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  1. #1
    piperguy
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    Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    OK, I know the knock won't hurt, but it's starting to drive me nuts (an engine shouldn't sound this way). My 2001 540iT is quiet as a church mouse when started cold but once totally warmed up has a knock that sounds just like it is a rod coming loose except that it is up high in the front of the heads.

    My question = If I decide that I can't stand it anymore, what am I looking at replacing and is it something I can reasonably do myself or does it need to go to a pro or the dealer. Also rough idea on cost ? Car has 95k on it, runs great and is fast as hell, overall well maintained and in great shape. Currently using 0w40 Mobil One. Should I go to a different weight / type of oil ?? Considering going to 15w50 Mobil One as that was what I used in my 944 Turbo S and it loved it (200k and never had head off or turbo replaced).

    Ideas / opinions from the vast knowledge base of the group here are welcome and solicited. I truly love the car but this noise has gotta go .

    Thanks in advance, Vaughan


  2. #2
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    I cant find the link right now but some rich guy in the UK located the noise. I'm 90% sure he said it was the 2 gears circled in this picture. Helical gear? He said they develop play and knock against each other. After he replaced it the noise was gone.
    BUT a couple of years later he updated the thread and said the noise started coming back after he put about 20k miles on the new parts. It wasn't as loud but definitly started coming back.
    When i was shopping for a e39, i passed up the first few deals cause of that noise. After seeing 2 540's with very low mileage (50k) exhibiting this noise i decided they just all make that noise when the oil gets hot. I cant stand the noise cause it reminds me of a rod knock on my old 302 ford motors. scary



    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life)
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

  3. #3
    piperguy
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    I agree with you, can't stand the noise. Makes me think that it's getting ready to airmail something out the side of the valve cover !! Makes me at times seriously consider finding an earlier one without VANOS. Problem is I've now got all the little things (and some of the major ones) sorted out and fixed on the Wagon and I really like the car. We also have a 530i and find that now 80% of the time we take the Wagon for shopping and trips because of the room. And the dog loves the back, he can see everything.

  4. #4
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    My dad's 2002 540 has VANOS knock too. It started at fairly low mileage. I've found that different grades of oil can help, but that's not all there is to it.

    Over last summer we ran a double-strength treatment of Auto-RX in Rotella T 15W40 (two bottles of ARX for the "clean phase" followed by a "rinse" phase, also with Rotella T).

    By the time late fall rolled around and it was time to go back to a syn for our winters around here it was only slightly audible if the AC compressor was off (idle around 500rpm I think) and couldn't be heard if the AC was on. In the winter we have been using Castrol Syntec 0W30 (it's made in Germany and is a very thick 30, almost a 40, and is BMW LL-01 rated) and it was knock free when I last saw the car in late Dec. They've been snowbirding since then but are due back in a couple of weeks.

    I'm planning to switch both my 528 and his 540 to Rotella T6 syn 5W40 in the spring to get the best of both worlds. It's a solid 40 weight, which I've found gives my M52 a nicer character at high revs and I believe it will also help the 540s VANOS knock. It's still a 5W syn oil so we won't have to switch to anything else for the winter.

    M1 0W40 is the "right" M1 grade for the E39, but it's a thin 40 that shears into the 30s after a couple thousand miles. You can try to go to something a little thicker without going all the way to 15W50. You can try something like Rotella T 15W40 when summer rolls around to see if it helps any. I think the Auto-RX definitely helped us too since there was still some knock when we first put the 15W40 in with the Auto-RX and it got better and better as the summer wore on.


  5. #5
    piperguy
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    Thanks !! That was / is exactly the info I was hoping for. I'll switch mine to the Rotella T. Not familiar with Auto RX, can you mprovide a link ?? I'm hoping it's not Canada only.

    Thanks again, Vaughan

  6. #6
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    I'm on my last jugs of BMW LL M1 15/50, super quite compared to the new M1 15/50 formula. After im done with the last jugs im gonna switch to the rotella you recommended

    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

  7. #7
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    Keep tuned: Beisan is looking into the problem.


    Ed in San Jose. BMW CCA member since 1987 (Nr. 62319). Golden Gate Chapter. '97 540i 6 speed. Build Date 3/97. Aspensilber over Aubergine leather.

  8. #8
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    I'll start off by saying that Auto-RX has been controversial lately among...err..."lubrication enthusiasts" (I can hardly wait for that one to come back at me). It is expensive and it really works well for some but hardly seems to do a thing for others. Whenever I've done a full treatment it has done pretty much what I expected of it and done it well.

    The people who produce the product suggest a maintenance dose to use continually. I don't personally recommend this. There are a number of restrictions in the type of oil it should be used in - you should try to stay away from PAO/Group IV oils and absolutely avoid any ester/group V containing oils when using Auto-RX. The catch these days is that modern oils can have shots of PAO or ester in them as "additives" and it's getting hard to know what's OK and what isn't. Ten years ago it was easy.

    Auto-RX is blended from esters and these esters can compete with any esters found in the carrier oil to the detriment of both formulas instead of actually getting anything done. I used maintenance doses in German Castrol Syntec for a while and was told it was OK to do so. I saw an incompatibility in a measuring cup, inquired, and was told it was still OK - carry on. GC does contain a dose of esters and I think that the two weren't getting along and it nullified the cleaning ability of each other. Plain GC would have been more effective than GC+ARX or ARX in a non-ester oil. When I stopped using both GC and ARX together and resumed using either pure GC or Rotella+ARX maint dose I noticed a very slight lifter tick continue to get quieter but it stayed the same for many months on the GC+ARX combination.

    Annnyways.... I can't guarantee ARX will help you, but it does seem to have improved things for my dad and I tried it on my dad's because I read about some other people using it to improve their VANOS situation. I was already aware of the product from previous experience. I'm not sure what the mechanism of improvement is - ARX can't replace worn metal. If there was any kind of varnish, sludge or carbon build up, or if there's a seal or O-ring involved somehow in the extra play which develops in those gears then ARX *can* make a difference.

    I actually think that ARX "fixed" my M52 single VANOS seal when I used it in 2005 or 2006. I noticed a significant increase in low/mid torque about 400km into the clean phase. I attributed it to piston ring seal cleaning at the time, but now I think it was the VANOS in hindsight. When I finally did the Besian update (kudos to Rajaie for producing this great stuff) in 08 or 09 it made a nice improvement but not the huge transformation many had described. I think the ARX had already conditioned and swelled my original somewhat. This is one of the things it's meant to do.

    My latest application on my dad's 540 was 2 bottles ARX in Rotella T for ~5000mi, then straight Rotella T for ~5000mi, then back to whatever you want. I did observe that the knock was slightly better on 5000mi old Rotella T than on the fresh German Castrol we put in for the winter but it was still far better than it was on GC last winter. It'll be about two weeks before I see the car again for the first time since the holidays to see how it's doing.

    ARX's site:
    http://www.auto-rx.com/


  9. #9
    piperguy
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    Thanks Craig

    Did you use the Synthetic Rotella T ?? The current oil only has about 2k miles on the change but the knock is noticeably louder on th 0w-40 Mobil 1.

    Vaughan

  10. #10
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    No, with AutoRX I used Rotella T 15W40, which is dino (although I believe it's a group III dino and very robust). If I lived in a warmer climate, I would use T year round without worry.

    With AutoRX you want to use the "simplest" oil possible. If you can wait for warmer weather where the 15W won't be a problem, that's your best course of action than mixing with a syn which may have group IV or group V basestocks in it.

    A lot of "synthetics" are also just group III or III+ oils. Labelling is a bit of a crap shoot these days. I believe I've seen reports that even M1 0W40 is group III now - something which wasn't even technically possible a number of years ago. Today's group III/III+ oils are really tough. Fascination with "full synthetic" isn't really necessary these days.


  11. #11
    piperguy
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    Thanks Craig !!

    This forum is a god-send to those of us mere mortals who love to drive these cars but can only afford to do so if we do most of our own maintenance. Your post on oil remnds me of when we went shopping for a different oil for the plane (that's where the piperguy comes from, I fly a Piper Arrow). It took a while before we found someone knowledgeable including some oil company reps .....

    Thanks again, I'll post what happens. Going to go the same route you did with your Dad's, 2 bottles of Auto RX and an oil change to Rotella. I use Rotella in the diesels in the boat and have for years just never thought about it for the car. Good stuff.

    Vaughan

  12. #12
    Craig in Canada
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    Cool.... Please post back whether it did anything to help your situation. Also please note that the improvement was over thousands of miles - this wasn't a case of instant improvement.


  13. #13
    rwthomas1
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    FWIW, someone on here said that the BMW 5w-30 synthetic was decent stuff? Local had it for $1 cheaper than M1, which came in the 540. Had the VANOS knock. Changed the oil to BMW synthetic. Knock all but gone! Shocked the hell out of me but it was quite obvious. Even hot the engine is much, much quieter and cold start has almost no rattle now. I use plenty of Rotella synthetic in the diesels so I know thats good too. RT

  14. #14
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    Re: Fixing Vanos Knock on 540

    If you have an M62TU engine with the ticking/tapping/diesel like noise at hot idle, this is the part to replace, No.1, VANOS Units:

    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=GG82&mospid=47517&btnr=11_2265&hg=11&fg=25

    No amount of oil changes, weights or additives will make any difference

    How do I know?...................Because I did it in 2009 on my 2000 E38 740i..........still quiet today.

    Expensive? Yes. But well worth it to get rid of that awful embarrassing noise!




  15. #15
    Craig in Canada
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    Which M1?


  16. #16
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    I'm anxtious to hear if this improves the knock..

    since my 540 has it also and it drives me crazy.Fritracer
    Cincinnati, OH
    2000 540ia Sport Package 9/99 Silver/Black
    1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 420 stroker w/6 Pak 430 HP,
    510 lbft torque

  17. #17
    rwthomas1
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    Re: Which M1?

    Unknown. PO used M1, stated so, and this was before I knew there was a specific M1 recommendation for BMW. Could have been, 5w30, 10w30, 0w40, etc. Either way, the BMW stuff is better, and the consensus seems that M1 results in engine noise. I won't be going back to it. RT

  18. #18
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    THATS IT!

    I couldn't find that pic at first. How many miles have you put on it since? The guy un the UK said it came back after 20K miles. I think he spent 4k on that repair plus another 9k on other parts and repairs he made trying to get rid of the noise before he got it right. Im not sure what that equates in U.S. $'s

    Andreas
    Queens NY
    BMWCCA# 186796
    86 325es (wrecked by careless driver)
    87 325 300k (project for life) aka 1BADETA/Christine
    00 540is 6spd 180k (daily driver)

  19. #19
    Nelson.....
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    $3000 Parts and Labor is the estimate I got.....

    He will replace the belts, fan, plugs and water pump at no charge.

    It is pretty labor intensive since all the front cooling has to be removed.
    The oil pan (block) also has to be removed. This will require to lift the motor.

    There are about 12 bolts that also have to be removed. Quoted me $700 just on parts.

    DOES ANYONE KNOW THE TENSION OF THE CHAINS (VISIBLE WHEN YOU REMOVE THE OIL CAP)????? one of mMine is lose.

  20. #20
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    belts, fan, plugs & WP no charge? UR paying 4 it (

    Lift the motor to replace the vanos?? I could be wrong, but I'm almost certain only the upper timing case covers need to be removed.
    All of the cooling stuff can be removed in about 1 hr.
    I'd get another estimate from a different shop.
    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...47&hg=11&fg=10

    The exhaust chain is tensioned by oil pressure, IIRC there is a check valve inside it, yours may be leaking and not holding pressure when the engine is off.

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