Noisy timing chain

I have a 1994 525i. I just had the water pump and fan clutch done and while it was in the shop they asked me if I had been hearing the noise from the front of the engine. They showed me on my car where the noise
was coming from and it seemed to do it at higher and lower rpms, but more noticeable at lower rpms. He said it could be just a little piece of metal in there that shaved off and that after you take that out it could be fine. But, if it does more damage or if the chain is loose, i could wind up wrecking the engine. I looked at trying to take the cover off of it, but it appears that you have to take the whole cover off of the whole engine compartment there which has all the spark plugs and everything. If I remove all those bolts, is there oil in there that is going to come out? And, is something that I even want to open up and check into?
Appreciate any help.
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There are two common things: a loose timing chain tensioner. You don't say how many miles you have on the engine, but it sometimes gets noisy after 125-150K miles. It's not likely to cause problems, as it takes a very loose chain to jump off the sprockets.
The other thing it could be is the VANOS getting noisy. (Not sure if VANOS was on the '94 engines - might have been '95.) This definitely won't cause a problem; but it can be annoying.
There are other noise causers, but I'd get another opinion before getting worried.
FloydR
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I do have 148 thousand miles on the car and I think that is probably what the problem is. I just want to see whats going on inside there so I don't have to worry. What is a VANOS? Thanks, Oberg
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VANOS is the variable valve timing (which I now see was introduced in '93 so you have it.) mechanism. The actuator (at the top front of the engine) can be noisy.
The tensioner is cheap. The chain is cheap. But it's not a straight- forward job to replace them. Our '91 525i has 190K and is typical of engines of that era. Chains so rarely fail it's not worth worrying about it until you have to get into the top (head) of the engine for something else, like valves or head gasket...
FloydR
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wrote

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VANOS
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