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N20 Timing Chain failure Drivetrain malfunction. BMW F25 X3 2013 53,000 miles

141736 Views 348 Replies 115 Participants Last post by  ExGMan
My wife's 2013 X3 just stopped and gave a drivetrain malfunction error in the middle of the road while she was driving.

I was unable to move it and could not push it.

I tried the emergency electronic release but after 20 minutes realized no matter what I did it would not work.

Then I remembered the manual release screw under the car!

This video helped.... But I had to remove the panels underneath with a 8mm socket to gain access to the Allen wrench screw.

Let me say..... what a pain in the ass!

Finally got the car out of gear and towed home. To make matters worse warranty just expired 3 months ago, car now has 53,000. I swear BMW does this on purpose.

No I am trying to diagnose the problem..

I am hoping its something simple... I have seen where the ignition coils have failed locking out the transmission to prevent damage...

ANy help would be appreciated. I cant believe how dangerous this car is designed. I was stuck in one spot for 1 hour trying to disengage the gear lock. I hope this helps someone else. The car was unable to be moved or towed until the lock is disabled.

Anyone have any idea on what it could be?...

The timing chain and or timing chain guards failed resulting in a total loss of the engine.

I have had many people with the BMW N20 issue email me of similar failures and am keeping a list here...

Please add your comments to this forum if you had a similar experience.


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my 2013 X3 (4 months out of warranty) had about 35000 miles on it when it failed - drivetrain malfunction error, and then "stop driving - low oil pressure"
Had it towed to the dealer and they diagnosed that the timing chain guide had broken apart into small pieces and fallen down into the oil pan - blocking the oil pickup.
Replacement engine cost was $23,000 Cdn - which was fully paid by BMW Canada - after some arguing!
Within 2 weeks of the repairs being done - I traded the X3 for a Lexus NX200t
I've lost all faith in BMW. I find it absolutely inexcusable that BMW has not recalled this crap engine.
LOL .. time will tell i suppose ... the NX is certainly different.
I do enjoy that the engine does not shut off at traffic lights :)
I would have done the same thing! Except maybe for a different car

Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest mobile app
Here is a quote from the website above:

"It's all good news. BMW recognized that the timing chains in the N20 and N26 engines are an issue and their technicians are proactively replacing them before any damage is done. It doesn't matter what badge is in your driveway, knowing the manufacturer steps up and resolves problems before they get out of hand is great."

This is such BS ... BMW are NOT proactive at all. They wait for customers to bring their broken engines into the shop and then quote an Exhorbitant repair cost, then finally, reluctantly agree to cover the cost (maybe)

These engines should be recalled! period!
Would you like to be stranded miles from home when your engine fails with no warning ?
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