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Old 01-10-2020, 04:54 PM
wannaseemdead wannaseemdead is offline
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BMW 116i 2005 VANOS rattle

Hey, so my car is having a VANOS problem that I really want to fix because I genuinely feel like one day its gonna do something to my chain.

The symptoms that the car has now are:
Extremely rough idle, car shakes side to side
RPMs drop to 500 and back to normal every 3 seconds, car is hiccuping badly
Sometimes engine can cut off it car was really standing for long time
The rattling goes away as the engine warms up, so it only appears on cold.
When starting the engine, the red oil light comes up for a few seconds and then goes off, which indicates that there is something wrong with the oil pressure.

I gave my car to a mechanic and he returned the car to me saying that engine needs stripping and he suggested me to sell the car, but it's my first car that I would want to keep as I know that VANOS isn't the worst problem that could happen. He also added that if the car idles for 10 minutes on tick there is blue smoke coming out the exhaust, engine is burning oil (I'm not really sure if this is true as I haven't seen it myself, though engine oil does go pretty quick, and I am really hoping it's because two of my cylinders are misfiring because of VANOS.

I removed the solenoids to check if they're dirty, and I forgot to mention that the guy I bought the car off has replaced a lot of things, which are:
New timing chain and guides within last 2000 miles
New vanos solenoids within last 2000 miles
New oil pan gasket within last 2000 miles
New valve cover gasket within last 2000 miles
New rear abs sensors and rings within 3000
Engine flush with new oil and filter within last 100 miles
New coil pack within last 2000 miles
New fuel rail and injectors within last 2000 miles

So the solenoids did look very clean and new, so it wouldn't be them. I also tried to change the cabled in case they are connected incorrectly and it didn't help.

Then I tried to run the car without the solenoids being connected and the rattle was gone, though it was sad to put them back on as torque is lost and fuel consumption is higher when solenoids are off.

So I know for sure that it's the VANOS, but the solenoids are fine. I did a lot of research on VANOS and all what I could find is how to rebuild a double VANOS on cars like 3-series, but mine is a 1 series and I couldn't find a single thing except how to replace solenoids and stuff like that.

Really willing to fix this problem, I think that I gathered quite a bit of information and I'm close to the solution of this problem.

Here's videos of the noise of my car rattling and the codes that showed up when my mechanic was checking it.

Last edited by wannaseemdead; 01-10-2020 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 03-07-2020, 10:03 AM
bimmerrimmer bimmerrimmer is offline
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Hi, Have you got any further with this ? Found a fix ? I would keep the VANOS disconnected as the engine failing like that is not good.

Sounds very much VANOS related to me if the noise is at the front of the engine. Also, have you checked the timing chain tensioner, that could also be failing to hold the chain tought. The oild burning is all too common with these engines (M54) and unless it is pouring out like fog, then I would not qorry too much about that.

Driving with the VANOS unplugged/disabled is not too much of a bad thing as the extra power and mpg increase is not really that much considering the engine is no longer in the warranty period. The piston oil rings are something to look into on these engines and it may well be worth getting a compression test done, its a quick and cheap job at most garages, 50'ish. Or buy the kit for 20 and DIY.

In my experience with these engine, you fix one thing and then something else decides to stop working. Probably why the mechanic said it needed stripping because you end up replacing almost half the engine on these cars as everything breaks when you take it apart.

The VANOS rebuild is not too difficult to DIY but I don't think changing the seals on your VANOS will fix that rattle (if it is VANOS related). I've changed seals myself to fix a rattle and it didn't work or I did it wrong, in fact I ended up with more of a rattle after the seals were replaced. I would probably change my whole VANOS unit as it is much easier to just bolt another VANOS unit on than piss about taking it apart and fitting those b'stard o-rings that are are pain in the ... to remove and install. BMW just recommend to replace the VANOS unit rather than rebuild them as they are prone to failure in high mileage engines as many parts wear out on them, not just the seals.

You can test the function of the soilenoids with a 9V PP3 battery connected to the terminals, the piston pin should pop in and out by a few mm's.
The VANOS is not activated when the engine is idle, it only starts to activate when the rpm is around 1500 or higher. The video with engine stalling and shaking is not
a fault of the VANOS as the enigne is deisgned to opearte without the VANOS in case it does fail. The stalling and shaking could be one or more of many other problems
and possibly linked to the oil burning issue. Also the alternator failing or drive pulley failing can also cause the engine to stall, shake and make noises like that when the voltage starts dropping.

From the first video I can also hear some kind of vacuum issue and whining which sounds like the CCV choking. Have you had the codes and live engine data readout ?

Last edited by bimmerrimmer; 03-07-2020 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 04-30-2020, 06:00 AM
bahati bahati is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2020
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Mein Auto:
Got the same problem. when I disconnect solenoid vanos the engine runs smooth.
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