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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 06-26-2009, 04:29 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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Mein Auto: X3 2007 Sport & Zenon
Unhappy X3 And Trailer Hitch Electric Brakes Wiring

I haven't seen this one anywhere on the site. Let's see if you guys can do what the dealer says they can't find

I'm installing the hitch this weekend. Have the hitch, Diffuser, impact absorber, wire harness, and module. I have a Prodigy brake controller to use. Problem is, after I finish all the install of gear, I don't see a "blue" wire on the harness, and have not torn into the driver kick panel yet to see if it is in there. I know how to do everything else, just can't figure what wire to use on for the E-brakes on the trailer. (the controller is coming out of the jeep I'm getting rid of.)

So guys, I did call the dealer and BMW USA, both were no help. I"m really don't want to run that wire from the back to the front, so I'm hoping BMW ran the wire knowing that in CA. you have a 1500 lb limit that you must have E-Brakes.

By the way, that photo DIY hitch manual that everyone links to, is pretty nice, just no info on E-Brakes after you hook up the module.

Hope someone has experience with this??
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2009, 04:52 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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I'm sorry to say that there isn't one. If you want ebrakes you'll have to run your own wire.

The only other solution is surge brakes but if you already have the trailer with electric brakes then that obviosly isn't going to work.
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  #3  
Old 06-27-2009, 07:11 AM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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I'm looking at the wire harness from BMW and the E-Brake wire on the plug that goes to the module is black/white wire. I'm wondering do I have to cut that wire and attach the standard blue E-Brake wire coming from the Prodigy controller. I thought, BMW would have a wire up front in the drivers kick panel that would connect to the module?
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  #4  
Old 06-27-2009, 12:47 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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I don't think BMW ever intended for an electric brake controller to be used on the US models.
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  #5  
Old 06-28-2009, 12:56 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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Not a good end to this project. The pictorial that everyone raves over is different from the 07 X3. The mounting of the hitch worked out fine. The wire harness was completely different. When I got to the part where you put it through the tail and plug it in to the existing harness that leads to the controller?!?!? It was NOT there. I decided to put the trailer harness in the back and leave it till later. When to the controller, and the plug on the 07 X3 doesn't match the 06/05. Only the location was right, but that doesn't help much when you buy the controller as special order, non returnable electronic items. Just flushed $150 bucks, and I still have to find the dang harness around the back bumper, it's not where it was supposed to be....Argggh!!!
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  #6  
Old 06-29-2009, 12:00 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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So has anyone out there have any idea where the 07 X3 wire harness is near the passenger rear that's supposed to plug into the hitch?

It was fun working 101 temps doing this....SoCal and our heat waves....
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  #7  
Old 06-29-2009, 01:07 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Except for cutting the plastic bumper cover (my '09 was different) the installation of an OE BMW hitch on my 2009 went just like this:

http://www.xoutpost.com/articles/x3/...h-2006-x3.html

Last edited by rs6655; 06-29-2009 at 01:09 PM. Reason: add
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  #8  
Old 06-29-2009, 01:39 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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Red face

Thank rs6655. I was able to get the hitch on and but it's the wiring harness that has messed me up big time!

When I fed the 1st part from the hitch into the back bumper, behind the bucked, there is NO wire socket to attach that part.

I then tried to put the module in, and it seems like the connector isn't the right one. I tried to snap it together, lining up the slots, but so far no go.

So the entire post worked for you on your 09?? Where did you find the wire harness nearest the bumper thru the hole?
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Last edited by SnowBud00; 06-29-2009 at 01:40 PM. Reason: add
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2009, 03:16 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Yes, everything plugged right up.

The plug that the trailer wiring plugs into is on the wall right behind the bumper. You can see it in the mirror.



It is easy to knock loose so it may be laying at the bottom.

The controller plugged right in too. I can't imagine why yours won't.

You do know you have to open the latch on the controller harness plug, plug it in and relatch it? You can't just plug it in.

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  #10  
Old 06-29-2009, 03:41 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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I didn't know about the module, I'll have to retry that when I get home. But the harness in the rear, I had my hand in there, and looked for it all over the place next to the bucket, toward the latch in the center also. Where did you find yours? It has to be under some kind of padding, and that may have hid it. You say it's toward the rear latch?
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Last edited by SnowBud00; 06-29-2009 at 04:33 PM. Reason: ***Update***
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  #11  
Old 06-29-2009, 04:37 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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***Update***

Looks like that rear plug is stuck to that way up under toward the latch, no wonder I couldn't find it. 1st half solved. Thank you so much rs6655. Now I just have to play with the module lock and try and get that to work...

Do you know if you had to get your car reprogrammed by BMW to get the lights to work or did the trailer lights go on just fine by themselves. (of course with the module in)
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  #12  
Old 06-29-2009, 04:46 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowBud00 View Post
***Update***

Looks like that rear plug is stuck to that way up under toward the latch, no wonder I couldn't find it. 1st half solved. Thank you so much rs6655. Now I just have to play with the module lock and try and get that to work...

Do you know if you had to get your car reprogrammed by BMW to get the lights to work or did the trailer lights go on just fine by themselves. (of course with the module in)
You're quite welcome. No programming required.... it will work as soon as it's all hooked up. Just don't try to use a trailer with LED lights. They don't have enough resistance and won't work right. My X3 replaced a Toyota Tacoma so I bought a 4X6 trailer to replace the truck part. I use it all the time and the lights work like a charm. I rented a covered U-Haul to help my daughter move in the rain and it worked perfectly too.

Good luck.
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2009, 11:33 AM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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rs6655, I've been narrowing this all down and it seems I'll be able to get the E Brakes to work on the x3. There is a plug under the dash the puts out a straight 12 volt signal. Not a modulated one like in the back where the module is. I can take that 12 volt signal, hook it up to the Prodigy and run the Blue wire back the the 7 pin plug. The brakes should work fine then. I won't be able to do all this for a few weeks though. I'll try and get finished pictures of the completed job, so you can see how it looks and worked out. Thanks for your help so far...
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  #14  
Old 07-09-2009, 05:03 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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Looks like I'm running into a small problem, but working on a solution. I must install a brake controller on the X3 to pull my rig. From what I got from e-trailer there is a solid 12v brake output somewhere under the dash. If I were to take it from the module in the back, it would be a modulated 12/7.5 volt output. I have a picture that I got from a dealer that has access to Directechs.com, some kind of wiring service; they show that to the left of the steering column on firewall, inside, a 3 pin plug, center wire is the 12volt brake output. I'm still investigating, so I'll keep you guys posted. The dealer still does not have an answer other than the pin out of the hitch plug, that's a no go for my uses.
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  #15  
Old 08-09-2009, 09:30 AM
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simplemind simplemind is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
Except for cutting the plastic bumper cover (my '09 was different) the installation of an OE BMW hitch on my 2009 went just like this:

http://www.xoutpost.com/articles/x3/...h-2006-x3.html
WHat was different on your '09 with regard to the bumper? How long did the install take?
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2009, 11:50 AM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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A bit of an update on this. The dealers won't touch this. BMW doesn't make a brake controller. (Funny, cause the X3 will pull up to 3500 lbs, and you need one after 1500) The hitch installers won't touch it cause the X3 is digital on the outputs. (I've personally seen the computer wig out and warning lights pop on the dash, and reset when I disconnected. Can't hook it up to the brake light..big no no!) So I've gotten a hold of the schematic and dash see thru both finagled off a dealer and show the place to get to the brake box, but they still wouldn't touch it..LOL I'm sure that with this info, I can get someone to finish it up. It's a Prodigy that I'm installing as a reminder.

Info coming soon....
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Last edited by SnowBud00; 09-02-2009 at 11:52 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-02-2009, 12:00 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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One small note, when the stock BMW wire harness is installed. Connected to a standard 7pin trailer with brakes. When you touch the brakes, is applies full brakes to the trailer, and it will scare the crap out of you!!! No, you cannot take the signal from that wire as the input to the electronic brake controller. It's a pulsing or modulating voltage, and that's with no brake applied. That's why I have to go from the brake box. And yes, it will void the warranty of that box (and what ever else BMW can try and void out if they think they can get away with it) when I hook up the controller to it. Sucks, but there is nothing or no where else to pull the 12v signal from.

Will be posting the documentation soon on the BMW Brake box and where it is
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2009, 12:17 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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Exclamation 2007 X3 Schematic Brake Box

Finally got the pages and scanned.
  1. Pinout
  2. Schematic-2pages
  3. X-Ray Picture Dash Locate Brake Box

This is what's needed for hooking up the Prodigy to the 3rd brake light and activate the sensor, then trips the electronic controller to stop the trailer. Tekonsha said it only takes 4 volts to trigger the controller. With all the wires coming out of the brake box, and touching any of them. Set off the Brake, and 4X4 warning lights when hooked to any other brake wire. Including the brake wire off the wire harness module.

I'm taking it to a trailer pro today with the docs. Tekonsha, said he should have no problem once connected to the 3rd brake light. Guess I'll see later...

Here are the docs:
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File Type: pdf X3 2007 E83 Brake Box.pdf (411.6 KB, 462 views)
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  #19  
Old 09-20-2009, 08:02 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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****Final Wiring Update***

It worked. I gave the plans to the hitch specialist, and he did a check with BMW guy next door and found out the wire off the brake box was indeed the same color wire that feeds the brakes out of the module in the back. Black with what looks white or very light yellow stripe. That's the third tail light. Solid 12.6 volt, no modulation of power at all! He hooked the Prodigy up, and it worked flawlessly with the 3300 lb trailer! The X3 pulled it smoother then the Jeep Grand Cherokee ever did. Braking was spot on!

As I thought, and why I bought the X3, it was able to pull and out perform any of the previous SUV's I've owned.

Only thing, the dealer or dealers wouldn't touch this install. Either of them! Said it was too much of a liability!! BMW does not make a controller, and anything over 1500 lbs in Calif. must have a brake controller. Well the dealer would have charged me $300 to hook up that one wire as it were. Only cost $100 to finish the job. Very happy with the entire outcome now.

Enjoy guys!

Snowbud!
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  #20  
Old 09-23-2009, 12:13 AM
vrooom3440 vrooom3440 is offline
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I am investigating this X3/hitch issue... in fact my "new to me" X3 looks very much like yours (aero/M) :-) What part numbers did you use for the extra bumper bits?

It was a little hard to follow/figure how this all works as your thread bounced around like your experience putting the brake controller in. Let me see if I understand correctly...

One of the inputs to the brake controller is a "brakes applied" signal. In most tail light setups there is no such signal and definitely not with BMW tail lights. Thus the search for the third brake light power input as it would serve as a pure/simple brake input signal.

If this is the case the same function could be provided using two relays powered by the trailer stop/turn signal circuit. When both left and right are enabled, two relays wired up in series would enable brakes. Of course this does have the drawback of also enabling brakes with 4-way flashers.

So you wound up running the brake controller wiring from dash to the back of X3? Seems kind of a shame since the brake controllers need 12v and you have the battery hanging out back. Could localize it all in back. But then you would not be able to override/control from the driver seat.
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  #21  
Old 09-24-2009, 02:55 PM
SnowBud00 SnowBud00 is offline
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With a little investigation, you'll find out that there is a wiring module and harness you'll need to buy from BMW. On of the wires that comes out of the module goes directly to the electric brakes of the trailer. When you touch the brakes, the module puts full power to the trailer, slamming on the brakes. Testing that circuit, you'll find a modulating or pulsing voltage. The controller only senses voltage, as little as 4 volts to trigger the unit. There is no power drains as you'd get with relay, as little as it may be.

Remember, this is NOT a standard truck or suv. The X3 digitized vehicle, with sensors all over it. That's why I went to the extent I had to, to get the brake controller to work.

Check it out yourself, and you'll quickly realize what I'm talking about, and how BMW NA/dealers won't install it for you... Liability they claim.

All the data needed to hook the controller up is in this thread, mainly just above this box.....

When you check out the car, and test it, if you still can't find a 12 solid output and are still having trouble, shoot me a question. I don't believe you've tested or looked at he circuits in this car yet, so that may be you suggested the answer that you did. If you did hook that up? Half your dash would light up warning you..as it did mine when I probed around....
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  #22  
Old 09-28-2009, 05:36 PM
vrooom3440 vrooom3440 is offline
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Hmmm... that was not quite the answer I was looking/hoping for. I guess I did not ask my question very well.

I already know about the OEM special wiring harness and trailer light control box which is part of the BMW accessory hitch kit. I can pretty well deduce what it does and how and why it is required. Starting with the very long standing issue of European cars with seperate turn signal circuits versus the American standard of multiplexing turn and stop. Continuing on to the modern "adaptive stop light" type of feature using PWM to control intensity of an incandescent light bulb. One bulb, two or more functions achieved by what kind of duty cycle is provided on the bulb power supply. A custom interface converter provided by the factory is the most sure and reliable way to get from that to the common tail/running and multiplexed turn/stop light outputs required by all typical trailers. Not to mention diagnostic current monitoring to detect bulb burnouts.

I am also not interested in what BMW dealers will or will not do. I do my own work, either mechanical or electrical, whenever possible. In addition to finding it more cost effective I find it to be much more convienient. No leaving my vehicle and doing without and the assiciated hassles :-P But this is also why I attempt to gather as much information as required before I jump in and take stuff apart ;-)

A clarification of my suggestion is that the relay (it really only takes one) is not wired into the BMW side of the wiring harness, relays do not deal with PWM at all. No rather the relay would be wired into the trailer side of the harness. Turn on the relay with trailer left turn/stop signal, use trailer right turn/stop as relay switch common input, relay NC output is stop. By tying into the trailer side of the harness you avoid the BMW diagnostics. Now this does have a geographical downside in that the trailer wiring is at the rear of the car and we need the brake signal at the dash as an input to the brake controller :-P (although I wonder if the controller really needs to be up front...)

It would still be helpful to know what the part numbers are for the diffuser parts and if the BMW trailer harness actually has a wire connected up to the 7-pin connector brake output.
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  #23  
Old 09-29-2009, 08:27 PM
jrcsh6 jrcsh6 is offline
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just installed the prodigy tonight with a friends. hopefully it works. i'll know this weekend. we ended up soddering in next bmw tow box. i don't know all the details but used this thread for guidance.

has anyone come up with something as far as finish to make the back end look better with the hitch installed?
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2009, 01:44 PM
ramair1 ramair1 is offline
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Glad it worked for you Snowbud, and thanks for the details.
I recently picked up an 06 X3 and one of the primary reasons I got it was to pull my motorcycles to the track. I was not happy to learn about the E-brake limitations of this vehicle, and was stupid not to reasearch more on the hitch aspect of X3. I researched the X3 allot, but only noticed that the towing capacity was 3500 lbs, and did not do much more other than price the hitch.

Anyway, I had the hitch installed, and it did have to be programmed. This allowed me to connect my existing trailer (NO electric brake) which DOES HAVE LED's. So the first comment I want to make is that you CAN connect to trailers with LED's. I am doing it now. I can also connect to trailers with standard bulbs. I did this at the RV center where I am looking for larger trailer with electric brakes.

I will either connect my E-brakes similar to the way you did or purchase a wireless E-brake kit from Prodigy. The RV center here has done this on others, and guarantees it to work. The bad news is the wireless prodigy is $300. Here is a link to one:
http://www.makariosrv.com/products/T...ontroller.html

I will take some photos of the hitch install over the weekend when I have more time, but the install is clean. The lower air deflector and reflector kit was installed also.
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  #25  
Old 10-13-2009, 02:32 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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Guys, I have a the following question: if I do not need e-brakes, what would be the reasons to install BMW OEM hitch instead of an aftermarket one? I know it looks nicer but... Thanks!
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