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

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  #1  
Old 11-23-2009, 09:43 AM
msgt99 msgt99 is offline
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Tire size - Transfer case problem

My 07 X3 has recently started making some ugly noise when slowing down with out using the brakes. It makes a noise like rolling over a cobble-stone street as it is down shifting to 2nd 1st gear. Shift into neutral and noise would go away. Step lightly on gas and noise would go away. Key point take away the back pressure on transfercase and transmission and noise goes away.

I took it to the local dealer and they told me it was "bad tires" after a few exchanged words they mounted some brand new tires and took the car out for a test ride and the noise was gone!

A few miles ago my wife tested the sidewalls of the rt-front tire against the curb, tire lost, so we replaced both front tires with exact matching Pirelli Scorpion tires. This was at about 33K miles on the car. The car now has 37K miles. So front and back tires have about 33k difference in mileage. And making noises.

So BMW Munich says if you replace 2-tires, must replace all 4-tires. If the tread wear is "significantly different". No additional info on what they consider a "significant difference" in tread wear.


So my questions are:

Has anyone else ever run into this type of problem? Noisy transfer case?

Do you really have to replace all 4 tires if one gets ruined?

Does the noise portend potential transfercase/transmission damage?

Think it would be possible to just put on 2 new tires on the back and things be happy again?


Mike
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  #2  
Old 11-23-2009, 09:00 PM
S93D S93D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msgt99 View Post

Do you really have to replace all 4 tires if one gets ruined?

Think it would be possible to just put on 2 new tires on the back and things be happy again?

According to the owner's manual, replace all 4. According to my own knowledge before having a BMW, replace all 4.

Tires are usually 10/32" tread new. A few are 11/32". Very few are different (some 9, some 12). I will stretch it to 2/32" difference. So if the tires are 8/32, you can buy a new tire. If 7/32, then you are shave the new tire. Tirerack does this for a fee of ?$20. They can shave your new 10/32" tire to 7/32". If it is down to 6/32", then I'd buy all four since I tend to change tires at 4/32" or even 5/32".

Thanks for the report of what to listen for. If it happens, now the advice is to check your tires. I have a tire tread depth gauge. It is cheap. I've had it for 10 years.
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2009, 11:58 AM
msgt99 msgt99 is offline
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Went to the same shop I bought the last two tires from and replace the back tires - noise gone.

Got lucky this time. Also tireshop gave me a free tire tread depth gage and will keep a close eye on the rubber.

Thanks for the info.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2009, 12:16 PM
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HT417 HT417 is offline
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From what I've seen and heard, it's common with AWD vehicles. A colleague's Volvo had the same issue. It was the first time any of us had heard of something like that and doubted the mechanics at first. The owner had made two mistakes. He'd replaced only two tires and those two were a different brand from the others. Four new tires later all was good again.
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2009, 10:37 PM
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Ishniknork Ishniknork is offline
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When my tires were about worn out I noticed a strange sound like what the OP described but all 4 of my tires were worn practically even. I have staggered rims so I couldn't rotate them and was amazed at how even the tread wear was after 24K miles (Sport tires). Sure enough a new set of tires made the sound go away. Next time I hear that noise I'll know it's time for new ones.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2009, 05:51 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Sometimes I feel like owning a BMW is like having a beautiful high maintnenance girlfriend.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2009, 11:56 AM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
Sometimes I feel like owning a BMW is like having a beautiful, spoiled, tantrum throwing, high maintnenance girlfriend who is just awesome to ride.
Fixed
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2010, 12:46 PM
cliveagyoung cliveagyoung is offline
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Got this trouble after 50k miles and 3sets of new tyres.
I have owned 4X4s(Land Rovers) for best part of 20 years and NEVER had any troubles with transfer boxes.
IF the BMW is so sensitive to this then it will have to go and be replaced with a rice burner job.
They cost less and go for miles without trouble.

Sorry BMW but your X3 sucks.
The treatment we received from supplying dealer was abysmal and has made me vow never to own a BMW ever again.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2010, 01:10 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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Clive, is there any other Land Rover part you NEVER had any troubles (besides transfer boxes)?
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2010, 02:52 PM
szee1 szee1 is offline
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Wow, reliability and Land Rover in the same sentence. That's not something you see often.
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2010, 09:33 AM
cliveagyoung cliveagyoung is offline
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Had 5 Discoveries over 20 years and apart from 1 small electrical prob they were excellent.

The reputation is not deserved IMHO.
Now how about comments on my BMW problem.
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  #12  
Old 11-18-2010, 10:08 AM
SWMc SWMc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliveagyoung View Post
Had 5 Discoveries over 20 years and apart from 1 small electrical prob they were excellent.

The reputation is not deserved IMHO.
Now how about comments on my BMW problem.
http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tirete....jsp?techid=18
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2010, 06:48 PM
bgheadrick bgheadrick is offline
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Had the same problem with sound when stopping. Progressively got worse over few weeks. Had different tires on front/back due to getting a flat to get me by earlier in year. Really started to get worried, so after reading this thread got 4 new tires. To my COMPLETE surprise problem went away. Still can't believe it. Needless to say it was 100% the tires
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  #14  
Old 12-03-2010, 07:32 AM
Martin5333 Martin5333 is offline
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Ten days ago I realized I had an important cut in one of my rear tires. I checked it out and decided to change only the two rear ones. My X3 has 255/45R18 in the rear and 235/50R18 in the front. They are all Bridgestone Potenza S-03.
Since tires in Argentina are ridiculously expensive,,,I would say highway robbery...... I decided to change only the rear ones. The issue is that I couldn`t get the same brand since they aren`t being imported by Bridgestone anymore, hence I bought Yokohama Advan V103, with a similar tread of the front Bridgestone`s. The front tires are worn out but not enough to have them changed yet; I would give`em at least 5k to 8k more miles.
The issue is that at speeds above 35 MPH I start hearing a humming sound that seems to come from the front driveline.
I`m really worried that this would cause a problem to the driveline...On the other hand I payed 625 USD/EACH , for the rear tires and beleive me I got a good deal...; that is 1250 USD...THe only thought that I would need to do this now for changing the front ones (another 1250 bucks) is making me paranoid!
I thought maybe solving temporarily the issue by inflating the front tires a cuple of psi. more than the rear. I`m not sure if the tread depth is the issue. I inflate the tires according to the owners manual 32 psi front and rear...but since there is a difference in the tread depth I was thinking that maybe I could " compensate a bit" the tread depth delta by using 34 psi front and 32 rear..
As a temporary solution do you think this could work?
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Last edited by Martin5333; 12-03-2010 at 07:37 AM.
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:24 PM
jasonzivz jasonzivz is offline
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Noise Transfer Case BMW X3 2.5

I replaced my factory Pirelli Scorpions 235/50/18 to a Goodyear Assurance Comfortreds 235/55/18 about six months ago/9,000K miles. The car had 78K when I replaced the tires, now the car has almost 88K. I wanted a slightly taller and softer ride. It drove fine up until now. About a week ago it started making a whining noise during acceleration through first and second gear and again when I slowed down through those gears. I took it to my mechanic and he said it sounds like a transfer case. Transfer case repair $2500+. I am wondering if I change the tires will the problem go away. What is the long term effect if I do nothing and deal with the whining noise. I don't want to buy new tires again and then have to replace the transfer case too.
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2011, 12:44 PM
Martin5333 Martin5333 is offline
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I`m affraid that if you install different tire sizes than factory`s specifications and don`t take the precautions to tune your vehicle in accordance with the new ones, you could have problems with your transfer case and even the transmission.
I ended up changing my 4 tires to the same tread, and make, observing factory specifications in order to avoid problems. The humming I had by only replacing the rear ones ended when I evened up all 4 tires in this matter.
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  #17  
Old 11-07-2011, 07:40 PM
jasonzivz jasonzivz is offline
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Had my mechanic flush the old fluid today. Told me it was black when it came out and it was low on oil. Told me to drive it, could go away, if not, it will eventually need a transfer case. Said tires are not related to the noise.
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  #18  
Old 11-14-2011, 07:39 PM
jasonzivz jasonzivz is offline
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Transfer case fluid changed. Noise continues. Took off the Goodyear's and put on the stock 235 50 18 Pirelli Scorpions back on the car. Noise is still there but might be a little less.
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  #19  
Old 11-18-2011, 04:58 PM
didymos didymos is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 X3 2.5
re: "Sometimes I feel like owning a BMW is like having a beautiful high maintenance girlfriend. "

pointy observation, it made me laugh

I have calculated that in in the 16k miles I drove since I bought it at 50k I spent $1000 in repair parts and $200 in maintenance parts alone, forget days in garage...

1. oil separator system
2. water pump, sensor, water valve & thermostat
3. driver seat belt
4. valve cover gasket & spark plugs
5. rubber boot
6. washer pumps
7. battery
8. floor mats
9. performance bulbs
...

... but it surely rides nice

Last edited by didymos; 11-18-2011 at 05:21 PM. Reason: getting histerical
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  #20  
Old 11-18-2011, 05:22 PM
jasonzivz jasonzivz is offline
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Noise is gone

I picked up 4 used tires with 55% thread remaining from Bay Tires in San Francisco. Great to deal with too. Paid $200, shipped. Replaced the Goodyear 235 55 18 with stock Pirelli Scorpion 235 50 18 and after a few days the noise is gone. My X3 rides like a gem. Lesson learned: It's a good idea to change the tranfer case fluid at 75K and don't deviate from the stock tires. It might be okay for other BMWs, but the X drivetrain has to use stock. This year alone, I spend almost $3K in repairs: Coolant expansion tank and related parts, engine mounts, belts, engine ventilation valve and hoses. I've had this car since it was brand new. Great car, but for premium fuel this car gets poor gas milage avg. about 250 miles on a tank. Not sure I would own another BMW unless i can afford to.

Last edited by jasonzivz; 11-18-2011 at 05:32 PM. Reason: forgot to mention something in my post
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  #21  
Old 11-18-2011, 07:02 PM
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Dominic49 Dominic49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonzivz View Post
I picked up 4 used tires with 55% thread remaining from Bay Tires in San Francisco. Great to deal with too. Paid $200, shipped. Replaced the Goodyear 235 55 18 with stock Pirelli Scorpion 235 50 18 and after a few days the noise is gone. My X3 rides like a gem. Lesson learned: It's a good idea to change the tranfer case fluid at 75K and don't deviate from the stock tires. It might be okay for other BMWs, but the X drivetrain has to use stock. This year alone, I spend almost $3K in repairs: Coolant expansion tank and related parts, engine mounts, belts, engine ventilation valve and hoses. I've had this car since it was brand new. Great car, but for premium fuel this car gets poor gas milage avg. about 250 miles on a tank. Not sure I would own another BMW unless i can afford to.
they sure do like to be maintained

my gas millage is pretty decent but will be better once i get the time to fix the vacuum leak


http://www.fuelly.com/driver/dominic49/x3
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  #22  
Old 04-13-2016, 02:31 PM
ShadetreeX3 ShadetreeX3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2009 X3 manual
New tires -> transfer case noise

I just got new tires (Michelin Defenders) on my 2009 X3 and now I have the dreaded transfer case rumble/vibration happening. Will this just be an annoyance or will it damage my transfer case? If so, how long will it take? Will getting "BMW approved" tires really make it go away? It would be a shame to waste the $750 I just spent on the new tires. Thanks in advance for your replies!

Last edited by ShadetreeX3; 04-13-2016 at 03:38 PM.
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  #23  
Old 04-13-2016, 03:10 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Tire size - Transfer case problem

If the rumble is from your transfer case, yes it will damage the transfer case. How long will it take....does it really matter? LONG before the tires wear out, I assure you. Wasting $750 is a lot less bitter a taste than spending $750 to then spend a few grand on a new transfer case.

The first step is to change the transfer case fluid: Every 25k miles if you never want to have any part of it fail. See if it makes a difference. Same goes for differentials and transmission.
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2016, 03:37 PM
ShadetreeX3 ShadetreeX3 is offline
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I will go ahead and replace the transfer case fluid. Does anyone know if it is really necessary to "reset transfer case wear adaptations using a BMW scan tool and clear fault memory" as recommended in the repair manual? What happens if I don't do this step?
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2016, 05:40 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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I just cleared the codes after the fluid change, no telling how old they were, but I can imagine they weren't if the fluid I drained out (23k on that). I can be sure you need to use the BMW fluid for the transfer case and nothing but the BMW fluid.
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