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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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      02-28-2014, 04:58 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JETmn View Post
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?
All we need is someone to measure the bolts! Please. I know there are people out there with these broken units!!!!!

Also, we need some pics of an N55 with the valve cover removed.

It might not be in the service manual considering they don't list the bolts as separate components. Worth a try though.

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Originally Posted by JETmn View Post
Most 2012's have no ECU access though, so that is an issue.
Fact. Although I would trade being flashable for a more reliable motor.
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      02-28-2014, 05:31 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unklejoe View Post
All we need is someone to measure the bolts! Please. I know there are people out there with these broken units!!!!!

Also, we need some pics of an N55 with the valve cover removed.

It might not be in the service manual considering they don't list the bolts as separate components. Worth a try though.



Fact. Although I would trade being flashable for a more reliable motor.
Bolt sizes should still be in there. If you have an engine torn apart you have to be able to tell which bolt goes where. I agree some pics would be awesome with the valve cover off. We need to know if there is enough clearance to get the bolts out, but to do that we also need to know how long the bolts are.
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      02-28-2014, 05:40 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unklejoe
Quote:
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.
can you share that TSB with me?
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      02-28-2014, 05:55 PM   #48
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can you share that TSB with me?
Can you share it with me as well?
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      02-28-2014, 06:33 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unklejoe View Post
...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.
Any given car is notorious for some kind of failure. You can't kick yourself, because there is no possible way to research every aspect of a given car. You could have bought a MY2012, and found something there that fails.

These cars are built for performance, not necessarily economy, and definitely not for being 'bullet proof'. They are complicated, and all complicated machinery is subject to failure. You may never even have a VANOS failure, or a hpfp failure. It's the luck of the draw, and can be weighted by driving style and amount of regular upkeep you are willing to do.

Don't sweat it.
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      02-28-2014, 07:22 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB-335xiCoupe
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unklejoe View Post
...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.
Any given car is notorious for some kind of failure. You can't kick yourself, because there is no possible way to research every aspect of a given car. You could have bought a MY2012, and found something there that fails.

These cars are built for performance, not necessarily economy, and definitely not for being 'bullet proof'. They are complicated, and all complicated machinery is subject to failure. You may never even have a VANOS failure, or a hpfp failure. It's the luck of the draw, and can be weighted by driving style and amount of regular upkeep you are willing to do.

Don't sweat it.
good point!
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      02-28-2014, 07:33 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB-335xiCoupe View Post
Any given car is notorious for some kind of failure. You can't kick yourself, because there is no possible way to research every aspect of a given car. You could have bought a MY2012, and found something there that fails.

These cars are built for performance, not necessarily economy, and definitely not for being 'bullet proof'. They are complicated, and all complicated machinery is subject to failure. You may never even have a VANOS failure, or a hpfp failure. It's the luck of the draw, and can be weighted by driving style and amount of regular upkeep you are willing to do.

Don't sweat it.
Yea you right you right

If no one comes through with any info on the bolts I will buy this broken VANOS unit from eBay and measure the bolts myself.
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      02-28-2014, 09:04 PM   #52
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Might be a good idea to buy it anyway, so you can take it apart and see how it works before tearing your car apart to find you can't replace the bolts easily.
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      02-28-2014, 09:53 PM   #53
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any TSB?
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      03-01-2014, 03:22 AM   #54
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Figured I would just answer your PM in this thread.

The one bolt I have that is out of the adjuster is 25mm long and is a 6mm metric with a 1.0mm pitch. I assume the other bolts would be identical but can't know for sure.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5p8ckispfwy59ig/DSC_0127.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/iatjpvey2m1lemg/DSC_0128.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3s75ygjypkfzs5t/DSC_0130.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/us7w9h0y67eqwsg/DSC_0131.JPG

I was told the bolts are magnesium by the shop that did the repairs and that the bolts alone can not be replaced. I looked at my units and see no physical reason the bolts could not be as it looks like simply a threaded hole to me. The bolt is very light, best scale I had only goes as low as grams but it was only 2 grams.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/91tqgcevxv8wjcu/DSC_0136.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6u5j3wazdln0xht/DSC_0144.JPG

I'm in Canada and the parts + labor to do this job at an indy shop was around $2k including diagnosis, oil flush/change. Dealer estimated $4,800 and with goodwill they may cover 2/3 of the bill but I had DP's on so there was likely no hope for goodwill really. I did not drop the pan to find the bolt heads because I knew I wasn't keeping the car.

This pic is all I had of the unit still attached to the cam, probably not much help.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9cdnhbqpo1bjo11/DSC_0002.JPG

Few pics of the unit itself with the cover that these bolts hold on taken off as well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dhxuqegoc2zu1mh/DSC_0132.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ngosjkerbnnytm/DSC_0133.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9t1n87shlht6iuy/DSC_0138.JPG

Couldn't get pics to upload to the forums so I linked to my dropbox, no idea how long the links will stay active so if someone wants to download and repost the pics feel free.

Hope this helps, good luck with your N55's...
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      03-01-2014, 08:23 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SinCalgary View Post
Figured I would just answer your PM in this thread.

The one bolt I have that is out of the adjuster is 25mm long and is a 6mm metric with a 1.0mm pitch. I assume the other bolts would be identical but can't know for sure.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5p8ckispfwy59ig/DSC_0127.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/iatjpvey2m1lemg/DSC_0128.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3s75ygjypkfzs5t/DSC_0130.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/us7w9h0y67eqwsg/DSC_0131.JPG

I was told the bolts are magnesium by the shop that did the repairs and that the bolts alone can not be replaced. I looked at my units and see no physical reason the bolts could not be as it looks like simply a threaded hole to me. The bolt is very light, best scale I had only goes as low as grams but it was only 2 grams.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/91tqgcevxv8wjcu/DSC_0136.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6u5j3wazdln0xht/DSC_0144.JPG

I'm in Canada and the parts + labor to do this job at an indy shop was around $2k including diagnosis, oil flush/change. Dealer estimated $4,800 and with goodwill they may cover 2/3 of the bill but I had DP's on so there was likely no hope for goodwill really. I did not drop the pan to find the bolt heads because I knew I wasn't keeping the car.

This pic is all I had of the unit still attached to the cam, probably not much help.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9cdnhbqpo1bjo11/DSC_0002.JPG

Few pics of the unit itself with the cover that these bolts hold on taken off as well.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/dhxuqegoc2zu1mh/DSC_0132.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ngosjkerbnnytm/DSC_0133.JPG
https://www.dropbox.com/s/9t1n87shlht6iuy/DSC_0138.JPG

Couldn't get pics to upload to the forums so I linked to my dropbox, no idea how long the links will stay active so if someone wants to download and repost the pics feel free.

Hope this helps, good luck with your N55's...
YES! Fuck yeah!

Thanks man.

BTW, here's the SIB (attached)
Attached Images
File Type: pdf vanos and camshaft.pdf (156.3 KB, 679 views)
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      03-01-2014, 08:28 AM   #56
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So it looks like we might not be able to swap the bolts easily without taking the unit off.

But the bolts definitely DO look replaceable. Time to find the perfect bolt!

If they are magnesium, there's a good chance the rest of the unit is also magnesium.

I am having a hard time finding magnesium screws. I wonder how the shop identified them as being magnesium rather than aluminum?

I know BMW uses aluminum bolts for the N52 with the magnesium block, rather than magnesium bolts.

Last edited by Unklejoe; 03-01-2014 at 09:06 AM.
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      03-01-2014, 10:13 AM   #57
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If this was so easy as just replacing bolts BMW would not have revised the whole unit. The new units are probably balanced for a new design with stronger bolts.
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      03-01-2014, 11:00 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bk335ilci View Post
If this was so easy as just replacing bolts BMW would not have revised the whole unit. The new units are probably balanced for a new design with stronger bolts.
The reason is probably because they didn't want shop techs trying to drill out the broken off bolt studs. Being that these failures are pretty rare, it was probably easier to just release the updated part.

If the bolt truly weighs 2 grams, it's probably aluminum.

See:

http://www.kamax.com/fileadmin/user_...ning_of_mg.pdf
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      03-01-2014, 11:13 AM   #59
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I have found a supplier of 7075 alloy T6 hardened aluminum bolts.

They don't have the 20mm in stock but I will call and see if they can order them.

There is another company who sells 7075 aluminum bolts but I don't know about the hardness.

Will report back...
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      03-01-2014, 11:52 AM   #60
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Another update:

The VANOS units are aluminum. I will be using steel bolts as originally planned. For a while, I thought they may have been magnesium (because the N52 block was magnesium). If that was the case, I was scared to use steel bolts because of the increase in stress during temperature changes and the likelihood of corrosion.

Since it's aluminum, I will use steel bolts. (Even though alu and mg are pretty close in terms of thermal expansion I believe). Im sure aluminum bolts would be better in terms of thermal stability but I just don't trust their shear strength.

Aluminum seems to be more resistant to corrosion with dissimilar metals. I will probably use a Zinc coated steel bolt.

These look promising:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#90327a138/=qwmk0y
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      03-01-2014, 12:00 PM   #61
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hmmm I have an April 2010 build and I've been FBO+Meth for a while now. I was never aware of this........ very unsettling indeed.
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      03-01-2014, 12:45 PM   #62
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Here is a picture of a marking on the bottom of the bolt, might help you out

Marking shows Bergner, Richard GMBH & CO as the manufacturer of the bolt.
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Last edited by SinCalgary; 03-01-2014 at 01:02 PM.
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      03-01-2014, 12:48 PM   #63
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This is yet another reason why I went with the N54 over the N55. Sucks to hear something so cheap be such a massive pain in the ass.
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      03-01-2014, 06:39 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmanhiker View Post
hmmm I have an April 2010 build and I've been FBO+Meth for a while now. I was never aware of this........ very unsettling indeed.
Well I don't think it's related to the amount of power you make. I talked to my local dealership's foreman and he said that he has encountered about 20 cars with the problem. He said it isn't a guarantee that any car will have the failure. It makes me think there was a mixed batch of good and bad parts in those early production months maybe. Don't sweat it. He said a lot of the times when it fails, the engine is fine after, although there was one time where the sprocket actually came off and took the head with it (bent valves).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SinCalgary View Post
Here is a picture of a marking on the bottom of the bolt, might help you out

Marking shows Bergner, Richard GMBH & CO as the manufacturer of the bolt.
Nice. Good info. I can't seem to find much about that manufacturer on the internet. Do you have a way of identifying the material that the bolts are made from? I am leaning towards aluminum.
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      03-01-2014, 07:18 PM   #65
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I would think it is aluminum based on what I could Google on it but can't be sure.
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      03-02-2014, 06:09 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmanhiker
hmmm I have an April 2010 build and I've been FBO+Meth for a while now. I was never aware of this........ very unsettling indeed.
Build date on mine is also April 2010. I had the vanos failure 7 months ago in August 2013, 3 bolt-heads sheared off @ 33K miles (i was stock at the time), luckily it was covered by the CPO warranty and both vanos units were replaced.
I assume they used the revised bolts when fixing it, but then again im afraid of this happening again when the warranty is over, does anyone have the part number for the revised bolts?
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