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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:15 AM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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X3 ticking sound/CPO

I bought my 2007 X3 used while it was still under the original warranty and now I am under the last phase of my CPO with it expiring 11/21/12, a little over a month away.

Nine months after I purchased my X3 I took it in to the dealer for the SO irritating ticking noise. According to my invoice from the dealer they noted this condition I described in SIB 11 09 07. They checked the cylinder head casting number (755255004) and determined the issue was the exhaust lifters as the cause of the noise. They removed the engine valve cover, exhaust vanos unit and exhaust camshaft. They replaced all lifters using updated parts, installed camshaft and vanos unit, ensured proper valve timing and used new gaskets when installing the valve cover. The ticking went away for a while but reappeared when the weather got cold again but I didn't do anything about it. The ticking went away in the warm months but now that it is getting cold out again the ticking noise is back.

I am considering taking my X3 in before the CPO expires to look at this issue again but wondered if this issue is even covered under my CPO warranty. I just called the dealer and they said they couldn't tell me without looking a the vehicle and me paying the $50 deductible if this is covered under my CPO. Has anyone dealt with this issue under CPO and was it covered? Since this is a well known issue with BMW's and a recurring one with this vehicle I would hope it would be.

I would love to hear any suggestions and advice so I may get this taken care of before my CPO runs out.

Thank you-
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  #2  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:46 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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I would definitely eat the $50 deductible and have them look at it, I know they are the stealership but if its covered they will fix it. I just did a quick search, and came up with this:

"The ticking is usually one of two things. If it is really cold outside, the fuel injectors make a ticking sound. The other is the lifters. It seems like a good number of X3 and 3-series owners experience the lifter sound. There is a "bleeding" process that can be performed to remove air. Also, when the car is driven for longer periods of time, the lifters are supposed to quiet down."

You said you had the cylinder head checked, and the lifters already replaced. Is this the N52 engine?
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  #3  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:02 AM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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Is this the N52 engine?

I don't know how to find that out for sure if it is the N52 engine but I do have a 2007 X3.

I have never used my CPO before. After scheduling the appt, am I just charged $50 for them to take a look at my car? What if it is not a CPO covered service and I choose to not get the service done at this time, is the cost still the $50? It is all so confusing to me and the answer is not easy to find. I can't seem to get the dealer to tell me how the cost of this initial appt works.

Thank you for your reply-
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  #4  
Old 10-10-2012, 08:17 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengal2 View Post
Is this the N52 engine?

I don't know how to find that out for sure if it is the N52 engine but I do have a 2007 X3.

I have never used my CPO before. After scheduling the appt, am I just charged $50 for them to take a look at my car? What if it is not a CPO covered service and I choose to not get the service done at this time, is the cost still the $50? It is all so confusing to me and the answer is not easy to find. I can't seem to get the dealer to tell me how the cost of this initial appt works.

Thank you for your reply-
From my understanding, BMW dealership will charge their customers just for them to inspect the vehicles. After their initial inspection they will tell you what's wrong, and how much your going to need to spend.

I was asking about your engine type because I believe in 2007 they switched from the M54 to N52. I believe yours looks like this one? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_N52).

I did a few searches on the web for you, and this article/answer I found may help:

The 6-cylinder engine in your 2007 X3 3.0si is from the N52 engine family (most 6-cylinders from 2007 to current, and some 2006). This engine is well known for the hydraulic tappet (lifter) noise. This has been typically attributed to too much oil bleed off in the cylinder head oil galleries that supply the pressurized oil to the tappets.

BMW has the following three “fixes”, which are only performed if the customer complains enough … and in the right way:

1) Perform tappet bleed-down procedure (typically does not provide a permanent fix).

2) Replace the tappets with an improved unit that bleeds down slower (sometimes cures the issue).

3) Replace the complete cylinder head with an improved unit that does not bleed oil pressure and flow as quickly and keeps more oil at the tappets when the engine is not running. This is of course the most expensive fix, but it is the final fix.

We could not locate a service or repair bulletin on this, but most people must really hound the dealer and request a review by the regional BMW rep. in order to achieve the final cylinder head fix. Don’t give up …. BMW is obviously well aware of this issue since they have redesigned the head and the tappets. They are just not so interested in replacing cylinder heads under warranty.

As for the dealer, in your case, refusing to go further unless they can reproduce the noise, try taking a video of it with the noise happening … show it to the regional rep.
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  #5  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:11 AM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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Thanks jdauria! My engine is the N52. Thanks for the information on your last post. I did find that information as well before posting my question and it got me to thinking...

My invoice from the dealer mentions the lifters were supposedly replaced when I complained last but I am wondering if the lifters being replaced and a complete cylinder head are the same thing. I did some searching online and have not been able to find that answer.

Time to vent a bit...I am very angry that you can pay good money for a great car and have this type of embarrassing issue when driving down the street in your neighborhood. Just ridiculous to me.
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  #6  
Old 10-10-2012, 09:42 AM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengal2 View Post
Thanks jdauria! My engine is the N52. Thanks for the information on your last post. I did find that information as well before posting my question and it got me to thinking...

My invoice from the dealer mentions the lifters were supposedly replaced when I complained last but I am wondering if the lifters being replaced and a complete cylinder head are the same thing. I did some searching online and have not been able to find that answer.

Time to vent a bit...I am very angry that you can pay good money for a great car and have this type of embarrassing issue when driving down the street in your neighborhood. Just ridiculous to me.
I feel your pain, I just had to blow over $2k in repairs for my e46 which had subframe damage...the BMWNA Classaction Lawsuit has been over a couple years, and ironically mine decided to go out now.

But if I were you, I would definitely try and have the stealership cover as much cost with the warranty still running until next month.
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:49 PM
al_macaroni al_macaroni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
From my understanding, BMW dealership will charge their customers just for them to inspect the vehicles. After their initial inspection they will tell you what's wrong, and how much your going to need to spend.

I was asking about your engine type because I believe in 2007 they switched from the M54 to N52. I believe yours looks like this one? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_N52).

I did a few searches on the web for you, and this article/answer I found may help:

The 6-cylinder engine in your 2007 X3 3.0si is from the N52 engine family (most 6-cylinders from 2007 to current, and some 2006). This engine is well known for the hydraulic tappet (lifter) noise. This has been typically attributed to too much oil bleed off in the cylinder head oil galleries that supply the pressurized oil to the tappets.

BMW has the following three “fixes”, which are only performed if the customer complains enough … and in the right way:

1) Perform tappet bleed-down procedure (typically does not provide a permanent fix).

2) Replace the tappets with an improved unit that bleeds down slower (sometimes cures the issue).

3) Replace the complete cylinder head with an improved unit that does not bleed oil pressure and flow as quickly and keeps more oil at the tappets when the engine is not running. This is of course the most expensive fix, but it is the final fix.

We could not locate a service or repair bulletin on this, but most people must really hound the dealer and request a review by the regional BMW rep. in order to achieve the final cylinder head fix. Don’t give up …. BMW is obviously well aware of this issue since they have redesigned the head and the tappets. They are just not so interested in replacing cylinder heads under warranty.

As for the dealer, in your case, refusing to go further unless they can reproduce the noise, try taking a video of it with the noise happening … show it to the regional rep.
I went through steps 1, 2, and 3. Step 3, replacement of the cylinder head, fixed the problem. I did take a video of the X3 when the lifters were rapping really loud one morning, but I did not need to show it to the SA. I also took along some printouts of infomation I found online regarding the three steps to solve this problem. I did not need to use that either.

It seems like the service department at my dealership was aware of the tapping lifter problem with the N52 engine. They just needed to perform steps 1 and 2 before they could justify replacing the cylinder head.
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  #8  
Old 10-10-2012, 12:57 PM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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Does anyone know if the lifters I already had replaced under the original warranty are the same thing as the cylinder head? Or, are they 2 separate things and maybe I should push to get the cylinder head replaced before the CPO runs out in November?

Thank you
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  #9  
Old 10-10-2012, 01:17 PM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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My 2007 had this noise two years ago at around 44k miles. At that time, it was right after I bought it and it had been "maintained" with BMWs way too long oil change interval. I changed the oil and it the sound disappeared. I've been on 5k- 7k mile oil change intervals since, and at 65k miles, the engine is as quite as a mouse. I'd change the oil and see if the issue goes away.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2012, 02:24 PM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSUEng View Post
My 2007 had this noise two years ago at around 44k miles. At that time, it was right after I bought it and it had been "maintained" with BMWs way too long oil change interval. I changed the oil and it the sound disappeared. I've been on 5k- 7k mile oil change intervals since, and at 65k miles, the engine is as quite as a mouse. I'd change the oil and see if the issue goes away.
this is interesting, what weight did you use?
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2012, 04:21 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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My dealer was extremely pro-active in dealing with this issue. In fact I'd be offended to have them called a "stealer".

In May 2010 I brought my X3 (N52 engine) in for routine servicing. The SA heard the ticking sound -- I had never noticed it as being anything out of the ordinary! He immediately approved the replacement of the valve lifters.

About a year later, right before my OEM warranty expired, I had my X3 in again for servicing before the warranty and maintenance contracts expired. When I came to pick up the car after servicing I heard a loud ticking. My SA shouted "don't turn the engine off" while he hurried to get the shop foreman. They quickly diagnosed the problem and said that since the lifters had been done, this time the cylinder head would be replaced. Which is what happened. Apparently the cylinder head was redesigned to eliminate the ticking. (They also said that if left unrepaired, the ticking is an annoyance, but not damaging to the engine.)

My warranty actually expired while the car was in for servicing but it was handled under the OEM warranty. But I had a 2 year CPO after the OEM warranty expired, and they implied that the CPO warranty would have covered the cylinder head if I had brought it in a few days later. Implied, not assured, since I never had to go that route.

So the quick answer to your question is: BMW protocol is to change the lifters and if that doesn't work (as yours hasn't) after say a year, then change the cylinder head. And it should be covered under the CPO warranty. Certainly worth $50 to check!
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Old 10-10-2012, 05:10 PM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spokelizard View Post
My dealer was extremely pro-active in dealing with this issue. In fact I'd be offended to have them called a "stealer".

In May 2010 I brought my X3 (N52 engine) in for routine servicing. The SA heard the ticking sound -- I had never noticed it as being anything out of the ordinary! He immediately approved the replacement of the valve lifters.

About a year later, right before my OEM warranty expired, I had my X3 in again for servicing before the warranty and maintenance contracts expired. When I came to pick up the car after servicing I heard a loud ticking. My SA shouted "don't turn the engine off" while he hurried to get the shop foreman. They quickly diagnosed the problem and said that since the lifters had been done, this time the cylinder head would be replaced. Which is what happened. Apparently the cylinder head was redesigned to eliminate the ticking. (They also said that if left unrepaired, the ticking is an annoyance, but not damaging to the engine.)

My warranty actually expired while the car was in for servicing but it was handled under the OEM warranty. But I had a 2 year CPO after the OEM warranty expired, and they implied that the CPO warranty would have covered the cylinder head if I had brought it in a few days later. Implied, not assured, since I never had to go that route.

So the quick answer to your question is: BMW protocol is to change the lifters and if that doesn't work (as yours hasn't) after say a year, then change the cylinder head. And it should be covered under the CPO warranty. Certainly worth $50 to check!
Sounds like you have the United States best BMW Service Manager because I rarely see stories like this, glad they took care of you.

Brought my e46 in this past summer because it started to make that dreaded squeak noise in the rear. I told them to look at the subframe for me (obviously charged me to inspect it), said oh its just the spring, so they just adjusted/moved it back into place? Left making the same noise, I told them to put it back up on the lift and look at the subframe (charged me AGAIN), hours later. "Oh ya its the subframe, its completely torn. Your looking at about $5,000 to fix it"

Gave him a big "FU" and went to my local bmw mechanic. Had it fixed for under $2k
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Old 10-10-2012, 06:12 PM
al_macaroni al_macaroni is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengal2 View Post
Does anyone know if the lifters I already had replaced under the original warranty are the same thing as the cylinder head? Or, are they 2 separate things and maybe I should push to get the cylinder head replaced before the CPO runs out in November?

Thank you
The lifters are different than the cylinder head. Apparently, the lifters are making the noise. I believe the head has been redesigned to keep the lifters better lubricated. That is what's eliminating the noise.

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  #14  
Old 10-10-2012, 07:10 PM
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X3-terrestrial X3-terrestrial is offline
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Also, the original work they performed has a 12,000 miles or 1 year warranty, so if you still on time, this should be covered totally by them as a claim.
Maybe I missed it, but was the original job covered by the CPO or you paid for it?
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Old 10-11-2012, 05:49 AM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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The exhaust lifter replacement was under the original warranty nearly 2 years ago so I didn't pay anything for it. If work is done now on this past issue I feel I shouldn't even be held responsible for the CPO deductible since the issue was not fixed before...but they probably won't go for that.

I have access to ALLDATA at the local public library and there is a TSB that came out 3/2012 that supersedes the 10/2011 TSB SI B11 09 07...work I had done with the lifter replacement. The bulletin states that the lifter noise issue work is covered under original and CPO warranties.

This bulletin also states that if the vehicle has already been fitted with 12 exhaust hydraulic valve lifters PN# 11-33-7-605-330 during a previous repair (mine has according to invoice) and the issue is back, then the vehicle will need to be fitted with 12 exhaust roller drag levers PN # 11-33-7- to 631-589 (which is not on my invoice) to rectify the complaint.

I am assuming the exhaust roller drag levers and a cylinder head are different things. Looks like getting the cylinder head replaced before CPO runs out may take some fighting for, but is something worth fighting for. Still looking for "official" documentation (TSB, etc) of the cylinder head being the end all, in most cases, for this issue to take with me to the dealer in case I need it. Does anyone know where to find this or is this something the dealer has to nice enough to actually do on their own even if I suggest it?

I am going to call the dealer today and get this ball rolling before my CPO runs out 11/21/12.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:38 AM
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Even original warranty work has its own independent warranty on the repairs. (including those that the claim happens after the "Original" warranty expired) But I don't think you'll have any trouble with them covering it under CPO.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:27 AM
Bengal2 Bengal2 is offline
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I have an appointment to drop the X3 off Monday night so it can sit all night at the dealer to replicate the issue in the morning. I did mention the lifters already being replaced and shared the info I learned on this forum about the cylinder head replacement, etc to my SA. He was open to listening to me and he sounded like he wanted me to be happy, so I have a good feeling right now about it...but we'll see what happens.

I mentioned my CPO ending mid November. My SA agreed to give me a free loaner and said there probably would not be a deductible to be paid in this instance.

I am still open to any tips or suggestions that I should carry in my back pocket to use when dealing with the dealer.

Thanks again for everything!
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Old 10-12-2012, 01:59 PM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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Originally Posted by jdauria View Post
this is interesting, what weight did you use?
5W-30 BMW synthetic. Oil has been changed an additional two times, at 8k and 7k miles. Still no issues.
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Old 10-12-2012, 04:59 PM
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I will predicate this that I could be wrong and this is just my opinion but I am a firm believer this is caused, in part, by BMWs extended 15k plus oil change interval.

Here is a nice article that helps show the sludge on a head from a m54 motor:

http://www.bavarianmachine.com/doc_see_the_light.html

Now my other point...my 09 x3 is at 99k miles and I had the 100k maintenance plan. Believe it or not in 99k miles BMW only covered 5 oil changes (I went through my receipts last night). That's crazy if you ask me....that is almost 19k miles between changes!

As a side note, since new I have changed myself every 7,000 - 8,000 miles between BMWs "free" changes and I have never had issues with lifter noise or oil consumption.

Last edited by x3brian; 10-13-2012 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 10:21 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Originally Posted by x3brian View Post
I will predicate this that I could be wrong and this is just my opinion but I am a firm believer this is caused, in part, by BMWs extended 15k plus oil change interval.

Here is a nice article that helps show the sludge on a head from a m54 motor:

http://www.bavarianmachine.com/doc_see_the_light.html

Now my other point...my 09 x3 is at 99k miles and I had the 100k maintenance plan. Believe it or not in 99k miles BMW only covered 5 oil changes (I went through my receipts last night). That's crazy if you ask me....that is almost 19k miles between changes!

As a side note, since new I have changed myself every 7,000 - 8,000 miles between BMWs "free" changes and I have never had issues with lifter noise or oil consumption.
Well, then we'll be wrong together... But I'm with you: I think the 15,000-mile oil change interval recommended by BMW reflects a greater influence by their accounting and marketing divisions than their engineering division; and is detrimental in the long term to the life of an otherwise fine engine...

If BMW used a 5,000-mile or 7,500-mile oil change interval (as Mr. Perkins recommends in the article you reference -- and with which I'm inclined to concur) during their free maintenance program, they'd be making 2-3 times the number of oil changes on every car in that program. That's a substantial cost difference! So some 'bean-counter' at BMW got a sizable bonus for figuring out how to save the company millions of dollars in their free maintenance program by basing the recommended oil change interval on pseudo-scientific data; and those who follow that recommendation get sludge in their engine...

Until you'd mentioned it, I hadn't connected the dots from the long oil change interval to the N52 lifter tick, but I think you're probably correct: it's at least a contributor to the problem.

On other vehicles I've owned, I've routinely -- almost religiously -- changed the oil at a 3,000-mile interval; in almost all of these other vehicles I've used conventional oil. And I've never had a serious mechanical problem with the engines in any of those vehicles; nor an engine oil consumption problem. Clean synthetic motor oils may last longer than conventional motor oils, but the operative word is 'clean;' and the oil filter can only clean so much dirt (naturally resulting from the combustion process) from the oil supply before it becomes saturated. And an oil filter probably won't last much longer than the interval Mr. Perkins is recommending before becoming saturated with dirt. So if you change the filter to keep it clean, it makes sense to just change the oil with it.
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A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...

Last edited by timfitz63; 10-13-2012 at 10:34 AM.
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