This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the camshaft position sensors in a BMW vehicle with the N52 6 cylinder engine. Even though we used a 2006 530xi to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any BMW vehicle with the N52 engine including most 2004-2013 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, X1, X3, X5, and Z4 models minor modifications to the repair steps.
A faulty BMW N52 camshaft sensor will usually cause erratic engine surges and a lack of power.
There are two camshaft sensors in the BMW N52 six-cylinder engine and they have a very straightforward job; they monitor the position of the intake and exhaust valves and report the data to the engine control module (ECM). This data is used by the ECM to determine the proper fuel, air, and spark needed to keep the engine running at its peak performance.
Over time, age and the brutal engine heat take their toll on the sensors causing them to fail. The following image shows the camshaft sensors removed from a 2006 530xi with 130,000 miles. The sensors have actually begun to melt from the heat seriously affecting their functionality.
The tell-tale sign that the camshaft sensors are failing in your N52 six-cylinder engine is a "Service Engine Soon" error light in the instrument cluster with a camshaft position sensor error code on the diagnostic scanner. Camshaft position error codes may be one of the following: 2AA0,2A9a,2B62,2A9E,P0345,P0346,P0347 or P0348. Other signs that a camshaft sensor has failed in your N52 engine include a noticeable loss of power (especially while accelerating) and erratic engine surges. Please be aware that these symptoms can also be indicative of failing a failing VANOS solenoid(s). The BMW Repair Guide strongly recommends replacing your VANOS solenoid valves with the camshaft sensors when performing this repair. For more information on replacing your VANOS solenoids, please see our article BMW N52 VANOS Solenoid Replacement – 1,3,5,6,7,X1,X3,X5,Z4 6cyl..
The BMW N52 camshaft sensors are located on the front of the engine and are easily accessible without removing any parts. This is a simple repair for the home mechanic and will avoid a costly trip to the repair shop or dealership.
N52 Engine - All BMW Models
1 Series E81 (02/2006 — 12/2011)
1 Series E87 (03/2005 — 02/2007)
1 Series E87 LCI (01/2006 — 06/2011)
1 Series E88 (11/2006 — 10/2013)
1 Series E82 (12/2006 — 10/2013)
3 Series E90 (02/2004 — 08/2008)
3 Series E90 LCI (07/2007 — 12/2011)
3 Series E91 (02/2004 — 08/2008)
3 Series E91 LCI (07/2007 — 05/2012)
3 Series E92 (05/2005 — 02/2010)
3 Series E92 LCI (09/2009 — 06/2013)
3 Series E93 (09/2005 — 02/2010)
3 Series E93 LCI (09/2009 — 10/2013)
5 Series E60 (07/2004 — 06/2007)
5 Series E60 LCI (11/2005 — 05/2010)
5 Series E61 (07/2004 — 02/2007)
5 Series E61 LCI (11/2005 — 03/2010)
5 Series F10 (02/2009 — 06/2013)
5 Series F11 (11/2009 — 05/2013)
5 Series F18 (08/2009 — 08/2013)
5 Series F18 LCI (10/2012 — 04/2014)
6 Series E63 (02/2004 — 07/2007)
6 Series E63 LCI (05/2006 — 07/2010)
6 Series E64 (03/2004 — 07/2007)
6 Series E64 LCI (05/2006 — 07/2010)
7 Series E65 (06/2004 — 07/2008)
7 Series E66 (07/2004 — 07/2008)
7 Series F01 (06/2008 — 06/2012)
7 Series F01 LCI (07/2011 — 05/2015)
7 Series F02 (09/2007 — 06/2012)
7 Series F02 LCI (06/2011 — 05/2015)
X1 E84 (09/2008 — 08/2011)
X3 E83 LCI (02/2006 — 08/2010)
X3 F25 (07/2009 — 03/2012)
X5 E70 (02/2006 — 03/2010)
Z4 E85 (10/2004 — 08/2008)
Z4 E86 (10/2005 — 08/2008)
Z4 E89 (01/2008 — 08/2011)
View the detailed parts diagram for this repair.
Includes detailed part diagrams, part numbers and links to purchase all of the required components needed to complete this repair.
Before starting this repair, you must have the following required parts.
Fits BMW N52 six-cylinder engines
The cam position sensor tells the engine when to inject fuel and when to spark. If you are experiencing periodic or permanent failure, you may have an engine that fails to start or stalls at random. You may be getting a check engine light.
BMW N52 six-cylinder engines
New camshaft sensors do not include the o-ring gasket. Always use new o-rings when replacing your camshaft position sensors!
Section 1 - BMW N52 camshaft sensor replacement
As discussed at the beginning of this article, the camshaft sensors are conveniently located on the front of the cylinder head. Please note that the exhaust camshaft sensor can often be slightly challenging to remove because of its awkward position behind the coolant hoses. Always use a steel punch or large metal pick to align the mounting hole during reinstallation (see step 6 below). This will avoid a huge amount of frustration when trying to reinstall the mounting bolt.
Locate and identify the exhaust and intake camshaft sensors as shown below.
The Level of Difficulty displays graphically how challenging the repair is, from beginner to expert. Beginner repairs usually require very few tools, have short repair times and are simple to complete for even the most novice of mechanics. As the difficulty level rises expect the repair to demand more time, use more specialized tools, and require a better understanding of mechanics to complete the job.
The Repair Cost graphically displays approximately how expensive the repair will be to perform. The repair cost is defined as the actual money that would need to be spent to purchase required parts and special tools that would not be normally found in the home mechanics garage. Please note that these cost estimates are approximate and can fluctuate based on brand preferences and manufacturer.