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Discussion Starter #41
It takes me a LOT longer (like 100x longer) to do any job than you guys. Mostly I'm scared at first (unless I'm thrust into it as in the alternator).

In fact, I spent about 5 hours today finally repairing my trunk loom. The wires have been busted up and broken for, oh, I don't know how long, maybe a year? And I made a big mess of it all. Point is, it takes me a LONG time to do things, mostly because:
a) I have no clue what to do
b) I don't know which parts to buy
c) I don't know where to get a good price
d) I don't know if I'll have the right tools
e) I break a lot of things when I do do these jobs (it always happens)
f) I'm scared (see a, b, c, d, e, above).

So, yes, I WILL do my VANOS sometime. I already bought all the cooling system overhaul parts.

Q: Do you recommend doing the cooling system overhaul and VANOS and plugs at the same time?

I'd have to concur with Fudman on this one, do one "major" thing at a time if you need to drive your card daily. The spark plugs can be done with the VANOS as you already have the coils off, plugs are simple screw out, torque in. The cooling system on the other hand is a seperate project. When you do the VANOS, you can keep all the coolant hoses connected except for the overflow tank which is the high point in the system anyways so where air will go. This means doing a VANOS does not require a cooling system bleed. Also, knowing how to spin off the fan / shroud from your VANOS experience will make the cooling system update that much easier.

Pretty much all e39's should have VANOS, Cooling System, CCV replaced by 100,000, each is a "day" job IMO. The CCV is next for me even though mine look mayo free at the valve cover connection, likely because I have a FL (hot) car.
 

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do one "major" thing at a time if you need to drive your card daily.
I do need it daily (although I'm currently unemployed ... but nothing lasts forever).

So this is the recommendation when doing VANOS:
a) Do cooling system overhaul first
b) Along with the cooling system, probably do a drive-belt system overhaul plus the PS reservoir hose & OFH gasket leak
c) Then, do VANOS & spark plugs as it's own job

knowing how to spin off the fan / shroud from your VANOS experience will make the cooling system update that much easier.
When I replaced my alternator (and drive belt system), I learned how to remove and reinstall (thanks to the cn90 rawhide trick) the fan clutch nut. I'm no longer afraid of that task! :)

The CCV is next for me even though mine look mayo free at the valve cover connection, likely because I have a FL (hot) car.
I'm also in a moderate climate. Is the CCV generally tackled all by itself or do you recommend coupling the CCV with one of the other major jobs?
 

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Thanks Seth for the wonderful update for the VANOS seals parts list.

For me, (and maybe others), the BIGGEST hurdle is figuring out which parts to buy, which tools to get, and what else to do (while you're at it).

I've updated the recommended parts list with all your information.

Thanks!
I would bump these: 15 valve cover bolt grommet in the "Highly recommended" section.
There is no point buttuning up the new VCG with old, hard grommets - you will have oil leaks very soon.
Also, just because you will loose some coolant, when topping back up once the job is done, you might unscrew the bleed valve on the upper radiator hose. That plastic bleed valve, can desintegrate - I know it did on me when I changed the vanos. Have a new one ready as a "highly recommended" part, or even better the brass one.

0.02
 

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The degree of Obsessive***8211;Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) exhibited by these forum members is greatly appreciated. Don't listen to friends, family members, or health care professionals; E39 owners love you and appreciate your postings.
 

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The degree of Obsessive–Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) exhibited by these forum members is greatly appreciated. Don't listen to friends, family members, or health care professionals; E39 owners love you and appreciate your postings.
:rofl: Excessive to someone is detailed and thorough to others. As long as forum members appreciate, keep at it! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #46
The degree of Obsessive***8211;Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) exhibited by these forum members is greatly appreciated. Don't listen to friends, family members, or health care professionals; E39 owners love you and appreciate your postings.
: ) It is amazing the resources you can find on these threads, complete with edited photos and the like. I know for one, that this is a HUGE help when you have your VANOS open, snap a plastic custom order BMW part and low and behold, you ordered the damn thing because another poster suggested you order it after they lived through four days (or worse) with no car waiting for a part from Germany! I say, more power captain!
 

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Discussion Starter #47
I would bump these: 15 valve cover bolt grommet in the "Highly recommended" section.
There is no point buttuning up the new VCG with old, hard grommets - you will have oil leaks very soon.
Also, just because you will loose some coolant, when topping back up once the job is done, you might unscrew the bleed valve on the upper radiator hose. That plastic bleed valve, can desintegrate - I know it did on me when I changed the vanos. Have a new one ready as a "highly recommended" part, or even better the brass one.

0.02
Good add...
 

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Discussion Starter #48
I'm also in a moderate climate. Is the CCV generally tackled all by itself or do you recommend coupling the CCV with one of the other major jobs?
I have not done my CCV yet but from what I've read and Fudman has said, it is an all day 6-8 hour affair so I would do that solo for sure.
 

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I would bump 15 valve cover bolt grommet ... Have a new bleed screw ready
Thank you very much Doru. I added both comments to the thread on what to get for a VANOS job.

I don't know how many people out there are like me, but, if I don't have all my ducks lined up, I can't even THINK about doing the job. I envy you guys who can just start taking stuff apart and you get parts while you dig. I have to have everything in order and all the parts lined up before I can safely think of what to do. And even then, i screw up every time.

In a way, I'm always scared. I envy the boldness you guys have. Anyway, this recommended VANOS-KIT parts list will benefit me. I plan on using it to refer people who ask "what parts do we need for VANOS".

Thanks for helping to update the recommendations!
 

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I have not done my CCV yet but from what I've read and Fudman has said, it is an all day 6-8 hour affair so I would do that solo for sure.
OK. How does this look as a summary (please correct):

1. Do a complete cooling system overhaul at ~75K miles
2. Do a complete VANOS seals overhaul at ~75K miles (for the I6)
3. Do a complete belt-drive system overhaul at ~75K miles
4. Do a CCV replacement at ~100K miles

A. It's common to mix the cooling system & belt drive overhauls as the same parts are removed
B. It's common to add power steering hose check/fix & oil filter housing gasket check/fix to the belt-drive overhaul
C. It's common to add a spark-plug replacement with the VANOS seals as the same parts are removed
D. It's common to do the CCV all by itself as it is the more difficult of the three jobs
E. Plan ahead by stocking alternator rebuild parts; but if your alternator unexpectedly goes south, do the entire belt drive system at the same time as the alternator.
 

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Discussion Starter #51
OK. How does this look as a summary (please correct):

1. Do a complete cooling system overhaul at ~75K miles
2. Do a complete VANOS seals overhaul at ~75K miles (for the I6)
3. Do a complete belt-drive system overhaul at ~75K miles
4. Do a CCV replacement at ~100K miles

A. It's common to mix the cooling system & belt drive overhauls as the same parts are removed
B. It's common to add power steering hose check/fix & oil filter housing gasket check/fix to the belt-drive overhaul
C. It's common to add a spark-plug replacement with the VANOS seals as the same parts are removed
D. It's common to do the CCV all by itself as it is the more difficult of the three jobs
E. Plan ahead by stocking alternator rebuild parts; but if your alternator unexpectedly goes south, do the entire belt drive system at the same time as the alternator.
Looks reasonable to me... until I do the CCV I cant comment if it is the most "difficult" or not, but your A - E seems to hit the big ones for sure.
 

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You need to remove those bolts on each cover. Inside is a differential piston, which is a cylindrical part with two different diameters, presenting two different surface areas inside the bore. Each circumference has a two part seal, consisting of a high durometer (hard) seal used as a bearing surface, and a compression seal underneath to force the bearing seal surface against the bore. The bearing seal is made from Teflon. The composition of the compression seal is the reason Beisan Systems has a business--someone at BMW screwed up and spec'd in a Buna rather than a Viton. Viton resists heat and oil. Buna does not.

I had the typical symptom of low rpm lag, and when I cut out the seals on the VANOS pistons, I noted that the compression seal was square and hard, which means that oil can squeeze right past the seal and completely negate the differential effect (the large diameter piston circumference will provide more force than the small circumference at the same oil pressure, acting like a spring). I replaced mine a couple of weeks ago and noticed a significant improvement in acceleration, which started kicking in between 2000 and 2500 rpm, whereas it used to take 3000 rpm to get into the power-band.

While I'm commenting, I highly, highly recommend the Beisan DIY, which is probably the best I've ever seen. The only thing I can add to it is the use of a flexible socket extention (1/4 drive) for the last bolt on the valve cover, which is incredible hard to access otherwise. I also recommend that you buy a new seal kit for the valve cover. I was astonished at how hard and brittle the factory seals had become. If the VANOS seals have never been changed, you WILL want to change the valve cover seals--no question about it. Its also a good opportunity to inspect the spark plugs and change them as well. Mine were in good shape--just a little ash from the Seafoam additive (I imagine)

If you follow the DIY precisely, you won't have much of a problem. I'd guess it took about 3-4 hours--hard to say because I did it in spurts over a couple of days.
 

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+1 to that entire post.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
The only thing I can add to it is the use of a flexible socket extention (1/4 drive) for the last bolt on the valve cover, which is incredible hard to access otherwise. I also recommend that you buy a new seal kit for the valve cover. I was astonished at how hard and brittle the factory seals had become. If the VANOS seals have never been changed, you WILL want to change the valve cover seals--no question about it.
Fudman came to my rescue on the 1/4 "wiggle" drive, that passenger side rear corner VC bold would have been a PITA without it. 100% agree I was shocked how the VC gasket was hard plastic, Fudman was chipping it out in pieces while I wrapped up things in the engine bay... I'm amazed it held oil back at all (I had small seeping near firewall onto rear exhaust shield).
 

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Ps. I also popped in a new set of Bosch plugs from my local stealer on the reassembly, this may have helped things a little too, the old plugs looked good with a light tan ash on them but I did notice the cylinder closest to the windshield was almost a white ash vs. the one nearest the radiator with was the darkest tan of the bunch, coincidence?
See pics below on recent change spark plug change closest to the front #1 is was tan white, but whiter than all of them had some flaky stuff on it. One by the windshield #6 was more tan than white. The center ones look all the same and look like there web because #2 & #3 oil leak in spark plug well which required valve cover gasket change. Single pick is the #1
 

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I bought a 530i a couple of weeks ago with 105,000 on the odometer. I sincerely doubt that the VANOS seals have been replaced, so I'm scheduling this job for my x-mas break. It would be very helpful if I could observe somebody else tackling this job before I do mine. Anybody planning this job in the next few months in the LA or Santa Barbara area? I could help with an extra set of hands, tools, and a six-pack.

Thanks, Harold
 

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Just make sure you have the proper tools available and have them ready to do the work. Next read the instructions over and over until you feel that you have it all down in your mind--then read them some more.
Set everything up for a Saturday morning attack and then get to work--the roughest part of the whloe endevor is removing the fan nut--the rest will fall into place--If you haven't replaced the cooling system--this would be a good time along with the CCV valve and the oil filter housing gasket--you will have so much more room to work that it makes all these jobs a cake walk while having so much out of the way.
 

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I have about 200 miles on the new vanos seals in our 530i. It is really starting to show a performance boost. I thought it was perky before but it is noticeably stronger now from 2k to 3k RPM's, which is most of my driving. I never actually noticed that it was a bit lazy in that range until we replaced the seals. Now it is really fun to drive and seems to have come alive. Ours had 112k miles on it when replaced and I guess really needed it.
 
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