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      08-19-2019, 04:59 PM   #1
BanjoPaterson
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Engine Drive Belt

Well, here's another variation on the cam belt theme (obviously the i8 has a timing chain and not a belt, but read on!)

I've got a platinum service with my i8. Lots of stuff covered. We're talking brakes and rotors; clutches (not that it has a clutch); oil; all the filters; spark plugs; and wiper blades. So in goes my i8 for its second oil service and me thinking there'll be no expense except...

I'm advised that the engine drive belt (the serpentine belt running the air con etc.) needs to be replaced every second oil service or 5 years -- whichever comes first. This is one of the items not covered by the service inclusive and it's $800. What can I do? I've an extended warranty that relies on all correct servicing

To my local dealer's credit, they are ringing BMW to see if this item is actually excluded or if it can be paid.

So this belt needs to be changed every 5 years. One to remember.
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      08-19-2019, 07:33 PM   #2
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From looking at the information on the little B38 engine in the i8. The belt drive only runs 2 items. A coolant pump and the starter motor generator. The coolant pump is obvious. The Starter motor generator is the device that starts the ICE and generates electricity for the battery when the engine is running and supplies an electric motor boost to the ICE under “boost” conditions. The air conditioner is powered by a electric unit not a belt. There is a fat 8 ribbed belt that handles all of this through a pendulum belt tensioner.
No where can I find a replacement schedule for this belt. Looking through the service pack that came with my car only 3 services are ever mentioned and tied to specific oil change intervals. At every 2 oil changes replace ventilation microfilter and check door hinge bolts.
At every 3rd oil change replace the spark plugs.
At every 4 oil changes replace the engine air filter element and replace the door support struts. That’s it.
There are other checks associated with scheduled maintenance and condition based service reminders, but nothing about the drive belt anywhere.

Frequently replacing the drive belt probably isn’t a bad idea as you can’t start or operate the ICE without it.

In cars with a critical belt driven overhead valve assembly (timing belt) usually the manufacturer recommended belt replacement interval is 60,000 to 100,000 miles or 7-10 years regardless of miles. I guess 4 oil changes if your doing it every 15,000 miles does add up. But every 2 oil changes seems a little overdone. Also the belt only costs $23 and looks like an easy job.
I personally change my oil every 5,000 miles as turbochargers really like clean oil for long life.

Anybody else out there with a higher mileage i8 had their belt replaced?

Last edited by Coastali8; 08-19-2019 at 08:37 PM..
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      08-19-2019, 10:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastal i8 View Post
From looking at the information on the little B38 engine in the i8. The belt drive only runs 2 items. A coolant pump and the starter motor generator. The coolant pump is obvious. The Starter motor generator is the device that starts the ICE and generates electricity for the battery when the engine is running and supplies an electric motor boost to the ICE under ďboostĒ conditions. The air conditioner is powered by a electric unit not a belt. There is a fat 8 ribbed belt that handles all of this through a pendulum belt tensioner.
No where can I find a replacement schedule for this belt. Looking through the service pack that came with my car only 3 services are ever mentioned and tied to specific oil change intervals. At every 2 oil changes replace ventilation microfilter and check door hinge bolts.
At every 3rd oil change replace the spark plugs.
At every 4 oil changes replace the engine air filter element and replace the door support struts. Thatís it.
There are other checks associated with scheduled maintenance and condition based service reminders, but nothing about the drive belt anywhere.

Frequently replacing the drive belt probably isnít a bad idea as you canít start or operate the ICE without it.

In cars with a critical belt driven overhead valve assembly (timing belt) usually the manufacturer recommended belt replacement interval is 60,000 to 100,000 miles or 7-10 years regardless of miles. I guess 4 oil changes if your doing it every 15,000 miles does add up. But every 2 oil changes seems a little overdone. Also the belt only costs $23 and looks like an easy job.
I personally change my oil every 5,000 miles as turbochargers really like clean oil for long life.

Anybody else out there with a higher mileage i8 had their belt replaced?
Wow - thank you for the information. BTW - I didn't realise the door struts were a maintenance point... better start putting pennies in the jar.

With respect to the belt, the main cost is labour (3 hours quoted). Also, whilst my i8 is coming up to 5 years old, it's only done about 11,500km (just over 7000 miles), so hardly a "high miler". I probably should drive it more, since recent production numbers are so high (and depreciation) it hardly matters to keep it in "pristine" condition anymore.
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      08-20-2019, 09:12 AM   #4
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Of course I can't find it now, but I read through old posts here when I bought my 2015 i8 recently and I remember seeing a post with a TSB about replacing the accessory belt at the 2nd oil change, but I believe it applied only to i8s manufactured before Feb 2015. I don't remember seeing any specific interval for vehicles after.

Maybe somebody remembers the post or has the TSB, I couldn't find it.
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      08-20-2019, 09:48 AM   #5
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Okay, can't remember what led me there, but here it is. Maybe I'm misinterpreting it?

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/i...nce/1VnYVZNNlZ
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      08-20-2019, 05:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm View Post
Of course I can't find it now, but I read through old posts here when I bought my 2015 i8 recently and I remember seeing a post with a TSB about replacing the accessory belt at the 2nd oil change, but I believe it applied only to i8s manufactured before Feb 2015. I don't remember seeing any specific interval for vehicles after.

Maybe somebody remembers the post or has the TSB, I couldn't find it.
My build date is 01/01/2015 -- so it applies. What's funny is the belt is covered in the "Service Inclusive" packages for i8's built before 2015... so I miss out by a day.

On the flip side they changed the door struts, which are covered (go figure!), for nix and that would have cost me (next year) almost the same amount as the belt change -- so in the end quite satisfied.

The doors open like new. It's soooo gooood! And that's a change I can appreciate.
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      08-20-2019, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm View Post
Okay, can't remember what led me there, but here it is. Maybe I'm misinterpreting it?

https://www.newtis.info/tisv2/a/en/i...nce/1VnYVZNNlZ
Thank you for looking this up! It says the design changed from 03/2015... do you know what changed?!
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      08-20-2019, 06:44 PM   #8
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If I understand it properly, you're supposed to remove and not reinstall the sound insulation and supporting bracket. Maybe it trapped too much heat leading to increased wear.

If they followed that procedure for your car, in theory you won't need the belt changed next time.
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      08-20-2019, 10:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm View Post
If I understand it properly, you're supposed to remove and not reinstall the sound insulation and supporting bracket. Maybe it trapped too much heat leading to increased wear.

If they followed that procedure for your car, in theory you won't need the belt changed next time.
That’s a great bit of information. Thanks

That’s also the way I would interpret it. Trapping the heat was an issue on many Porsche 911- 964- 993 models that they never seemed to learn from. Lots of covers over the years that trapped the heat and everything just cooked, belts, seals, hoses, etc. Caused a lot of unintended problem and failures. Just remove them and everything was fine.

It looks like a simple fix to increase the drive belt lifespan.

Last edited by Coastali8; 08-20-2019 at 10:28 PM..
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      08-24-2019, 01:48 AM   #10
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Have never replaced an i8 belt and have been working on them for 3 years. Seen some with mileage in the 20,000 range. I will do some research and see if there is some sort of change interval for US vehicles
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      08-24-2019, 09:18 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freshxdough View Post
Have never replaced an i8 belt and have been working on them for 3 years. Seen some with mileage in the 20,000 range. I will do some research and see if there is some sort of change interval for US vehicles
Thanks,
That would be very useful information.
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      08-24-2019, 09:23 AM   #12
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I just had my third year service at 32k and they said that they changed the drive belt (and the door struts).
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      08-24-2019, 09:50 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ionicsilveri8 View Post
I just had my third year service at 32k and they said that they changed the drive belt (and the door struts).
What year model is your i8?
Was it built before 3/15?
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      08-24-2019, 11:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ionicsilveri8 View Post
I just had my third year service at 32k and they said that they changed the drive belt (and the door struts).
Exactly the same here. My i8 was built 06.2015, now 40k km
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      08-25-2019, 01:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coastal i8 View Post
What year model is your i8?
Was it built before 3/15?
2016 I think, to be sure I would need to check the plate but itís in the BMW garage with a brake issue!
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      09-07-2019, 08:37 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eswimm View Post
If I understand it properly, you're supposed to remove and not reinstall the sound insulation and supporting bracket. Maybe it trapped too much heat leading to increased wear.

If they followed that procedure for your car, in theory you won't need the belt changed next time.
I don't know if this is new or if I never noticed, but after a spirited run today as I was leaving the garage I heard metal contraction sounds from the engine (like the bumps and creaks a new house may make settling, but distinctly metallic).

I'd never heard that before, which may be that I didn't notice or the electric fan on the front would come on and drown out other noise, and I wondered if this stems from the removing the sound insulation. I guess it makes sense, except that this seems to be new (to me). Searched the forum and can't see anything so reaching out to more experienced i8 owners -- do your engines make quite audible "settling" noises after a spirited run?

PS: I presuming this is nothing to be concerned about as none of the sounds were like a "bang", but more like someone tapping every so often on something metal in the back. Perhaps I should change my name to "Nervous Nelly"?

Thanks for all and any answers
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      09-08-2019, 02:47 AM   #17
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Mine cracks and pops after a long run - certainly after getting the engine hot.
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      09-08-2019, 03:17 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ionicsilveri8 View Post
Mine cracks and pops after a long run - certainly after getting the engine hot.
Thank you for your reply. I'd never heard it before in my i8, although yes with other cars like my M3. It just sounded more obvious, but perhaps that's because I knew a sound shield had been removed and was listening for it. There also seemed to be more of an exhaust/ brake odour, too, than usual.

Probably a bit paranoid after taking the car to the dealership and having them do more work than I expected. Then listening and getting a confirmation bias or something. Hopefully it's normal thermal expansion and contraction (with micro shear to make the ping noise).

Thank you for answering.
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      06-20-2020, 07:37 AM   #19
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Just had my service done and they called and said that the drive belt needed changing. They said it needed doing every five years. It's a 65 plate car. In uk.
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      06-20-2020, 11:34 AM   #20
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exhaust, exhaust manifold, and some metal heat shields make crackling or popping sounds when cooling. nbd.
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      06-21-2020, 04:05 AM   #21
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2016

Second service

Bmw did not replace belt despite the BMW website (once I enter my reg) saying it is part of it.

I asked twice. Tech was sure it's not part of it.
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      02-08-2021, 01:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AB447 View Post
2016

Second service

Bmw did not replace belt despite the BMW website (once I enter my reg) saying it is part of it.

I asked twice. Tech was sure it's not part of it.
I had my 2016 2nd service at 4 years last june over £1000 which included the belt and gas struts, plugs etc.

Did you pay that sum ?

Intersting US service intervals vary plugs are changed every 2 years on UK cars
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