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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-13-2014, 11:56 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Would the next person who takes apart their VANOS please measure before:after o-rings

We have lots of threads on the VANOS seals and yet, I can't find any E39 owners who have pre & post-mortem measured their VANOS pistion o-rings and reported the specific measurable change in sizes:
  1. Cross sectional size & shape (e.g., flattened edges)
  2. Outside diameter stretching (or wearing)
  3. Inside diameter stretching
This thread, specifically, only asks whether these sizes are correct for the BMW E39 single & double VANOS o-rings?
  • ? #03, O-ring for Vanos Solenoid Switch, 21.0 x 2.5 mm, (Q=? per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361703713 ?
  • ? #10, O-ring for Vanos Blind Plugs (small), ? x ? (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361433513 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (large), 23.52 x 178.0 mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361318788 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (small), 14.5 x 1.8mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361403191 ?
The reason for the question is at least twofold:
  1. It would be nice to measure, objectively, how much the seals stretched, over time, from the original specifications:
  2. I'm trying to compile a compendium of all the o-rings normally replaced in the BMW E39, and this is a glaring omission which hurts me to see every day:
It bothers me both that we don't have this simple objective test, and, that I can't definitively create a full o-ring compendium, simply by running the requisite searches ...

To help the team ... I ask ...
Would the next person who takes apart their VANOS please measure the (before and after) o-rings?

Thanks!
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__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-13-2014 at 06:03 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:17 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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The closest I can find to before-and-after objective measurements is this thread which measured the original BUNA VANOS seals cross section after removing them.
- 2005 330ci VANOS o-ring autopsy
After 70K miles, note the worn flattened section of the seal, which, after removal, measured "Horizontal 2.85mm, Vertical 2.35mm", as shown below.
Unfortunately, besides not being for an E39, that thread didn't mention the original size, so we don't know if there were any OD/ID dimensional changes over time.

Given the dearth of technical information, I ask the the next person who does their VANOS to measure the o-rings both before and after, and let us know both the delta, and whether these OEM measurements are correct yet:
  • ? #03, O-ring for Vanos Solenoid Switch, 21.0 x 2.5 mm, (Q=? per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361703713 ?
  • ? #10, O-ring for Vanos Blind Plugs (small), ? x ? (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361433513 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (large), 23.52 x 178.0 mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361318788 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (small), 14.5 x 1.8mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361403191
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__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-15-2014 at 08:13 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:23 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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BB: While having O-ring specs is a good idea, the Vanos requires the o-ring AND the teflon ring to seal properly. So you really need to identify the specs of the teflon rings also, since the o-ring cannot be replaced without damaging or destroying the teflon ring. However, my personal view is that forum members should support Raj/Beisan by giving him their business instead of looking for a work around in getting the parts. He put a lot of effort into diagnosing the problem, writing the DIY and sourcing the parts, which are very reasonably priced. We need to support innovative technical work otherwise the incentives to innovate will disappear.
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  #4  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:30 PM
poolman poolman is offline
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BB--are you thinking that if you, or someone else has the size of these O rings,,that then one, can simply go out and purchase them to repair their Vanos....There's quiet a bit more to it than that. Even If you have the proper size and knew that you could buy them across the counter--would you use them,,would you advise someone else to be the guinea pig for something like this?
? There are some that are selling these parts on Ebay right now,,alot cheaper than Besians...I wouldn't put them in my car,,and wouldn't for a miniute advise someone else to use them either...BMW doesn't sell rebuild kits for Vanos units...So where else Would You Adivse Someone To Purchase Such if you had the proper ring size at your finger tips? Just because you had the ring size ,,doesn't mean they will work,,stand up to the heat,,syn oil,or have the proper Teflon interface infused in them...Looks like someone else beat me to the punch,,and we were on the same wave length

Last edited by poolman; 08-13-2014 at 12:31 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-13-2014, 12:42 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
So you really need to identify the specs of the teflon rings
Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
BMW doesn't sell rebuild kits for Vanos units...
I understand what you are saying.

To acknowledge your concerns, I've read EVERY thread on the VANOS that I can find, which imply that BMW has never acknowledged any problem with the VANOS o-rings; and that they don't sell the E39-specific components separately; and we all have discussed the controversy over o-ring buna/viton composition; and all the DIYs explain how to destroy & replace the bronze impregnated teflon (PTFE filled) seals; and we're not even discussing other parts such as the 14x20 seal rings (32411093596) nor the fit bolts (11361748745); and I've even personally spoken with a local professional mechanic (i.e., Ray at Ray's Ultimate BMW) who teaches VANOS operation (among other things) for a living, who sincerely believes the whole VANOS-seals thing is bunk; yet, after having said that, all of that controversy & discussion is not the specific intent of this thread.

If we really want to discuss the controversies, we can go to any of a hundred threads on VANOS operation and repair, in many forums, but, perhaps this one canonical thread is best for us:
- > E39 (1997 - 2003) > What are our options if our BMW E39 VANOS seals have started to deteriorate

All I want in this E39 thread is (a) confirmation from someone that the sizes in the first post are correct (or corrections thereof), and (b) I'd like to ask the next person who replaces their seals to measure the seals, both before and after, as a forensic autopsy measurement, so that we all learn from the effort.

Specifically, the objective of this thread is to simply determine whether these sizes and part numbers are correct (or not) for the E39?
  • ? #03, O-ring for Vanos Solenoid Switch, 21.0 x 2.5 mm, (Q=? per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361703713 ?
  • ? #10, O-ring for Vanos Blind Plugs (small), ? x ? (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361433513 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (large), 23.52 x 178.0 mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361318788 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (small), 14.5 x 1.8mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361403191 ?
And, if those measurements are correct, to show how they have changed, over time, in your E39.

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__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-13-2014 at 06:01 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-14-2014, 01:39 AM
KKlop KKlop is offline
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BB,

Not to re-hash too much...but, the next time you see Ray, the vanos expert, ask him why, on an M52TU engine, the stalling at cold start up when away the first time I started my car after replacing the rings/seals. "Bunk" my rear end! Regardless if my car performed better after the job, getting rid of the stall issue was the best $60-$100 investment I have made. And, as had been said here many times, buying from EBay rather than Beisan to try to save a couple bucks, just does not make sense. Raj's DIY and phone support is worth more than the price of the rings.

For those who are debating whether to do it, this is a very doable and fun DIY. You can combine with the VCG, learn how to rebuild a vital part of your engine's operation that is in an easy-to-reach position in the engine bay, follow a well-documented walk-thru, enjoy the support of many on this forum along with Raj, and come away with the satisfaction that you accomplished something more than an oil change. An added plus...you get to ponder where all the oil comes from that keeps leaking out of such a small part! A lot more enjoyable than doing the CCV or removing the IM.
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  #7  
Old 08-14-2014, 05:34 AM
poolman poolman is offline
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KKlop--+1 on the above--to add,,It would have taken a long time for me to learn about tearing down the fan shroud and other things,,just to get to these seals,,and that enabled me to do my cooling system,,alt replacement,,oil filter housing gasket,,and many other things,,just because of the write up Raj provided---I would have called my car junk and sold it years ago, if not for the seals that Raj provided--in cold weather,,I couldn't crank the car and walk away from it. It would die out,,needed to keep feathering the gas to make it run. After the change out, -0 weather,,hit the key once and the engine would spring to life,, and You could walk off and let it warm up, with no problems...I was one of the first to drink this Koolaid some call it--It worked for me,and from all the critisism I have received from it--that has become the only one who I starting to care about...BB has wally gagged around this for over 5 years with questions,,if she's so set on finding the answer for the seal size--I'll state the same to her again--do the work on your own car and then report back--you haven't changed your own seals--time ya changed them,,don't ya think
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  #8  
Old 08-14-2014, 08:26 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KKlop View Post
the next time you see Ray, the vanos expert, ask him why, on an M52TU engine
EDITED as per post #9 below ...
Actually, since I'm the only one working on my car for the past few years, I never "see" Ray, but I call him for advice, so, anyone can ask him the question you asked. His phone number is (408) 496-5800, M-F 7:30 am 5:00 pm (Pacific).

Quote:
Originally Posted by poolman View Post
It would have taken a long time for me to learn about tearing down the fan shroud and other things
Again, realize that I've volunteered my time and effort, as much as anyone has, and I don't ask for a penny in return.

The DIY issue is off topic for this thread, but to address your concerns, there is nothing wrong with the canonical DIY you refer to.
But that admittedly canonical DIY is hardly essential. For example, note that I wrote a much more detailed DIY that has a description of every single bolt for fan-shroud removal (1) and this DIY lists every single bolt on a belt drive & alternator overhaul (1), and we've even gone further, to describe how to get the radiator back in (on the problematic I6 automatic) (1) ; so, rest assured, while that canonical DIY is pretty good, it's hardly the only DIY out there.

However, in support of your statement that the DIY is valuable, Fudman recently told me the Russians blatantly copied it, word for word, even going so far as to falsely brand the pictures as their own (1).
There's also this commercial DIY (1), and even an Instructables DIY (1), whi may also have copied the DIY (I wouldn't know if they did as I haven't ever done my VANOS so I haven't followed "any" DIYs myself).

But all this DIY banter is highly off topic... so I will copy all your thoughts to this thread, so that a proper response can be provided where it may better belong:
- > E39 (1997 - 2003) > What are our options if our BMW E39 VANOS seals have started to deteriorate

Quote:
Originally Posted by KKlop View Post
do the work on your own car and then report back--you haven't changed your own seals--time ya changed them,,don't ya think
Do you think that, if I did my VANOS, that I wouldn't provide as full and complete a set of forensic before and after measurements so as to help everyone?

Look here, for example, by way of effort that I put into detailed photos and measurements of these components:
  • Forensic autopsy of Hella headlights with detailed measurements of new and old headlight adjusters, plus a home brew experiment (1)
  • Detailed forensic autopsy of the Behr expansion tank with many questions answered, particularly how the intricate flow works (1)
  • Detailed forensic autopsy of the BMW Kuster windows regulators and particularly how to release and restring the cables given the astronomical tension and how to replace the rollers with parts from Lowes (1)
  • Every single torque figure, rotor and pad spec, runout and grooving and warp measurements, all fluids, all tools, and many tricks and mistakes, including costs & suppliers for a four wheel brake job (1)
  • etc.
Anyway, all this off-topic discussion is a wasteful aside if it doesn't result in any concrete measurements of the before-and-after o-ring dimensions.

Given the results in the objective VANOS test (1), I currently have no plans to change my original VANOS; but I do plan on replacing my leaking valve cover gasket (1), so, maybe I'll look closer at the VANOS at that time.
Having said all that in response, all of this discussion is off topic, and gets us nowhere new toward our goal, as every single thing said in this thread is old news.
The only new news would be whether my measurements are correct or not, and, for that, I can wait until someone either provides the answer, or I provide it myself.

To the next person who does their VANOS, please measure your o-rings both before and after, and let us know both the delta, and whether these OEM measurements are correct yet:
  • ? #03, O-ring for Vanos Solenoid Switch, 21.0 x 2.5 mm, (Q=? per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361703713 ?
  • ? #10, O-ring for Vanos Blind Plugs (small), ? x ? (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361433513 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (large), 23.52 x 178.0 mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361318788 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (small), 14.5 x 1.8mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361403191
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__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-15-2014 at 08:12 AM.
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  #9  
Old 08-15-2014, 01:16 AM
KKlop KKlop is offline
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Bluebee,

There has been a terrible misunderstanding...you posted a quote attributed to me "do the work on your own car and report and report back"...I did not post that. My comment about Ray calling the vanos ring problem "bunk" was directed at Ray, not at you by any means. I was trying to comment that I disagree with Ray's assertion. And, in doing that, I thought I was "on-topic" with the thread. I do recognize the amazing work you do on the forum. We have all benefited from your contributions. Please accept my apology for the misunderstanding.
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  #10  
Old 08-15-2014, 08:00 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KKlop View Post
you posted a quote attributed to me "do the work on your own car and report and report back"...I did not post that.
My mistake. I apologize.

I had edited that post, and the comment to do-it-and-report-back irked me because this thread asks a very simple purely technical question, which, I knew was in danger of being dragged down into the mud, by other people (because I've seen it in every other similar thread).

So as not to confuse people, I have removed the erroneous attribution in post #8 above.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KKlop View Post
My comment about Ray calling the vanos ring problem "bunk" was directed at Ray ... I disagree with Ray's assertion.
Since I've read every thread on Bimmerfest I can find about the VANOS, I'm aware of the contention.

I understand your assertion, as very many others have declared their bimmer ran better after replacing the VANOS (and generally a few other things at the same time).

As you know, we have tried to objectively measure those results, and, to date, we've essentially failed, so, we really should have that discussion over here:
- How to objectively test VANOS seals in operation (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KKlop View Post
I thought I was "on-topic" with the thread.
Normally, anything related is on topic for a thread, and, in this case, I'm the one who brought up Ray's assertions in the first place (in response to an OT comment); so, it's certainly normally on topic for you to respond to that.

The danger here is that this entire thread will (yet again) devolve into yet-another primitive useless emotionally-charged tongue wagging, instead of answering a simple technical question of whether or not the listed sizes for the o-rings are correct yet. There are hundreds of o-rings on the bimmer, but this particular set seems to cause emotional distress whenever someone asks the obvious question.

Rest assured, I've read threads which are EXACTLY the same as this very thread, e.g., I've personally placed this E46 thread in the bestlinks already:
- What size are the buna/viton two/piston VANOS piston seal O-rings, the one/piston bearing seal cap oring, and the square cut one/piston Teflon seal o-rings for the two piston M54 VANOS replacement unit (1)

But, that thread (and every thread that asks this very question), always seems to devolve into a primitive non-productive emotional tongue lashing, which I knew was the key danger and which is why I respond so strongly.

Given there are already a zillion VANOS-discussion threads, I don't want THIS thread to stray from the simplest of tasks, which is merely to confirm or correct the size of the o-rings.

To the next person who does their VANOS, please measure your o-rings both before and after, and let us know both the delta, and whether these OEM measurements are correct yet:
  • ? #03, O-ring for Vanos Solenoid Switch, 21.0 x 2.5 mm, (Q=? per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361703713 ?
  • ? #10, O-ring for Vanos Blind Plugs (small), ? x ? (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361433513 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (large), 23.52 x 178.0 mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361318788 ?
  • ? ##, O-ring for Vanos Piston (small), 14.5 x 1.8mm (Q=1 per camshaft) BMW P/N 11361403191
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__________________
Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 08-15-2014 at 08:40 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-15-2014, 08:48 AM
KKlop KKlop is offline
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BB,

I agree with all you say on this, and completely understand. Also, I did add comments about the project as a DIY because I had commented on such a thread at the same time and kinda got the two threads mixed up. Plus I responded to these at 4:30 a.m. Never a good practice.

You are easily the valuable contributor here, in my opinion, and we should respect the subject of your posts and keep to it. Thanks!
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