E39 M5 Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement

posted in: 2003 TiAg E39 M5 | 4

E39 M5 Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement


When we bought our 2003 E39 M5 on our birthday at the end of July this year it had ~80k miles on it. The biggest issue with this car was light timing chain noise during warm up.

This is a common issue with the S62 engines and the main two culprits are worn timing chain guides and timing chain tensioner. This post explains how the timing chain tensioner was replaced. We do plan on changing out the chain guides as well, but considering it takes quite a bit of engine disassembly we chose to do the tensioner first.

Parts and tools needed:

11311406261 – 1x S62 timing chain tensioner

07119963355 – 1x crush washer for the tensioner

19mm socket

Wobble extension for easier access

Torque wrench to achieve final torque of 37 ft/lbs.

Gaining access to the timing chain tensioner

To gain access to the timing chain tensioner the passenger side air filter housing needs to be rotated up and out of the way. This can be done by loosening the hose clamp where it attaches to the intake manifold. The bottom portion of the air filter housing also has to be removed.

Air filter housing rotated up and out of the way.

OE BMW air filter.

Quite a bit of sand and grit in the bottom of the air filter housing.


Bottom of the air filter housing removed. This is done by loosening the hose clamp on the bottom intake hose.

With the housing removed it allows access to the lower side of the passenger side of the S62 block where the timing chain tensioner is bolted in.

Using a handy dandy mirror the location of the timing chain tensioner is revealed. Remove the tensioner with the 19mm socket.

Timing chain tensioner removed.

Mirror showing hole where timing chain tensioner resides.

Parts required.

New timing chain tensioner with new gasket ring installed.

Installing new tensioner and torquing to spec.

Tools used.

Mirror showing that timing chain tensioner is correctly seated and installed. Assembly is of course the reverse of removal. Clean up any oil spills and install the passenger side airbox back in the vehicle.


The timing chain noise reduced by quite a bit after installing the tensioner, but it is still audible which is due to worn chain guides. Next plans are to remove the engine and transmission from the vehicle to replace the chain guides, rebuild the VANOS system, replaced rod bearings and clutch and flywheel.

Interested in other posts? Check out our blog here.

4 Responses

  1. Christian

    Nice write up. Getting ready to do this on my 1998 540i. Did you install the tensioner compressed? Have read people do both ways compressed and released. Some say when installing compressed there is a chance the chain can jump a tooth or damaging the chain guides at start up. Was there a lot of noise the first couple seconds at start up from the new tensioner? Torque spec 40nM = 30 foot/lbs? Thanks.

    • TC2

      Hello Christian, yes I installed the tensioner compressed. It’s very hard to install uncompressed. There was some noise at start up that quickly went away. I recently changed this on my 2000 M5 the same way without issues. I think the issue where people have said the chain can jump is related to worn chain guides or a worn oil pump chain tensioner that creates excess slack in the chain.

    • TC2

      Hello Christian, I didn’t torque to a specific value. I just snugged it up until I started to feel the crush washer compress. Don’t overtighten it because they are known to strip out. There are not many threads in the aluminum housing.

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