signs of F30 N20/N26 timing chain issue, and OCI to the rescue? - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums



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Old 04-22-2017, 01:36 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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signs of F30 N20/N26 timing chain issue, and OCI to the rescue?

This is a great post of N20/N26 timing chain going bad.

//bmwtechnician.com/2016/08/07/n20-timing-chain-issue/

The tech said on this specific engine there was no sludge. That's an interesting comment as the local foreman suggested that 15k-mile OCI was one of the culprits of the N20/N26 timing chain issue, and advised 8k-10k miles for OCI.

The local foreman also dropped hint that the pace of engine failure is picking up(and BMWNA has been paying for the fixes), and BMW + service departments have been aware of this issue and working towards a "plan".

From a N26 owner's perspective though, taking care of the issues is great, improving reliability and testing out products thoroughly without needing to take care of issues afterwards is preferred ....
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Old 04-22-2017, 02:19 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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And when asked if one should buy N20/N26 second hand:

"bmwtechnician says: January 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm
I would not buy one second hand and with no warranty on the engine for any major repairs like a timing chain."

The answer is not too comforting, but probably a honest answer.
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Old 04-22-2017, 06:59 PM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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i wonder why the older version (n52 had no such issues)

Honestly, the OCI probably does have something to do with it. But the outgoing engine was subjected to the same Oci's and suffered from no timing chain issues. An out of warranty n20 with 70k+ miles is not a sound investment.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:38 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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The issue probably is related to turbo instead of N20/N26 I4, e.g. the foreman also said they are seeing N55 issues(e.g. bad rod bearing). My wild guess is the N20/N26 timing chain was spec'ed for I4, which stress the chain with its intermittent I6 power.

The good old M54 I6 N/A surely has high rev engine that keeps pulling with zero issues. It is unfortunate that BMW has not honestly applied the N63 "customer care package" lessons and have to keep using customers as real-life test cases.

At a minimum BMW needs to step up and take care of its customers, esp. when the issue is with BMW's bread and butter engine tech.

Last edited by namelessman; 04-23-2017 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:06 PM
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Eagle11 Eagle11 is offline
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Originally Posted by F10-N52 View Post
i wonder why the older version (n52 had no such issues)

Honestly, the OCI probably does have something to do with it. But the outgoing engine was subjected to the same Oci's and suffered from no timing chain issues. An out of warranty n20 with 70k+ miles is not a sound investment.
Why would it, not the same design.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:39 AM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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It's the plastic timing chain guides and the whole design in general which is ****. The n55 likely has rod bearing issues because everyone uses garbage Mobil 1 0w40 which is not thick enough to protect your bearings during aggressive driving.

The m54 is a great engine but 6500rpm is not high revving lol. My favourite is the n52.
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:39 AM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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I would expect the newer version to have less issues then the outgoing one but it's the other way around
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:04 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Most of the M54 and M62 engines are way past 100k these days, so those are good reference in regard to engine longevity.

The M54/M62 timing chain guides are plastic too, but the chains(at least M62 ons) look massive compared to N20/N26. There is online DIY's on M62 saying that the guides broke but the chains held everything together until replacement, without causing engine seizure. In those cases noisy engines are also tell-tale signs.

It is a bit early to tell if N52 carries on the tradition or not.

The game plan for owners probably will be to keep listening for high-pitch whines as shown in links of post#1, and shorten OCI to 8k-ish miles. BMWNA can reprogram the OCI on pre-2014 to 10k/1-yr, but for some reason the service refused to do it.

My car currently has LL01FE 0w30, the engine sounds quieter than with LL01 5w30, and gas mileage does improve 5%-ish. In contrast Mobil1 FS 0w40 is no longer LL-01, and the old school 0w40 has not been really tested for N20/N26 anyway.
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Old 04-23-2017, 02:32 PM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
Most of the M54 and M62 engines are way past 100k these days, so those are good reference in regard to engine longevity.

The M54/M62 timing chain guides are plastic too, but the chains(at least M62 ons) look massive compared to N20/N26. There is online DIY's on M62 saying that the guides broke but the chains held everything together until replacement, without causing engine seizure. In those cases noisy engines are also tell-tale signs.

It is a bit early to tell if N52 carries on the tradition or not.

The game plan for owners probably will be to keep listening for high-pitch whines as shown in links of post#1, and shorten OCI to 8k-ish miles. BMWNA can reprogram the OCI on pre-2014 to 10k/1-yr, but for some reason the service refused to do it.

My car currently has LL01FE 0w30, the engine sounds quieter than with LL01 5w30, and gas mileage does improve 5%-ish. In contrast Mobil1 FS 0w40 is no longer LL-01, and the old school 0w40 has not been really tested for N20/N26 anyway.
Mobil 1 is **** oil, thank god it is not LL approved anymore. I would still use 5w30/40 my older manual from 2011 recommended these weights for all weather conditions and I would not use anything else.

The n52 had plenty of time to prove itself, and it did. It doesn't seem to have any serious issues and many of them last a long time when maintenance is carried out. All in all I'm very happy with mine.
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Old 04-23-2017, 03:09 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by F10-N52 View Post
Mobil 1 is **** oil, thank god it is not LL approved anymore. I would still use 5w30/40 my older manual from 2011 recommended these weights for all weather conditions and I would not use anything else.

The n52 had plenty of time to prove itself, and it did. It doesn't seem to have any serious issues and many of them last a long time when maintenance is carried out. All in all I'm very happy with mine.
My manual says 0w30, 0w40, 5w30, and 5w40 are acceptable. My trusted indy says stay with 0w30 when still low mileage, and when oil consumption occurs, switch to 5w40.
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:38 PM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
My manual says 0w30, 0w40, 5w30, and 5w40 are acceptable. My trusted indy says stay with 0w30 when still low mileage, and when oil consumption occurs, switch to 5w40.
I would just stick to 5w40 from day one.

n20 owners, as long as you guys stick to shorter OCI's then you should be less likely to run into timing chain issues.
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:22 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by F10-N52 View Post
I would just stick to 5w40 from day one.

n20 owners, as long as you guys stick to shorter OCI's then you should be less likely to run into timing chain issues.
Starting with 5w40 from 0 mile will mean, when oil consumption does start and the engine wears a bit, there is no other heavy grade(that's approved by bmw) to switch into.

8k-10k OCI pretty much is what BMWNA has for MY14 and up anyway, there is no reason not to follow that for MY12 and MY13 too.

For my N26, the OCI has been 9k for annual, 13k for CBS(or 4k after the annual one), during warranty. After warranty it goes on 6k-7k OCI, and the engine now has 45k and is quiet and whine free(esp. with 0w30 oil).
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:53 AM
Morpheus991 Morpheus991 is offline
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This all makes me very nervous. I just got my first BMW on Fri and it's a CPO 2014 328i (SULEV) with 30K miles on it. Any advice? Should I push a service dept to check it out? I'm not even sure how to check when the last oil change was.

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Old 04-25-2017, 04:19 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Originally Posted by Morpheus991 View Post
This all makes me very nervous. I just got my first BMW on Fri and it's a CPO 2014 328i (SULEV) with 30K miles on it. Any advice? Should I push a service dept to check it out? I'm not even sure how to check when the last oil change was.

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Don't be nervous. There are a few folks here pushing a false narrative. Nothing more.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:16 AM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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All I'm saying is that the timing chain guide and oil pressure issues have been documented for this engine.

You are at 30k, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I strongly recommend you stick to a good 5w40 weight like liqui moly and change oil every 5000miles. Try not to go much further past that and your engine will last.
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Old 04-25-2017, 09:50 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Originally Posted by F10-N52 View Post
All I'm saying is that the timing chain guide and oil pressure issues have been documented for this engine.

You are at 30k, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I strongly recommend you stick to a good 5w40 weight like liqui moly and change oil every 5000miles. Try not to go much further past that and your engine will last.
There's no documentation. There are anecdotal stories. Mine is of a 2014 that had 65,000 miles with 10,000 mile oil changes based on BMW specs. Ran like a top.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:06 AM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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There's no documentation. There are anecdotal stories. Mine is of a 2014 that had 65,000 miles with 10,000 mile oil changes based on BMW specs. Ran like a top.
Keep us updated!
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:19 AM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by Morpheus991 View Post
This all makes me very nervous. I just got my first BMW on Fri and it's a CPO 2014 328i (SULEV) with 30K miles on it. Any advice? Should I push a service dept to check it out? I'm not even sure how to check when the last oil change was.
Do ask service to read the key data which should show a list of services/repairs done on the car under warranty, and that list will include the oil changes.

The foreman did say their cases of N20 timing chain issues are 80k miles and above, and the failure is due to the timing chain getting stretched. Having said that, the recent posts of N20 timing failures suggested high-speed runs, e.g. 100mph+, so my thinking is that sustained high rev runs, piggybacks, long OCI, etc, etc, will add to the stress on the components, and those are things that owners can watch out for.

A healthy view on this is that, there are narratives that say all are good, or all are doomed, the truth is somewhere in between.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:21 AM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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Originally Posted by Michael Schott View Post
There's no documentation. There are anecdotal stories. Mine is of a 2014 that had 65,000 miles with 10,000 mile oil changes based on BMW specs. Ran like a top.
Is that 2014 F30 still in your garage? What is your current mileage? It would be good to see additional data points(albeit anecdotal) of 80k miles and above.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:25 AM
F10-N52 F10-N52 is offline
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Most likely it's because of overly long OCI intervals.

But 100+mph pulls? I used to do that all the time. I do change my oil every 5000 miles though... I just wonder why the outgoing n52 doesn't seem to have these issues.

We need to wait until more people reach 80k on the n20.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:54 AM
Michael Schott Michael Schott is offline
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Is that 2014 F30 still in your garage? What is your current mileage? It would be good to see additional data points(albeit anecdotal) of 80k miles and above.
No. It was returned at lease end.
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:57 AM
crabu2 crabu2 is offline
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I thought BMW came out with a revised chain in early 2015...
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:04 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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I thought BMW came out with a revised chain in early 2015...
Yes there is a new part# starting 1/2015. The assumption is that F30 built after 1/2015 will get revised chain

Do note there is no formal acknowledgement from BMWNA of this issue, even though anecdotal comments from foreman and tech indicate otherwise.
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:30 PM
namelessman namelessman is offline
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FYI a coworker said his 2010 Mini Cooper with a N13(?) engine had timing chain issue too and was fixed by dealer. Apparently in 2016 BMW lost a class action lawsuit and paid $30m for the repairs.

http://blog.autoworkstx.com/mini-coo...-chain-issues/
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:48 PM
Morpheus991 Morpheus991 is offline
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Originally Posted by namelessman View Post
Yes there is a new part# starting 1/2015. The assumption is that F30 built after 1/2015 will get revised chain

Do note there is no formal acknowledgement from BMWNA of this issue, even though anecdotal comments from foreman and tech indicate otherwise.
Do you know if the 2015 part is interchangeable with the 2014?

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