Evoque Motors

N47 Timing Chain Issue

The N47 engine family is prone to excessive timing chain wear and premature failure. Rattling noise from the rear of the engine is indicative of the condition. Timing chain failure may call for engine replacement or a costly repair. The issue applies to all applications and power variants of the engine produced from 01.03.2007 to 01.03.2011. The most seriously affected units which require the most extensive repairs were produced from 01.03.2007 to 05.01.2009. UPDATE - It now seems that there are issues appearing with a limited number of engines manufactured after the supposed sale date of 01.03.2011.

At Evoque Motors our technicians do offer following procedures regarding worn timing chains:

If your vehicle mileage is 80,000 to 100,000 miles - call 01254 679364 and ask for advice. Why you should use Evoque Motors for timing chain replacement.

We only install original engine parts manufactured by BMW - copy parts can fail after 20-30k miles… Original timing chains usually fails at 100-110k miles, but cases of failure did happened with mileages just little over 80k miles.

What happens when timing chain fails.

When timing chain fails, engine camshaft opens cylinder valves at wrong timing, causing piston hitting and breaking valve, valve rocker, damaging hydraulic valve lifters and camshafts. Cylinder head can suffer damage depending on at what speed piston was travelling during the impact (engine RPM). Piston can also get damaged from the impact and cause compression rings to seize.

Why it is important to replace worn timing chain and components before it fails completely.

New N47 engine of the shelf cost around £7500, - plus £800, - to install (POA).

Rebuilding BMW engine with original parts in UK should cost around £6000. Copy parts are simply unreliable although this is the only way for engine repairers to keep the cost low and sales high. Also, the vast majority of so called reconditioned engines are assembled using old parts from salvaged engines. So realistically you are buying poorly repaired engine with inbuilt guaranteed failure.

Another, most popular solution is to find good condition low mileage used engine. This way you can get away with roughly paying £1500 - £2500 for an engine and around £700 for installation including oil and filter as minimum, that’s totalling to £2200 - £3200.  No need to mention that used engines come with part only warranty meaning if the engine fails within the warranty period which is normally 30 to 90 days, the supplier will send you another one but you, the owner of the car will have to pay the workshop a second time for removal and installation plus delivery cost. Please be sure that you won't get low mileage engine for £1500 - car breakers know what they're selling and as rule of thumb, good clean engines with noted (still untraceable) low mileage are priced at close figure to £2500.

Cost of full timing chain kit replacement with original upgraded BMW parts starts from £1240. N47 engines have no other design issues and can easily run 200,000 miles if maintained correctly plus it is your original engine with traceable service history and mileage. Call our service team and book you BMW for timing chain test where Evoque technicians will measure timing chain elongation level as not all worn timing chains due issue characteristic rattle noise (those with noise do need replacement in almost 100% of cases).

BMW deny engine failures are due to manufacturing fault. In the last year Watchdog has heard numerous cases of total engine failure in the BMW 1-Series, 3-Series and 5-Series vehicles built between 2007 and 2009... But if the timing chain fails, it causes catastrophic engine failure that can happen without warning.


BMW Diesel Engine - Timing Chain Failure

Premature timing chain failure has become a serious problem for many BMW owners - regularly discussed in BMW website forums, featured on BBC Watchdog and highlighted in other media sites.

A range of BMW diesel engines produced between 2006 and 2012 appear to have a design problem affecting the timing chain. The engine timing chain is very weak - it stretches over time, and ultimately snaps.

BMW timing chains have snapped on a range of models across the 1, 3 & 5 Series, most commonly affecting the N47 diesel. We also rebuild M57 & N57 diesel engines damaged by timing chain failure & also BMW petrol engines.

The tables below detail the affected models and engine codes:

2.0 litre Diesel BMW engines - N47

  • 118d, 120d, 123d, 318d, 320d, 520d, X3
  • 118d, 120d, 123d, 318d, 320d, 520d, X3
  • 2007, 2008, 2009
  • 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
  • N47D20A
  • N47D20C

3.0 litre Diesel BMW engines - M57 & N57

  • 525d, 530d, 535d, 635d, 640d, X3, X5, X6, 30d, 740d
  • 525d, 530d, 535d, 635d, 640d, X3, X5, X6, 730d, 740d
  • 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • 2011, 2012
  • M57306D1
  • N57D30A

What Happens When A Timing Chain Snaps?

When a BMW engine timing chain snaps, the inlet and exhaust valves collide with the pistons, resulting in massive engine damage. At this point it will bend all 16 valves, shatter the rocker arms, snap and distort both camshafts and the camshaft housing.

The timing chain is located at the rear of the engine bay and is not intended to be a serviceable part.

Engine Rebuilds

In some cases, the engine will not suffer any damage if the chain breaks, this is something we check before replacing the updated timing chain kit.

We have rebuilt over a thousand BMW engines damaged by timing chain failure, and we have developed a thorough, highly successful engine rebuild procedure.

Repairing the catastrophic engine damage is a labour intensive and expensive job. The timing chain is located at the rear of the engine; therefore, we must remove the entire engine and completely strip down all components to discover and replace all damaged parts to ensure we restore the engine to perfect running order. The N47 or M57 engine is rebuilt with modified chains, guides and tensioners supplied by BMW to reduce the risk of a repeat failure.

If your engine has been damaged by a snapped timing chain, you will require the full engine rebuild procedure, inclusive of BMW parts.

Each damaged engine is individually assessed and depending on damage to engine parts, and fluctuations in BMW component pricing, the price may be higher.

Further Information on the Timing Chain Failure Issue

Early in 2013, our workshop specialist was consulted by researchers from the BBC Watchdog programme - they were keen to acquire real-world professional advice on this subject, and some of our engine rebuild customers had recommended us to BBC Watchdog as experts in this subject.

BBC Watchdog were producing a feature on the BMW timing chain failure issue, having been alerted by many unhappy BMW owners. Some of the BMW owners contacting Watchdog had been quoted huge repair costs from BMW and had instead chosen Prestige to rebuild their badly damaged engines. You can view the BBC Watchdog report on the BBC website here:

BBC Watchdog Report

Cheaper Engine Repair Options

If you are considering other companies offering so called 're-manufactured' engines at under £2,000, our advice is to steer clear or do some thorough research. It is likely these engines are not rebuilt, nor re-manufactured - as genuine BMW replacement parts cost over £1,200 for the N47 and more for the M57.

It is more likely that the replacement engine will have been recovered from a damaged car - it's also likely that it won’t have the modified BMW replacement timing chains, guides and tensioners - so they will just snap again…

It is a skilled and time-consuming process to correctly repair an engine damaged by a broken timing chain, cheap solutions will not provide the reliability and 12 month warranty offered by Evoque.