Unofficial BMW

Unofficial BMW

Google Search

What's New

Search (Google!!)









Used Cars




In Association with

Home E12 E24 E28 E30 E34 E36 Z3 E39 E46 X5/E53 ALL
Ron Stygar Carl Buckland Dale Beuning Forums Help

Unofficial BMW Nav Map

From Thu Jan 14 17:29:27 1999
for <>; Thu, 14 Jan 1999 17:29:25 -0800
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 17:35:38 -0800 (PST)
From: r browne <>
Subject: <E36>M42 Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement
To: BMW Digest <>
Cc: Dale Beunig <>

To the Digest/Unofficial E36 Homepage Archive:

For awhile now, my M42 engined 318is (1992) has emmitted a growling/rattling sound upon startup, much is more pronounced the colder the temperature. This sound is at its peak above 3000rpm, and gradually goes away as the engine warms up fully. After a bit of internet research, other 318 owners noted that the culprit is a failing timing chain tensioner. BMW dealers sell a replacement one thats apparently an improved design. Below is text from an email from a fellow digestor, which includes part numbers and replacement tips:

When facing the engine from the front, Its located on the left side of the
cylinder head, at the front, just above where the head meets the block, just above the AC unit and just below the AC pipes. The plug is either 17 or 19 mm.

the original tensioner could be reinstalled, re-cocked by compressing it in
a vice til the plunger clicks.. and then releasing it once installed. The problem
was, that to release the plunger that the upper timing chain cover had to be
removed so that you could "release" the plunger by pressing the tensioner
rail against the plunger.

With the new style:

tensioner 11 31 1 743 187
washer 07 11 9 963 355

you just unscrew the old one and pop in the new one, tighten to about, 18ft-lbs
... its impossible to get a torque wrench in there so just use a wrench, guess at
the torque, not too critical, just don't over tighten, could crack the head.

Then start the engine and maintain revs at about 3500 rpm. It will be noisy
for about 15 seconds.

There was a note with the last one that I got.. says to run engine at 3500 rpms
for 1 minute, and it says to ignore the noise, it will go away.

I will also add that it is extremely helpful, if not a must, to remove the washer fluid reservoir (one plastic "screw",, then pull up/slide towards passenger side fender..dont worry, its stuck to the car via double-faced tape) and the ignition coils(a few small nuts) in order to have proper access to the 19mm nut.

Price is about $50-$60 retail for the parts, at time of this writing.

Special thanx to Frank Schulz, who is the author of the above text. "Props" to Herman Chan, who sent me the above text, and who always helps out a fellow M42 318 guy, and a special shout-out to Mike Miller, who appears to be one of the first digesters to uncover the above topic through his own experiences.

Ron Browne
1992 318is (motor quiet again)
111,000 miles
Bowie, MD

Get your free address_at_
Unofficial Homepages: [Home] [E12] [E24] [E28] [E30] [E34] [E36] [Z3] [E39] [E46] [X5/E53] [ALL] [ Help ]