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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763 Responses to N20 timing chain issue

  1. Chris says:

    I’ve seen very little yet conflicting info on 4-series models. F32’s weren’t mentioned in the initial TSB for this issue, but are included on the 7/70k warranty list. So are 2014 428i’s assumed to have the newer parts without this issue?

    Like

  2. Sean says:

    Hi Andreas, could you please give this engine a quick listen and let me know if you think it sounds like the timing chain issue? It’s a 2014 328i. Thank you so much!!

    Like

    • Thanks for the video,,,yes that the timing chain whine starting

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      • Sean says:

        Thanks Andreas! So this is still not too bad, right? Car has 50K miles on it and I’m hoping to give it another 5K miles before going to a dealership…

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      • It really hard to say without me hearing it in person,

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      • concerned says:

        It is crazy that BMW does not at least have a custom borescope + pinhole camera tool to access through oil filler opening to inspect the plastic snap-on joint(that breaks first). Hopefully BMWNA comes to their senses and issue a recall to install improved metal guard rails(with plastic glide strips), or offer 20 years/200k mile extended limited warranty on N20/N26 timing chain!!! Some friends now have E39/E46 inline 6 with 200k-250k, no timing chain stretches on those!!!

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      • Yes I know we never had a problem with the 6 cylinder cars,,,,when BMW made a 4 cylinder engine again we have problems

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  3. concerned says:

    Hi Andres, is there a public website to download the SIB related to F30 issues? E.g. I read from another forum that the low pressure fuel pump(in-tank) of F30 can fail too, and there is a SI B01 07 18 for it, can you post that SI B01 07 18 too? Thanks!

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  4. Sushant Sood says:

    Hi Andreas, Thanks for your post. With BMW ignoring us you are doing a great help.
    I bought a used 2015 320i (make Nov 2014) in Canada from one of the biggest and trusted dealers a month ago with 82k kms and have since not been able to sleep after reading about the timing chain time bomb (warranty out and BMW not extending), but I have driven it about about 1000km since the purchase without any issues. With your guide I was able to make videos and click some pictures of the timing chain from the oil cap. It would be great if could help me with the diagnosis.


    MANY THANKS once again!!

    Like

    • Thanks for the video,,,I do here a slight whine noise,,,the N20,N26 both have a slight whine which is normal,,,,I’m sorry to say it’s hard to tell from the video,,,,I would talk to the dealership about your concerns and have it checked out and see what they have to say,,,then you have records in case something does happen.

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  5. Sushant Sood says:

    Found these great 2 videos to make a simple check (disclaimer: sharing as found, credits to the creator).


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    • George says:

      Damn, just checked mine (2013 F10 with 110k km/ 68.3k miles) and it’s like the first video…
      Not sure that we have the same type of warranty in Canada….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yea I think Canada warranty is different,,,,I hope it works out for you.

        Like

      • George says:

        Got the confirmation that in Canada we have the same warranty, 7 years, 112600km.
        Now…don;t know how to ask for the change as after running for few minutes, the chain is tight.

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      • The chain will tighten the second you start the car,,,you need to see if you have a whining noise coming from the engine area,,,,and it should get loader when you rev the engine.,,and you can ask the dealership to inspect the timing chain due to the issues of the timing chain to break

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  6. Mike says:

    Hi thanks for your blog and the work you do. I’m worried my N20 is starting the same whine (currently 60K miles) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3PFVUELwrc does it sound that way?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Johnny Weaver says:

    Dumb question. Check engine light popped on. Not due for service. The onboard vehicle check is still green and good. Timing chain replaced 10k miles ago. No noise just the light. The only thing, maybe, it sat on an incline over the weekend. Any ideas and how to reset without a reader?

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  8. Oilpumpguy says:

    Hello, do you know what happens if the oil pump chain fails? Because my dealer said that its quite common that oil pump chain is making the noice. They said that they had a lot of n20 motors with that changed. My noice is not that bad but i will keep listening. My fear is that the pump will fail, but will the whole motor fail then? or if you just turn off the motor right away. Im not sure, but i think that will be a different think than the timing chain.

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    • If the oil pump fails,,,in BMW theory there is a oil pressure sensor which should tell the DME to shut the engine off so it won’t cause anymore damage,,,that’s if everything works like it should.

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  9. Sriram Ramesh says:

    2013 BMW X3 engine died on the highway three days ago. 95k miles on the car. Oil pressure warning came up and the engine just died. I had to have it towed to the BMW dealership and they found the timing chain broken. Engine needs to be replaced. I have extended warranty until 2021/106000 miles. I am hoping the warranty company would approve the claim. How can I be prepared?

    Like

    • You should be ok,,,,if your extended warranty is any good you should be ok.,,,,let us know what happens

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    • concerned says:

      95k is not really high-mileage …. Was there any high whining sound from the engine, and is there any check-engine-light? Virtually all extended warranty has a cap on the lifetime payment, usually limited to FMV, and your 2013 X3 very likely is not worth more than the cot of engine replacement at dealer. :[

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  10. Alex says:

    2014 F30 328i (with M-sport package, without M-sport Brakes) Front Brake Caliper Bracket Bolts:
    Planning on changing the front brake rotors, to do so I have to remove two hex 18mm caliper bracket bolts (Part Number 34116772117, specifications = M12X1.5). BMW manual recommends changing the bolts as well, looking for them online, they are no longer available. Instead the bolts are “Torx screw with washer” (Part Number 34106864424). Could someone verify this change and why was this done, any advantages/disadvantages of the hex bolt? Can I just use the old bolts instead. Btw the rears bolts are still the same?

    Link (Part 3):
    https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=3A53-USA-10-2013-F30-BMW-328i&diagId=34_1968

    Thanks in advance

    Like

  11. Pingback: Replacing the BMW N20 timing: diagnostics and recommendations | Engine Finder Motor Spares

  12. stempoid says:

    How bad is this one?

    Like

  13. joe266 says:

    Hi, 2 years ago I had trouble with that noise as well, see my previous comments. Now I have another 30k km on the counter and the issue didn’t appear. Crossing fingers.

    Like

  14. Thiago Arnold Villarroel Gamboa says:

    Hi guys. My name is thiago. I’m for brazil. And my bmw 320i 2013 start to makin that noise….the car is with 94000km dont know well how is in miles….
    The same noise in the last video..
    But star making that noise….like 3 months ago
    I have trouble finding a mechanical assitance outside the BMW.
    What parts is to be changed?

    . Can you help me?

    Like

  15. Hicham says:

    Hi do u have any videos how to remove front axles and differential to get to the oil pump chain broke on it so I have to do timming chain as well thanks

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  16. Jason says:

    Hi – I have a 2015 BMW X1. I recently started reading about the timing chain and how the plastic guides can break. I also read that they changed the design of the timing chain on the 2015 models, but only those produced after 1/2015. I just checked and mine was produced in early 2014. Is there a way to tell if I have the new or old chain? Or is it strictly by production date?

    Thanks
    Jason

    Like

  17. vinodrk1st says:

    I tried running a timing chain test using ista. It failed 1000rpm saying timing chain is under tensioned. Whenever I drive the car with some sudden n hard stop, I get p1339 warning the next dtime I start the car. I changed the position sensor n still get the code.
    When I put the car in drive mode the engine tilts by 2 to 3 degrees left.
    Thankyou for all the help you are doing in this site…amazing job.

    Like

  18. vinodrk1st says:

    The error code on ISTA is 130F20 exhaust camshaft offset angle to crankshaft outside tolerance(vanos solenoid valve, exhaust)

    Like

    • This is a hard one,,,you could have a issue with the vanos unit or a problem with the timing chain.

      Like

      • vinodrk1st says:

        I see an undervoltage error on terminal 5 logged Everytime before I got the 130f20 error logged.

        I physically checked the timing chain from the oilcap & it is pretty tight & intact. Could this under voltage have triggered the 130f20 camshaft error?

        Like

      • I think you mean terminal 15,,,yes undervoltage fault can cause a lot of different problems because they are not getting enough voltage to operate correctly

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  19. Brian says:

    I just purchased a 2013 328i Xdrive M-sport with the N26 SULEV motor. The engine currently has 63,000 miles on it. After stumbling onto the timing chain issue, I thought I would do a visual inspection of my chain. I found a lot of side-to-side play in the chain. My question is….is the timing chain covered under warranty because it is a SULEV engine, and if it is covered, where can I find the actual warranty proof to take with me to the BMW dealership?

    Thanks!

    Like

  20. bmwx6site says:

    Thanks .i dropped the x6 5.0 turno off at dealer yestursay to see what they say.its smoking from the exhaust along with dynamic drive malfunction and oil change service light on.Help

    Like

    • The smoking is probably valve stem seals which is a common issue on that engine,,,,let’s see what they say.

      Like

      • bmwx6site says:

        Ok.so BMW tginks its the seals along with other turbo leaks.the car is bot in warranty with 75kmiles. Im not sure if ill fix or get rid of it.I love it.Any info on the lawsuit regarding the N63 engines

        Like

      • There are some lawsuits and some extended warranty on N63 for oil leaks and oil burning on some years and models only,,,you need to go to your dealership and see if your car is covered for oil burning and oil leaks.

        Like

  21. kr4va says:

    2016 320 4 cycl produced 9/15.. i heard the NEW timing chain guides are WHITE mine are BROWN — any thoughts on that

    Like

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