I just joined this group today, it seems to contain alot of useful
information. My question is concerned with an 2000 E46 328ci. I would
like to ask if any member here has experienced a sudden, silent stall
while driving. It happened to me while I was driving on the interstate,
my car while driving (its a 5spd) suddenly stalled when I was in
neutral and about to switch to 5th gear. My steering got locked, and it
was extremely dangerous. Thank god I have a 5spd and my car did not
choke, It just silently shut down, the only way I could tell was when I
looked in the dash and my engine and oil lights came on in red, so I
pressed the clutch, turned on the car while rolling on the interstate
at 65 mph! I got control back, took it to a mechanic and he told me it
could be my Vanos Unit going out. Has anyones "Vanos" unit gone out
here or experienced the same issue, any information shared here will be
highly appreciated.. Thank you.
I extremely doubt that a vanos failure would cause a stall like this.
If the steering really did lock then I guess the key fell out?!
If you'd simply put the car in gear it should have come back to life
and even if not you'd have got power steering and brakes back.
It certainly is if this happened. To lock the steering you have to remove
the key. Which would be stupid. If the engine stalls, you merely lose
power assistance to the steering which makes it heavy but still manageable
Why did you turn it off in the first place? Most would simply engage the
clutch and hope it would re-start. But you must have been changing gear
very slowly if the engine had time to stall.
Most likely thing is the crank position sensor. But it should have thrown
up a fault code, so get this checked first. It's unlikely to be a Vanos
*Why is it considered necessary to screw down the lid of a coffin?
Dave Plowman firstname.lastname@example.org London SW
I hope you didn't pay too much in initiation fees!
Go look for another mechanic. This one doesn't even know what the VANOS
does. It is merely a means of mechanically advancing the valve timing.
It would *never* cause the engine to stall, and especially not while
the engine was still in gear.
It sounds like you had a temporary disconnection of an electrical
signal. May a faulty ground connection somewhere or something like
that. Not a valve timing issue.
Some clarifications. Steering did not lock, I guess it just lost power
assistance so felt very heavy. Also, the mechanic said he sent a
electric signal to the Vanos and the vanos would not reply implicating
that the vanos was inoperative. He said there was sludge-build-up in
the Vanos system
Also, I did not turn the car off and I dont take much time to switch
gears, The car silents turns off between gears very quickly. Though it
does it rarely and has (so far) always turned back on, I just have to
power it off, turn it back on while the car is rolling on neutral and
then put it in the right gear so it does not choke.
First I took it to the BMW and they diagnosed and told me it was the
Camshaft Position Sensor, whcih I paid them almost close to 400 dollars
for replacement, After it was done, the light did not go away. So I
took it to another mechanic, and he checked the error code and told me
that this code could go on because of many faults. So thats when he
went into the details and kept my car for about 4 hours and then called
me to tell me that the Vanos was inoperative in the car because of
sludge buildup. My engine had lots of oil sludge when I buoght it, so I
had to change oils a couple of times and then do an engine flush. After
that it drives very smooth, specially at higher RPM's, but it does not
pick up in the 1K to 3K RPM range. The mechanic told me that is another
indication of a bad Vanos as the Vanos controls the Mid and Low RPM
range in these cars.
Fred W wrote:
But yes, that day I'll agree I took some time to switch between gears
because there was traffic, sometimes I let my car roll in Neutral and
then switch car according to the speed of the cars ahead of me... but
regardless... my car should have never turned off on me like that. Once
it happened on a turn, I almost climbed on top of a curve, but I
managed to pull the steering all the way to the left to miss the curb
Such a drama queen!
I coasted my car down a mountain road from over 2500 ft elevation to just
under 1300 ft elevation in 7 miles. I had suffered a cooling system failure,
and the tow truck charged extra to come up the hill, so I coasted down. No
vac assist to the steering or brakes, and no problems.
WHY do yo have to power off then back on?
It ought not stall as you say it is stalling, but all you have to do is let
the clutch out and the spinning drive train will restart the motor. You real
issue is that the car does not idle well.
Reading between the lines here... you were rolling down the interstate
in neutral, with the clutch out?? What the devil for??
If you actually keep the car in gear while driving, the engine won't
stall as much.
It's okay to wait for the light to change while in N, but you should not
shift into N until yo are very nearly at a full stop. You should allow the
motor to provide braking and not rely solely on the brake pedal to haul your
car to a stop.
It's not - autos can and do stall on the over-run. Below certain revs the
torque convertor doesn't work in both directions, as it were, so unless it
is physically locked out the car motion doesn't turn the engine and
therefore the fluid pump, pressure from which is needed to keep the car in
I had similar, and it turned out to be the crank sensor. Only happened
when the engine was very hot - like in a traffic jam with the AC on.
*Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
First, your problem is not the VANOS, you can relax on that front.
The only way for the steering to lock is for the key to be off AND removed.
I can switch my motor off at any time and I can still steer my car. The
steerig does not lock until the key is removed. But, even if your steering
locked, this is not a VANOS issue.
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