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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 08-27-2008, 05:37 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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Thumbs down Beware: Widespread Vanos failures in E46 M3s

My vanos failed two weeks ago on my 2006 E46 M3 with about 29k miles, literally on my way home from the dealer after having the service II performed a second time (after I caught the dealer not performing the work in the first service II). Now BMW NA is refusing to cover it under warranty. I did some research and learned I am apparently one of many! I sold my 2003 E46 M3 after I got a notice from BMW NA saying they wanted to rebuild my motor bottom end due to faulty components - and as I recall it took BMW a few years of denying claims under warranty and blaming owners in order to avoid paying the warranty claims before they were shamed into admitting that they used defective parts in building E46 M3 motors. This appears to be a repeat of BMW NA's fraudulent and deceptive trade practices.

I am drafting my complaint now against BMW NA and the dealer for breach of warranty and fraudulent and deceptive trade practices. If anyone has had an E46 M3 vanos fail and you want to help me fight BMW NA, please PM me with your info and details.

You can read more about these failures and BMW's behavior at:

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=212573

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=20307

I have yet to check other forums, but will post the threads if I find them.
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2008, 05:55 PM
sdbrandon sdbrandon is offline
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A few questions.

Why is this your first post?

The earlier M3 engine issue was due to defective rod bearings. Your issue is different. Why is BMW refusing coverage? Did you over rev the engine?

The E46 engine has been out a long time. I have friends with them and the only issue I heard the most is SMG problems.
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Last edited by sdbrandon; 08-27-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:07 PM
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AZ-BMW AZ-BMW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06SMGCabrio View Post
I am drafting my complaint now against BMW NA and the dealer for breach of warranty and fraudulent and deceptive trade practices.
Check your sales contract because most now have an arbitration agreement which you maybe unknowingly signed when you purchased the car. In essence it forces you to arbitration (and usually not with ABA) and disables your ability to sue. Plus it essentially excludes the dealer from any BMW issues.
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  #4  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:34 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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This is my first post because the dealer manager told me about this site and said that they consider it very popular among BMW enthusiasts. We discussed that this problem had been documented by dozens of people on other boards, so I thought it prudent to warn other enthusiasts about the problem before incurring a potential very large expense (the vanos unit by itself is apparently $2500).

Actually it is nearly impossible to over rev an SMG car because it is rev limited + the transmission shifts the car automatically during daily driving. But in my case, I have never even red lined the car. They are refusing coverage because the car has a supercharger installed (despite the fact that that they have failed to prove any causal relationship between the supercharger and the self contained vanos unit (as required under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act), the same dealer installs Dinan superchargers on the same car, and the tech at the dealer said "there is no way a supercharger could cause an internal vanos failure").

"Good engine" is a pretty vague term. First, the E46 engine (M54) and the E46 M3 engine (S54) are different motors. But curious you mention that, because I stumbled upon a large number of M54 vanos failures as well. Nevertheless, just because you may know some people who have E46 M3s who may not have had vanos failures yet, does not mean that BMW is not manufacturing E46 M3 motors with defective vanos units. I never had an engine failure on my 2003 E46 M3 Cabrio, but I received a recall letter from BMW NA requesting to rebuild my motor to replace defective internal parts. Attempting to find people you know as specific examples is failure of logic. In order to opine authoritatively on the problem, one must review the BMW statistics. However, given the number of posts I found at the referred links, my lawsuit will get that information in discovery. I'll be sure to post here for your information if possible.

I also stumbled upon some posts indicating that BMW NA actually repurchased a few E46 M3s from customers for vanos failures after they fought BMW in lemon law proceedings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbrandon View Post
A few questions.

Why is this your first post?

The earlier M3 engine issue was due to defective rod bearings. Your issue is different. Why is BMW refusing coverage? Did you over rev the engine?

The E46 engine has been out a long time. I have friends with them and the only issue I heard the most is SMG problems.

Last edited by 06SMGCabrio; 08-27-2008 at 06:40 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:38 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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Good point, but...

Good point. I didn't sign the original sales contract, but I did assume the lease 8 months after the original lessor did. I will check, but an arbitration clause won't disable ability to sue, it just delays it. It's an alternative dispute resolution process encouraged in the legislative history of the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act in order to give manufacturers a way to settle before having to defend a lawsuit. But... the attorney fees mount. So the process can be way more costly to manufacturers than they are worth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ-BMW View Post
Check your sales contract because most now have an arbitration agreement which you maybe unknowingly signed when you purchased the car. In essence it forces you to arbitration (and usually not with ABA) and disables your ability to sue. Plus it essentially excludes the dealer from any BMW issues.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:41 PM
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You got an uphill battel if you have a SC on it. Good luck.

The Vanos is a known Achilles heel on the S50 B32.
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  #7  
Old 08-27-2008, 06:56 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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Actually manufacturers want consumer's to think it's an uphill battle with aftermarket parts, but truth be known when it gets into a court room there have been few manufacturers who have been able to conclusively prove an aftermarket part caused the failure, ESPECIALLY when the same component is failing on numerous same make and model cars without such aftermarket parts.

When I prosecuted companies for Economic Crime, I had much tougher battles with forensic accountants and millions of pages of documents. This case is pretty straight forward. And when I call their own tech and ask him if he said "there is no way that a supercharger could have caused this vanos failure", they will wish they had settled many punitive damages and attorney fee dollars prior.

If you ever want to research aftermarket parts effects on your manufacturer warranty, here is a great site:

http://www.sema.org/Main/SemaOrgHome.aspx?ID=50100



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce View Post
You got an uphill battel if you have a SC on it. Good luck.

The Vanos is a known Achilles heel on the S50 B32.
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2008, 02:50 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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Great News!

A BMW rep called, apologized and said that they were indeed going to honor the warranty and replace my vanos. During that call I learned that E46 M3s are indeed having a high number of vanos failures and because of the large number of claims, BMW is now requiring all dealers to notify BMW before replacing vanos on all E46 M3s (presumably because they are trying to isolate the exact cause and determine whether they should do a manufacturer recall and, if so, on which model years).
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2008, 10:47 AM
sdbrandon sdbrandon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06SMGCabrio View Post
A BMW rep called, apologized and said that they were indeed going to honor the warranty and replace my vanos. During that call I learned that E46 M3s are indeed having a high number of vanos failures and because of the large number of claims, BMW is now requiring all dealers to notify BMW before replacing vanos on all E46 M3s (presumably because they are trying to isolate the exact cause and determine whether they should do a manufacturer recall and, if so, on which model years).
This sucks. Fist rod bearings in 2001 now vanos.

Was the E36 M3 this bad?
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2008, 10:31 PM
06SMGCabrio 06SMGCabrio is offline
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I never owned one, but have lots of friends who have them (most race them too) and they absolutely love them and rave about their reliability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbrandon View Post
This sucks. Fist rod bearings in 2001 now vanos.

Was the E36 M3 this bad?
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  #11  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:22 PM
deilenberger deilenberger is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 06SMGCabrio View Post
I never owned one, but have lots of friends who have them (most race them too) and they absolutely love them and rave about their reliability.
Three words: oil pump nut

It's the achilles heal of the E36/M3. (And the instep is the terrible cooling system.)
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2008, 07:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdbrandon View Post
This sucks. Fist rod bearings in 2001 now vanos.

Was the E36 M3 this bad?
My vanos failed at 197k mile, that's 4x's as long as the average radiator
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2009, 05:08 PM
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GimpyMcFarlan GimpyMcFarlan is offline
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Exclamation

I suspect my 05 M3 was recently a victim of the dreaded VANOS falure too with just 24K miles on it. I was on my way home from running errands last week when, while accellerating moderately in 2nd gear, I heard a "pop" and the engine died. I had it trailered to the dealership and my SA later said the timing chain broke and there was major component damage. :ack: SA said BMW NA was going to look at it today so I hope to have more information soon.
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  #14  
Old 03-06-2009, 09:22 AM
sfca-325i sfca-325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GimpyMcFarlan View Post
I suspect my 05 M3 was recently a victim of the dreaded VANOS falure too with just 24K miles on it. I was on my way home from running errands last week when, while accellerating moderately in 2nd gear, I heard a "pop" and the engine died. I had it trailered to the dealership and my SA later said the timing chain broke and there was major component damage. :ack: SA said BMW NA was going to look at it today so I hope to have more information soon.
You are still within the original warranty, I hope.
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  #15  
Old 03-06-2009, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfca-325i View Post
You are still within the original warranty, I hope.
Yup, thankfully the warranty does not expire until September of this year. : pray :
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  #16  
Old 03-09-2009, 12:30 PM
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If there is a recall let me know.
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  #17  
Old 03-10-2009, 12:44 PM
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Update:

The dealer SA just confirmed my M3 engine failure was due to a VANOS mechanical failure. He started rattling off the laudry list of replacement parts but basically they are basically rebuilding the top half of the engine. They estimate it will be another 2 weeks before repairs are complete.
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  #18  
Old 03-10-2009, 05:12 PM
MJS MJS is offline
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Bum deal. I'm sure it'll be as good as new in no time.

Lucky you're still within the warranty period.
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  #19  
Old 03-13-2009, 03:18 PM
ntn69 ntn69 is offline
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It is interesting that your VANOS failed right after the service inspection. I asked BMW dealer here about the inspection, and they did mention that they DO adjust the valves on these cars. I wonder if they messed up?? I have never liked the service inspections!
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  #20  
Old 04-10-2009, 10:35 AM
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Ok, I'll ask: what are the symptoms of the vanos failure (other than the chain break described above which I assume is an extreme case)? Loss of power? Is there a way to check w/o having to take it to a dealer or someone with a GT-1 computer?

ON EDIT: read the first linky in the first post (second one led me to a discussion on 20" wheels). Seems something breaks in the vanos, f's stuff up, car starts to run rough and/or quits running, and a service engine soon light comes on. There also seems to be anectdotal evidence that this is tied to an Inpection 2 (valve adjustment).

Of course the 6yr/100k warranty on my wife's M3 engine has run out now...


Thanks for the info!
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  #21  
Old 05-04-2009, 01:22 PM
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I saw this thread and thought I would respond.
I have had a vanos failure on my car. So I thought I would share what happened.

Firstly car Stats : 2006 M3 with approx 28k miles at time of incident. No modifications to car.

My wife was driving the car and said it was surging on the freeway when it was at a constant speed on the freeway (approx 75mph) the car would just surge like a misfire. I said sure sure I will take a look at it thinking it was something she was doing. Sure enough driving not under acceleration but constant speed the car was misfiring. So I took into the dealer.

It was 1 week prior to christmas so that didnt help with getting parts in and the car was in the shop for a total of 8 weeks. Luckily the dealer provided a rental car.

So here is the story of the problem.
Dealer rings: We have connected up and you are misfiring on all cyclinders but we are still looking into it.
Later that day: We were checking things out and it just fixed itself. But we will keep the car fo rthe rest of the day to see if it comes back. Sure enough it came back.
1 day later: Our staff have no idea what the problem is so east coast engineers asked us to run some diag tests.
2 days Later: We think it is the vanos solenoid playing up and will ship in a new one.
4 days Later (after christmas) : That didnt fix it. RUnning more tests by east coast engineers. We think it might be the vanos system, ordering a new one and will let you know.
6 more days later: We have the new vanos and installed it and that didnt fix it. We are unsure. More tests and talking to east coast.
days later: I get a call, the timing is out, did you change it. My response, no you are the only guys that have worked on the car so unless you changed it I dont know. Ok we will fix it. (At this point I am thinking why didnt you check timing at day 1 when you knew it was a misfire? Surely that is fault finding 101)
more days later: Timing didnt fix it we think it is the gears that attach to the vanos and the cam is warping under stress at high speeds. (I think gears warping that is a stretch but whatever keep trying.)
more days later: We found the problem. 2 bolts were cracked that attack the vanos gear to the cam shafts. There is apparently only 3 that hold it on. So it was moving around all over the place.

I get the car back and drive it home and it plays up agains.
I take it back and there was a problem with the throttlebody as well that they fixed.

The best thing they covered it all under warranty. So I got all the new system and everything with no cost.

But overall if vanos is playing up it will feel like a misfire and when diagnosed it will be on all cyclinders.
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  #22  
Old 05-23-2009, 11:20 PM
mr angry mr angry is offline
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i have just bought a 2001 m3 convertible with 80,000 miles on it was the vanos a recall and if it hasnt been done on mine will i still be able too?
thanks
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  #23  
Old 05-26-2009, 02:24 PM
sfca-325i sfca-325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr angry View Post
i have just bought a 2001 m3 convertible with 80,000 miles on it was the vanos a recall and if it hasnt been done on mine will i still be able too?
thanks
I don't believe there was ever a recall on the Vanos. Oil lubrication and rod bearings maybe for a 2001, but not the vanos.
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  #24  
Old 05-26-2009, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfca-325i View Post
I don't believe there was ever a recall on the Vanos. Oil lubrication and rod bearings maybe for a 2001, but not the vanos.
+1 BMW tends to deny anything that is VANOS related, they will throw every other thing besides that.
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  #25  
Old 05-27-2009, 11:31 PM
meccanoble meccanoble is offline
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vanos is becoming a common issue with M's. Thankfully I havent experienced it myself but I know I heard of someone in another forum getting the vanos fixed somehow under warranty or trying to. I'm still trying to understand the cause and how to prevent it. very weird that you guys are getting the failures with under 30k miles and with new M's (05+). I have 46k miles on an 04 and didnt run into that issue. They are working on making the subframe issues a recall. Maybe they'll get this done after?
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