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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Alternator Pulley or Heat Shield or worse?



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      06-15-2018, 08:07 AM   #1
BeamerNub
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Alternator Pulley or Heat Shield or worse?

Hello everyone

I've got a 2007 E90 that I picked up a few weeks ago. Drives nice, and everything is fine except I've noticed on cold starts there's a bit of a violent rattling noise when pulling away in 1st or reverse on a cold start. It definitely calms down once I've been driving for a few miles, but it's pretty loud (from outside the car anyway) when first pulling off. You can just about replicate in when warm, but it's pretty tough.

It sounds a lot like a rattling heat shield, but according to Google on my motor, it's more likely to be a knackered alternator pulley. I don't think it's DMF because I've done the clutch test and it sounds fine. I also don't think it's the cam chain rattling because that sounds fine too, generally speaking.

I will try get a recording of the noise, but from what I've said is it most likely alternator pulley? I'm tempted phone up the warranty and see if I can claim because you can't say this is wear and tear on a car that's only 3 weeks old lol
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      06-15-2018, 12:47 PM   #2
ryan stewart
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dont know about alt pulley but my belt tensioner and idler pully were a bit lose and would make a rattle on cold days. Replacing them resolved it.
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      06-15-2018, 01:06 PM   #3
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Oh dear, starting to think it's the chain tensioner, or chain itself Bad times. Car only has bloody 68k miles on it. Thought these things were meant to last to 100k lol?

Took these videos earlier.....

Under the oil cap:


Cold Start:


After 40 minutes of driving:



Got a 12 month warranty luckily and I only bought it about 3 weeks ago. Will give them a call on Monday. Will be interesting to see how they brazen it out though. Maybe they'll say it's a service item

How much does it usually cost to get it done? I'm just pre-empting them refusing my warranty claim lol.
How often do the chains snap? Am I ok to keep driving it?
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      06-16-2018, 08:27 AM   #4
BeamerNub
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Visited a local indy. Confirmed what I thought, he said the chain feels loose. He said he wasn't sure whether it was the guide rail or the chain itself, but that it needed doing. Bad times.

Anyone know how much this usually costs? Going see if I can get it done under warranty to be fair.
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      06-17-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
kkasson
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That looks like an N46, is that right? Unfortunately I don't think too many people on the forum will have an answer for you as that engine wasn't sold in the USA.

Just from looking at it, it doesn't look too difficult as far as timing chains go. I found a post here from 2013 where someone else in England had theirs replaced. It was a broken chain guide on that one, cost was ~500.

Hopefully the warranty covers it - good luck!
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      06-18-2018, 10:35 AM   #6
BeamerNub
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Indeed it's an N46. Didn't realise that they weren't sold in the US. Makes sense now why such a limited response

Well, this story might yet have a happy ending. I visited a different local indy, one that I know the main mechanic messes around with Beamers in his spare time. He immediately pushed back on the idea of it being the chain, saying he's never seen a chain or even a new tensioner fail on this model and he said considering the mileage, he was fairly certain it wasn't that.

He instantly suggested an oil and filter change + a VANOS clean. Now, I know I could have done the oil and filter myself (and by the looks of online tutorials, the VANOS looks fairly simple too), but being slightly worried it was still the chain, I let him as the expert crack on. I figured he would spot any issues.

An oil and filter + VANOS clean later, and the car sounds a lot nicer and doesn't appear to be vibrating much at all now. It's also freed up a few of the dead spots that I kept thinking needed a turbo. He said it would probably improve over the next few days, but even the initial impressions are hugely positive.

Unfortunately, the warranty refused to pay (I'll have a moan at them, but I can't see them changing my mind) because they claim the VANOS system is 'wear and tear'. I disagree, as it is not mentioned in the service book as far as I can see, but there we go. Life.

Would be a great result if this has fixed it all up. I asked whether the VANOS system could cause the chain to be slack and to my surprise me said yes and gave me a fairly detailed explanation why. I couldn't repeat that explanation because it was fairly detailed, but he said something to do with the VANOS advancing and retarding the timing and the cams being 'adjustable'?
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