Well i think the vanos unit IS bad. Is this a common problem ? or is this
a freak thing to go wrong? I tried bavarian auto they would have to order it and its 299 dollars! is there anywhere else to get this part?
As promised, I spoke with the service department at BMW, and this is what they told me.
A VANOS unit typically doesn't fail (didn't know that). It may stick in either the advanced or retarded position (did know that). A grinding noise is most likely a timing chain tensioner.
He went on to say that it is very likely that you could hear/feel this noise/vibration from using the "stethescope" method on the VANOS unit. He also mentioned that if your VANOS unit was giving problems you would certainly have a check engine light on, but you may not if a tensioner was going. Let's just hope that's the case.
I wouldn't ignore the problem, that's for sure. I would take it to your mechanic as soon as possible, and let him diagnose the situation. I'm sure it will be fine to drive to the shop, as you haven't mentioned any check engine lights.
It could be a number of things, but based on what you described, the aforementioned is most likely the culprit. The only way to KNOW, is to have it looked at.
It may be expensive to fix, but ignoring the problem will ultimately be much more costly.
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