N47 timing chain failures - influencing factors

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  1. N47 timing chain failures - influencing factors 
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    As we know, the N47 engine has a reputation for timing chain failures related to the design of the crankshaft sprocket. However, having just searched through Autotrader there are lots of examples of high mileage cars (1, 3 & 5 series) which have in excess of 100,000 miles and right up to 170,000.

    Although some of these cars may have had rectification of the timing chain related issues, I'm sure there must be a lot of them that have managed to get to high mileage without any attention.

    This raises the question as to whether there are any external factors which contribute to the premature failure of the chains, i.e. town driving, or whether motorway miles extend their life? Could there be other factors such as more frequent oil/filter changes or driving style? Are failures more common on manuals than automatics?

    Although the main cause of these failures is undoubtedly down to the design of the engine, I'm curious to know what your opinions are on this subject and perhaps members could tell us here how many miles they have on their N47 engine, the type of driving they do and the frequency of oil changes and whether they have any timing chain noise from their engine.

    My manual 520d has just reached 80,000 miles, has only had CBS scheduled oil changes and sounds fairly quiet at present (hopefully to remain that way) I believe most of the miles covered were via motorway before I purchased it.

    If we collect this information we may be able to spot any common influencing factors, so post up your info,
    Last edited by mr.ots; 24-08-2012 at 18:24.
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    So you have to remember the N47 was only introduced in March 2007 on E60's and E90's. The original problem was with a manufacturing fault on the crankshaft sprocket that drove the chain to the high pressure pump and on to the camshafts. It caused the chain to wear out and either snap or jump causing considerable engine damage.

    BMW recognised it as a fault and fixed the sprocket issue in roughly March 2008 (some older engines were still installed at a later date) but later model have since failed, the mechanics on the site have seen mainly jumped chains on manual cars that have been been ragged, auto's don't do the same harsh gear changes and so are less prone to failure.

    The big issue is that BMW in a moment of madness put the chain at the back of the engine and so the only way to change the lower chain is remove the sump.

    Just as a point of reference the CBS oil changes are just daft and there to satisfy the fleet buyers, you should do an oil service every 10-12k if you want the turbo to last. National Tyres do an oil change for 60 on a 520d using Castrol Edge oil which is what BMW recommend
    Last edited by matthew_henson; 24-08-2012 at 17:27.
     
     

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    As I understand it, according to a puma release from BMW, the chains and crankshaft were affected on the N47 right up to March 2011.

    I agree with you on changing the oil at 10k intervals and I will be booking my car into National Tyres next week for an oil and filter change.

    The question still remains why some N47s manage to reach high mileage whilst others have failed at 70k. It would be good to find out what influencing factors, if any, there are.
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    I'm all ears on this one... Nearest and most trusted BMW service centre is close to my work, despite my car being a May 08 built sub 30k auto I'm still planning on making full use of my years approved used warranty for precautionary expert inspection. Mrs reckons I'm mad but I reckon you'd be a mug not to.
     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.ots View Post
    The question still remains why some N47s manage to reach high mileage whilst others have failed at 70k. It would be good to find out what influencing factors, if any, there are.
    General concensus seems to be that cars that driven hard are more to fail sooner, hard acceration up and down the gears jolts the chain and exacerabates wear
     
     

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    I agree Miner, you would be wise to have the car checked by BMW whilst you have the extended warranty.

    Mine, like yours, is a May 08 build but with 50k more miles on. lets hope that the ones built after March 08 are indeed more robust than the earlier N47s, although this is questionable in light of later cars having snapped their chains and the PUMA report stating that cars up to March 11 can have their chains and crank replaced under warranty if noisy.
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    My 520D has an N47 engine, build Feb 2008, it has done 128,000 miles and upto a few months ago it was a fleet car with full BMW service and 20K miles oil changes, I replaced the engine oil+filter+air filter.

    When I brought it I had no idea about the timing belt issue (even though before I purchased it I did post a topic on a couple of BMW forums about any problems with these types of cars !!!).

    Shortly after purchasing the car I noticed a slight ticking sound which was not coming from the injectors etc, after taking it to an independant garage the front serpentine aux drivebelt was making that ticking sound so I replaced that using a genuine BMW part which was 49 for a new belt. currently there are no ticking noises.

    Although at the time I did look into this problem, I contacted lots of BMW inde specialists, they are aware of the problem, I had quotes from 1600 to replace the chain and followers not including the crankshaft, and about 3600 with the crankshaft replacement, most are aware of the problems and cars are coming in the get replaced when the chain rattle's very loud, some have come in when snapped and normally require a new engine, or complete rebuild, one told me BMW did give all parts for free as that car was low mileage.

    Not sure what else I can do to prevent this, as my car has got 128k miles the BMW extended warranty is 68 per month, drivetrain cover only with an excess of 250 per every claim and no emergency assistance, abit steep I thought and as I don't do alot of miles and plan to have it for only a couple of years.

    Good Thread, good to get some sort of knowledge base on this problem.
     
     

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    BMW: 520d E60 N47 Premature failure of timing chain : BMW 5 series Forum • BMWLand

    Link to a translated version of the PuMA on BMWland I copied and sent to the BMW garage I bought my car from to ask them up front about the issues.
     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulrog View Post
    My 520D has an N47 engine, build Feb 2008, it has done 128,000 miles and upto a few months ago it was a fleet car with full BMW service and 20K miles oil changes, I replaced the engine oil+filter+air filter.
    It's good to see you've got to 128k. Have you checked with the servicing dealer whether any warranty work has been carried out?

    The other issue I'm curious about is the noise oweners report hearing from inside the car which is described as a swooshing sound which increases with engine speed. I've seen some owners report that this has been present on their car from new. Could this be a normal noise of a chain driven engine?

    The ticking or rattling noises on the other hand certainly sounds like cause for concern.

    How many N47 owners hear a swooshing noise once the engine is warm?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.ots View Post
    It's good to see you've got to 128k. Have you checked with the servicing dealer whether any warranty work has been carried out?

    The other issue I'm curious about is the noise oweners report hearing from inside the car which is described as a swooshing sound which increases with engine speed. I've seen some owners report that this has been present on their car from new. Could this be a normal noise of a chain driven engine?

    The ticking or rattling noises on the other hand certainly sounds like cause for concern.

    How many N47 owners hear a swooshing noise once the engine is warm?

    No major warranty work done, just normal servicing etc, i'm currently working way and the cars at home so can't comment on the swooshing noise.
     
     

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