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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1,015 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Joseph Lee says:

    Hi could I get your opinion on my engine?

    https://streamable.com/waafr

    Like

  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?

    Like

  3. Joseph Lee says:

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

    Like

  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

    Like

  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.

    Like

    • 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

      Like

  6. Yk says:

    Hello
    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

    Like

  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?

    Like

  8. Marc says:

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

    https://streamable.com/ql4ge2
    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

      Like

      • 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

    https://streamable.com/bmu54w

    Like

  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

    Like

  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?

    Like

  12. Airborne says:

    Hello,
    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,

    Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Like

      • 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?

        Like

      • 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.

        Like

  13. Nell says:

    I have a 2015 X4 N20 at 72k miles. I am getting a noticeable whining noise when the car is decelerating or foot off the gas pedal when im on the highway around 60-80mph. There’s no engine vibration or grinding noises that I can hear off, but below is a video of me parked reving it to 3-4.5k RPM, what’s your take on this?

    https://streamable.com/3cx84c

    Like

    • Thanks for the video,,,it’s really hard to tell if it is the timing chain,,,but you did say it happen on deceleration at highway speed at 60-80mph,,,,I want to think the problem might be something else,,,,maybe turbo whine,,,or tires noise,,,or maybe wheel bearing possible,,,,I would have a mechanic or shop foreman go on a test drive with you to hear the noise.

      Like

      • Nell says:

        I just came back from my trusted indy mechanic. Did the same procedure to produce the noise, he couldn’t determine anything. But he did see the timing belt and tension is worn since I never changed it. Hopefully that might solve the case.. could be wheel bearing also. Thanks for your expertise also!

        Like

      • The timing chain might be a issue,,,my only thing is that you said at 60-80 mph there’s a noise at deceleration and the timing chain doesn’t change at different speeds.,,,thanks for update

        Like

  14. nell says:

    Would you consider this a valid test to determine if the timing chain is on the verge of failure? loose chain and if the casing shifts? Because I’m not suspecting any abnormal noise from the engine.

    Like

  15. Jean says:

    Hi,

    When do i perform the TC test rev up. Cold engine or when engine is warm.

    Car = bmw 528ix 2015

    Thanks

    Like

  16. John says:

    Is the brown color of the old one due to normal use? Will the white one change color? If so, after how many miles?
    Thank you for the article. Very informative

    Like

  17. Rohin Toora says:

    First off thank you for all the time you talk to reply to comments and share your knowledge, its really appreciated! I have a 2013 328xi F30 N20 production Oct 2012 with 139K KM. I believe its giving me some symptoms that you’ve described above, could you please take a look? I revved up to 3-4 and then kept it steady at 3-4. https://streamable.com/o0hh22 , https://streamable.com/ww2612 . I also had two valvetronic codes come up since I’ve had the car and they have just disappeared on restart, the first time it came up the car went into limp mode, not sure if that makes a difference. Thanks again for your help.

    Like

    • Thanks for the videos,,,,yes that’s the timing chain whine noise,,,,yes the valvetronic codes could be related,,,,I would take care of this problem soon before more damage occurs

      Like

  18. Max says:

    Hello,

    I have 2012 E84 X1
    I was driving the car yesterday, today I tried to start it and car will not turn over …
    I tried to boost it … still no crank.

    ( I had the guides and some other things replaced about 30k KM ago)

    I’m worried that it might be seized engine, but leaving car last night was running great.

    Any suggestion ?

    Thank you, Please stay safe an healthy!

    Like

    • Before we worry about a seized engine,,,,you need to see if someone can turn the motor over by hand,,,,if they can that is good news,,,,then you might have the starter motor going bad.

      Like

  19. Tan says:

    Hello sir,

    I have a 2014 F30 N20 engine with 30K miles, my car suddenly stalled on the freeway, and wouldn’t crank. So I towed it to the dealership and they told me the engine seized and it wouldn’t turn by hand.

    After running a quick diagnostic, they found an error code regarding the wastegate turbo (position of the valve was stucked open) about 300 miles before the current mileage of the car.

    I asked them if the Timing Chain issue is the culprit but they told me they needed 2 days to open the engine and see if that is the issues. (still waiting for this)

    Before hearing back from them, I want to ask you a couple of quesitons:
    1. Which issue is most likely the culprit for the seized engine? The timing chain issue or the wastegate turbo error?
    2. If it is indeed cause by the wastegate error, can this cause a major issue to the engine components? What are the major components that are prone to break that can cause the engine to fully seized?

    Thank you for your help sir.

    Like

    • I don’t think you problem is the the wastegate or the turbo,,,the wastegate and turbo can fail but they won’t cause the engine to not turn over by hand,,,,something inside the engine would have to break or fail internally to seize the engine,,,the turbo and wastegate or both external from the engine.

      Like

      • Tan says:

        Sorry I made a typo, the wastegate was stucked “CLOSED”. On the initial diagnosis, the service advisor said that wastegate being stucked closed produced too much boost and pressure which may cause an internal damage to the engine.

        Does this seems likely to be the case?

        Like

      • No ,,,because there is a pop off valve just for that reason.

        Like

  20. Alex says:

    Hey I love that you have spent the time and effort to reply to everyone, my 2012 528i is giving me the low oil pressure message every once in a while, I’ll turn it off wait literally 5 seconds turn it back on and it won’t come back for the rest of the day, it’s been showing up the past 3 days and it showed up a month before that. Could this be an oil pressure sensor or do you think it could be timing guide related??

    Like

    • I would start to worry,,,it might be the timing chain rail coming apart and closing the oil pump,,,that seems to be the problem lately on the older cars,,,,I would have it checked out soon.

      Like

  21. Bmw f32 says:

    Hello
    I have a bmw 420i 2015 with 76000km (45000miles) im worried about the timing chain problem and if i have the updated one or not
    When i open the oil cap i see the orange thing (light color) !!
    And btw how can i prevent this problem in case i have the older chain ??
    My dealer changes oil 5w30 bmw oil every 10000km Considering we have short distance and alot of traffic
    Thank u for ur help and knowledge!!!

    Like

  22. Bmw f32 says:

    Hello
    I have a bmw 420i 2015 with 76000km (45000miles) im worried about the timing chain problem and if i have the updated one or not
    When i open the oil cap i see the orange (light color) !!
    By the way the dealer changes oil every 12000km considering theres alot of traffic
    I need to know how can i prevent this problem if i have the oil chain

    Also I’m experiencing another problem only on cold start , the car cranks for 2 seconds before the start , only on cold starts but after that no problem all day

    This the videos showing the problem

    Thank u for helping us !!!!

    Like

  23. Yehya says:

    Hello
    I have a bmw 420i 2015 with 76000km (45000miles) im worried about the timing chain problem and if i have the updated one or not
    When i open the oil cap i see the orange (light color) !!
    By the way the dealer changes oil every 12000km considering theres alot of traffic
    I need to know how can i prevent this problem if i have the oil chain

    Also I’m experiencing another problem only on cold start , the car cranks for 2 seconds before the start , only on cold starts but after that no problem all day

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Adam klob says:

    Hey so my car was acting weird Sounding louder than usual all day I decided to accelerate a bit more on the bridge coming home as I was coming off the bridge my oil pressure light came on and my drivetrain malfunction light came on. I pulled over to get a tow as I was pulling over the car was trying to stall itself out so right before it turned off on it’s own I turned it off and got it towed to my home. It is in my drive way until I bring to my mechanic Monday. I’m worried if my timing chain snapped. How can I tell before I bring it to my mechanic? I checked under oil cap the chain is still there and looks normal. The car will turn on it with no lights or warning on dashboard but just sounds louder than usual. I haven’t drove it at all as I’m worried of further damage. Please explain to me what I can be dealing with here. Thanks

    Like

    • It’s hard to say what’s going on,,,good thing is that you said the car will turn on but a lot of noise,,,,I would have the car towed to your mechanic and have him either remove the valve cover and take a look at the timing chain,,,or have him remove the oil pan and see if any pieces are sucked into the oil pump.

      Like

  25. Nacho G says:

    Hi man! thanks for all your posts! really helpful blog. I have a 228i xDrive with 25k miles. I can hear the whining noise only when ac is on. If ac is off, the engine sounds pretty silent. Do you think it may be related to the timing chain or it could be only the ac belt? Im pretty sure this sound started around 20k (but maybe im paranoid since i start reading about this issue!) Thanks again!

    Like

    • Nacho G says:

      I forgot to mention my car is 2015 (produce on Sep 2014 so i fall on the range)

      Like

      • What you can also do is have a independent BMW or dealership check it out if you are worried ,,,but what you are saying it comes and goes with the a/c on and off

        Like

    • It sounds like the problem is with the a/c with what you are saying the noise is loader with the a/c on,,,now what you have is one belt on the engine,,,,now what you can do is remove the belt and start the engine and see if the noise is gone,,,then reattach the belt and see if the noise come back with the A/C on.

      Like

  26. michalthenerd says:

    Hey bmwtechnician,
    I have some pictures of my timing chain (2012 production N20). The engine seized up completely, could you provide any input as to if this could be the cause of the issue or what to look for below the valve cover specifically? Out of warranty unfortunately. Would this be grounds for engine replacement alone or would BMW NA require more like a broken guide. I’ll keep looking.

    Image: https://i.imgur.com/AEVzOakr.jpg

    Thanks

    Like

    • Yea this doesn’t sound or look good,,,it looks like the cause is from the timing chain issue,,,,knowing the dealership they would like to replace the whole engine,,,,the only other thing you could do would be remove the oil pan to inspect the oil pump screen and see if it was blocked with chain rail pieces,,,,the only thing is that BMW is not going to help you,,,,and removing the oil pan is not a easy job to do.

      Like

  27. Max says:

    I have 2015 F30 with the N20 engine built November 2014. Is it subject to this issue?

    Like

  28. Solomon Bramble says:

    Hi Andreas, thanks for all your work and I hope people are finding your DONATE button!

    2012 528xi, VIN qualifies for extended warranty but I’m at 135xxx miles. Can you review this clip of and 2 photos of my timing chain?
    video:

    pics:
    https://ibb.co/4TSBKBB
    https://ibb.co/zf40Yv5

    Appreciate you!

    Like

  29. Dolan says:

    Thanks for help. Can I get your opinion on my engine? 2014 bmw 328i. Thanks

    https://streamable.com/2ejq4v

    https://streamable.com/lbmmf4

    Like

  30. Simon says:

    Hi!

    I am considering buying a 2014 320ix 126000km om the clock . All services are done according to bmw.

    Thinking i might repalce the timing guides and chain prematurely to avoid disaster.

    Questions are – could the guides fail without notice, or will i have the time to get to a dealer when the sound starts.

    And should the new guides hold up better than the original?

    ppreciate any answer a can get. 🙂

    Like

  31. Albert says:

    Hi,

    I am facing some issues with my 2013 BMW 328i N26 engine. The car got the low engine oil pressure stop carefully warning at 69k. I took it into the dealership they found metal flakes in the oil filter and recommended an oil change. Warning popped up again last week at 76k miles so I performed an oil change with OEM oil and filter. Car has low engine oil pressure fault code popping up on reader and can’t measure the engine oil on iDrive (randomly stops whenever without getting to 100%) Is this indicative of this timing chain and guide failure? (I don’t really hear a whine but i’m not sure.)

    Like

  32. andrewhyeung says:

    Hi,

    Got a low pressure warning stop carefully warning at 69k miles. Took into dealership and they found metal flakes in non OEM filter so they recommended an oil change with OEM parts. Warning popped up again last week at 76k miles so I performed an oil change with OEM parts. My reader is getting engine oil pump: pressure too low and the measure engine oil in iDrive never completes (will stop from anywhere between 1%-80%) Is this indicative of the timing chain and guide failure?

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Sarcan says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thank you for all the work you do here!

    I am also suspecting timing chain issue in my car; can you please check my video and advice me if it needs an urgent attention?

    Model: 3.28 xdrive
    Production date: 07/2012
    Mileage: 95k

    No problems with the car currently. It got serviced on time and everything done in the dealer by the book so far. Oil changed in ~12k intervals, whenever the car asked for it.

    I called a few places (just in case) and received the following quotes to replace the entire timing chain kit (including the oil pump drive gear, etc.,) in Louisville, Kentucky:

    – Indy shop: $3,500; $750 parts and $2,750 labor (they said it needs around 20 hours)
    – Dealer: $5,700 = $1,200 parts and $4,500 labor

    Are these quotes reasonable and which one would you go with? Also, how risky do you think to drive the car like this until around 120k?

    Thanks a lot!

    Like

    • Thanks for the video,,,,yes you can here the start of of timing chain whine,,,,I have a issue with both prices,,,the Indy price quoting you 20hrs is too high should be about 12 to 15 on the high side ,,,,and it looks like the dealer is charging you about 22 hrs which is crazy,,,,I can tell you BMW only pays me about 10.5 hrs to perform that job.

      Like

  34. Eric says:

    We have a used 2016 x3 4cyl for our daughter and she has got the maximum drivetrain output unavailable message twice. Both times it was cleared when we started it the next day. She said it would not accelerate normally while it was on. I took to bmw dealer near me and they said it had several codes for knock sensors and after further inspection they said the timing chain was lose. This is supposed to have the updated guide I believe. Of course the warranty just expired 3 months ago but still under the mileage warranty 48,000 so far. The dealer quoted me at $7,000. He said since its under mileage warranty they will ask bmw if they will cover some or all of repair. We just got the car few months ago and I listened carefully to engine as wife rev up several times and didnt hear anything like the videos of bad ones so wasn’t expecting this. How do they check if its lose? I saw video of someone poking it with what looked like screwdriver but not sure. Also does this price even seem remotely right? Thanks

    Like

    • First there is no test to see if the timing chain is loose,,,,second that price seem to high I don’t know what the prices for parts are but I have heard about $1200 and then labor should be about 12 to 15 hours at about $200 a hour doesn’t come close to $7000

      Like

    • concerned says:

      Hello Eric, I heard for 2016 4 cylinder timing chain can be covered under emission warranty for a lot more than 4 years/50000 miles, but the engine has to be N26 and the car has to be registered in a state that mandates such emission warranty.

      Like

  35. v4sii says:

    Hi,
    I planned to buy a BMW 2013 3series 328Xdrive but after I’ve seen these issues I stopped everything. Can you confirm if BMW 3 series built after 02/2015 have this problem solved?
    Thank you in advance.

    Like

  36. Fikret says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Thanks very much for the very informative blog and all your efforts to answer everyone’s questions. You have been doing an amazing job.

    I wonder if you would be able tell if I should be worried about my F30 N20 from the video below.
    https://streamable.com/5sicfw

    Many thanks in advance.

    Like

    • Thanks for the video and yes I would be worried and I would have the dealership look into the timing chain issue

      Like

      • Fikret says:

        I really appreciate your help and prompt reply Andreas, Thanks very much. I’ll get it looked by the dealership asap. However, there are a few more things that I may need further help.

        My F30 has got 66k miles on the clock and manufactured in 11/2012 so I think I can benefit from the 7-70 extended warranty but I live in the UK and I don’t know BMW offers this here too. I haven’t got a letter from BMW as I have been the owner of the car for 2 years.

        I anticipate there will be a huge resistance at the dealer and they will be reluctant to handle this in the extended warranty, therefore;

        Is there a way that I can check extended warranty applies to my car by entering the VIN since I haven’t got a letter? I appreciate you have shared the service bulletin and the models included in your blog. Is this applicable to the UK as well?

        Also, how should I approach the dealer to look into this under extended warranty? If I mention the high pitched whining noise, the dealer will charge £99 first thing to diagnose which I believe will be an OBD scan only and tell that they didn’t see anything unusual. How can I make them investigate this properly? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

        Thank you very much again.

        Like

      • Ok this bulletin probably won’t work in the UK,,,,next you could have the dealer perform a key read for you and it will print out all the info and repairs that were done on your car,,,,it will also say if you have any extended warranty on the timing chain,,,,now if it doesn’t say you have coverage you could ask the service advisor if BMW has anything on the timing chain issue in the UK,,,,good luck

        Like

      • Fikret says:

        Thank you very much. I’ll try my chances and post my experience here.

        Like

  37. Awni Albalas says:

    Hi,
    First thank you so much for taking the time and effort to reply to all of these threads and comments.
    at the moment, I currently own an 2015 BMW 328i, with 63k with an N20 and I am pretty certain that I have a timing chain issue. I was hoping if you could shed some light on if the warranty still covers modded engines. I was running a JB4 for a total of about 50 miles in MAP 1. I read online that BMW can now track this and can void the warranty? How should i go about this prior to bringing my car in for diagnosis
    Is there anything I can do like resetting the DME or anything?

    Like

  38. Alex John says:

    Hello. My 428i just had the Low oil pressure, drivetrain malfunction warning light. I stopped the car immediately on the freeway. I just had to start the car after 1h when the tow truck came and I had to move it for 200 m and put in N – the car started but harder… What do you think happen?

    Like

    • Sound like you might have the timing chain issue,,,it sounds like the timing chain rail is coming apart and clogging the oil pump causing the oil pressure light to come on,,,next thing I would have the car towed to the dealer or a very good BMW independent shop,,,,I wouldn’t start the car if you don’t have to

      Like

      • Ciuciu Alexandru says:

        Just in…oil pump chain failed.. I managed to stop it in time but it still slightly scratched my con rod bearings. I will change the whole timing chain + oil pump + new con rod bearings. After further inspection, the mechanic found a single damaged camshaft bearing (half was scratched) but the rest were ok. He said there is no need for a new engine, but I might have oil pressure problems. He sand the partly damaged cam bearing and he is hoping that it will be ok when we put the engine back together. What do you think? If I change all the abovementioned parts, do you think that the damaged camshaft bearing affect the life of the engine? Will it be still reliable or should I just get rid of it?

        Like

      • You should be ok,,,,I have seen it done several times,,,,tell him to just do a light sanding and make sure the camshaft turns nice and smooth when installed and you should be fine.

        Like

      • Alex John says:

        Just in…oil pump chain failed.. I managed to stop it in time but it still slightly scratched my con rod bearings. I will change the whole timing chain + oil pump + new con rod bearings. After further inspection, the mechanic found a single damaged camshaft bearing (half was scratched) but the rest were ok. He said there is no need for a new engine, but I might have oil pressure problems. He sand the partly damaged cam bearing and he is hoping that it will be ok when we put the engine back together. What do you think? If I change all the abovementioned parts, do you think that the damaged camshaft bearing affect the life of the engine? Will it be still reliable or should I just get rid of it?

        Liked by 1 person

  39. hackmech8 says:

    My 2013 X3 N20 with just 43k miles had a slight timing chain noise on startup. Being 7.5 years old the dealer might be able to get me just 1/3 goodwill and there is no guarantee of that. I decided to performed the chain and guide change on my driveway with many choice words for the BMW engineer in charge of this fiasco. This job is not for the average DIY. The plastic guide pieces ends up in the oil pan just in front of the drain hole. I tried to borescope the chain guides through the oil fill, but it’s too tight inside to get to the suspect spots. My crap plastic guide pieces ended up in the drain pan. In retrospect, I should have borescoped the pan through the oil drain. Once the scope enters, it needs to look at the pan midsection (much easier with an articulating head). If orange plastic pieces are found snap some pictures and drop off your car at your local dealer for the free TC change!

    Like

  40. bimmerdog says:

    Hi – I have a 2013 BMW X3 N20 which I just purchased for $11K. The BMW dealership said I need a new timing chain. ( $4900) .
    The used car dealer I purchased this from is balking at covering this under the 30 day used car warranty so they requested I bring it to **another* BMW dealer in Boston for review.
    my question is that I when i open the oil filler , I can move teh chain easily with my finger side to side and up and down 1/4 inch .
    when I checked again later in the day , the chain seemed tight (!?) .
    Is this the what the chain tensioner does.
    If yes, when does it go slack vs tighten ?

    Like

  41. kr4va says:

    from my research they all do that mine at 18k does that ; loose one day and tight the other..more than one tech told me– depends on where the cam stops..ie over coming the tension-er a bit leaving the loose feel .

    Like

    • bimmerdog says:

      So is that normal ?
      How do I ( or BMW Boston) determine whether my timing belt is too loose or not and needs to be replaced? will they replace if they see that the timing chain guard is broken ?

      Like

      • kr4va says:

        yes i understand its normal re; prev statements. oil pressure to the tensioner tightens the chain aided by the spring
        first; there is a class action litigation on this subj.. research it… dont mention timing belt its a chain..ill tell all i know which means im not the expert. prior to 2/15 (design change) there were a small percentage of failures on the chain system. NOISE is usually the key to give the first indication of problems. the web is fully of info on this. hopefullly the dealer will give info on the subj plus the lawsuit against bmw.
        bump

        Like

  42. bimmerdog says:

    thanks!

    Like

  43. hackmech8 says:

    Another way to check for early signs of timing chain guide failure is to drain the oil, remove the subframe cross brace plate (4 bolts) and remove the oil level sensor (3 nuts). This will provide a 1 1/2″ opening at the bottom of the oil pan. Use your fingers or curved wire to search the pan bottom for foreign objects. It should have none. If you find orange plastic pieces, bingo you’ve hit the timing chain Lotto. One hour in the driveway beats the two hour diagnostic charge my dealer wanted. The reason why the plastic debris will show up there is because the oil pump inlet is in that space. There is a screen on the pump inlet that stops debris larger than 1/16″, so the junk just accumulates. Too much junk can clog the screen and grenade the engine.

    Like

  44. Mony C says:

    What are the requirement that bmw dealership need before replacing the Timing chain? I current down a f30 n26 build on 10/14. Which I think is within the failure dates. I have around 40k miles on it. I’m hoping to get this replace before it happens.

    Like

    • I hate to say this buts up to the dealership on what requirements they will replace the timing chain issue,,,what you can do is tell them you get a whining noise from the engine at times and see if they can perform a timing chain test and hopefully it fails the test and they replace the timing chain for free.

      Like

  45. bimmerdog says:

    Again thanks so much for the information you guys are great. I went to BMW today and here’s what was written on quote
    “tech connected battery charger and performed vehicle test . tech found no related faults. tech perform the timing chain test. Test found a Vanos unit operating correctly but canceled the timing chain test. Tech performed test again with the same results. Test plan stated the timing chains did not pass test but did not fail the test either. Tech suspects timing chains maybe on the border of failing but just within limits of pass and fail”

    Like

    • I hate to say this but what the hell does that mean,,,I have never heard of this,,,if it doesn’t complete the test then the timing chain is bad bottom line,,,,so are they going to fix it?

      Like

      • BillP says:

        Can you please say what is the timing chain test that a tech can perform? I thought it was just a whine sound at about 2500 RPM. I can hear the whine with the hood open, but the local BMW service I took it to only did a several test drives and did not hear anything unusual. Is there any other official BMW timing chain test? Thanks.

        Like

      • Yes,,,they hook it up to the diagnostic machine and it perform a timing chain check on the engine while it is running.

        Like

  46. bimmerdog says:

    I spoke to the BMW service manager and he stated that the conclusion is that the timing chain has “failed” and needs to be replaced since the diagnostic machine/computer test they perform on the Vanos (two gears between the chain) would not continue and did not allow the timing chain test.

    Parts cost $640 – $1000
    Cost at BMW dealer #1 $4900 w/parts
    Cost at BMW dealer #2 $5300 w/parts
    Cost at local import shop $2500- $3500 w/parts ( requires special BMW tools )

    Indications of a timing **guard* issue are
    (1) broken/ missing (orange) guard viewed through oil cap.
    (2) plastic pieces in the oil filter or ( see hackmech8 post above)
    (3) take off cover, etc and inspect both guard and chain , but that’s a major job and might as well just replace.

    Seems like another layman’s method could be to snake a flexible camera thru the oil filler to check cracked guard.

    Like

  47. hackmech8 says:

    Using a Milwaukee snake camera through the oil filler, I could not get down to peek at the areas of interest on the TC guides. Perhaps a 6mm articulating camera can, but not too many people have access to that type of equipment (used to inspect jet engines). I wonder if the BMW diagnostic testing is looking for timing chain stretch. Mine had stretch to the point where the camshaft alignment tool needed to be partially dissembled so it can slide over both shafts.

    Prior to getting the car, I had done my research and found the X3 have timing chains. So I jumped in, thinking no more timing belt changes. How wrong I was!

    Like

    • Thanks for the info,,,,the only way to check is to remove the valve cover and then only you can see the top part of the chain and rail

      Like

    • Gerard Antes says:

      Hi, BMW does have a tool which can measure the stretch on the timing chain. You remove the tensioner and simply screw the tool in its place . It shows you on TIS how you can determin if the chain has to be replaced. My main concern is the oil pressure regulating and pressure system on this engine. The extented oil change period (service) is a major cause of the problem. In 2015 the used guide material has been improved and the part number of the chain as wel suggesting a material improvement. I specialize in BMW here in Holland and repair them daily. If you need any additional answers dont hestitate to ask. mail bwgconsultants@hotmail.nl.
      thanks Gerard.

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Salab A. says:

    Hi,
    Currently, I own an 2015 BMW 228i N20, with 65k miles. I am wishing the 7/70k mileage, and I am not sure as to whether or not I have the timing chain issue. On my car I hear the whine mostly on cold start as you can see in the video. However, do these cars normally have a little whine when they are healthy?
    I was hoping you could give this sound clip a listen. This clip is for the car on cold start up.
    https://vimeo.com/user123525991/review/459759642/ae2af8c6c0
    I have also noticed a little scoring on the chain, but to be honest I am not sure if I am just making it up in my head. Any advice would be appreciated

    Liked by 1 person

  49. Joey says:

    Hi guys,

    Should I be worried about timing chain?
    https://streamable.com/kbao7i

    Like

    • Yes I would be worried

      Like

      • Joey says:

        Should I bring it in? Or wait for it to get worse?

        Because I feel like if I bring it in to BMW, they will charge me and say it’s not a issue.

        Like

      • Viswanath Urala says:

        There has been an out of court settlement. BMW is providing full refund on anyone who might be in 7y70k, but a sliding scale for anyone after. Please ensure your address is properly registered in their system, if not create a profile and add the VIN number into their database. Also, call their concierge service and politely pester them until they ensure you are registered in the settlement. No matter what, this is a moment for BMW to be wishy-washy on the distribution and they can always say ‘we sent the letter to the registered address.” Especially with the ballot, thanks giving and holiday mail there is a very good chance you will not get the mail..wink wink.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the info,,,hopefully this helps a lot of people

        Like

      • The problem if you wait the whole motor might blow up and cause more damage,,,It better to be safe then sorry.

        Like

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