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      10-19-2013, 05:20 PM   #1
CTR_Paul
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Question Grinding noise from 2011 320d

Hi, I'm hoping you gents will be able to point me in the right direction regarding a fault that's recently developed on my 2011 320d Sport Plus (19k). Normally its driven withe lots of sympathy as its not a company/lease car to that end the tyres are good for at least 10k more.

The issue is that the car makes a slight grinding sound. Think mortar and pestel and you're about there. The noise occurs at lower speeds (10>35mph) when their is less road noise. Its impossible to hear the noise when the windows are down, and its really tricky to ok pinpoint where it comes from, but having sat in the back I think it sounds fairly central rather than on a specific wheel.

With the above in mind I was thinking diff perhaps? The noise occurs with the car in or out of gear, clutch in and out. From what I can tell it doesn't sound like its related to road speed, but when you drop below 5mph the noise disappears. Likewise it's not present on idle or when reving the car gently. Thus I'm thinking drive train.

I've tried listening for it when turning left and right and that doesn't seem to alter things, which makes me think a wheel bearing is unlikely to be the noisy part here. I'm also pretty sure its not the N47s infamous time chain either given it sounds absolutely normal on idle.

Its due in at BMW later this week, I'm just a little concerned they'll miss the noise as it's tricky to pick up on anything but super smooth roads.

Has anyone had anything similar ?

RESOLVED: Gearbox replaced after a recording of the noise was sent to by my local dealership to BMW.

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 10-27-2014 at 04:47 AM.
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      10-19-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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Forgot to add, lightly applying the brakes or hand brake also make no difference to the pitch and frequency of the noise. The noise also doesn't normally appear until about 3/4 mins of driving, suggesting something has to warm up for it occur.

/\ This changed, sometimes you'd hear the noise within about a minute of driving. I think ambient temp might have had something to do with it.

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 10-27-2014 at 04:48 AM.
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      10-20-2013, 03:37 AM   #3
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I've had the timing chain issue in my now sold 2009 320d. It only did 18k miles and needed the timing chain guides, timing chains and various other things replaced. It was a engine out job and labour intense (thankfully I had new car warranty). This was replaced and the noise went, however due to the change of design, the engine became quite a bit louder. I knew the technician working on it so workmanship wasn't an issue. Not many people have had the very latest 2013 timing chains and guides, which cured the noise for good but I did.

The timing chain noise is not necessarily on idle. When stationary gently rev the car upto 1,500 / 2,000 rpm. Is there any signs of a slight scraping/grinding noise from the passenger footwell area? It was on mine but only slightly. It was more noticable when travelling in 1, 2 or 3rd gears and only upto speeds of 30mph-ish - is that similar to what you have?


BMW have re-designed the chains and guides several times between 2009 and 2013. In the end I decided I couldn't stand the louder engine (it wasn't bad but it bugged me) and I basically got BMW to buy the car back off me.

Hope this helps you.
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      10-20-2013, 03:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTR_Paul View Post
Its due in at BMW later this week, I'm just a little concerned they'll miss the noise as it's tricky to pick up on anything but super smooth roads.
Depends on the competency of your dealer but if they test it on the ramp it will be atleast 5 times louder than on the road, so very obvious.
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      10-20-2013, 10:33 AM   #5
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Thanks for your reply bmwak. I checked today and I can't really hear any scraping noise when the car is stationary. I've tried listening by the front offside wheel and nothing too unusual there either. The only noises I can hear are more like ticking and belt noise rather than scraping or grinding so I hope its not that. It doesn't sound like the videos of the timing chain issues that I've watched on YouTube.

The noise sounds like its coming more from the centre of the car really, like its under the centre console perhaps. I also noticed today the exhaust seems to vibrate a reasonable amount (and sort of makes a ticking noise when warm like its just slightly catching a heat shield), not sure if it did previously. That could be a red herring though.

Having washed it over the weekend if it was brake related I'd have expected lots of scraping noises initially due to brake rust, but that's not the case. The acid test to confirm if its engine or drive train would be to turn the engine off whilst moving, but I'm not sure that's possible?
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      10-21-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Update: Noise still present when rolling and the engine is switched off (hold the start stop button for a couple of seconds to turn off and make sure you press the throttle when restarting).

The problem therefore is not engine related. Be it diff, wheel bearing or even a sticky caliper it's not going away. At least I feel confident I'll not have a timing chain failure now. *phew*
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      06-30-2014, 03:49 AM   #7
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Update 8 months on....

Noise still present. The car went into my local BMW dealers in Chester a couple of times. First time they couldn't hear anything, so I took them out for a drive, but the roads aren't great and the tyre noise masked the actual issue. They still struggled to hear the noise - even though my wife can hear it, and she's hardly a qualified mechanic!

I've noticed now though, that the noise is appearing more when the car is cold and is perhaps a little louder.

Symptoms are definitely as follows:

* Grinding noise, like two bits of metal rubbing together.
* Sounds like it's coming from the drive train tunnel area (hard to establish if it's front or rear though!)
* Noise starts after about 10mph, but stops fairly quickly once you get below 10mph.
*most noticeable at about 30-40mph.
* Doesn't matter if you're in or out of gear, clutch in or out.

Would the above fit in with the rear diff perhaps? I'm fairly sure it's not the engine as that's not making any noises when the car is stationary and also when you alter the rpms on the move it sounds like the grinding noise speed doesn't alter. Likewise the noise isn't more or less noticeable on cornering.

As my warranty expires in a couple of months I need to get to the bottom of this one, so ideas to give the BMW technicians a starter would be good, as last time they looked as me like I was mad and tried telling me it was the tyres

The above issue plus the fact it's taken 3 visits to refit the rear weather seal, and a loose connection on one of the rear lights (still outstanding after 3 visits, and lies about changing the the entire unit) makes me wonder why anyone would buy a BMW from them. Great cars to drive, but the standard of service is horrific. I've had better from Fiat, Honda, Toyota and Ford. When a service centre tells absolute lies to you, it's pretty hard to stomach. EDIT: After speaking with Service Centre Manager he resolved all the issues I had and apologised - and apology goes a long way with me, and the service I've had since has been good.

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 10-27-2014 at 04:50 AM.
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      07-02-2014, 01:23 AM   #8
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The tyres? Try and get 4 wheels/tyres from another car put on and see whether that makes a difference. Had similar issues on the wife's VW Touran and changing the 'old' tyres resolved the problem. I always thought it was the wheel bearings and bought a pair ready to go on until the mechanic suggested that it might be the rubber shoes, which were due replacement soon anyway.
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      07-02-2014, 02:48 AM   #9
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Hmm I've seen tyres mentioned a lot on trawling through the forum, but what I don't understand is why the noise would sound metallic - it certainly sounds like something rubbing/catching as it's not a constant noise. My initial diagnosis was a brake back plate or stone caught in one of them, but then having checked that it went off to BMW who weren't sure and told me to drive it more for the issue to develop.

Having listened again this morning I'm somewhat relived to know that the noise is not coming from the front of the car, it's sounding like it's under the rear passenger seat to me. This makes me think the rear diff is the item at fault. The noise is certainly most noticeable at lowish speeds and when the car has stood for a good while.

It's back in at BMW again next week so we'll see how it goes. When (not if...!) I find out what the issue is I'll add to this thread so hopefully anyone with similar symptoms can be spared the drama of multiple dealer visits!
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      07-02-2014, 02:59 AM   #10
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I had a friend who had a grinding problem on his e90. After taking rear wheels and discs off it turned out to be a small piece of handbrake shoe which had come away and was grinding the I nside of the disc (hand brake drum). Just something to bare in mind, although I've not heard of this happening to anyone else.
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      07-02-2014, 03:40 AM   #11
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Thanks for that Sensible, I'll keep that in mind when I take it in. I know it's not normal as the car never used to make that noise and bar a couple of minor issues (that the dealership have agreed to sort out) it's perfect.

They'll have to sort it one way or another, because I'm getting an extended warranty on it in a few months once the 3 year warranty is up. :-)
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      07-02-2014, 04:17 AM   #12
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Another little test perhaps, try applying the handbrake one notch at a time when the noise is evident. Good luck.
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      07-02-2014, 10:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John320d View Post
Another little test perhaps, try applying the handbrake one notch at a time when the noise is evident. Good luck.
Ah I did do this one John, but to no avail other than the light on the dash telling me it was on. I did have a car where a rear wheel bearing was on it's way out and slightly putting the handbrake on stopped the noise, hence running that test.
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      07-14-2014, 03:27 AM   #14
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This was written too hastily... see further down

Problem diagnosed by BMW on Saturday after they had the car for three days to try and hear the issue (as it was much clearer to hear when cold) ! HURRAH!

When the car first started to make the noise it was incredibly difficult to hear where it was coming from. I thought it sounded to be from the front central area of the car, rather than the rear, as such my investigations centred here. I had it checked that it wasn't a timing chain noise, or the front brakes. It also went into BMW who thought it was maybe tyre noise, but as they couldn't hear the issue it was tricky for them to diagnose, and I was told to take it away, drive more and see if the noise increased/decreased.

After 8 months more driving it was still there, but the noise sounded like it was actually from the rear - damn that BMW sound insulation (n.b. you couldn't hear anything with the windows down)! Back in it went, this time I said I though the noise was at the rear.

Thankfully this time they did investigate the issue properly, and hopefully the car is now fixed (should be back with me today).

The issue? A stone caught between pad and disc - one of the initial things I'd looked for, but at the front rather than the rear. When I'd read about this happening people said that these had fallen out or gone within a month or so, not for me! 8 months + and over 8k with a stone caught in there, hence I'd actually dismissed this as an issue. The result of a trapped stone for such a long period is a pretty nasty score all the way around my rear brake disc (on the inside) and a score through the pad as well (that puzzled me, as you'd think it'd be through one and not the other?!). Suffice to say I'm having the rear discs and pads changed to get it back to full health.

Fingers crossed the car is fine when it's returned to me later today.

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 07-14-2014 at 07:41 AM.
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      07-14-2014, 03:30 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sensible_ View Post
I had a friend who had a grinding problem on his e90. After taking rear wheels and discs off it turned out to be a small piece of handbrake shoe which had come away and was grinding the I nside of the disc (hand brake drum). Just something to bare in mind, although I've not heard of this happening to anyone else.
Just for reference, the technician who heard the noise did initially think this was the case (without my prompting!), which does suggest this is something that does happen on E90s.
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      07-14-2014, 07:40 AM   #16
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Cancel that.... the noise isn't caused by a stone, as it still persists.

Dealership have tried the car again from cold this morning and noise is still there. They now think this is a gearbox issue. Apparently they've done some kind of noise recording and opened a PUMA case.
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      07-14-2014, 09:34 AM   #17
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That was quick, the powers that be say new gearbox, so that's what it's having.

Starting to think an extended warranty might not be such a silly move!
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      07-14-2014, 03:13 PM   #18
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One thing I can think of, does the e90 have a centre bearing in the propshaft? Could be that if they do, we have trouble with centre bearings making a noise at Mercedes
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      07-15-2014, 02:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan-danGT View Post
One thing I can think of, does the e90 have a centre bearing in the propshaft? Could be that if they do, we have trouble with centre bearings making a noise at Mercedes
It does indeed have a centre bearing equivalent, and that was something I discussed with one of their technicians on my first visit. He said that it's a part he's never seen fail on a car under about 10 years old.

They're holding on to the car after the new gearbox goes in to check it resolves the issue.

Wondering what the best course of action re: brakes is though, as they asked me to pay for them, which I agreed as it would 'solve' the noise. Now it's not the brakes, although they said they were making some noise, it's pretty obvious it's not that. I think it'd be fair that I ask for them to pay a contribution towards them.
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      07-18-2014, 05:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTR_Paul View Post
It does indeed have a centre bearing equivalent, and that was something I discussed with one of their technicians on my first visit. He said that it's a part he's never seen fail on a car under about 10 years old.

They're holding on to the car after the new gearbox goes in to check it resolves the issue.

Wondering what the best course of action re: brakes is though, as they asked me to pay for them, which I agreed as it would 'solve' the noise. Now it's not the brakes, although they said they were making some noise, it's pretty obvious it's not that. I think it'd be fair that I ask for them to pay a contribution towards them.
Such bad luck! Never heard of this before
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      10-01-2014, 02:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CTR_Paul View Post
That was quick, the powers that be say new gearbox, so that's what it's having.

Starting to think an extended warranty might not be such a silly move!
Hi,
I think I'm having the same issue with my bmw. Did the new gearbox solve the problem?
The sound you have described is very similar to what I'm hearing. With the windows up I can hear a sound coming from the center console area, sounds like its coming from the gearbox. Its not loud but almost sounds like metal on metal scraping/spinning. The car is very smooth otherwise, its just this noise that's bugging me a bit.
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      10-13-2014, 09:05 AM   #22
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Yeah the new gearbox resolved the issue immediately (and I've done a couple of thousand miles since then). The previous noise was most notable when the car was cold and driven at 20>40mph on very smooth roads. It was just a scraping grinding noise, no other ill effects as far a I could tell.

Initially the service I got from Halliwell Jones Chester was poor, but then it's changed and they've been great ever since.
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