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Thread: X5 FAQ, common problems and model year changes

  1. #26
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    Another common problem with BMW's and notorious with the E53's (similar reports on E70), water leaking into cabin. Not necessarily indicative of age but often traced to faulty sunroof cassette, drain tubes, or door vapor barriers/seals. Symptoms are moldy smell, wet carpet, water in glove compartment, water in spare tire area/sub box/DVD nav & CD changer area, water dripping through front map-light area, leaks at A-B-C pillars. Will cause electrical issues if neglected.

    If culprit is the sunroof cassette, i've heard of little to no effective method to salvage....most expensive fix, if it requires replacement. Mostly all other leaks are not complicated to remedy. May require adhesive to secure vapor barrier or new barriers...removing A pillar to inspect pinched or clogged tubes, using compressed air to clear clogged tubes (drain tubes @ sunroof & rear trunk), securing door weather strips/clips...etc. An online search should reveal multiple methods to remedy, videos as well.

    Clogged drain tubes may require routine cleaning especially if one parks under trees. If carpet becomes wet, the padding underneath will hold water for a very long period and will cause mildew if not aired out properly. Proper airing out will require removal of front seats and carpet trim to peel back carpets.
    Last edited by chilliwilli; 11-10-2011 at 06:19 PM.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by chilliwilli View Post
    A problem free E53 X5 post-100k miles...impossible. You're better off going Japanese if seeking reliability for the Mrs.
    .2 cents from a 10 year E53 owner (3.0/4.4/4.6iS).
    I don't know about Japanese, maybe Toyota but after owning a handful of bmws, a Lexus and a few other assorted cars I have to say my Nissan/ infiniti experience has been the worst by far. This car is such a POS that it forced me to dislike anything that came out of that entire country. 3x engines by 50k miles, 4 body control modules, suspension that never felt right stock or modified, tire feathering, you name it. As far as I'm concerned the only reliable cars are old cars that have minimal electronics and were decently maintained. Nothing that requires troubleshooting beyond common mechanical sense, amd something where parts are cheap and plentiful, preferably from a junkyard

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by manbeer View Post
    I don't know about Japanese, maybe Toyota but after owning a handful of bmws, a Lexus and a few other assorted cars I have to say my Nissan/ infiniti experience has been the worst by far. This car is such a POS that it forced me to dislike anything that came out of that entire country. 3x engines by 50k miles, 4 body control modules, suspension that never felt right stock or modified, tire feathering, you name it. As far as I'm concerned the only reliable cars are old cars that have minimal electronics and were decently maintained. Nothing that requires troubleshooting beyond common mechanical sense, amd something where parts are cheap and plentiful, preferably from a junkyard
    I agree. I have been the first owner of several Japanese cars that were headache vehicles. A late '80s Prelude SI that used to blow fuseable links in cold weather (usually while sitting in traffic at the Whitestone Bridge toll), I would always keep several fuses in the car for roadside replacement.
    Also had issues with front brake rotor warpage on a few, the worst were Mitsubishi cars, one moderate stop from 80mph and the steering wheel would shake on each brake application thereafter.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by manbeer
    I don't know about Japanese, maybe Toyota but after owning a handful of bmws, a Lexus and a few other assorted cars I have to say my Nissan/ infiniti experience has been the worst by far. This car is such a POS that it forced me to dislike anything that came out of that entire country. 3x engines by 50k miles, 4 body control modules, suspension that never felt right stock or modified, tire feathering, you name it. As far as I'm concerned the only reliable cars are old cars that have minimal electronics and were decently maintained. Nothing that requires troubleshooting beyond common mechanical sense, amd something where parts are cheap and plentiful, preferably from a junkyard
    Well at least you're comparing a Japanese (Lexus/Infiniti) luxury variant to the X5...still apples to oranges, imo, however a more realistic comparison. Would be interested in hearing which vehicle bimmerlova chose. Of the Japanese variants mentioned so far, at higher mileage, my suggestion would be an Acura MDX/RDX or Lexus SUV. I don't have enough experience with Infiniti to recommend to anyone...including the new FX45 i owned for a few months before dumping for another E53 4.6iS.

    ...Ditto on less electronics for reliability.

  5. #30
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    Very nice and informative. So at the end of the day, it is just a BMW. This thread answered nearly every question I had on the X5. Here are the rest. I posted in a different E53 forum and no replies what so ever. So here is my thread.


    Hey guys, first off I would like to wish everyone a merry christmas.

    I have a few questions about these lovely beasts.

    Ever since test driving a 01 4.4 sport I have had the itch on buying one. That thing was like my 540 in disguise when it came to performance. However, I hope the issues are not as severe as the 540. So here are my questions.

    1- Does the 4.4 or 4.6 have the same cooling issues as the 540s? IE; Exploding fan clutch , or just total cooling system failures?

    2- Is there any year model preferred over any other one? I am looking for a pre 2005.

    3- From what I have read, it appears that the transmission seems to be a common failure point on them. If true, is it due to lack of maintenence? On the E39s I know the common mistake is to flush the system as opposed to just drain and fill.

    4- Is there a need for two sets of wheels and tires? Summer and winter? I have heard some embarassing storys on the X5s performance on the snow. Living in Indiana , we sometimes get to an upwards to 2 feet of snow at a time.

    5- Is there a significant difference in performance between the 4.6 and the 4.4?

    6- If I happen to find one that I am interested in and the PPI goes well. How much is too much? I have found several in the range of $11k-$15k with the milage range of 80k-115K miles. Is this an absurd price to pay or no?

    7- Last but not least. What is the average life expectancy of an X5 that has been well maintaned?

    I know this was a long thread and I thank you all for your time and input. But we all know that a "Good deal" on a Bimmer can sometimes comeback and bite you in the wallet.

    I got my wife an 99 Lexus RX300 last year for a good deal. I have to say that the thing is a pretty relaible trooper. Closing in on 160k miles and zero issues. However, I cannot stand the damned thing. I was under the impression that Lexus stood for Luxury. Seats are comfortable but that is about it. That and it will drive thru places that my Explorer would get stuck in.


    Thanks again and Happy Holidays. Be safe

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 540Indy View Post
    Very nice and informative. So at the end of the day, it is just a BMW. This thread answered nearly every question I had on the X5. Here are the rest. I posted in a different E53 forum and no replies what so ever. So here is my thread.


    Hey guys, first off I would like to wish everyone a merry christmas.

    I have a few questions about these lovely beasts.

    Ever since test driving a 01 4.4 sport I have had the itch on buying one. That thing was like my 540 in disguise when it came to performance. However, I hope the issues are not as severe as the 540. So here are my questions.

    1- Does the 4.4 or 4.6 have the same cooling issues as the 540s? IE; Exploding fan clutch , or just total cooling system failures?

    Yup, same cooling system

    2- Is there any year model preferred over any other one? I am looking for a pre 2005.

    00-03 were the m62tu motor. Great engine when maintained. Beware of timing chain guides at higher mileage. Its the same motor as your 540. 04-06 are n62. Whole different beast.

    3- From what I have read, it appears that the transmission seems to be a common failure point on them. If true, is it due to lack of maintenence? On the E39s I know the common mistake is to flush the system as opposed to just drain and fill.

    Trans. is the same zf as other models, just adapted for AWD. If taken care of it would be fine. Problem is BMW's "no maintenance" program. I would rather have the v8's ZF trans than the I6's GM one.

    4- Is there a need for two sets of wheels and tires? Summer and winter? I have heard some embarassing storys on the X5s performance on the snow. Living in Indiana , we sometimes get to an upwards to 2 feet of snow at a time.

    Snow tires are suggested. I have all seasons on now and it does OK, but not nearly as surefooted as it was last year on snows.

    5- Is there a significant difference in performance between the 4.6 and the 4.4?

    30 hp I believe.

    6- If I happen to find one that I am interested in and the PPI goes well. How much is too much? I have found several in the range of $11k-$15k with the milage range of 80k-115K miles. Is this an absurd price to pay or no?

    Pricing seems about right. Although 04's are starting to come down to that range too. My 04 w/110k on the clock is worth about 15 to 18k depending on weather its a pp or dealer.

    7- Last but not least. What is the average life expectancy of an X5 that has been well maintaned?

    I would expect an m62 to make it well past 200k. My 3.0 is still going strong and has required very little money to keep it in good shape. It was a VT. car before I bought it, so its been in the snow belt its whole life and it has no rust as of yet. Something that cant be said of my e38.

    I know this was a long thread and I thank you all for your time and input. But we all know that a "Good deal" on a Bimmer can sometimes comeback and bite you in the wallet.

    I got my wife an 99 Lexus RX300 last year for a good deal. I have to say that the thing is a pretty relaible trooper. Closing in on 160k miles and zero issues. However, I cannot stand the damned thing. I was under the impression that Lexus stood for Luxury. Seats are comfortable but that is about it. That and it will drive thru places that my Explorer would get stuck in.


    Thanks again and Happy Holidays. Be safe
    Good luck and happy hunting.

  7. #32
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    How can I tell if I have a M62 or N62? I just bought my 2003 X5 4.4. Is it visual or what do I look for?

    Also, the radio does not tune (functions and sounds ok, but only has one station). It's as though the antenna is not hooked up. How do I go about seeing where the disconnection is? Thanks (Also new to the forum - Merry Christmas everyone!)
    Last edited by siucoharley; 12-26-2011 at 03:28 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by siucoharley View Post
    How can I tell if I have a M62 or N62? I just bought my 2003 X5 4.4. Is it visual or what do I look for?

    Also, the radio does not tune (functions and sounds ok, but only has one station). It's as though the antenna is not hooked up. How do I go about seeing where the disconnection is? Thanks (Also new to the forum - Merry Christmas everyone!)
    An 03 will have an m62tu. 04 model year was the n62.
    Here is a pic of the m62 in my 7. Your X5 should look alot like mine.


    As for the radio, I'm not sure. What radio do you have? Business radio or Nav. screen? Never heard of that issue before.

  9. #34
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    Thanks for the reply

    Guess I'm kinda glad not having the N62. With the issues I've read about the problems with the VANOS. There is plenty of power in my X5 the way it is. As for the radio, went I drove home (didn't check the radio on my dealer test drive - stupid me) the radio would not tune into any stations. After digging in the trunk a see there are a bunch of audio wires under the spare tire - looks like the previous owner had a sub woofer and maybe an amp in there? Also the right storage compartment had something there too as there are wires spliced into the factory harness. I just figured the antenna wire was not re- hooked up. Hope this is not an issue???? Wonder, was there suppose to be a multi-disc CD changer there?

    Oh, and it's the business radio, no NAV. Thanks.

    Gary
    Last edited by siucoharley; 12-26-2011 at 03:38 PM. Reason: added NAV answer

  10. #35
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    Even if the ant. wasnt hooked up you should still be able to change the channels. You just wouldnt get reception. All the audio equipment for a non nav car should be in the spare tire well. I would try and get a used head unit to see if that helps. As far as I know the only thing that controls tuning in radio stations is the radio itself. I suppose I should clarify. Can you physically change the stations and just dont get reception? Or can you not even change the station?

    If you have a cd changer, it would be in the drivers side cubby in the rear hatch. Most likely you dont have one, but it can be added. I bought a used one from an e46. Your X is pre wired for it. In the drivers side cubby there will be a wire that is taped up. It should just plug in and the radio in the dash will automatically recognize it.
    FYI, later model cd changers are capable of playing MP3 cd's.

  11. #36
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    My 02 e53 started to smoke from underneath,when i looked underneath by the passenger door it was smoking and smelling of fuel, is this common?it was frozen here today

  12. #37
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    The window regulator broke in the rear driver side and the drivers side window seems like it is stuck
    While touch wood this hasn't happened in my '04 X5, that is a common problem with BMWs. I had five motor/regulator failures in my '85 325 and another five in my '94 740i (my two previous cars). Each time it was about $450. Really annoying.

    My mechanic (who's great and knows BMWs inside out) told me that the part is plastic, and the windows you don't use regularly are the ones that are most susceptible to getting jammed (because the regular becomes deformed from staying in one position). So he told me to exercise the windows fairly regularly.

    Is that why it hasn't happened in my X5? Who knows, but it and those amber dots in the radio going out are the two common problems I know about.

  13. #38
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    2002 bmw x5

    any info will help..just bought a 2002 bmw x5, one owner 70k, clean carfax..i really hate to keep taking it back to dealership for issues but so far..the service engine light soon came on, stayed on for 3 days then went off..when i filled it up w gas i left the car running, told that was why light came on..so far, that seems to have taken care of itself..the other day i was driving and it said trans fail safe something?? i checked the manual, followed the steps and the light went off..?? now the brake light is on, im assuming it needs brake fluid, my husband is going to check tonite, this morning i got in, we had some snow, the windshiled wipers, just came up less then halfway and stopped, and will not move..the back wiper is fine..let me add, the car really does run and drive fantastic!!! but does this sound like too much for a car i bought 2 1/2 weeks ago???

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjem6969 View Post
    any info will help..just bought a 2002 bmw x5, one owner 70k, clean carfax..i really hate to keep taking it back to dealership for issues but so far..the service engine light soon came on, stayed on for 3 days then went off..when i filled it up w gas i left the car running, told that was why light came on..so far, that seems to have taken care of itself..the other day i was driving and it said trans fail safe something?? i checked the manual, followed the steps and the light went off..?? now the brake light is on, im assuming it needs brake fluid, my husband is going to check tonite, this morning i got in, we had some snow, the windshiled wipers, just came up less then halfway and stopped, and will not move..the back wiper is fine..let me add, the car really does run and drive fantastic!!! but does this sound like too much for a car i bought 2 1/2 weeks ago???

    Think I would be bringing that back to the place I bought it. Wipers are not a common problem (unless your wiping several inches off instead of clearing it first).
    Trans failsafe is common and can be caused by several things. Anything from a bad wheel speed sensor to a junk trans, trans being the usual culprit. A good indy will have the diagnostic equipment to read any tranny codes. CEL could very likely be related to the trans problem.
    Is it a 3.0 liter 6cyl or a 4.4 v8?

  15. #40
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    its a 3.0..my husband fixed the wipers today, all the bolts were loose, working perfectly now..but then this morning, the door was frozen solid, so i got in the other door started it, waited a while, door opened, but then would not shut, my husband said the mechanism was frozen solid..it finally shut..im not sure what to do, i love the truck seems to run great, just seems like alot has been happening, even if its little things, for a car ive had for 2 weeks..

    im going to call dealer monday and tell them about the tranny thing, its under warranty for 2yrs, better to get it done now, if i wait im screwed, all the lights have gone out and everything seems fine now, but im having a feeling they may be back on at some point..

    IF the transmission was crapping out, i would feel that no?? seems to be running perfectly, does it make a difference that it has that auto manual feature..??
    Last edited by bjem6969; 01-21-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  16. #41
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    I've got an 05 4.8is. Most of the time the car will start, but at other times it won't. It will keep turning over but just won't start unless I give it some gas and let it start on its own. I already replaced the 3 Throttle position sensors. Know how to fix this?
    Last edited by dannypiv; 02-13-2012 at 07:32 AM.
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  17. #42
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    Hey all. I just pulled the trigger on a 2002 X5 3.0i yesterday and I am taking possession of the vehicle tomorrow.

    'm a current BMW owner with a 2001 325i with the M54 engine, same basic layout just smaller displacement than the X5. I'm assuming that all of the basic concerns for the 325 still apply with the X5 (VANOS, power steering reservoir leak, oil filter housing gasket leak, cooling system issues) and I'm also assuming that the basic fluid change intervals would be the same? Also, I am assuming that the fluid types are identical to the 2.5.

    The vehicle is in excellent condition, two-owner, 77,000 miles, all BMW service (verified by paper records and Carfax report), so I don't expect it to need much when it comes to servicing, but I like to be prepared (have a couple of spare coolant hoses, expansion tanks, t-stat housings, things like that) for the worst. Is there anything else that's goofy about these cars that I should get fixed or at least check? Thanks!
    -Mike

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  18. #43
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    Hey guys, thinking on trading my 335i for a 2005 x5. Yes I know why, I need the space. My girls are growing and need more room. From what I can see the car looks mint. 64k miles 3.0i Asking around 18k. I dont mind the power. From reading this is not a bad engine and should have no problems. How can I tell which package it has? Ill be test driving it today or tomorrow. Anything I should be checking? Carfax is clean

    this is it:
    Last edited by thatracer; 02-13-2012 at 03:03 AM.

  19. #44
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    Wow, pricing has come down. I paid 22 for mine 1 1/2 years ago. Very similar to the pic. It looks to be a non sport model, but to see what else it has I'd need to see inside.
    You should have the pano roof (being an 05). If you have the same cluster as a 5 or 7 series then it probably has the premium pack. That should have rear sunshades too.
    Seems to be a good buy. Just ask for service records. Check the front CV shafts for torn boots, typical oil and power steering leaks. Cooling system parts.
    Also, I dont know how many 3.0l's have it, but it seems to be pretty common for them to have a delay in the gas pedal. Its REALLY annoying on mine. Its a good 3-4 sec. delay. You need to find the "sweet spot" when trying to accel from a stop. From what I can tell its caused by something internal in the transmission.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by thatracer
    Hey guys, thinking on trading my 335i for a 2005 x5. Yes I know why, I need the space. My girls are growing and need more room. From what I can see the car looks mint. 64k miles 3.0i Asking around 18k. I dont mind the power. From reading this is not a bad engine and should have no problems. How can I tell which package it has? Ill be test driving it today or tomorrow. Anything I should be checking? Carfax is clean

    this is it:
    ALL X5's have problems with their bushings, I would replace them right away if I were you. Check the your fluids too, sometimes they leak. And check for any oil leaks. Other than that you should be ok! I'd recommend putting a fuel cleaner in when filling her up just in case, do it every now and then. Once you put it in, fill the car up, and drive it spiritedly (redlining, higher rpms).

    Looks good though! That underride guard is 2k from dealer and the front bar is pricey too. Not a bad deal
    98 540i/6 Biarritz-Dinan Intake, Dinan Stage 2 Tune, Dinan Exhaust, Hamann Mirrors, M5 Front Bumper, Hamann Fogs, M-Pars, ACS Skirts/Diffuser, Custom Facelift Headlights Lights, Facelift Tails, Clear Side Markers, OEM E60 SSK, ZHP Knob, K40 Radar, Euro armrest, Technical Graphite trim and more miscellaneous odds and ends

    -05 X5 4.8is Lemans-SOLD
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  21. #46
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    wow, i used to drool over 4.8iS models, but now it seems i should stick to the more rare 4.6iS.
    Speaking of, with the 4.6 only having a 2 year run, does it have any unique hard to get parts that one should be aware of?
    You made a good point about the extra hp at the top not being needed, i did not think of that.
    Pardon my ignorance, but the mention of door carriers being crappy on the E53, whats a door carrier? are we talking about the hinges, the door jamb, what?

    oh, thanks for the awesome thread, btw.
    Last edited by snikwad; 02-17-2012 at 01:49 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost


    E36/E46 3.38 Diff and DPE wheels F/S

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by snikwad
    wow, i used to drool over 4.8iS models, but now it seems i should stick to the more rare 4.6iS.
    Speaking of, with the 4.6 only having a 2 year run, does it have any unique hard to get parts that one should be aware of?
    You made a good point about the extra hp at the top not being needed, i did not think of that.
    Pardon my ignorance, but the mention of door carriers being crappy on the E53, whats a door carrier? are we talking about the hinges, the door jamb, what?

    oh, thanks for the awesome thread, btw.
    I've always drooled over 4.8is's. I've owned two 4.6is's, one being a dinan stage 2. I can totally assure you, the 4.8is's are unbelievable. I've finally gotten one, and I love it!
    98 540i/6 Biarritz-Dinan Intake, Dinan Stage 2 Tune, Dinan Exhaust, Hamann Mirrors, M5 Front Bumper, Hamann Fogs, M-Pars, ACS Skirts/Diffuser, Custom Facelift Headlights Lights, Facelift Tails, Clear Side Markers, OEM E60 SSK, ZHP Knob, K40 Radar, Euro armrest, Technical Graphite trim and more miscellaneous odds and ends

    -05 X5 4.8is Lemans-SOLD
    -2003 530i/5 Tiag-SOLD
    -1998 540i/6 Oxford-SOLD
    -1998 540i/6 Schwarz-SOLD
    -1999 M3/2/5 Tiag-SOLD

  23. #48
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    Really? Is it that much nicer. That motor scares me with that wretched valley pan coolant leak man.


    E36/E46 3.38 Diff and DPE wheels F/S

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by snikwad
    Really? Is it that much nicer. That motor scares me with that wretched valley pan coolant leak man.
    Its worth it. The only problem I've had with mine is the starting issue I posted earlier in the thread, which no one has responded to me about.. And it leaks a teensy weensy bit of oil, nothing crazy. I don't think I've ever had the valley pan coolant leak
    98 540i/6 Biarritz-Dinan Intake, Dinan Stage 2 Tune, Dinan Exhaust, Hamann Mirrors, M5 Front Bumper, Hamann Fogs, M-Pars, ACS Skirts/Diffuser, Custom Facelift Headlights Lights, Facelift Tails, Clear Side Markers, OEM E60 SSK, ZHP Knob, K40 Radar, Euro armrest, Technical Graphite trim and more miscellaneous odds and ends

    -05 X5 4.8is Lemans-SOLD
    -2003 530i/5 Tiag-SOLD
    -1998 540i/6 Oxford-SOLD
    -1998 540i/6 Schwarz-SOLD
    -1999 M3/2/5 Tiag-SOLD

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1,830
    My Cars
    E46
    Wow. That's excellent news.


    E36/E46 3.38 Diff and DPE wheels F/S

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