Timing chain BMW bulletin

 This Has been a big subject with everyone on my blog,,,,some of you guys have been asking about the bulletin about this repair,,,,so this is the BMW bulletin that us technicians work with,,,,I hope this helps some of you guys.

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221 Responses to Timing chain BMW bulletin

  1. Mike Price says:

    I have a 2012 X1, I had heard the timing chain whine get worse over the winter, so I parked the vehicle the end of May, and slowly ordered the parts and the timing chain lock out kit for my mechanic. It was a good thing I did, I was talking to him the other day and he said the the top right timing chain guide had failed and was just kind of floating around. I was lucky I didn’t lose the engine. He said there were bits of plastic in the bottom of the oil pan. It was thanks to this blog that I was able to save my X1, hopefully I won’t have anymore issues with this!

    Like

  2. Neil Howard says:

    I have a 2013 328i with 85k miles, mostly highway if that makes any difference. At 77k miles, I got a low oil pressure warning light, towed 100 miles to the dealership and they couldn’t find anything wrong. Eventually replaced some kind of oil flow/distribution sensor of some kind as a starting point.

    Serviced at 80k as usual, with nothing appearing. Also took it in at 84k for a $150 diag fee because I could hear a whine, but since I was reading all of these threads, I wasn’t sure if it was just me worrying. Sure enough, 85k lead to another Low Oil Pressure warning light. Towed to BMW dealership, and 4.5 hours of labor to find out that the Timing Chain guide was broken.

    Dealer originally quoted $4700 for repair, which included some BMWNA assistance apparently. I called BMWNA directly to escalate and hit a brick wall for 10+ minutes, no help whatsoever. Apparently, extended warranty is their ‘sorry’ and any other issues after this is just wear and tear. Eventually the dealer lowered to $3700 because of my loyalty in giving them too much money, (Taken the car there since I got it 2 years ago at 45k miles)

    The question I have, is what questions to ask? I have researched as much as I can, but want to know what else to ask to be replaced whilst they are in there. Oil Pump? Oil Pump Chain? Anything else?

    The notion that these problems are isolated isn’t true – the SA spoke about the frequency of these (mainly X3’s).

    I understand the risks of owning a BMW compared to a generic car, but to think that another four-figure repair bill could pop up is nerve wracking to say the least. Unfortunately, I put way too many miles into the car which had lead to me being upside down in it anyway compared to my loan. Stuck.

    Like

    • No I really can’t think of anything else they should replace,,,,they should replace the timing chain and guide rails and oil pump chain and guide,,,,,it’s up to you if you want the oil pump replace at the same time,,,,they will be inside the oil pan when they do the other work, it would only be a couple more bolts to replace at that point

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  3. Josh says:

    Hello – I stumbled upon this page and am so appreciative. I started getting this whine and saw your post and the SIB you posted. Took the car to BMW as I am almost at 7yrs and at 65k miles, and they said I will get the SIB 11 03 17 as outlined above. Car has been in the shop for a day, and tech said they’ll let me know if they see anything else, while they have the engine open. I understand they will replace the timing chain and guide rails and oil pump chain and guide. But I want to be smart when they call me and try to hit me up with other non-warranty issues. What else could they possibly find that may not be covered due to this issue? I suppose they could suggest I change the oil pump? What would be a reasonable cost while they are in there, and is there any reason to change it? I suppose I want to be smart and not let the dealer fleece me while they are at it. Any advice is appreciated and thank you for your good work.

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  4. housesaleweb says:

    Driving bmw 2013 x3 i28 to work. Stopped at traffic light and car indicated “drivetrain malfunction, with low oil pressure warning. I immediately stopped and had car towed to bmw dealer. The SA drove the car into BMW repair shop and promised calling the next day. Bmw called and told me the engine needs to be replaced. They said the timing chain guide had broken and pieces of plastic found in bottom oil pan. I bought the car at 72,000 miles from another dealer and currently at 100,000 miles. I have always changed the oil as recommended. I am thinking of taking it to a mechanic. The engine still runs and car starts but I don’t want to drive it. Any advise will help. Why does the dealer want to change the engine at $13,000? Am still financing the car and it still looks like new. Besides I can’t afford a new engine.

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    • I think the dealer want to replace the whole engine because they are worried about anymore possible damage that was done to engine when it loss oil pressure,,,,BMW doesn’t want to take the liability if they only replace the timing chain and something else is wrong,,,,,it’s easier to replace the whole engine,,,ok if the engine still runs I would then have it towed to a good known independent BMW mechanic who has done this repair before and that can lead you in the right direction

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  5. housesaleweb says:

    Thought as much. Thank you for your quick response and feedback.

    Like

  6. BMWfromCanada says:

    I had timing chain issue and dealer replaced the timing chain drive and oil chain drive module where 50% of cost was covered by BMW Canada. Car was out of warranty but had only 55000 KM on it. Now that timing chain drive and oil chain drive has been changed, do I need to worry about it failing again or the new part fixes the issue?

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  7. Karen says:

    Please confirm which models falls in this recall from BMW

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  8. Karen says:

    Please confirm which models fall within this recall from BMW and year model. Just happened to my car.

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  9. synbitz says:

    Hello. I hope you will respond to this. I have a 420i N20 build date summer of 2014. I’m very worried it’s a second hand car I do hear some rattle at cold start but I’ve come to understand it’s “normal” until the oil pressure is there to support the chain tensioner. I have read around the net and my research seems to confirm that the tensioner works under pressure so at cold start you can hear a little rattle. I called my dealer about this too and he said that as long as it at cold start and only lasts a 10 to 20 seconds there’s no real worry, I should be hearing it when its warm. So uhm, just to be sure I’m asking you too… Should I get my chain tensioner / guides replaced ? my car has 50k KM on it. I drive it around in the netherlands area.

    Thanks.

    Like

    • The cold start rattle is normal,,,,it should only last about 10 to 20 seconds like the dealer said,,,,getting the chain tensioner and guides replaced is up to you,,,,if you do replace them I would also replace the timing chain and oil pump chain

      Like

  10. Florencio says:

    quick question, I just did an oil chain to my 2014 F30 N26 xdrive and was checking the timing chain, I used a pliers and was able to pull the chain up to about 2~3mm. Read on other forums that it is normal while the engine is off, please correct me if I’m wrong, N26 have 50k miles.

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  11. Steve says:

    Yesterday (my 39th birthday) I was driving home from being out of town at a company event. 77mph in a 70mph zone, low oil pressure warning came up. Stopped as soon as I could and had it flatbed towed to the nearest indy shop – who just called and confirmed it’s the timing chain guide issue. The engine did re-start, didn’t sound bad at all (didn’t drive it at all) and I didn’t get the “drivetrain malfunction” warning.

    Called BMW NA to learn what they can do. In short, I have to pay to get it towed to the nearest dealer, where they’ll “diagnose” the problem. I’m praying it’s not a total engine swap. Thanks to this thread, I learned about the 7/70 extended warranty. Problem is, I’m at 70,800 miles….

    Anyone ever hear of BMW helping people just outside the extended warranty period? (fingers crossed!)

    Like

    • Yes BMW does help out they call it Goodwell

      Like

      • Steve says:

        Thank you for your reply! I’m hopeful this gets resolved with little issues. I really do love the car…

        Like

      • Steve says:

        Just heard from the BMW tech at the dealership – he’s advocating that this gets covered under the warranty since I’m only 800 miles outside of the 70k and well within the 7 years. My timing chain is loose, but they don’t know why that would cause oil pressure drop. No evidence of engine failure, but they said I’ll need an oil change, alignment, and oil pump (well over $5-7k). I contacted BMW North America and left a message with the case manager (Jason). Any idea on whether they’ll cover it??? Any idea on how a loose timing chain would cause oil pressure drop? It’s not showing an oil pressure warning anymore, oddly….

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      • I don’t know if they will cover it,,,,I don’t think a loose timing chain would cause low oil pressure,,,I have seen the oil pressure switch cause problem,,,,question so let me get this straight they are going to cover the timing chain and oil pump chain repairs under the extended warranty which is great,,,,but oil change,alignment and oil pump does not cost 5k to 7k,,,,I don’t understand the $5k to 7k,,,,the oil change,alignment and oil pump should be under $1k

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      • Steve says:

        Thank you again for your reply! Sorry I wasn’t clear. I still need to talk to BMWNA to see if they’ll cover any of it as a goodwill. The tech said all of the services would be around $5 – 7k (everything).

        Like

  12. Jordanow4 says:

    Hello BMWTechnician, Last week I just bought a nice X1 28I XDrive (produced in December 2013) and imported from Canada to Poland last year.
    The mileage is 33 000 Kilometers and the car looks and drives as new!
    Question:
    Will BMW Poland have to carry out the warranty procedure if I ask them to?

    Like

  13. Bo Hansen says:

    Frankly speaking I think it would make good sense making a corrective action at this early stage (33 000 km) instead of waiting for an engine breakdown…I hope BMW Poland share my point of view…

    Like

  14. Bo Hansen says:

    Just visited my local BMW dealership this morning and they will take the car for service the 7th of May. Then they will also take a closer look at the potential issue with the timing chain and oil pump.
    Looks like the timing chain issue is related to all N20 engines produced BEFORE 1st of March 2013 and my car is produced the 18th of April 2013 so it looks like we are 6-7 weeks on the safe side…Anyway I will come back as soon as I have more news to share,

    Thanks alot for your fast reply and support

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Garrison says:

    Followed this blog for a while. Currently at 60k miles on my 2014 320i. What’s the likelihood my dealer would replace these parts under the 7yr/70k service bulletin preventatively? I assume it’s mainly based on dealer discretion; just didn’t know if there were preventative cases out there?
    Thanks

    Like

  16. Mike says:

    Hello. Can you please tell me what you think about the sound of my engine?
    It’s a 2012 528i with 7 years coming up in June, currently around 65K miles on the odometer. I’m not sure if I should push the dealer to change the timing chain guide rails…
    Thank you in advance!

    Like

  17. Ray says:

    What does the X1 whine sound like so that we can replicate and look for it? Thanks @bmwtechnician.

    Like

  18. GILBERTO says:

    Hi, thank for this blog and information related on it.
    I have a question, i buy N26B20A bmw 428i, year 02/2014 USA; is that car subjected to timing chain or timing components failures.
    The car has 75.000 Km/47000 miles.
    Thanks

    Like

    • According to the bmw bulletin list of cars ,,,your car is not on that list

      Like

      • Gilberto says:

        Thanks a lot.
        Asking to BMW they tell me I will control my car on BMW with phonometer, do you have an idea of the limit of the measured sound level that my car should have if it is ok?
        I ask you that beacuse i hear some metallic noise in the first 1 minute after i turn on my car when it starts in the morning.
        Thank you.

        Like

      • No I don’t have a limit of measured sound for the timing chain,,,,if you also have a metallic noise during the first minute of start up I would be worried and get my car to the dealership

        Like

  19. mazen Hamza says:

    Have bmw x3, and had the timing belt fail one and a half years ago. Bmw corporate approved aid. Just had another issue with the timing chain slipping. The dealership is asking me to pay to find that out. I had a malfunction light come on and previously nothing else . They just checked the car back in October and topped of fluids. Wanting to know if this is reasonable. I have followed an oil change maintenance schedule recommended by the computer as it comes up.

    Like

    • Is this reasonable,,,that hard for me to answer,,,what every dealer want to do is have you ok it the tear down and see what the problem could be,,,and if the problem is not the timing chain issue then the repairs will be on you to fix it,,,,now why did the the timing chain slip I don’t know,,,,but I can tell you that the dealership is hoping that the problem is not related to the work that they performed and that the repairs will come out of your pocket.

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      • mazen Hamza says:

        The car now has 100k it was 28k since the work was done and the dealer is saying that the oil pressure change caused the timing chain slip

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      • Why did the oil pressure change,,,there has to be a reason,,,,and if the oil pressure changed then it should have caused other problems internally inside the engine,,,see the dealer doesn’t want to think they caused the problem and lose money.

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  20. Dan says:

    I 100% have the wine but my car is out of warranty. What should I expect BMW dealer to charge for doing the work outlined in this bulletin? I looked around but it seems most people covered under warranty. Thank you.

    Like

  21. LG says:

    Hi – I purchased a 2014 X1 sdrive28i, in California from a BMW. I’m the 2nd owner and the X1 has 41,000 miles and it was produced on 4/2013. Do I need to be worried about this issue? or is mine ok because it was produced 1 month after the bulletin date of 3/2013.

    Like

  22. Richard says:

    Hi, bmwtechnician. I have a 2013 BMW 320i manufactured in South Africa in October 2013. The vehicle has 74 000km. Is my vehicle at risk of the Timing Chain issue? Is it one of the units that has the old timing chain parts?

    Like

    • Yes ,,,your vehicle is at risk.

      Like

      • Richard says:

        Thank you…bad news for me then. The car runs fine thus far. I mentioned that the vehicle has 74 000km, its actually 74 000MILES. Besides forking our for an expensive preventative change in the timing chain parts, is there any other way to manage this situation in order that the vehicle is reasonably saved from the timing chain problem? Iv always changed the oil at around 7000miles, I mostly drive in eco-pro but immediately de-activate the ASS and also drive sedately – I don’t think Iv ever red-lined the vehicle. Is there anything else that I can do to manage this situation?

        Like

      • Not all 2013 timing chains are bad,,,,a lot of people don’t have any problems,,,and no there are no preventive things you can do to stop this problem,,,,either you will have a issue with the timing chain or you won’t it hard to tell.

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      • Richard says:

        Thanks for the response, we appreciate your valued inputs. I suppose its the luck of the draw. Iv gone 74 000 miles with no issues…I suppose my luck is holding out. If one has a bad timing chain due to this issue, is there any rough statistical mileage range when most of the timing chains are breaking down?

        Like

      • No,,,I have seen 30k and 50k

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  23. GA says:

    Hi, I am interested in buying a X3 xDrive28i built in 11/2012 which currently has 76K Miles on. The following parts were replaced:
    In 7/2017: Serpentine belt
    In 11/2017: Central valve (2), timing chain, slide rail, tensioner guide rail, valve cover gasket set, oil pan gasket, chain drive, front crank seal, axle bolt (2), hose, sprocket, o-ring (2), bolts, oil housing gasket
    In 4/2018: Alternator Rebuild and battery
    In 4/2019: AIr intake hose & breather hose
    In 3/2019: Drive belt(s) replaced
    In 6/2019: Found & secured Vac line for charge pipe
    In 7/2019: Engine/powertrain computer/module checked, Drive belt tensioner replaced, Drive Belt(s) replaced.
    1) It looks like the timing chain was replaced in 11/2017, apparently from the owners pocket (why?), but I am not sure if other recommended replacements were done. For example I cannot see the replacement of oil pump chain and guide in any records. Anything left to worry about?
    2) Looks like they had some issues since the beginning of 2019. Looking at the replaced parts, can you tell what might have been the problem? Drive Belt(s) was replaced twice in 4 months for some reason (first by a local repair shop, second by BMW dealership). Do you think these repairs in 2019 indicate more potential problems?
    3) The car seems to be in a great shape, however do you think I should be concerned about this purchase -based on the above information? What would you recommend?
    Thanks in advance.

    Like

    • Everything looks good ,,,except why wasn’t the oil pump chain replaced,,,,also why was the drive belt and tensioner replaced twice in 3 months,,,,that’s kind of strange and I wonder what is going on,,,that could be a red flag

      Like

      • GA says:

        Thanks, much appreciated.
        – I’ve gotten the actual service record for July 2019. They repaired the damaged VAC line & performed boost pressure, replaced leaking oil filter housing gaskets (2). It also says “removed and replaced belt tensioner and belt that soaked in oil”. This is the reason for the second replacement. Does it make sense?
        – If so, is it OK that oil pump chain has not been replaced yet or should I forget about this car?

        Like

      • Ok the belt tensioner makes sense,,,I would walk away because of the oil pump chain,,,because BMW told us that should be replaced at the same time as the timing chain,,,,sorry

        Like

      • GA says:

        Thanks, I’ve walked away. However the owner requested me to ask you the following questions:
        1) Are all of the oil pump chains (opc) -in the engines with tc issue- bad? The owner had the tc replaced as per Their mechanic’s recommendation who didn’t say anything about the opc (the owner paid for the replacement but then was reimbursed by BMW).
        2) Should it be expected that the current situation (replaced tc but not replaced opc) might have already caused some problems that are yet to be surfaced?
        3) Under the current circumstances, can the replacement of the opc wait until a problem occurs (maybe it will never occur??) or should it be done as soon as possible?

        Like

      • What happen was BMW told us that we should replace both the timing chain and oil pump chain at the same time,,,,due to the tension on the chain and the same brand of chain we used,,,the newer chain is stronger and better material,,,,will there ever be a problem with the oil pump chain I don’t know,,,,,was every N20,N26 have bad timing chains no,,,it was just the luck of the draw which ones were bad.

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  24. Peter says:

    I am following this Blog with interest from Germany. I drive the N20 engine in a X1.
    The N20 is a very common engine also in Germany but here it has no noticable problems with the timing chain and the oil pump chain issue occurs sporadically. Here this engine is regarded as one of the most solid gasoline engines at the moment.

    Like

    • Richard says:

      Where was the N20 engine manufactured? I am in South Africa and I know a material number of F30 units around the world were made here in South Africa but I’m not sure where the engine was assembled.

      Like

      • I believe all the engine are made in the same place,,,I know I have heard from other countries and they don’t have the same problem as the United States does,,,I don’t know what the problem is,,,did United States get different engines? Or is it a software and fuel issue causing problems?

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  25. Richard says:

    We can all guess why the USA issued a recall while other countries didn’t. Could it be the ethanol fuel in the US? The ASS adding regularconstant tension in a routine trip? Could it be the prevalent chipping of vehicles in USA causing stressed engines? Could it be the somewhat preference to high RPMs in the USA? My 2013 F30 320 was checked by a dealer and he said there are no signs of the timing issue. I drive like a granny and 90% I EcoPro mode as I like to save fuel and where I reside, only 95 octane pure unleaded is available. Touch wood The issue does not knock on my door as I want to keep the car till maybe the G20 lCI arrives then trade it in.

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