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      12-02-2021, 02:17 AM   #1
stephenkirsh
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Can't identify Z4M S54 oil leak under VANOS

Hi,

My 07 Z4M E86 developed a large enough oil leak while driving that I decided to have the car towed home. Smoke was come out of the hood and there was oil all over the exhaust side of the motor when I pulled over and popped the hood.

Once home, I ran the engine quickly to try and see where the source was. It gushed oil onto the belt, which flung it everywhere, so I couldn't get a good look at where it was coming from.

I've looked all over and believe the leak is under the front of the VANOS, on the exhaust side.

I can't quite get in there closely to look under there due to the radiator support in the way. I've removed the rad fan to get some extra access, but still not sure.

I found a sheered bolt in the splash tray, and it's from the top front of the exhaust side of the VANOS. Based on the amount of oil coming out, I'm doubtful the problem is just this one bolt, but I've no idea. The VCG looks good.

Can I take off the electronics box on the underside of the VANOS?

I'm out of ideas at this point. Any help?





I'm out of ideas at this point. Any help?
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      12-02-2021, 02:19 AM   #2
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The VANOS electronics box I'm referencing in the above post:
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      12-02-2021, 07:17 AM   #3
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The VANOS internal pressure is 1500+ psi, so yes, there is a good chance the sheared bolt is the cause of it, you may also have a failed o-ring there

Contact beisan and see if they can sell you just the oring and get a new bolt. You should be able to change the o-ring in situ. The issue will be taking a torque wrench there, this bolts are 10NM.

Also remove the solenoid pack (the electronics as you called) as there is a sealing plate, change it for new, it is cheap. This plate is sandwiched between the Valve body and the VANOS unit.

Also check the chain tensioner which has a crush washer that may have failed

Use this guide as reference:

http://beisansystems.com/procedures/..._procedure.htm

Finally, how many miles? These bolts rarely fail, has someone “fixed” your VANoS? How many miles?

Good luck! But it should be easy.

PS. Don't run the engine, and pls check oil level before if you must. Make sure there is oil in it
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      12-02-2021, 07:31 AM   #4
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Number #2 on the diagram is the pressure accumulator hose, is has a reputation for hairline cracks that can leak a lot of oil when they fail, the oil pressure in that line 1500 psi.
That could be the culprit, P/N #11367837614
But if one of your bolts holding the Vanos has sheared off you'll have to remove the whole unit to drill out the broken bolt.
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      12-02-2021, 09:55 AM   #5
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another one here for calling the vanos line..... these cars are old now and those lines have been under significant miles / stress.....
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      12-02-2021, 08:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maupineda View Post
The VANOS internal pressure is 1500+ psi, so yes, there is a good chance the sheared bolt is the cause of it, you may also have a failed o-ring there

Contact beisan and see if they can sell you just the oring and get a new bolt. You should be able to change the o-ring in situ. The issue will be taking a torque wrench there, this bolts are 10NM.

Also remove the solenoid pack (the electronics as you called) as there is a sealing plate, change it for new, it is cheap. This plate is sandwiched between the Valve body and the VANOS unit.

Also check the chain tensioner which has a crush washer that may have failed

Use this guide as reference:

http://beisansystems.com/procedures/..._procedure.htm

Finally, how many miles? These bolts rarely fail, has someone “fixed” your VANoS? How many miles?

Good luck! But it should be easy.

PS. Don't run the engine, and pls check oil level before if you must. Make sure there is oil in it
Ok, I'll pull the solenoid pack tonight.

The car was built and maintained by Edge Motorworks for the prior owner. Edge builds a ton of NASA-winning E36/E46 cars, so I'm quite surprised to find a bolt that's been severely over torqued. I don't have any mention of VANOS work in my records, but I'll contact them and see what they say.

The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is this week, so they're probably all out at that, anyway.
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      12-02-2021, 08:18 PM   #7
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I can't find part numbers for these 6 bolts on RealOEM. I guess BMW doesn't sell them seperately?
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      12-02-2021, 09:02 PM   #8
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They are not sold separate, but I am sure they are of the same length as the short ones on the solenoid pack. Will add some photos for you
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      12-03-2021, 12:09 AM   #9
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So I removed the solenoid pack and the O-rings look ok. I can push my finger nail into them, and it leaves a mark that disappears.


Behind the solenoid pack is clear signs of an old oil leak.


At this point I will replace the O-rings in the solenoid plate and the small hard black oil pressure line (not in photos here, but the one pointed out in diagram posts above), but I'm not sure the problem is just from those. Obviously I'll replace the bolt that was broken, once I can figure out a part number for it.


I've checked all the bolts I can, and none have been loose. I'm applying, by hand, what I assume is about 10NM of force; very very low.

Is there anything else in this area that should be checked?
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      12-03-2021, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenkirsh View Post
I'm applying, by hand, what I assume is about 10NM of force; very very low.
I wouldn't trust my fingers here
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephenkirsh View Post
Is there anything else in this area that should be checked?
I would double check all other bolts around VANOS in case they were overtorqued too.

Also I'd (and I did on mine) use carb cleaner on oil passes in the solenoid block.
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      12-04-2021, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vt100 View Post
I wouldn't trust my fingers here

I would double check all other bolts around VANOS in case they were overtorqued too.

Also I'd (and I did on mine) use carb cleaner on oil passes in the solenoid block.
I was just testing the other bolts by hand to see if they were loose; and I found another one! It was on the same hub/cover area as the one that failed. I'll need to replace all of them to feel comfortable about it. I'll use my mini-torque wrench when finishing everything up.
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      12-05-2021, 11:05 AM   #12
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The filister torx screws for the sprockets are 16mm, I think those would fit on the caps and are BMW items.

07129905536, fillister-head M6x16 screw (fillister = Torx).

Just measure one and confirm, but pretty sure it would, I could not find mine to measure them.
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      12-27-2021, 07:07 PM   #13
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So I finally got the car back on the road.

I think the problem was simply 2 of the 3 bolts on the exhaust cam cover. One was over-torqued and it snapped off. The other was under-torqued and worked itself loose.

Eventually the high oil pressure in that area cut through the o-ring for the cover, and that's what blew oil everywhere.

I don't think the VANOS oil line failed, but since the motor is at 93k, I changed it to a flexible line from Bimmerworld anyway.

Raj at Beisan Systems sold me replacement o-rings and the OE bolts.
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