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

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  #1  
Old 01-17-2015, 03:55 PM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Three warning lights at once!

Ok, went out and drove off with no problem -- then about 400 feet down the road a chime goes off and three lights appear! The ABS, Brake, and 4x4 icon. A check of the book (when all else fails - read the manual) indicates this is a failure of the ABS/4WD system leaving only the rear drive in operation. My question to the festers is: For those of you who have experienced this in your own X3's, what was the final result? Were you able to drive (carefully of course) or should you put it out of service and flatbed the car to dealer? Deep in my hopeful mind I am thinking it might be a fuse.........! I know, wishful thinking and it will almost certainly be something expensive. Any thoughts please.

Last edited by UncleJ; 01-17-2015 at 03:57 PM.
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2015, 04:16 PM
timgray timgray is offline
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That more than likely the transfer case. Could be just a plastic gear that the dealer will refuse to fix so instead they do a $2200 actuator replacement, or they replace the whole transfer case for $4800. you need to do more diagnostics first.

read the entire thread at the top of the X3 E83 forum for the transfer case for a lot of details on how to diagnose this, http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=566880 if you are very good with tools and fixing cars you can fix the problem yourself for a lot less than what the dealer will charge.

Others will chime in with more information as well, If it's just the actuator you can drive it, but the 4X4 and other systems will not work. If it's the transfer case, then you will damage it more by driving it.

Last edited by timgray; 01-17-2015 at 04:17 PM.
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  #3  
Old 01-17-2015, 05:04 PM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Thanks Tim, good info and a well discussed subject that I had not followed before. Looks like $$$ no matter what though. Still, it did go 113K miles and that is something.
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  #4  
Old 01-17-2015, 05:54 PM
timgray timgray is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleJ View Post
Thanks Tim, good info and a well discussed subject that I had not followed before. Looks like $$$ no matter what though. Still, it did go 113K miles and that is something.
If the dealer only replaces the actuator, demand they change the Transfer case fluid. BMW falsely states the fluid is a "lifetime" fluid, It's not, it should be changed every 60,000 to 80,000 miles.
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  #5  
Old 01-17-2015, 06:14 PM
luigi524td luigi524td is online now
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Exclamation Your issue sounds vaguely familiar

Are you getting these alerts (see pics) ?

When it happened in my '07 530xi this was the diagnosis. I know my '07 wasn't an "X" SAV but it probably has a lot of closely related drive train and electronics Might be worth a closer inspection before replacing something that isn't broken.
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  #6  
Old 01-17-2015, 06:21 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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Was wondering how you were doing UncleJ.

Brake light in Red or Yellow? If yellow, looking on the bright side it could just be a random blip in the diagnostics that will right itself.

Happened to me a few times - once every couple of years. Always after travelling just a short distance - never toward the end of a drive.

My theory is that if battery is on the low side, after starting the car the charging system is working hard to replenish it, and the diagnostic signals can go haywire.

In this case, it always corrects itself on the next cold start. Maybe you are beyond that and the lights are still present?

If so, a change of transfer case fluid is certainly worth doing, as old fluid might provide clues as to anything badly worn in the box itself and narrow down the diagnosis.
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  #7  
Old 01-17-2015, 06:21 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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Delete

Last edited by Supercourse; 01-17-2015 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Duplicated post
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2015, 10:09 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Thanks guys for the responses! FYI the transfer case fluid was changed, along with the transmission and rear end fluids at the 100K mile big $$$ service. The coolant had been changed earlier at 75K miles. Unfortunately Super, the brake light is red, so I suspect the worst and it will be the actuator. I have been off the reservation of late, looking toward moving up and away from BMW. I had a feeling I had left this a little too late, and yes lo and behold -- the latest problem arises. I have become very interested in the Cayenne and will probably be moving in that direction as soon as this latest problem gets solved. I know, the repairs on those make BMW's look cheap, but hey, its a Porsche! "Pig" though it might be! Anyway thanks again for the feed back. I will miss the 'fest -- this is the best!
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2015, 04:15 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Actuator only costs $400-500, and the gear under $100, depending on where you source it (both DIY). Not too big a deal.

Porsche Cayenne? Overpriced VW Touareg
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2015, 04:16 PM
3gunshooter 3gunshooter is offline
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I got the same lights and it was steering angel sensor.
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2015, 05:18 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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^ and another possibility is the yaw sensor, as experienced by another forum member.

There is a recent tendency on this forum to immediately assume it's the transfer case and in particular the actuator gear.

But it could be any component or sensor involved in the xDrive system. A scanner capable of interrogating those modules is needed to pin it down.
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2015, 05:48 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
^ and another possibility is the yaw sensor, as experienced by another forum member.

There is a recent tendency on this forum to immediately assume it's the transfer case and in particular the actuator gear.

But it could be any component or sensor involved in the xDrive system. A scanner capable of interrogating those modules is needed to pin it down.
Quite true. In my case, it was a bad battery on the drive home from the dealer the day I bought the car, which in turn created a fault in the steering angle sensor, causing the lights.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2015, 10:44 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Well, on Tuesday I take it in to the shop and we will see what it turns out to be. I wil report back with the results. With luck it will be something cheap!
Duke - I actually looked at the T-egg (and Q7) but found the Cayenne more to my taste - overpriced though it might be. I just like the interior and the way it drives better. All subjective I know, but I am the one sitting in it.
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2015, 03:44 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Id start with voltage...


very senstive to voltage

also those lights will go off once it figures it self out.. Which it can do...

does it drive any different? I wounldnt worry so much yet
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  #15  
Old 01-20-2015, 10:04 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Well, when I went out to drive to the shop -- no lights! I drove all day, no problem, the car drove fine -- although I was not aggressive. I suspect you folks were right, it was a voltage thing and "fixed itself". Nice surprise!
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  #16  
Old 01-20-2015, 12:10 PM
timgray timgray is offline
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hurry to the dealership to trade it in before the lights come back on again. because the lights going out does not mean the problem went away, find something slippery and gun it to see if the AWD kicks in and the lights dont come back on.
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  #17  
Old 01-20-2015, 04:05 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timgray View Post
hurry to the dealership to trade it in before the lights come back on again. because the lights going out does not mean the problem went away, find something slippery and gun it to see if the AWD kicks in and the lights dont come back on.


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  #18  
Old 01-21-2015, 10:07 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Tim, you are reading my mind! I am getting it detailed and ready for quick trade right now.
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  #19  
Old 01-22-2015, 08:53 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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UncleJ, just got the terrible triad myself. First real problem in 203.000kms (besides a window drive dog).

Anyway, just need to find the actuator gear (20 bucks) I purchased a couple of months ago, just in case Where the hell did I put it?
Probably will change it on Saturday.
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  #20  
Old 01-23-2015, 05:11 AM
kenza kenza is offline
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This morning the lights went off. I did find the gear and will probably replace it tomorrow, just in case. It does not look complicated, will probably take 1-1.5hrs.
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  #21  
Old 01-23-2015, 07:34 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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But have you had the clicking sound after shutting the car off?

If not, after spending time removing the actuator and prying off the plate you might find that your gear is perfectly fine.
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  #22  
Old 01-23-2015, 10:36 AM
codog2 codog2 is offline
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Sounds about the right mileage for transfer case actuator . My 05 went at around 105k miles

I was getting the triad of lights off and on for a month or so. At first mi Indy was leaning to the transfer case actuator, but said there was a small chance it being the transfer case. After a month I was getting the tell-tale clicking at shut-off and new it the actuator

I got the car back and the indy said there was a passive code for transfer case fluid replacement. He told me to drive it around for a month and come back. I had noticed a slight grinding slow speed turns. After I changed the transfer case fluid it drove as good as new.

I just had my valve cover gasket and expansion tank replaced. Along with my rear coil springs I've got almost $3,000 into it since last april. Has been flawless prior to. Hopefully I'm over the hump and get a reprieve. Don't want another car payment

FWIW a coworker has an 05 with 200k miles on it
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  #23  
Old 01-23-2015, 03:03 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
But have you had the clicking sound after shutting the car off?

If not, after spending time removing the actuator and prying off the plate you might find that your gear is perfectly fine.
No, did not hear the clicking sound. But, have not had grease on my hands lately, so will do it anyway
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  #24  
Old 01-23-2015, 03:05 PM
kenza kenza is offline
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Originally Posted by codog2 View Post
He told me to drive it around for a month and come back. I had noticed a slight grinding slow speed turns. After I changed the transfer case fluid it drove as good as new.
I changed the T-case fluid at 200K kms (and previously at 100K), so it should not be the problem.
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  #25  
Old Yesterday, 08:53 AM
kenza kenza is offline
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Ok, it took me around an hour to replace the gear. Lights went away and did not appear during the off-road test I did.

I did not need to remove the actuator motor (opposite to some you tube videos I have seen). Just pried the plate and replaced the gear.

Here are the pics of the old gear.
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Anyway, thanks to this wonderful forum and all the people who share their experiences and thoughts!

The gear was 20 bucks, not bad
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