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

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  #1  
Old 09-06-2009, 09:36 PM
sunnyyan sunnyyan is offline
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rear hitch from U-Haul?

Any X3 owners got their hitch from and installed by U-Haul? If so, how was your experience? how much and would you recommend it?

I'll looking for a hitch to carry my bicycles.

Thanks.
SY
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2009, 09:32 PM
dharmadoggie dharmadoggie is offline
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Some considerations:

- Quailty of work - I installed the factory hitch myself and found it a little complex. The bumper cover has to be removed. On some there is a knock out for the hitch but some cutting behind the knockout is still required. On others the bumper cover itself has to be cut. And it's easy to break some of the retaining tabs on the bumper cover. So the ham fisted guy who is good with a "hot wrench" and is used to Cummins Diesel Rams may not be the guy you want working on your X3. I suggest a BMW dealer or body shop do the install (and buy the hitch on the Web if you don't go with the factory hitch.)

- I don't know if any after market hitches have the screw in port for the factory tow hook. One could pull the rig with the hitch, but I found the factory tow hook a good tie down point for a kayak on the roof.

- The X3 is rated to pull 3500 lbs which is the rating of a Class 2 hitch. See e.g. http://hitches4less.com/trailer-hitch-classes.html for defintion of towing classes. Often class 2 comes with a 1 1/4 inch receiver, but most hitch mounted bike racks fit a 2" receiver. So if there is a mismatch, an adapter is required, and things will fit looser overall. The factory hitch has a 2"receiver.

- If you ever really want to use a trailer the factory wiring kit is required. It's about $200, a substancial part of the cost of a complete factory hitch kit.

- The hitch replaces the "bumper", a sturdy bit of metal behind the bumper cover. I like to make sure I keep such parts, in case it is needed in the future. I am not sure that after market hitches would support the bumper cover properly.

- The factory hitch comes with a cool rubber plug for the receiver that saws BMW on it.

BMW has made the hitch thing more complicated than it needs to be, but it is what it is.
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2009, 07:15 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmadoggie View Post
Some considerations:

- Quailty of work - I installed the factory hitch myself and found it a little complex. The bumper cover has to be removed. On some there is a knock out for the hitch but some cutting behind the knockout is still required. On others the bumper cover itself has to be cut. And it's easy to break some of the retaining tabs on the bumper cover. So the ham fisted guy who is good with a "hot wrench" and is used to Cummins Diesel Rams may not be the guy you want working on your X3. I suggest a BMW dealer or body shop do the install (and buy the hitch on the Web if you don't go with the factory hitch.)

- I don't know if any after market hitches have the screw in port for the factory tow hook. One could pull the rig with the hitch, but I found the factory tow hook a good tie down point for a kayak on the roof.

- The X3 is rated to pull 3500 lbs which is the rating of a Class 2 hitch. See e.g. http://hitches4less.com/trailer-hitch-classes.html for defintion of towing classes. Often class 2 comes with a 1 1/4 inch receiver, but most hitch mounted bike racks fit a 2" receiver. So if there is a mismatch, an adapter is required, and things will fit looser overall. The factory hitch has a 2"receiver.

- If you ever really want to use a trailer the factory wiring kit is required. It's about $200, a substancial part of the cost of a complete factory hitch kit.

- The hitch replaces the "bumper", a sturdy bit of metal behind the bumper cover. I like to make sure I keep such parts, in case it is needed in the future. I am not sure that after market hitches would support the bumper cover properly.

- The factory hitch comes with a cool rubber plug for the receiver that saws BMW on it.

BMW has made the hitch thing more complicated than it needs to be, but it is what it is.
I also installed mine and I agree.

U-Haul is fine for simple, frame mounted bolt on's that don't require removing anything.

Last edited by rs6655; 09-08-2009 at 07:25 AM.
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  #4  
Old 09-08-2009, 08:32 AM
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X3 Skier X3 Skier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmadoggie View Post
- The factory hitch comes with a cool rubber plug for the receiver that saws BMW on it.

BMW has made the hitch thing more complicated than it needs to be, but it is what it is.
My plug fell out within weeks on Installation.

I would go with the BMW hitch since as has been said, it is not an easy job and since I doubt U-Haul gets many X-3's, I would consider it worth the extra cost either as a DIY or Dealer install.

Chhers
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2009, 09:34 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3 Skier View Post
My plug fell out within weeks on Installation.
Chhers
Mine felt too loose to stay put as well. I cut a small wooden block and stuffed it in the back of it to make it fit tighter.
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2009, 10:34 AM
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LvdB LvdB is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X3 Skier View Post
I would go with the BMW hitch...
+1

sunnyyan, If you can, rather install the BMW hitch. I've had aftermarket hitches installed in the past. They work (obviously ), but since I've had the BMW oem hitch on my first X3, I actually specified the oem hitch on my second X3. And will do so with my next vehicle. Very simple to use, fits right first time (every time), and just looks neat ...just my opinion.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:53 AM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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I once asked UHaul for a quote, and I think they said something like 250 installed, BUT they will not install the electrical harness and in general will NOT touch bimmer electronics anywhere.
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:20 PM
sunnyyan sunnyyan is offline
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thanks, folks:

U-haul quoted me an installed price of $600+. This is a deal breaker for me, I may go with BMW OE hitch and do it on my own.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:31 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyyan View Post
thanks, folks:

U-haul quoted me an installed price of $600+. This is a deal breaker for me, I may go with BMW OE hitch and do it on my own.
If they install it with electronics then its a deal. BMW hitch installation will cost you upwards of 1200 parts + labor. If you do it yourself then still more than 700.
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:39 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enamoured View Post
If they install it with electronics then its a deal. BMW hitch installation will cost you upwards of 1200 parts + labor. If you do it yourself then still more than 700.
Complete kit with harness from Crown BMW:

X3 TRAILER HITCH KIT 71600035368 $334.62

Update:

Just did a search and Tischer has it for $312.00

Last edited by rs6655; 09-08-2009 at 01:41 PM. Reason: add
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:40 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
Complete kit with harness from Crown BMW:

X3 TRAILER HITCH KIT 71600035368 $334.62
Well, that's a deal for sure.
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  #12  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:44 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enamoured View Post
Well, that's a deal for sure.
I'm not sure what they did run as I negotiated mine into the sale of the vehicle. Part only.... I did the install myself. I wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to unload them before the new model comes out.
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  #13  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:50 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnyyan View Post
thanks, folks:

U-haul quoted me an installed price of $600+. This is a deal breaker for me, I may go with BMW OE hitch and do it on my own.
I did my own and it's not that hard. Here is what the whole kit looks like. Quite a bit for the money and it's 100% correct for the car.

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  #14  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:54 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
I'm not sure what they did run as I negotiated mine into the sale of the vehicle. Part only.... I did the install myself. I wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to unload them before the new model comes out.
Programming...? I believe the trailer stability control won't work without that. Not sure if the electrical connections for lights and brake will be active either.

Its something I was researching a while ago then left it as I need it only probably once a year for not a long distance, I can rent a truck then. Instead I decided to buy the roof racks, much more useful for my needs.
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  #15  
Old 09-08-2009, 03:17 PM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enamoured View Post
Programming...? I believe the trailer stability control won't work without that. Not sure if the electrical connections for lights and brake will be active either.
No programming required.

US models have lights only. No brake control and no stability control.
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  #17  
Old 09-08-2009, 05:23 PM
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madurodave madurodave is offline
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Just a quick comparison. My dealer in NH has the following prices:

Hitch = $390, installed = $810.
Ball and pin = $42.50, installed = $84.50.

I plan to buy the parts and install myself. However, winter is approaching in NH and I have to plans to trailer anything until next year so it will probably wait unless plans change.

If you have a BMWCCA membership, you should get 20% off parts as well. That is the discount I get. It pays for your membership fee very quickly, plus you help support your local chapter and the national chapter. Membership in the BMWCCA also gives you rebates for BMW purchases!

There's my plug!
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  #18  
Old 09-08-2009, 05:24 PM
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madurodave madurodave is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
Install Instructions
Any changes for 2007 installations?
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2009, 06:21 PM
mikelahti mikelahti is offline
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After many years of boat towing and my observations of others doing it wrong (I have done some wrong myself), I would be leery of using less than a Class III hitch for any heavy tow. My choice would be an aftermarket Class III towbar and the BMW wiring. This is not the place to look for lowest cost. The tow can be almost as heavy as the car. Be safe.
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  #20  
Old 09-08-2009, 06:24 PM
enamoured enamoured is offline
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Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
No programming required.

US models have lights only. No brake control and no stability control.
Thanks Ralph. I stand corrected.
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  #21  
Old 09-09-2009, 04:46 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Any changes for 2007 installations?
No the procedure was exactly the same on my 2009.
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  #22  
Old 09-09-2009, 04:58 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikelahti View Post
After many years of boat towing and my observations of others doing it wrong (I have done some wrong myself), I would be leery of using less than a Class III hitch for any heavy tow. My choice would be an aftermarket Class III towbar and the BMW wiring. This is not the place to look for lowest cost. The tow can be almost as heavy as the car. Be safe.
I do not understand what you're saying.

The BMW hitch is rated to the full towing capacity of the X3 and it is not cheap, weak or poorly designed. The only thing I would tell people is to make sure the trailer has working surge brakes (if heavy enough to require brakes), does not exceed the 3500 lb towing capacity of the vehicle and last but certainly not least, that they have sufficient tongue weight.

Last edited by rs6655; 09-09-2009 at 04:57 PM. Reason: sp
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  #23  
Old 09-09-2009, 05:10 AM
rs6655 rs6655 is offline
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Something else to add:

When I first towed with my X3 the slight movement of the hitch in the tube sounded like someone was beating on the car with a sledge hammer. Being unibody any rattling of the hitch is sent all the way through the car.

I purchased one of these and it solved the problem 100%.

http://www.softride.com/towing-produ..._pin_with_lock

I consider it, or something like it, absolutely essential for ones sanity while towing.

My Yakima bike rack came with something similar to keep the rack steady and quiet.
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  #24  
Old 09-09-2009, 10:08 AM
w3ng1 w3ng1 is offline
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rs6655,
Thanks for the info and website link!
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  #25  
Old 09-09-2009, 02:39 PM
dharmadoggie dharmadoggie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs6655 View Post
Mine felt too loose to stay put as well. I cut a small wooden block and stuffed it in the back of it to make it fit tighter.

I wrapped electrical tape around the plug, where it inserts into the receiver, to hold it in place.
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