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BMW Recalls 155K Vehicles Equipped With N52 Engine Over Loose VANOS Housing Bolts

BMW's variable valve timing system entered the scene in 1992. VANOS evolved into Double VANOS in 1996 with the S50B32 engine of the E36-gen M3, double VANOS meaning continuously variable adjustment for both the intake and exhaust camshafts. Recall number 23V-707 doesn't concern said engine, though, but the N52B30 that powers 155K vehicles produced for the 2010 – 2012 model years.
BMW Z4 9 photos
Photo: BMW
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To understand why BMW issued this recall, we first have to rewind back to January 2014. That's when the German automaker issued a recall for 2010 – 2012 vehicles equipped with the aforementioned inline-six engine over the VANOS housing bolts. Notification letters delivered to affected customers informed them of aluminum bolts prone to loosening and breaking.

Obviously enough, the remedy came in the form of brand-new housing bolts for the variable valve timing system. BMW further made amends by means of an extended warranty (10 years with no mileage limitation). Back then, a total of 170,158 vehicles produced for the US market were eligible for the extended warranty. Fast forward to November 2023, and certain vehicles fixed under the first recall had experienced loose or broken VANOS housing bolts.

BMW monitored the field since 2014, identifying an increasing number of warranty claims and consumer complaints over said problem. Be that as it may, the Munich-based automaker wouldn't initiate an investigation until April 2023. As per the report attached below, vehicles experienced anything from a no-start condition to emergency mode or stalling.

Through October 2023, the folks at BMW of North America processed no fewer than 620 warranty claims that were filed during the extended warranty period of the previously recalled vehicles. Once again with a feeling, BMW determined that a set of new housing bolts would make do. This time around, however, the company isn't offering yet another 10 years of extended warranty. Rather cheeky, isn't it?

BMW Z4
Photo: BMW
Interim letters notifying affected owners of the safety risk of engine stalling will be mailed no later than December 12. The second and final notification letter will be mailed once the remedy parts become available. Dealers have already been instructed to replace all housing bolts at no cost to the customers.

The N52 engine uses four of them, and the part number of the VANOS housing bolt is 8602263 in BMW's parts system. Regarding the 155,627 affected vehicles, the list kicks off with the Z4 sDrive30i roadster (the E89 generation). The 328i and 328xi in both F30 sedan and F31 wagon forms are recalled as well, together with the 128i coupe and convertible.

The final entries are crossovers, namely the X3 and X5 in xDrive28i and xDrive30i flavors. All but one of the affected models are still here with us today, although the 1er still exists in the Old Continent and other markets. The most affordable Bimmer in the US at the moment of reporting is the 2 Series Gran Coupe, a compact sedan that stickers at $38,400.

The N52 inline-six engine is also gone. From the N53 through the N55, the German automaker continued to improve its I6 design until the B58 entered the scene in 2015. Also shared with the GR Supra 3.0, said engine served as the basis for the M-specific S58 that powers everything from the M2 to the M4, as well as the X3 M Competition and its swankier sibling.
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 Download: BMW VANOS housing bolts recall (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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