Another one! The VANOS Covers risk.

Another one! The VANOS Covers risk.

"These build journal entries are part of a Special Series on the S65 VANOS covers failures, the available preventive solutions, and my unboxing & installation notes of the Snap-In Covers.

In this entry, I provide my research into the VANOS covers problem, how it came to light and the solutions available on the market."
- Matt

The documented case. 

In 2021, a few S65 engine failures were reported with never seen before failure symptoms. 

Ashton documented his catastrophic failure and engine rebuild process here


The risks: catastrophic engine failure. 

The culprit was diagnosed to the plastic VANOS gear covers. They appear to become brittle with age, and can crack.

The plastic pieces end up in the pan and can block the oil pick up tube, leading to catastrophic engine failure. 

The probabilities. 

It doesn’t appear to be nearly as prevalent as rod bearings. This does appear to be related to aging plastic components, and our cars aren’t getting younger.  

Should you bother?

Valve covers on these engines are known to warp, the coating flakes and they need to be replaced.

BMW also had the brilliant idea to not allow us to purchase some hardware separately, the costs run high to do this service.

I feel it's a no-brainer while-you’re-in-there thing when considering the risks and slight additional cost to do this. 

Do I think you should stop driving your S65 and get this done right away? I personally didn't. 

My valve covers have started leaking a bit around 130,000km / 80,000 miles. I plan on doing the snap-in covers maintenance in 2023. 


Can't you run the VANOS without the camps?

Short answer: no. 

The cap stops these cam bolts from backing out. 

Can you buy the OEM caps?

No! It appears BMW didn't think they would fail.

There is no part number listed by RealOEM for this. 

VANOS Washers.

Steve Dinan at Carbahn knew about this for a while and developed a simple washer and bolt solution.

It’s cheap, however it requires re-timing the S65. It's most often used by engine builders as a while you're in there during a rebuild. It isn't a DIY for most of us. 

CNC'ed OEM style snap in covers

A Russian company I personally dislike for piss-poor ethics & customer service introduced a smart solution DIY solution to allow snap-in CNC’ed covers. 

They initially introduce the snap-in covers at 450$ and immediately notice demand was higher than they expected. 

So they were 650$ for a while, and then came back to 450$. 

Up next: I've been working with a US company to develop a version made stateside for under 300$. 

I got my hands on the first units and cover my unboxing impressions before dropping them off at the shop to get them installed on a local member's S65.

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