BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N55 Turbo Engine Tuning and Exhaust Modifications - 335i Tuning > Possible Symptoms of failing VANOS Solenoids (n55)

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      11-17-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
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Exclamation Possible Symptoms of failing VANOS Solenoids (n55)

Let me start off by saying I'm not most knowledgeable with cars to begin with and will again note that I'm a beginner. But I would find this helpful to those who don't understand what the current problems are with the VANOS solenoids.

I currently drive a 2011 335i e90 (n55 engine) with a JB4 and catless BMS downpipe as my current mods. I've hit about 52k miles, had my chip for over 20k+ miles, and about 18k+ miles with my downpipe.

I've found this youtube video to be really helpful in understanding the solenoids but it doesn't specifically get into the e90's.

The Problem
1. At around 40k miles, I've noticed that my car would go into limp mode(yellow half engine light) on WOT(wide open throttle) with my jb4 turned on. A simple car restart would generally clear it, and if not turn the chip off and restart.
2. During low rpm's, my car would somewhat jerk when I'm pulling out of the driveway. This could happen in drive or reverse. I've taken it to the dealer under warranty, but they don't do jack for you ever. Nor will they ever. F**k them.
3. When stopped and in gear, I would notice that me engine seems to rattle and result to my car shaking a little bit before getting #2. Probably better defined as my engine idle tends to hiccup.
4. Whether the car is warmed up or not, when you rev the engine, you can tell that your rpm tends to 'hesitate' at around 1500rpm as it comes down ~900rpm. To me, it feels like the car is having a hard time breathing. It just doesn't feel comfortable/normal to me. This could be another symptom.

Now here's where it gets interesting where it made me want to post it here...

Just yesterday actually, my car wouldn't start. It would crank once, then go completely silent minus the whirling sounds from the electronics.
After reading up some more, I'm more than convinced that it has to do with the solenoids. In addition, I've noticed a leak somewhere that I haven't exactly been able to pinpoint. I like keep my engine bay at least somewhat clean so that I would see leaks like this.

It's only been about 12 hours since, but I'll be doing some work to figure out some solutions. I'm going to first clean my solenoids as the first round of troubleshooting and see if that fixes the problem. I'll eventually look to replace the solenoids relatively soon.

Hope this helps for you guys too.
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      11-17-2013, 06:24 PM   #2

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After speaking to a BMW tech he told me that it is common problem on the n55. The vanos gear uses hallow bolts. The bolts tend to shear off and snap. The bolts that break off can cause some serious engine damage. BMW has made a new revised part with new bolts and a new vanos gear. From what he told me some cars with low mileage have issues. He also said he seen some cars with high mileage not have issues. From what I understand BMW does not want to do a recall because of the fact not everyone is being affected. All they want is the cars to experience the problem after the warranty.
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      11-26-2013, 02:08 PM   #3
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Check your charge pipe and see if it might be cracked.

Basically these symptoms can also happen with a boost leak, or more specifically when the MAP sensor is not reading actual airflow into the engine correctly.
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      11-27-2013, 09:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Amlethae View Post
Check your charge pipe and see if it might be cracked.

Basically these symptoms can also happen with a boost leak, or more specifically when the MAP sensor is not reading actual airflow into the engine correctly.
^^what he said boost leaks on the chargepipes can be hard to see as most break right on the seam under the c clamp
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      11-27-2013, 11:52 AM   #5
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Buy yourself a $20 OBD code reader if you don't have one already and scan for codes.

If you have a bad VANOS, it will usually throw a code specific to it. Whatever problem you have, you should get a decent code that will point you in the right direction.
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      05-06-2014, 01:25 PM   #6
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Anyone have the codes for this issue?
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n55 vanos, vanos solenoid

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