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E36General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.
How many people with VANOS have the "vanos noise"? Has anybody actually gotten it fixed? I know it's about a $1200 job and I hear it could just come back after you get it fixed. I've also heard that you shouldn't get it fixed if you don't have a problem with the engine noise because it's doing no harm and won't do anything.
Hmm . . I just did some research out of curiosity, and apparently we're both right, as some describe it one way and others another.
It's also a very common issue, and from what I'm reading it's caused by poor oil circulation at the top of the engine and vanos area. To fix it permanently, you can take it to a dealer and they'll install what's called an oil accumulator to ensure that there is enough oil on top. But most people just add a little extra oil to get rid of the noise.
Sometimes it's just the heat shield rattling. But if your cats are making the noise, I'd keep an eye on it. I think the worst would be the annoying noise, and sooner or later you won't pass inspection. Beyond that, there's really not much you can do but buy new cats (expensive!).