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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550 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. willyPSA says:

    By the way Car was on 148608km.. and never had any motor issues. serviced on time and everything done by the book.. first brakedown owned car since new.
    please assist in outlining detailed info on timing chain n oil pump relations .. costs involved etc and how long does it take to repair.. days work, a week etc

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Niels Petersen says:

    I have an 8/2014 built X4 (2015 F26) with the N20 motor and the timing chain is just ridiculously slack. No whining sound and no shiny marks, but only 15K miles on the odometer.
    It is my understanding that BMW has a procedure (11 31 540) and a special tool (2 411 399) to check an N20 engine for possible elongation of the timing chain. Is this something “any” BMW dealer can handle and how long (a.k.a. how much) would it take to do this test?


    • I’m wondering why you are say the chain has slack,,,,how do you know this and if the chain has slack the timing chain tensioner could be going bad,,,,,ok any dealership can check the timing chain,,,,it takes about 1 day,,,,,the cost I don’t know sorry


      • Niels Petersen says:

        Hi (again). One time, and only the one time, I could lift the chain about 1 cm with my fingers. But except for that one time, it has been tight whenever I checked it. Someone stated that this slack can be a function of exactly where the motor stopped.
        The TC tensioner only “works” when there is oil pressure, right? Changing the tensioner is a simple DIY job, it seems. I noticed that the part number and physical appearance has changed for the tensioner. Would you recommend changing the tensioner to new part number as a preventive measure?


      • Yes the tensioner only woks with oil pressure,,,and yes it wouldn’t hurt to replace the tensioner

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill P says:

    In a related matter, VW/Audi has recently reached a class action settlement for timing chain and tensioner failures in 2008 to 2014 vehicles with 2.0 turbo engines. The extended warranty is for 10 years/100,000 miles and also covers earlier repairs. It’s easy to check these parts before engine failure, either visually by opening a cap on the timing chain cover or by doing a reading from the OBD. Yes, I have an A4 that is now covered, and I also have an X3 with an affected N20 engine.


  4. Alberto says:

    Hi Andreas, I think my N20 may be showing signs of timing chain issues. There are score marks on the timing chain (inspected through oil fill aperture), and there is a slight whine coming. I took a video, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuHqMGnEaZo

    Also, at the end of the video there is a strange ‘hollow’ high pitched noise (kind of sounds like a UFO), not sure where that’s coming from…
    FYI, 2013 X1 sdrive28i with 37k miles.
    What do you think? Thanks!


    • Yes you have a slight whine from the timing chain,,,,,,the UFO sound I would have to hear more of it,,,,could be the to much vacuum inside the engine causing a whistle noise from the front engine seal maybe.


      • Alberto says:

        Thanks, Andreas. Do you think I would qualify for the timing chain replacement under ELW with this level of whine noise? Or should I wait a bit before taking it into the dealer to see if it worsens?

        I’ll try and take another shot of the UFO sound. Kind of sounds like its coming from the harmonic dampener.


      • I would try now with the dealer and see what they say about the whine noise,,,,,if that UFO noise is coming from behind the harmonic balancer then it is your front crank seal that is going bad,,,,but your valve cover could be causing the front crank seal to go bad with too much internal engine vacuum.


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