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2002 M3 Vanos Issues

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by mstein, Mar 20, 2011.

    mstein guest

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    I recently had a very an unpleasant experience with BMW NA . It is still pending as you will see bellow.
    Back in early Feb this year I started to hear what sounded like loud Valve chatter and slight loss of power when accelerating above 55 MPH.
    I read an article previously in the Roundel about the Vanos Loose Bolts on the E46 and went on line to see the Video that showed the bolts and the noise that accompanies the defect. Sounded just like my situation.
    On the 11th Of Feb I experienced power loss and fortunatley was passing my BMW dealer on the trip. I drove in, shared the video with them, and after Tech review was told I needed a new Vanos ($3495 part.) They said they checked the bolts and they were all tight. My E46 has only 33000 miles on it and has never been raced and is dealer maintained. Needless to say I was upset. I agreed to the fix and was given a 10% discount on the entire bill by the service manager after I appealed. I am retired and plan to keep this car.
    I then appealed to BMW Customer Relations and was told my vehicle was out of warranty based on years and sorry but things can happened. Three days after the repair while driving on my local highway I lost power again with the return of the chatter as well.
    I returned to the dealer that night who kept the car for 4 days.
    This time They admitted to me they were never told of the Vanos Bolt issue by BMW NA and the bolts they had checked the first time due to my request were in fact not the correct bolts as dislplayed in the Video. At the first time they had not contacted BMW since the computer told them replace the Vanos. This second time since they could not get the on board computer to sinc and the timing would not hold, they did contact BMW NA and found that in fact BMW NA knew of the problem and told them which bolts to check. When they checked the CORRECT bolts that I had showed in the video to begin with they found 2 cracked and the balance were loose. So they replaced all the bolts and offered me the following choices, Since the old Vanos unit was probably bad, but the bolts were in fact an issue , they would put the old Vanos unit back on, and if all was working fine I could get back the $3495 I spent on the new Vanos, BUT if the old Vanos was defective and they had to then put the new Vanos back on I then had to pay the labor cost of at least $1200 .
    So being between a rock and the hard place I left the new Vanos on and am now appealing to BMW Customer Relations for some Financial. help. They called my Dealer who admitted all my facts were true and that they had never been notified by BMW NA to be on the look out for this Vanos Bolt issue.
    It is my oppinion that BMW is well aware of the problem on the E46 M3 engine and should infact have sent out a recall. Instead they have chosen to keep it quite even from its dealers to avoid and financial responsibility. I do hope I get satisfaction from BMW CR and will keep you posted.
    Regardless I want this story to be an alert to all E46 M3 owners. If your engine starts to chatter like an old iron block Chevy and breaks up at hight speed, get to your dealer right away and push for them to dig into the engine to check the correct Vanos Bolts, not the small bolts on the exterior unit but the larger interior mounting bolts. This will not be inexpensive but will avoid the $3495 part issue that I am now involved in. Thank you for the heads up to begin with. It has been very helpful to me to use against the Dealer and BMW CR that the CLUB and thousands of its members are better informed about defects that they are. Perhaps the power in numbers of our club will get me positive results as well.

    on 3-25 I received a favorable settlement offer from BMW NA which I have accepted.

    Mike Stein

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