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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Lightbulb Valvetronic motor gets stuck when cold or low volts

Any thoughts from the experts here would be greatly greatly appreciated! I am a total newbie and have never worked on a car before. I didn't even know what a scan tool was until couple of months ago!

I have a 2011 BMW 328i Convertible - 6 cylinders. Very low usage, only 30k miles on 7 year old car.
After a year of sitting idle in the garage (with occasional use) the car battery became very problematic. I jump started the car a few times, and that may have caused the electrical nightmares that followed.

Symptoms:
When engine is cold or voltage is low, the car won't start. The engine either does not crank or is jerky. It has a rough idle (low growl high vibration), and never runs above 1500 RPM, no matter how much throttle if given. This morning the car jerked it's way at 15 mph for 0.25 mile and engine died. I tried starting again and it came to life and started fine, as if there had never been a problem.
But with a new battery, the problem disappeared for a week. Or if engine is still warm from previous trip, car starts and runs fine.

Error codes:
2A37 Valvetronic eccentric shaft sensor plausibility; P-code P1017 VVT sensors plausibility
2A47 Valvetronic eccentric shaft sensor plausibility;
See pictures of nominal vs actual angle.

Apparent issue:
The problem exists only at ignition time when the Valvetronic actuator is being calibrated or the limit stops are being learnt by computer. The actuator is not making it's way all the way to one end. Hence, the difference in nominal vs actual angle.
There is no oil leak on the eccentric shaft sensor connectors (plug). Pins look clean. The sensor itself may not be faulty as the engine starts fine at least some of the times.

What is the real issue?
Could it be that some debris or thick oil inside the actuator causing it to not move to one of the limits when engine is cold, but the actuator can move when the oil warms up? I'm told Valvetronic actuator does not use engine oil, so it must be a different oil.

Or could it be an electrical issue where voltage is low (INPA scan tool shows 4.9V) and insufficient to move the actuator? Perhaps after the alternator has charged the battery enough, and the voltage is strong enough to move the actuator?

Please help!!!


Old 04-21-2018, 10:40 AM
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