BMW N47 Engine Problems (E90 320d, 318d, 325d & Others)

Are you looking to get a BMW with the N47 engine, and you try to learn more about the BMW N47 engine problems? If that’s the case, you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be a lot to cover on this engine.

Researching is really important for you as a future owner, mainly because cars come with different engines and each of these engines has some issues. Choosing the right engine is really important if you don’t want to deal with problems down the line. And we are going to help you out.

First, we are going to cover the BMW N47 specs and then we will discuss the common BMW N47 engine problems and see in which BMW models you can find this engine. Lastly, we will answer some frequently asked questions.

Basic BMW N47 Engine Specs

The N47 engine is a diesel engine that was introduced by BMW in 2007. This engine replaced the old M47. The N47 was produced until 2014 when it was replaced by the B37 for the 1.6L application and the B47 for the 2.0L applications.

In terms of design, this engine comes as an inline-4 with a variable geometry turbocharger in some models and a sequential twin-turbo in some of the models. This N47 uses common rail direct injection, unlike the previous non-common rail injection.

Nevertheless, there are two main variations of this engine. These are the 1.6L and 2.0L. Both of them have sub-variations. So, let’s cover these two main ones.

  • N47D16

This is the 1.6L version of the N47. The least powerful model is rated at 70 kW (94hp) @ 4,000 and 235 N-m (173lb-ft) @ 1,500 rpm. While the most powerful version is rated at 85 kW (114hp) @ 4,000 rpm and 260 N-m (192lb-ft) @ 1,500 rpm.

  • N47D20

This is the 2.0L version of the N47 engine. There are a total of 7 different subvariants of this engine. The least powerful is rated at 85 kW (114hp) @ 4,000 rpm and 260 N-m (192lb-ft) @ 1,750 rpm. And the most powerful version is rated at 160 kW (215hp) @ 4,400 rpm and 450 N-m (332lb-ft) @ 2,500 rpm.

It really depends on what application you are after since there is a big 100 horsepower difference between the least powerful N47D20 and the most powerful engine of this version. Later on, we are going to elaborate more on the applications in which you can find these variants.

Common BMW N47 Engine Problems

Let’s briefly list the most common problems with the BMW N47 engine.

Common BMW N47 engine problems include:

  • Timing Chain Failures
  • Intake Manifold Swirl Flap Failure
  • Problems With EGR Valve & Sensor
  • DPF Problems
  • Turbo Actuator Failure

Now let’s further elaborate on these problems and learn more about when and how they appear, as well as how serious these problems are. And frankly, one of these problems is very serious and could easily undermine the whole reliability of this engine.

Timing Chain Failures

The biggest problem with the N47 engine is the problem with timing chain failures. This is probably one of the most expensive problems that can happen during your ownership and can completely destroy the engine.

What happens is that the engine’s timing chain is very weak and prone to excessive wear and stretching.

When the timing chain stretches too much, the chain will start to create rattling noises and will eventually skip timing or simply snap into two sections.

When this happens, the engine valves and pistons will collide with each other and carnage will occur.

This job will likely require complete cylinder head replacement or refurbishment. In some cases, you will have to replace the whole engine altogether.

The most affected engines when it comes to this problem are the ones produced between 01.03.2007 and 05.01.2009.

This is why we recommend going for a newer engine instead of one of the older variations of the N47.

Intake Manifold Swirl Flap Failure

Another very common issue with this engine is the situation with the swirl flaps. As you probably know, diesel engines do not have throttle bodies but they use something known as swirl flaps to allow air to enter the intake manifold.

These flaps are mounted on the intake manifold and they open and close whenever there is a need to do so. Sometimes they end up being clogged and stop functioning.

What happens is that carbon deposits stick to these flaps and prevent them from opening and closing correctly.

Whenever these flaps fail, you will experience symptoms with power delivery and the engine will run pretty poorly.

What most people do is delete them. But this is not a recommended thing because the engine performance will suffer. You will lose the low-end torque that diesel engines have and the car will feel sluggish and slow to respond.

In addition to this, the MPG will drop by at least 5 MPG. So, we strongly advise that you at least clean them off and try to fix them instead of deleting the swirl flaps.

Problems With EGR Valve & Sensor

Problems with the EGR valve are also common on this diesel engine. The EGR valve is the gas recirculating valve that reduces NOx particles. This valve redirects some of the exhaust gasses into the intake to burn and reduce the toxins.

Earlier versions of this engine were using a fully pneumatic EGR valve that was simple in terms of operation.

But newer models of the engine are using an electronic EGR valve that has a sensor that activates and deactivates the valve. And what can happen is that both the valve can be inoperative or the sensor can fail.

What can happen is that you will get the check engine light and problems in terms of drivability and performance.

DPF Problems

The next problem with this engine is the situation when the DPF ends up clogged. The DPF is the diesel particulate filter.

This DPF is mandatory in every newer diesel engine and these components work similarly to a catalytic converter. The DPF basically neutralizes harmful gasses and prevents them from escaping into the atmosphere.

What is worth noting is that this DPF can get easily clogged. A lot of people are driving their cars on short distances and this prevents DPF regeneration.

Eventually, the DPF will end up being blocked completely and you will have trouble running the car. The only way around this would be the manual removal of the DPF and cleaning it. There are special services that offer DPF cleaning.

But to avoid this situation, just make sure that you drive the car on the highway every now and then. This will give the DPF the ability to regenerate and not end up clogged.

Turbo Actuator Problems

Another very common problem with this engine is the problem with the turbo actuator. Turbo actuators on this engine can malfunction.

When this actuator malfunctions, you will start to experience a lack of power from the engine. Leaving the car to cool off for 15 minutes reportedly solves the problem temporarily but the problem will soon appear once again.

The only way around this problem would require that you get a rebuilt actuator or a completely new one. Either way, a very annoying issue that happens on these engines.

Which Models Have The BMW N47 Engine?

Now let’s take a look at the applications of this engine and learn more about what models you can find in the N47 engine.

The 1.6L version had two variations. 70 kW (94hp) that came with the F20 114d and an 85 kW (114hp) version that was included in the F20 116d.

The 2.0L version had a few sub-variations. Namely, 85 kW, 105 kW, 120 kW, 130 kW, 135 kW, 150 kW, and 160 kW.

85 kW (114hp) version came with the:

  • BMW E81, E87 116d
  • BMW E90 316d
  • BMW F30 316d

105 kW (141hp) version came with the:

  • BMW E81, E82, E87, E88 118d
  • BMW E90, E91 318d
  • BMW F20 118d
  • BMW F30, F31 318d
  • BMW E84 sDrive18d
  • BMW F22 218d
  • BMW E83 X3 xDrive18d
  • Mini Countryman Cooper
  • Mini Cooper SD
  • Mini Cabrio Cooper SD
  • Mini Roadster Cooper SD
  • Mini Paceman Cooper SD

120 kW (161hp) version was included in the:

  • BMW E90 320d Efficient Dynamics

130 kW (174hp) model was included in the:

  • BMW E81/E82/E87/E88 120d
  • BMW E90/E91/E92/E93 320d
  • BMW E60/E61 520d
  • BMW E84 X1 sDrive20d
  • BMW E83 X3 xDrive20d
  • BMW F22 220d

Twin power Turbo Models

150 kW (201hp) version was included in the:

  • BMW E81/E82/E87/E88 123d
  • BMW E84 X1 xDrive 23d
  • BMW F22 225d

160 kW (215hp) version was included in the:

  • BMW F20 125d
  • BMW F22 225d
  • BMW F30 325d
  • BMW F32 425d
  • BMW F10 525d
  • BMW E84 X1 xDrive 25d


What Are The Common Problems With The N47 Engine?

A common problem with this engine is the situation with the timing chain failure. The timing chain can stretch and snap. When this happens, engine failure is imminent. That’s why you need to be aware of this issue.

Is This Engine Reliable?

Besides the timing chain problem and the issues with the EGR, this engine is reliable. But the timing chain is a real deal breaker, that’s why we would recommend going for a newer version of the engine if you want to avoid this serious problem.

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