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Thread: 2008 120i Vanos error

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Auckland, New Zealand
    My Cars
    BMW 120i, VW Passat 3.2

    2008 120i Vanos error

    The wifes 120i had been fine until we loaned it to her son to take on a weekend away. Whilst away the car went into limp mode, they drove 14kms like this, then left it a day and when they came to bring it home it was ok again, in that it drove fine, but the limp (half yellow engine) symbol remained on.

    I cleared the codes and went for a drive, seemed ok. 30 minutes later went to drive again and was in limp mode, could not clear it either. I removed the Vanos solenoids as they were the indicative codes, gave them a quick clean (nothing major) and this seemed to work, the wife drove it for 2 weeks but I ordered some replacements as the forums suggests it will just do it again. Initially the replacements seemed fine, in fact more low end punch, we drove out to the country, stopped for a beer, got back in the car, limp mode. Got a mate to collect us, and then drop me back with the originals. Initially the limp remained, but after several attempts at clearing and restarting the engine the limp disappeared, but again light stayed on. Drove home no issues.

    Stripped out old ones last night, full on clean and soak with carb cleaner, put old exhaust solenoid back in as this didn't appear to have been the result of a code previously, and one of the new ones. Drove ok, a little hesitation, but when the revs settle back to idle after a blip it sounds rough. Codes are:

    OBD2 - pending:
    P0012 - "A" Camshaft Position - Timing Over-Retarded Bank 1
    P0011 - "A" Camshaft Position - Timing Over-Advanced or System Performance Bank 1

    28B4 - Button -Driving Dynamics Control

    Which indicates the intake solenoid is still playing silly buggers, so I'm going to try one of the new ones again in the top slot. I am wondering if part of the error I had with them is that the car did not have a chance to do a servo motor cycle, i.e. learn its range with the new solenoids, until it slept whilst at the pub, and then it got a shock when it was different from expected when I restarted.

    So I am thinking when I fit a fresh one tomorrow, I will let it sleep, then ignition the car, hopefully the servo will then do its cycle learny thing and it will be ok.

    However, one thing I did notice on the new, that is different to the old, is that the barrel rotates, i.e the end billet piece can be rotated by hand within the upper hub, is that correct? the old ones don't, but I am not sure if that is because they are seized.

    Any input appreciated.

    (actually an ex member but my account is associated with an old UK account and email I no longer have access to, I need to contact admins about that).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Auckland, New Zealand
    My Cars
    BMW 120i, VW Passat 3.2
    I ended up putting the original (cleaned) Solenoids back in, a 12v test showed them to be working fine, so a good carb clean and the car is (was) back to normal. The Mrs has been driving it for the past week without issue, then today, after a hospital check up, pulling out onto a main road the EML came on and limp mode.

    I've asked her to get a two home and I will check it tonight, but I'm guessing its the solenoids again. Do these things reach an end of usable life no matter how much you clean them? I had to return the ebay ones as they did not actuate on 12v, or atleast not that I could see, so cheap chinese crap I guess ( I ordered from Aus but they contacted after to say they were shipping from China, was not happy).

    Guess I need to get BMW originals.

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