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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 10-05-2009, 10:32 PM
JerrySpaeder JerrySpaeder is offline
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X5 xDrive35d catastrophic engine failure

Took delivery of an X5 diesel in early May and until yesterday, it's been the best vehicle I've ever parked in my garage. We were within 65 miles of home after a 2,500 mile trip to Colorado when a rhythmic knocking started. It got progressively louder over the course of a few minutes and ended with a bang and sudden jerking. It felt as if we had hit something, so we turned around, fully expecting to see chunks of mechanical debris flying out behind the vehicle. No debris or drama. The engine had stopped running, so we coasted into the parking lot of an abandoned towing company along US Highway 287 just outside Decatur, TX. At this point, it wasn't clear what broke. Attempts to restart the engine failed and resulted in the illumination of a yellow warning indicator on the dash, a gear icon with an exclamation point in the middle. We called up BMW Roadside Assistance using the SOS button and they called for a tow. The driver took us and the X5 to our original Arlington dealership. It was after hours, so we left the key in the night drop with a note and a friend drove us home to Dallas. After 24 hours, it's still unclear what happened. There are no visible signs of damage on the exterior or underneath. When they connected the vehicle to electronic test equipment today, nothing looked out of the ordinary, probably because BMW doesn't include an "engine shredded" fault indicator in the diagnostic programs. The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block. I don't have any more details about the damage, nor do I know how they'll fix it. Funny thing... It was no more than an hour before the Big Bang when I had made a comment about how reliable the X5 had been over the past six months and 13K miles, and that it had passed the Lemon Test by completing its third major cross-country road trip. Talk about a jinx!
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2009, 10:49 PM
ard ard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySpaeder View Post
The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block. x!
Sorry to hear. Glad there is a warranty....

Personally my biggest concern would be that the technician at the dealer might not have extensive experience with these motors. The more complete a factory assembly they can get to replace 'in toto' the better off you may be...

Keep us posted

A

PS Assume you are in a loaner...might not need it, but it seems to make them work a bit faster...
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2009, 04:25 AM
Penguin Penguin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySpaeder View Post
The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block. I don't have any more details about the damage, nor do I know how they'll fix it.

Sounds like a new engine to me.
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  #4  
Old 10-06-2009, 06:54 AM
Funf Dreisig Funf Dreisig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySpaeder View Post
...The technician finally used a small camera to peek inside where he found metal fragments in the oil and a hole in the engine block.....
Sorry to hear about your loss and hope it all gets fixed ASAP.

BTW in most engines, there are very few square inches of 'engine block' that you could punch a hole through without spilling coolant or oil or both. And about the only moving part with enough mass and velocity to punch a hole in the "block" would be a rod, rod bolt or rod cap. In all cases this is seriously bad news. Either this was a material failure, assembly error or the engine had been run way too low on oil.

I agree with the others and would demand a full engine replacement.

Funf Dreisig

Last edited by Funf Dreisig; 10-06-2009 at 08:00 AM.
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2009, 07:21 AM
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jaaX3 jaaX3 is offline
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I bet it was an armadillo...
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2009, 07:33 AM
d geek d geek is offline
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sorry for your bad luck. please do keep us posted on your progress and eventual root cause of this failure (or the expanation given by the dealer). I sure hope they do right by you!
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2009, 07:45 AM
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Route 66 Route 66 is offline
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Sorry for the engine failure. Did they give you a vehicle to use while yours is being fixed?
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  #8  
Old 10-06-2009, 07:55 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Wow what a way to end a trip! You were lucky in the sense that you were able to coast into a safe parking area and were not stuck on a major freeway in the fast lane during rush hour! The remedy for you has to be a totally new crate engine from the factory. I would be very surprised if BMWNA didn't want your old engine sent back for total factory teardown and evaluation of what went wrong. Let us know how this turns out for you. Good luck!
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  #9  
Old 10-06-2009, 04:39 PM
JerrySpaeder JerrySpaeder is offline
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Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.

Got an X5 xDrive30i as a loaner. No gadgets (nav, bluetooth, CA) but at least I have transportation. (Now... Where the hell did I put my bluetooth headset?!)

Pretty lucky the Big Bang happened close to home. It could have been so much worse. We were frequently in remote mountain areas without cell phone service and the closest dealerships were hundreds of miles away.

Hopefully, the transmission wasn't affected but we won't know until the new engine is in place. I assume something shears away to protect the transmission when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
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  #10  
Old 10-06-2009, 04:59 PM
d geek d geek is offline
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not to be morbid, but may we see photos of the carnage?
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  #11  
Old 10-06-2009, 05:01 PM
Craig B Craig B is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySpaeder View Post
Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.

Got an X5 xDrive30i as a loaner. No gadgets (nav, bluetooth, CA) but at least I have transportation. (Now... Where the hell did I put my bluetooth headset?!)

Pretty lucky the Big Bang happened close to home. It could have been so much worse. We were frequently in remote mountain areas without cell phone service and the closest dealerships were hundreds of miles away.

Hopefully, the transmission wasn't affected but we won't know until the new engine is in place. I assume something shears away to protect the transmission when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
Sorry to hear that. I've had mine since January and I've only had a check engine light. The part is on back order since August 4th. Engine temp control sensor. The parts availability isn't good. They re ordered the part last week as critical. I would be asking for a new car. Let us know once you get it back.

Craig
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  #12  
Old 10-06-2009, 05:51 PM
Funf Dreisig Funf Dreisig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerrySpaeder View Post
Looks like they'll be ordering a new engine. It'll take three to four weeks for it to arrive. Assume it's coming from Germany.
....
when the engine seizes and goes from 2500 rpm to an abrupt stop.
All the enginesare built in Germany. But I would have thought they could get one from the factory. Looks like a case where "just in time" parts delivery to the factory works great for BMW but not so great for BMW owners.

If the engine actually siezed (i.e. RPM dropped to zero instantly) what probably happened is that the crank jammed the end of a loose rod into the side of the block -- OUCH. This is not good for ANY of the drive train. As you say hopefully there is a Woodruf key (AKA half moon key) in the transmission shaft that sheared off allowing the tranny to settle down a bit more gently.

I agree with d geek. Please let us know what actually happened when you can.

Funf Dreisig
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  #13  
Old 10-06-2009, 06:29 PM
CHC CHC is offline
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sorry about the engine

Wow. That's a big surprise. Please keep us posted. I'm going to pick up my new X5d next week and sure would like to hear the final report on your failed engine.
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  #14  
Old 10-06-2009, 07:26 PM
Funf Dreisig Funf Dreisig is offline
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Here is my best guess at what happened to your engine....

Assuming the oil was not low, the most likely cause is a material failure of one of the rod bolts. The progressive knocking you heard is probably when the rod cap was working loose and stressing the other rod bolt to the point of failure. Once both rod bolts failed, the now loose rod end was probably hit by the crank shaft slamming/wedging it into the side of the engine block. This would 'seize' the engine dropping RPM to zero instantly.

It would be interesting to hear what actually happened but I won't be holding my breath for full disclosure from BMW about the failure of a 35d engine

Funf Dreisig
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  #15  
Old 10-06-2009, 08:37 PM
JerrySpaeder JerrySpaeder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Funf Dreisig View Post
...The progressive knocking you heard is probably when the rod cap was working loose and stressing the other rod bolt to the point of failure. Once both rod bolts failed, the now loose rod end was probably hit by the crank shaft slamming/wedging it into the side of the engine block. This would 'seize' the engine dropping RPM to zero instantly.
A quick deceleration of all that spinning machinery might explain the strong jolt we felt, one powerful enough to make me think I had run over something. I really wanted to see the video feed from that little camera. There's no visible damage outside. No dripping fluid. Just an idiot light on the dash and no starter response.

The whole situation is fascinating. Annoying and inconvenient, but fascinating.
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  #16  
Old 10-07-2009, 04:06 AM
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Route 66 Route 66 is offline
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BMW is great at mechanical systyms and I am sure that they are curious to see what happened.
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  #17  
Old 10-07-2009, 07:30 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Three to four weeks? Shouldn't take that long to air freight a new crate engine from Germany! Perhaps you should be asking for a new car to replace the damaged one. It seems as if you have a case for diminished value here what with having to replace the engine. Personally I would ask for a new X5d and get on the road a lot sooner than a month. Even after the new engine is installed it might take a few return visits to get the glitches out of the systems. Best case, seamless. Worst case, lots of niggling little things that need fixing. Just my opinion.
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  #18  
Old 10-07-2009, 10:35 AM
Craig B Craig B is offline
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Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
Three to four weeks? Shouldn't take that long to air freight a new crate engine from Germany! Perhaps you should be asking for a new car to replace the damaged one. It seems as if you have a case for diminished value here what with having to replace the engine. Personally I would ask for a new X5d and get on the road a lot sooner than a month. Even after the new engine is installed it might take a few return visits to get the glitches out of the systems. Best case, seamless. Worst case, lots of niggling little things that need fixing. Just my opinion.
+1 Check my earlier post...

Craig
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  #19  
Old 10-07-2009, 06:53 PM
jworwa jworwa is offline
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X5d

Thank you for keeping us updated as they work thru the issues with your X5d. I just ordered the '10 X5 35d and have never had a diesel before, so this makes me a little nervous. The good thing is, BMW has always taken good care of me, so...we'll see.
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  #20  
Old 10-07-2009, 07:05 PM
kestrel kestrel is offline
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That is quite an upsetting thing to happen, and I'm sure we would all be interested in learning what caused the failure.

I could be incorrect, but hasn't the M57TU2D30 engine been in use for several years now, albeit not in the US? If so, how reliable have they been?

It seems to me that the only "new" features on the 35d vs. the earlier d models are the emissions control systems, as the engine has been in use for several years and the E70 is now in its 4th model year.
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  #21  
Old 10-08-2009, 02:49 AM
Craig B Craig B is offline
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Originally Posted by kestrel View Post
That is quite an upsetting thing to happen, and I'm sure we would all be interested in learning what caused the failure.

I could be incorrect, but hasn't the M57TU2D30 engine been in use for several years now, albeit not in the US? If so, how reliable have they been?

It seems to me that the only "new" features on the 35d vs. the earlier d models are the emissions control systems, as the engine has been in use for several years and the E70 is now in its 4th model year.

The 3.5 SD was in use in Europe for the 2008 model year. The 3.0d has been in use for a long time ROW rest of the world. Correct, the U.S. version is the same, but we don't have as much horsepower and we also have the extra emissions system. Mine has been fine since taking delivery back in early January. My only problem has been a check engine light for a temp control sensor that's been on back for since August 4th. The check engine light has been re set 3 times. BMW parts availabllity is not good in my opinion. I'm still waiting on the part and it's been over two months. The 3.5 sd is the twin turbo engine. The 3.0d is the single turbo engine.

Craig
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  #22  
Old 10-08-2009, 06:03 AM
d geek d geek is offline
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my understanding is that the engine introduced over here is NOT the same and had several tweaks done to it mainly for quieter operation. This included a different crank and rods IIRC.
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  #23  
Old 10-08-2009, 07:42 AM
Penguin Penguin is offline
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Originally Posted by d geek View Post
my understanding is that the engine introduced over here is NOT the same and had several tweaks done to it mainly for quieter operation. This included a different crank and rods IIRC.
Real OEM shows the same part number for the rods in European and US engines. (11247798368)

Real OEM shows the same part number for the crankshaft/bearing assembly in European and US engines as well. (112177942263)

Last edited by Penguin; 10-08-2009 at 07:45 AM.
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  #24  
Old 10-08-2009, 09:14 AM
ard ard is offline
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Are people SERIOUSLY thinking that this could, or should, turn into a discussion on "reliability'???

You can be sure that that motor will be disassembled by a quality engineer, that the parts will be back tracked to the original lot numbers, that the damage will be microscopically evaluated- SEMs, Xray imaging, other techniques- that a root cause analysis will be completed. FFailure data from other reports and analyses will be checked...A Corrective Action may be implemented. It may be an extra QC check, it may be an extra cleaning step of the prep for the rod bolts to ensure no contaminants remain that might interfere with torquing, it could be a minor bearing shell revision...there are 100s of possible outcomes. Indeed, there could be multiple 'possible' causes, none proven and multiple actions- or no action but a decision to simply 'monitor failure data for trends'

And we will most likely never know a thing.

To speculate on what this means to the rest of the population of these motors is.... fruitless.

IMHO

A

PS I would dearly like to see the final failure analysis- I suspect it would be quite a piece of engineering effort. Definitely not ending in "the rod broke" or "looks like a bad bearing"....
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  #25  
Old 10-08-2009, 09:26 AM
Funf Dreisig Funf Dreisig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penguin View Post
Real OEM shows the same part number for the rods in European and US engines. (11247798368)

Real OEM shows the same part number for the crankshaft/bearing assembly in European and US engines as well. (112177942263)
But interestingly the non-US X5 diesels had a change to their connecting rod BOLT part numbers at some point.

02 Connecting rod bolt L=47MM 12 11241744319 ENDED
02 Connecting rod bolt M9X47MM 12 11247589671 $5.83

Funf Dreisg

PS to ARD: But is is so much more fun, not to mentions easier, to diagnose the cause of an engine failure based anecdotal 'evidence' without having to get your hands dirty actually inspecting the oily parts
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