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BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure

BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure

BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure can happen suddenly. You go out to your vehicle unlock the doors, and before you even start the vehicle, you notice a terrible clicking/ binding noise coming from the engine bay. You start the car and there feels to be a slightly rough idle, but other than that, all is ok. Shortly after, you get a light on you dash. A service engine soon or check engine (CEL) appears on the dash. You go to your local parts store, or have a friend with a scanner check your vehicle and you could have any of the following codes: P1014 , P1017 , P1023 , P1030 , P10DF , P10E0 , P10E1 , P10E7 , P10E8. You could be experiencing a potentially expensive and hard to diagnosis issue relating to a BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure.

The Valvetronic system on your bmw is a variable valve lift setup which, in combination with variable valve timing, allows the intake valve timing to be infinitely adjustable. The electric valvetronic motor was first on normally-aspirated engines but is now common on the turbocharged vehicles as well. It is responsible for actuating an eccentric shaft that adjusts intake valve lift. The motor itself is pretty reliable and does not fail too often. It’s basically a camshaft on top of the intake camshaft that controls how far open the valves move during one rotation of the intake camshaft. This means a BMW with valvetronic effectively negates the need for a throttle body, increases efficiency by minimising pumping losses and improves fuel economy and emissions.

This customer’s 135i with the N55 had it’s check engine light come on. Faults were for the valvetronic motor and valvetronic not reaching its limit. We performed the test plan which runs the valvetronic through its operating range and relearns the position. However, when the engine was started it would fail again and fault with one of the following BMW fault codes: 2DBA , 2DBB , 2DBC , 2DCA , 2DCB , 2DCE , 2DCF , 2D42 , 2D43 , 2D44
After a little more testing we finally made the conclusion that the valvetronic eccentric shaft had gone bad. The shaft over time and mileage wears in certain spots that cause the movement of the shaft to bind. This increased resistance is picked up by the computer monitoring the motor and a fault is thrown.

The Valvetronic eccentric shaft needed to be replaced. Removing it requires the removal of the valve cover. Special BMW tooling is required to release tension from the shaft springs and levers. Even with the tool, it is very easy for a spring to jump off and be in a position that can potentially cause catastrophic engine failure. After the repairs are performed on the Valvetronic assembly, the limit stops have to be relearned using the BMW scan tool to do this procedure. The limit stops are the mechanical limit stop, end to end of rotation of the eccentric shaft. The DME (digital motor electronics) records these stops via the eccentric shaft sensor to determine mechanical adjustment limits of the eccentric shaft. This is why the faults occur, the end stops are not correctly sensed when doing the precheck, or in this case, extra resistance from the shaft made the time to reach the limits longer than spec. Whit the new shafts in place, the vehicle was back to smooth fault-free running.

Do you suspect your BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure issues? Don’t hesitate to get your car checked by the experts at Fluid MotorUnion. We have the equipment, experience and the desire to fix your vehicle right the first time. Email Blog@fluidmotorunion.com with any questions, or drop us a call at our Naperville location by calling 630 305 3054.

BMW Valvetronic eccentric shaft failure

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28 Comments
  • John
    Posted at 18:47h, 06 April

    I just had to tow my 08 328 N52 to the dealer for this problem. The sensor was dead, but there is also wear on the eccentric shaft gear itself. I had them replace just the sensor and the car is running fine. How much wear on the gear did you see? mine has some slight chipping and I’m worried its going to get worse, but I figure worst case senario is the gear wears out more and I get the same no start/stall issue again . I don’t have the expertise to replace the shaft myself. but the dealers prices are un-payable. any help is useful.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 16:36h, 10 April

    Very difficult to see the wear that causes the issue. Even the worn part side by side with the new will be difficult for the untrained eye to spot. If you have done the motor and sensors, I would bet the shaft needs to be replaced. We do a lot of them here at Fluid MotorUnion.

  • mr pcd mcclements
    Posted at 11:46h, 07 September

    my 2002 316ti with only 56000 miles from new has broken valve tronic shaft holding bracket,what causes that?

  • Steve Smith
    Posted at 15:23h, 04 November

    @fluidmotorunion – My local tech (Bavarian Motor Sport in Kennett Square, PA) has diagnosed a bad Valvetronic Servomotor on my N26 (’13 328i xD) with only 68k miles. Is wear-out at such low mileage common? I don’t see a lot of chatter about it on the BMW forums. The timing chain was replaced at 64k earlier this year and I do see mention of a servomotor fault in their notes – that was covered under warranty even though above mileage limit, so I assume it was part of the timing chain issue resolution. Should I have the shaft replaced while they’re in there to ensure that doesn’t cause failure soon after?

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 09:34h, 06 November

    They typically go hand and hand, so our recommendation would be to replace both unless the shop can guarantee that only the servo motor is bad.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 09:48h, 06 November

    Binding of the shaft and oil supply are possible causes. Hopefully, you have been doing oil changes every 10k and there isn’t too much sludge or wear.

  • Wezley
    Posted at 18:30h, 17 January

    Any relationship to auto start/stop utilization? My understanding using the ASS functionality over 50,000 miles will increase the likelihood for all sorts of engine failure. It seems there is a correlation with lacking oil on top end of the engine and eccentric shaft failure.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 12:10h, 21 January

    Start-up is a very taxing procedure on engine internals. That being said, BMW has done its best to mitigate the wear with oil accumulators and parameters within the start-stop algorithm. While I would bet that disabling the system would be beneficial to the longevity of the motor, I would imagine it would be hard to measure the actual difference as it would be very slight.

  • EddieMisfit
    Posted at 10:48h, 15 April

    Just replaced my BMW 328i valve cover and eccentric shaft sensor and my BMW won’t start I get code P1030. What does that mean? Is the valvetronic motor or the eccentric shaft sensor ? Did I reinstall the Valvetronic motor incorrectly and didn’t reach the stop limit?

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 17:48h, 19 April

    You could have installed it wrong, but you most likely have a fault eccentric shaft. That is not a cheap part and requires special tools for installation.

  • Patrick J Logan
    Posted at 07:29h, 29 April

    My son has a 2012 BMW 535i. While driving a warning light stated “drivetrain malfunction”Could this be an eccentric shaft motor problem? If not what could it indicate. The warning only appeared once and the vehicle has run without problems ever since.
    Kindly advise

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 11:24h, 01 May

    The vehicle needs to be scanned with a dealer level tool to fully assess the issue. We are unable to give a diagnosis without seeing the vehicle in person. It could be a number of issues and having it scanned would prevent you from spending money on parts or service you do not need. Thanks!

  • Michael Gobbo
    Posted at 04:32h, 05 June

    What should an eccentric shaft and motor replacement cost? Dealer wants $3,550.

  • Michael Gobbo
    Posted at 04:33h, 05 June

    On above question, it’s a 2011 335 i convertible with 58,000 miles on it.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 11:31h, 19 June

    Ball park for us would be about 40% less than that, depending on what else was done while we were in there. For a more accurate quote email Blog@fluidmotorunion.com

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 09:16h, 15 July

    A typical independent shop (such as us) replacement cost can be half of that dealer quote.

  • Joe
    Posted at 19:49h, 27 July

    Thanks for sharing. Your information is really helpful. A quick question, how do you do the testing to finally made the conclusion that the valvetronic eccentric shaft had gone bad. ? Does terrible clicking/ binding noise when locking/unlocking the car indicate a valvetronic eccentric shaft failure or valvetronic eccentric shaft Actuator failure? My 2011 X5 xdrive 35i have this noise, I have hot engine start problem, it cranks catches then stalls. But no problem for a cold engine starts right now. The shaft is expensive, try to make sure it is bad before replacing it.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 11:06h, 29 July

    The clicking is usually a sign that the eccentric shaft has gone bad, however, it could be other things so it is not definitive. The best way to find out for sure is to do the actuation test via a BMW diagnostic tool. And it if fails that alongside with the clicking the next step would be to go in and check the shaft.

  • Terrence Muzimba
    Posted at 03:07h, 20 August

    please can someone give me the picture of a vvt faulty sing on a bmw e90

  • Joe
    Posted at 19:43h, 24 August

    I got the eccentric motor replaced at an indie shop, they said the shaft is ok via manual adjusting. After the repair, there is no rapid clicking noise now. The relearn process is fine at that time and drives fine for two weeks. Then, the CEL is on and go to limbo mode some times. Code: 002DCE Valvetronic system: no adjustment possible. The indie shop told me that a DME update may solve the issue. Have you heard anything about this?

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 16:30h, 27 August

    No programing update we are aware of that fixes the issue. The shaft could still be faulty even without the clicking noise present.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 08:15h, 29 August

    Are you speaking about the check engine light?

  • Joe
    Posted at 19:58h, 06 September

    Thanks. The eccentric shaft got replaced too today. But after replacing the shaft and start the car, it goes to limp mode and says the engine need to be timed. Timing the engine, the car is driveable without go to limp mode. But a new fault code is on after driving 10 minutes. The faults code is “28A0: throttle valve angle – Intake manifold absolute comparison: pressure too high”. Do you have any insight about this fault code under this situation? Thanks.

  • Joe
    Posted at 20:24h, 11 September

    Now here is the full story of my repair so far, Hope no repair in future.

    At the beginning I notice a terrible clicking/ binding noise coming from the engine bay when I lock/unlock the car. Then, occasionally, the engine has hot start problems. It cranks, starts, rough idle and then stalled. No problem with cold start and driving and there is no CEL, but when I pull to the car to the dealer, it shows fault code P1030, which means the Valvetronic Eccentric Shaft Motor has a problem. 
    First repair: I got the eccentric motor replaced at an indie shop, the mechanic said he feels the eccentric shaft is ok when he adjusting manually. After the replacement, the relearn process passed, there is no rapid clicking noise, driving fine, but sometimes a slightly rough idle. 

    Second repair: But just after two weeks, the CEL is on and go to limbo mode sometimes. The Fault Code is 002DCE Valvetronic system: no adjustment possible. The CEL light is on and off. When the mechanic runs the relearn process, it failed. After that, the car goes to limp mode every time it starts. The test plan for the motor passed, but the test plan for the eccentric shaft always fails at the second step. He also updates the DME firmware to the latest version, but the eccentric shaft test plan still fails at the second step. The mechanic then orders the eccentric shaft and bearing, and replace them.
    Third repair: Just after the assembling and starting the car, the car went to the limp mode immediately saying the exhaust camshaft is off timing. He has to open the valve cover again and did the camshaft timing. After this, the car drives fine, but sometimes a slightly rough idle which is very similar after the first repair. But after a short drive, the CEL is on. The faults code is “28A0: throttle valve angle – Intake manifold absolute comparison: pressure too high”. He checked all vacuum lines, pressure switches, and MAF sensors. The smoke test passed too. Nothing is wrong. The CEL light is always on after erasing it and doing a test drive. We are really frustrated and decide to accept the fact. 

    But when I pick up the car after a short test drive, the CEL is off magically! I drove the car for several trips locally and highway for two days, the CEL is still off. Based on your experience, can you make a guess about what happens for the “28A0” fault code? Thanks. 

  • Nay Lin
    Posted at 10:34h, 20 September

    My Bmw E84 2010 engine wont start Fault Code is valvetronic adjustment range.Already replace Valve motor and eccentric sensor. Still wont start but crank after die.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 12:34h, 09 October

    Did you replace the eccentric shaft itself? It often wears out of tolerance and causes similar issues along with the motor and senor.

  • JoshIII
    Posted at 17:55h, 15 October

    My 2013 535i M-Sport with 42000 miles had the engine clicking issue for a couple years. after or before running engine. Engine Type: N55. On Labor Day weekend (2019) I received my first ever Drivetrain Malfunction fault. Engine would start and immediately cut off. Car stayed at the BMW Service Dept for over a month. First the Valvetronic Actuator was found to have shorted and was replaced. Afterwards engine would start, run rough, and throw fault codes indicating Eccentric Shaft immovable. Then the $1000 Eccentric Shaft was replaced, A 1 foot harness that connects the Actuator was also replaced. The DME ECM was not damaged, and was not replaced. The engine has been running normally for 2 weeks. Total cost: $5300. My Extended Warranty expires in October 2020. The engine clicking was caused by the the binding Eccentric Shaft or bad Sensor. The Eccentric Shaft Sensor and Actuator is integrated in the same unit. Maybe the extra load on the Actuator from the binding Eccentric Shaft caused it to short. If the Actuator shorted before the clicking started, fault code would have been thrown. The past year of clicking engine, no fault codes were thrown until Drivetrain Malfunction on Labor Day.

  • fluidmotorunion
    Posted at 11:59h, 17 October

    The higher amperage draw from a binding shaft could cause a short. Sorry you had this happen, but glad you have a working car again!

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