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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 02-25-2015, 08:48 AM
arcsound arcsound is offline
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Location: Richmond, VA
 
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Mein Auto: '84 325e
2003 X5 Reliability

Recently acquired an early '03 X5, pre-X-drive and pre-Bi-VANOS engine. The trans was rebuilt about 40K ago (it has almost 150K on it...but well taken care of). Can anyone give me a short list of things to expect or watch out for, regarding potential failures? Is this version inherently more reliable than the X-drive and/or Bi-VANOS version which succeeded it? Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2015, 12:50 PM
Porando Porando is online now
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Mein Auto: 2011 335i, 2004 X5 4.4L
This BMW has 12 years on its shoulders so it starts filling like a piggyback - cooling system needs to be watched - if (water pump. thermostat, coolant reservoir, hoses, maybe radiator) were not replaced for the last ~70k - would need to do it - that is their life time (cost ~$1 - 1.5k)
All electrical things you can imagine - locks, windows, and the rest - they will start giving up soon if they have not be replaced yet. ($~500 whatever fails)
Front drive shafts -CV joint rubber boots - last about 50k miles.. (about $600 - 800 for both sides as it requires taking axle apart and may need alignment after)
Control arm bushings ~ $300
Transmission. If it was replaced 40k ago it is probably good for another 20-30k before you need to replace fluid/filter.
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  #3  
Old 02-25-2015, 01:43 PM
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Scott ZHP Scott ZHP is offline
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Not sure what you mean by "pre bi-VANOS".

The M54 engine in your X5 is dual VANOS. The seals are shot by now, assuming they have never been replaced. As is the DISA, if that's never been touched (the nylon bellcrank/cam wears out).

In addition to the cooling system, you should also plan to replace the CCV and all associated hoses.
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  #4  
Old 02-26-2015, 05:42 AM
creisa creisa is offline
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Or just trade it and move away from BMW, like I shall do. For the "Ultimate Driving Machine"- a total disappointment and highly overrated vehicle/brand....
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  #5  
Old 02-26-2015, 03:33 PM
arcsound arcsound is offline
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Originally Posted by Scott ZHP View Post
Not sure what you mean by "pre bi-VANOS".

The M54 engine in your X5 is dual VANOS. The seals are shot by now, assuming they have never been replaced. As is the DISA, if that's never been touched (the nylon bellcrank/cam wears out).

In addition to the cooling system, you should also plan to replace the CCV and all associated hoses.
Thanks for responding. The Bentley manual history section describes the up to '03 motor as "singe-VANOS, M62", with just mechanical variable valve timing, but replaced for '04 model year with N62, Bi-VANOS, "Valvetronic" engine, which now utilized *both* mechanical and hydraulic camshaft control. So, based on this, I got the impression that BMW kicked up the valve train complexity to gain even more control and flexibility, but at the price of complexity. I'd like to think that my simpler M62 would be more robust....wishful thinking?

Isn't the M54 the 6-cylinder version?

So, what is the DISA? Part of the VANOS system I presume? And which engine "seals" do you refer to?

Thanks again for your insight!
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  #6  
Old 02-26-2015, 07:15 PM
mjpgolf1 mjpgolf1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcsound View Post
Thanks for responding. The Bentley manual history section describes the up to '03 motor as "singe-VANOS, M62", with just mechanical variable valve timing, but replaced for '04 model year with N62, Bi-VANOS, "Valvetronic" engine, which now utilized *both* mechanical and hydraulic camshaft control. So, based on this, I got the impression that BMW kicked up the valve train complexity to gain even more control and flexibility, but at the price of complexity. I'd like to think that my simpler M62 would be more robust....wishful thinking?



Isn't the M54 the 6-cylinder version?



So, what is the DISA? Part of the VANOS system I presume? And which engine "seals" do you refer to?



Thanks again for your insight!

You didn't specify but I'm assuming now that you bought a V8 E53. Which if that's the case you are going to be in a financial world of hurt. The M54 6cyl is a very reliable motor with issues that are usually very easy to DIY in which parts are the only out of pocket costs. While the V8 is a whole other ballgame. Very difficult to work on. Lots of oil leaks that require a ton of labor hours to fix. Vanos issues. Etc. etc. if your truck came with the factory air ride suspension then that's another very expensive system that is known for problems. All in all you have quite a bit of research to do but I always recommend the 6cyl E53s especially if the person is looking at a very high mileage truck. Good luck and welcome to V8 BMW ownership.
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2015, 07:18 PM
mjpgolf1 mjpgolf1 is offline
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Originally Posted by creisa View Post
Or just trade it and move away from BMW, like I shall do. For the "Ultimate Driving Machine"- a total disappointment and highly overrated vehicle/brand....

Not if you have the finances to properly maintain them. Bmw is a wonderful brand and delivers extremely rewarding performance. Of course it comes with a price tag. I would never recommend someone buy a used BMW under $20k without a large amount of disposable income to keep it up. If someone just buys one thinking that they can just put gas in it and drive it without issues then they are looking at the wrong car.
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