My BMW N47 timing chain will SNAP too?

Posted by HJL_ADMIN 1 on

Today, let’s talk about BMW N47 engine.

N47 engine is a diesel engine which you may find in below BMW models.

In 2006-2012, it is widely used in the series 1, 3, 5 as 1.6 or 2.0L size engines.

2006-11 E87 in 118d, 120d, 123d
2007-13 E88 in 118d, 120d

2006-11 E81 in 116d, 118d, 120d

2012-15 F20 in 114d, 116d

2009-11 E90 in 316d, 318d, 320d

2009-11 F07 in 520d

2011-15 E84 in X1

2009-16 F25 in X3

If you search on the internet for the comments from these car owners, you will notice that there are many complaints about the N47 timing chain assembly.

So today, let’s talk about N47 timing chain kit premature problems and let’s understand more about its failure symptoms, causes, and the ways to prevent the problems.


N47 timing chain kit premature problems.

One of our repair shop customers contacted us yesterday as his customer needs the N47 timing chain kit for replacement.

His customer’s E90 320D visited his shop as his car had a very high-pitched rattling noise coming from the engine during driving.

After his diagnose, the rattling sound came from the timing chain which was slacked and caused the loosen gap.

The car owner is lucky as the timing chain was not snapped or broken and not affected other engine parts.

Just like this car owner, there have been reports from late 2011 that this N47 engine was failing because of the timing chain issue.

In Oct 2016, BMW admitted that there was a design flaw with the chain tensioner and chains in its N47 engines which were installed in vehicles between Feb 2007 and Jun 2008.

BMW’s technical team planned to replace the timing chains and tensioners in response to this design deficiency which resulted in the premature failures for N47 engine.

Thousands of these N47 experienced the timing chain problems and some of them even had dropped valves.


Symptoms of a Failing Timing Chain

The N47 timing chain premature failure comes from the weak tensioners fail to apply proper tense onto the chains.

Over time, the chains are getting slacked and getting loose.

The loosen chain will cause the sharp rattling sound. Normally the rattling noise is coming from the rear part of the engine.

The sound will be especially noticeable during the cold startup of the vehicle.

If the slack is severe to cause the chain to contact the chain cover, you will hear the clanking noise then.


Timing chain replacement is very extensive job and can be very costly if the failed chain system damages other engine parts.

Normally the timing chain kit can last to 80,000-100,000 miles without any problems.

However, due to the design flaws cause the potential timing chain tensioner problem, we’ll highly recommend the car owners to replace the N47 engine timing chain set periodically.

The timing chain preventative replacement can protect the N47 engine from snapping the timing chain. 

And next, let’s talk some common failure symptoms for you to pay attention on your N47 vehicle.


#1 Unusual noises
The rattling sound may appear when the chain goes wrong.

Especially when the car is idling, you may hear the rattling sound from the engine chamber.

This is because the chain is loose and may rattle against some other parts.


#2 Rough idling

As we just mentioned, when the timing chain is loose, the rattle sounds will appear especially when the car is idling.

Then you may feel the idling is getting rougher when the problem goes worse.


#3 Check engine light on

Just as the failure of the other engine parts, the CEL will be on to remind you that something goes wrong with your vehicle.
Of course there are various failures that may trigger the CEL and timing chain failure could be one of them.

If you have the diagnostic tool, connecting it to the CPU, and you can have the draft idea for initial check.

Or, the better way is to bring your BMW to the repairing shop for the thorough check.


#4 Metal debris or shavings in oil

When the timing chain wore over time, sometimes it will give off the metal debris and shaving.

And the shaving may fall into the oil and cause the worse problems.

Whenever you find out the shaving or debris in the oil when you do the engine oil replacement, it’s a sign to remind you of checking other systems.


#5 Engine failure or misfire
Well, if luck
, your N47 car may fail to start and very possible problem to cause so is the chain broke.

I called it lucky because there were drivers experiencing their N47 engine cut-out on the motorway.

The power suddenly lost and the drivers were forced to move the car across the motorway.

Gee, this is really not fun situation.


When situation went worse, sometimes it may also cause your engine to misfire.
Because when the chain is stretched and getting loose, the chain between the valves and pistons may be out of sync and may influence the combustion in the engine.
When the chain is stretching, it can jump a gear on either the crankshaft or cam and cause the timing system out of calibration and the misfire symptom shows up.


When the N47 timing chain snapped…..

The timing chain system is not categorized as the serviceable part before.

Because the metal chain is considered as durable and sustainable which may have better performance than the timing belt.

However, due to the design flaw for N47 engine, when the timing chain snaps in N47 diesel engine, the worst the intake and exhaust valves will collide with pistons and cause the massive engine damage.

The 16 valves and rocker arms as well as the camshafts will be bended and damaged.

If the engine is ruined, the engine rebuilt or overhaul is a solution which requires intensive labor job and time.

The labor cost is around $2400 to $4000 depends on the severity level.

 the chain was snapped and the guides were broken into piece

Like the photos our repair shops sent to us, the chain was snapped and the guides were broken into piece as well.

Luckily, the engine was safe and had no damage, so he just helped his customer to replace the timing chain system.

Our repair shop customer strongly recommends us to urge the car drivers to replace the timing chain every 150,000 to 200,000kms.

More and more car drivers now have the correct concept that the timing chain, like timing belt which requires replacement every 60,000 to 80,000kms, is a serviceable part which requires regular replacement to prevent the potential malfunction problems.

the chain was snapped and the guides were broken into piece  


Maintenance tips for Your N47 Diesel Engine

Above all, the best way to prevent the timing chain system malfunction problem is the on-time maintenance.

Regularly changing the engine oil and the filters like air, oil or fuel with stable quality products, there is nothing to worry for your n47 diesel engine to achieve 750,000 miles or more.


Meanwhile, except the timing chain kit, most of the car owners are satisfied with their N47 engines.

Thing is, problems may happen after the vehicles are driving more than 12-15 years, some components start to have failure problems.

We can say this is normal as parts wear over time.

The point is the correct maintenance ways and proper prevention action to prevent the problem and longer your car life.

Especially if your N47 engine car is more than 12 years, please keep watching the video till the end, as the juicy handy tips are just everywhere inside the video.


In the next article, so many handy tips to maintain your N47 & N57 engines will be revealed.



Parts You need for Your BMW N47 engine:

Timing Chain Kit Fits BMW 118d 120d 318d 520d X1 16d X3 18d N47 Diesel 2006-15 - #HJ-02011


Related Reading
BMW X3 03-10 engine N52/N54 Top Common Problems


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