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Old 24th January 2014, 09:10 PM   #1
alpina527
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Default S65/S85 throttle actuators.

As many of you know, the S65 is an extremely reliable engine but still with one major flaw. The throttle actuators wear out relatively quickly. Having two of these on every car poses the question as to whether to replace them both when one fails or just do the one and hope for the best. The only answer is to buy a new one from BMW at Circa 700 plus fitting. The story is the same on the S85 V10

This is the first signs of a failed actuator.



I've been looking into this project for a few months now and I've finally get there. Finding a spare S65 throttle actuator wasn't easy because of the BMW policy of keeping the old units replaced under warranty. I wanted to find what's happening and make something better.

BMW dealers sometimes call it an electrical failure of the actuator but it's usually nothing to do with the electrics. They are very well sealed and look well made.

The plastic moulded gears in the unit are made to a price, not longevity.

Here are the parts laid out after dis assembly.



The white compound gear in the middle of the picture is driven by the hard steel gear of the dc motor. Attached to the white gear is a 13 tooth reduction gear that drives the black output shaft with a lever on the other end of it's shaft which opens the bodies. The motor is driven against a hefty spring which keeps the throttle steady at any given throttle opening through the gear train.



Here's the reduction gear. There is heavy wear on the teeth which is difficult to see in the photo.



Any wear that happens on this reduction gear gets transferred to the plastic output gear. Again it's difficult to see but on close inspection you can see how thin the teeth are in the normal driving speed portion of the gear.



The main white gear that runs on the steel motor gear shows no signs at all of any wear. This is mainly down to good engineering practice of using a plastic gear on a steel gear. This eliminates most of the wear and runs clean with no dust.

However, the small reduction gear is part of the same moulding and runs on the plastic output shaft also made of plastic. Not a disaster, but plastic on plastic is a bit of a no no. This small gear not only takes a lot of torque through it when opening the throttles but also has to maintain speed by gently reciprocating backwards and forwards on the same teeth to do this.

So, basically there's nothing wrong with the large white gear in itself. The problem stems from the attached reduction gear and the output gear which is moulded to the output shaft.

I'm under warranty and have just started getting the dreaded idrive warning. If I take it to the dealers they will only replace the one actuator (still with the plastic moulded gears) . That means I will be back soon for the other one.

Having spoken to various applications engineers, most of them favour making the gears out of Brass and Delrin 150 plastic.

This is my brass and Delrin 150 reduction gear. Much stronger than the original and hopefully it will see me out.







This is the oem output gear and shaft. The gear width is 10mm so by carefully offsetting the gears I've managed to get this width up to 11.3mm for some extra strength.



This is my replacement gear viewed from both sides.



Comparison between new and old with the shaft fitted.



Finally assembled.



Now I just need a spare morning to upgrade and fit both my actuators.

Last edited by alpina527; 2nd February 2014 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 24th January 2014, 09:15 PM   #2
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top job mate, delrin is good stuff and will give a lot of longevity, are you worried about wear from the brass to delrin though?
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Old 24th January 2014, 09:32 PM   #3
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Excellent post are you planing on selling them
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Old 24th January 2014, 09:35 PM   #4
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top job mate, delrin is good stuff and will give a lot of longevity, are you worried about wear from the brass to delrin though?
No, apparently it's more than up to the job of the surface finish is good enough. I've polished the teeth so it should be much better than the plastic. It's certainly stronger that's for sure.

The reduction gear doesn't carry out the same kind of function as it would in a regular gearbox. Once you are cruising, it's hardly moving. Hard to explain, but the applications engineers recommended the combo with manufacturing and longevity in mind. It would be better in hard steel but It's overkill

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Excellent post are you planing on selling them
Well I did make a few spares, so pm if you need any

Last edited by alpina527; 24th January 2014 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:11 PM   #5
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Fair play. Impressive
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:25 PM   #6
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You missed a bit.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:31 PM   #7
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Wow Ian, that is a fantastic build. That setup looks like it will outlast the car.

I look forward to seeing how you get on with them on a daily basis.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:35 PM   #8
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Wow Ian, that is a fantastic build. That setup looks like it will outlast the car.

I look forward to seeing how you get on with them on a daily basis.
Cheers. I like to make things to a quality not a price. They run very smoothly.

It's taken far more work than I envisaged.

I'm looking forward to fitting them.
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Old 24th January 2014, 10:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpina527 View Post
Cheers. I like to make things to a quality not a price. They run very smoothly.

It's taken far more work than I envisaged.

I'm looking forward to fitting them.
Well done mate.

Some clever people on this forum that could teach BMW a trick or two
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Old 25th January 2014, 12:04 AM   #10
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Bloody awesome work, Ian!

I'm interested and would like a set please! What sort of work is involved in fitting these? Can my local Indy do it?

Seeing as I'm gonna be keeping my M3 for a quite a few years more, this would be an excellent idea, seeing as my current set of actuators have another 20k miles left in them, based on how long the first set lasted.
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Old 25th January 2014, 08:45 AM   #11
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Gents how long can you expect the standard actuators to last on average, mine is still under warranty but it's good to know for the future?

Cheers Tony
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Old 25th January 2014, 09:17 AM   #12
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Mine went about 40k miles in. Seems to last about that long, though some people have had failure with much, much less mileage.
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Old 25th January 2014, 09:50 AM   #13
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Top Job Ian, Will be keen to know how they run/operate on a daily basis.
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Old 25th January 2014, 09:55 AM   #14
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Great post Alpina. Many have been scratching their heads on this, you get a unit last week and this happens.
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Old 25th January 2014, 10:19 AM   #15
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Hats off to you Ian, thats a amazing job.

In a geeky way they look quite sexy in black and brass. Sad I know, but I do love a nice piece of engineering.

Why BMW / Siemens haven't updated the units yet is frustrating and quite sad really. I now there is a cost element, but it gets my back up that they knowingly keep making something that has a high failure rate.

Anyone planning on keeping a S65/S85 running for a while would be smart to invest in a few of these just in case.

Keep us updated on how you get on mate!
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Old 25th January 2014, 10:36 AM   #16
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Ian,

Great job !

you say you started getting issue ... did it throw a code?.. if so what was it?
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Old 25th January 2014, 12:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAWM3EVO View Post
Ian,

Great job !

you say you started getting issue ... did it throw a code?.. if so what was it?
The idrive faults shown in the first post indicate what's coming.

The actuators self test by going through a full opening of the throttles. Any resistance and they will throw a code which puts you into limp mode. It can disappear next day though.

At the moment my car drives fine but the idrive fault list will be back soon.
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Old 25th January 2014, 02:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpina527 View Post
The idrive faults shown in the first post indicate what's coming.

The actuators self test by going through a full opening of the throttles. Any resistance and they will throw a code which puts you into limp mode. It can disappear next day though.

At the moment my car drives fine but the idrive fault list will be back soon.
Great job Ian
I have
DSC failure ! Drive moderately
DBC failure ! Drive moderately
FTM system error !
start assistance inactive !
45000mls
New Actuators ??

Not used the car since last Sunday went to go out this afternoon and won't Start just turns over
Got BMW monthly warranty thankfully

Last edited by mpy32; 25th January 2014 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 25th January 2014, 02:55 PM   #19
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Great work Ian
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Old 25th January 2014, 03:24 PM   #20
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Top job Ian, really well done
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