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Hi Ryan,

Yes, I was driving at about 35- 40 miles per hour. Engine made a horrible sound and the car completely died, just stopped abruptly. Thank goodness I didn't have anyone beyond me. It wouldn't go into Neutral. It wouldn't start, couldn't do much except for calling a tow truck. A
 

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Nabs,

Wow.. that's terrible. I drive more on freeways than local roads myself, and I have a 528i that I had to tow without being able to get the car into Neutral either.

BMW needs to issue a recall for this ASAP, but I doubt BMW North America will want to spend that much money replacing engines pre-emptively. Good to know you were safe and that no one was immediately ahead of you.
 

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Nabs,

I appreciate the quick responses! Are you off from work today as well? All joking aside though, did the dealer provide you with a full explanation of the defect in writing? My car has not been worked on yet, it is a '14 X3 x28i with only roughly 35,000-36,000 miles on it so far. I bought it as a CPO so any powertrain failure will be covered till 2019 or 100,000 miles on the odometer, whichever comes first.

However, a wrecked car is a wrecked car if my engine dies all of a sudden on a busy road while driving at 55+ mph... I will need to research into any class action lawsuits that may be growing because this defect (especially if BMW is aware of it) is a serious issue.
 

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No problem! I have it in an email from my service tech the exact problem and the cost!! My local BMW mechanic told me that it was with only the 2013 X3, but he could also be mistaken. A new engine should solve my problem. I heard they replaced this module in the 2014 and up X3s.
 

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I read somewhere on this site too that the problem was supposedly taken care of for 2014 and newer X3's. It's still the same engine though, if I recall correctly. Anyhow, you'll hear me ranting non-stop on this site if I have any problems, and if I have problems on my '14 ... you know other people will too!
 

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Irony here: yesterday at the dealer when I was dropping mine off the have the vapor barrier replaced, again, under warranty, I overheard my service advisor on the phone with a client, answering questions on "drive train malfunction light." Once off the phone, I asked her "Let me guess, that person has a BMW with the N20?" She just smiled, winked, and said "You know I can't tell you that." Chalk another one up.
 

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Some may recall that BMW introduced multiple redesigns of the high pressure fuel pump for the N54 engine. Each one was supposed to have solved the problems with the HPFP until new problems arose. Ultimately, BMW offered owners an extended 10 year warranty on the troublesome part. https://www.scribd.com/doc/153404704/BMW-N54-HPFP-Warranty-Extension-TSB

Perhaps owners of vehicles with the N20 engine should pressure BMW for a similar warranty extension for timing chain failures. The re-design of the timing chain guide introduced in about January 2015 may hopefully eliminate the problems observed. However, with less than two years since the new guide was introduced, it may not have been in service long enough to know whether this reduces or eliminates timing chain problems. There are also reports in the link below that BMW suggests the oil pump timing chain module be replaced when the guides are replaced. This may be another potential problem area identified by BMW in the N20 engine.

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

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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?...

***UPDATE***
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...
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1W-8OS20dHFYuGzbW3o6asbA61aiNC7nSjO0qMWTYAH4/edit#gid=0

Please add your comments to this forum if you had a similar experience.
I just brought my 2013 x3 in to the dealer at 56k miles for a drive train error. I just got the bad news that they have found a broken timing chain guide and the repair will cost 5200.00. I really would not settle for this answer and pushed them to contact BMW North America. I did not know what the timing chain really did but I have boned up pretty quickly. They agreed it is unusual that the car had this type of failure with this type of mileage. They were very forthcoming that it could be a result of BMW using plastic parts on this guide. Luckily I have changed my oil regularly and rarely get the car above 40 mph. I know shame on me but I live in the down town area of chicago. I am waiting to hear back from them tomorrow on a discount structure and will keep you updated.
 

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Engine replaced at 71K miles

I have a F25 with the N20 Engine. Same here like other posts that my wife was driving this on a dark night and the car just stopped on a ramp which was very scary for her and unsafe. Towed to BMW dealership and they quoted 18K. Took it to BMW and they footed 60% of the bill but yet I am unable to digest that how an engine needs to be replaced with just 71K miles. We have had cars drive up to 150-250K miles. I can understand issues related to wear and tear but a poor design where metal shavings and plastic parts come in and damage engine is just hard to understand.

Nevertheless my wife and are pissed. Safety issue and the treatment from both BMW and dealer were just pathetic.

Is there a class action case on this issue?

thanks
 

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Has anyone gotten their dealers to proactively fix this issue before their warranty is up?

My free maintenance period ends in March 2017 and I'd love to have them repair the timing chain in advance.

Is there some magic word I need to say to get the dealer to be proactive here so I'm not stranded out on the highway in about 20K miles? (am currently at 34K).
 

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Has anyone gotten their dealers to proactively fix this issue before their warranty is up?

My free maintenance period ends in March 2017 and I'd love to have them repair the timing chain in advance.

Is there some magic word I need to say to get the dealer to be proactive here so I'm not stranded out on the highway in about 20K miles? (am currently at 34K).
You can always open up your oil cap and take a look inside. You can see the timing chain and plastic housing. If they look to be scored and cracked, then you know who to call.
 

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This chain breaking issue reminds me alot of bicycle chains that stretches over time and then breaks. I remember the couple of times when such events occured, it was when I was mashing the pedals on an uphill. That sudden power stroke stressed the already compromised chain that resulted in it breaking. Which led to "drivetrain malfunction".

It would be illuminating to read the data logs of the bmw right before the timing chain broke.
 

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This chain breaking issue reminds me alot of bicycle chains that stretches over time and then breaks. I remember the couple of times when such events occured, it was when I was mashing the pedals on an uphill. That sudden power stroke stressed the already compromised chain that resulted in it breaking. Which led to "drivetrain malfunction".
and did you crash?
Me, When I notice the rear changes not so crisp (SRAM red and force 22), I proceed to measure the wear using a chain gauge and if it is more than 50%, then I replace it; in this manner, I have never had a 'drivetrain' malfunction. Only if BMW did the same with our N20 engines!!!! :dunno:

PS: a pic of my nicest ride; I also own a trek madone 4.5 for rainy days and trainer use
 

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This chain breaking issue reminds me alot of bicycle chains that stretches over time and then breaks.
How long is pedal shoulder, about 6'', i.e. 1/2 foot, right? When you step on it with your 200lb body weight it generates 100lb/f torque. When you hit it hard, it make much more, maybe even 200lb/f that the chain should deliver to back wheel. Still, they work for long year...

All chain does in the engine - turns 2 cam shafts. Each cam is probably 1'' tall. Only 1 cam pair is engaged on each shaft at any point in time. That is it. RPMs are way higher, but torque is much less than in bicycle. Thus the chain has no reason to stretch beyond 0.01%.
 
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