The technically advanced 1.6 THP Prince engine units suffer from problems with the timing even at low mileage. Can it be prevented? THP is a family of naturally aspirated and turbocharged engines, developed by PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) in cooperation with BMW, which added, among others, its smooth valve lift system (in naturally aspirated versions).
In terms of technology, these are very modern units, additionally ensuring great performance. The weakest of them (1.4 VTi) have 90 HP, 1.6 VTi already 120 HP, while the turbocharged 1.6 THP can generate up to 270 HP. Despite these undoubted advantages, manufacturers are gradually withdrawing these engines from circulation, replacing them with smaller, 3-cylinder 1.2 PureTech engines. As it turns out, not only for economic reasons.
List of cars with 1.6 THP engines:
- BMW 114i, 116i F20 (2011-2016)
- BMW 316i, 320i ED F30 (2012-2016)
- Citroen C3 (2009-2015)
- Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-2015)
- Citroen DS3 (from 2009)
- Citroen C4 I / II (From 2009)
- Citroen C4 Picasso I / II (From 2008)
- Citroen DS4 (from 2009)
- Citroen DS5 (from 2012)
- Mini One / Cooper / Cooper S (2007-2010)
- Peugeot 207 (2006-2012)
- Peugeot 208 (2012-2016)
- Peugeot 2008 (2013-2015)
- Peugeot 308 (2007-2016)
- Peugeot 3008 (from 2010)
- Peugeot 508 (from 2011)
- Peugeot 5008 (from 2009)
- Peugeot RCZ (2010-2016)
1.6 THP VTI Prince Engine Problems And Reliability
- The 1.6 THP series of units turns out to be extremely underdeveloped structurally.
- Engines consume oil en masse (especially in dynamic driving).
- They also lose oil at a standstill due to poor quality elements cooperating with sealants.
- Additionally, the valves build up relatively quickly with carbon deposits and the exhaust manifold breaks.
- The failures of an extremely fragile timing chain will spend the most nerves and money.
- It can loosen even after a mileage of several thousand kilometers and the entire timing should be replaced under warranty.
- After its completion, the owner will have to bear the costs. And they are not small – from $260 to even $650.
What are the causes of 1.6 THP timing failures?
1.6 THP engines are usually powerful, and hence – high torque, averaging 240 Nm. Thereby, greater stresses in the timing arise in the crank system. The one used in 1.6 THP is equipped with a single row chain, even though two rows are already used today. It looks like a bicycle one and it cannot withstand the heavy loads generated by the engine, so it pulls out quite quickly (even 2 cm for 100,000 km).
Another factor influencing timing wear is a faulty chain tensioner, which cannot maintain the oil pressure long enough. As a result, the pin retracts too quickly when parked and loosens the chain. The problem is additionally exacerbated by the very low viscosity oil (0W-30 or 5W-30) used in THP engines, which makes it difficult to maintain tightness, and the oil filter is too small.
How to recognize the problem?
The first symptom is usually the characteristic rattling noise of a cold engine. At that time, the oil that had previously fled from it has not reached the tensioner yet. After a while, the rattling stops, indicating that the tensioner has filled with oil. If the chain has already pulled out sufficiently, this may result in poor engine running smoothness and poor performance, and in extreme cases, even starting difficulties.
Can it be prevented?
There is no way that can eliminate the described problem one hundred percent. Experienced mechanics, however, have found a solution that can extend the interval between timing changes – they install a tensioner with an improved design (with the oil supply hole closer to the screw head) or remake it themselves so that the piston does not retract.
The chain itself cannot be treated as a long-lasting element and can not be replaced even every 100,000. km. In addition, check the oil level frequently and replenish it more often than recommended by the manufacturer (i.e. 30,000 km).
BMW N13 Engine Problems & Reliability
The first problem with the BMW N13B16 engine relates to the durability of the time chain. As in the case of the THP engine installed in the PSA car, a damaged tensioner causes the drive to be pulled out. However, there is a caveat in this case. Because this error occurs less frequently in cars from Bavaria than in France.
On BMW forums, it is easy to find information about the model 1 F20 series, which has covered more than 100,000 or even 200,000 kilometers on 1.6 turbo petrol under the hood and has had no problems with timing.
So why is chain replacement still happening? Drivers who are afraid of reports of defects change elements prophylactically.
Failure timing, even in cars with THP engines, can be delayed. Mechanics recommend shortening the oil change interval for this. When the lubricant is changed once a year or every 15,000 kilometers, the tensioner will last longer and not cause accelerated chain wear.
Possible replacement costs? When the driver selects genuine parts, the procedure costs $ 1,080. In case the timing gear is replaced on a replacement basis, the repair cost can be reduced to $ 700.
The 1.6 THP BMW N13B16 engine also struggles with the carbon deposits on the cylinder head components. However, this is due to the direct fuel injection characteristic where the intake fuel does not clean the intake and valve.
Importantly, the problem with carbon deposits did not arise earlier than after covering some 100,000 kilometers. And soot can also get dirty, for example the fuel injector. In this case, the engine may vibrate while driving. Cleaning up supercharged BMW petrol in a professional repair shop can cost up to $ 270.
In this generation of BMW 1 Series F20 user forums, you can also find information about coolant leaks on the back of the head. The most common problem is the connection of the system with the temperature sensor.
One that had minor problems, and two that usually appeared during the warranty period. In addition, information about blower fan damage appears on the forums. In most cases, elements are replaced with new ones, also as part of the manufacturer’s protection.
The 1.6 THP engine has several advantages. Firstly, it offers good performance, secondly it is quite economical and thirdly it has a minimized turbo lag effect. And while the design is decidedly imperfect, it’s also not an issue drivers should avoid in the aftermarket.
The opinions of the drivers on the forums are very good evidence for this engine. They did not indicate any major problems with the gasoline engine and even praised the construction reliability of this machine.