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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 02-04-2011, 08:29 PM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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X5 35d exhaust smell in cabin

I have almost 17,000 miles on my 2011 X5 35d. So far, it's been a joy to drive. Great for towing, excellent in deep snow on Boston roads, and a great car to take to dinner.

A few months ago, maybe October, when we had the first cold mornings of the fall, I noticed a strong city bus like diesel smell, but only when backing out of the driveway - it would then go away. Recently, however, it has become really bad, even while driving. It tends to be worse around town, in traffic. Tonight, when I got it from the valet after dinner, I noticed he had the drivers side window was halfway down (it is 15 degrees and falling tonight...) and I realized I wasn't the only one who thought the odor was strong.

When I got home, I opened the hood and I could smell a strong odor of diesel exhaust from the area by the radiator of the car, a place where I should not be smelling exhaust.

Any ideas? Maybe a bad manifold or possibly a turbo plumbing issue? It's winter, we have had record snowfall, and I really don't want to be without my beloved X5. I also don't want to drive it with a dangerous exhaust leak...
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2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2011, 10:49 PM
Lunablue Lunablue is offline
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After 17,000 miles you're probably not imagining it. Keep us posted on the service department's diagnosis.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2011, 06:23 AM
BR328 BR328 is offline
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I'd guess the diesel particulate filter. When it burns off the soot, it smells as you describe.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2011, 06:54 AM
Interested Interested is offline
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Hey Weston. Glad you are enjoying the vehicle (except for the odor). We have 15K+ on ours ('11 35d) and do not have the same issue. It is my wife's car, so I only drive it once in a while. She is super-sensitive to smells, and would not hesitate in bringing this to my attention.

Sorry I can't offer any ideas, but just wanted to chime in with a "not happening here", reply. I know you hate to give up the car, but if it seems like it is not an isolated incident, I would bring it in. Good luck!
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2011, 09:10 AM
xian66369 xian66369 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weston Bimmer View Post
.
..
A few months ago, maybe October, when we had the first cold mornings of the fall, I noticed a strong city bus like diesel smell, but only when backing out of the driveway - it would then go away. Recently, however, it has become really bad, even while driving. It tends to be worse around town, in traffic. Tonight, when I got it from the valet after dinner, I noticed he had the drivers side window was halfway down (it is 15 degrees and falling tonight...) and I realized I wasn't the only one who thought the odor was strong.

...
It might be AUC malfunction due to really cold weather; it might be the sensor or mechanical parts that control open and close door for supplying of outside air. I had similar situation a few days ago and had to roll down windows to avoid odor in cabin. After turning AUC on and off multiple times, problem solved. In my case, it was not problem with the sensor; just some mechanical parts got stuck.
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  #6  
Old 02-09-2011, 05:57 AM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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I think I'll bring it in today or tomorrow and have it looked over. It's a very strong smell, stronger even that the exhaust from the exhaust outlets at the rear...
I'll let you know guys know what they say.
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #7  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:18 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BR328 View Post
I'd guess the diesel particulate filter. When it burns off the soot, it smells as you describe.
This is the answer. The OP's X5 is performing exactly as it was designed to do. Yes, the diesels "all do that" because they are supposed to.
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:20 PM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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I don't think so - the smell is really strong, enough to give me a headache. I also have a 2011 335d, same engine, and it doesn't make that smell. The dealer told me on the phone that the smell is not normal, and they are sending someone out to pick up the car and service it (pretty great service department people!).
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #9  
Old 02-09-2011, 03:26 PM
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quackbury quackbury is offline
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Okay, but realize that the particulate filter burns off at irregular intervals, and stinks like shyte when it does so. Happens on my 2011 X5D about once a month - the rest of the time there is zero odor that would lead you to believe it's a diesel. The particulate burn-off is not a big issue on the highway, but it's pretty unpleasant when it happens in the parking garage in the Financial District.

You may indeed have something else wrong. But my SA's pretty experienced with BMW diesels, and has grown used to the panicked phone calls the first time an owner experiences it.

And yes, the valet service is great - especially when you live on the Cape and need to bring the car to BMW Peabody for service. It's great having the valet spend his time sitting on the Expressway, rather than spending my own time doing it.
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Current BMW's:
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2014 328i Sport Wagon, Glacier / Black, ZSL, ZD2, ZD3, ZDH, ZLP, ZPP, ZTP, and H-K

Prior BMW's
2011 535ix MSport
2011 X5 35D
2008 ///M3 Vert
2008 X5 3.0
2007 X5 3.0
2006 X5 3.0
2006 550iA SP
2003 540iA M-Technic
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  #10  
Old 02-12-2011, 01:26 PM
Joegoesfishing Joegoesfishing is offline
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I had the same smell, for 2 years. It finally got to the point where smoke was being emitted from under the hood for a short time after startup. There was soot visible on the front of the engine. Turn out that an EGR passage had a worn out o ring or something similar. Since the repair, no smell in the car when starting up. This only happened in the cold.
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  #11  
Old 02-13-2011, 07:24 AM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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Joe, I have actually seen a small amount of smoke coming from the front of the car recently, and like yours, this didn't happen until it got cold out - I think I am experiencing a problem similar to yours. I didn't bring it in yet, the nice folks at Wagner BMW offered to pick it up when I leave town in about a week and work on it while I am away, so I won't be without it. I think I'll rent a BMW in Los Angeles so I won't miss my X5 as much...

(I am in Vermont this weekend, and the fumes were so strong in a parking lot after lunch that it made my eyes water - yuck!)
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #12  
Old 02-13-2011, 09:22 AM
Joegoesfishing Joegoesfishing is offline
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That's exactly what happened with mine. I couldn't be diagnosed until it got bad enough to leave soot on the front of the engine, which took 2 years.

If you want a shortcut to the diagnosis, have your dealer get a hold of New Country BMW Hartford, CT & ask for the repair done on my X5. It's filed under Associated Construction Co. - Joe Jankowski. It just got repaired around the first of the year. May save a lot of aggravation.

Good Luck
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  #13  
Old 02-13-2011, 09:52 AM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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Thank you, I will absolutely mention this to them, I appreciate the heads up!
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #14  
Old 02-27-2011, 02:42 PM
Interested Interested is offline
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Hey Weston, Did this ever get resolved? Not sure if you have had a chance to get it to the dealer, yet. Hope all is well.
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  #15  
Old 02-27-2011, 03:24 PM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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The dealer called the other day and said it was a defective 'exhaust cooler' and that it had to come from Germany. I didn't even know that the diesel engine had an exhaust cooler!

At any rate, I'm away for a week and don't need the car, so hopefully they get the part and fix it by the time I return. We'll see...
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #16  
Old 03-07-2011, 01:58 PM
Malibu Bimmer Malibu Bimmer is offline
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Parts arrived, they are replacing the exhaust cooler and I should have my car back soon. I requested some photos so you guys could see what they were talking about...
Trying to figure out how to attach them.
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The fleet:
2008 Mercedes S550 sedan, black/tan, AMG package. More room for my kids. My car.
2013 VW Passat SEL TDi, white/tan, loaded. Great MPG. Wife's car.
1984 BMW 633csi 'big coupe', silver/tan, fun third car.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa, black/tan, Borla exhaust, no cats. Awesome.
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2011, 04:40 PM
ard ard is online now
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2011, 08:31 PM
apw2607 apw2607 is offline
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Hmm .... Digging up a old post , but have this issue on my 2009 ... With 4,500 miles left on warranty. Shall me going into dealer shortly.
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2011, 09:51 PM
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SonomaDriver SonomaDriver is offline
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Have them start at the exhaust cooler
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  #20  
Old 12-08-2011, 08:26 AM
jashearer jashearer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonomaDriver View Post
Have them start at the exhaust cooler
It should technically be an EGR cooler. In order to meet emmissions exhaust gas is recirculated back into the combustion chamber, but its cooled before its put back.

EGR coolers are a PIA on lots of different engines, from industrial (tractors/construction equipment) to other Automotive (Powerstroke/Ford) so this doesn't surpise me too much. Should be a relatively easy fix, just be glad the failure isn't popping head gaskets like it does in the Ford trucks

Jay
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  #21  
Old 12-08-2011, 11:28 AM
CoastalBMW CoastalBMW is offline
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Hi all, I had the same issue about a month ago. Only happened on start up and only noticed it while backing out of the driveway. The EGR cooler had a crack in it and it was replaced. Got in the X5 this morning and the same thing happened. After driving for about 25km I noticed a flapping noise while accelerating and it was a struggle to keep the vehicle at speed while going up hill. I had just passed 80,000km when this happened the first time but BMW picked up the tab. Hope this is not the start of one problem after another!
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  #22  
Old 12-08-2011, 07:30 PM
apw2607 apw2607 is offline
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Thanks guys ... Car is going in on Monday so I will report back
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  #23  
Old 12-09-2011, 10:58 PM
Navitor Navitor is offline
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BMW X5 Exhaust leak corrected with new EGR and software update

Hello All. I have been experiencing this problem of exhaust gas being emitted under the hood and took it in for service at BMW of The Woodlands which is North of Houston. They told me the EGR was faulty and replaced it however problem wasn't resolved so I brought it back today. I suspected, from the way the soot was deposited on the front of the engine that there was a crack in a weld in the exhaust gas cooler. Monday I hope to find out where the leak is occurring. The dealership gave me a nice new 528 loaner and that car is a pleasure to drive so I can live with that for the weekend. I really like my X5 so hopefully this problem can be resolved quickly. I will report back when the system is properly repaired.

*** UPDATE *** 15 DEC 2011

I picked-up my X5 35d yesterday at The Woodlands, TX BMW dealership. After looking at it a second time, they replaced the EGR again with the new "updated" EGR and also did a software update which makes adjustments to the control of the EGR etc. Apparently the new EGR creates a higher pressure (perhaps further limiting exhaust cause recirculation?) which the software update addresses. I have driven the vehicle at a, shall we say, "high sustained power output" and this may have contributed to the original EGR failure but that is just speculation. (Long roads through the middle of nowhere in the hills of West Texas provide some great opportunities for pushing any nice road car.) This could be my imagination and also the result of driving a loaner 528i for a few days (Thanks BMW of The Woodlands) but the X5 felt like it had more power and better throttle response after this EGR repair. I'll admit the 528i isn't a bad car but I didn't really like the small engine and I don't like the Key Fob concept where you just have to have the key on you to start the engine and not put it in the ignition.

If anyone has any particular knowledge about how the EGR works and how it affects performance I would really like more info.

Last edited by Navitor; 12-15-2011 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Update - Issue resolved
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  #24  
Old 12-14-2011, 04:41 PM
apw2607 apw2607 is offline
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Update from me. Car was at the dealers for the last couple of days, to given them a opportunity to smell exhaust in the cabin ....

They found "EGR cooler at top bend off cooler cracked and leaked exhaust gas, needs replacement EGR cooler". They had the part and installed. All fixed. Customer to monitor. So far so good, but still not had a chance for the car to sit to be 100% sure.

Also, another recall campaign on my 2009 diesel ... "replace temperature sensor" ..

I just wonder with several EGR coolers failing, BMW may end up re-designing this part. Certainly from my point of view, this is a safety issue. Smelling exhaust in the cabin for extensive periods made me feel sick and gave me a headache !
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  #25  
Old 12-23-2011, 09:18 PM
apw2607 apw2607 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Navitor View Post
Hello All. I have been experiencing this problem of exhaust gas being emitted under the hood and took it in for service at BMW of The Woodlands which is North of Houston. They told me the EGR was faulty and replaced it however problem wasn't resolved so I brought it back today. I suspected, from the way the soot was deposited on the front of the engine that there was a crack in a weld in the exhaust gas cooler. Monday I hope to find out where the leak is occurring. The dealership gave me a nice new 528 loaner and that car is a pleasure to drive so I can live with that for the weekend. I really like my X5 so hopefully this problem can be resolved quickly. I will report back when the system is properly repaired.

*** UPDATE *** 15 DEC 2011

I picked-up my X5 35d yesterday at The Woodlands, TX BMW dealership. After looking at it a second time, they replaced the EGR again with the new "updated" EGR and also did a software update which makes adjustments to the control of the EGR etc. Apparently the new EGR creates a higher pressure (perhaps further limiting exhaust cause recirculation?) which the software update addresses. I have driven the vehicle at a, shall we say, "high sustained power output" and this may have contributed to the original EGR failure but that is just speculation. (Long roads through the middle of nowhere in the hills of West Texas provide some great opportunities for pushing any nice road car.) This could be my imagination and also the result of driving a loaner 528i for a few days (Thanks BMW of The Woodlands) but the X5 felt like it had more power and better throttle response after this EGR repair. I'll admit the 528i isn't a bad car but I didn't really like the small engine and I don't like the Key Fob concept where you just have to have the key on you to start the engine and not put it in the ignition.

If anyone has any particular knowledge about how the EGR works and how it affects performance I would really like more info.
Can you ask then for the part # for this new updated EGR and / or SI B that addresses issue and recommends software update.
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