The BMW N53 (naturally aspirated) and N54 (turbocharged) engines were among the first BMW engines to come with variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust camshafts. The N53 and N54 straight-six has unfairly earned a bad reputation for reliability with technicians due to timing chain and variable valve timing problems. The reputation comes from
The two most common failures for a VANOS system are related to the quality of the oil.
Make sure you are using new gasket to seal the new unit to the cylinder head. This video is sponsored by Elring.
The latest versions continuously adjust the position of the intake and exhaust camshafts for better power and more.
Diagnosing a VANOS system does not require that you speak German. What it does demand, however, is knowledge of how the actuator adjusts the camshaft, how the solenoid controls the actuator and when the engine control module changes camshaft timing. As for tools, you will need the appropriate tool set to lock the crank and camshaft. You will also need a scan tool and a scope to observe the crankshaft and camshaft signals to accomplish more advanced diagnostics.