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DIY Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement

impee's DIY Timing Chain Tensioner replacement for BMW 318i e46
How to replace the Timing Chain Tensioner yourself!

Difficulty Level: Easy

Approximate Time For This Project: 30 mins

Prices: Professional labour costs for Timing Chain Tensioner replacement - £35 (private) or £165 (BMW) - per hour X 0.5 hours

Timing Chain Tensioner Part number 11317567680 Part #7 & 8 BMW 1 £31
Timing Chain Tensioner Non Original 1 £24 
27mm Combination Spanner   eBay 1 £4
Socket Wrench     1  
27mm Socket   eBay 1 £4
10mm Socket     1  
Flat Head Screw Driver   BMW car tool kit 1  

*prices correct at time of publication

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impee's DIY Video

You could watch this video first to get an understanding of what needs to be done.

1) Assemble Your Kit + Notes

Below is the total kit I used. As you can see, there aren't many tools required for this job at all. The screw driver is to remove the engine cover and the spanner to remove and fit the Timing Chain Tensioner. The socket is used to remove the Power Steering Fluid Reservoir, to give you more space to work.

Change Duration: This should be changed at 80,000 miles - provided you have the old type, if you have the new type, then I don't believe it needs to be changed. See section #6 to check whether you already have the new one fitted, in which case you do not need to change it.

A diagram of the Timing Chain Tensioner Part #7 & 8.



2) Engine Cover - Removal

Remove the main big BMW cover (Intake Manifold) at the front of engine using this method:

1) Remove the 2 clips at the front - pull up and then out the small round black pins (expanding rivets) with a flat head screw driver

2) Un-clip the hook on the top left

3) Remove the large hose on the top right

BMW Engine Cover Removal


3) Power Steering Fluid Resevoir - Removal

Use the 10mm socket to remove Power Steering Fluid Resevoir, to give you more space to use/turn the spanner.

Power Steering Fluid Resevoir


4) Cable Socket - Removal

Remove the yellow cable socket, to give you more space to use/turn the spanner.

Timing Chain Tensioner


5) Timing Chain Tensioner - Removal

Use the 27mm spanner to loosen and then remove the old Timing Chain Tensioner. Remove it slowly so the chain doesn't jump a tooth, as the chain will be slack. Once you pull out the Tensioner, pull of the old washer that might be stuch to the engine.

Place a tissue underneath to catch the small amount of oil that comes out when you remove the Tensioner.

Timing Chain Tensioner


6) Timing Chain Tensioner - Comparison

As with the Final Stage Resistor, the new Timing Chain Tensioner is also slightly different from the old one that was fitted:

Old Timing Chain Tensioner (top one)
The height of the head is just over 1 cm and the spring tension is weak

New Timing Chain Tensioner
The height of the head is about about 0.6mm / 0.7mm and the spring tension is tougher

Timing Chain Tensioner - Comparison


7) Timing Chain Tensioner - Fitting

Remeber to use the washer that comes in the box. Then use the 27mm socket to push the new Tensioner in and then turn it to tighten it. This new Tensioner has more tension, so you will need to push with both hands and at the same time turn it to tighten it. Once you have caught it on the first thread, then you can easily tighten it with your hand and the socket. Once you have hand tightened it, then use the round end of the 27mm spanner to finally tighten it.

As the location is a bit ackward, you may not be able to use a torque wrench, in which case just tighten it, but don't kill it! However, I believe the torque for the Chain Tensioner is 65nm / 48 lbf ft.

Timing Chain Tensioner - Fitting


8) Re-assembly

Now work in reverse order following all the above steps.

Finally start the car and see if it sounds ok...after which check for any leaking oil from the Timing Chain Tensioner.

Sanity Check: After a couple of days, check for any leaking oil from the Timing Chain Tensioner.


BMW e46 Care Care e46 Models Fuse Box On Jack Stands Fault Diagnosis Torque Specifications Air Filter Change Alloy Repair Jack Stands CDV Delete Clutch Bleed Differential Oil Final Stage Resistor Fuel Filter Change Headlight Removal Interior Lights MAFS Clean Oil Change Oil Light Reset Power Steering Fluid Radiator Flush Radiator Fan Change Shiny Steering Wheel Spark Plug Change Transmission Fluid Window Regulator Timing Chain Tensioner Airbag Occupancy Mat Sensor Rear Light Clean BMW Fault Code Read impee impeeCreations BackInfo

DIY BMW e46 Timing Chain Tensioner replacement by - impee

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