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Thread: P0012 driving me crazy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5
    My Cars
    BMW 120i, VW Passat 3.2

    P0012 driving me crazy

    The wife has a 2008 120i with the N46B20 motor, the 115kw version. The car had been fine until she loaned it to her son to take on a weekend trip to a Waiheke Island (an island in the hauraki gulf in NZ), where there are some gravel roads. Anyway, they'd had it 3 hours and I get a call saying the engine light was on, and then full limp mode half engine symbol came on. They limped it home and then the next day was able to get the ferry and drive it back to us, only about 10 minutes of driving.

    I read the codes and its got P0012. So I clean both the vanos solenoids, problem remains. I get a solenoid from a breaker, problem seems better, still not running perfect, but no code, wife drives a week, seems fine, then she has doctors appointment 15kms away, leaving hospital, limp mode. Gets a tow home and I start again, I test all solenoids, all actuate. Although, also getting P0015 now. I replaced the cam sensor, still no fix, loads of codes, P0011,12, 14 and 15. Running worse than ever, now hard to start, cutting out, lumpy as crap, sounds like a misfire, also sounds like a chain or something misaligned. So of course, thoughts go to timing chain, but if revs are applied it is smooth as a really smooth thing.

    Then when browsing google I discover the 4 cylinder does have a second cam sensor, I found it and it looked even worse than the other one I had removed from the other sensor. Having already cleaned and dried the old one already, I plopped that back in, less codes now, only P0012 remains, plus 2845 and 287d, but the rough as guts idle remains.

    now, I know the actuator works, P0012 is the top of the two solenoids I believe, which is the intake solenoid, but P0012 relates to the over retarded timing for bank 1, which on the four cylinder I believe is 1 and 3. I'm hoping its not the chain, but I'm not convinced it is, could it be the vanos gaskets? or the eccentric motor? does that throw other codes?

    Or with all this poor running and perhaps poor cam timing due to filthy sensors, could the plugs have been fouled? perhaps my next action should be to check the plugs seeing as it was misfiring at low revs, although they are only a few thousand kms old.

    Any help appreciated. I don't want to take it to a shop yet, as the time I am wasting investigation this would be a small fortune.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Arlington, VA
    Posts
    6,526
    My Cars
    2018 BMW M240i
    BMW 4 cylinder engines have a single bank. That is, there is no bank 2. BMW engines with 6 or more cylinders have 2 banks. For the in-line 6 cylinder engine, bank 1 is cylinders 1-3. Bank 2 is cylinders 4-6.

    Does the engine make any unusual noises? What tool did you use to scan the engine computer? What brand of sensor was installed?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5
    My Cars
    BMW 120i, VW Passat 3.2
    It hadn't been until I put in the new cam sensor. Prior to that it was just normal, but throwing the codes, and limp mode. A little bit of idle fluctuation had started, but not like what google results show, and it certainly was not difficult to start. The sensor was an BMW branded one, which is bosch I guess?
    The unusual noises only started after the replacement of the cam sensor, an intermittent rattle, which does sound chain like, but only as it idles rough, if I apply revs it is smooth and quiet. I assume cos it sounds like there is a misfire this causes uneven load on the engine. I could clean the original sensor and put it in and see if that sorts it I guess. But the second one I took out looked in bad shape, but a clean look a lot better, but the plastic was discoloured.
    I used carista to scan the car, as it gets more codes than my Torque OBD does.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    5
    My Cars
    BMW 120i, VW Passat 3.2
    Ok, I took out the replacement cam sensor, turns out it wasn't an original, it is unbranded and wasn't sealing very well either.

    It felt better, though uneven idle remains, but no where near like it was, but more than I had when this problem first occurred(I had none), and what sounds like a constant chain sound, which is new. However, P0012 has gone, but is now replaced by P0015 and P0014 and P1339, which I am currently investigating. I am wondering if I should get brand new original sensors to try.

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