N20 timing chain issue

ok I’m getting a lot of questions about the N20 timing chain noise and replacement,,,,here are 2 short audio clips,,,,you can here a high pitched whine in both videos. one video is at 3000rpms,,,,and the other is reving the engine up and down,,,I sent both videos to BMW to get approval on the timing chain repairs.image Here I removed the valve cover and inspected from the top of the engine for any visual problem,,,I don’t know if you can see it in the picture,,,,on top of the chain you can see shiney marks,,,that is an indication the chain is rubbing on something,,,,those marks are not normally there.image Here the old timing chain and guide reins,,,the guide rails were broken.image Here you can see where they broke,,,,the two rails would normally be snapped together.image Here the old  oil pump timing chain module,,,,this comes complete as you see it,,,,did not find anything wrong with this,,,but BMW wants us to replace it at the same time as the timing chain.image Here are the new timing chain guides and rails,,,the new ones are white in color and made of a better plastic we hope,,,,lol.image This is the new oil pump timing chain module complete just bolt in,,,,this job is not one of the best to do,,,,this was on a X3 so I had to deal with the front axles and front differential,,,,,this job only pays about 9.5 hours,,,so you pretty much have one day to complete the job to make any money.,,,I hope this helps some of you guys about the timing chain issues.

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733 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve seen very little yet conflicting info on 4-series models. F32’s weren’t mentioned in the initial TSB for this issue, but are included on the 7/70k warranty list. So are 2014 428i’s assumed to have the newer parts without this issue?


  2. Sean says:

    Hi Andreas, could you please give this engine a quick listen and let me know if you think it sounds like the timing chain issue? It’s a 2014 328i. Thank you so much!!


    • Thanks for the video,,,yes that the timing chain whine starting


      • Sean says:

        Thanks Andreas! So this is still not too bad, right? Car has 50K miles on it and I’m hoping to give it another 5K miles before going to a dealership…


      • It really hard to say without me hearing it in person,


      • concerned says:

        It is crazy that BMW does not at least have a custom borescope + pinhole camera tool to access through oil filler opening to inspect the plastic snap-on joint(that breaks first). Hopefully BMWNA comes to their senses and issue a recall to install improved metal guard rails(with plastic glide strips), or offer 20 years/200k mile extended limited warranty on N20/N26 timing chain!!! Some friends now have E39/E46 inline 6 with 200k-250k, no timing chain stretches on those!!!


      • Yes I know we never had a problem with the 6 cylinder cars,,,,when BMW made a 4 cylinder engine again we have problems


  3. concerned says:

    Hi Andres, is there a public website to download the SIB related to F30 issues? E.g. I read from another forum that the low pressure fuel pump(in-tank) of F30 can fail too, and there is a SI B01 07 18 for it, can you post that SI B01 07 18 too? Thanks!


  4. Sushant Sood says:

    Hi Andreas, Thanks for your post. With BMW ignoring us you are doing a great help.
    I bought a used 2015 320i (make Nov 2014) in Canada from one of the biggest and trusted dealers a month ago with 82k kms and have since not been able to sleep after reading about the timing chain time bomb (warranty out and BMW not extending), but I have driven it about about 1000km since the purchase without any issues. With your guide I was able to make videos and click some pictures of the timing chain from the oil cap. It would be great if could help me with the diagnosis.

    MANY THANKS once again!!


    • Thanks for the video,,,I do here a slight whine noise,,,the N20,N26 both have a slight whine which is normal,,,,I’m sorry to say it’s hard to tell from the video,,,,I would talk to the dealership about your concerns and have it checked out and see what they have to say,,,then you have records in case something does happen.


  5. Sushant Sood says:

    Found these great 2 videos to make a simple check (disclaimer: sharing as found, credits to the creator).


  6. Mike says:

    Hi thanks for your blog and the work you do. I’m worried my N20 is starting the same whine (currently 60K miles) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3PFVUELwrc does it sound that way?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Johnny Weaver says:

    Dumb question. Check engine light popped on. Not due for service. The onboard vehicle check is still green and good. Timing chain replaced 10k miles ago. No noise just the light. The only thing, maybe, it sat on an incline over the weekend. Any ideas and how to reset without a reader?


  8. Oilpumpguy says:

    Hello, do you know what happens if the oil pump chain fails? Because my dealer said that its quite common that oil pump chain is making the noice. They said that they had a lot of n20 motors with that changed. My noice is not that bad but i will keep listening. My fear is that the pump will fail, but will the whole motor fail then? or if you just turn off the motor right away. Im not sure, but i think that will be a different think than the timing chain.


    • If the oil pump fails,,,in BMW theory there is a oil pressure sensor which should tell the DME to shut the engine off so it won’t cause anymore damage,,,that’s if everything works like it should.


  9. Sriram Ramesh says:

    2013 BMW X3 engine died on the highway three days ago. 95k miles on the car. Oil pressure warning came up and the engine just died. I had to have it towed to the BMW dealership and they found the timing chain broken. Engine needs to be replaced. I have extended warranty until 2021/106000 miles. I am hoping the warranty company would approve the claim. How can I be prepared?


    • You should be ok,,,,if your extended warranty is any good you should be ok.,,,,let us know what happens


    • concerned says:

      95k is not really high-mileage …. Was there any high whining sound from the engine, and is there any check-engine-light? Virtually all extended warranty has a cap on the lifetime payment, usually limited to FMV, and your 2013 X3 very likely is not worth more than the cot of engine replacement at dealer. :[


  10. Alex says:

    2014 F30 328i (with M-sport package, without M-sport Brakes) Front Brake Caliper Bracket Bolts:
    Planning on changing the front brake rotors, to do so I have to remove two hex 18mm caliper bracket bolts (Part Number 34116772117, specifications = M12X1.5). BMW manual recommends changing the bolts as well, looking for them online, they are no longer available. Instead the bolts are “Torx screw with washer” (Part Number 34106864424). Could someone verify this change and why was this done, any advantages/disadvantages of the hex bolt? Can I just use the old bolts instead. Btw the rears bolts are still the same?

    Link (Part 3):

    Thanks in advance


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