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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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Old 12-24-2012, 01:10 PM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 69
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 3.0 Roadster
New to forum/Z3/M54 VANOS seals & performance question

I just bought a 2001 3.0 Z3 and didn't know very much about the M54. I've had a '95 318ti for 11 years and loved the M42, and thought the M54, being much more modern would be a real step up.

However, now that I've started reading more about the engine I'm worried that it will need the CVV replacement and the VANOS seals. Before buying this car I drove another Z3 3.0 with more miles 141k and in worse overall condition, but it really seemed faster. I bought the better looking, lower mileage (93k) care, telling myself the performance difference might have been in my mind.

Now I'm thinking maybe the VANOS seals had been done on the 141k car and that's why is seemed faster. Does it make that much of a difference?

I love the car, but after what reliable beast my ti has been, it seems weird to have such a modern high tech engine, but at the same time have to worry about driving it in really cold weather (CVV issue). Anyway, to get back to my main question; can you really tell a difference in performance after the VANOS seals are done? and about how much does that cost. I'm a big DIYer but not sure if I want to tackle this.

Last edited by JackDuggan; 12-24-2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: put Z3 in heading
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:59 PM
marty505 marty505 is offline
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Location: New Mexico
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 166
Mein Auto: 99 Z3 M Coupe/99 540i
Beisan Systems has a fix for vanos seals. Haven't done the job but those that have report good results. Here's a link to the procedure - http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm Doesn't look easy but is doable by a capable BMW DIY guy which you probably are, otherwise you wouldn't be here.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:13 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,974
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
You should also look over the Beisan overview page to see if it sounds like your symptoms. http://www.beisansystems.com/

My experience is with the single-VANOS engine while yours is a double-VANOS one, which is actually easier to fix. What I noticed after the fix was an amazing increase in torque at low RPMs, not necessarily more power or speed. It just felt like it wanted to dig-in and go on take-offs.
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Old 12-25-2012, 06:52 AM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 69
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 3.0 Roadster
Thanks, I'll have to check that out. It's interesting that it says bogging when the AC is on. I have 2003 Ford Focus SVT that has variable valve timing on the intake side and it does that bogging when the AC is on. I wonder if it has a similar problem. I changed the timing belt on it last summer and from what I remember the variable timing unit looked a lot like the VANOS.

Also, have you guys had any trouble with your DISA? I'm thinking about doing the VANOS seals and the CVV fix as a winter project, and I'll probably take the DISA off and have a look at it too. My SVT has a variable length intake with a servo motor controlling it. I think the DISA is meant to achieve the same result.
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Old 12-25-2012, 09:26 PM
dkindig dkindig is offline
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Location: Murphy, NC
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 314
Mein Auto: '01 Z3 3.0i Roadster

Here is a pdf on the M54 engine controls. It has a great deal of info on the operation of the VANOS system and the DISA controls.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf M54 Engine Controls.pdf (2.52 MB, 205 views)
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:54 AM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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Location: MS
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 195
Mein Auto: 1999 Z3 Roadster
dkindig, great stuff in that manual. Do you, or anyone else, have the controls manual for the 1999 M52 2.8? I would like to get a copy of it for my buggy. Thanx.
S. Maykowski, Columbus MS.
My '99 Z3 Alpine White 2.8L Speed Buggy
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:33 PM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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Location: Fredericksburg, VA
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 69
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 3.0 Roadster
Thanks, that looks really helpful.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:41 AM
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shipkiller shipkiller is offline
Underway on Nuclear Power
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,129
Mein Auto: Me
My wife's Z4 with the M54 had the vanos seal issue. The fix was relatively easy and only took about four (4) hours from start to finish when I performed this repair several years ago.
Removing the DISA takes about 20 minutes, maybe.....
How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively?
Furthermore, does legality establish morality?
Slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of morel people. - Walter E. Williams
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:18 PM
droz3 droz3 is offline
Location: Montreal, QC
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 181
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 / 2006 X3
I did my vanos seal around 40K miles, mainly preventive maintenance hence the increase in performance was not noticeable.
Before buying a new DISA you should check if it did go bad :


Z3 2001 3.0L 5-speeds,Topaz Blue/Sport+Premium package/Stong-Strut/Bilstein shocks/Rogue Engineering RSM/Ireland Engineering rear sub-frame bushing/CDV delete/Conforti CAI/Jim Conforti Shark/DRL module/European Wiper Module/Pioneer AVIC-N4 GPS-Receiver+XM Radio+iPod/iPhone interface+Bluetooth+12CD Charger/ASA-AR1 18" wheels+Michelin PSS/Bi-Xenon upgrade.
Latest mod : 3.73 diff. ... WOW
X3 2006 3.0L Automatic, Silver Gray, all original ... so far ...
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