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Run! ***8230; or lower your offer by $4k.

The pre-2015 N20 and N26's have defective timing chains and guides. BMW gave those cars a 7/70 extended warranty on the engines. But, that's not going to be much use for you. It costs between $3k and $4k to retrofit the redesigned parts to the pre-2015 engines.
 

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The N55 three-liter turbo is a reasonably happy motor. The earlier N54 was more prone to carbon build up.

A later 2015 328i would be fine. The engines got upgraded started with January 2015 production. Bit, it took a few months for those engines to get to all the final assembly plants. So, there could be some early 2015 model year cars with the old, problem engines in them.
 

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I have done some research on the timing chain issue and found that most of the problem engines were on the X3. I own a 2014 328i and have 30k miles on it. I have been very happy with the car. I asked the service writer at the dealership about any recalls for the timing chain on my particular model and was told that there are none. My own opinion is that the AWD on the X3 and perhaps the 328Xi put extra strain on the timing chain and associated tensioners and guides. The 320i and 328i are very good cars and the turbo 4 puts out more power than my 1995 525i ever did. And, the car is just about as big as the old E34.
 

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I have done some research on the timing chain issue and found that most of the problem engines were on the X3. I own a 2014 328i and have 30k miles on it. I have been very happy with the car. I asked the service writer at the dealership about any recalls for the timing chain on my particular model and was told that there are none. My own opinion is that the AWD on the X3 and perhaps the 328Xi put extra strain on the timing chain and associated tensioners and guides. The 320i and 328i are very good cars and the turbo 4 puts out more power than my 1995 525i ever did. And, the car is just about as big as the old E34.
Yes local foremen said the N20/N26 TC they experienced are mainly X3 and F30 xDrive, they haven't seen much issues with 320i/328i RWD TC issue yet.
 

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I have done some research on the timing chain issue and found that most of the problem engines were on the X3. I own a 2014 328i and have 30k miles on it. I have been very happy with the car. I asked the service writer at the dealership about any recalls for the timing chain on my particular model and was told that there are none. My own opinion is that the AWD on the X3 and perhaps the 328Xi put extra strain on the timing chain and associated tensioners and guides. The 320i and 328i are very good cars and the turbo 4 puts out more power than my 1995 525i ever did. And, the car is just about as big as the old E34.
Yes local foremen said the N20/N26 TC they experienced are mainly X3 and F30 xDrive, they haven't seen much issues with 320i/328i RWD TC issue yet.
You're both sticking your head in the sand. It's always easier to believe good news than bad news.

The timing chain drives the camshafts, not the driveshafts. The chain doesn't know what type of vehicle is attached to the other end of the engine. If your car has an extended engine warranty (7/70), that means there's problem. That 7/70 warranty takes care of the overwhelming majority of the customers that BMW cares about, those who buy new and CPO used BMW's from a BMW dealership. Very few people who drive a new BMW off the dealer's lot will still have it after seven years. The 7/70 warranty also protects them (somewhat) from class action suits.

What about the heavier 528i's that had the N20 and N26 engines?

"No recalls" only means BMW will not fix the problem before something really bad happens. BMW's figured out that it's cheaper to replace the occasional engine that lets go during the 7/70 extended warranty period than it would be to fix every engine with the underlying problem. If an engine blows after the 7/70 warranty expires, that's more business and profit for BMW and the dealerships.

As a general rule, if a car dealership's employee's lips are moving you should assume they're lying. A dealership's employees would be in hot water with their boss if they go around telling customers "Yeah, you car's a defective piece of ****." So, yeah, they're only going to tell you something you want to hear.

The fact is that you if you're past the 7/70 warranty, you have a ticking time bomb that could detonate at any time. If it goes, the engine's usually totaled, and a new engine costs more than a seven year old 3 Series is worth.

I looked in to buying a "cream puff" 2013 328i with an N26 engine and only 9k miles. I need a new beater to put about 50k miles on over one year. My plan was to take my chances while the warranty was in effect (maybe getting a free new engine if the original one blows), and then if all is well at about 68k miles or six years and ten months, pay the piper about $3k to get the upgrade to the new, non-defective parts.
 

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If you go through the stealership. It is about $2k at an independent shop. YRMV
Fair enough.

When it's tearing into an engine, I'd be willing to pay more to have somebody doing it whose done it a few times before. I kept my first BMW twelve years. I had good results with the dealership I work with. They order the parts beforehand, and I'm in and out in one day with a loaner. The problem with a lot of indy' shops is the turnaround time.

I get creeped our when I drive by an indy' shop and see the same cars sitting there for weeks at a time. The dealer also has some lot bunnies, but they tend to hide them from the other customers.
 

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Fair enough.

When it's tearing into an engine, I'd be willing to pay more to have somebody doing it whose done it a few times before. I kept my first BMW twelve years. I had good results with the dealership I work with. They order the parts beforehand, and I'm in and out in one day with a loaner. The problem with a lot of indy' shops is the turnaround time.

I get creeped our when I drive by an indy' shop and see the same cars sitting there for weeks at a time. The dealer also has some lot bunnies, but they tend to hide them from the other customers.
That's cool, but many people have specialty shops near them with excellent reputations. The shop a few blocks from me that specializes in European cars was started by two guys who left the Porsche dealership to work for themselves. I hear nothing but good things.

If I decide to keep my car past the 7/70, they are doing a timing chain at 70,000 miles, but I have the itch to move on to something new. The F30 is a very nice car, it is just not that sporty of a driving experience, especially with the Xdrive suspension and have regrets that my first BMW was their "oops" 3 series generation, both in feel/feedback and timing chain. Even if the timing chain were not a problem, I am a bit bored by the driving experience. The car has not had a single hiccup thus far, a powerhouse in snow, economical on gas, comfortable, and stylish. It is just boring to drive.
 

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I am looking at purchasing a 2013 328i.

Interested in comments regarding that model year as well as the 4 cyl turbo. Thanks in advance!
Looks like details related to the M20/N26 engine timing chain & chain guide issues have been covered fairly extensively in this thread. :)

Model year 2013 F30 328i has four safety recalls, ensure that all have been properly addressed on the specific vehicle you plan to purchase:
  • 16V071000: Driver's Frontal Air Bag Inflator May Rupture
  • 15V520000: Side Marker Lamps Inoperative/FMVSS 108
  • 14V627000 and 13V454000: Loss of Brake Assist/Vacuum Pump Lubrication

Beyond that, F30 cars are quite competent and a good choice for both novice and experienced drivers. The 4-cylinder models like 320i and 328i are better balanced than the 6-cylinder versions. Best wishes!
 

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You're both sticking your head in the sand. It's always easier to believe good news than bad news.
What do reliability surveys (CR, TrueDelta, J.D. Power, etc.) indicate regarding the frequency of timing chain & chain guide failures in N20/N26 equipped BMW automobiles?
 

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What do reliability surveys (CR, TrueDelta, J.D. Power, etc.) indicate regarding the frequency of timing chain & chain guide failures in N20/N26 equipped BMW automobiles?
BTFOM. It's sort of like the unemployment rate, or the murder rate. It's only significant if it happens to you. Your personal unemployment or murder rate is either 0% or 100%.

BMW knows exactly what the rate is, and when it is likely to happen. That's why they warranty the engines for 7/70 instead of 10/100.

Past 7/70, the pre-2015 N20/26 owners must ask themselves "Do I feel lucky?"

In those immortal words of Inspector Harold Francis Callahan, SFPD...

Well, do ya'... punk?

https://youtu.be/4EtvCoG6Kow
 

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You're both sticking your head in the sand. It's always easier to believe good news than bad news.

The timing chain drives the camshafts, not the driveshafts. The chain doesn't know what type of vehicle is attached to the other end of the engine.
That is correct, TC drives the camshafts.

TC does not know what type of vehicle, but it knows rpm. XDrive/X3 has high loads and the frequency of high rpm is high.

A clear head usually can filter out the real bad news from the noise.

Which leads to most reliable way to detect N20/N26 TC issue, namely, keep your ears open.

My ears were trained by two such TC failures at local service bay(diagnosed by foremen and BMW field engineers). It is not something one can miss, assuming no hearing impairment.

So do educate yourself the signs to hear and look for, and the $2k can be spent if needed at the appropriate time to perform the TC + oil chain SIB.
 

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That is correct, TC drives the camshafts.

TC does not know what type of vehicle, but it knows rpm. XDrive/X3 has high loads and the frequency of high rpm is high.

A clear head usually can filter out the real bad news from the noise.

Which leads to most reliable way to detect N20/N26 TC issue, namely, keep your ears open.

My ears were trained by two such TC failures at local service bay(diagnosed by foremen and BMW field engineers). It is not something one can miss, assuming no hearing impairment.

So do educate yourself the signs to hear and look for, and the $2k can be spent if needed at the appropriate time to perform the TC + oil chain SIB.
The only time Frau Putzer rolls down her windows is when she does it remotely when approaching the car, to cool it off before getting in. Then, she closes the windows, starts the car, hits MAX AC, and turns on that damn rap music. She'd never hear a timing chain starting to go bad.

If I'm 1000 miles from home when I heard a funny noise from the engine, my actions would depend on whether my engine is still under warranty. If it is still under warranty, I'd drive all the way home in 2nd gear at 5000 RPM.
 

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How many more X3s are out there than F30. That would be my question regarding this comparison.
Based on ynguldyn's spreadsheet, I obtained the following numbers:
  • F3x (N20/N26 engine) production from SOP until end of 2014: 267,399
  • F25 (N20 engine) production from SOP until end of 2014: 79,945
 
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