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463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The time might be nigh for at least one of my Vanos units. I'm seeking advice from the collective on next steps.

The Noise
The Beast (2002, 88k) has recently (2 weeks) had increased "thumping" or "knocking" sound which is more pronounced when warm. I'm not talking about the "diesel" sound, more of the "thump thump" at engine rpm rate. To me, it sounded a lot like this video. (I'll keep looking for more Vanos-related sound videos).

YouTube - E39 M5 -- Not a rod bearing noise...

No codes. No (discernable) running change in performance.

The Diagnosis

I took it in to my indy, did oil change, rear diff fluid change, and changed the plugs. He diagnosed it as a Bank 2 Vanos problem. He mentioned that putting your finger on the unit you could definitely feel something going on.

No GT-1 test performed. Codes read, but the car was not throwing any codes.

The Plan

Here's where I need advice from those that have come before me. I figure I should at least get an opinion from an S62 expert in the area. Boston folks, does this mean Turner? My indy is great (Autobahn Automotive), but he recognized that he's never done an S62 Vanos, so I need to go somewhere else and have them do the full GT-1 active test and report back. There is definitely noise, so something is up.

The Prognosis

So, I figure I could be in for (in increasing order of pain):
* Vanos solenoid(s)
* De-gunking Vanos bank (
* Replacing Vanos with Dr. Vanos rebuilt unit
* Replacing Vanos with new unit
* Taking it to the dealer and asking for it to be "fixed"

No more guesses until it visits the experts. I will report back but any words of wisdom are appreciated.

906 Posts
Only with a GT1 diagnostic will the definitive result be known. If you do not have a mech's stethoscope, use the longest
screwdriver you have with the handle on your ear and see if you can isolate it further. Beyond that, it's all speculation at
this point.

Hoping this doesn't turn into some serious dollars for you


6,918 Posts
i have exactly the same problem, but the noise is on bank 1 side. i emailed dr. vanos, since the car isn't throwing any codes, he recommended start with a gasket/o-ring kit. i will try that first. keep us posted on your progress.

463 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Vanos diagnosis update


Took the Beast to a more seasoned indy, Bavarian Performance Group, in Winchester, MA. They've done plenty of S62 Vanos, so they are definitely the go-to people for me (that and Turner). Here's the breakdown:

Position Reached, Inlet ******: 65.2
Position Reached, Inlet Advance: -0.6
Position Reached, Exhaust Advance: -1.1
Position Reached, Exhaust ******: 63.9
All positions are within tolerance.

Deviation, Leak Test, Inlet: 7.6 <-- out of tolerance
Deviation, Leak Test, Exhaust: 1
Advance Time, Inlet: 176ms
******ation Time, Inlet: 214ms
Advance Time, Exhaust: 202ms
******ation Time, Exhaust: 192ms

Position Reached, Inlet ******: 76.2

VANOS position of inlet ****** is outside the tolerance band 57 < pos < 67

There is where Bank 2 diagnosis stopped.

Mechanic Recommendation

* Rebuild the seals in Bank 1
* Swap solenoids between Bank 1 and Bank 2 to see if Bank 2 issue moves with solenoids
* If all else fails, replace Vanos Bank 2

The tech recommended Dr. Vanos for a cheaper alternative to the whole Vanos unit. He is also okay with using Dr. Vanos seal kit and the Dr. Vanos solenoid rebuild, since a new solenoid seems to be going for near $1k!!!

A call is going out to Dr. Vanos now for his opinion.

48 Posts
hey i got the same prob the diesel sound was there for some time now but it got worse it sound like you discribe now that u did all this test im worried the car still pull very strong but the noise is getting to me and to top it all im in South Africa no dr vanos here the local guys who got e39 M5 has never done a vanos change or Vanos solenoid rings
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