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      12-28-2017, 05:49 PM   #1
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N20 Timing chain repair - how much does it cost?

So i have a 2013 328i that just rolled over 80K with no real problems to speak of. I did receive the letter from BMW that states I have an extended warranty for the timing chain (and related parts) until 70K miles so that doens't do much for me. : (

I was planning to drive this car for several more years so I am weighing the option to just get the work done pre-emptively with the new parts.

But how much should I expect to pay in labor for the stealership or a qualified Indy to swap out the parts?

I apologize if this has already been covered but I spent a significant time in the existing threads but I only saw a engine replacement costs mentioned for after the chain has failed and caused major damage.

I am also considering just rolling the dice and putting in an used engine if I too experience a major problem. My two concerns with that plan are that this is my wife's DD so I don't want to strand her on a busy road and if things do go bad, I doubt that they will be at a convenient time to organize alternative transport while gathering quotes to perform the engine swap.
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      12-28-2017, 06:00 PM   #2
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I don't think I'd do a pre-emptive engine swap..you could very well be going from 'possible failure' to a failure given no real history on the used engine.

If you're that worried, trade it in on a 335?

I got the same notice on my 2015.
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      12-28-2017, 06:08 PM   #3
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It's not likely to up and die without warning, read the threads about the noise that it makes when it's getting ready to break. It's also less likely to break than it might seem. If the problem was as bad as some make it out to be there wouldn't be a dozen or so threads about it, there would many dozens, if not hundreds, and there wouldn't be an extended warranty, there would be a mass recall.
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      12-28-2017, 10:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalCarNut View Post
I don't think I'd do a pre-emptive engine swap..you could very well be going from 'possible failure' to a failure given no real history on the used engine.

If you're that worried, trade it in on a 335?

I got the same notice on my 2015.
I dont think he's referring to swapping the engine prior to failure. Hes in the same situation as I and debating:

1. Paying to replace chain and other updated components before failure.

2. Rolling the dice and risk damaging the engine completely if a failure occurs and therefore needing a used engine to swap into an otherwise good car.
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      12-28-2017, 11:49 PM   #5
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I thought there was a recall. Replacing the timing chain that has no problems can be pricey as it involves removing the engine from the vehicle. Were you planning on doing an engine swap? Would seem better to just trade in for a CPO if you're that concerned. I wouldn't worry about it though. Would have been better if you had purchased an extended warranty before your existing warranty was done for piece of mind.
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      12-29-2017, 04:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer456 View Post
I thought there was a recall. Replacing the timing chain that has no problems can be pricey as it involves removing the engine from the vehicle. Were you planning on doing an engine swap? Would seem better to just trade in for a CPO if you're that concerned. I wouldn't worry about it though. Would have been better if you had purchased an extended warranty before your existing warranty was done for piece of mind.
N20/N26 TC is at front of engine so there is no need for engine out. In contrast B46 and B58 have TC at the back of engine and those require engine out.

To OP, my local trusted indies quote $2000 for TC, oil pump chain + oil pump, and the plastic rails.
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      12-29-2017, 08:47 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmer456 View Post
I thought there was a recall. Replacing the timing chain that has no problems can be pricey as it involves removing the engine from the vehicle. Were you planning on doing an engine swap? Would seem better to just trade in for a CPO if you're that concerned. I wouldn't worry about it though. Would have been better if you had purchased an extended warranty before your existing warranty was done for piece of mind.
Talk about misinformed. No recall, no idea where timing chain is located and still decides to present incorrect information to the board.

Im getting a sense that a rep score on here really does not indicate knowledge/experience about a particular platform but rather how many pretty pics you've posted and things like that.
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      12-29-2017, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sspade View Post
Talk about misinformed. No recall, no idea where timing chain is located and still decides to present incorrect information to the board.

Im getting a sense that a rep score on here really does not indicate knowledge/experience about a particular platform but rather how many pretty pics you've posted and things like that.
lol
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      12-29-2017, 12:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavarianride View Post

To OP, my local trusted indies quote $2000 for TC, oil pump chain + oil pump, and the plastic rails.
Thanks bavarianride - that was exactly what I requested.

So i see my options as follows:
1) replace timing chain and associated parts for $2k and drive the car for another 3-5 years

2) purchase an easy street warranty from Route 66 and have 36K miles of coverage for $3K. Obviously this would cover other items as well. The mileage limit would put us at about 2.5 years of service.

3) replace with another 328i CPO for about $5K delta. I actually found a pretty good deal from an Atlanta BMW dealer but strangely enough I couldn't get them to provide me the total cost without agreeing to a deposit. I thought the days of that type of silliness were over... : ( My wife isn't totally unhappy since that car was a dark grey model and she loves her Estoril Blue.

4) replace with a 335i for an $8K delta. I found two 2014s in Cali that were priced very attractively but honestly the 328i is plenty fast for her and I am simply less familiar with the N55. I do own a N52 E90 sport, so maybe some of that knowledge is tranferable.

5) do nothing for $0 delta. My main concern here is that as the wife's DD, she doesn't pay much attention to her car so I don't really trust her to listen if the car starts making the telltale whine. I have educated her on the sound by playing a couple of clips, but I give that a 1 in 4 chance of actually being noticed if it happens. As a mild preventive measure, I am going to cut down my oil change interval to 7-8K. We live just out of town and the majority of our driving takes place on highways (but not freeways). So the car is usually traveling between 45-70 mph without a ton of traffic lights. To me that sounds like a very light loading for any engine.
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      12-29-2017, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atx328b View Post
Thanks bavarianride - that was exactly what I requested.

So i see my options as follows:
1) replace timing chain and associated parts for $2k and drive the car for another 3-5 years

2) purchase an easy street warranty from Route 66 and have 36K miles of coverage for $3K. Obviously this would cover other items as well. The mileage limit would put us at about 2.5 years of service.
As far as #2 goes, that's the route (heh) I took. It's good piece of mind and there aren't any other exclusionary warranties available with zero deductible in the price range (from my research). Most other warranties, some non-exclusionary or with more exclusions, were more than 4k with a deductible. I'm going to be using the warranty to fix my dead horn soon, hopefully they have a smooth claim process.
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      12-29-2017, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
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My main concern here is that as the wife's DD, she doesn't pay much attention to her car so I don't really trust her to listen if the car starts making the telltale whine.
Take it out for a spin every few weeks. These chains don't go from quiet to broken over the course of a few days. Do that even if you get coverage, it's a lot less work and $ to replace than to repair, especially as when they break they usually do a lot of damage to other engine parts.
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      12-29-2017, 01:57 PM   #12
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What are the best value (cost/reputation) extended warranties currently available for POWERTRAIN coverage only?

Im wrestling with the idea but really only concerned with Powertrain components being covered.
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      12-29-2017, 02:31 PM   #13
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Thank you for the estimate ($2000). I was Googling all over with no joy. Be sure to also change the timing chain tensioner, I'm sure your Indy mechanic knows this.

As for the sell vs. keep decision, I usually keep these anecdotes in mind in addition to my financial analysis: "nothing is cheaper than the car you have" and "drive what you enjoy." Safe travels.
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      12-29-2017, 02:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sspade View Post
Talk about misinformed. No recall, no idea where timing chain is located and still decides to present incorrect information to the board.

Im getting a sense that a rep score on here really does not indicate knowledge/experience about a particular platform but rather how many pretty pics you've posted and things like that.
Rep score is just indicative of how many 'appreciates' you get. Means nothing really........
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      12-29-2017, 05:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atx328b View Post
Thanks bavarianride - that was exactly what I requested.

So i see my options as follows:
1) replace timing chain and associated parts for $2k and drive the car for another 3-5 years

2) purchase an easy street warranty from Route 66 and have 36K miles of coverage for $3K. Obviously this would cover other items as well. The mileage limit would put us at about 2.5 years of service.

3) replace with another 328i CPO for about $5K delta. I actually found a pretty good deal from an Atlanta BMW dealer but strangely enough I couldn't get them to provide me the total cost without agreeing to a deposit. I thought the days of that type of silliness were over... : ( My wife isn't totally unhappy since that car was a dark grey model and she loves her Estoril Blue.

4) replace with a 335i for an $8K delta. I found two 2014s in Cali that were priced very attractively but honestly the 328i is plenty fast for her and I am simply less familiar with the N55. I do own a N52 E90 sport, so maybe some of that knowledge is tranferable.

5) do nothing for $0 delta. My main concern here is that as the wife's DD, she doesn't pay much attention to her car so I don't really trust her to listen if the car starts making the telltale whine. I have educated her on the sound by playing a couple of clips, but I give that a 1 in 4 chance of actually being noticed if it happens. As a mild preventive measure, I am going to cut down my oil change interval to 7-8K. We live just out of town and the majority of our driving takes place on highways (but not freeways). So the car is usually traveling between 45-70 mph without a ton of traffic lights. To me that sounds like a very light loading for any engine.
No problem.

As for extended warranty(BMW or aftermarket), they all contain an aggregate cap at FMV at time of current repair. E.g., the engine repair is $24k, and the car is worth $10k. The contract does not pay more than $10k.

In addition, it is lifetime aggregate, meaning if there is a, say, $4k previous repair paid, the current repair won't get paid more than FMV minus previous repair costs.

Each contract usually will at least pay out $4k-ish, even FMV drops to $0.

My tactic right now is to do nothing till 7 years and 70000 miles extended warranty expires.
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      12-29-2017, 05:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluke View Post
Thank you for the estimate ($2000). I was Googling all over with no joy. Be sure to also change the timing chain tensioner, I'm sure your Indy mechanic knows this.

As for the sell vs. keep decision, I usually keep these anecdotes in mind in addition to my financial analysis: "nothing is cheaper than the car you have" and "drive what you enjoy." Safe travels.
FYI, my local dealer says $3500-$4000 for the same job.

A far as tensioner, it only helps if the plastic structure is intact. If the rails crumble, the TC will lose its support structure, and new tensioner does not help with that.

It is unclear if the plastic rails fail first, or the TC stretches first.
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      12-29-2017, 05:37 PM   #17
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Chances are the chain stretches enough to damage the guide, but it's also possible that the tensioner doesn't put enough tension on the chain, allowing the chain enough slack to damage the guide. Once the guide is broken, by whatever means, the chain jumps the sprocket and is broken, and since everything is in pieces at that point it's hard to determine what the sequence of events was.
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      12-29-2017, 06:32 PM   #18
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Someone has posted the service bulletin here, if you're interested in more details:

https://bmwtechnician.com/2017/08/02...-bmw-bulletin/
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      12-29-2017, 09:06 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Chances are the chain stretches enough to damage the guide, but it's also possible that the tensioner doesn't put enough tension on the chain, allowing the chain enough slack to damage the guide. Once the guide is broken, by whatever means, the chain jumps the sprocket and is broken, and since everything is in pieces at that point it's hard to determine what the sequence of events was.
The pictures seen so far do not show broken chains, but broken plastic guides.

The broken plastic pieces get into other parts, e.g. oil pump. By then CELs start to fire, and engine damage has been incurred before TC stretched enough to break.

Having said that, this type of plastic guide design has been around in BMWs for a while, the F30 snap-on attachment of the top and guide rails probably is a weakpoint that other BMW guide designs do not have.

https://bmwtechnician.com/2017/12/22...-coming-apart/
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      12-29-2017, 10:40 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
Chances are the chain stretches enough to damage the guide, but it's also possible that the tensioner doesn't put enough tension on the chain, allowing the chain enough slack to damage the guide. Once the guide is broken, by whatever means, the chain jumps the sprocket and is broken, and since everything is in pieces at that point it's hard to determine what the sequence of events was.
The pictures seen so far do not show broken chains, but broken plastic guides.

The broken plastic pieces get into other parts, e.g. oil pump. By then CELs start to fire, and engine damage has been incurred before TC stretched enough to break.

Having said that, this type of plastic guide design has been around in BMWs for a while, the F30 snap-on attachment of the top and guide rails probably is a weakpoint that other BMW guide designs do not have.

https://bmwtechnician.com/2017/12/22...-coming-apart/
This is my thinking as well I regards to the chain itself not actually breaking. I have experience with early "GM high feature V6" engines (like in the Cadillac CTS) which had the exact same issue with chains stretching but not actually breaking. This in turn caused other components like the guides to break especially in higher mileage, less well maintained engines. These are/were non interference engines so while still facing approximately a $2.5k repair bill from a good Indy... you didnt have to worry about bent valves or other major internal engine damage. Just repair and move on.

The first signs of timing issues on these engines were "cam correlation codes" when the cam shaft sensors started to notice timing issues...

Does anyone know if this same principle would be applicable to the N20/N26 motor? Could be another tell tale sign to replace timing chains before major failure (like the whining noise we all know to watch for).
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      12-29-2017, 10:52 PM   #21
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There are pictures of broken chains, with enough searching you'll find them. The guide is probably not at fault, because it's only a guide, there's normally no stress on it. When the chain becomes loose enough to flop around, by being stretched and/or the tensioner not keeping it adequately taut, it can smack against the guide causing it to break. In the thread you linked it's mentioned that changing the tensioner may be an effective preventive maintenance, and it's not expensive to do.
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      12-29-2017, 11:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Rep score is just indicative of how many 'appreciates' you get. Means nothing really........

^^ This ^^ .. ..

I'm a bonafide "mental midget" and managed a few hundred...

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