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View Full Version : '04 trailer hitch question (bumper cut-out or not?)


loosemoose
01-07-2008, 03:05 PM
Hey guys,

I just ordered a OEM BMW trailer hitch kit online for my '04 X3. I'm debating on whether to attempt the install myself or not. I know that this will involve removing the rear bumper, replacing the metal crossmember with the hitch member, and installing the electronic module and plugging it all up - which I feel fairly competent with.

However, after searching the issue in this forum, I see that there might be some bumper cutting involved. Is that not what the little removable plastic piece is that is centered on the bumper for? It was my understanding I could just remove that piece and the hitch would fit in. Do '04's have this removable piece and later models do not? The photos of the install that are linked from this forum are of an '06 (painted bumper) and don't appear to have the removable piece.

I've been quoted around $400 for the install (doesn't include hitch at $300). Anybody who has installed one of these - should I save the money and attempt myself or have the dearler install?

New to this forum and want to thank all for all the info provided...it helped immensely in deciding to buy my X3 ('04, manual, titanium grey, black leather/aluminum, premium and cold package, xenons).

bmwpursuit
01-08-2008, 05:00 AM
Hey there, I've done mine myself back in May, took me about 2 Hours as I have to figure out how to take off the bumper cover. My wife's x3 is a 04 as well.

As to your question, the outter bumper cover (smooth plastic) does not require cutting, there's a flap that is clipped on. The inner cover however requires cutting, I did mine with a drill jigsaw and the flap as template.

IMO, the wiring is not hard at all compared to other OEM installation such as Nav Retrofit and reverse camera retrofit. Therefore I would not recommend you to pay the dealer to do it, but you should get some garage to tighten the bolt for the cross member and the ball and tonge or you risk losing whatever you are towing + the accident that you cause lol.

If you are paying 400 for installation, you might as well have a trip up here and buy me dinner with that money while we do it ourselves, lol

loosemoose
01-09-2008, 04:23 PM
Haha - thanks for the input. That makes some of those photos that I've been seeing make a lot more sense. Good to hear it from someone with an '04 especially.

Looks like I will be tackling this one myself. I have a friend with a pretty good garage setup (air tools) that can probably help me get it torqued on properly. I'll just take some extra time with the inner bumper cutting...

bmwpursuit
01-10-2008, 05:45 AM
Great, in case you have any question during the job, feel free to PM me.

FYI, you dun need to do a perfect cut job for the inside bumper cover cuz the outer will cover everything. I will try to post a pic (finished product ) later.

buzzlb
03-31-2008, 07:11 AM
Haha - thanks for the input. That makes some of those photos that I've been seeing make a lot more sense. Good to hear it from someone with an '04 especially.

Looks like I will be tackling this one myself. I have a friend with a pretty good garage setup (air tools) that can probably help me get it torqued on properly. I'll just take some extra time with the inner bumper cutting...

How did the install go? I have a '04 X3, and want to put a 2" hitch on it....
Where did you get the Kit? and did it have all that you needed?
Thanks Buzz.

loosemoose
05-15-2008, 03:45 PM
The install went pretty good. The scariest part was pulling the whole bumper off - hoping no plastic parts broke in the process and that I was able to get it back on.

I did have to cut the inner flap of the bumper. I used a dremel which melted things a bit as it cut - a jigsaw might be better. There was a bit of a grid pattern that on the inside part that helped insure the lines were staright. ANd you can use the removable outside flap as a bit of a guide. I wound up getting it pretty close and clean. Much cleaner than a lot of the photos I saw of dealer installed messes. I don't think I had to cut anything on the outside of the bumper - maybe a possible slight cut just to get everything to fit properly.

I had an old style toque wrench that I borrowed which was fairly useless aside from the fact that it was long which helped make everything tighter. I'd look into using the new digital ones (expensive) if you are super concerned about accuracy. I think I got it pretty close - and that was ultimately putting everything I had into it.

The modules and wiring were pretty easy to install. The one that plugs in near the rear of the car is a bit of a touch and go install if you don't want to remove the side panels to get to it (I didn't). There's just enough room to get your hand down the back compartment and feel for the connector.

The other module near the spare tire is a breeze to install.

The entire install took me about 4-5 hours going fairly slowly/cautiously.

I bought the receiver kit on ebay from a BMW dealership in ATL. I paid under 300 and was able to pick it up with no tax. Not bad considering the local dealership here charges 950 for the hitch and install. The kit had everything I needed (including the plastic BMW cover) but did not include the ball and tongue which I purchased separately.



Good Luck!