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philhoward

Newbie with niggles - suggestions?

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Having had the touring for a couple of weeks I'm slowly building up a "must look at" list, like we all do with a new-old car.  Any suggestions for popular faults and fixes gratefully appreciated!  Car is a '99 520i SE Auto with 135k miles if it makes any difference.

 

PDC (rear only) - when bought, I just got the solid 5 second bleep. Quick check of the "listen for the clicking" suggested the RH outer sensor was U/S.  Bought one from GSF, fitted it, tested and working - for all of a day.  I don't get anything now - no solid bleep, no nothing.  Has the "new" (pattern) sensor killed the unit?

 

VANOS - I know the 520i isn't a ball of fire but I was expecting a bit more "go".  If I hit the boards and invoke kickdown it's not too bad.  A quick google suggested that unless I have a receipt otherwise, assume the VANOS is duff at this mileage but aside from a little bit of rattle if the revs go over about 2500rpm when its still cold, I don't have the other symptoms of it sounding like a sewing machine at idle, or a poor/rough/surging idle.  Is it worth rebuilding it with new seals anyway, and are the kits the rattle rings necessary or will the "basic" kit do?

 

When coming to a stop, I get a feeling of a pitching fore and aft as soon as I actually come to a stop about 3 or 4 times, but at a quicker frequency than I'd expect from duff dampers?  The pitching is at about 1Hz frequency.  It's the first car I've ever had with airbags on the back so don't know if its a peculiarity of the system or something is a bit "sloppy".  I think there's a squeak from the back end as well when the rear suspension moves but not all of the time.

 

I think the PO didn't have a clue on about cars in general - he might have sent it in for a service once a year but I think he was taken for a ride.  Plugs were a right state, as was the air filter and the oil filter came out in 3 parts (top, bottom and the actual element came out as a 6-foot length).  Add in the fact it's running on a mismatched set of chinese ditchfinder tyres maybe I should have seen the warning signs but it does drive nice and the engine is (generally) quiet and very smooth with no shimmy from the steering and aside from some peeling lacquer I've only found 2 small spots of any rust (tailgate and a bit of brown on one rear arch so took a punt and think it's OK in general - just want to catch any problems before they become major issues.

 

It's recently had a new rad, alternator and ABS controller - those 3 probably bring me up to the purchase price so I shouldn't complain..

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Definitely worth doing the vanos seals as they're almost certainly more resembling plastic than a rubber seal by now.

 

They're an easy diy and the kit is dirt cheap too. 

 

 

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Last stamp in the service book was an Inspection II at 95k (now 135k) complete with a couple of ARB links being fitted.  Found a note that the rear subframe bushes were toast at 85k (when it looks like it had a new rear bag as well) so one assumes they've been done.  No tramlining - in fact behaves rather nicely on the road aside from this squeak!  I did just spot on the last MoT an advisory for corroded front springs though - must get it up in the air (but in the middle of moving house so will have to wait for a while).

 

Vanos - that seems to be the rule of thumb; unless you have proof to the contrary, assume they need doing!  Any preference on which of the myriad of kits to go for?  Do you need the full kits with the gaskets and rattle rings or will the kits with just the Vanos seals themselves be OK?  I'm currently thinking going the whole hog but would welcome any suggestions.

Edited by philhoward

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I took the opportunity to replace the cam cover gasket & plugs at the same time, as if it's not leaking now then it'll likely leak after it's been off. 

 

The only other bits you need are spare torx bolts that go into the cams (the left hand threaded ones) as they can snap, and a Vanos body to head gasket. 

 

I used the I6 automotive kit from eBAy with good results. 

 

Incidentally my car wasn't showing any symptoms as such, but was much easier and smoother to drive after the work. 

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Thanks for the replies - I was looking at the i6 and x8r kits on ebay.  Mine doesn't leak oil from the cam cover but as you say, sods says it will if I don't replace the seals/gaskets!

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I'm pretty sure the X8R kit comes with the high temp sealer for the corners of the gasket. My kit arrived last week but with a broken foot I haven't opened it yet! lol

 

Also, use code 'VALUED' at checkout on X8R and you'll get 10% off ;)

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Managed to bad an unused x8r kit off ebay for half price which looks to come with the high temp sealant - just need to find time to do the job next (about to move house - hence the reason choosing a touring).

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