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  1. #1
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    Is this really a Vanos Problem?

    Sorry, obviously there's a ton of threads about this issue, yet none seem to quite describe the problem I'm seeing.

    I'm quite close to pulling the trigger on a '99 540i Touring. I had a PPI done by my own German car mechanic and he said almost everything was good except for a constant ticking from the engine bay. Obviously he couldn't tear into it during a PPI, but I could hear it from inside the car and in the engine bay. It's not very loud, but it does not completely go away after the car has warmed up and been driven for a while.

    Unless I'm reading things incorrectly (which I welcome people to tell me I am), my interpretation of the Vanos rattle is that it goes away when the car warms up. Also, the video examples I've watched sound much louder than this. So, I'm wondering if I should be looking elsewhere for the source of the noise. And budgeting/negotiating for $1000 in immediate repairs (not that I'm completely inexperienced with complicated German V8's )

    Now, the car has a little more than 120K on it, and is relatively reasonably priced for the mileage and options. From what I've also read (again, correct me if I'm wrong), I get the impression I could live with this problem and not have any serious drivability issues. I'd be using this car as a daily driver (or my wife would), moving up from a Miata with a bad clutch and a weekend/project Porsche 928 (Euro spec with some "race" mods) so I'm comfortable with the amount of power the 540 produces now (and obviously the fuel consumption).

    Any suggestions are welcome

    Thanks,

    Devin, Omaha
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    Yes | No
    The TU engine makes a lot of extraneous noises, most fixable, none, except loose chain slapping, serious.

    I'm surprised that your mechanic couldn't make a shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis. How much BMW V8 experience does he have?

    How hot are you for this car?
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    Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by Flint View Post
    Sorry, obviously there's a ton of threads about this issue, yet none seem to quite describe the problem I'm seeing.

    I'm quite close to pulling the trigger on a '99 540i Touring. I had a PPI done by my own German car mechanic and he said almost everything was good except for a constant ticking from the engine bay. Obviously he couldn't tear into it during a PPI, but I could hear it from inside the car and in the engine bay. It's not very loud, but it does not completely go away after the car has warmed up and been driven for a while.

    Unless I'm reading things incorrectly (which I welcome people to tell me I am), my interpretation of the Vanos rattle is that it goes away when the car warms up. Also, the video examples I've watched sound much louder than this. So, I'm wondering if I should be looking elsewhere for the source of the noise. And budgeting/negotiating for $1000 in immediate repairs (not that I'm completely inexperienced with complicated German V8's )

    Now, the car has a little more than 120K on it, and is relatively reasonably priced for the mileage and options. From what I've also read (again, correct me if I'm wrong), I get the impression I could live with this problem and not have any serious drivability issues. I'd be using this car as a daily driver (or my wife would), moving up from a Miata with a bad clutch and a weekend/project Porsche 928 (Euro spec with some "race" mods) so I'm comfortable with the amount of power the 540 produces now (and obviously the fuel consumption).

    Any suggestions are welcome

    Thanks,

    Devin, Omaha
    The vanos noise actually starts as the engine warms up and is loud on on a hot engine at idle; it sounds like a rod knock, not a tick. Is the engine cover installed? If not, the injectors are very loud (ticking sound); I was amazed at how much noise the cover silences.

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    Yes | No
    Quote Originally Posted by edjack View Post
    The TU engine makes a lot of extraneous noises, most fixable, none, except loose chain slapping, serious.

    I'm surprised that your mechanic couldn't make a shoot-from-the-hip diagnosis. How much BMW V8 experience does he have?

    How hot are you for this car?
    He suggested the loose chain and one other, I think the camshaft sprocket? Would those be making the sound I'm describing? (low volume, yet constant ticking that can be heard inside the cabin)

    I have a couple other potentials besides this car at the moment (including an E34) but this is the best combination of power and practicality I've seen. I'm just wondering if I were to buy it, should I be negotiating lower and planning on an immediate repair. It has receipts going back to new, yet none relating to these issues (though I think water pump and maybe alternator was done at some point).
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    bmw a few years ago issued some information about v-8 engine noise, which they tried to convince owners was normal. It I believe related to ticking noise having something to do with bearings . Maybe some v-8 owners are familar with it.
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    Yes, I seem to remember that BMW would replace the main bearings under warranty if the customer complained, but BMW's stand was that the noise was not serious, and it would not compromised engine longevity.
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    Hard to say just what the ticking noise might be. As mentioned before, the vanos noise is a loud knock, with engine hot. When fired up cold, there isn't any noise from the vanos.

    As an aside, with 120k on it, if there isn't a receipt for new radiator, water pump, thermostat, fan and clutch, I would definitely budget right away for that. At that mileage it's on borrowed time. Also see if the Catalytic converters have been replaced. if not, it's due....... (been there, done all of that and more, mine has 105k on it. Absolutely love the car, especially for practicality and the fact it's fast too)
    Vaughan, Elkton, Maryland

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    Quote Originally Posted by piperguy View Post
    Hard to say just what the ticking noise might be. As mentioned before, the vanos noise is a loud knock, with engine hot. When fired up cold, there isn't any noise from the vanos.

    As an aside, with 120k on it, if there isn't a receipt for new radiator, water pump, thermostat, fan and clutch, I would definitely budget right away for that. At that mileage it's on borrowed time. Also see if the Catalytic converters have been replaced. if not, it's due....... (been there, done all of that and more, mine has 105k on it. Absolutely love the car, especially for practicality and the fact it's fast too)

    I can't remember exactly what had been done to it, the original owner had a lot done under warranty it seems, but I'll see if I can check on those.

    The noise seemed to be present at first start up cold, and not get any louder or quieter, just a consistent background noise.



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    Another possibility........ On my truck, I had a ticking noise that was driving me crazy. Couldn't figure out what it was........ neighbor came over, listened for a minute, sprayed the serpentine belt with a soapy water solution and noise went away. I replaced the belts and that cured it. Not saying this is it, but it could also be a belt idler. If it varies with engine rpm it might be worth investigating.

    Oh, and I'v had my share of Porsches too. Had a 928, owned a 1989 944 Turbo S that I wish I'd never sold, and am looking at a 1989 911 Turbo this weekend.
    Vaughan, Elkton, Maryland

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    Yes | No
    I might as well post the ad for it, in case anyone's curious to see it. It's an independent dealer who's also a mechanic. Obviously I had my own mechanic do the PPI (Mine used to be the head mechanic of the local Porsche/Audi/some other German car dealership, I have no idea where this guy's experience came from).

    http://omaha.craigslist.org/ctd/2772688631.html
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    looks like some body work, maybe paintless type work could be done on it. A very rare find.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gans View Post
    looks like some body work, maybe paintless type work could be done on it. A very rare find.
    Do you mean the dent toward the bottom of the front passenger door? I completely missed that, thanks for pointing it out!
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    yes and the damage may be in both doors .Car needs to be inspected.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gans View Post
    yes and the damage may be in both doors .Car needs to be inspected.
    Yeah, it looks like it might continue to the back door. I do have to say this place has had the car for a while, it may be this has been fixed since, as neither I or my mechanic noticed the dent "in the flesh." My mechanic does like to check for rust however, and didn't see any.
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    it also looks like cassette door may be broken as it is open in the photos
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gans View Post
    it also looks like cassette door may be broken as it is open in the photos
    That I can't see, and I'll admit I didn't really check (though I had ample time to check all the other electrical devices in the car when it ran out of gas on a test drive!)
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    Yes | No

    Walk away

    Flint

    Notwithstanding the obvious requirement for body repairs I would suggest you walk away from this car.

    These luxury cars were designed/built with much consideration for driver comfort which included minimistaion of transference of road/engine noise to the cabin. Any unusual engine noise which is so loud you can hear from inside the car has got to be suspect and (like Edjack says) I'm surprised your inspection mechanic was not more specific about this and his buying advice......especially as he was mentioning timing chains and the likes.

    When these V8's are properly sorted and running well they're good, very good......but when they need repairs they can soak up the ££££ ( sorry $$$$). This forum is littered with expensive stories of engine works.....oil pumps, timing chains, chain guides, etc........for V8's at the sort of mileage "your" car is showing. If you're determined to buy a car like this a regular, up to date service history is a good baseline to start from. It's not the only thing to consider but it's a starting point. Also, you might consider a good independent BMW specialist or even a BMW dealer to do any future inspections.

    Sorry to prick your balloon on this occasion, but I'd rather say it then see you buying something that could be a money pit. Rest assured there's plenty good BMW's out there........it just takes time to find the right one.

    Cheers

    Eddie, Scotland (£££)
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    Quote Originally Posted by eargo View Post
    Flint

    Notwithstanding the obvious requirement for body repairs I would suggest you walk away from this car.

    These luxury cars were designed/built with much consideration for driver comfort which included minimistaion of transference of road/engine noise to the cabin. Any unusual engine noise which is so loud you can hear from inside the car has got to be suspect and (like Edjack says) I'm surprised your inspection mechanic was not more specific about this and his buying advice......especially as he was mentioning timing chains and the likes.

    When these V8's are properly sorted and running well they're good, very good......but when they need repairs they can soak up the ££££ ( sorry $$$$). This forum is littered with expensive stories of engine works.....oil pumps, timing chains, chain guides, etc........for V8's at the sort of mileage "your" car is showing. If you're determined to buy a car like this a regular, up to date service history is a good baseline to start from. It's not the only thing to consider but it's a starting point. Also, you might consider a good independent BMW specialist or even a BMW dealer to do any future inspections.

    Sorry to prick your balloon on this occasion, but I'd rather say it then see you buying something that could be a money pit. Rest assured there's plenty good BMW's out there........it just takes time to find the right one.

    Cheers

    Eddie, Scotland (£££)
    That is the way I'm leaning at the moment. If I can't absolutely pin this down as either a problem that I can live with or easily fix (myself if possible), I'll have to pass. I seriously doubt I'll be able to convince the seller to fix it before I buy or give me a discount for it. I'm sure he'd just rather sell it to some punter who won't bother with a PPI.
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    Yes | No
    This is a $6K used car. It will have problems. It will need attention, they ALL do. It is fits your needs, passes a knowledgeable mechanics PPI, then roll the dice. Figure if it lasts a year and a half or so it owes you nothing. RT
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    Yes | No
    The only other issue is the rear subframe bushings. At this mileage, they surely need replacment, not a trivial job, involving special tools.

    But, all the pixels are there!
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