The Most Common BMW N47 (N47D20C) Engine Problems

The Most Common BMW N47 (N47D20C,N47D20A) Engine Problems

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By Scott Matthew

The 2.0l engine with the code N47 (N47D20C) from BMW is an engine that is often assessed negatively. However, it is a quite popular bike. So, what are the causes of the problems with the two-liter N47 engine from BMW?

Characteristics of the N47 (N47D20C) engine

The 2.0 diesel engine is one of the most frequently installed engine in BMW cars, which have been produced since 2007. This engine powers smaller compact cars, but also much larger cars, including SUVs.

The problems with the two-liter N47 engine from BMW, however, result from the complicated and, at the same time, expensive valve timing.

It is worth adding here that the most popular BMW models with this faulty engine are the cars of the 1 series, 3 series, 5 series and X3. How is it in reality? Can his service really cost a fortune?

Read Also: What is a HEMI Engine Meaning And How Does Work?

Timing, which is the biggest problem of the N47 (N47D20C) engine

  1. As mentioned, the biggest problem is the timing drive. Although it is not as problematic as in the case of the M47 construction, of which the N47 engine is an extension.
  2. There are even voices that in this case the problem is greater. While the M47 engine caused a lot of problems after a mileage of 200,000-250,000 km, the N47 engine is noticeable many times with much lower mileage.
  3. The stretching of the timing chain itself would not have been a bigger problem, if it were not for the fact that it was placed by the designers at the rear, from the gearbox side.
  4. In addition, the entire timing consists of three chains, four shoes and two tensioners, driving the oil pump and injection pump.
  5. Problems with the two-liter N47 engine from BMW are so serious that in the environment of mechanics there is an opinion that it is better to complete such a bike and replace the entire engine.
  6. If it goes to the service in its entirety, when it has only a stretched timing, it should be replaced together with the gears.
  7. The problem is that they are integrated with the shaft itself, which in this situation is also subject to replacement.
  8. Neglecting to replace the chains after stretching the chains, wear of the guide shoes and the loss of their properties by the tensioners, however, it leads to the chain breakage, which is synonymous with the destruction of the engine.

After buying a car, should you replace the N47 (N47D20C) engine timing?

Despite the high cost, replacing the timing chain seems to be justified. Before that, however, it is worth verifying the operation of the timing drive, with the help of an experienced mechanic. Vehicle History will also come in handy which may indicate such a service in the recent past.

As, in general, the replacement timing is suitable already at the mileage of 120-150 thousand. km, many drivers try to sell the car when this expensive procedure inevitably looms.

Checking a possible replacement in the past and verification of the operation of the timing drive by a mechanic, therefore, can help in negotiating the price of such a vehicle.

The last moment to replace it comes when this element makes a lot of noise. What else to replace after buying a car on the secondary market? You can read about it in the article entitled “ What to replace after buying a used car?“.

Read Also: 16+ The Most Reliable BMW Engine Ever Made

How much does it cost to replace the N47 (N47D20C) engine timing?

The timing problems of the two-liter N47 engine from BMW are unfortunately also costly. Its replacement with the slides and tensioner, using original parts, costs about $ 1,062. Approximately $ 210 less, this service costs when using substitutes.

The problem is that the final cost of such a service is determined by the mechanic only after verifying and dismantling the timing drive, which involves the disassembly of the engine with the gearbox and the fuel system with the cylinder head.

To make matters worse, the service manual also includes the disassembly of the power steering pump and the front of the exhaust system.

Such a service is therefore very complicated, and also requires high precision, for example when setting the position of the crankshaft deflection.

Therefore, it is important that specialists who have experience in replacing the timing drive of this engine take care of it.

According to the schedule, it takes them around 13 hours. The labor alone costs nearly $ 425. Parts cost at least twice as much, and let’s not forget about replacing seals or oil.

Which version of the N47 engine is the most common problems?

The N47 engine series is labeled differently. The versions with the code N47D20A, which were produced in the years 2007 – 2011, are most exposed to faster wear of the timing gear.

These engines generating power of 143, 163, 177 and 204 HP can be found in models 118d, 120d, 123d, 318d, 320d, 520d, X3 or X1. Particular care should be taken with a 177 hp engine.

At the same time, it should be noted that not every engine with a mileage of approx. 150 thousand. km must have the timing gear replaced. It happens that cars with original drive cover even more than 200,000 kilometers. km. Therefore, each such vehicle, as well as other used cars, requires thorough verification.

Service action for cars with N47 (N47D20C) engine

BMW was reluctant to inform its customers about it, but the concern also took a service action to verify or replace the engine’s timing drive.

So why were all owners of cars equipped with the N47 not informed about it? Well, due to the fact that the defect did not pose a threat to safety and the environment.

Therefore, it was not announced by the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. However, the possible fact of carrying out such an action can be checked through the VIN report.

Is it worth buying a car with a N47 (N47D20C) engine?

The question that remains is whether, knowing the problems with the two-liter N47 engine from BMW, buy a vehicle with such a engine, or stay away from it.

The drive engine itself is characterized by good dynamics and, at the same time, low fuel consumption. If only for this reason, this engine can be recommended.

However, only for those who are aware of the risks and in a situation where it does not require immediate replacement of the timing drive immediately after purchase. The cars that have already been replaced are the best, which can be verified by Vehicle History.

Anyway, this is a report that also provides insight into many other important issues for a potential used car buyer.

It contains not only service actions, repairs at an authorized service station and documenting workshops, but also information about collisions and damages, as well as technical data or factory equipment as of the day when it left the factory.

As if that was not enough, checking the VIN it also helps in verifying the theft databases. The report also includes any past sales campaigns.

All this is helpful in verifying such a car. It perfectly complements the technical inspection, visual inspection, and, of course, a test drive necessary before finalizing the purchase.

BMW n47d20c vs n47d20a Engine

The BMW N47D20C and N47D20A are both variants of the N47 engine family produced by BMW. These engines are commonly found in various BMW models, and while they share some similarities, there are also important differences between them. Here’s a comparison of the two:

N47D20C Engine:

  1. Timing Chain: The N47D20C engine is known for addressing some of the timing chain issues that were more prevalent in earlier N47 engine variants. BMW introduced modifications to the timing chain components to enhance reliability and reduce the likelihood of timing chain failures.
  2. Emissions Standards: The N47D20C engine was developed to meet stricter emissions standards, including Euro 6 emissions requirements. This led to improvements in emissions control and efficiency.
  3. Power and Performance: The power output and performance characteristics of the N47D20C engine can vary depending on the specific vehicle and model year it’s used in. It typically offers good fuel efficiency and adequate performance.

N47D20A Engine:

  1. Timing Chain Issues: The N47D20A engine, like some earlier N47 variants, has been associated with timing chain issues. These problems could lead to timing chain failure, which can result in engine damage.
  2. Emissions Standards: The N47D20A engine was developed to meet earlier emissions standards, such as Euro 5, which were less stringent than Euro 6. While it may not be as environmentally friendly as the N47D20C, it still meets the emissions requirements of its era.
  3. Power and Performance: Similar to the N47D20C, the power and performance of the N47D20A engine can vary depending on the specific BMW model and year. It typically offers decent performance and fuel efficiency.

Which One Is Better?

In terms of timing chain reliability and emissions compliance, the N47D20C engine is generally considered an improvement over the N47D20A. The modifications made to the timing chain components in the N47D20C were aimed at reducing the likelihood of timing chain-related issues.

However, it’s important to note that both engines can vary in reliability based on factors like maintenance, driving habits, and usage conditions. Proper maintenance and timely servicing are crucial for extending the life and reliability of any engine, including those in BMW vehicles.

If you’re considering a BMW with either of these engines, it’s advisable to have a pre-purchase inspection conducted by a qualified BMW technician who can assess the engine’s condition and provide insights into its maintenance history. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the specific maintenance and service requirements for the model you’re interested in to ensure that it continues to run reliably.

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