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Old 13th February 2019, 19:05
IanA's Avatar
IanA IanA is online now
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Default Z3 2.8 Cam Sensor Replacement

Symptoms: engine starts but will not run.

Suggestion: unplug the MAF sensor and see if it will start and run without it. If it does, replace the MAF. If it doesn't, proceed with the following cam sensor replacement.

OBD code P0340 if your ECU is late enough- mine isn't so no code shown.

My engine: 1999 2.8 M52/TU. Confirmed by checking the VIN on the Free Online BMW VIN Decoder at

There are loads of videos on YouTube that show you how to do this. Needless to say, none of them looked quite like mine. Check a few out to see what the VANOS solenoid (which sits right in front of the sensor) and its oil feed pipe look like.

The first pic shows the oil breather pipe to the cam cover removed- so far so good. 1st piece of luck, the connector for the VANOS solenoid is right on the back of it, not at the end of a piece of buried wire. The oil feed pipe is disconnected and the allen bolt holding the sensor in place is partly unscrewed. Don't lose the o-ring- better still- get a new one with the new sensor.
I also removed the oil filter to get more purchase on the VANOS solenoid because it needs a wide open adjustable wrench to undo it. 2nd piece of luck- engine gets an oil change.

The second pic shows where the sensor wire plugs in by the throttle body which is vertical on mine- never seen another like that. 3rd piece of luck- easy to get to once you've removed the MAF sensor and air box (careful with the radiator return pipe- it's narrow and prone to cracking at its ends) and the cranked pipe that joins them to the throttle body.

The third pic is of that side of the engine bay showing the accessibility- better than some on YouTube.

This pic is of the little sucker hiding behind the VANOS solenoid. Just needed to install the new oil filter suitably dampened, replace the oil breather pipe, add 6 litres of Mr Castrol's finest and away we went.

10mm socket for the inlet manifold plastic cover and air cleaner box mounting
adjustable wrench for oil pipe union, oil filter lid and VANOS solenoid
screwdriver for worm drive clips on air trunking.
5mm allen key on cam sensor bolt

For the replacement sensor, I ordered a HAAS unit (with 420mm cable) for next day collection at EuroCarParts. Price will vary on what discount level they are running at the time.

Hope you can read the labels.

Last edited by IanA; 26th February 2019 at 15:31.. Reason: Check the MAF first.
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