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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 01-23-2010, 03:43 PM
bigmuddy bigmuddy is offline
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07 X-3 making a ticking noise

I just talked my mom into buying an 07 X-3, which is the first BMW she or I have ever owned. It has started to make a ticking noise from the engine and I can't find the dipstick to check the oil. To complicate matters we never received an operating manual so we are really in the dark with this car. I am a car nut but I do not know my way around the BMW models including this X-3. The car has around 36,000 miles currently.
Would someone please advise how to check the oil? And if you have any possibilities for the ticking it is appreciated

Thanks Ben
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2010, 04:08 PM
al_macaroni al_macaroni is offline
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You can download a copy of the owners manual from the BMW USA website.
http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Owner/dgh.aspx

The ticking is usually one of two things. If it is really cold outside, the fuel injectors make a ticking sound. The other is the lifters. It seems like a good number of X3 and 3-series owners experience the lifter sound. There is a "bleeding" process that can be performed to remove air. Also, when the car is driven for longer periods of time, the lifters are supposed to quiet down.
You can search this forum for more information on the lifter noise.

To check the oil level, download the owners manual for exact steps. But, I think you can hold the right button at the bottom of the gauge cluster while the engine is running to check the oil.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2010, 04:11 PM
bigmuddy bigmuddy is offline
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Thanks for the info Al!

Ben
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  #4  
Old 01-23-2010, 06:28 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmuddy View Post
I just talked my mom into buying an 07 X-3, which is the first BMW she or I have ever owned. It has started to make a ticking noise from the engine and I can't find the dipstick to check the oil. To complicate matters we never received an operating manual so we are really in the dark with this car. I am a car nut but I do not know my way around the BMW models including this X-3. The car has around 36,000 miles currently.
Would someone please advise how to check the oil? And if you have any possibilities for the ticking it is appreciated

Thanks Ben
There is a TSB (technical service bulletin) out with BMW on fixing this known problem. Since your dealer is trained to immediately deny it, say it isn't happening, or they all operate this way. The easiest way to get them to conform is to open the hood take a video with sound and present it to them.

They will then say, "Oh you are right that is not normal" and perform the TSB fixing the problem.

I have the service slip in my files if you need it to give them an additional push.

Cheers,

EE
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Last edited by Evlengr; 01-23-2010 at 08:31 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-23-2010, 07:07 PM
bigmuddy bigmuddy is offline
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Thanks evlenger, I hope I will not have to take you up on that offer. I just realized tonight that the X-3 has a service engine soon idiot light on, so I guess I need to get it to the dealer ASAP.

Thanks again,


BEn
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2010, 08:12 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Ben, by the way the -07 and later X3's do not have a dipstick! They depend on the oil sensor. Stupid? Yes it is! And while you have the car at the dealer, be sure to have the Service Advisor (SA) run your car's VIN on his/her computer to get a maintentance, repair, and service history. Since you are still under the original OEM warranty pretty much all the service/repair history will be listed because it was free. Good luck!

Last edited by UncleJ; 01-24-2010 at 08:15 AM.
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  #7  
Old 06-30-2010, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
There is a TSB (technical service bulletin) out with BMW on fixing this known problem. Since your dealer is trained to immediately deny it, say it isn't happening, or they all operate this way. The easiest way to get them to conform is to open the hood take a video with sound and present it to them.

They will then say, "Oh you are right that is not normal" and perform the TSB fixing the problem.

I have the service slip in my files if you need it to give them an additional push.

Cheers,

EE
I know this is an old post but you are right on this one. They gave me the deer in the headlights look like they had never heard this before and did not offer to look up the TSB. I suspect that if the vehicle had misbehaved in front of them they would not have been able to deny a problem. I have a video on my Blackberry now with the loud clatter but I can't be bothered with the lease ending.
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  #8  
Old 11-14-2016, 10:23 AM
RudeDog4 RudeDog4 is offline
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2007 X3 ticking noise

Hi everyone - I know this post is older.
I recently purchased a used 2007 X3 from a Mercedes dealership (was a trade-in). It has 103K miles and started hearing a constant ticking sound.

I've read on various forums it could be:
a) Valvetronic hydralic lifter noise - common in these N52/54 models
b) Fuel injector noise

Any ideas on how to determine which one it is? Outside of the annoyance, is the constant ticking noise something I should really be concerned about?

It sounds like the first thing I should try is taking to BMW dealer for an oil change to the "official" BMW-approved oil - especially because I don't know what kind of oil the previous owner used during the last oil change... Some folks seem to have seen results with changing the oil to the BMW-approved LL01. Perhaps BMW dealer can shed some light on next steps for me, but am concerned it will end up being a $$$ proposition either way.

Any thoughts? Does anyone have an idea what (a) or (b) will set me back these days?

Thanks much.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2016, 02:27 PM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RudeDog4 View Post
Hi everyone - I know this post is older.
I recently purchased a used 2007 X3 from a Mercedes dealership (was a trade-in). It has 103K miles and started hearing a constant ticking sound.

I've read on various forums it could be:
a) Valvetronic hydralic lifter noise - common in these N52/54 models
b) Fuel injector noise

Any ideas on how to determine which one it is? Outside of the annoyance, is the constant ticking noise something I should really be concerned about?

It sounds like the first thing I should try is taking to BMW dealer for an oil change to the "official" BMW-approved oil - especially because I don't know what kind of oil the previous owner used during the last oil change... Some folks seem to have seen results with changing the oil to the BMW-approved LL01. Perhaps BMW dealer can shed some light on next steps for me, but am concerned it will end up being a $$$ proposition either way.

Any thoughts? Does anyone have an idea what (a) or (b) will set me back these days?

Thanks much.
If (b) it shouldn't cost you a penny; the ticking noise from the fuel injectors is a normal thing. But if you're noticing it with the hood closed it's probably (a). My recollection was that the lifter ticking will directly follow (and still be audible) with increasing engine RPM, but the injector ticking will tend to get overshadowed by the increasing engine noises at higher RPMs -- if that makes sense. The injector sounds (to me) more like a couple pieces of plastic rapidly clicking together, but he lifter tick is a more metallic sound.

Cost for repairing (a)? Not sure myself; mine was corrected under warranty. Personally, I wouldn't let it go on indefinitely, since it could be a sign of a deeper mechanical problem; but if the vehicle sat for a while before you bought it, it could just need some driving time to correct it. The lifter tick often disappears when the vehicle gets driven regularly.

Using LL01 oil probably isn't going to make a difference; that rating applies to oil life, not lubricating capacity. But changing the oil to ensure the correct grade/a recommended brand is in the engine won't hurt anything and will at least eliminate one variable. Good luck!
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2016, 05:14 AM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Do the oil change yourself, either with the Castrol 0w-40 oil from Walmart or the BMW oil available online.

Lifter tick should go away as the engine warms up, as it is caused by the lifters bleeding down of oil when sitting. As the engine runs, they fill back up. FI tick is normal. Pop off the plastic shield and do the "screwdriver stethoscope" trick on top of the VC and near the injectors to try and discern the source of the noise.

It lifters can be done yourself, but involves pulling the cans and timing chain and resetting the timing, which if course is daunting. Mine was done under warranty, I'm not sure if there was a recall on it. However, after 100k miles and 9 years, I'm betting the lifter issue has already been addressed and you're hearing FI noise. I don't hear anything at all on N52 lifter noise anymore, compared to when I got the car 4 years ago.
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  #11  
Old 11-23-2016, 11:02 AM
RudeDog4 RudeDog4 is offline
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Update... Instead of going to the BMW dealer, I decided to go to a (very-well rated) independent euro car mechanic in the area.

We had a long discussion about motor oils - particularly the US version of "synthetics" available (not all "synthetics" are created equal). After doing some research, I was skeptical about continuing to use the LL01 0W-40 that BMW mentioned in the owner's manual simply because the following model year, the LL03 version was the "oil of choice" when the engine was virtually unchanged. When I discussed with the indy, he noted that all he uses on his BMWs is Liqui Moly, and suggested we use the LL03 5W-30 (Top Tec 4200). He also suggested only using a MANN filter given that cheaper versions allow smaller particulates increasing engine wear.

I'm an engineer by education, and while not a mechanical engineer, some of the items this mechanic mentioned made sense. If the VANOS oil pressure sensing and other elements are thrown off (cam sensing, etc) by viscosity/oil pressure, the engine might not function optimally. Given that this engine was at 100K+ miles, using a very thin oil like 0W-40 seemed like a potential culprit. Further, other folks on the forum have mentioned how Liqui Moly oil has helped with engine noise/ticking. Figured, why not give it a shot?

Just got the oil changed this morning, and I literally felt and heard the difference in the engine. After driving across town back home (about 22 miles), the ticking noise significantly lowered - the mechanic told me not to be surprised if it eventually went away with this oil. Wow... who would have thought that the oil would make that much of a difference?

If this oil (or a similar one) is indeed the solution to a number of BMW X3 performance issues, I simply don't understand why the BMW dealer would INSIST on using the 0W-40 on the 2007 X3? (maybe to "save face" on poor decisions of the past?) German engineering is like a swiss clock - so precision and exact (not just approximate) lubrication/oil pressure appears to be more important than in other vehicles. Basically, given the precise engineering, smaller tolerance ranges are in effect making it essential when trying to find the "optimal operating point" of the engine.

I will continue to monitor over the next few weeks and post again to let you know if the ticking noise did indeed go away...
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  #12  
Old 11-23-2016, 04:02 PM
russella russella is offline
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Oil can make a difference. I recently changed from Castrol to Mobil in my X3 (didn't like the sludge build up that occurred in my 325i running on Castrol for 140,000 miles) and noticed a little tappet noise when the engine was cold after the change. Doesn't happen all the time and disappears once the engine has warmed up anyway. Found a good article online that discusses the reasons for the noise and the potential fixes (where a fix is needed). I don't know if it is against the rules to post links to other sites (I did look but couldn't find any) so apologies if so, but here is the link: http://www.enginebuildermag.com/2009...ppet-problems/
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  #13  
Old 11-23-2016, 06:18 PM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Originally Posted by russella View Post
Oil can make a difference. I recently changed from Castrol to Mobil in my X3 (didn't like the sludge build up that occurred in my 325i running on Castrol for 140,000 miles) and noticed a little tappet noise when the engine was cold after the change. Doesn't happen all the time and disappears once the engine has warmed up anyway...
Curious. I've been using Mobil 1 0W40 in my X3 and haven't noticed any odd engine noises. But mine did have the lifter servicing done under warranty, so I don't know if that makes a difference...?

Frankly, I'm convinced that the more important factor in keeping an engine working properly is the frequency of the oil changes, not the particular brand of oil used. Ever since owning my first car back in 1985 I would do oil changes (conventional oil) on the 3,000-mile interval, and I've never had any kind of engine issue related to lubrication. My father had a 1984 Oldsmobile that he drove for over 300,000 miles before giving it to my brother; he changed the oil every 3,000 miles. The body was rotting away, but the engine ran like a top and never burned a drop of oil.

When using the synthetics in these later model vehicles, I've relaxed the interval to 5,000 miles on my vehicles. It may be true that the synthetics will hold up for 15,000 miles, but the filter can only clean it for so long before you're just recirculating progressively more and more dirty oil through the engine. And all I can tell you is the oil is black as coal when I drain it at 5,000 miles out of my X3 -- so I can't imagine what it would be like at 10,000 or 15,000 miles...!
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  #14  
Old 11-24-2016, 05:12 AM
abscate abscate is offline
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You can't assess oil life by looking at it. Most of the opacity comes from particles of such small size they aren't detrimental. Use Blackstone to meter your oil changes if you want to be data driven and stay off oil change interval threads.
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Old 11-24-2016, 09:25 PM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Originally Posted by abscate View Post
You can't assess oil life by looking at it. Most of the opacity comes from particles of such small size they aren't detrimental. Use Blackstone to meter your oil changes if you want to be data driven and stay off oil change interval threads.
I wasn't attempting to visually assess the life (i.e., effective viscosity) of the oil; I already stated the oil itself may have the ability to lubricate longer. But one can certainly see the dirt in the oil. Dirty oil is dirty oil. Whether it's a hundred grains of sand or a hundred thousands 'miniscule' specks of dirt, it's abrasive and will cause progressive wear over the course of time. Once the filter becomes saturated with dirt, it's effectiveness has essentially ceased and the amount of dirt flowing through the engine will simply continue to increase.

Even if my practice is erring on the side of extreme conservatism where oil life is concerned, I'll take the relatively cheap insurance of more frequent oil changes (vs. engine repairs) if for no other reason than to get the recirculating dirt out of my engine. You're certainly free to do whatever you want with your engine, though.
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  #16  
Old 11-25-2016, 02:26 AM
russella russella is offline
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Originally Posted by timfitz63 View Post
Curious. I've been using Mobil 1 0W40 in my X3 and haven't noticed any odd engine noises. But mine did have the lifter servicing done under warranty, so I don't know if that makes a difference
Mines a diesel so a different engine anyway, (although the hydraulic tappets are probably a similar design). I went from Castol 0W 30 to Mobil 5W 30 so perhaps the slightly thicker viscosity when cold is what made the difference. Referring to the article I posted a link to earlier: "Situation 1A" would suggest that as a possibility and also says that it won't do any harm over the expected life of the engine. A little tapppet noise when cold is not something Im worried about, I once had a VW that always did that and it went over 150,000 miles without any problems.
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  #17  
Old 11-25-2016, 04:39 AM
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Multi-grade oils must meet all included specifications.

Multi-grade oils must meet all included specifications, including viscosity.
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  #18  
Old 11-25-2016, 04:40 AM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Originally Posted by russella View Post
Mines a diesel so a different engine anyway, (although the hydraulic tappets are probably a similar design). I went from Castol 0W 30 to Mobil 5W 30 so perhaps the slightly thicker viscosity when cold is what made the difference. Referring to the article I posted a link to earlier: "Situation 1A" would suggest that as a possibility and also says that it won't do any harm over the expected life of the engine. A little tapppet noise when cold is not something Im worried about, I once had a VW that always did that and it went over 150,000 miles without any problems.
Ah, OK. Yeah, yours is a bit different animal. I'm not even sure the diesel version was available here in the States; I don't think it was.

It's true the 5W30 oil will not circulate quite as readily when the engine is cold -- particularly if the outside air temperatures have also been cold -- so it could have been enough to start the lifters ticking. You could try Mobil 1 0W40 at your next oil change, if it's available in your area, to see whether that resolves the ticking. I presume the ticking in your engine goes away when the engine (and oil) warms up?
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  #19  
Old 11-25-2016, 10:55 AM
44 Cents 44 Cents is offline
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I had a nasty FI tick. It drove me nuts. Frustrated, I put a whole can of Seafoam in the tank and at most, 3 gallons of gas and ran it through. Tick is completely gone. Im thinking this concentration probably isnt good for other things in the engine but I did it anyway.
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