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-   -   BMW X3 transfer case problem (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=463848)

Speed66 06-20-2010 11:14 PM

BMW X3 transfer case problem
 
Hi guys,

Just joined up. As a newbie on Bimmerfest i wanted to know how many members have actually had or heard of transfer case problems with these X3's. Mine is a 3 litre petrol auto. BMW says they dont generally cause problems but im not so sure on that now as the car has only done 33000kms since new and has never seen any real hard work. So i'm thinking there must be an inherent problem in these.

Any help or ideas?

Mine started developing a whinning noise a few thousand K's back.

X3-terrestrial 06-21-2010 06:10 AM

There have been some complains during the last 2 years or so, but nothing really indicates that this could be a chronic problem. And some of the reported ones, turned to be front bearings.80k miles (128,000 kms) here and no problems...
Welcome to the 'fest!

Speed66 06-21-2010 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by X3-terrestrial (Post 5273532)
There have been some complains during the last 2 years or so, but nothing really indicates that this could be a chronic problem. And some of the reported ones, turned to be front bearings.80k miles (128,000 kms) here and no problems...
Welcome to the 'fest!

Thanks for the welcome X3-terrestrial.

Agree its not chronic as such however searching the web it would appear there have been a number fail, mainly on the earlier 04 and 05 cars. The causes are generally being put down to lubrication issues. There were also a few photos showing the internals of the transfer case. The needle roller cage bearing and thrust plate were all pitted and had lost the case hardening.

I also found a thread here on Bimmerfest tittled: Transfer case Fluid SIB dated 12-14-2009 12.23pm relating to a BMW service bullitin which was released 04/07 advising dealers to change the transfer case oil on vehicles prior too. The oil has since been upgraded to a much superior quality longer life oil. I imagine this service bullitin was produced to stave off further problems associated to this earlier type oil causing premature failures.

What is odd with my vehicle is that it has seen only very light work and has always been dealer serviced. So for the transfer case to develop a bearing/gear type whine at such low mileage would indicate that the oil has likely had a hand in causing whatever has gone wrong internally.

My service records also do not show this oil as ever being changed at any stage. So my thoughts is the failure should be their responsibility.:)

jimflint01 12-17-2010 01:18 PM

2005 X3 Transfer case whine
 
Our 2005 X3 with 61k miles, always dealer serviced is also now very loud with a whine and the dealer said it's the transfer case and needs a new one for $3,500. 61k miles? Yikes, this sure does seem like a problem that should be dealer covered. Others out there with this problem? jimflint01 - Denver

Supercourse 12-17-2010 01:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Speed66 (Post 5275761)
Transfer case Fluid SIB dated 12-14-2009 12.23pm relating to a BMW service bullitin which was released 04/07 advising dealers to change the transfer case oil on vehicles prior too. The oil has since been upgraded to a much superior quality longer life oil. I imagine this service bullitin was produced to stave off further problems associated to this earlier type oil causing premature failures.

My service records also do not show this oil as ever being changed at any stage. So my thoughts is the failure should be their responsibility.

That particular SIB is a bit more abstruse than most of them.
As I understand it, it directs service depts. to change the transfer case fluid ONLY on X3's up to a April 2005 (I think) build date, provided they show a code on the GT1 computer that indicates degraded transfer case fluid.

If they don't show the code, dealers are not authorized to change the fluid.

There is no doubt that transfer cases do a lot of work, in normal use, and to me it makes sense to renew the fluid about every 60K km. at the very least.

Like differentials, I imagine transfer case assembly needs careful attention to detail, and that anything less can lead to premature failure irrespective of the integrity of the lubricating fluid.

A noise at only 33K km. seems to fall into that category IMO.
Also, I magine your X3 is much later than an early '05 model, so was almost certainly factory-filled with the latest (improved) fluid.

Other than that, some BMW dealers appear to have misdiagnosed such noises, based on reports in this forum.
You might want to try and rule out simpler possibilities, such as internal delamination of a front tire, impending wheel bearing failure, noisy accessory belt tensioner, etc.

But it does sound as though they should step up replace the TC under warranty.
Good luck.

kenza 12-17-2010 01:44 PM

Jim, is your car under original warranty?

mariodr 12-17-2010 01:56 PM

I would suspect it is a bit chronic as our X3 has both a gear whine and a shudder under acceleration. Both are minor, and the dealer has ignored the problem - no fix is imminent. In fact, we have tried three different dealers to no avail. The biggest joke about it is that they blame the tires. Apparently, if they were to be believed, brand new tires that are road force balanced cause a whining noise and shudders on acceleration. I have spoken to several owners of X3's in our area, and all report whining noises while some confirm shudders on acceleration. One thing you can say about BMW service - it sucks.

AzNMpower32 12-17-2010 02:17 PM

If you are under warranty, demand a transfer case replacement. It's one of the weak spots in the X3. If you are out of warranty, try for goodwill assistance.

GlennShepley 12-17-2010 02:28 PM

I just hooked onto this forum trying to see if there where any others out there with X3 transfer cases that took a puke. I have to admit until now no big issues except for eating through tires. I do have almost 118,000 miles on this vehicle so I am not crying too much. The recent news about the transfer case is a little disturbing though. I heard some whining out of it some time ago but now it's shot. Dealer wants "$4400.00 to replace it, luckily I hunted one down for about $800.00. Still, never expected this assembly to go. I already had been looking into the new 2011 X3, even went to look at a prototype, but may take a step back now.

P.S. The whining (gear noise) is now a heavy clunk, similar to the sounds of the driveshaft smacking the fllor boards. It was a minor noise when it begins under acceleration. Now it has to be babied through fisrt and second gear.

X3emist 12-17-2010 02:33 PM

2 thougts
 
There may be a T-case actuator that could be the culprit. Secondly, the whack you hear on the floor board could perhaps be a bad guibo (spelling) joint. Search around a bit for that issue and see if it sounds relevant.

X3emist 12-17-2010 02:37 PM

Do you fall in this catagory
 
from an old post by x3terestrial-


This Service Information bulletin supersedes S.I. B01 07 03 dated April 2006.
designates changes to this revision
SUBJECT
BMW Center Administered Customer Assistance Program (CACAP)
Effective with repairs performed on and after May 1, 2006 BMW is pleased to announce significant
enhancements to the BMW Center Administered Customer Assistance Program or (CACAP) otherwise
known as the Self-Authorization or "SA" Program. BMW has taken this initiative to complement your
growing business giving you more flexibility to assist customers in different ways. In addition to the
enhanced participation limits, some center and customer participation criteria have been eliminated
allowing more flexibility with this program in the areas of repair and non-repair goodwill.
This program now includes the enhancements announced at the 2006 National Aftersales Conference to
help support the "Fix The Customer First" pillar of the Aftersales Strategy. Major changes include the
following:
1. Time has been increased from 12 months to 18 months beyond the New Vehicle Limited
Warranty,
2. Mileage has been increased from 60,000 to 75,000,
3. Reduced participation by BMW NA after 6 months has been removed,
4. The limitation of 3 goodwill assistance contributions per VIN has been eliminated,
5. Maintenance services, previously excluded, are now eligible under repair related goodwill,
6. The "one time basis" non-repair related goodwill contribution limitation has been eliminated,
7. A new option, "The BMW 101 Experience" including transportation, has been added to the nonrepair
related goodwill possibilities.
Please read this complete bulletin to find all the details of the changes and better understand how this
program works

buford 12-18-2010 05:48 AM

I just replaced my transfer case last month. I have a 2004 X3 with 105k miles. When I would give it gas it would just shutter and kick of the srs, brake and 4x4 lights. I bought a used trasfer case with 27k miles and a 1 year waranty, changed it out and have had no more problems. I think there is a chronic problem with the transfer cases whether it is from lack of lubrication or poor design, just my opinion.

Luis_calero 01-04-2011 09:37 AM

I have to change the Transfer Case too
 
BMW dealer said there is no apparent reason.

Mine is 31,250 miles X3 2.5.

I really do not understand why a BMW of 31K miles broke!

Regards
Luis

GlennShepley 01-06-2011 01:24 PM

Transfer Case Issue 2006 E83
 
Just swapped out my transfer case with a used unit with only 20,000 miles. Mine had 118,000 miles and had been noisy for some time. Just disassmbled the old unit, the chain stretched and started to wear into the aluminum case. This is what all of the racket was under heavy torque. Seems that the bearings for the output shaft to the front driveshaft need replacement too, they growl a bit just turning them by hand.

This vehcile has never been driven hard so even though it 118,000 miles I am a bit suprised what I found when I opened up this transfer case. May now re-think my 2011 X3 purchase.

soypp123 01-07-2011 03:42 AM

Can you post pics from the transfer case and stretched chain?
My X3 is starting to do cranks when acelerating in 1st/2nd gear, and stopping to standstill, pointing to a likely transfer case problem.
Given the price of a new transfer case, Im worried ill have to think alternatives.
Best regards

Quino 01-09-2011 06:23 PM

Me too?
 
Quick question guys - I've been getting what some cal the kiss-of-death lights: abs brake and 4x4. Did some research here and therre and it appears to be the grander case issue. So my question is: why is it that the lights come and go? Either I have the problem or not so the lights should stay on. Furthermore - when the lights come on I can feel the case resistance when backing up or making tight turn. When lights are not off - no resistance noted. How can that be? Could it be a computer or sensor problem that turns something off? I'm puzzle...

X392131 01-09-2011 09:11 PM

I also experienced the transfer case problem. It was replaced a few days before the CPO warranty expired and around 70k miles. Back over the summer I posted a picture of the old transfer case oil just before the part was replaced. It was black, opaque, and burnt-smelling.

GlennShepley 01-16-2011 09:03 AM

2006 X3 Transfer Case
 
3 Attachment(s)
As requested please find some photos of my dis-assembled X3 transfer case. You can see in the aluminum housing where the stretched chain wore into. The two bearings for the output shaft for the front drive axle are shot also, no play in them just noise. The fluid did not have a burnt smell either. Everything else within the assembly seems fine, even the clutch packs. Seems BMW has a weak link in their drive train.

Supercourse 01-16-2011 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GlennShepley (Post 5775246)
You can see in the aluminum housing where the stretched chain wore into. The two bearings for the output shaft for the front drive axle are shot also, no play in them just noise.

I don't imagine that fluid changes, say at 50K miles, would prevent the stretched chain problem.

Might delay wear on the output shaft bearings though.

I hear that even some Lexus service depts. recommend transfer case service at 45K miles on RX3xx models, even though it is not specified in the maintenance book with the vehicle.

TexasSpartan 01-16-2011 05:13 PM

Had our transfer case replaced under warranty at 45K miles. 47500 miles now and still getting the shudder under acceleration. Will be taking it back before the 50k warranty is up to have them look at it again.

Quino 01-16-2011 05:21 PM

GlennSheppley - you seem experience w this issue since you actually took yours apart. Are there electronic sensors in there? I was asking on my post above why - in my case - i only experienced resistance baking up only once when the lights came on. I don't have a whining noise. So I'm hoping that there's a sensor issue and not an actual mechanical issue. It's been a weeks nice the lights came on and off and I drive 100 miles a day and no problems or noises observed.

GlennShepley 01-18-2011 04:19 PM

Quino - This is my first BMW, rather happy with until this. When I had it at the dealer to check into this racket they informed me of the situation. Transfer case and front drive shaft replace = $4400.00. Even the tech that worked on it could not believe the cost. I found a used one through the net with 20,000 miles and swapped it out myself. Cost was less then half for the transfer case and front driveshaft. I am an experienced mechanic but I did not buy my X3 for this type of work. That is what my classic 65 Chevy is for. I dis-assembled the original to see exactly what the issue was. I figured it must be the chain, nothing else can stretch like that. The loud/hard knock under 1st & 2nd gear torque (manual gearbox) was the chain hitting the case. It became worse over the past few weeks, to a point where it was an issue. Early on was the whining/growling of the bearings. They did not seize but they would need to be replaced. Dealer could never find the issue. Fluid was replaced at about 40,000 miles and was not burnt when I tore into this thing. I am actually trying to get pricing on the spares from BMW to rebuild it. The dealer only offers the assembly. I am doing some checking with my colleagues in Germany now to see if they can track the needed spares for me.

Regarding sensors, the answer is no. Seems like the only electrical component is the actuator motor that engages the clutch pack to direct power to the front output shaft (for the front driveshaft).

Hunting a used transfer case is a little tricky too, have your VIN available. Even the front drive shaft was based on the monthly build cycle of the vehicle. Mine is a 2006 with a build cycle of 05/06, this means a lot when hunting used spares. Don't buy from someone who does not quiz you about Vin numbers and build cycles.

cubed 01-18-2011 04:40 PM

Glenn that is an incredibly useful set of pictures and very instructive story. Very glad I have extended coverage to 100k on my X3. It would pay for itself if i had to replace the transfer case. Not a job i could ever do myself. Thanks for posting!

Quino 01-24-2011 01:37 PM

Thanks for the info Glenn. I'm pretty sure that I don't have a transfer case issue. It's got to be an electronic gremlin that's making those flags (lights) come up cause I have no symptoms and I can't see driving as much as I do and not hearing noises or getting some feedback. At least I hope not. But if I do need one I think that someone posted a link to a rebuilder of these that has two locations: LA and South Carolina (BMW plant nearby) Good luck to all of us!

SteveWPhD 01-27-2011 02:49 PM

Transfer case issues X3
 
I'm new to the forum but I've had my X3 for the past 2 1/2 years. Love how it handles and feels. Actually drove many SUV's before buying the X3. However, about 4 months ago at about 30,000 miles, I started to hear an increasingly loud grinding after hitting a bump that lasted a couple of seconds and soon a clanging sound from the rear end occurred following a quick decelleration or slow drive (like through a parking lot). Turns out that the car's transfer case was replaced and the clanging is now gone. The grinding is much softer and is probably the transfer case adjusting the X drive (?) to each wheel after hitting a bump. Still assessing the repair.
Steve


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