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.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

960 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.