking. Almost sounds like the exhaust is gone. Anyway, I used the Peake Code Reader and I got a couple of faults. The 1st fault was "Camshaft Vanos Control, Cyl #1-4" and then I got two faults for knock sensors "Knock Sensor, Cyl #1-2" & "Knock Sensor, Cyl#5-6. I cleared the faults and the Vanos and the Knock Sensor #1-2 fault came back on. The sound is mostly coming from the passenger side but I hear some knocking from the drivers side too. Any thoughts? My wife was driving it this weekend and she said the Check Engine Soon came on and it started idling rough. Also, this past week it would try to jump at the red light while the brake was pushed in. Is this pointing to the CPS? Any feedback would help. Thanks.

boschtech1 09-30-2008 06:32 AM

Anybody have a similiar problem? Could it be the spark plugs or coil packs? Hook a brother up.. My car is broke and so is the stock market.

yadayadayada 09-30-2008 07:12 AM


Originally Posted by boschtech1 (Post 3589087)
Anybody have a similiar problem? Could it be the spark plugs or coil packs? Hook a brother up.. My car is broke and so is the stock market.

It could be the CPS $hit to bed on you. A common problem, a good place to start.... Good luck ....

Waveho 09-30-2008 07:15 AM

Check plugs and coils first, then CPS.

An aside: I thought the 1999 540i is NON-Vanos? Fault code indicates VANOS fault? Maybe someone can clarify.

boschtech1 09-30-2008 03:25 PM

Checked the CPS
Someone said on a forum that you can disconnect the CPS while the car is running and if it stalls then that's how to tell if the CPS is good. Well I disconnected both CPS and the car ran the same. I also disconnected them and started the car and it cranked and still ran the same. It threw up the 71 and 72 faults for the CPS which I wasn't getting before but the symptoms were the same. Is this saying that both CPS are bad. I didn't think the car would run without them.

Waveho 09-30-2008 05:20 PM

Car WILL run without the CPS! It may take a few attempts to start and will idle poorly and will shudder on the highway and not be very responsive. But it will run. If you are getting CPS fault codes with and without it, and the car runs the same whether with or without it, then it's almost certainly bad.

Get a new one from (mine only has one; yours may differ and have pre- and post- CPS's).

boschtech1 09-30-2008 06:18 PM

Ok thanks, I'll order one to see if it works.

boschtech1 10-02-2008 11:32 AM

$1700 in labor alone
Ok guys. I need a second opinion. I took the car to an indy mechanic and they said the knock had something to do with the timing chain and it was going to take 22 hours of labor to look at the chain to determine what was wrong. They said maybe the chain guides and something else might be wrong. Is this a rip off or should I get a second opinion?? I drove the car home cuz I might take it somewhere else to get a second opinion. Please help.

Waveho 10-02-2008 01:27 PM

22 hours of labor? I'm struggling to think on any job that requires 22 hours of labor. Engine replacement? Supercharger installation? Replacing timing not one of them. Unless I'm missing something. I'd get another opinion.

boschtech1 10-07-2008 07:08 AM

E39 540i Vanos problem
Okay, I think my noise is coming from the vanos. That's if I have one. The OBD-II is giving a camshaft Vanos Control fault but I don't see the big enclosure on the front of the valvetrain for the vanos. On the passenger side valve train I see a solenoid to the right of the camshaft position sensor. Is this my vanos solenoid? My production date is 11/98 so did the 540i's come with the single vanos then? If so then I think I need to hit up the junkyard or find a rebuilt vanos. Oh yeah, that solenoid I was referring to, I took the plug off and found oil in it so im guessing the seal is broke and oil is leaking through. Im hoping its the solenoid thats not engaging thats causing the problem.

Waveho 10-07-2008 10:34 AM

I had thought that the pre-2000 540i models were non-VANOS. I could easily be wrong; maybe someone who knows more specifically the build dates for the model years could chime in?

boschtech1 10-07-2008 10:47 AM

FYI - 9/98 have Vanos
I thought so too until I hit up and they sent me to and i got this for the 9/98-12/98 540i:
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^
The 540i does not really have a vanos unit, as you have noticed. It uses a gear with some type of enclosed pinion to change the cam timing. It's not the same type of system that the single vanos 6cyl cars use, and is not easily replaced or repaired.
Here is a photo of the system, #1 in the picture is the 'vanos' part...

I would take a close look at the belt and pulleys and look for a problem there first. The belts can fray and make a knocking sound, or one of the idler pullies can have a bad bearing. I would bet there is little chance that the cam adjusting system is making the diesel noise.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^

According to link above it's still called a vanos from 09/98 to 12/98. Sounds like we got the dookey end of the stick and it seems worse than pull and place....

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