BMW Redesigns N20 Timing Chain Components, N26 Too

BMW N20 N26 Engine Stripped

Update: There’s a Class Action Lawsuit

Details here. Don’t miss out if you’ve been impacted!

It was a few weeks ago when the shop foreman informed me that the he wanted to replace the timing chain but was going to hold off until the other issues were resolved. Apparently early model N20 and N26 powered vehicles coming in to diagnose front engine noise. Turns out the irregular noises have been the result of stretched timing chains. Catastrophic engine failure can occur if the timing chain snaps or jumps a tooth on the gear.

As luck would have it, today I received two updates. The first was that the Auto Start Stop failure for which I brought the car in originally, was resolved. The second update pertained to the timing chain. BMW just redesigned the n20 timing chain related components and my 328i would be one of the first to receive the update. The bad news is that the parts are on back order and likely won’t arrive until next week.

BMW N20 Timing Chain Close Up

The good news is that BMW recognized the timing chain components in the N20 and N26 engines were prone to failure. I’m happy to report that at least some of their technicians are proactively recognizing and recommending updating components 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 isn’t my first BMW but it is one of the few I’ve owned under warranty and I doubt the level of service I’ve received these past two months would be comparable anywhere else.

The Fix

The big news here is that BMW has redesigned the timing chain components. How exactly? Based on RealOEM, there was a part number change for the N20 Timing Chain starting 01/2015 so we can assume then that N20 and N26 engines with build dates of 2015 have the updated timing chain and components.

Up to 01/2015 – 11317584084
After 01/2015 – 11318648732

As of this writing, the update parts are back ordered and will soon be distributed to BMW dealers nationwide. I’ll be happy knowing I won’t have to worry about the n20 timing chain in the future. Can’t wait to get my car back!

  1. Good Morning. This problem was only for USA BMW N20 or for Germany N20 too?? is the same engine, but i dont know if was assembled on the same place. I live on Uruguay, South America and yesterday my timing change broke on D al 60 Miles per hour. is possible to brake a lot of parts? Thanks so much.

    1. Mine broke too and engine just shut off on the interstate. Need new engine. Quoted $21,000. 2012 528i Xdrive, less than 60k miles.

      1. This just happened to me also. 2013 X3 76K miles. BMW says they will pay for 30% of $17,500 bill out of “goodwill”. I’m outraged.

  2. This seems like its a much more common problem… Mine broke at 53,000 miles now dealer is quoting me $18,000 to fix it. This is totally unfair.. Please see my posts here and comment if you have a similar experience on this website..

    I think we may have to let BMW have a recall or possibly a class action lawsuit.

  3. really? Feb 2017 and my X3 has not received the updated timing guy so will have to call this article BS

  4. Our 2013 X3 engine was destroyed at 77K miles when the guides for the timing chain broke. I saw the inside of the engine. Looked brand new, spotless, except the plastic guides were broken. Car shut down with zero warning. As the drivetrain warranty expired at 50K, and at least the local dealer claimed no knowledge of a problem, they quoted $28K for new engine.

    We found a 2016 used engine with 23K miles and had it installed. Total out the door $14K. We are pursuing legal recourse, as those guides were changed on all models starting January 2015. This is a known defect, but my opinion is BMW did their cost/benefit analysis and felt that nearly all N20 engines would be out of warranty so they decided to do nothing. We’ve spoken with others who took a total loss rather than pay for a new or used engine, including one that was totalled while ours was in the shop. Many others are just dumping them before they hit 100K miles, feeling that it’s only a matter of time before they self-destruct.

    1. Just curious if you pursued any legal action/class action regarding this? My 2013 X3 just had the same thing happen. I was told 18k for the new engine. Our dealer recognized that it’s an issue since there was another identical one there at the same time with the same problem, but said they couldn’t do a thing. Their solution was to habe me pay for the repair then trade it and they would give me $11,500 for it…..yep I wrote that correctly. BMW NA case manager told me that they decided they will not be offering any assistance on these vehicles. Needless to say I’m very interested in possible legal actions.

      1. My 2013 X3 blew up last July 13, 2017 with 125k km. My wife was on freeway taking her 90 year old mother to a medical appointment. No warning, just oil pressure alarm, followed immediately by drivetrain malfunction alarm, and immediate shutdown. She was very lucky the traffic was moderate and she could ‘coast’ to the side of the road and stop it without power steering or brakes. Had it towed and am now waiting on estimate. Not happy and planning to escalate!

      2. Hello I am having that same problem right now. My car us still in the dealer service. It has 59k miles on it. I contacted Bmw N. America and file official complain with the assistance of the Service Manager of the dealer. Yesterday Bmw replied and agree to cover all costs of broken parts and labors to repair it. The issue is known to them. Now I am just waiting and see how the car turn out. Certainly im not paying 10k as the dealer quoted

      3. There’s a class action. Plz send a contact form to for a no cost consultation & claim.

        1. I have a bmw f30 2012 94000km n20 engine,
          Resently bmw told me they had to change my timing chain because it was stretched. After some contact with bmw they informed me i had to pay for the failing timing chaine replacement. I am from holland and i would love to no if you have any evidence proofing the failing timing chain is a production fault of bmw.

        2. Can we join the class action from Canada

          AND SHOW ME

          IndexBMW Model DiscussionsNew Member Introductions




          32 minutes ago · #1

          Looking for advise

          Our BMW X1 2012 just stoped on us while driving on the hwy the car has only 65000km the engine oil pump failed and timing chain jumped causing engine to fail, no warning so now the engine needs to be replaced they quoted us at Georgian BMW Barrie On. $25,000 canadian(twenty five thousand) and BMW will not replace the engine. This is happening with other models the Internet is full of threads on this on other models so it’s obviously a defective engine with no quality assurance. We could have had a very bad accident. We are loyal costumers this is our secound Bmw and I can’t believe that BMW will not stand by their product and do the rigth thing by fixing the car, instead they are trying to make more money by charging us this ridiculous amount more that the car itself. This is our ultimate nightmare experience!

      4. …. it did it here too N20 2014 56K miles after being the most comfortable, quiet, and peppy car you can expect from a 528i… i change oil every 4K and take GREAT care of all it’s components to the T… I wish it was just the engine,,,, The tech said the engine breakage caused trans noise, (was audible only after engine change) did not make any sense to me but what can i do …

    2. I’m handling a class action for engine failures. Plz pm me on FB or call 1-800-279-6996 for more info & to make a no cost claim. Joseph R. Santoli

      1. Does the engine have to fail to participate in the class action? i.e. Can I be part of the class action to get it fixed “before” it fails?

      2. to become part of the class action, does my engine have to fail first? I got an estimate to proactively fix it, but don’t want a catastrophic failure if it can be prevented.

      3. I have the same problem.on my wife’s x3 in South Africa. Is there any progress.with BMW in terms of assisting to rectify this.

    3. Sorry for your loss…. it did it here too N20 2014 56K miles after being the most comfortable, quiet, and peppy car you can expect from a 528i… i change oil every 4K and take GREAT care of all it’s components to the T… I wish it was just the engine,,,, The tech said the engine breakage caused trans noise, (was audible only after engine change) did not make any sense to me but what can i do …

  5. BMW Canada is using the movie “Fight Club” approach to guide its customer service on the N20/N26 timing guide and refuses to proactively address the issue – cost vs ultimate risk/cost. Tried with dealer, BMW Canada to fix the problem proactively and then ended up selling the 328i xdrive – good bye BMW. By the way BMW Canada has a D+ rating with the BBB – this speaks volumes in its approach to customers.

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