Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-20-2014, 08:09 AM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Question VANOS causing low oil pressure?

Awhile back my GF and I replaced the head gasket on my '03 530i after it failed. Since the replacement, the car's oil pressure has been slightly low. By this, I mean that after the car warms up nice and hot and it's at idle, the red warning light comes on after some flickering. I will say I'm also slightly off on the exhaust cam timing, and getting the error for it.

I've swapped out the filter, done an oil change (2 actually, within 100 miles of one another, just to make sure), checked and rechecked the oil filter lid which seems fine, and done the "blowout" procedure to be sure there wasn't a clog by the pressure switch. Oh yeah, I've also replaced the pressure switch (did that first).

Most recently we hooked up a mechanical gauge to see what it's really doing. While cold, I'm getting around 55 PSI idling. WHen it gets hot, while in drive sitting still, A/C on, the oil pressure does get down to the 8-9 PSI range.

I've been trying to get INPA working, but am giving up for now and going to try DIS tonight to see if I can get any other information I may be missing.

Having said all of this, there are NO crazy noises of any kind going on. Sounds quite healthy.

The NEXT step I was going to try (after computer error reading) is to order VANOS seals. The car has about 140k miles. My question to you guys - would a failing VANOS seal cause noise? I don't hear anything! Also, it CAN cause low oil pressure, right? VANOS seal failure? Was going to order the Besian ones today. I just hate throwing out more money on fixes on parts that aren't broken.

If I get new seals and it still doesn't fix it, I guess I'll be diving into the oil pan. EEK!

One last question, is there a way to correct the timing with 100% accuracy while I'm in there? We get close (obviously, no noise) but the sensor says we're not exact. Advice on that would be great too

Thanks for reading this post in it's entirety! :-D
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 06-20-2014, 08:39 AM
poolman poolman is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: martinsville va
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,358
Mein Auto: 525i station wagon
On the Vanos Seals helping your oil pressure--I might,help...but they will help the engine ,, I have had your problem with the flickering oil light,,and many others have been plaged with it also. With the prssure you have,,don't see any problem with running the car --There are a couple of things you could try--1--try to find a oil pressure sensor that won't come on until it's under 5lbs--or (Here's What I did)
2--Don't know what weight oil your using--but I changed to 15w50 for summer driving and 10w40 for cold weather driving--after doing that ,, the light stayed off--and the engine was just fine--It likes the 50w--I Don't see any reason into going into that oil pan--My light only came on during the hot summer months--
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-20-2014, 08:47 AM
JimLev JimLev is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: MA
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 4,179
Mein Auto: 540/6, S60 Volvo, Tribeca
The light should come on below 7PSI.
If you have 8-9 PSI at hot idle that's fine, that switch is just a bit on the high side for indicating low pressure.
55 is also good for cold pressure.
Do like poolman said switch to a heavier oil or maybe find a different switch.
Are you using the correct tools to time the cams?
__________________

2000 540/6 Slightly tweeked...everywhere
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-20-2014, 08:50 AM
pshovest pshovest is offline
BMW CCA 69606
Location: DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 888
Mein Auto: '10 535i '08 X5 '00 528i
If you didn't have the low oil pressure before the HG replacement, I doubt the VANOS seals are responsible. Low idle speed can cause low oil pressure. Is exhaust timing or ICV issue causing a low RPM idle? Need to get INPA running. Some OBD2 code readers will show idle RPM. Might try Autozone or a place that loans scanners.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-20-2014, 09:04 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
In the past, there have been people with low oil pressure during idle, after replacing the Vanos Seals, the problem was solved.
So yes, a bad Vanod Seal(s) can cause low oil pressure during idle.
Search forum for a threads a few years ago (I forgot the name of the poster).

PS: You already did the "blow out" procedure, which is good.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-20-2014, 10:22 AM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Thanks for the responses!

The idle RPM is perfect. I've got an OBDII scanner (ELM 327), but it wasn't giving me much detail, other than 1 cam sensor reporting timing was advanced. That's when I bought another plug that's supposed to work with INPA and DIS.

As far as oil, I'm running 5-30 as I was before all of this happened. It's hard to swallow that something didn't "go wrong" during the swap, because there was no light before the head gasket swap, and now, there is. It's been a headache for sure, and I've been tempted to just switch to a higher weight oil, but I hate to band-aid it if there is a bigger problem at the root. I'm OCD and this mindset of "it was fine before" is driving me mad.

I'll also say that I removed the sensor plugin to see if the error still happened, and it did not. Mainly to rule out the oil level sensor being an issue. Also, the STOP ENGINE text crap comes up along with the light after the light has been on for a couple of seconds. Not really sure if that makes a difference.

Leeaaaaannnning towards ordering new VANOS seals. I just know how p i s s e d I will be if it fires back up with the same issue after the swap... LOL

Thanks again for the ideas!
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-20-2014, 11:58 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Don't forget to check your oil filter cap for the tip with 2 tiny O-rings.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-20-2014, 12:24 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
BMW CCA 69606
Location: DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 888
Mein Auto: '10 535i '08 X5 '00 528i
The issue is what has changed? Changing a headgasket doesn't require disassembly of the VANOS unit. So why would removing and reinstalling a complete VANOS unit cause greater seal leakage (and low oil pressure) that wasn't a problem before HG replacement?

You know there's a timing issue. I'd fix it first. Perhaps the timing issue is causing the DME to work the VANOS solenoid too hard in one direction to try to reach the desired timing that it can't physically reach.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Bell View Post
............Leeaaaaannnning towards ordering new VANOS seals. I just know how p i s s e d I will be if it fires back up with the same issue after the swap... LOL

Thanks again for the ideas!

Last edited by pshovest; 06-20-2014 at 12:27 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-20-2014, 12:49 PM
doru's Avatar
doru doru is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Calgary
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 4,702
Mein Auto: 2003 530iA
There are more e46 than e39's. The reason I'm bringing this up, is because the e46 guys have this problem (more than us with the i6) and it's well documented in their forum. It's actually the oil level sensor that causes that problem (p/n 12617508003). I had the exact symptom on my e46, and changing that part solved the issue. The V8 apparently don't have that issue.
Make sure you buy the Hella part (OE is made by Hella, only is 2 or 3 x the price of the Hella, it just has the additional BMW logo).
__________________
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-20-2014, 12:56 PM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by doru View Post
There are more e46 than e39's. The reason I'm bringing this up, is because the e46 guys have this problem (more than us with the i6) and it's well documented in their forum. It's actually the oil level sensor that causes that problem (p/n 12617508003). I had the exact symptom on my e46, and changing that part solved the issue. The V8 apparently don't have that issue.
Make sure you buy the Hella part (OE is made by Hella, only is 2 or 3 x the price of the Hella, it just has the additional BMW logo).
I unplugged the oil pressure sensor and the little light did not re-illuminate. If I'm not mistaken, this eliminated the oil level sensor as a possibility.

pshovest, I like where you're going with timing. The VANOS did sit around in the garage for 3 months. I know.... I'm slow. But nothing's changed, so correcting the timing before anything else does make sense. Now if I can get a computer to tell me how much it's off!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-20-2014, 01:38 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Pressure sensor is not Level sensor, FYI.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-20-2014, 02:24 PM
edjack edjack is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Jose, CA
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,132
Mein Auto: '97 540i 6 speed
I unplugged the oil pressure sensor and the little light did not re-illuminate. If I'm not mistaken, this eliminated the oil level sensor as a possibility.


How did you draw that conclusion? The two sensors are unrelated.
__________________


Ed in San Jose '97 540i 6 speed aspensilber over aubergine leather. Build date 3/97. Golden Gate Chapter BMW CCA Nr 62319.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-20-2014, 02:50 PM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
I had read (and maybe I was confused) that both the level and the pressure sensor can set off the oil light. I also red that if I unplugged the pressure switch, the only thing that would cause the oil light to come on was the level sensor. By unplugging the pressure switch, I was hoping to narrow down which sensor was causing the light to come on. Since the pressure light was unable to cause it, and the level sensor didn't illuminate it, I thought this eliminated the level sensor from being the trigger of this warning. No?????
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-20-2014, 02:51 PM
pudl pudl is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Wien, Österreich, EU
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 622
Mein Auto: BMW E39 530dAT 2001/04
Isn't the light in two different colors? Yellow (warning) for level and red (critical) for pressure.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-20-2014, 02:53 PM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
Isn't the light in two different colors? Yellow (warning) for level and red (critical) for pressure.
Ah if that's true, I def failed in my understanding of it. Sh1t's definitely red tho
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-20-2014, 04:08 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
BMW CCA 69606
Location: DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 888
Mein Auto: '10 535i '08 X5 '00 528i
It is for E39's but may not be for E46's. Hence the test to disconnect the oil pressure sensor and see if light goes out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pudl View Post
Isn't the light in two different colors? Yellow (warning) for level and red (critical) for pressure.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-21-2014, 05:14 AM
m735is m735is is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Hamburg, NY
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 127
Mein Auto: e23, e32, e34, e39
Not sure if this part would cause the symptoms, but did you make sure the non return valve was in place after any head work was done(11121735180)?
I bought a 95 525i with a hole in one of the pistons and upon removal of the cylinder head I found that somewhere along the way this valve was not installed. Not even sure if that's what caused the damage, so don't get nervous, just mentioning it.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-21-2014, 05:14 AM
m735is m735is is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Hamburg, NY
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 127
Mein Auto: e23, e32, e34, e39
Not sure if this part would cause the symptoms, but did you make sure the non return valve was in place after any head work was done(11121735180)?
I bought a 95 525i with a hole in one of the pistons and upon removal of the cylinder head I found that somewhere along the way this valve was not installed. Not even sure if that's what caused the damage, so don't get nervous, just mentioning it.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-23-2014, 10:48 AM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Hey guys, I finally got INPA working!

Think these codes are causing the cam advanced errors on my OBD scanner or are these something else entirely? I'm leaning towards VANOS seals heavily at this point but wanted to see what you guys had to say about the below errors. Thanks!

Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-23-2014, 11:11 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
A little secret...

With engine warm and running at idle, find the Vanos hose and GENTLY clamp it about 1-2 inches away from the crimped end.
Use an old rubber hose as a cushion. Again gentle clamping, only enough to choke off oil flow.
The space is tight so you may have to struggle a bit to clamp it.
Now if the red oil light goes away during this clamping thingy, then your Vanos seals are shot.


Another trick, get a regular Bolt and Nut M14 X1,5 X26 or longer.
Turn off engine and disconnect the line at the Vanos, recall that this is banjo bolt + 2 washers.
Yes, I have re-used these washers many times, zero leak, just mark them so they go back in the same orientation.
Now, leave the banjo bolt out for now. Install the regular bolt and nut, don't forget the 2 washers.
By doing this, you don't need to clamp the Vanos hose.
This basically choked off oil supply to Vanos.
Now run engine, if red oil light goes out, then your Vanos seals are shot.

Anyway, you need to be creative when trouble-shooting Vanos seals...

Oh, don't forget to re-attach the line, and don't forget the 2 washers lol...
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-23-2014, 06:39 PM
pshovest pshovest is offline
BMW CCA 69606
Location: DE
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 888
Mein Auto: '10 535i '08 X5 '00 528i
Clear the codes. I suspect 104 will return quickly.
See if you can get to this INPA screen showing VANOS live data

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/attachm...0&d=1255257580

As you rev the engine you can see the cam timing change. Check the difference between actual and target position for both intake and exhaust cams at idle and 3000 rpm. Make a screen print and post.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:35 AM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Unfortunately it's too late. We tore into the car yesterday afternoon. Tried CN's trick and so no different in oil pressure. Bummer. I went ahead and ordered the Besian seals anyway because I figure it's due and wanted another stab at the timing. Of course I'm 90% expecting to see the same issues, so I will try that test once I get it back together. Thanks for your ideas!
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:40 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
I am not a part swapper, but for $10, you may as well replace the oil switch, which is mounted on the OFH.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:48 AM
Mike Bell Mike Bell is offline
Registered User
Location: Tulsa, OK
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Mein Auto: '03 530i
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
I am not a part swapper, but for $10, you may as well replace the oil switch, which is mounted on the OFH.
Agreed, I did that first thing. The little red oil flicker light came on even quicker with the new one... lol
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-24-2014, 06:59 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Omaha NE
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 13,434
Mein Auto: 1998 528i 5-sp 140K+
Did you remove the oil filter cap and verify if both tiny O-rings are still there?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:42 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms