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Hi, I have a Mini Cooper (not s) r56 with a p0012 code. Am thinking of cleaning my Vanos solenoid...even just getting it out as a garage has quoted me a lot to replace it. I’ve looked it up on you tube and it looks quite easy....is it? Also what would I clean it with? Also what tools would I need?......and lastly, can anything go badly wrong in this process?
 

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Today is my first day on the forum - and I did this exact thing just 2 days ago - so in case you haven't taken care of this, here's my 2 cents.

My wife's 2009 clubman had that code and I changed the oil and filter last week, so this solanoid is apparantly the next most likely thing. It's pretty easy, all things considered. The intake side is on the back (where the plastic intake manifold is, as opposed to the metal exhaust manifold indicated by the picture of a hand with a hot/caution sign.) so it's the back one you want. I removed the top of the engine air filter housing and the large air tube coming out of it to left (use a flat skrew driver or small socket). (my VVT was on the back left of the engine.) disconnect the plug and pull out the one bolt holding it in. I used a small mirror to find it-mine was a torx bolt. I needed a skrew driver to gently pry it out after removing the bolt.

Use mass air-flow sensor cleaner on it as that's more fragile and won't leave behind a residue. Youtube videos will show you details. some videos show you how to test it and see if it's still good. With some alligator clips, you can connect it to your car battery to test its function and open the closed part of it to get the cleaner inside. Watch a few videos and you'll feel much better about it. I rubbed a thin coat of oil on it before putting it back in - especially on the rubber gasket. Check the gasket out for any cracks. The solenoid has some filter screens on some parts (others don't), so just make sure there's no debris or gunk or stuff.

These things need clean oil to function properly, so from my understanding, dirty oil is the most likely cause for problems here. I unfortunately still have the code, so I'm trying to find out what to try next.

cheers!
 

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(my VVT was on the back left of the engine.) disconnect the plug and pull out the one bolt holding it in. ,,,, no its not anything to do with a oil solenoid ie VVT is the high lift valves on the inlets, this is controlled by that big steppa motor as you look at engine right rear side or head,,,
the oil solonoid controls the vanos system this controls how long the valves are open and increases the over lap between inlet and exhaust valves,, this system is controlled by car ecu, the car ecu also controls the VVT to work with this system,, these are two different systems ,
as for cleaning yes the oil control valve does need cleaning every so often yes clean oil is a must,, as for cleaning i use brake cleaner and then before refit cover in engine oil again,, if gauze is damaged or missing as some idiots remove the gauze this only fills the vanos sprockets full of crud that will will destroy them,,
i've been using seafoam for years as engine flush and inlet cleaner, on mine i stick 1/4 can in new engine oil let it stay in there as per instructions on can helps prevent carbon build up on inlet valves over time,
 
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