BMW is well known for their incredibly smooth driving experience that puts other high-end vehicle manufacturers to shame. BMW‘s innovations ensure they not only stay ahead of the competition but give their drivers incredible motoring experiences with new technology carefully developed for the ultimate driving experience. One innovation that has helped to revolutionize their driveability is the VANOS system. Below, let’s talk about the VANOS systems and how you can tell if it may be failing in your BMW model.
The VANOS System
The VANOS systems is BMW’s representation of the variable valve timing unit, and it has vastly improved the engine’s performance. VANOS modifies the intake and exhaust valve of the engine, allowing both valves to open and close in response to your driving. This gives engine performance a massive boost, resulting in a smoother ride as well as more torque and precise engine timing.
The Three Vanos Systems: Models, Fault Codes, and Repair
There are 3 types of VANOS system; Single, Dual, and Dual with Valvetronic. Each system comes with its own faults and care needs, so let’s take a closer look at each one.
Single VANOS was the first system that BMW released. In this model, the intake camshaft is the only timing system that is modified and the exhaust camshaft is left untouched. Older models of BMW will have this system, such as those with the following engines; M50, M52, S52, M68 V8.
Single VANOS only produces one fault code which is: P1519 (BMW 212 0xD4). This fault code signifies that the VANOS system is sticking and becoming jammed. Failure of the single VANOS system will incur the following symptoms: poor driveability, lowered horsepower, rough idling, low fuel efficiency. In Single VANOS, rough idling can be caused by the electrical connector on the VANOS actuator solenoid. However, if the problem continues after solenoid repair, then it is likely the VANOS actuator has failed which will need servicing and repair.
Also known as double VANOS, the dual VANOS controls both the intake as well as the exhaust camshafts with the edition of solenoids. This helps to improve emissions and helps your engine to warm up faster. Engines with dual VANOS include the M52, m54. S54, n54. Dual VANOS has far more fault codes than the single VANOS system which include:
- P1520 – camshaft position actuator
- P1523 – camshaft position actuator
- P1397 – camshaft position sensor circuit
- 2A82: intake camshaft
- 2A87 exhaust camshaft
The symptoms of failure include loss of low range power, engine hesitation, rough idling, trouble cold-starting, and limp acceleration. Fault codes 2A82 and 2A87 will always indicate issues with the VANOS solenoids. P-fault codes are often associated with dual VANOS failures, but you should also rule out issues with your actuator and sensors too. Unlike single VANOS, which typically needs full replacement, repairing the dual system usually only requires solenoid replacement.
Dual VANOS with Valvetronic
The addition of Valvetronic to the dual system means that not only are the valves opened and closed in response to driving conditions, but also by how much. This allows for vastly-improved engine performance, lowered emissions, and great fuel economy. Engines with the system include, N52, N55, N62, N73/74. As it includes another part, there are more fault codes for the Valvetronic system than the previous two systems.
- P0011, P0012, P0015, P0020, P0021, P0022, P0024, P0025
- 2A7A DME
- 2A99, 2A87, 2A82
The symptoms of failure include rough idling and poor idling conditions, low-range power loss, problems with cold starting, stalling engine when idling, hesitation when accelerating. The addition of Valvetronic makes the VANOS system far more tricky to diagnose and repair. However, because of this, BMW offers up to a 10-year warranty on VANOS systems with valvetronic, meaning resolving the issue is far less stressful.
Bavarian Auto is perfectly situated for residents of Ootelwah, Hixson, and Chattanooga, TN to have their VANOS system serviced, repaired, and replaced. We are your local experts in German engineering and will make sure your BMW drives as well as it did the day it left the factory floor. Call us today for an appointment or stop in to talk to a specialist.
* BMW Car image credit goes to: teddyleung.