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

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  #1  
Old 07-30-2009, 01:39 PM
MountainGal MountainGal is offline
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2004 X3 Questions

Hi -
I've spent a lot of time reading this forum lately... very informative! Thanks to all of you.

I'm seriously considering making an offer on a 2004 with just under 42k miles on it.
It's in nearly perfect shape, has the service records, etc. It needs new tires, a new windshield
and the covering (sorry, that word is undoubtedly wrong!) of the headlight is cracked.

Anything I should be aware of in this particular year?

Thanks in advance.
Samantha
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  #2  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:01 PM
jcarlilesiu jcarlilesiu is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 X3 2.5
I have an 04 X3. It has 54K miles on it, though I bought it with 14K so have owned it most of its life.

As far as issues... mostly minor in nature and discussed very heavily on this forum.

The 04 doesn't have the transmission issues of the newer models, but also lacks some of the improvements they have made over time.

The passenger side air bag sensor work may need to be performed. The door seals squeak on hot humid days. Be sure not to warm up the engine while idling when its cold, it can cause damage with the inferior part they used for the oil/water seperator.

Other than that, the 04s usually have a stiffer suspension than the newer models.

All in all, I love my 04 and find the unpainted bumber covers to hide many of the small scratchs that are inherant from living in a populated area with parellel parking.

I would buy mine again.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2009, 02:22 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainGal View Post
Hi -
It needs new tires, a new windshield
and the covering (sorry, that word is undoubtedly wrong!) of the headlight is cracked.

Anything I should be aware of in this particular year?
'04s are particularly notorious for their harsh ride, so be sure to take a long test drive on all sort of roads and make sure you are okay with it. Unlike 3ers the headlight is a closed and sealed unit on X3 so you are looking at replacing the whole headlamp or if you can find someone who can bake the headlamp, change the lens and put it back together and bake again to seal. Other than what has already been posted, there are no real issues with this car. BTW, the pax airbag is covered for 10 years per recall letter.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2009, 05:17 PM
jaydog jaydog is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 Accord, 2004 X3
I have a 2004 X3 with 85,000 miles. It is a 2.5 liter. It has been one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. No major problems. ONly minor problems have been a window regulator.

I paid 29K for mine so I am sure you can get a great deal now. I would buy it again. Overall it is an awesome well rounded car.
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2009, 07:17 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainGal View Post
It needs new tires, a new windshield
and the covering (sorry, that word is undoubtedly wrong!) of the headlight is cracked.
You will have to figure out if these things are properly reflected in the asking price, but ..

- needing new tires can be a good thing - as it gives you a chance to check that the wear is even across the tread and eliminate any alignment or other front-end issues.
(Can't do that with a car that's just had new tires put on.)
Also allows you to select what tires should be on it, and benefit from any warranty the tire shop provides.

- windshield replacement can be relatively expensive for a BMW, and carries some risk of problems afterwards with leaks, noise and a less than perfect job of keeping the urethane sealant off the surrounding trim

- with the headlight lens, if it is not fogged up from ingress of moisture, it might not be cracked right through. If so, might be best to live with that for a while.

Sounds as though it could be a private seller, as a dealer would have put new tires on.
So you can determine if it is the sort of owner who might have done what jcarlilesiu warns about - warming up by idling.

Make sure they have a good explanation for why they didn't replace the windshield and headlamp lens themselves - I smell a big bargaining chip.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2009, 08:54 PM
MountainGal MountainGal is offline
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Thank you so much for your responses.

I called a dealer about the headlight. $1400. I had no idea, thank you enamoured.
I have about 3k of bargaining issues, plus he's 1k high on his price according to bluebooks.
He's already upside down, I'm fairly certain he couldn't take my offer and I won't pay anymore... I guess I keep looking.

You all were very helpful to me, I appreciate it more than I can say. I'm quite happy with my singledom other than car stuff.... That's when I miss having someone to do this stuff for me!

Thanks again.

Oh, Supercourse:

He didn't even know about the headlight, I found it. He can't afford to replace the windshield, and it's bad... He couldn't tell me what all the options were or how to work them. Definitely not a BMW guy, as it were... and very much over his head.
Nice young couple, I feel badly for them, but not badly enough to over pay for their mistake.

Last edited by MountainGal; 07-30-2009 at 09:03 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2009, 06:42 AM
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legalfee legalfee is offline
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Hi sorry the X3 didn't work out for you but it sounded like it had a lot of issues. I bought my 2004 X3 2.5i a year ago for $21K and it had 31K miles. It was in pristine condition. I now have 50K miles on it and the only service I've had done has been two oil changes and rear brake pads. It's still in like new condition. I'd recommend getting on autotrader.com and look within a 200 mile radius. That's what I did and found a great deal in Charlotte, NC. Good luck.
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2009, 07:44 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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You dodged a big one there! That car had a lot of expensive issues (headlight, windshield, etc.). You can do better; try looking for a good low mileage '06. There was a supposed softening of the suspension in '05 and of course you might find one with a bit of original warranty left. Avoid the '07 automatic like the plague (read sticky at top of X3 page) IMHO it is just not worth the chance of getting someone's buyback or trade assist. One thing to consider is when you do find one you are thinking about get the VIN and have a BMW dealer run it through their computer for repair issues and service performed. That will give you an idea of the history of the car, at least up to 50K miles when the free stuff runs out. I hope you have taken a long test drive in an X3 over some rough roads and nasty pavement. They can be very stiff, uncomfortable and punishing in those situations. I like everything except the horrible ride in my '06 and if it weren't so reliable I would have traded it long ago, but it is, so I haven't. Good luck!

Last edited by UncleJ; 07-31-2009 at 07:46 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-31-2009, 08:30 AM
jaldeborgh jaldeborgh is offline
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We have both and 04/2.5 and an 07/AT both have the sport package and both are wonderful cars. Neither car is great if the roads you drive on a daily basis are strewn with pot holes. However, if your local roads are reasonably smooth then either car is fine. Our 04 only has about 34K miles and is hard to tell from new - no rattles and will cruse all day long at 80+ on the highway. I would have no fear of buying an 04 in good condition. I also believe the 07 cars with an AT are safe if you confirm both that the transmission has not been reprogramed and you test drive it and everything seems OK - ours is totally fine and never been touched.
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2007 X3 3.0si - Wife's Car
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  #10  
Old 07-31-2009, 08:39 AM
6181 6181 is offline
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wind shield

i have a 04 X3 I BOUGHT IN 2006 W/ 10000 MILES ON IT AND THE WIND SHIELD HAD CHIPS IN IT FROM THE BMW PEOPLE IN NJ . I CALLED MY INSURANCE CO. AND THEY PUT A NEW BMW WIND SHIELD IN FOR FREE .YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS ON THE FRONT WIND SHEILD.
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  #11  
Old 07-31-2009, 12:41 PM
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minicrazy592 minicrazy592 is offline
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Check for AC compressor, it sounds like a whine while it's running. Also see if the horrible plastic coating is peeling. It's cheap to replace, but will usually give you an idea of how the car was taken care of. That, the seats, and the plastic panel under the seat belt. That plastic panel tends to get all nicked up with careless owners, aka my mother. The window seals have a bulletin out of them to be replaced if they are creaking. The sunroof also likes to rattle, I believe there's something out on that as well.

Also did the owner of that X3 like to drive behind 18 wheelers or something lol
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  #12  
Old 07-31-2009, 01:43 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minicrazy592 View Post
The window seals have a bulletin out of them to be replaced if they are creaking. The sunroof also likes to rattle, I believe there's something out on that as well.
Also did the owner of that X3 like to drive behind 18 wheelers or something lol
Although there was a bulletin early on to replace the window seals, I got the impression that some owners who did that were less than happy.
Either the seals were replaced with exactly the same material, or the installation quality left something to be desired if it was a new and improved part.
I thought that bulletin was superceded with the application of CarboFlo/GummiPflege or something similar.
That's a better solution IMO, even if it does have to be done every few years.
Door seals as well as window seals can be conditioned at the same time, as I don't think the exact source of the creaking was ever pinned down.

If that X3 the OP was interested in did duty in Montana or Wyoming, windshield and headlamp damage is hard to avoid.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2009, 05:18 PM
MountainGal MountainGal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post

If that X3 the OP was interested in did duty in Montana or Wyoming, windshield and headlamp damage is hard to avoid.
I-70 Corridor, Vail area, Colorado. I'm in Keystone, hence I'm not going to use my insurance to replace this up front, it is likely to happen again. We have snow on the ground 7-8 months out of the year.

I made him a ridiculously low offer, subject to a dealer pre-purchase inspection.
He's thinking about it.

Last edited by MountainGal; 08-01-2009 at 05:28 PM.
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  #14  
Old 08-01-2009, 05:26 PM
MountainGal MountainGal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
You dodged a big one there! That car had a lot of expensive issues (headlight, windshield, etc.). You can do better; try looking for a good low mileage '06. There was a supposed softening of the suspension in '05 and of course you might find one with a bit of original warranty left. Avoid the '07 automatic like the plague (read sticky at top of X3 page) IMHO it is just not worth the chance of getting someone's buyback or trade assist. One thing to consider is when you do find one you are thinking about get the VIN and have a BMW dealer run it through their computer for repair issues and service performed. That will give you an idea of the history of the car, at least up to 50K miles when the free stuff runs out. I hope you have taken a long test drive in an X3 over some rough roads and nasty pavement. They can be very stiff, uncomfortable and punishing in those situations. I like everything except the horrible ride in my '06 and if it weren't so reliable I would have traded it long ago, but it is, so I haven't. Good luck!

I'd love to have a low mileage '06 but I'm working within a budget as I'm paying cash, no financing... an '04, MAYBE an '05 )with a whole lot of research to find a well priced one,) is all I'm willing to pay. I'm also doing my best to stay away from a dealer.

I don't think the ride could be any rougher than my Cherokee! I didn't notice it on the test drive, but before I part with my hard earned cash, I'll be doing a lot more driving and inspection. Thanks for your tip on the VIN #.
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  #15  
Old 08-01-2009, 05:33 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Although there was a bulletin early on to replace the window seals, I got the impression that some owners who did that were less than happy.
Either the seals were replaced with exactly the same material, or the installation quality left something to be desired if it was a new and improved part.
I thought that bulletin was superceded with the application of CarboFlo/GummiPflege or something similar.
That's a better solution IMO, even if it does have to be done every few years.
Door seals as well as window seals can be conditioned at the same time, as I don't think the exact source of the creaking was ever pinned down.

If that X3 the OP was interested in did duty in Montana or Wyoming, windshield and headlamp damage is hard to avoid.
The seals in my '09 started to creak. I used:

http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/produc...?T1=MEG+G10624

and they quieted right down.
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  #16  
Old 08-02-2009, 05:35 AM
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legalfee legalfee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainGal View Post
I'd love to have a low mileage '06 but I'm working within a budget as I'm paying cash, no financing... an '04, MAYBE an '05 )with a whole lot of research to find a well priced one,) is all I'm willing to pay. I'm also doing my best to stay away from a dealer.

I don't think the ride could be any rougher than my Cherokee! I didn't notice it on the test drive, but before I part with my hard earned cash, I'll be doing a lot more driving and inspection. Thanks for your tip on the VIN #.
+1 I had a Grand Cherokee before I got the X3 and the Jeep had a much rougher ride. And the X3 handles 10 times better with better gas milage.

I bought mine over the phone after research on Autotrader.com from a one owner luxury car dealer and got a very clean car and a great deal. So I'm saying I wouldn't avoid dealers if you can get a good deal.

Last edited by legalfee; 08-02-2009 at 05:41 AM.
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  #17  
Old 08-02-2009, 07:07 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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[I wouldn't avoid dealers if you can get a good deal.[/QUOTE]

+1 On the above. Dealers will have the best selection and you could get a nice trade in or lease return. The car market is really bad (for all makes) and dealers need to move units and you are a buyer.
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  #18  
Old 09-09-2009, 10:39 AM
ORD2KOA ORD2KOA is offline
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I bought an '04, CPO from the local BMW dealer two years ago. I think it had 28k miles on it at that time, it's got 59.5k now. I would definitely buy one again. (Actually I'm looking for something newer, I think maybe an '08 or '09 with low miles.) This is my first BMW. I was a big fan of SAAB until GM destroyed the brand, and I needed/wanted a hatchback-type car. The size is perfect, not too big, not too small. It's fun to drive, very responsive, doesn't handle like an SUV. The ride isn't overly harsh, but I don't like a marshmallow-type ride anyway. The biggest mechanical problem I had was the a/c compresser had to be replaced (that happened about 2 months ago), but was covered by the CPO. I drive mostly toll roads in the Orlando area. On the highway, averaging 70 mph, my fuel economy is about 26 mpg, overall average is around 20 mpg.
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