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MrSlick 06-08-2013 08:39 PM

Timing chain issue?
I had an offer for part trade on a 2001 x5 that apparently has a timing chain issue. I am not familiar with these newer vehicles and am wondering if it is a diy job or best taken to BMW for the repair? It has 360000 Km on it I do not know if it is a 3.0 or the 4.4 engine. The owner is looking for around $4500 which I think is a bit high , but is in decent condition as far as I can tell. These vehicles are selling for around $9000 with lower km's and in need of no repairs. Would it be easier and cheeper to just replace the engine with one out of a wrecked x5? I have not yet looked at this vehicle nor recieved any more information from the owner.

I currently have 6 other BMW's in various states of repair , the newest being a 1992 525iT.

Thanks for any advice.

Aquila 06-10-2013 04:53 AM

Timing Chain issue immediately suggests this car is a 4.4 with an M62TU V8 engine. They are know to suffer eventual chain guide failure due to the unfortunate fact that the timing chain guides are plastic and eventually crumble / fail. It "can" be a DIY job depending on the level of skill. It involves dismantling most of the top and front end of the engine and requires the engine to be properly timed / set upon completion. You would require some special tools like the VANOS timing tools to do the job properly and safely.

MrSlick 06-10-2013 08:17 PM

Good to know , thanks. I have asked the owner a few questions regarding the vehicle and still waiting for a response. I am still not sure weather I will go for the offer yet as I have a shortage of spare time to work on another vehicle.

Aquila 06-10-2013 08:59 PM

Are you in Saskatoon or Moosejaw? You may not have too much time, but I'm sure you have the space :-) As you state that you are not familiar with this engine / newer model - you can estimate to take 1 - 2 weeks to complete a timing chain replacement depending on your mechanical competency and of course - available time. Just replacing the engine is of course easier as it is just a transplant, however it is just another unit waiting for this issue to arise.

MrSlick 06-11-2013 07:40 PM

I live kind of in between Saskatoon and Moosejaw on a farm. And you are right about the space as I own 160 acers. Time is the major factor though as I work 12-14 hour days , working on building my house , raising 2 kids , maintaining 3 vehicles that my wife and I are driving , helping my mom fix her house in Saskatoon when I cant work on my own on a weekend , trying to find time to do the finishing touches on my 525iT so it can be inspected and put back on the road and I am sure there are a couple other things I cant think of right now to add to the list. I currently own 31 vehicles , most of which are projects with a couple parts cars so I am thinking I will have to pass on this deal now knowing the amount of work and time involved in the repair. I do not like taking my vehicles to a shop to get work done because I like to know how they are made so as to be able to fix them if they cause trouble somewhere down the road. As well most mechanic shops around here charge $90-$110/hr.

Thanks for the knowledge passed down everyone.

leejim 06-19-2013 02:50 AM

Timing chain issues.
Hi Mr Aquila, very interested in your info ree the plastic guide thingo's for the timing chain and it crumbling etc. Do you have any idea at what approx mileage this can happen?

Regards JD.

ssb776 12-04-2013 07:18 AM

I know this post so a few months old, but hope this is helpful.

I have a 2001 4.4 & the chain is in need of replacing. I'm at 148,000 miles & have been the only owner. Love my x5 & she has been fantastic, but I'm totally over BMW's use of plastic parts for important things! It's not a cheep repair, although what is.... Lol.

Scott ZHP 12-04-2013 10:02 AM


Originally Posted by ssb776 (Post 7994033)
I'm totally over BMW's use of plastic parts for important things! It's not a cheep repair, although what is.... Lol.

It's not just BMW; pretty much every manufacturer uses plastic bits for tensioners and/or chain guides. It's done to save weight, reduce noise and keep costs down. They could make the guides out of titanium, with PTFE slipper heads, but they'd cost a couple hundred bucks each.

Jag V8's (the Ford years) were notorious for eating their upper plastic tensioners and you were lucky to get 70,000 miles out of that engine.

Have you searched for a good independant shop to get a quote?

leejim 12-04-2013 02:37 PM

Timing chain issues.
Hi ssb776, thanks for your reply. My car is a 2005 X5 V/8 4.4 and has done 190,000 ks . I have only owned it since May 2013. I don't know what major work has been done on it but the BMW service book has been stamped at all services by a BMW agent. The thing is I'm not sure is if the Chain has been done? How do you know if the chain and tension-er need doing? Do they get noisy, or does it fly apart ? I am a mechanic by trade (50 yrs) and will do the job myself when needed but at the moment the motor runs absolutely beautifully and very very quiet, no noises that I can hear? So does anyone know any tell tale signs to look or listen for please ?
Regards James Donald.

joel737 01-05-2014 08:30 AM

i assume the 4.4 has a chain not a belt, am i correct?

leejim 01-05-2014 09:14 PM

Timing chain issues.
Hi , yes it is chain driven, to my knowledge all BMW motors are.

CitizenOfDreams 01-05-2014 09:39 PM


Originally Posted by Scott ZHP (Post 7994353)
It's not just BMW; pretty much every manufacturer uses plastic bits for tensioners and/or chain guides.

There is one major peculiarity about M62's timing chain.

Here is the old M60 engine. See the idler sprocket in the middle?

And here is the "new and improved" M62. There is no idler anymore, the entire chain tension is applied to the plastic guide.

P. S. The photos are found here Bimmerfest; credit goes to the original poster(s).

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