BMW 1 Series (2004–2011)

What's good

Euro NCAP 5* Occupant safety, 1* Pedestrian safety, 4* Child safety.

BMW 118d won World Green Car of the Year at New York International Auto. A jury consisting of 47 motor journalists from 24 countries has awarded the BMW 118d, a model that displays all facets of EfficientDynamics, with the “World Green Car of the Year” at the New York International Auto Show 2008.

For servicing and repairs: Independent BMW Specialists Register

What to watch out for

Original 116i a bit sluggish. Only 1 NCAP star for pedestrian impact safety and 3 stars for child protection. Spare wheel worriers should note it relies on runflats. No space for spare wheel.

How to get the car's Bluetooth hands free system to take your mobile phone directory (thanks to Stuart of 1st ensure that your car and handset are paired with one another, and then send your address/contacts to the car by Bluetooth as Business Cards.

Don't send the whole address book in one lump as this usually fails, but send contacts/address's from ABC&D first, once this is done, turn the car off and let the Bluetooth connection be lost between car and phone, then turn the car back on.

Let the Bluetooth connection be made between car and phone, then next addresses EFGH, etc, etc remember to turn to car on/off between each address "chunk" then go to the contacts address's on the I-Drive and hey presto and if by magic, your contacts will appear and you can call them from the i-Drive and also when receiving a call you will see who's calling you as long as they have been previously added to the car by the above. Apparently, this also works with Audi and Mercedes Benz.

The The N47 engine succeeded the M47 in March 2007 in the facelifted 1 Series BMW E87 and E81 and was available in the 1 Series BMW E82 and E88 , which were introduced later in the same year. ith its timing chain at the back of the engine the N47 is more prone to problems with timing chain tensioners than the preceding less efficient M47.

Have been ECU failures on early petrol models.

Many steering rack failures on March 2007 build cars. Replaced by BMW FOC.

Report of ignition/alarm sensor unit of 2007 'Efficient Dynamics' 118d being been replaced as it was draining the battery. Also BMW replaced the injectors as part of a TSB recall programme.

A pre July 2007 'Efficient Dynamics' 118d at 123g/km has to be worth £500 less than a post July 2007 'Efficient Dynamics' 118d at 119g/km CO2 because it costs an extra £80 a year in VED, but both cars could be on an 07 reg.

Check PAS fluid level regularly. Steering rack may leak fluid unnoticed out of end seal and into track rod end gaiter. Seems to be a Europe-wide shortage of parts to correct this.

Turbo failures of 320d engines starting to be reported November 2007.

Reports of BMW 120d SE Auto Sept 07 (Efficient Dynamics) 3 door:- "After a warning light came on after 17k miles, had the turbo actuator rods replaced under warranty. Apparently a known but uncommon problem. Replacement parts are modified to prevent re-occurence. Excellent dealer service - work done less than 2 hours after warning light came on, while I waited."

At least one Efficient Dynamics 118ds has suffered no less then FIVE repeated dual mass flywheel and clutch failures. Dual mass flywheel failures becoming increasingly common on manual diesels.

Seems that on early N43 116i/118i the timing chain can jump a cog. Rectified by fitting a new chain tensioner and anti-skipping bracket. This bracket is fitted to all later models, so only a worry with 2004 - 2006 cars.

Same DSC/DTC sensor failure in the ABS/ESP module as suffered in Teves Mk 60 ABS/ESP modules, but BMW adopts a £400 repair rather than replacing the entire module at a cost of £1,500 - £2,000. Possibly they use the fix devised by ECU Testing

If the car has Bluetooth and the owner has their Mobile phone synched to the car then if the car is not locked / all electrics shut down the car will keep trying to search for the phone and drain the battery.

22-1-2012: Repeated coil and injector problems on 4-cylinder petrol engines from 2007.

24-1-2012: DMF problems increasing on 118d and 120d, manifesting itself in clutch judder. BMW at first offers a software upgrade to increase idle revs, then, if that does not work, will replace the DMF and clutch of cars still under warranty with a flywheel and clutch of a new design.

3-2-2012: Significant numbers of high pressure fuel pump failures on 135i in the USA. See link: BMW initially "blamed" "ethanol" or "poor quality" gasoline in the U.S. for these failures. In fact, BMW HPFP failures are well documented in Germany (even with their "superior quality" gasoline), Australia, Asia, South Africa, etc. Some of these countries have never used ethanol in any of their gasoline..... HPFP Part Numbers 1. 13-51-7-537-320 2. 13-51-7-585-655 3. 13-51-7-592-881 4. 13-51-7-596-123 5. 13-51-7-594-943 6. 13-51-7-613-933 7. XX-XX-X-XXX-402 8. 13-51-7-616-170 9. 13-51-7-616-446.

11-2-2012: Timing chain failures becoming increasingly common on N47 2.0 litre diesel engines subject to extended oil change regimes. Can occur from about 5 years old and from about 60k miles. Best to change engine oil every 10k miles maximum.

25-3-2012: Yet another report of timing chain failure, this time on a 2007 N47 118d with 59k miles.

11-5-2012: And a further timing chain failure, this on on a 2007/57 N47 118d auto with 74k miles.

5-9-2012: And yet another timing chain failure reported, this on a 63,000 mile 2008 N47 118d.

28-10-2012: Both rear driveshafts and reluctor rings of a 139k mile 2004 120d failed, with increasingly frequent DSC warning activation then brake systems systems management failure, a jerky ride and frequent sudden loss of power to wheels. Fixed for £1500 (both driveshafts and sensors) and now drives like new again.

13-7-2013: Another N47 timing chain failure reported, this on a 2007 120d with 67k miles and full BMW service history, though probably not sufficiently frequent oil and filter changes.

5-8-2013: Yet another timing chain "rattle", this on a 50k mile 5 year old N47 118d. Rattle started to become noticeable at 40k miles. Dealer explained that BMW is aware of issues with a particular batch of timing chains but as the car is out of warranty (5 years old) they would contribute towards it but not cover all of the cost. The original price quoted was £2,350, but reader negotiated this down to £650 with both dealer and BMW contributing.

1-10-2013: Timing chain problem with 22k mile 2007 N43 116i. BMW Paignton diagnosed 100% compression on the end cylinder, 50% on the two middle cylinders and 0% on the other end cylinder and commented that there was a timing problem. They contacted BMW, Northampton and gave total repair cost of £5,700 but, as the car had been fully serviced by BMW, BMW would pay for the parts at around £2,700 (retail value).

15-10-2013: Yet another report of timing chain failure on an N43 116i. This was a 34k mile 2010.

12-1-2014: Problem with the side windows of the E87 3-door 1 Series. They are frameless and drop 1 cm when you open the door. If it sticks in cold weather it burns the motor out. Reader with 2007/57 118d 3-door has had to replace the motor 3 times.

20-4-2014: Diff failed in 5 year old BMW 118d M. Quoted £1300 for replacement.

24-7-2014: 2004-2011 BMW 1 Series hatchback least reliable new medium car in 2014 Which? Car Survey with reliability rating of 79%.

16-10-2014: N43 engine of 40,000 mile E87 BMW 118i failed in April 2014, losing all power. Independent BMW specialist found that it had seized because the plastic timing chain guide had broken up and fragments sucked from the sump by the oil pick-up had blocked the strainer, starving the enginer of oil. No warning light prior to this. New engine quoted at £7,000.

11-6-2015: Timing chain failure of N43 engine of 2009 BMW 118i at 74k miles destroyed the engine. Full BMW service history. Despite BMW offering to pay 50% towards the repair the owner is left with a £7,000 bill.

19-8-2015: ‘Quality enhancement recall’ reached owner of N47 engine BMW 120d for "inspection and replacement of timing chain tensioner" and also the chain itself if wear of the tensioner has led to 'stretching' of the chain. Entirely FoC for cars with modest mileage and full BMW service history.

25-8-2015: Problems with 44k mile 2008 135i Coupe bought privately in September 2014 include: Bonnet lock had stopped working, £99.94 - Jan 15. Then, the water pump went, taking out the thermostat as well. By the time they suggested a further engine oil service and the brake fluid service too, the bill came to £1,281.32. This was in April 2014. Now, in August, whilst driving along, the car just ground to a halt. Under diagnostics (thanks to the RAC for swift pickup), ownerinformed that three injectors have stopped working and the suggested "barest minimum" solution has come to £1,484.67. That was to replace 3 injectors, but the service desk suggested replacing all 6 at over £2,000.

1-9-2015: Starting problem reported on 2007 BMW 118D. Starter motor would not engage. Told by dealer that it was a relatively common problem, associated with the steering lock which has to unlock before the starter circuit is enabled. The advice was to move the steering wheel to dead centre to make sure the lock had disengaged.

19-2-2016: Timing chain of 2008/58 BMW 118d failed at 90k miles. Engine rebuolt by independent speciaist. Also recently needed new DMF, clutch and ED battery. Now running perfectly but owner worried.

25-3-2016: Report that 2007/57 N47b118d with 111k miles started to go downhill. Timing chain broke on about 100k miles and this was repaired by BMW for the cost of £2500 inc VAT/labour. Not covered by TSB recall. Recent service found more issues with the car: the bonnet hatch broken and needs replacing (quote £125), shock absorber is leaking fluid and needs fixing (quote £250) and flexible joint connecting the DPF to the exhaust is broken needing a fix (quote £300).

1-6-2016: Report of rear offside wheel bearing of 2010 BMW 135i M-Sport auto failing at 31k miles. Replaced together with transmission sump and gasket under extended warranty. Subsequently gearchanges became erratic. Dashboard warnings of transmission failure, ABS failure, tyre monitoring failure. BMW diagnostics showed it related to one of the wheel sensors or reluctor rings. Rear nearside wheel sensor replaced and no problems for 6 weeks, then problems again. Suspect wrong wheel sensor/reluctor ring replaced. Probably fault with rear offside.

12-6-2016: Report of new timing chain needed on 2008 BMW 120d N47 M Sport convertible at 42k miles. Too old for free replacement, but BMW reduced the £2,500 cost to £1,300.

10-9-2016: Another report of traction light flashing, this time on a 60k mile 2009 E81 118d. Dealer prescribed new driveshafts, reluctor rings and sensors were needed and quoted £1,500. (See 28-2-2012.)

7-12-2016: 2008 BMW 118i convertible with 17k miles left standing in a garage for a year after which it required four new injectors at £250 each, plus a new ECU at £900. Dealer told customer its diagnostics could not determine which injector was faulty or even if the faut was with the ECU.

31-7-2017: Report of timing chain of 2011 BMW 118d M-Sport (N47 engine) failing at 114,000 miles despite regular servicing on time at BMW dealer. Claim put in to BMW.

17-10-2017: Reader quoted £4,000 for a new exhaust system including catalytic converter for a 2007 BMW 118i. That's as much as the car would be worth with the new exhaust fitted. Advised to go independent. Independent told him that the 118i N42B20 engine has two cat converters, one in the exhaust manifold, only available OEM and at a cost of £1,700. If this breaks up, the detritus smashes the matrix of the 2nd, under car, cat converter and that explains the huge estimate. However, Googling <BMW E87 118i catalytic converters> found an aftermarket stainless steel manifold with cat converter for £213.97 inc. (

13-1-2018: Report of timing chain failure on 2011 BMW N43 118i. BMW dealer quoted £2,400 to fix.

10-5-2018: Loss of power reported in 2009 BMW E87 116i Sport in March 2017 at 43,000 miles. The car slowed down and stopped unexpectedly. BMW supplier garage did the following work to remedy (after an expensive recovery): Remove & replace both output shafts; Replace both rear pulse transmitters at a cost of £1,215 + recovery cost. Owner asked dealer to demand that BMW meet the cost. They said they checked and BMW said the car was too old. Owner had to pay.

23-9-2018: 2007 BMW 1 Series recalled for the wiring problem was due an MoT, but the BMW dealer could not get the parts to complete the wiring fix. Told the owner that if they MoTd the car they would have to keep it until they could get the parts to fix it in order to avoid liability if the car had a wiring failure after the MoT. Suggested to the owner that she had the MoT elsewhere at a non-BMW dealer, which she did and the car passed. But still waiting for the parts to complete the June 2018 recall.

7-1-2019: Report of engine failure of 2009 BMW 116i: Car constantly kept cutting out; had various sensors replaced; coil packs and more. Final breakdown was 6 weeks ago: smoke and a small flame coming from just below the alternator. Car was recovered to a garage who started to to try and find the cause. Said the engine had seized its not the chain or oil. They say its deeper in the engine. Likely to be failed N43 timing chain that causec consequential damage. Referred owner to

3-7-2019: Report of gasket repair to N43 engine od June 2008 BMW 118iES in November 2018 described on re invoice as: "Oil leak from camshaft cover gasket, leaking in to spark plug/coil rec. Camshaft Seal replaced. Camshaft Spark Plug Port seal replaced. Elastomer molded seal 4 x 6.95 each £27.80. Gasket x 1 £20. Labour £223.20" Then in July 2019 dealer told owner that they are having problems obtaining a gasket and they are doing everything they can to obtain one. There was even talk of having one made and sent to Germany for checking. Their vehicle health check states that there is a "large oil leak from cam cover. Requires new gasket to repair. Price £360".

15-8-2019: Report of timing chain rattling on 2.0 litre N43 engine of 2008 BMW 118i.

7-10-2019: Report of annually serviced 32,566 mile 2009 BMW 118i SE auto requiring replacement of exhaust camshaft and sensors over the years: 9.9.15 mileage 22,271 replace pulse generator on exhaust camshaft; 31.5.18 mileage 28,784 ditto; 2.10.19 mileage 32,566 replace 1 nitrogen oxide sensor, inlet camshaft position sensor; manifold pressure sensor: Total costs £1,235.


28-11-2006 R/2006/207 BMW1 SERIES AND 3 SERIES possible loss of braking power assistance build dates 04-03-2006 to 14-03-2006

2007 TSB to replace injectors of Efficient Dynamics 118d.

30-06-2009 R/2009/065 BMW1 Series & 3 Series front side airbag or seat belt tensioner may not operate correctly build dates 23-05-2008 to 21-07-2008

28-7-2014: R/2014/068 BMW 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, X1, X3, X5, Z4 Build Dates 1-9-2009 to 30-11-2011: Concern : ENGINE EMERGENCY MODE MAY BE ACTIVATED DURING DRIVING Description : The screws retaining the variable camshaft timing (VANOS) housing may loosen and under certain circumstances the heads may break off. This can lead to the VANOS leaking oil internally and adversely affect the valve timing adjustment. If found to deviating from targeted data the engine emergency mode will be activated. This will be indicated by a distinct change in engine running. The orange engine management warning lamp and a check message; On vehicles with N51/N52 engines this will appear at ignition recycle, on N55 engine it will display immediately. Remedial Action : Replace bolted connection of the VANOS adjustment unit.

9-4-2015: BMW has initiated a 'quality enhancement recall' on 2.0 litre N47 diesel engines. They are currently working their way through cars manufactured in 2007 and 2008, but owners need to contact their dealer themselves to request the work. Reader's 123d currently in for the work which at minimum involves replacing the timing chain, guide and tensioners.

4-8-2016: Report of free ‘vacuum brake diagnostic’ as part of a ‘quality enhancement’ TSB for an 2010 E82 120i M-Sport coupe when in for an oil and brake fluid service.

10-4-2017: R/2017/114: BMW 1-Series; 3-Series; Z4 and X1. PLUG-IN CONTACT CABLE MAY MALFUNCTION. It is possible that the connection between the B+ cable and the Power Distribution Box can become damaged by wear and heat, which is caused by high current flow and high contact resistance. Normally, this will result in a non-start situation after parking the vehicle. However, it is possible that this could, in extreme cases, occur whilst the vehicle is in motion. The driver should be made aware of the issue by flickering of the instrument cluster (dash) or an engine mis-fire; but if the driver does not, then the engine could cut-out without warning. Fix: Recall all affected vehicles with petrol engines and replace the cable/connection with a more robust item. Build dates 1-12-2009 to 13-10-2011. VINS: WBAUK32040VM42810 to WBAUK32000VN64340 ; WBAUC72010VF19818 to WBAUC12040VP60153 ; WBALM32080E356745 to WBALM32030E841522 ; WBAVL32030VN78119 to WBAVL32000VP91626 ;
WBAUE52050E026025 to WBAUH32020E758124 ; WBAUM12040VL29423 to WBAUM12090VP59495 ;
WBSWD920X0P389326 to WBSKG92090E886918 ; WBAWA72020P340865 to WBAKD920X0E637721 ;
WBAWL72080PZ85479 to WBADV52000E756778 ; WBAUS92040A537099 to WBAUT72050FJ88197 ;
WBSPM92030E198072 to WBSPM92020E625953 ; WBAPG32040A393064 to WBAPF52070A922683
WBSWL92090P371502 to WBSDX92040E803792.

9-5-2018: Recall because w iring configuration means that vehicle vibrations could potentially cause frictional corrosion on the plug of the power distributor causing the car's engine to cut out. Affects BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 and X1 petrol and diesel models produced between March 2007 and August 2011. Helpline number: 0800 083 4397.

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