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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1,139 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Dave W. says:

    Thank you for all of the great info. I recently purchased a 5/2012 X3 XDrive 28i 2013 and my daughter drove it to school. Now I’m trying to figure out if the guides and chain have already been replaced by her pictures. Carfax is the only history I have and it does not specifically state that the job was done. Would it be common for warranty work to be done and not doc umented? Do the pictures look correct, and does the chain look like it has stress to you? She does not hear the sound during engine revs. Thanks, Dave (Nervous Dad)

    https://ibb.co/xzYggqT

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    • Thanks for the picture,,,any warranty work done by the dealer is documented,,,what you need to do is go to the dealership and have them do a key read on your car and get a print out of what repairs were done by the dealership.,,,from the pictures it’s hard to say what condition the timing chain is in.,,,you could have the dealership performed a timing chain test for piece of mind.

      Like

    • Lalo Fierro says:

      Dave, I’ve got the same exact car and I am also concerned about this issue. I don’t know if mine has the new guards installed, seems like the previous owner had that issue and somehow fixed it. I took it to BMW service today and they told me it was diagnosed needing a new engine last year! but it is still running, so I am guessing they did repair it somehow but I don’t have those records.
      How did you take those pics? did you have your daughter introduce a camera in the engine?

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      • You can ask the dealer for a print out of repairs on your car to see if the timing chain was replaced at a dealership.,,,,if it was done at a independent then there would be no records of that repair

        Like

  2. Lume says:

    Any indication on this one?
    https://streamable.com/l3a4fl

    Just purchased from a BMW dealer @70k miles. They offer a 100% 60 day warranty. Should I try and have them replace it? Thank you.

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  3. The whine is all the time,,,the whine will change while raving the engine,,,it’s also there while driving,,,,the noise is easier to hear while standing in front of the car

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  4. Teresa says:

    Im thinking about buying a bmwx3 28i 2016 or 17 has there been any reports of timing chain breaking

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  5. concerned says:

    Hi Andreas, I got the class action settlement letter from BMWNA, do u know much about the cost of repairing N20/N26 timing chain at dealer? Since the letter says owner has to pay a % of the repair cost, so I am wondering if BMWNA has a suggested price(like MSRP?) for this specific repair.

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  6. fkosen says:

    hello i have a question, after taking the valve cover off on my n20 engine i found out that intake cam is about 90 degrees my inspection camera shows that no markings on the piston
    has anyone gotten lucky ? can i change the chain and be back to running engine?

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  7. Shelia says:

    Just received a Class-Action Notice against BMW regarding the below defects which could lead to sudden engine failure, model years 2012-2015 (my car 320i 2013): 1. Failed timing chain module 2. Failed oil pump drive chain module 3. And or failed engine due to the failure of 1 & 2 above According to the Notice, I MAY BE entitled to reimbursement for past expenses provided under the settlement. If BMW knew of the defects, why wasn’t a re-call issued? Now I have to spend my $ dollars and hope I will be reimbursed once the judge makes a final decision. If the defects aren’t fixed I’m putting my life in “Jeopardy” by continuing to drive this defected vehicle. This is so Totally Unacceptable! And to top it off, there was excessive smoke coming from my exhaust after sitting overnight. I was told the turbo oil feed line had to be replaced. Did some research online and found many BMW owners with this same problem, this too should have been a re-call issue. Does the Oil Feed line have anything to do with the failed oil pump drive defect?

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    • The turbo oil feed line was a recall on certain models and years which I don’t understand,,,and no the turbo oil feed line doesn’t have anything to do with the oil pump or timing chain

      Like

    • Scott Gladden says:

      Sheila,
      I found this post after searching a little after my dealer/service department told me my 2013 BMW 328i cannot be fixed without a large motor inspection. It shut off on me while driving and would never crank back. It turned over just fine, but would never start. After being in the shop for over a week, that’s the call I got today. This is a huge cost and the service manager said it may not be even worth fixing. The car is immaculate but does have 170k miles on it. I was first told it was probably the STP oil filter used in the last oil change at Firestone since it wasn’t OEM. That seemed quite weird to me. Then this. Im at a loss frankly. I sure hope this turns out to be good for everyone.

      Scott

      Like

  8. I recently bought a 428i convertible. I had the dealer check the timing chain and they say there is no slack and everything looks good. What should I do, my 7/70 warranty expires in 2 months? I do not currently have a whine, but the guides are definitely the orange/brown color, so I assume are the most likely to fail.

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  9. John Duffett says:

    Is the F25 N55 engine effected by the timing chain issue?

    Like

  10. Shelia says:

    Took my car into the dealer no noise heard from the timing chain, some slack found when picking up chain through oil fill, what the hell does that mean?

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  11. Shelia says:

    2013. I was told the same thing by Car Shield. My dealer has to break the car down to allow Car Shield to inspect the issue. Thinking seriously about trading this car!

    Like

  12. Frank Glover says:

    Hi, I have a 2014 328i xdrive, build date is 09/2013, with 55k, my question is about the timing chain issue, I don’t hear any noise but am worried about it going after the 7/70 expires, which is April 2021, what should I do??

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  13. Paul Roberts says:

    Hi, i have a 2014 420i F33 with 23000miles. I am thinking about replacing the original timing chain tensioner with the latest ‘upgraded’ version which seems to have a stronger ‘push’ on the guides/chain. Will this cause my guides/chain to wear out quicker, or is it the original tensioner that actually fails causing the chain/guides to fail.

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  14. andrew n says:

    I have a bmw f30 330d with the N57 engine,are the timing chains known to fail on this engine ?

    Like

  15. blueskyflyer25 says:

    I am interested in buying a 2017 328D with 25k miles. In your opinion, would you have any concerns regarding the ‘updated’ timing chain/guide (or any other potential major issue) with this model? Buy with confidence or run away?

    Like

    • The 328D diesel doesn’t have timing chain issues,,,the thing I worry about is the emissions stuff on the diesel,,,,like the NOX sensors, EGR,,,,, I would walk away because the car doesn’t have any BMW warranty and that car could get expensive on repairs

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  16. Ed says:

    I am looking at a few different 328i vehicles. One is a 2013 model year that according to the owner has had the timing chain replaced back ion 2017. It currently has 100,000 miles on it. Do you think this is a safe bet/candidate. The other two are 2015 model years, one has 53000 miles the other 72000. Nothing shows on the Carfax to indicate that the timing belt has been replaced, however, having read this thread I will be taking a look at the guides to determine the coloration to try and determine if the chain has been replaced. Is there any other way that this can be determined.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer.

    Like

    • I would stay away from the 2013 and 100k,,,,I would go for the 2015 53k if you can,,,there really isn’t anyway to to tell what condition the timing chain is in.,,try and make sure the car had all the oil changes performed

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  17. Marcia Williams says:

    I have a 2013 528i. Suddenly my engine light came on and i took it to the dealer. Was told my engine is out of time. The chain is moving inside my engine. The oil filter had a large amount of plastic material and metal shavings inside. Was told that it would cost me 16,000 to replace the engine. My car has 109k miles on it. No warranty. So if this is an issue with these cars why isn’t the company taking care of it. I sure don’t have 16k to put into a car for a engine! There needs to be a recall on this and BMW needs to take care of this issue!!!

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  18. Mike says:

    Does this sound like timing chain whine? 2014 320i xDrive with 85k kms. Still under timing chain warranty for another few weeks!

    Like

  19. mcarter83 says:

    Thanks for all your help, is this the timing chain whine??

    https://youtube.com/shorts/pJiwt7SWxeg

    Like

    • Thanks for the video,,,and yes that is the whine noise from the timing chain

      Like

      • mcarter83 says:

        I appreciate your response. What should my next step be? Will BMW still cover my car under warranty? I’m at 57k miles and my manufacture date is November 2014. I didnt buy this car from a BMW dealership, but from what I understand the warranty goes by the vin number no matter who the owner is. Is that correct? Should I park the car till I can get it looked at ? Or is it still driveable until I can get it to a shop? Thanks again , your help is very appreciated.

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  20. mcarter83 says:

    I appreciate your response. What should my next step be? Will BMW still cover my car under warranty? I’m at 57k miles and my manufacture date is November 2014. I didnt buy this car from a BMW dealership, but from what I understand the warranty goes by the vin number no matter who the owner is. Is that correct? Should I park the car till I can get it looked at ? Or is it still driveable until I can get it to a shop? Thanks again , your help is very appreciated.

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    • concerned says:

      Your engine is still covered by 7 years/70000 miles N20/N26 timing chain extended limited warranty, so just bring the car to dealer and confirm the high pitch whining, and the repair should be free to owner.

      Liked by 1 person

      • fkosen says:

        Update , I purchased the x3 with jumped timing in non running installed new updated kit reset adaptations it’s now running beautifully !!!!

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

        Like

      • Glad to here it,,,it’s alive

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      • mcarter83 says:

        Thanks for the reply . I was already freaking out a little so I contacted bmwna through email. They responded today telling me the same thing. Now I need to find someone to tow it 20 miles without charging me out the ass lol. Thanks again .

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes the extended warranty of 7/70 on the timing chain issue is by certain vin numbers,,,,check with your dealership

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      • mcarter83 says:

        I hate to keep bugging you about this . But is the timing chain whine enough proof for BMW to fix my timing chain and other parts u der warranty? The SA I talked to at my local dealer basically said the parts need to be broken or the warranty wont cover my car. I’m just confused . I. Hearing alot of conflicting stories about using the warranty . And different dealerships being dishonest to customers.

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      • No problem,,,each dealership seems to be different,,,some will replace it because of the whine noise and some won’t,,,,it just doesn’t make any sense to me because it’s money that goes to the dealership for the repairs and they no it’s a problem,,,maybe try a different dealership if you can.

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  21. mcarter83 says:

    Heres an update: I just dropped my BMW off at the not so local dealership ( 25miles away) . I’ve never stepped foot in this building before . I didnt even buy my car here and these guys knew it. The SA and shop foreman I talked to treated me like a 20+year customer. The shop foreman assured me he would do everything he could to get my timing chain fixed, and I believe him . They complimented my 2015 328ix on the mileage (56k) miles as well as the condition and paint job( still Factory) . This interaction has restored my faith in BMW even given the fact this is my 1st BMW bought from a dodge dealership lol. After reading a few horror stories online I was almost ready to dump mine and run away from a BMW for the rest of my life. I can guarantee the my next car will be a BMW from my local dealership.

    Liked by 1 person

    • concerned says:

      Your 2015@56k miles is still covered by 7 years/70k miles N20/N26 timing chain extended limited warranty per VIN, so BMWNA will fix any TC issue as $0 cost to you(assuming oil changes were done on schedule). 🙂

      Like

      • mcarter83 says:

        I bought the car with 45k miles . I’ve changed the oil 3 times. About every 3500 miles . I believe I read in the timing chain settlement that I only need to show the OCI from the time I purchased the car. So The SA did a keyread and the first 3.5 years had a full service history at a BMW dealership In another state. The next 1.5 years has 1 oil change on record at BMW between 30k and 45k miles . So either way I think I’ll be in good shape.

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    • Nice,,I’m glad you had a good experience

      Like

  22. John Peffer says:

    I’m looking at a 2013 X1 with 75k miles on it. Is this vehicle outside the 7 year/ 70k mile warranty? It sounds like a rhetorical question, but I thought I had seen that BMW extended that warranty. Is this true or should I stay away from this car? Thank you kindly.

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  23. Paul Roberts says:

    That’s what i did when i bought my F33. As long as I acknowledged that at some point I would need to spend £1000ish to get the chains & guides done, why would i let that stop me buying a car that i really wanted? Some people pay way more than that just to change it’s colour, or it’s wheels. Doesn’t seem a problem to me.

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  24. Navy328 says:

    Sorry if this has been answered. I just found out about this issue, 2015 328i with 73k miles manufactured in 02/2015. Do I have the redesigned timing chain?

    Like

  25. John Peffer says:

    Does an X1 with date of 05/2015 have the correct chain guides? Thank you.

    Like

  26. Noah says:

    So I have a 2014 320i x drive and I am almost certain with its 88k miles it needs to have the timing chain fixed, should I go take it into a shop to get it done? Also is there anything else I should worry about with this car, I keep getting a check engine light when it gets cold and when I pull the code it says the thermostat is open but my engine still warms up and the check engine light disappears when it starts to warm up again. Any thoughts on what I should do?

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  27. John says:

    We have a 2014 X3 with the N20, and 136,000 miles. The car has been driven like a baby (mostly “living” at 1800 rpm or so) and have had no issues. Just became aware of this problem because our other BMW – 2013 328i x-drive with 90,000+ miles – is being prepped to give as a graduation gift to our daughter, and our mechanic (not BMW, but fabulous mechanic) replaced its chains. He’s ex-husband and the girl’s Dad, so no charge to us. He said the chain was totally loose and flopping. Was surprised it hadn’t failed. I hope you’re right about BMW recall, because I’m calling our dealer tomorrow to see if the X3 will get covered!

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  28. em3 says:

    …your comment about potential “RECALL” on the n20/n26 timing chain is lighting up discussions on several other BMW newsgroups. Are you able to share any more details…please?

    Like

  29. Jordan Cleo says:

    I’m about to get a 2013 bmw 328i tomorrow with 80k miles. The dealer included a 1 year 50/50 in house warranty for repairs. I already paid $500 to hold the car and it’s non refundable and plan on picking it up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting the car but have seen a lot of talk about the timing chain repair. Not sure if this is ultimately the best choice but we will see what happens. Any advice or tips would be great. New to Bmw

    Like

  30. Mantas says:

    Thinking of buying BMW X1 2.0 20d ED EfficientDynamics sDrive 5dr. Do i need to worry about timming chain issues?

    Like

    • This is a diesel correct then you don’t need to worry

      Like

    • Jordan Cleo says:

      Just got my first bmw yesterday (328i n26) and was wondering, after going on a fast drive run or driving for 30- 1 hour on the highway I was wondering if when you get to your destination should you let the engine run for a few minutes in park before turning the car off. Also how long should you let the engine run for before turning it off and should you do it on casual 40 minute drives. Thanks

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  31. wannalearn14 says:

    Not sure how to ask a question that is sort of pertinent to the timing chain issue so here goes. I know oil changes are great for an engines life. Have you heard about this?
    INTRODUCING THE ALL-NEW BMW 3-YEAR ULTIMATE CARE OIL SERVICE.

    It is $199 for three oil changes once a year. Do you think it would include fluid checks and listening for a potential timing chain problem?

    Like

    • Yes it should include fluid checks,,,now listening for potential timing chain issue is all up to the tech working on your car.

      Like

      • wannalearn14 says:

        Thanks so much. Try to always ask for same tech but sometimes they don’t try very hard to comply. Thought I would get the three year oil change as a bonus for someone buying the car.

        Like

      • We also try at are dealer to have the same tech work on the same car,,,but what happens is favoritism with techs and service writers

        Like

  32. I bought a 2013 BMW 528 xi and drove from the dealership (certified dealer, not BMW tho), about 110K and after driving 5 minutes the oil pressure warning came on, took it back and they figured that the timing chain needs to be replaced. They said they are ordering parts from BMW and fixing it and because of the issue, they are also offering me a 3 year warranty on a cost price ($2500 total). Now, do you think I should go on with the purchase, since timing chain is being replaced and the warranty is given? I am having a hard time to decide.

    Like

    • Yes you should be ok,,,,my only worry is that a non BMW technician will be fixing the car which I’m not thrilled about,,,,I wish it was a trained BMW tech working on the car.

      Like

      • Thank you so much for quick reply. I have learned so much about the car just by reading your threads, really appreciate what you are doing.

        Like

      • How do I check if it was fixed properly, is there certain steps I can take, or listen or do to see if it has been fixed well? Also I see that there are comments of engine failing due to foreign objects in oil pan, will that be a possibility on this one?

        Like

      • There is no way to check to see if the work was done properly

        Like

      • Wayne says:

        Just wondering your thoughts on having my 2014 328xi repaired. Got the drivetrain malfunction code a few weeks ago and was finally able to get it to BMW. Diagnosis came back with head gasket failure between #1 and #2 cylinder. Dealership has indicated that both the head and gasket need to be replaced. I really do not want to purchase a new vehicle at the moment and would like to get some more life out of this car. It has about 85k miles. I would like to also have the timing chain replaced during this procedure. I know you cannot guarantee me that I will not have future issues, but do you feel that it would be worth fixing? Are there any other items that I should have replaced at this time or other things that I should request they inspect? Any input and advice would be appreciated! Many Thanks

        Like

      • Yes it might be worth it if you decide to keep the car for about 3 more years and you have no other problems,,,if you replace the cylinder head and timing chain you should be good,,,,the only thing is BMW might be releasing a national timing chain recall on all N20 and N26 by June.

        Like

  33. Corey says:

    I just purchase a ‘12 528i 74k miles & 1 owner in good condition. No notice of whine or marks on timing chain but it now worries me as I just getting deep into the threads about it. I am hoping for the recall in June. Would a local BMW dealer have info on this possible recall?

    Like

    • Not until it is released will they have anything on this.

      Like

    • Marcia Williams says:

      So if BMW decides to release a recall on the N20 and N26 timing chains by June, how does that work for those of us that may have paid out of our pockets to have it fixed? I just replaced my engine because of this issue.

      Like

      • Good question,,,I was also wondering that same thing,,,,I’m sorry I don’t have a answer for you.

        Like

      • arro1050 says:

        Does anyone know how long it takes to process a claim for timing chain repair costs through the class action suit settlement? I have a 2012 528i BMW and had the timing chain and oil pump chain replaced two years ago at an independent shop. I qualify for a partial reimbursement of $1,200 and submitted a claim 3 weeks ago. I see on the claims administrator website that they have extended the deadline for filing a claim from April 30th to May 30th. Will they be mailing reimbursement checks as claims are received and processed or will they wait until after the new May 30th deadline passes before mailing out checks?

        Like

      • Sorry I don’t know the answer to claims.

        Like

  34. Corey says:

    Thank you I appreciate your response. My only concern is I’m out of the 7 year clause so hopefully if/when new recall or some sort comes forth it will cover all years affect not just a selection. Is there any premeditative measures I can take or have a shop to to ensure no timing issue?

    Like

  35. Michael says:

    In this situation right now… 2013 BMW X3 with 123,000kms… BMW dealership in Canada says just labor could be $4000 and could go higher depending on what they find when they open the engine… might even need a engine replacement… wondering if I should just let the car sit for a couple weeks and hope this recall comes out… not in a place to buy a new car especially with this pandemic…

    Like

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