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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY - Replacing Camshaft VANOS Solenoid



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DIY - Replacing Camshaft VANOS Solenoid
Published by orionredwing
02-07-2011
DIY - Replacing Camshaft VANOS Solenoid

This DIY explains how to replace the VANOS Solenoid, with failure commonly detected through the following codes.

2A82 Inlet-Vanos variable cam control test
2A87 Outlet-Vanos variable cam control test
3100 boost-pressure control, deactivation

Suggested Code to Failed Part Correlation:
2A82 Intake VANOS solenoid
2A87 Exhaust VANOS solenoid

Disclaimer: Please search and read existing threads. OP takes no responsibility for mis-diagnosis. Replacing the suggested part may not fully resolve the issue. However, this is a good starting point. If you are throwing a bunch of codes in addition to the ones listed, please troubleshoot accordingly.

OEM P/N: 11367585425
Both intake and exhaust solenoids are identical, with the same p/n.

INSTALL TIME: <30 mins after engine has cooled

STEP 1: Wait until the engine is cold! The location where the VANOS solenoids are is VERY HOT! Remove microfilter panel and engine cowl. Refer to PROcede and JB installation instructions. Not part of this DIY.

STEP 2: Remove Engine Cover
Note: Picture below shows the engine cover removed. The point is to highlight the location of the 4 screws. The rear left screw (looking by standing from the front of the car) is the hardest to see (bottom left in this picture).



STEP 3: Remove Snorkel
Requires a T-20. Remove the 2 screws (left and right) as seen in the pictures, and pull the snorkel out. Note where the ratchet is for location of screws.







STEP 4: Location of VANOS Solenoids. Look where the brown rag is where the snorkel used to be at the bottom of the picture.



Solenoids removed.
- Top hole is for the Intake solenoid
- Bottom hole is for the Exhaust solenoid

Brown rag positioned to capture dripping oil and prevent oil from accidentally getting onto the removed connectors.



STEP 5: Remove the connectors.

The connector pictured is for the Intake solenoid, which goes into the top hole of the picture. If you forget which is which, don't worry. Notice how the cable goes to the left. This is an easy way to identify the intake solenoid cable. The other cable goes down and is not easily pulled out.



To remove, simply press down on the silver clip as shown and pull out. When re-inserting, be sure to press down on the clip again to slide back in.



STEP 6: Remove solenoid.

Notice the solenoid has a retaining clip that is fastened by a screw (that hole you see on the solenoid). Remove this screw. The picture shows that the metal retaining clip is actually part of the solenoid assembly! Do not try to pry this apart from the solenoid when removing!

After removing screw, turn clockwise by 1/8th of a turn, and pull. It will pop out. Catch the dripping oil on your rag.



I was only throwing the 2A87 code (Exhaust Solenoid). But I removed both to compare. The top solenoid is the Intake one, and the bottom is the Exhaust one. I could NOT tell which one was bad just by visual inspection!



I reused my existing intake solenoid, and replaced the exhaust solenoid with the new one shown.

Ensure the o-ring is pushed all the way down to the bottom of the solenoid.

TIP: Re-insert solenoid by positioning about 1/8 turn clockwise to the mounting hole. Push straight in and you will feel a pop when it is fully inserted.

Once inserted, rotate counter-clockwise to line up retaining clip to mounting hole, and secure the screw.



Reverse the above steps to finish up.

Sorry, I didn't take a picture of the solenoid actually inserted. But based on the above pictures, you can easily figure out the solenoid location. That in itself took me a few mins, as it was initially partially covered by the engine cover and snorkel.

Hope this helps!

UPDATED 6/14/11 - TIPS from other DIYers:

1. Instead of replacing w/ a new solenoid, try cleaning the solenoid w/ compressed air first.

2. (N52) Engine cover does not have to be removed to get to the solenoids.

3. (N54) "My car does not have an oil cooler so I didn't have to remove the snorkel."

4. Suggest removing and replacing solenoids one at a time (starting w/ bottom solenoid). "If both solenoids are out, it is very easy to accidentally drop one of the small mounting bolts into the openings, which would be really bad since the screw would now be in the casing for the cam chain drive."
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  #1  
By bumere90 on 02-07-2011, 09:21 PM
How often does the solenoid go bad and what are the symptoms?
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  #2  
By orionredwing on 02-15-2011, 01:05 AM
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My symptoms were mild. Every once in awhile, under WOT, this code would throw, causing the half engine light / limp mode to come up. For me, it only occurred occasionally under WOT like after 10-20 mins of continuous redlines (aka on the track). For more serious cases, some people have reported it triggers everytime they go WOT.

Basically, you're accelerating hard, it triggers, and you go into limp mode until you reset your car. Nothing else happens. Sometimes, it would cause misfires, and your car would shudder until you pull over and reset.
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  #3  
By evorobert on 02-17-2011, 01:14 PM
thanks for this write up! on average how long does it take to this?
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  #4  
By orionredwing on 02-18-2011, 12:56 PM
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After the engine has cooled down sufficiently to not burn your hands, the install takes <30 minutes (taking it slowly and being methodical). If I was in a hurry, I can probably do it in ~10 mins now that I've gone through it once.

Good question. I've updated the main post.
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  #5  
By GRLPWR on 02-25-2011, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orionredwing View Post
My symptoms were mild. Every once in awhile, under WOT, this code would throw, causing the half engine light / limp mode to come up. For me, it only occurred occasionally under WOT like after 10-20 mins of continuous redlines (aka on the track). For more serious cases, some people have reported it triggers everytime they go WOT.

Basically, you're accelerating hard, it triggers, and you go into limp mode until you reset your car. Nothing else happens. Sometimes, it would cause misfires, and your car would shudder until you pull over and reset.
This is so frustrating! I get these symptoms but lately everyone is telling me I have carbon build up.
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  #6  
By BMWE9X on 03-23-2011, 09:00 AM
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I'm just getting 2A87... can I just replace the exhaust solenoid or should I do both? I can always replace the intake one later if it faults. Recommendations? thanks!
Last edited by BMWE9X; 03-23-2011 at 10:03 AM.
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  #7  
By scottp999 on 04-29-2011, 07:53 AM
Great DIY - Thanks!
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  #8  
By richjamison on 04-29-2011, 10:40 AM
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I have to ask, what does WOT stand for? My first gues is something to do with operating temperature.
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  #9  
By Perfectus on 05-01-2011, 12:44 PM
WOT = Wide Open Throttle, basically mashing the gas pedal.

OP, thanks for the write up! I replaced both solenoids this weekend. My car does not have an oil cooler so I didn't have to remove the snorkel.
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  #10  
By skibbs on 05-10-2011, 11:52 PM
Great DIY, thanks for taking the time to do this... My code reader arrived today and I saw 2A87 and 3100 which led me here. 5 minutes on Tischer's site ordering the new exhaust VANOS solenoid and I'm well on my way to fixing my issue. Thanks again!
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  #11  
By votoc on 05-11-2011, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the DIY. I was throwing an intake vanos code and I removed it and cleaned it with compressed air. Haven't thrown the code again, if I do then I will just replace it. But the free fix is working for now!
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  #12  
By nOshi on 05-19-2011, 05:00 PM
Really good write up. My exhaust vanos was throwing codes. I replaced the exhaust vanos with a newly ordered one from Tischer (cheapest I've seen so far), and cleaned the intake vanos with some carb cleaner. (didn't get any on the connector part, and let it dry) After that, my car stopped shuddering and acceleration is back to normal.
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  #13  
By firechicken99 on 06-02-2011, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orionredwing View Post
My symptoms were mild. Every once in awhile, under WOT, this code would throw, causing the half engine light / limp mode to come up. For me, it only occurred occasionally under WOT like after 10-20 mins of continuous redlines (aka on the track). For more serious cases, some people have reported it triggers everytime they go WOT.

Basically, you're accelerating hard, it triggers, and you go into limp mode until you reset your car. Nothing else happens. Sometimes, it would cause misfires, and your car would shudder until you pull over and reset.
op.. awesome write up. This has me curious, because a few months ago (with procede v4 installed) I would constantly throw a specific cylinder misfire code during WOT at around top of 3rd or 4th gear (i forget) that would cause a really bad shuddering, and would be fixed by a reset.

Odd thing is ive had my procede back with v5 and it hasnt done it in a while so idk... good to keep in mind though.
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  #14  
By ENINTY on 06-11-2011, 12:05 PM
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Great write up. This DIY led me to diagnose my fault code that came up this week. Thanks for posting it.

The Bentley manual suggests switching the positions of the solenoids as a test to see which is bad (this doesn't make sense if code 2A82 is intake and 2A87 is exhaust). The manual also says the solenoids can be cleaned with shop air, which is what I did. I also used CRC Electro Cleaner to clean them up as well.

Also, the engine cover does not need to be removed to get to the solenoids (at least on the N52 engine). You can get to them with the cover in place.

One last tip. I suggest removing and replacing the solenoids one at a time. If both solenoids are out, it is very easy to accidentally drop one of the small mounting bolts into the openings, which would be really bad since the screw would now be in the casing for the cam chain drive. If I may augment the procedure a bit: I think it is best to remove and replace (or clean and replace) the bottom solenoid first. Then remove and replace the top solenoid second. Following this sequence will prevent accidentally dropping a mounting bolt into the front of the engine.
Last edited by ENINTY; 06-11-2011 at 06:36 PM.
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  #15  
By 335i 07 on 06-12-2011, 08:03 PM
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I'm getting 2A82 along with Limp mode (3100). The car has been throwing 2A82 even before a tune was ever installed. It only happens under full WOT about 50% of the time.
I'm going to replace the the intake solenoid and seals when the part arrives. I'm worried that that wont fix it due to other research and claimed fixes. Has anybody ever eliminated fault code 2A82 by simply changing the solenoid???????????
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  #16  
By 335i 07 on 06-13-2011, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orionredwing View Post
My symptoms were mild. Every once in awhile, under WOT, this code would throw, causing the half engine light / limp mode to come up. For me, it only occurred occasionally under WOT like after 10-20 mins of continuous redlines (aka on the track). For more serious cases, some people have reported it triggers everytime they go WOT.

Basically, you're accelerating hard, it triggers, and you go into limp mode until you reset your car. Nothing else happens. Sometimes, it would cause misfires, and your car would shudder until you pull over and reset.
Have you seen these codes again or was it the "fix" in your case?
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  #17  
By orionredwing on 06-14-2011, 07:11 PM
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Thanks guys for all the positive comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 335i 07 View Post
Has anybody ever eliminated fault code 2A82 by simply changing the solenoid???????????
Although I didn't get this code, the answer is yes, others have eliminated the fault code simply by changing (or cleaning, as others have mentioned) the intake (or exhaust) solenoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 335i 07 View Post
Have you seen these codes again or was it the "fix" in your case?
Yes, this was 'the fix'. I haven't thrown these codes again, even after multiple track days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
Great write up. This DIY led me to diagnose my fault code that came up this week. Thanks for posting it.

One last tip. I suggest removing and replacing the solenoids one at a time. If both solenoids are out, it is very easy to accidentally drop one of the small mounting bolts into the openings, which would be really bad since the screw would now be in the casing for the cam chain drive. If I may augment the procedure a bit: I think it is best to remove and replace (or clean and replace) the bottom solenoid first. Then remove and replace the top solenoid second. Following this sequence will prevent accidentally dropping a mounting bolt into the front of the engine.
Thanks! First post updated with yours, and everyone else's tips.
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  #18  
By 335i 07 on 06-15-2011, 03:14 PM
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Great to hear the faults were eliminated with this fix. My solenoids will be here Friday. I hope it doesn't turn out to be the ledger. Thats gonna cost me $600 with parts and a N54 timing kit. I will repost after install with results. Wish me luck
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  #19  
By ENINTY on 06-16-2011, 05:46 AM
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I'd just like to comment again on the usefulness of this post. If you use the Bentley manual for diagnosis of the 2A82 or 87 fault code, it really doesn't lead you to look at the VANOS solenoids as the culprit. This post, along with the Bentley led me to first consider the solenoids as the issue.

Now after 600 miles that I've put on my car since I cleaned and replaced my solenoids all I can say is the car is running better than ever.

I have a theory that swapping the solenoids positions (from exhaust to intake) is actually a good practice. I think the solenoids "work in" to the control position they are located and go through a repetitive range of motion that lends them, over time, to get clogged. Swapping them to the opposite cam now allows them to run a different cam control routine in a different range of motion which allows them to function as "new" parts.

I'd recommend what I did as the fix. Clean the solenoids with cleaner and shop air, and reinstall them in the opposite location. This procedure is so easy, that if the code does pop up again in the opposite location, a new part is justified and easily installed. This will procedure also lets you diagnose the problem further because if you swap the solenoids and the same code shows up (i.e. it doesn't follow the solenoid from the exaust side to the intake side, or vice versa) then the cam position sensor for that cam (which close by in the head) is the next part failure to consider.
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  #20  
By Joe- on 06-22-2011, 07:29 PM
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Under WOT my car throws P30FF can this also be related to the solenoids.
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  #21  
By Samuel L Jackson on 06-30-2011, 11:11 PM
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Thanks for the DIY. Had this issue with my car yesterday. It only has 40k miles on it and was idling really rough, took it to the dealer and they replaced it. Even though it was under warranty, I was curious and asked how much it cost. SA said probably around $2000 to fix.......can you believe that??????
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