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Black Mage
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2,341 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2014 528i here. Noticed a strange smell and observed a bit of smoke. Found out it was the valve cover/gasket leaking oil onto the exhaust manifold. I ordered the proper parts.

During replacement, I think I may have accidentally knocked on the timing chain assembly because one the little plastic tabs broke right off (!!!!!!).

I looked up this part and it looks inexpensive, but actually replacing it looks... challenging to say the least.

Anyone have any ideas or experience with what to do with this? How screwed am I?

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E30 325e, E34 535i, E46 330Ci, E60 530i, F10 528i, F10 535d
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2014 528i here. Noticed a strange smell and observed a bit of smoke. Found out it was the valve cover/gasket leaking oil onto the exhaust manifold. I ordered the proper parts.

During replacement, I think I may have accidentally knocked on the timing chain assembly because one the little plastic tabs broke right off (!!!!!!).

I looked up this part and it looks inexpensive, but actually replacing it looks... challenging to say the least.

Anyone have any ideas or experience with what to do with this? How screwed am I?

View attachment 1045826 View attachment 1045828
That piece alone is not absolutely critical to keep the timing. You can put the cover on and move on but I really do not suggest this. That part of your timing chain guide is that brittle suggests you the rest will fail any day. If the rest of the timing chain guide breaks, you will most likely create major engine damage.

At this point, it this is my car, there are 2 choices. 1. Just replace the guides, this could be done without removing the pan. 2. Change the timing guides and the chain.

I have a 2012 528i and I just did the guides when the car had 80k miles. Really depends on how much work you want to put in and how much longer you are going to keep your car.
 

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Munich Mark - 2014 535XD
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1,227 Posts
Maybe actually a Blessing ? Was the Timing Chain and Guide ever replaced since new ?

Tons of posts on older Timing Chain Guide failures at or about 70K Miles… You may have found this before failure = Guide debris damages the Oil Pump drive and then…
 

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Black Mage
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not entirely sure TBH. I got the car a couple of months ago with 95k miles on it. According to the Carfax, it had one previous owner and was maintained by a BMW dealership local to him/her.

Fortunately it does look like a clean break. How difficult is it to replace the guides? I found tutorials on replacing the whole thing (waaaay outside of my DIY scope) but not one for the guides.
 

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I'm not entirely sure TBH. I got the car a couple of months ago with 95k miles on it. According to the Carfax, it had one previous owner and was maintained by a BMW dealership local to him/her.

Fortunately it does look like a clean break. How difficult is it to replace the guides? I found tutorials on replacing the whole thing (waaaay outside of my DIY scope) but not one for the guides.
I agree with MunichMark. You are lucky to catch this before the rest of the guides breaking into pieces.

If you are considering changing just the guides, you should first make sure you do not have excessive chain stretch. Since you have the valve cover off, pull on the chain and check the stretch.

The procedure to change just the guides is exactly the same as changing the chain and guides except

1. You don't have to drop the pan and the subframe. The guides could be removed from the top.

2. Make sure you do not loosen the bolt on the crankshaft. Otherwise, you would have to drop the pan.

You still need to get the tool to set the cam timing and I would suggest you change the timing chain tensioner.

Also, when you put the valve cover back on, you need to tighten the bolts 1/2 turn at a time evenly as specified by TIS. The valve cover is very brittle at this mileage. Same procedure for installing the HPFP.
 

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Ship Captain of the Ever Given
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Doing guides with no chain on an N20 at 100k miles with guides clearly brittle is the definition of insanity. I get trying to save money but your asking for engine failure. I don’t care what anybody says. That’s my 2 cents.
 

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Black Mage
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the replies guys. Very helpful. I poked and prodded a bit but that guide is NOT coming out as-is. It's tucked in nicely under the chain and sprockets. Speaking of chain, it does lift by roughly a centimeter or two. I'm not sure what normal chain play is on a stone-cold engine. This is my wife's car and I would feel awful if it blows up on her while she's driving.

Unfortunately, this job is way beyond me. I have neither the tools nor the space to do it. I'm left with getting it towed as-is to the mechanic.

I talked to a few indies and a service center in the area. They confirmed that driving it with the broken piece will be fine but they also highly recommended replacement, given the known problems, mileage and how brittle the thing was for starters.
 

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Thanks for the replies guys. Very helpful. I poked and prodded a bit but that guide is NOT coming out as-is. It's tucked in nicely under the chain and sprockets. Speaking of chain, it does lift by roughly a centimeter or two. I'm not sure what normal chain play is on a stone-cold engine. This is my wife's car and I would feel awful if it blows up on her while she's driving.

Unfortunately, this job is way beyond me. I have neither the tools nor the space to do it. I'm left with getting it towed as-is to the mechanic.

I talked to a few indies and a service center in the area. They confirmed that driving it with the broken piece will be fine but they also highly recommended replacement, given the known problems, mileage and how brittle the thing was for starters.
Your timing chain is very stretched. There should be no play. You have to change the chain.
 

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Black Mage
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Blessing in disguise indeed.

Indies quoted me around $2100-2400 for parts/labor. Hoping it might be a bit less since the car is mostly in pieces already.
 
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