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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400 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Mick Kassem says:

    Would would be an estimate of cost to take a look to see if the guide is damaged?


    • The dealer would have to remove the valve cover,,,,,which is about 4 hours,,,,,then maybe they can get a borescope down there and see if any problems can be seen,,,,there not much room to see anything.


  2. Johnny Weaver says:

    How widespread is this problem? Is it just an eventuality?


  3. Johnny Weaver says:

    I just want it fixed before it does any damage and it appears from what I’m reading the extended warranty will only cover the lucky few who have some kind of real issue that’s found prior to total failure. I’d love to know what that issue could be or if there’s a magic word to tell the SA that will get them digging and hopefully find something they can use to do the necessary repairs.

    What would it cost to pay for the replacement myself? At or about.


    • The main thing is the chain whine noise,,,,,I don’t know how much it would cost to repair,,,,I can tell you it pays 10 hours labor


    • alejandrozw says:

      Did you take it to have it checked? Im thinking of doing the same, the car is at 67k and would like to have it replaced or something before something happens. don’t mind paying a couple of hundred if I can get it fixed.


      • Bill Z says:

        Please see my post above, seach for my name. Just a quick update, my dealer eventually changed the TC within 1 week, now I don’t hear abundant noise anymore. The dealer told me that if you don’t find any issue , they will charge me 199 or 99 for the inspection fee. However, I called BMW north america, reported noise issues(please see my post), somehow the dealer told me that they will move forward and fixed my car. Actually, I just brought my 2012 328i two month ago without knowing this noise issue. I hope that my case can help you make an decision.


        Liked by 2 people

  4. alejandrozw says:

    Hello everyone

    So I was about to buy a 2013 X3 28i with 68k miles from a private party for what I believe its a nice price. Now that I read all of this issues I don’t know what to do. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Where should I take it for inspection so they can tell me if any of the problems mention are happening ?

    What should I expect to pay for inspection?

    is the 70k/7 years on a first come basis? so at 70k im out of luck?

    Thank you in advance.


    • I hate to tell you but I would stay away from that car,,,,Greta newer model if you can,,,,,if you decide to stay with that car inspection should cost you about $200 at a dealer,,,,that 7/70 doesn’t not apply to all vehicles and yes it is transferred to the next owner

      Liked by 1 person

      • alejandrozw says:

        Thanks for the quick response! Yeah I need to make a decision quick.

        Im just considering it because they are selling it to me for 13k

        What would you do?

        I checked on the link above with the las seven numbers of the VIN and apparently it does for this car, but its about to reach the 70k, or do I still have till the 7 years?

        Thanks again


  5. alejandrozw says:

    Trying tu upload a video to get opinion about the noise.

    Help! does it sound like I will be having the problem ?

    link to youtube:

    Thanks for the help, thank you a lot.


  6. Bjorn says:

    Hi peeps

    I’m in South Africa and I’ve had the same whining noise for over a year on my 2012 320i but was told “those are the normal operating sounds” or something like that when she went in for the last in-warranty service. I took her in this morning for her first out-of-warranty service and what do you know? I need a new timing chain, oil pump, etc.

    After reading your articles and all these comments, I’ve applied for BMW goodwill due to now knowing that this is a BMW fault. I will fight a bit, but should they not come to the party, sadly they’ve lost a customer for life. A real pity as I love almost everything about their cars – mine in particular. But let’s see what happens, I’m still hopeful.

    Thanks for the articles!


    Liked by 1 person

  7. Franky says:

    They have given me a complete new engine in warranty. The problem of the wear on the chain and the oil pump is due to play on the lower camshaft.
    greetings Belgium

    Liked by 1 person

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