Vanos Repair FAQs | Mrs Vanos


We have collated a list of fequently asked questions which may help you answer any questions you may have. Please contact us if you require advice which isn't covered in this section.


What is BMW Vanos?

The BMW VANOS system (variable Nockenwellensteuerung - variable camshaft timing) was introduced in the early 1990s as a way of altering timing based on RPM and engine load to improve torque delivery, fuel economy, and engine smoothness. The first systems were single-VANOS and operated the intake cam only. Beginning in 1999, double-VANOS was introduced that did both intake and exhaust banks (on both inline-6 and V8 engines). Over the years the systems have evolved to be more reliable and is used on all current petrol BMW engines.

What are the symptoms of a failing unit?

Most early vanos units with anything from 40,000 miles, the original VANOS actuator solenoids, seals, and o-rings are usually due for a complete replacement. Signs of a failing unit are loud marble-like rattles from the front of the engine, loss of power and mid-range torque, poor fuel economy, and fault codes for misfires and VANOS-related sensors. VANOS units can be rebuilt by sourcing the seals and o-rings on their own but that process still requires expert mechanical knowledge and special tools. We prefer to offer complete, rebuilt VANOS units to make the replacement as seamless and trouble-free as possible for you.

I have an E46 M3 with a Vanos fault code and EML light. Can you help?

Yes, the vast majority of times the fault relates to the solenoid pack. We offer a refurbished pack with fitting parts that will solve the following codes:

  1. Inlet retard valve
  2. Inlet advance valve
  3. Inlet vanos function
  4. Inlet camshaft control

The same faults are applicable to the exhaust side of the Vanos.