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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905 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Joseph Lee says:

    Hi could I get your opinion on my engine?



  2. Joseph says:

    I brought it into BMW Buena Park today and the technician said there’s no problem, should I bring it for another check? Right now they are doing a diagnostic on my car but he said he doesn’t hear a whine that is out of the ordinary.

    What do you think?


  3. Joseph Lee says:

    Thanks so much everyone! I’ll tell him that and make my way over.


  4. Ozymandias75 says:

    My 2012 528xi engine just grenaded itself at just over 70K. Wondering if there is a class action lawsuit that I could join for those who are just beyond the 7yr/70K extended warranty that BMW covers


  5. Paul says:

    My 2013 BMW 328i is due for servicing next month with about 58XXXkm on the clock. After becoming aware of the timing chain guide issue with this vehicle I inspected under the cap and think I am seeing similar wear to what you pictured. Could I get your opinion if I should get something done or at least get BMW to inspect? I live in Brisbane, Australia for context. Thank you for your time.


    • Thanks for the videos,,,,it sounds ok,,,but I really need a video of the engine Erving up to 3000 rpm to 4000 rpm and back down if you could.,,,,also having a dealership inspect it is not a bad idea


  6. Yk says:

    My bmw is a 320i 2012 100000 km (60 miles)
    Does it sound like timing chain ?
    I’m worried about this timing chain probem
    I checked the timing chain through the oil cap it seems to be tight
    I’m revision the engine up to 3500 rpm

    Thank u for sharing your knowledge

    Thank u for sharing your informations


  7. Roosevelt Dixon says:

    2013 28i with 60k miles I am looking at a Mercedes dealership what should I do have the dealership take it to BMW? Or is this engine isn’t affected by this bulletin?


  8. Marc says:

    Hi, what do you think of this. Timing chain issue? Two videos.

    https://streamable.com/opa7zn (between 3000-4000 rpm when rev)

    Thanks, Marc

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the video,,,,yes that’s is the timing chain whine,,,,I would have it checked out


      • Marc says:

        Thanks! Will do!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marc says:

        Some info for u all out there! BMW thinks think it is the oil pump chain. The wanted ~2200 USD (conversion from SEK, Swedish). I Suggested that they also changes the timing chain, they thought it was a good idea. Will be done in 3 weeks from now for ~2500 USD (10% discount). Some money but better that then new engine =) Thx again!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Steven Wu says:

    Hi Sir, appreciate the detailed explaining you did! I am interested in buying a 2015 BMW 428i Gran Coupe, it should be fine since it only has 23k miles. below is the video to the engine revving. Didn’t do the best job revving the engine, but how does it sound? Please let me know. Thanks so much



  10. Ayaz Quliyev says:

    Hi. Thanks in advance. My BMW 318 e91 2009 have also the same problem I think. But I’m not sure. I’ve also sent videos to my service partner and they said it’s Turbo and it should be replaced. Turbo isn’t cheap and I think it’s something different. Can you please check my video? Maybe it’s also a timing chain problem. https://streamable.com/tflwld


  11. Sam says:

    Hi! Thanks for creating this forum, it’s appreciated. I have a 2013 X1. I called the local dealership in Ontario, Canada and they say based on the VIN, they are not seeing my X1 in the bulletin. Last 5 digits are 85027. I’m at 115,000 KM (71,000 M) Does the bulletin not cover all N20 engines?


  12. Airborne says:

    Does the timing chain issue depend on where the build date of the car was? Is it possible that the guide was different quality depending on the country of manufacture. There doesn’t seem to be as many issues in Germany.

    Thank you,


    • No,,,,accordingly to BMW all the engine were built the same and the same parts,,,it was only those couple of years where the timing chain and oil pump chain has issues,,,I still think the issue is quality and type of gasoline each country manufactured.


      • Oliver M Kassem says:

        If I understand your comment. Are you saying that perhaps using top tier premium gas and even perhaps changing the oil often can delay or eliminate the chain problem?


      • Not exactly,,,,some countries really don’t have the issue with the timing chains on the early N20 that US has,,,,and I’m thinking the only difference is the type of fuel grade and the mixture,,,gasoline in Europe is different then the US fuel because their EPA guide line for gasoline are different then are’s,,,,maybe Europe fuel burns and explodes better causing less stress on the engine and timing chain.,,,just my idea.


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