Q: Electric motor actuator shaft

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Yesterday while driving home from town my yellow engine malfunction light came on the dashboard. My car wouldn’t go over 5 mph even when I floored the gas pedal. I had it towed to the repair garage and they said that my electric motor in the actuator shaft attached to the camshaft had to be replaced. Do you know what might have caused this?

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2013 BMW 135i. It sounds like the component the shop is describing is the camshaft timing solenoid. This solenoid is an electric motor that controls the position of the camshaft. The solenoid operates using oil pressure, and as a result can eventually build up residue which can interfere with its operation. This is more likely to happen as the vehicle accumulates miles, or in vehicles where the engine oil was not changed regularly. The cam position is vital to overall engine performance, so any issues with the solenoid can sometimes put the vehicle into limp mode, as you experienced. If the solenoid has failed, then it will need to be replaced before the vehicle will operate normally again.

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