"As a part of my Maintenance Series, I group entries from Special Series and create individual entries covering common issues.

In this entry: knock on wood, cross your fingers, wear your lucky charm - it doesn't matter. This infamous failure will come for you. 

I touch on the uprated S65 and S85 throttle actuators as the only permanent fix."
- Matt

Another case of when, and not if.

Lots of ink has been, and continues to be spilled over throttle actuators. An often misunderstood failure, this is an opportunity to set the record straight. 

These will fail. 

The failure is not catastrophic - think of it like a flat tire.

What fails?

The symptoms. 

It will put your engine on emergency program, limiting power and the codes 2B15 (bank 1, passenger side) and 2B16 (bank 2, driver side) will be the main indicator of actuator failure.

It will eventually leave you stranded if you don't take care of it as I learned the hard way. 

The culprits.

BMW bean counters visibly had their hands in the development of these legendary S65 (V8) and S85 (V10) architectures.

Contrary to popular belief, the gears themselves do not lead to electronic failures. They do wear out over time due to the plastic used by BMW. 

Replacing gears has not proven to be enough. 

Plastic dust from the gears was visible in these actuators. 

The throttle actuators will fail due to poor electronic construction.

Your options. 

Realistically, there are 2x main options when it comes to fixing these issues.

1. OEM replacement.

Purchasing a VDO branded set from FCP Euro and suffer another failure down the line. You'll be able to make use of their lifetime replacement warranty. They are approximately 700$ US each.

2. Uprated Units. 

Purchasing these uprated units discussed in this entry with the promise to never be standard again. In the case an error happens, they offer lifetime replacement warranty. They are approximately 350$ US each after the core exchange refund. 

Jason at Rebuild UK fixed it, permanently, backed by a lifetime warranty and for less than anyone else. 

The permanent fix. 

The uprated throttle actuators are professionally rebuilt in the United Kingdom by Jason. 

He replaces internal electronics of the actuators with higher power, higher temperature rated electrical components. The gears are replaced with higher rated plastic units that are self-lubricating. Each actuator is bench tested before being sealed again. 

They will outlive the car and that promise is supported by a lifetime, unlimited mileage warranty. 


The purchase process. 

Prior to launching EuroConnex, I had bought 4x of these uprated S65 and S85 actuators.  

The process is simple:

  • Purchase the actuators
  • Install them
  • Package your OEM units (faulty, or not!) and slap the return label. 
  • Get the 100$ ea (200$ total) core exchange refund

You can source the S85 actuators here and the S65 actuators here

The warranty process.

When humans are involve, nothing is ever perfect. I was shipped one S85 actuator instead of an S65 actuator. I had limp modes issues. 

Jason confirmed the mistake and a new actuator was sent, along with installation expenses paid for. A warranty is only as good as the people that stand behind it. I've been through it all with these actuators.

The installation refund is exceptional, but shows the intentions behind the product. 

I feel confident stating this is a no brainer replacement option. 

It's half the price of aftermarket replacement units from VDO and the peace of mind of never being stranded again is priceless. 

You can source the S85 actuators here and the S65 actuators here

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