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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 04-23-2013, 10:49 AM
AAframe AAframe is offline
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

Hey Guys

I'm considering a mid 2000's x5 as a daily driver for my wife. It would replace an 05 Envoy with 106K on the clock. It has been a great car with no major issues. Just regular maintenance which I do myself.

We also have a 94 530it that my dad left us when he passed a couple years ago. It's used as my daily driver. I've admired BMW's, but probably wouldn't have owned one if not for the the inheritance. The touring has really got my attention! I've done quite a bit of maintenance work on it in the past year, and it runs and performs great especially for a 20 yr old vehicle, and exciting to drive! Which makes maintaining it a pleasure. I think it's possible to get another 100k out of the wagon.

So here's the question...What's been your experience maintaining your own e53? And, am I in my right mind thinking I can maintain an x5 just because I've had success with my e34, and Envoy? Ok, 2 questions. Oh yeah, one more. What to be aware for when considering an x5? The x5 appears to be quite a bit more complex that the e34, and as my local BMW indy puts it, can be a bit of a grab bag to find a quality used one.

I know my way around vehicle mechanics fairly well. Confident with engines and components, brakes, suspension, reasonably confident with transmissions, and interiors. My weak spots are body work and electronics, but can do ok with good guidance. However, wouldn't consider myself a mechanic.

I've done the following on the wagon...brakes, radiator, water pump and hoses, all power steering hoses, valve cover gaskets, plugs, intake manifold gaskets, motor mounts, front strut inserts, timing chain tensioner, and a few other niggles. Other experience includes head gasket replacement, r&r transmissions, wheel bearings, and full rebuild and machining on 56 chevy years ago.

Your input is appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 04-23-2013, 02:17 PM
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Teemo Panda Teemo Panda is offline
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Mein Auto: E53, E46-M3, E70, F25-X3
Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

I owned a 2003 X5 it has been a good companion but, back then I don't know any auto stuffs that I had zero knowledge on, the

maintenance was a bit costly when it was out of warranty i had to shell out $600-$1.2k every time i visit the dealer, what's pissed me

off is that the x5 had a lot of electrical issues which it has been known for. Last thing is that, it drinks gas like water :P

Since you know your way around cars, I'm pretty sure that you just only have to worry about the parts that's it


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  #3  
Old 04-23-2013, 04:49 PM
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You're good. A box of tools (metric) and you'll be alright. Special tools is what differentiate, but seeing the E39 is the same as the E53, so long as you choose the same engine the tools carry over.
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2013, 04:30 AM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

I wouldn't service an x5 at home. You need the right tools, and a specialised BMW computer system for diagnostics, including a super clean environment (garage with hydraulic lift) to service the car and its sensitive components, many of which need to be dust free and cleaned with specialised fluids when opened. I don't pay $190AU per hr for a master BMW authorised mechanic for no reason. Proper service means your BMW will last many years with only minimal maintenance, which in the end, will cost you much less than if you tried DIY service, which for many, end in tears and a great loss in resale?


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  #5  
Old 04-24-2013, 08:45 AM
X5 E53 Driver X5 E53 Driver is offline
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

I own too many kind of BMW and now I have three and two of them are X5 E53 3.0i & 4.8is I found that BMW E53 are the easiest BMW I have ever seen its easy to own and you can any kind of maintenance or Mechanical job by your self if you have a good Tools +Patient , and its perfect with the Gas comparing with other cars in it class and all Wheel Drive and has same wight , it's very safe SAV Car I have ever seen.


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  #6  
Old 04-25-2013, 07:38 AM
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They are no different than other vehicles in regard to performing maintenance. You would be fine!
The 3.0i wont get much better in mpg than those 4.4i. Shop for one with sport pkg and maintenance history. Have a PPI done and base your negotiation on it. GL.
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  #7  
Old 04-25-2013, 09:18 AM
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Like you I had a e34 wagon aka Touring and now I have an e53. I kept with the 3.0I engine because I am more familiar with it then the V8. I do most of the work on my X but I did find a decent indy if I don't want to or can't work on the X. You should be fine.
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  #8  
Old 04-25-2013, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
I wouldn't service an x5 at home. You need the right tools, and a specialised BMW computer system for diagnostics, including a super clean environment (garage with hydraulic lift) to service the car and its sensitive components, many of which need to be dust free and cleaned with specialised fluids when opened. I don't pay $190AU per hr for a master BMW authorised mechanic for no reason. Proper service means your BMW will last many years with only minimal maintenance, which in the end, will cost you much less than if you tried DIY service, which for many, end in tears and a great loss in resale?


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Respectfully disagree.

And I've been over just about every inch of my E53. Can you tell me which components need to be cleaned with specialized fluids?
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2013, 08:36 PM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

The components requiring professional 'flush' are all those that contains oils, hydraulic fluids and other fluids. My mechanic said that unless you're a qualified BMW service engineer, you run the risk of servicing your car improperly. It's your choice. It's a risk you take in servicing your own car. A mechanics background however, if you have one, would of course help, but BMW cars, like Mercedes, are designed differently and include subtle interrelationships between separate parts that would not be known to people who have not been educated about them.


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  #10  
Old 04-29-2013, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
The components requiring professional 'flush' are all those that contains oils, hydraulic fluids and other fluids. My mechanic said that unless you're a qualified BMW service engineer, you run the risk of servicing your car improperly. It's your choice. It's a risk you take in servicing your own car. A mechanics background however, if you have one, would of course help, but BMW cars, like Mercedes, are designed differently and include subtle interrelationships between separate parts that would not be known to people who have not been educated about them.
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You need to decide you need an engineer or technician for servicing your BMW.
Your mechanic said that for a reason- if you and other people will service their cars by themselves, how he will pay his mortgage in 5 years, charging you fortune for simple operations and possible just ripping you off? You having similar risk when you coming to workshop, as you never know qualification of the person doing job for you, it can be 2-nd year apprentice.
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  #11  
Old 04-29-2013, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
The components requiring professional 'flush' are all those that contains oils, hydraulic fluids and other fluids. My mechanic said that unless you're a qualified BMW service engineer, you run the risk of servicing your car improperly. It's your choice. It's a risk you take in servicing your own car. A mechanics background however, if you have one, would of course help, but BMW cars, like Mercedes, are designed differently and include subtle interrelationships between separate parts that would not be known to people who have not been educated about them.


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living in perth myself here...I have some friends that are mechanics and their friends are the apprentices at BMW. For all the flushing stuff, it is done by the apprentices. The only time they use the proper tech is to do programing or specialised work such as removing suspension parts and the sort. General car servicing work has and will always be done by apprentices. Took my E65 to West Coast BMW couple of months ago. Charged me 3 hrs labour and didnt find the fault or fix it. I ended up hooking my laptop up to it and doing it myself. They even recommended I go to the smaller shops as they had better expertise. Did not make sense to me.
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  #12  
Old 04-30-2013, 01:04 AM
flyace20 flyace20 is offline
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
I wouldn't service an x5 at home. You need the right tools, and a specialised BMW computer system for diagnostics, including a super clean environment (garage with hydraulic lift) to service the car and its sensitive components, many of which need to be dust free and cleaned with specialised fluids when opened. I don't pay $190AU per hr for a master BMW authorised mechanic for no reason. Proper service means your BMW will last many years with only minimal maintenance, which in the end, will cost you much less than if you tried DIY service, which for many, end in tears and a great loss in resale?


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Not so quick Prometheus, I have an X5 that had only been serviced at BMW by the previous owner and I can't tell you how many clips I've found broken, how many screws missing, inside the doors noise shield just ripped to pieces and left like that. They can be butchers some of those mechanics. Of course if you can't see it then you assume its been done right....right?
Garage with hydraulic lift is a bit of an overkill. I service myself and don't have half the fancy shmancy tools and equipment people say you need.
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  #13  
Old 04-30-2013, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
The components requiring professional 'flush' are all those that contains oils, hydraulic fluids and other fluids. My mechanic said that unless you're a qualified BMW service engineer, you run the risk of servicing your car improperly. It's your choice. It's a risk you take in servicing your own car. A mechanics background however, if you have one, would of course help, but BMW cars, like Mercedes, are designed differently and include subtle interrelationships between separate parts that would not be known to people who have not been educated about them.


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I hear you, but what flyace is saying brought back some memories. Yes some dealers can't be trusted at all. My dealer left that fuel line up front disconnected or partially connected, basically it's suppose to "snap" and it didn't. So what happened when the wife floored it on the way home, it cut out on her. Home was much closer than the stealer and the way she described the shutdown sounded like a simple fix to me.

I tackled it and found that hose not snapped back after smelling STRONG odor of fuel while cranking right in that area. Of course the dealer said no it wasn't us, but they did my valley pan two days prior. Then my poor buddy who bought his 2011 X5 BRAND NEW and the dealer screwed him so bad that he ended up giving it back. It all started when the serviced it with the wrong oil. Yes it's a diesel. My X5 is what prompted him to buy his, and now he hates BMW. He's on this here forums and did befriend me. Dealer really screwed him around.

I'm still trying to convince home to come back, but he's not wanting to just yet.
So while getting the service done professionally sounds sweet, it's not always as such.
Some of the techs have bad days and because its not their car, they don't care much.

Last edited by boramkiv; 04-30-2013 at 03:31 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-30-2013, 04:11 PM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

BMW authorised mechanics have to care because they wouldn't hold their job for too long if they didn't. After every service, BMW Australia contacts me by way of a survey about whether I was satisfied with my service, and if I am not happy, they call me on my mobile to ask why! This keeps the BMW dealership in constant check and I'm never ripped off. They tell me what needs to be done, why, and how much it will cost. The service I get is some of the best in the world according to BMW standards. I've known my service engineer for years, knows all about BMW cars and it is because of him that I have never had a single major problem with any of my cars, which I do drive a lot and drive hard!

Touching BMWs with unskilled hands will only lead to more problems. A superbly engineered car needs premium service. I suggest, don't touch the Rolls Royce, get out your wallets and pay for the best service.


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Old 04-30-2013, 05:18 PM
Peter7 Peter7 is offline
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
BMW authorised mechanics have to care because they wouldn't hold their job for too long if they didn't. After every service, BMW Australia contacts me by way of a survey about whether I was satisfied with my service, and if I am not happy, they call me on my mobile to ask why! This keeps the BMW dealership in constant check and I'm never ripped off. They tell me what needs to be done, why, and how much it will cost. The service I get is some of the best in the world according to BMW standards. I've known my service engineer for years, knows all about BMW cars and it is because of him that I have never had a single major problem with any of my cars, which I do drive a lot and drive hard!
Touching BMWs with unskilled hands will only lead to more problems. A superbly engineered car needs premium service. I suggest, don't touch the Rolls Royce, get out your wallets and pay for the best service.
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Why do you decide that options are only "unskilled hands" and dealer? If you personally cannot do anything with cars (including BMW) except driving, please, do not extend your "knowledge" to everyone.
You “never ripped off” because you just follow what your mechanic (technician-engineer) told you. And as these blokes must support sales at dealership, they tell you right things for sure.
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  #16  
Old 05-01-2013, 05:38 AM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

I think a lot of people on this forum, including yourself, would be far better off not going near your BMW. Leave it to the authorised BMW mechanics, who will preserve your car and ensure you get a good resale value. I wouldn't buy a BMW from somebody who has done home handy work. These cars are far too sophisticated even for many trained mechanics, and by the way, I was a Mercedes mechanic 10 years before I became a fully qualified electrical engineer.


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  #17  
Old 05-01-2013, 05:54 AM
Tanny Tanny is offline
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I think a lot of people on this forum, including yourself, would be far better off not going near your BMW. Leave it to the authorised BMW mechanics, who will preserve your car and ensure you get a good resale value. I wouldn't buy a BMW from somebody who has done home handy work. These cars are far too sophisticated even for many trained mechanics, and by the way, I was a Mercedes mechanic 10 years before I became a fully qualified electrical engineer.


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The problem with someone doing handy work in their home is you would never know unless they told you. BMW mechanics are not gods, they are just educated mechanics that specialize in a certain type of car. As I said when I brought West Coast BMW my e65 7 series, they charged me 2 hours of labour, told me they were unable to program my car and said they fixed the grounding issue I had. On my way home, the grounding issue was still there. I called back the next day and all they told me was to monitor it.

Regarding the coding, they said they were unable to program my car because it had different modules from other cars in there...does that mean that if I replace any modules in a car (even though I replaced like for like due to the module being faulty) that the dealership programming would become useless. They told me to go find an independent mechanic that could program the car for me (all I wanted to do was set autolock on my key).

As for the general mechanic work, I know for a fact the dealerships use apprentices for the oil changes and general work. Only when it is specialized, the mechanic will use a specialist. I personally think $192/hr was very steep for what they did for me and my experience was not great to say the least. Since I got the E53, I have changed the spark plugs myself, the navigation lcd panel myself and repaired the side mirror where the gears were worn causing the window to not hold. Sure BMW could have changed my plugs for $192 but after watching the video, it was 4 screws and unplug the coil packs. Something that I do not think the average person is incapable of, and hardly needing a specialist for.

The LCD screen BMW would not touch and asked me to buy a new unit for. Again I searched youtube and repaired the screen with a new one I bought saving myself thousands in the process. I would not take on services myself, but when I can see myself saving money on little things that I can repair myself I am prepared to give it a go. Each to their own I guess.
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  #18  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:18 AM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

i have to disagree
every car is the same, changing spark plugs on cars with ignition coils its the same procedure different parts and tools. same with oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, ps fluid and wheel disc brakes.

the more vehicle specific flaws ie n62b44 weep hole coolant pipe leak problem, while is a bmw design flaw that is specific to bmw's v8 n62... is well publicly documented and easily manageable by any competent mechanic that has done his homework on the procedure, whether the aftermarket solutions or a stock replacement.

the way i see it is we are all here to help one another with solutions to problems and advice on procedures of regular or even vehicle specific maintenance. most of us (as i do) own a copy of TIS, INPA, progman, DIS, winkfp, ncsexpert and dashsoft, and follow the outlined procedures in any work like i did on my 745, or will do on my x5. except when they suggest something that is excessive; like removing the radiator to replace the water cooled alternator of an n62, when there is more than enough room to back it out without damaging the radiator fins.

to say that there is not any way a mechanically inclined person can work on a bmw if not certified is way too black and white, certain repairs are far more difficult and there are many comfort levels with some people where as; say if i had leaking valve stem seals on a v8, i would rather pay bmwoem1 (who is a certified tech and works at a dealer) the 2500 dollars and save myself the time and aggravation; but thats not to say that i cannot do it, forum members have done that job plenty of times. but i can do spark plugs brakes oil air filters and other basic maintenance things with my eyes closed. ive heard of people paying a dealer to shotgun parts at their cars when things are a bit uncertain for them. 800$ for a cps replacement, or 160$ to replace an oil pressure switch that can literally be removed and replaced in under 10 mins and is a 6$ part.. replacing entire transmissions when its as simple as a mechatronics gasket or even the mechatronic itself and it goes on and on.

but to each his own and i will continue to save all the money i don't spend at the dealers shop, or even an indy.



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  #19  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:26 AM
Tanny Tanny is offline
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 745iguy View Post
i have to disagree
every car is the same, changing spark plugs on cars with ignition coils its the same procedure different parts and tools. same with oil, brake fluid, antifreeze, ps fluid and wheel disc brakes.

the more vehicle specific flaws ie n62b44 weep hole coolant pipe leak problem, while is a bmw design flaw that is specific to bmw's v8 n62... is well publicly documented and easily manageable by any competent mechanic that has done his homework on the procedure, whether the aftermarket solutions or a stock replacement.

the way i see it is we are all here to help one another with solutions to problems and advice on procedures of regular or even vehicle specific maintenance. most of us (as i do) own a copy of TIS, INPA, progman, DIS, winkfp, ncsexpert and dashsoft, and follow the outlined procedures in any work like i did on my 745, or will do on my x5. except when they suggest something that is excessive; like removing the radiator to replace the water cooled alternator of an n62, when there is more than enough room to back it out without damaging the radiator fins.

to say that there is not any way a mechanically inclined person can work on a bmw if not certified is way too black and white, certain repairs are far more difficult and there are many comfort levels with some people where as; say if i had leaking valve stem seals on a v8, i would rather pay bmwoem1 (who is a certified tech and works at a dealer) the 2500 dollars and save myself the time and aggravation; but thats not to say that i cannot do it, forum members have done that job plenty of times. but i can do spark plugs brakes oil air filters and other basic maintenance things with my eyes closed. ive heard of people paying a dealer to shotgun parts at their cars when things are a bit uncertain for them. 800$ for a cps replacement, or 160$ to replace an oil pressure switch that can literally be removed and replaced in under 10 mins and is a 6$ part.. replacing entire transmissions when its as simple as a mechatronics gasket or even the mechatronic itself and it goes on and on.

but to each his own and i will continue to save all the money i don't spend at the dealers shop, or even an indy.



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Old 05-01-2013, 06:56 AM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

i just noticed you had posted the same thoughts before me


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  #21  
Old 05-01-2013, 07:25 AM
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Do you maintain your x5 e53 yourself?...Your experience appreciated!

Look, there is no law against self-servicing your own BMW. You do aj at your own risk, but I wouldn't go near it until it has reached about 6-7 fears old, because you don't want to go fiddling while it is still under warranty cover.

But my cautionary note cannot be overstated- do so but at your own risk and enjoy the experience.


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Old 05-01-2013, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
Look, there is no law against self-servicing your own BMW. You do aj at your own risk, but I wouldn't go near it until it has reached about 6-7 fears old, because you don't want to go fiddling while it is still under warranty cover.

But my cautionary note cannot be overstated- do so but at your own risk and enjoy the experience.


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Here's a question, do they actually stamp the maintenance brochures with the inspection I or II stamp at the dealer along with a signature from the technician in Australia?
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  #23  
Old 05-01-2013, 02:06 PM
Peter7 Peter7 is offline
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Originally Posted by Prometheus View Post
I think a lot of people on this forum, including yourself, would be far better off not going near your BMW. Leave it to the authorised BMW mechanics, who will preserve your car and ensure you get a good resale value. I wouldn't buy a BMW from somebody who has done home handy work. These cars are far too sophisticated even for many trained mechanics, and by the way, I was a Mercedes mechanic 10 years before I became a fully qualified electrical engineer.


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You just confirmed that I was right that mechanics at BMW participating in sales activity (getting bonuses).
How do you know who serviced or repaired the car you willing to buy, if dealers not always stamping the logbooks, especially for company cars? Have a look at asking prices for example at carsales.com.au to check resale value for these cars, please keep in mind we are discussing X5 1999-2006, not F10 or F30.
With parts prices at BMW dealers here in Australia (two-three times higher than US and Europe) dealers must not complain that owners doing the job by themselves. Do you recon $700 for a new key for X5 E53 is a reasonable price? If you buy key programmer and program EWS, got new blank key off e-bay and use local locksmith to cut the key you will be still below $200 for complete the job. And for sure dealer is not happy.
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Old 05-01-2013, 04:07 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 101
Mein Auto: 2008 BMW 530i LCI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter7 View Post
You just confirmed that I was right that mechanics at BMW participating in sales activity (getting bonuses).
How do you know who serviced or repaired the car you willing to buy, if dealers not always stamping the logbooks, especially for company cars? Have a look at asking prices for example at carsales.com.au to check resale value for these cars, please keep in mind we are discussing X5 1999-2006, not F10 or F30.
With parts prices at BMW dealers here in Australia (two-three times higher than US and Europe) dealers must not complain that owners doing the job by themselves. Do you recon $700 for a new key for X5 E53 is a reasonable price? If you buy key programmer and program EWS, got new blank key off e-bay and use local locksmith to cut the key you will be still below $200 for complete the job. And for sure dealer is not happy.
Peter, you can get a brand new key + remote cut and coded to your car from USA for $214 USD delivered as opposed to $700 which was what the dealer quoted me :/
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  #25  
Old 05-01-2013, 05:00 PM
Bimmler Bimmler is offline
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Location: Las Vegas
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: E53 X5
Hi Folks,

New to the forum but I would like to add this.
I owned a 1985 Porsche 928S, 32V for almost 14 years.

Before I bought the car I just thought it would be cool to own one. Once I took ownership of it the PO gave me his complete repair history which also included the original owners receipts.

At the time I purchased it, the car was 14 years old and was only serviced by dealerships. The total receipts handed to me in that gigantic folder totaled nearly $50,000 dollars! You read that right. The repairs nearly equaled the original sale of the new car!

Buyers remorse set in deep and I decided that the only way I could keep this car was to learn how to work on it myself. Through people I met, internet forums and my own ability to rationalize problems and solve them, I kept that car on the road for 14 years of ownership and never once did I visit a dealer or other repair shop and I did everything you can imagine with that car. Always ran perfect and only broke down on me once due to a failed fuel pump.

I won't give you more than two examples of how good the dealer service was to the car. When I decided to do what they call a top-ectamy on the car, I found all the spark plug wire holders broken and the wires held in place with zip ties. I also discovered when I did the very complex timing belt change on the car that there is nothing like a handful of silcone sealant to keep the oil on the other side of the crankshaft seal. Yes, I guess you get what you pay for.

I have owned my X5 for only two months and have fixed a bunch of things on it already, including just doing the valve cover gasket which was leaking. I am now working on my AC system, have a drivers door handle mechanism on order and will send my center dash module off here soon to get rid of the Vulcan language it displays. On top of that I ordered a few small items that I found needed attention.

Its ok to support a dealer who has always done right by you and is someone you have grown to trust but it comes at a cost. Usually a lot of money. If you have the chops to take your time, investigate and rationalize each problem, you will become a great problem solver and will eventually have no problem digging into your own repairs.
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