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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would share this with everyone as when I was looking to fix my timing chain tensioner I couldn't find any photos or solid guide on how to fix the "Death Rattle" AKA the timing chain tensioner failing.

I finally decided to fix the problem myself instead of paying them twats aka BMW over £500 to do the work on my car which I could not justify, let alone the expensive price to fix it I just don't trust them touching my car. The overall cost to fix the timing chain tensioner is actually just the part which is best brought from your local BMW garage or off the internet. I decided to get mine from BMW.

The part number is 11 31 7 510 801 and cost me around £30 (think it was £31.80 or something in that region)

Anywhoo rant over...

To decipher whether you have the problem of the timing chain tensioner failing it will sounds basically like a tractor on start up and tick over and as you rev above 2k the sound will disappear although I strongly recommend that you do not drive or rev the car whatsoever as the underlying problem could be far worse. There are a few videos on you tube that give you an idea of what the sound is like.

After reading a few threads I got an idea of what tolls I would need, however I think I have found a simple very fast basic way and Il add photos as well.

The main essential tools that you will need are:

3/8 " 19mm Socket
3/8 " ratchet
A bucket/bowel

Guide:

Firsts things first you will need to jack up the car to take off the drivers side wheel (offside front) - I recommend putting an axle stand under the sub frame or something there just in case the jack fails - I very much doubt it will but its still best to be safe than sorry!

Once removing the wheel you should get a good view of the back of the engine.

When I fixed mine I read a guide that advised you to take off the wheel liner however you don't really have to do this it might just give you more room to manoeuvre however I found it a bit of a waste of time.

Once you have the wheel (and the wheel liner off if you want to take it off) you will have to locate the bolt.



The photo above is brief but gives you an indication of where your have to start looking.

The bolt that you are looking for is found on the back of the block and can be found opposite the oil housing. See the photo below - the bolt is circled in red!



The red circle depicts where the bolt is - This photo was taken after the timing chain tensioner was replaced!

My advise is to locate the bolt and then place the socket on the bolt. Once the socket is on the bolt attach the ratchet onto the socket. There is very limited room so you will have to jiggle the ratchet about to get it onto the socket - but don't worry it will go on.





Once you have untightented the bolt - "cracked" the bolt - unscrew it with your hand!

Don't worry some oil will come out through the hole and its best to have a bowl or something below the block so oil doesn't go everywhere although it will only be a trickle as you can see in one of the photos!

Once you have taken off the bolt the timing chain tensioner will just be sitting there. All you have to do is pull the timing chain tensioner out and get the new one and if you want rub some oil on the new one to lubricate it - although this is not essential!

Place the new timing chain tensioner in the hole (the metal part goes in first and the plastic part will touch the bolt) and put the bolt back on - screw it up with your fingers and tighten up as much as you can - some say as tight as you would fix a sump plug back on!

Once you have tightened everything back up. Put your key in the ignition and turn the car on and then off immediately (So as soon as it turns over turn it off) - Do this 3 times and then let your engine run for as long as you want to. This is just to get the oil flowing again.

You have now fixed the "Death Rattle" and saved your self well over £500 from BMW - CONGRATULATIONS!!

It really is that easy and does save you a hell a lot of money and is nice to fix your car yourself and not by someone else.

If you have any questions just post below im sure il be able to help or anyone else on the forum will but my step by step process is fairly simple and straight forward. Some other users may say to go from the top of the engine but I found doing this way fast and simple and il be able to fix your car for £450 including parts ahah im joking do it yourselves you lazy B******S.

The time that it will take is around an hour if you haven't done it before but should realistically only take 30 minutes if that!

Hope this helps.

Cheers.
 

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The death rattle is more of an r56 thing. The tensioners on r53's are pretty good tbh!

Mine was changed recently but mine probably gets a bigger beating than most lol
 

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Always worth using a wobble-bit on the 19mm socket to prevent rounding the tensioner bolt off.

Mine has been on/off half a dozen times in the last year and has been replaced thanks to 1320.
Wobble bolt worked wonders



Also thanks for th write up, my car no longer sounds like a diesel :))
 

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Well I stripped mine down again yesterday, I replaced the part a few months back, but the rattle returned, so stripped it to see if there was any damage or sticking...the plastic part had separated from the metal part ? Their really loose fitting, didn't think it was like that when I had it new ?

Anyway, got a replacement on order do hoping that fixes it !
 

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Wot does it sound like when the tensioner goes and can it just go very sudden because I drove the car yday switched it off then bak on 15 mins later and it is ticking really really loud it doesn't do it straight away it take a couple of mins ticking over then starts? You can hear it wen it revs so far then you can't hear the ticking any more bt as soon as you idle it is there again
 

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Yeah that sounds like it, on idle to about 2,000rpm it sounds like a shitty diesel, if you open the engine bay the rattle sound like it's coming from where the JCW tuning badge is on the top left side of the engine ?

I replaced it once, now it's back again, just ordered a part from 1320, so will change it again, hopefully that fixes it, if not then a can of petrol & a match will.......:lol:
 

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Yea it's defo from that area lol I didn't realise it could just go that fast it sounds normal wen I'm just drivin along at 3k ish bt As soon as it gets below sounds awful haha
 

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I replaced it once, now it's back again, just ordered a part from 1320, so will change it again, hopefully that fixes it, if not then a can of petrol & a match will.......:lol:
1320 changed mine on Friday (i bought the part), along with an oil/filter change and that fixed it.

Until this morning :thumbdown:

I'll have to get them to look at it properly i think.
 

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Sorry for bumping this thread, but I need to change mine this week and just wanted to check something. In another thread RKDE mentioned that it needs to be fitted compressed otherwise it can develop an air bubble. Just wondering, how exactly do you compress it and lock it there enough for it to be fitted? Also, I understand it needs to pop out otherwise it's useless - what's the best way of doing this?

Cheers in advance
 

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Discussion Starter #11
HI just seen your post.

This is true however this only relates to the R56 mini.

You cant compress the mini R53 timing chain tensioner.

The old one litteratly slides out of place and pop the new one in.

Hope it goes well its a really easy job.
 

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Thanks for getting back to me mate. I managed to change mine, very easy just getting the wrench on the bolt is a ballache. Car purring like a kitten now.
 

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So 3 weeks on, it seems it's gone tits up again. It was perfect for 3 weeks but now the car sounds fucked again. This time it didn't go low on oil, it's had plenty in since I changed the tensioner and the oil.

Any ideas, anyone?
 

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Yep.. check the guides. We do this...... when you mill a head for more compression, you are pulling the Head/cam closer to the crankshaft. This is like having a longer chain. With the longer chain the tensioner is pretty much maxed( or close to it) so we add an extension to the cam 'Plug" this sets the hyd tensioner close to the chain ( deeper into the block) Now the hyd piston has more length and holds the chain tight at higher rpm and at start up. No more rattle. ( or at least for the 50 or so that run my adapted plug.)

Justa thought...

Thumper

 

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Thanks for the reply guys. I get that my previous chain tensioner may have siezed because the oil ran out (think I have a leak in a gasket somewhere), but since I changed the tensioner the oil has been well above the minimum level the whole time. What is the likelihood that the chain guide is all of a sudden busted? Or even the new chain tensioner? I haven't modified my head or anything, but I did fit the GP intercooler at the same time as I changed my oil if that has anything to do with it.

I was thinking of possibly taking off the rocker cover and changing that gasket in case it's leaking, but would be nice to find out for sure if it's that.
 

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You said the oil stays above the "MINIMUM LEVEL" whereas it should be closer to the "Max Level", so there is a strong possibility that you have a leak somewhere. Check the sides rocker cover, if you find oil anywhere near it, its better to change it well before it gets worse.
 

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Hi all. Reading this thread as I changed the tensioner a couple of times to cure the death rattle but this time I changed it (twice) & there was no instant fix at all. I have now gone through the horrible task of removing the sump to take a look. This has taken a while as I'm no mechanic but I got there in the end. Result...plastic in the sump! Guide(s) have gone.

Is there a "how to" guide anywhere on changing these? I was looking through the BMW tis & they only have instructions on replacing the timing chain, which involved taking the timing cover off. Do I have to do this or can they be replaced from the top by removing the rocker cover?

This is the most I have ever taken my car apart & so far so good, but if it's going to get really difficult I may throw it into a garage to finish the job? This is a good learning curve and so far as I can see (at this point) if I put a new aux belt & sump gasket on when I put it all back together it should be okay.

Also would you do both guides? The one with the chain tensioner pushing against it & the one on the opposite side? Also where would you get them from? BMW? Or are there better/stronger ones?

Any help appreciated :)

Cheers
 

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You can get the guides off from above, rocker off and there's 2 10(?)mm Allen key bolts that cover the bolts that hold the guides on.

Only worry is if the timing moves whilst the guides are out.
 
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