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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1,211 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Remo says:

    2015 328i XDrive N26 just turned 90,000 miles
    Wondering if I should hold out for just a little bit longer for the Recall?
    Car is in phenomenal shape inside and out. All service done by BMW. No timing chain noise (yet)
    Wait it out? Get rid of it before 100K?


    • It hard to say on what to do,,,BMW hasn’t said anything about the timing chain recall,,,,they told us to get ready in June for the recall,,,,now June has come and gone and still no news


  2. Charlie says:

    Hello – Today is the last day of June. Do you have any updates? Do you have confirmation that it is really going to happen as an actual recall? Just looking for a little assurance as my 2013 is up there in miles and I’m concerned. Thanks! I appreciate it.


  3. jbarnes55 says:

    My X4 has been sitting at the dealer, now, for a month awaiting turbo replacement and timing chain recall. June’s has come and gone. Any updates on the N20 timing chain recall?


  4. jbarnes55 says:

    Correction. My X3 is at the dealer.


  5. harts2vball says:

    Hi BmwTech,
    Thanks for taking the time to helping us out. Since the settlement on the N20 timing chain lawsuit last December, the claim date has just passed late last month. Do you think there is still a good chance that BMW would have a recall of affected models?

    As someone who owns a used 2015 F36 (manufactured 12/14), this is stressing me out like crazy. I loved driving my car until I found out my engine could self-destruct spontaneously.. hope BMW does the right thing here.


  6. steve says:

    how would I know if my valves touched the pistons, without tearing down the engine?


  7. Charlie says:

    Please keep us updated on the recall. Thanks!
    As an aside, I’m very leery as to why BMW would go ahead with a recall after years of litigation and settling the class action lawsuit. Would it not have been more logical and cost effective for BMW to have just done the recall from the beginning and avoided the class action?? Is that not what most other car mfts do when manufacturer flaws are present?
    Another comment I saw via email notification but can’t find in the thread above was regarding the cause potentially due to the ethanol in the fuel. To me this is illogical as the fuel system is separate from the lubricating oil system. The ethanol should not be getting into the oil. Comments on this?


    • You are correct fuel should not be getting into the oil,,,but we have seen sometimes the HPFP will leak into the engine causing fuel inside the oil.


      • Charlie says:

        I mentioned that because I saw a comment stating that we have this issue in the USA due to the ethanol content in the fuel, which in turn is breaking down the plastic timing chain guide rails. I say BS and if true, then more frequent oil changes would help alleviate the issue.
        Hoping that BMW does the right thing, and soon!


  8. Tom says:

    My 2013 x1 has 80700 miles, and bmw service tech says timing belt is making whining noise- his advice is trade in the car?! What is normal Bmw charge to replace the timing chains, and what parts should also be replaced? I have read the settlement papers- and see the added part going out to February 2022. Will I have to wait for chain to fail to get partial reimbursement? Thanks for all of your great advice and keeping us up to date on this N20 chain issue!


    • Your car has no coverage at this time,,the last extension was 7yr 70k miles,,,so the next thing would be the timing chain and rails,,,also the oil pump chain and rails need to be replaced,,,I don’t know the cost of part,,,but labor should be about 10 to 12 hours


      • Tom says:

        Thanks bmwtechnician- but I found this in the lawsuit settlement Final Order-

        “D. As an additional benefit negotiated by Plaintiffs’ counsel, for one year from the
        Effective Date of the Settlement, any class vehicle with less than 100,000 miles, regardless
        of class vehicle age (e.g., years-in-service), that experiences timing chain module failure, oil
        pump drive chain module failure, or engine damage, due to timing chain module or oil pump
        drive chain module failure may go to an authorized BMW Center for repair, subject to the
        above-referenced contribution schedule. This new 100K mileage limitation is a 42.86% increase over the 70K warranty extension BMW NA implemented in late 2017”

        It seems we may have until Feb 16, 2022 regardless of age, as long as under 100k, if the chain actually fails, subject to the chart of % paid by BMW
        . .
        Still hoping for a recall- thanks again


    • Sam says:

      The CA settelment would cover you up to 100k miles, but you have to file with them. You might have just missed the deadline. Check if there is an extension.

      An EU car specialist 150/hour quoted me $3,500 for the timing chain and close to $7,000 for the timing chain, oil pump chain, and rails + camshaft gears.

      Curious, what value $ did you get for your trade-in? if you take care of the car and put a new timing chain, it might happen again 80k later, would you do it again then? would it make sense financially? The used car market now is insane for buyers/repair, only lease makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Tony vegas says:

    My 2014 X1 is currently at 99k mile, there is no noise from the chain yet. Can I just take it to dealership and pay the 60% cost to change it as preventive maintenance? What or how should I tell the service advisor?


  10. Ahmed says:

    Any word on recalls yet for the N20 timing chain?


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