When sending your solenoids to us for testing and repair we recommend that you don't follow the BMW TIS documentation. It's overly complicated, requires unnecessary steps and suggests using pliers to pull the solenoids out. Not ideal.
Start by removing the tops of the intake filter covers. Disonnect the MAF's and unplug the vanos solenodis from the wiring harness. Push the radiator hose down to gain access to the five 6mm allen head bolts on the solenoid cover plate. If you have a '01-'03 model you will also see four 6mm grub screws. Do NOT try to loosen these grub screws, they are preset at the factory and nearly impossible to remove.
Once you have the cover plate off, and have removed the paper gasket underneath, you can now see the solenoids. This is where BMW suggests using pliers to grab the solenoids and pull them out. We advise against this, as you can damage the wiring or the diodes on the board. Instead, use a flat blade screwdriver to gently pry each solenoid out of it's socket. There is a lip on the solenoid that you can catch with the screw driver under the rubber grommet. Start with the lower 2 solenoids, then the upper 2. Once all 4 are dislodged you can remove the entire board from the vanos.