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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 11-26-2012, 06:37 AM
GoHawks63 GoHawks63 is offline
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Location: SE Michigan
 
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Looking for your thoughts: Thule Roof carrier or cargo basket on a tow hitch

We just purchased our 2011 CPO X5 last September. Prior to that we had a 2004 Toyota Landcruiser with a Class III trailer hitch. Aside from towing our boat which I have since sold, I had purchased one of those cargo baskets that slide into the trailor hitch.

My question is this. Since I have downsized from a cargo perspective, I am going to need the space for the occasional road trip. The dealer quoted me $900 to install a trailer hitch. I haven't really aggressively shopped a Thule roof box, but from the little bit I've looked, it looks to be about a $600-$700 spend.

Anyone have any thoughts? on one versus the other?

Here are a couple more data points.

- As I said before, I no longer have my boat so I don't anticipate any real towing needs (you know what they say, happiest days of a boat owners life are the day he buys it and the day he sells it)
- I still have an "in-hitch" bike carrier, but I bought that for a specific vacation trip and haven't used it again in three years
- I still have the basket for the hitch, along with a soft box/bag that sits in the basket to protect the cargo from bad weather.
- We drive three or four times a year from the Detroit Metro area to Chicago to visit family. We occasionally may have to bring our dogs. In our Landcruiser we could fit the cargo and the dogs, in the X5, not so much.

So basically I'm looking at $900 to use the basket/bike carrier I already have
or
Getting the roof box for around $600-$700


Thanks in advance.
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2012 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe - Black Diamond Tricoat/Ebony interior w/Recaro seats and saffron inserts.

Last edited by GoHawks63; 11-26-2012 at 06:47 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2012, 06:56 AM
WillInDenver's Avatar
WillInDenver WillInDenver is online now
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Location: Denver
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Mein Auto: 2013 535i XDrive M-Sport
You've got to check Craigslist for lightly used rooftop carriers at a fraction of the new price. People are always moving or buying new cars and unloading those.

That said - we have a big Yakima roof box. It's indispensable for our camping trips but a real PITA to get onto the car. And it takes up a lot of garage space. But, again, indispensable.

I figure I'm going to have bikes and cargo, and one or the other has to go on top of the car. The bikes are more accessible on the hitch rack, so I do that and use the roof box for the other stuff.
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  #3  
Old 11-26-2012, 08:59 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Spend the money to get the hitch. You will be able to use it for your bike carrier as well as the cargo carrier -- a twofer! The other thing is, it will be vastly easier to use the cargo carrier than climbing up to use the box. It will also not impact your gas mileage as much as the rooftop carrier will. All too often folks who have the rooftop pod will just leave them on (assuming they can get them in their garage) and drive around with an empty pod, costing mileage. You will be happier with the rear mounted cargo box!
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  #4  
Old 11-26-2012, 11:50 AM
ard ard is offline
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If you will not be towing, just install the mechanical portion of the hitch and NOT the electrical harness....

You can either get aftermarket or BMW hardware (I recommend BMW) Seem to recall it is $500.

But on the install, you can do it and skip the harness/coding. If you ever need to tow a trailer, boat, you can have it done later. The mechanical install is easy and quick, for a competent mechanic...the ONLY thing you need the dealer for is the coding. By delaying the harness/electrical you allow more options on the install. For me this is surely a DIY as it is all mechanical assembly, nothing 'wet' nothing critical.

If you are going to carry bikes, I'd do the hitch. If you will never carry bikes, I'd do the roof.
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  #5  
Old 11-26-2012, 04:40 PM
rodnjen rodnjen is offline
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Location: SoCal
 
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Mein Auto: 2012 X5 35d
If you are going the pod route you will also have to buy the crossbar system, another $200-$300.

I have both actually on my x5. The only trip I took with it to date was 3000 roundtrip and the Thule crossbar system and the Atlantis 1600 worked flawlessly. I added the hitch recently to tow my boat short distances and eventually to by a platform bike carrier. I know the pod affected the mileage, just not sure how much.

I would do what ARD said and just have someone isntall a basic hitch. I would verify ahead of time whether or not your dealer will do the programming if someone else does the install.

My goal is to be able to carry a family of four and our bikes for a week-long trip, with some smart packing of course.
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  #6  
Old 11-26-2012, 10:55 PM
BryanCO BryanCO is offline
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I certainly like the oem hitch for both trailers and our hitch mounted bike rack.

900 is a fair price for the dealer installed oem hitch and for that price, I would have the install the electrical and code it -- for me, one I had a hitch (but no trailer) p, I seemed to find a reason to pull a trailer every few months....

I used the BMW hitch install guide to get the dealer to commit to 2.5 hrs for the full labor (mechanical and electrical).
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  #7  
Old 11-27-2012, 10:01 AM
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WillInDenver WillInDenver is online now
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I did the "no electrical, hitch body only" thing with my E53. It was about $250 IIRC, but long ago. I was never faced with the temptation to tow anything; it worked fine for the bike mount.

In other news, bikes do look way cooler on top of a car than behind one on a hitch mount. Just sayin'.
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  #8  
Old 11-27-2012, 10:24 AM
GoHawks63 GoHawks63 is offline
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Thanks for all of the feedback everyone!
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  #9  
Old 11-27-2012, 12:17 PM
TRIPLE_O TRIPLE_O is offline
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You don't even need the dealer to program it, you can get the software to do it yourself or find someone to do it for you.
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