What Is A Vanos System On A BMW?

The acronym VANOS stands for a German-made engine part that was created to improve the effectiveness of BMW intake performance. By changing the location of the camshaft and drive gears and opening the intake valves more effectively, this technological advancement allows for more precise engine timing.

German Space Magic, Solenoids, Helical Gears, and BMW VANOS

The method BMW used to crack the variable valve timing conundrum is straightforward yet brilliant. In case you were wondering, VANOS is an acronym for “Variable Nockenwellen Steuerung,” which is German for “Variable Camshaft Timing.” Helical gears, oil, and solenoids form the basis of the whole system.

The camshaft and its gear are completely independent of one another, which is the first thing you need to understand. A solenoid valve is actuated as your engine revs higher, forcing oil through the system and eventually turning on the helical VANOS gear. The gear gently inserts itself into the gap between the cam and the camshaft gear. VANOS gear physically connects the cam gear and the cam itself since it has splines on both the inside and the outside.

These splines are twisted in order to accommodate progressive variable valve timing adjustment. The gear slides into the gap between the cam and camshaft gear further. The camshaft is under pressure from the more angular adjustment. At most, we’re talking a few degrees, but that’s more than enough to complete the task.

The overlap between the intake and exhaust valves is managed by this angular change.


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Since 1992, BMW has utilized the variable valve timing (VVT) system on a variety of gasoline-powered automobiles. The name is an acronym for variable camshaft timing in German (German: variable Nockenwellensteuerung).

The latter “double VANOS” systems are used on both the intake and exhaust camshafts, in contrast to the earlier version, which was retroactively called “single VANOS,” which was only used on the intake camshaft. Since 2001, VANOS and the valvetronic variable valve lift system have frequently been utilized together.

BMW VANOS: What the hell is that?

Variable valve timing technology was created by BMW and is known as BMW VANOS (variable nockenwellen steuerung in German). By shifting the camshaft’s location in relation to the driving gear, the system varies the timing of the valves. Simply put, it modifies the intake and exhaust camshaft, resulting in smoother idling, higher torque, and a wider powerband. Additionally, the timing adjustment is made possible by the vanos solenoids’ management of the oil flow to the cam gears. HP, performance, and general driveability will all be significantly affected by dirty, blocked, or improperly working vanos solenoids.

The 1992 BMW M50 engine, which was utilized in the 5-Series, was the first to use Vanos. It just changed the intake camshaft’s position. Four years later, in 1996, the S50 engine featured the introduction of the Double Vanos, which offered continuous flexibility of the intake and exhaust valves rather than just the intake valve as the Single Vanos had.

What does VANOS stand for?

The German phrase “VAriable NOckenwellen Steuerung” is abbreviated as VANOS. It is BMW’s response to the variable valve timing unit in the engine. The VANOS system, first introduced in the 1990s, modifies the engine’s intake and exhaust valves so that they can both open and close dynamically as you drive, enhancing engine performance. Engine performance is considerably enhanced as a result.

The BMW can benefit from a smoother idle and more torque thanks to the VANOS technology. Additionally, the VANOS system contains solenoids that may precisely stop the flow of oil to the cam gears. This makes it possible to alter the timing exactly.

Does VANOS exist in every BMW?

Variable valve timing (VANOS), one of BMW’s features and options, is not offered on all makes and models. The DME engine management system of the car controls the combination of mechanical and hydraulic camshaft control methods used by VANOS.

What exactly are BMW VANOS issues?

Fortunately, it is possible to recognize a failing VANOS system using a number of distinct symptoms. A common primary indication of VANOS system failure is the check engine light coming on. Any problems with the VANOS system typically cause the check engine light to illuminate rather rapidly because the system is so essential to the engine’s ability to operate. Naturally, there are a number of additional causes for the check engine light to come on, from a loose gas cap to an engine misfire. Therefore, your best option if the check engine light on your car comes on and you’re not sure why is to take it to a qualified repair right away.

Poor fuel efficiency is another common sign of VANOS system failure, in addition to the check engine light illumination. Your BMW won’t be able to control its fuel usage effectively if the VANOS system malfunctions. As a result, it can begin to use more fuel than usual. Your car may also splutter and accelerate slowly simultaneously as the engine struggles to send the extra gasoline through the exhaust cam. Therefore, there is a good probability that your BMW’s VANOS system has started to malfunction if you detect either of these symptoms, either separately or simultaneously.

Why does the BMW VANOS malfunction?

Several problems could result in VANOS failure. O-ring failure is the initial problem. Since these rings are composed of rubber, they may naturally degrade with time.

The solenoids, which might develop clogs, are the second most frequent problem. The solenoids won’t function properly if dirt and other materials obstruct them.

The function of the BMW VANOS solenoid

The Vanos system regulates the intake and exhaust camshaft positions using oil pressure. The mechanism makes use of a gear on the camshaft and a gear on the Vanos actuator. The quantity of oil pressure applied is then controlled by a solenoid, which also regulates the direction—inward or outward—of the cam gear, so regulating the timing of the valves.

Here is a photo showing how the actuator’s gear appears:

Has the E46 got VANOS?

Reduced power and poor fuel efficiency will result from improper VANOS operation. Variable valve timing is used by BMW in the VANOS system, which is installed on either the intake or exhaust camshafts.

What is a VANOS engine?

The acronym VANOS stands for a German-made engine part that was created to improve the effectiveness of BMW intake performance. By changing the location of the camshaft and drive gears and opening the intake valves more effectively, this technological advancement streamlines the timing of the engine.

Is VANOS trustworthy?

In the odd event that it breaks, it is less expensive to replace the older single-vanos. Overall, Vanos is dependable; we rarely replace them, perhaps once or twice a year at most.

Does VTEC resemble VANOS?

According to my Google searches, Vanos is just variable valve timing, which many manufacturers use. Instead of only altering the valve timing, VTEC also modifies the cam profile.

How can I tell if the e36 I own has VANOS?

The VANOS engines feature a hump at the front, which is obvious by looking at the engine. Here is an open view of the vanos unit, which is the component on the end that joins to the chains with an interior sprocket.

When ought VANOS to be changed?

VANOS System Replacement The seals on your VANOS system should be changed every 50,000 miles, or sooner if you start to experience some of the problems mentioned above. To guarantee optimal engine performance, the complete unit should be replaced or serviced every 70,000 miles.

Cost of a VANOS repair

An typical Vanos solenoid replacement costs roughly $600. $200 will be spent on parts, and $400 will be spent on labor. Usually, the range is $300 to $800. Different Vanos systems used by different BMW engines may cost more than others.

The cost to replace the Vanos solenoid on different well-known BMW models is shown in the table below. These costs are averages and will vary based on the age of your vehicle and the location of your technician.

As you get closer to the less expensive economy-style versions, replacement prices typically tend to go down.

How can you tell if VANOS is harmful?

  • loss of torque and horsepower.
  • Slow response while applying the gas pedal.
  • gradual cold begins
  • After accelerating, the auto computer may enter limp mode or experience issues.
  • decreased ability to drive.
  • loud rattling or harsh idling.
  • loitering without purpose.
  • low fuel efficiency

N63 contains how many VANOS solenoids?

This solenoid controls the variable valve timing (VANOS) on the N55/S55 6-cylinder and N63/S63 V8 engines. Each camshaft has a solenoid (two for 6-cylinder engines, four for V8), and if any of them malfunction, the VANOS won’t work or won’t react quickly to signals from the ECU. There aren’t many warning indicators of a VANOS failure, but if you observe a decrease in torque at a given RPM or worse fuel efficiency, these could be signs (among other causes). The computer and tools needed to test the VANOS system will be available at an experienced shop. For VANOS control or operation, there will typically be a related fault code and check engine light, and in extreme circumstances, there will be reduced power and limp mode.

This solenoid, which may be used with either the intake or exhaust camshaft, is genuine BMW. All cams and banks use the same solenoid on the N55, S55, N63, and S63 engines. Sold each solenode. O-rings are present.

replaces the following 11367585776 BMW part numbers (11-36-7-585-776) 11367561265 (11-36-7-561-265) (11-36-7-561-265) 11368605123 (11-36-8-605-123) (11-36-8-605-123)

Call us at 877-639-9648 for complete BMW fitment information or assistance from one of our BMW specialists.

How does poor VANOS sound?

The majority of BMWs with higher mileage experience VANOS rattling, albeit it might be challenging to pinpoint the exact mileage at which it occurs. At idle, rattles are rarely audible, but as engine RPMs rise, they will become more audible. Typically, the sound of a VANOS rattle is similar to the sound of marbles rattling around in a plastic bucket. While driving, a noisy VANOS may drive you crazy, but it often won’t impair performance or harm the engine.

A total VANOS breakdown is typically preceded by symptoms like a check engine light, rough idling, or a notable drop in low-end output. If you hear rattling noises in addition to these problems, you should get the VANOS system as soon as possible serviced.