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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193 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!


  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.


    • 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


  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.


  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.


    • 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


  5. housesaleweb says:

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


  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?


  7. Karen says:

    Please confirm which models falls in this recall from BMW


  8. Karen says:

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


  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.



    • 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


  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.


  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!)


    • Yes BMW does help out they call it Goodwell


      • Steve says:

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


      • 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….


      • 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


      • 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).


  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!
    Will BMW Poland have to carry out the warranty procedure if I ask them to?


  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…


  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?


  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!


  17. Ray says:

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


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