What is the BMW N47 2.0 litre diesel engine Timing Chain Failure Problem?
The BMW N47 diesel engine is known as one of the cleanest engines in the BMW engine family and it is one of the most commonly distributed BMW diesel engines as well. It comes in more than three engine series of models.
The N47 2.0 litre diesel engines have the lowest carbon emissions and thus they are considered as an ultra-fuel economic engine in the class. If you have purchased a second hand BMW diesel car, either it is a 3 series, 5 series or 1 series or even it is an X1 or X3, you have bought a BMW with N47 engine.
If your vehicle has been built between 1st March 2007 and March 2011 then you do not be too surprised by the vehicle reliability and performance. Because these model years come with the faulty engines according to the Irish solicitors and the majority of garages in the UK.
All the BMW N47 powered engine models produced from March 2007 to March 2011 suffer from some specific issues by default that BMW has never admitted as their manufacturing fault.
Basically, these BMW engines have a weakness on the timing chain end. Although the timing chains installed in these engines are designed and manufactured as maintenance free and also installed on the rear side of the engine.
While being maintenance free, these timing chains are still prone to more wear and tear than the normal timing chains. It is not still clear that if this issue is with the timing chain tensioner or with the timing chain itself.
Suffering from these problems, a majority of BMW owners from across the country and majority of these cases were not about timing chain failure but they were about entire engine failure due to timing chain failure.
These issues were more reported in 2013 and 2014 and many of them led to terminal decline as well. Almost all the drivers reported that they first hear a rattling sound from the engine compartment and they said that they felt these sounds were not an indication of everything is alright.
No one saw an engine light glowing before getting into the issue but almost everyone faces a sudden drop in power, locked steering system and braking system. This entire situation ends to a complete standstill with almost everyone. Upon recovery, to a garage, they were surprisingly informed that they have a blown engine.
BMW N47 Engine issues
1-Timing chain problems
The N47 engines were previously known for their reliability and performance but the timing chain issues on these engines in the past few years have rocked the BMW and the rest of the industry.
These engines surprisingly have a different design and have their timing chain hidden on the back side of the engine, exactly under the windscreens meant to be bulletproof. BMW says that they have made this part maintenance free as it should run with the vehicle for a lifetime.
But according to the engine experts, this is a massive mistake by the manufacturer. It should be designed as a repairable part and must be in easy access to the mechanics. But in the case of the N47 2.0-litre diesel engines, the story is totally upside down.
A number of problems were reported by some proactive car owners and they saved their entire engine by replacing the timing chain. It is hard to replace the timing chain on the N47 engines.
The engine has to be removed from the engine bay in order to access the timing chain area and then a mechanic can replace the timing chain. It is a time consuming and costly procedure for just a timing chain replacement.
Auto garages have seen the most badly damaged engine from 2009 to 2013 and with the time they played a vital role in educating the BMW owners that if they hear or feel any of the common signs of timing chain issues, they must contact the garage and get the timing chain replace there and then save the entire engine.
A garage owner says that BMW has installed the timing chain on the back side of the engine and didn’t expect any problem occurrence is a concerning matter in this case. It is just the positioning of the timing chain which restricts mechanics from replacing it and makes the access a nightmare.
The entire engine has to be removed to replace the damaged components. The engine needs to be stripped apart to replace the damaged parts. It is simply like an engine rebuilt which is a labour-intensive and costly process.
What does the timing chain do?
The timing chain links the moving parts in the cylinder head with the crankshaft of the engine and it is very important to work all the parts flawlessly to perform the engine at its best. The timing chain is a vital engine component and if it fails, it causes a major reaction, crushes all the parts of the engine including the pistons, cylinder head, camshafts and valves.
Models affected by the timing chain fault
BMW 1 series [118d, 120d, 123d]
BMW 3 series [318d, 320d]
BMW 5 series [520d]
All of these models share the engine code N47. However, rebuilding the N47 engine suffered from a timing chain issue is a complex task even if you just need a timing chain, but in most cases, entire engine needs to be replaced. By no means, the engine replacement is a cheap or quick fix because this could be anywhere from 5000.00GBP to 8000.00GBP to replace an entire engine.
Back in 2013, BBC Watchdog brought this issue to light. They spoke to the design engineer of the forensic department and he said that it is a manufacturing fault in N47 engines.
But if you are lucky enough and maintaining your car service history with any of the main dealers or any approved BMW garages, you will be able to recover some of the costs by getting BMW goodwill policy, otherwise, all the costs would have to be paid by the owner of the vehicle.