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      03-16-2020, 06:02 PM   #1
BMW-Chris-7772
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Serious engine issues with 428i. Please help

Dear Friends,

this is for the engine specialists of this board
I really hope for some useful hints from an experienced Person with knowledge about failure codes and connected defective parts.

I have a problem which seems to get worse step by step.

Since more than half a year my 428i is shows a warning like "Failure drivetrain - reduced engine power". The engine is running in emergency program. I switch the engine off and start again, then was everything good for at least 3 weeks.
Since last week, the failure is showing up daily (!!!)

Failure code says "Exhaust camshaft - adjustment too late"

I was at the local BMW dealer before 3 months, he updated every possible unit and assumed this was the key. In reality nothing has changed, the issue was the same like before. It happens on partial or low engine load. Engine itself has approx. 150.000km on the counter, consumes nearly zero Oil (Castrol Edge 5w30), is not tuned and runs good (excluded the issue). During emergency program, it runs more rough.

Im getting really concerned now, because of increased failure frequency and the dealer seems to be not really qualified. To avoid some wrong diagnostics, my idea is to ask you all before I visit the garage again. Maybe some of you had the same issue or heard about the most probable root cause.

My thoughts are (from affordable to horrible expensive):
- magnetic valves of the VANOS (maybe renew or clean them)
- lengthened timing chain (maybe renew together with tensioners)
- worn camshaft or camshaft bearings (maybe new camshafts or cylinder head)

Please excuse my average english language. Hope for your useful experiences. Thanks a lot!
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      03-18-2020, 07:54 AM   #2
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This sounds like timing chain failure to me.

Have you checked the chain for slack through the oil cap?
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      03-18-2020, 09:07 AM   #3
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The good news is the engine is not burning oil at 150K kilometers / approximately 93K miles.

I also think timing chain needs to be examined.

Is the dealer following BMW AG ISTA procedures? ISTA stands for Integrated Service Technician Application. Worth asking ...
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      03-22-2020, 12:22 PM   #4
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Hi Gents,

thanks for your messages. Did not have checked the chain until now. Is it possible through the oil cap?
Could you please describe how to do it?

To be more precise about the failure, its "130104 - VANOS, intake: Control fault, camshaft jams"


Assume the dealer is at least following an official BMW procedure, but of course I wil ask for ISTA D. After he updated everything before 3 months, he told me, if the issues remains, he has to make "a deeper analysis" ...whatever this means. In my eyes, it might be better to check the mechanical side, instead of something with the tester.

As I dont have a good trust in his knowledge, I want to analyse the issue by myself as good as possible. Atm Im trying to install ISTA D by myself (did not get it so far on win 10) to check the "adaption values" of VANOS. Do you think this make sense? If they are out of spec, what is the most probable issue?

One interesting update from today: Checked the engine oil level today and surprisingly it was 1 liter missing (after 23.000km). It makes me a little angry that there was no warning earlier. After filling up, the Engine now runs a lot smoother especially in startup. Hopefully this will at least decrease the the failure occurence.

Hope for your feedback again
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      03-22-2020, 01:47 PM   #5
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One liter of engine oil missing is most likely a separate issue. Are there any symptoms of leaks around gaskets, for example valve cover gasket?
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      03-22-2020, 01:56 PM   #6
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@BMW-Chris-7772

Go for a drive and let the car come up to operating temp. Return home, turn engine off and pop the hood.

Maybe wait for a minute or two to pass then remove oil fill cap and do the following gently with your finger or a small screwdriver.

Depending on how much play you have, you can get an idea of the amount of slack.

I believe the slight side to side motion is normal as shown in the video. Extreme slack will allow "up and down" movement which is very bad and cause the vehicle to come out of timing if it jumps a tooth.


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      03-23-2020, 10:15 AM   #7
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engine is not burning oil at 150K kilometers i would be safe to say like the others to check the (chain) Might be a good place to start
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      03-23-2020, 11:42 AM   #8
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More likely issue with Valvetronic, shop can do a diagnostic on that specifically
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      03-25-2020, 08:13 PM   #9
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Dear BMW Friends,

thanks a lot for your comments. Most of you say it is a lengthened chain which is also my assumption. Will do the screwdriver check tomorrow -> thanks for the video sspade

One question to you all: If its really the chain, why its the intake camshaft all the time and not also the exhaust side? Both have the same chain, correct?

cfm56d7b Do you think 1l oil per 23.000km istoo much? So far I thought this is a very low consumptionwith view to the milage!? Engine is very dry from the outside, seems to be wear of the inner parts.

I was hoping so much that maybe the issue is solved with the refilled oil, but unfortunately after 2 days silence, a failure with emergency program rappeared today. Just a little other one
Intake camshaft code 130E20 : angle deviation with respect to crankshaft outside tolerance =((

Even you in the US might have other prices than GER, what do you think would be the costs to renew chain at BMW dealer? Would you invest the money with this mileage or try to sell the car? =(

Thank you very much!
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