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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 ?

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 06-30-2014 at 03:53 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.
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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.

Last edited by CTR_Paul; 06-30-2014 at 04:00 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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