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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Powertrain and Drivetrain Discussions > N55 Turbo Engine Tuning and Exhaust Modifications - 335i Tuning > N55 VANOS Bolt Failure Prevention



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      02-27-2014, 06:35 PM   #23
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Hmm, kinda worrying. Well, I guess I better plan on proactively replacing the bolts on my car before CPO is up then. I have a 10/10 build date 335i, methinks it'd be better to spend 1k proactively than 3-4k down the road on a true failure and repair.
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      02-27-2014, 06:36 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sidnito View Post
yeah that's the thing I'm at 85k miles
Just saw your post in the other thread. Sorry abt that man...this is a known design flaw. I wouldn't be so quick to give up on warranty coverage, especially if the dealer sold you this policy with the representation that it mimics cpo coverage in some fashion.

As an aside, holy mama that's a lot of miles for a 2011
yeah I am not sure what the previous owner did haha
so are you saying I should talk with the dealer that sold it to me?
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      02-27-2014, 06:38 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cialz View Post
at least this isn't as bad the intermediate shaft bearings RMS / IMS in 911 motors
Tell me about it...some of those early 996 and 986 owners were also thinking about proactive, expensive measures to address the design flaw. Except is was 3rd party and quite a bit more money as I recall.

Sidnito, without getting into specifics, if the dealer that sold you the car is the dealer servicing the car, I'm sure they have some involvement in the warranty claims process. If they sold you the car, told you it's out of cpo range but they had a 3rd party company they can set you up with at the point of sale that provides coverage that mimics BMW cpo coverage, and now this, at minimum you should be requesting a pro rated refund of the third party warranty and cancellation of the policy, at maximum requesting that they negotiate with the warranty company to provide coverage (whom they presumably acted as an agent of and generated a commission off of).

Most importantly, you may have relied upon the representation that this 3rd party coverage mimics cpo coverage instead of seeking an independent 3rd party warranty which would HAVE in fact covered the vanos bolts. Had you not relied upon the dealer telling you this warranty mimics cpo coverage, when it in fact does not, you would not be facing an out of pocket repair right now.

If the selling dealer is not the servicing dealer, conceptually the strategy is the same but the waters get more murky in addressing the situation. Even in a worst case scenario, I would be pushing hard to get every penny you've paid to date towards this warranty refunded. 3rd party warranties are regulated, at least around these parts, and dealerships have dmv resale and repair shop licenses to attack if it comes to that.

As an aside, it seems to me that rather than being ancillary "hardware", the bolts are crucial to the function of the solenoid...ie if the vibration from the solenoid is sufficient to cause failure, and the solenoid can't operate as intended if the bolts decide to themselves apart at the seam, to me it's a stressed mechanical component crucial to proper engine function. If you want to boil it down, everything is "hardware", it's an ambigious bullshit catch-all definition to deny a covered repair in bad faith. Food for thought...I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet.

Last edited by Jec1; 02-27-2014 at 07:00 PM.
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      02-27-2014, 06:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Tell me about it...some of those early 996 and 986 owners were also thinking about proactive, expensive measures to address the design flaw. Except is was 3rd party and quite a bit more money as I recall.
I don't think anything that goes on that car is cheap.. just trying to show people that bmw isn't the only one with huge mistakes... Porsche never admitted fault like bmw did with the hpfp and turbos
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      02-27-2014, 07:13 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by cialz View Post
I don't think anything that goes on that car is cheap.. just trying to show people that bmw isn't the only one with huge mistakes... Porsche never admitted fault like bmw did with the hpfp and turbos
Right on, and the cost to maintain a car is determined by how it costs new, not how much it depreciates until the second owner takes title. We need to remember that when talking 2011 n55 vanos woes. Most of these cars were 50-60k otd new.

As you said, BMW has definitely been good about addressing design flaws in the grand scheme, even if it takes them some time to come around a la s54 rod bearing and n54 hpfp and turbo issues. Statistically speaking 6 months and change of n55 motors is a relatively small percentage of worldwide production.
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      02-27-2014, 08:16 PM   #28
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you're right about all you said. I'm debating if i should sell the warranty after this fix. also if I should keep the n55, I love it cause it has all the packages and manny I've been wanting. I owe more than it's worth too.
also should I put the catless DP back on? does that make the engine run bad?
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      02-27-2014, 09:40 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Gentlemen:

Very active concern on my mind in terms of threats to long term ownership of this car. N55s with build dates of March 2010 through December 2010 are affected with the old Vanos bolt design prone to shearing.

For those who have had the bolts fail, the replacement part pursuant to the sib is a revised design, less prone to failing. I have spoken with my SA several times about this issue, with the n55 being a workhorse he has seen many failures across model ranges, but if memory serves me correctly from my discussion, only one x5 that had an issue with the revised part. This failure from what I recall was speculated to be due to a number of other ongoing issues with that particular vehicle and can't solely be attributed to vanos bolts. In short, it looks the engineered fix has statistically resolved the issue from what my dealership has seen.

The revised bolts cost approximately $600 in parts from my understanding; dealer labor hours I haven't had quoted yet. I'm actively anticipating replacing the bolts even if everything is running smooth shortly before expiration of my CPO if I keep the car, but I have another couple years for that.

Out of warranty cost if they shear was quoted to me at about $4-5k plus the risk of more significant engine damage from bolt chunks running through your engine. I don't know how significant a job replacement with the revised part is, but I know it has minimized the shearing issue which has been represented to me as being quite prelavent among pre 12/10 production n55 engines.

I'll pull the revised part no's from my file when I get home-hope this helps. J
It's not actually the bolts that are $600; that is the price of the two new complete VANOS assemblies.

The two part numbers are:
11367583208 $328.63
11367583207 $328.63

The price actually seems to have went up in the past month.

I am tempted to just try to replace the bolts rather than get the whole unit.

I can probably get all of the bolts for under $20 and that's using class 12.9 or class 10.9 bolts (strong as fuck).

The only good thing is that removing them doesn't seem to be that hard. We would need to get the special cam timing tool which can cost a couple hundred.

EVEN BETTER would be if we were somehow able to get the bolts out WITHOUT removing the VANOS assembly. One by one. This way we wouldn't have to dick around with the timing chain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Right on, and the cost to maintain a car is determined by how it costs new, not how much it depreciates until the second owner takes title. We need to remember that when talking 2011 n55 vanos woes. Most of these cars were 50-60k otd new.

As you said, BMW has definitely been good about addressing design flaws in the grand scheme, even if it takes them some time to come around a la s54 rod bearing and n54 hpfp and turbo issues. Statistically speaking 6 months and change of n55 motors is a relatively small percentage of worldwide production.
This logic of "expensive car - expensive maintenance" does not always apply. For example, a 3.5 Nissan Altima has essentially the same engine as a 2008 G35 yet there is a $15,000+ price difference between the two cars. Parts for each car (spark plugs, CVCT solenoids, coils, gaskets, timing gear, throttle bodies, etc...) are all pretty much the same.

This DOES apply when you talk about headlight bulbs, audio equipment, interior parts, etc... though.

Sure, I do expect certain things to be more expensive on my BMW than my Maxima obviously, but that's not really what we are talking about.

We aren't talking "maintenance" here. We are talking about a catastrophic engine failure. And this isn't a "new" or "surprise" failure. This is something that happened on previous motors. They could have corrected it before making the N55.

The fuel pump thing is kind of understandable because that is actually a very hard part to manufacture. It's not easy to have a high pressure pump like that be completely reliable. However, I see no excuse for bolts shearing off other than: 1. Poor quality control 2. Engineering team cutting corners.

I am willing to bet the bolts aren't as strong as they were supposed to be rather than BMW trying to save 10 cents per car.

I almost expect this car to be MORE reliable considering it costs so much more than similar cars with similar power. What justifies the increased cost? Sure the car drives better than anything I have ever owned. There is something special about BMWs that not many other manufacturers can match. But had I known this car was going to be basically a ticking time bomb, I would have just gotten a G37 and not had to worry about any kind of major engine failure for probably 200k miles.

Sorry if I am coming off like a douche. I am just pissed at myself for not doing more research before buying an early build 2011.

Last edited by Unklejoe; 02-27-2014 at 09:59 PM.
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      02-27-2014, 09:47 PM   #30
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Back on topic...

It does not seem to be that big of a deal to remove the VANOS units. I can probably do it in my driveway.

If someone can get me some clear pictures of an N55 with the valve cover off, I will attempt the bolt swap this weekend if I think I can get in there and do each bolt one by one.

I would just like to know before hand what I am getting in to considering my car might have to be down for a week while I wait for the bolts to arrive.

I will post lots of pics.

Last edited by Unklejoe; 02-27-2014 at 10:00 PM.
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      02-27-2014, 10:10 PM   #31
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My 2011 335 with a late summer (june-july) 2010 build date had a eccentric shaft replacement done last june. Do you think the bolts would have been replaced with the updated bolts at that time?
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      02-27-2014, 10:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by sy2767 View Post
My 2011 335 with a late summer (june-july) 2010 build date had a eccentric shaft replacement done last june. Do you think the bolts would have been replaced with the updated bolts at that time?
Is there a recall for that or something?

And I don't know. Did it mention anything on the work order?


ALSO:

Some updates...

I remember reading how this was a problem on the N52 motor as well.

Guess what........the N55 and N52 motor have the same part numbers for the VANOS unit. LOL
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      02-27-2014, 10:32 PM   #33
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Unklejoe-

Those were actually the same part numbers I had been provided when I requested info on the updated parts. At 600 bucks with 2 years of CPO coverage in the event of a failure, I didn't ask for a labor estimate for the time being.

I didn't know that those part nos consisted of 2 new solenoids, thanks for that info. That's kind of a crock that we have to replace functioning solenoids just to replace the bolts. Guess I should've thought abt why bolts cost 600 bucks a bit more when I got that quote lol.

And point taken, more expensive cars should be more reliable. However that being said, my point is both manufacturers and customers should have more of an expected tolerance for a 4k repair on a 4 year old 60k car than on, say a 4 year old 20k Honda, where it would be almost a quarter of the original cost of the whole car.

You're coming off fine, don't stress. We're all in the same boat here looking for productive resolutions to this issue. I knew of this issue, knew I was in the affected range. I also knew the n55 had been in the 535gt for a year already and made sure I had cpo. That being said, I'm still concerned, and if I keep the car (which I think I will), am going to do something proactive to ensure the bolts don't shear. 1k repairs I can stomach every couple years long term. 4k not so much.

I'm assuming based off of your research there isn't a separate part number for the updated bolts? Have to buy the whole freakin assembly? I wonder if Realoem has anything.

Edit-Sidnito, if the bolt is not a separate part no and can only be purchased with the solenoid as a single unit, I think this only bolsters your case that this shrouded be a covered repair.
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      02-27-2014, 10:50 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Unklejoe-

Those were actually the same part numbers I had been provided when I requested info on the updated parts. At 600 bucks with 2 years of CPO coverage in the event of a failure, I didn't ask for a labor estimate for the time being.

I didn't know that those part nos consisted of 2 new solenoids, thanks for that info. That's kind of a crock that we have to replace functioning solenoids just to replace the bolts. Guess I should've thought abt why bolts cost 600 bucks a bit more when I got that quote lol.

And point taken, more expensive cars should be more reliable. However that being said, my point is both manufacturers and customers should have more of an expected tolerance for a 4k repair on a 4 year old 60k car than on, say a 4 year old 20k Honda, where it would be almost a quarter of the original cost of the whole car.

You're coming off fine, don't stress. We're all in the same boat here looking for productive resolutions to this issue. I knew of this issue, knew I was in the affected range. I also knew the n55 had been in the 535gt for a year already and made sure I had cpo. That being said, I'm still concerned, and if I keep the car (which I think I will), am going to do something proactive to ensure the bolts don't shear. 1k repairs I can stomach every couple years long term. 4k not so much.

I'm assuming based off of your research there isn't a separate part number for the updated bolts? Have to buy the whole freakin assembly? I wonder if Realoem has anything.

Edit-Sidnito, if the bolt is not a separate part no and can only be purchased with the solenoid as a single unit, I think this only bolsters your case that this shrouded be a covered repair.
Yeah, Real OEM doesn't show any part number for the bolts, just the whole unit. But I think I still may just try to replace the bolts.

There is a unit for sale on EBay right now with two broken bolts. I messaged the seller asking him what size the bolts were. I may buy the unit just to have a backup anyway.

Also, I messaged the guy on the 1 series forum who had this happen and kept the original parts.

We will see what happens.

I don't mind spending the money on repairs either. Before I bought this car, I looked up the price of used transmissions and found them to all be under 2k. I assumed that if anything was going to fail on the car, it would be the transmission and the turbo. Sucks that used motors are like 5k.

The job of replacing the VANOS units should take less than three hours yet I see some dealers quoting people $4,000 for the repair.
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      02-28-2014, 11:05 AM   #35
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yeah they said it takes nine hours of labor. such BS.
I'll be getting my car this weekend. should I put back my catless downpipe?
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      02-28-2014, 12:09 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Sidnito View Post
yeah they said it takes nine hours of labor. such BS.
I'll be getting my car this weekend. should I put back my catless downpipe?
Don't think that makes much of a difference abt this issue. I personally elect to keep emissions equipment intact because of smell and New York State inspection, as well as the n55 being more complicated than its predecessor in masking emission related codes. Texas I'm sure is more lax about emissions. This is more of a personal choice, I don't think a catless down pipe alone will cause issues with engine function, or at least it shouldn't.
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      02-28-2014, 12:52 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Just saw your post in the other thread. Sorry abt that man...this is a known design flaw. I wouldn't be so quick to give up on warranty coverage, especially if the dealer sold you this policy with the representation that it mimics cpo coverage in some fashion.

As an aside, holy mama that's a lot of miles for a 2011
Extended warranties are rip offs unless they are from the manufacturer. They will deny as much as humanly possible.

Lets say you are driving and your oil just drains out of your car for no reason and you pull over as soon as you can, but the engine is ruined. They will deny it saying you continued to drive with a known issue.
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      02-28-2014, 01:01 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divisionbell77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jec1 View Post
Just saw your post in the other thread. Sorry abt that man...this is a known design flaw. I wouldn't be so quick to give up on warranty coverage, especially if the dealer sold you this policy with the representation that it mimics cpo coverage in some fashion.

As an aside, holy mama that's a lot of miles for a 2011
Extended warranties are rip offs unless they are from the manufacturer. They will deny as much as humanly possible.

Lets say you are driving and your oil just drains out of your car for no reason and you pull over as soon as you can, but the engine is ruined. They will deny it saying you continued to drive with a known issue.
dude after reading the contract this is so true. I really don't know if I want to keep the warranty:/
If anyone has a reason that a catless DP could cause damage to other components, then I will put it on cause it sounds great
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      02-28-2014, 01:19 PM   #39
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You can't just replace the bolts, they aren't designed to be easily removed and you can't order them, they have a special bolt head.

You need to replace the entire VANOS units (aka controller aka gear) both intake and exhaust, they are $300 a piece, the new units come with the upgraded bolts.

$600 for parts 2-3 hours for a good tech.

BMW should be recalling this, its bullshit.

If anyone in Socal wants to get this done, I have a great BMW Master Tech that will do it better and less expensive then anyone, PM ME for his info.
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      02-28-2014, 01:29 PM   #40
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Can anyone confirm the problem was corrected after 12/10?

I'm looking at a 4/11 build date car.
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      02-28-2014, 04:05 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by index1489 View Post
You can't just replace the bolts, they aren't designed to be easily removed and you can't order them, they have a special bolt head.

You need to replace the entire VANOS units (aka controller aka gear) both intake and exhaust, they are $300 a piece, the new units come with the upgraded bolts.

$600 for parts 2-3 hours for a good tech.

BMW should be recalling this, its bullshit.

If anyone in Socal wants to get this done, I have a great BMW Master Tech that will do it better and less expensive then anyone, PM ME for his info.
I can certainly order metric bolts from many places on the internet.

As far as removing them, it looks like they just use a normal TORX security head. See attached picture.

I really don't see the need to buy completely new VANOS units just to get some "upgraded" bolts that "have a reduced chance of snapping".

Unless there is some reason beyond my knowledge as to why these bolts can't be changed, I will attempt to change mine. I plan on swapping them out for some class 10.9 metric bolts.

I just need to find the size. The shape of the bolt head is irrelevant.

If for some reason it doesn't work, then I will order the new units. But for $600, it's worth a try.
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      02-28-2014, 04:10 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by garrettmoore View Post
Can anyone confirm the problem was corrected after 12/10?

I'm looking at a 4/11 build date car.
Well the TSB only lists pre-2011 production models as being affected by this so I think you're good.

But I would just wait it out and get a 2012 car. They have the new fuel pump design that is a complete re-design from the N54 and early N55 pumps.

Probably a bunch of other issues they fixed too.
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      02-28-2014, 04:12 PM   #43
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I find it hard to believe there are no compatible bolts available anywhere. Does anyone work at BMW and/or have access to a factory manual that might tell us the dimensions of the bolts?
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      02-28-2014, 04:13 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unklejoe View Post
Well the TSB only lists pre-2011 production models as being affected by this so I think you're good.

But I would just wait it out and get a 2012 car. They have the new fuel pump design that is a complete re-design from the N54 and early N55 pumps.

Probably a bunch of other issues they fixed too.
Most 2012's have no ECU access though, so that is an issue.
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