2000 540i P0011 CEL after new timing chain tensioner (fixed)

Car model and year:

2000 540i m sport with 198k

Symptoms:

runs great and pulls strong with no hiccups. There was some idle noise; not too bad though. I ended up replacing just the timing chain tensioner thinking it would prolong life. At first start up after new tensioner there was rattle noise for a split second while the tensioner filled with oil I guess and after that the car sounded great. A lot of the noise that was there before at idle was now gone. Drove the car like 100 miles and everything seemed fine. CEL then came on showing just P0011 code. I read in the forums that a member said this could happen if there wasnt enough oil in the tensioner and the ecu could read wrong from the first start up but that the car would not actually have advanced timing and that the code would go away after a little driving. I drove the car for maybe another 20 miles and the CEL actually did turn off by itself but then it came back on another 20 miles after that. The car really seems to be running fine and does not really run any different than before i replaced the tensioner. There seems to be less engine idle noise after I changed the tensioner. I know my guides will need to be changed soon but my gut feeling is that they still have a little life left, I will be dropping the oil pan in the next couple days if we get some semi decent weather. I guess my real question is that if the new tensioner caused the chain to jump a tooth or something and that if the car actually does have advanced timing on that one cam would it cause the car to idle and drive really bad. Like would it be super obvious because the car runs the same and idles more quiet after changing the tensioner.

Question:

What oil are you using? What interval? PO interval? VANOS ever been done? Any other codes or issues? Speaking of, what reader are you using?

Answer:

changed the oil using 5w 30 mobil 1 synth before driving it previous owner had the car sit for a year. No other codes found, I just went to advance auto to have them pull the CEL. Maybe they’re more codes stored that didnt show up using their scanner. The only other issues with the car is it burns some oil which I believe is a combo from a valve cover leak and a bad ccv diaphram. Ordered those parts should arrive within the next couple days. I don’t know if the vanos has been done. Im new to the platform, do you have a good reader you can recommend? Another thing I was thinking is maybe the cam nut loosened itself and the cam sensor isnt able to get an accurate reading idk. I’ll try to get the oil pan dropped asap and then possibly look into the cam nut. If the timing was actually jumped would it be super apparent by how badly the car was running

Possible reasons:

It is probably coincidental with the tensioner change. Yes, in theory the new tensioner could have paced greater strain on the guides leading to issues. However, I suspect it is more to do with other things. Especially with lack of noise. But dropping the pan to validate is good.

Solution:

Gonna need a BMW scanner. to see what the actual advance is…

For a scanner, depending on what you have and what you want there are a bunch of choices.

Inexpensive hand held (~50): Creator 110 or 310. Will only read and reset codes/adaptations but reliable.

Moderately expensive handheld (~300): Foxwell or Schwaben unit. Reads, resets codes/adaptations, and does limited coding of components.

Expensive handheld (900+): snapon etc. unless you own a repair shop, probably too much.

Laptop system and you have a dedicated laptop (~15-100) INPA, NCSExpert, etc. will do everything.

Laptop system and you need a laptop (~250-800).

While you are at it, buy a Bentley repair manual with both volumes (~50-140 used to new).

I suspect there are some Bmw specific codes that advance auto can’t pull. Like Burning2nd says, you will want to see some actual data but definitely consider saving for the timing guides. You can do it yourself (400-2000 depending on what you do “while there”) or have a shop do it (2-6000 depending on where you live and what you have done).

BTW, good changing the oil and consider doing the other fluids (coolant, brakes, differential, trans, blinker, etc). Unless you have records, consider doing a cooling system overhaul. The cooling system is a known weak point on these platforms so definitely at the least keep an eye on it.

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