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

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  #1  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:20 AM
TheMajor64 TheMajor64 is offline
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X3 Tyre Make Is Critical

Had a really bad transmission knocking for ages (2005 X3 3.0d M Sport - manual).....starting at the transfer box and going into the diffs.
After visits to several garages and 2 BMW main dealers it turn out that the tyres are critical. I had the correct tyres sizes fitted so the rolling radius was OK but the BMW technician told me that the X3 is very sensitive regarding the tyres and the 4 wheel drive calibration.
To cut a very long story short BMW have calibrated the entire 4 wheel drive system on Dunlop SP01's, Pirelli Scorpions but failed to mention any other premium brands - non premium brands would certainly not be compatible.
'Incorrect' tyres have different friction rates and throw the electronics into chaos causing false signals being sent to the stepper motor on the transfer box.
The details of the tyres specs have been kept to BMW main dealers and is not common knowledge with 3rd party tyre fitters so I have asked BMW to come clean and provide me with a specific list of tyres that are compatible.
The factory fit is Dunlop SP01 - since fitting these I have had no problems.
Will post up the list if ever they release it.

Please review this when considering replacing tyres on an X3
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  #2  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:37 AM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Do a search on "transfer case" and "mismatched tyres" (well, okay "tires")- it's been noted by many in the years past in multiple countries and some folks learned the hard way. The X3s do seem particular to tires and such. It seems like Michelin all-season tyres are popular in the US and many here have switched to those without catastrophe. For the past 37.000 miles (60.000km) or so I've run with the ContiCrossContact UHP which isn't OEM on the X3 specifically but is used on various other European vehicles as Original Equipment so that's another one that won't make the transfer case implode.
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  #3  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:39 AM
Frenchx3 Frenchx3 is offline
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No disrespect intended but, I have a really hard time buying this theory... If the rolling radius of the tire is the same and it is, for lack of a better description, round I don't see how the heck it would matter what brand tire is mounted... If you follow the smoke and mirrors explanation that the BMW techs are giving you the X3 would perform equally poor in slippery road conditions where one wheel might be spinning faster than others because of ice, snow, sand, etc... but we know that they actually perform very well. If you, lets say, had different sized tires mounted on the front than on the rear I could see where that would wreak havoc with the X-drive system since the transfer case inputs would not be synchronized..... Other than that I think someone is trying to shove some expensive tires down your throat. For what it's worth I have run 3 different brands of tires on my X3...not high end tires mind you, and have had no issues. I suspect the real issue was in your transfer case or tranny, both of which can be "re-programmed" to address various issues such as clutch wear in the x drive for instance.
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  #4  
Old 06-22-2012, 10:42 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Amazing! I had no idea that in the UK tire brands were so critical to the X3! Thankfully here in the US no such problem exists -- or at least I have never heard or read about it. I changed my OEM 18" Scorpions for Michelin Pilot Sport Plus 40K plus miles ago and have no problems at all. The excellent resource site at tirerack does not mention any X3 problem between different brands of the same size that I have seen either. I wonder if perhaps the wrench was blowing a little smoke to steer you into a high margin purchase? No, they would never do that!
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  #5  
Old 06-22-2012, 11:22 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMajor64 View Post
Will post up the list if ever they release it.
Don't really need them to release a list - your BMW tech. is just referring to the 4 "starred" tires that could be fitted to the X3 on initial delivery.

That is, they have a star symbol integrated into the mould on the sidewall,
indicating that BMW have tested that tire model on the X3 during suspension design and found them to work O.K.

Don't think you can buy replacements with that star on them anywhere else but a dealer.

And the same tire without a star from a tire shop is more than likely identical in every other respect.

This thread describes the 4 "approved" tires:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...60&postcount=1

Don't think the Conti should be on that list, but there is probably no physical reason why it should not be - other reasons at play.

There are a number of other tires that could work just as well, or better, than the originals.

In fact, the Bridgestone didn't work too well at all.

Similarly, there are other tires that for whatever reason don't seem to work well with the X3.

You can buy into the star story and feel assured, or you can save a bit of money and get something else after checking collective experience on this forum.
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  #6  
Old 06-22-2012, 01:05 PM
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I am not so sure about brand but tires that are near the end of their useful life do tend to cause issues for whatever reason.
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  #7  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:34 PM
gp500 gp500 is offline
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Remember that the X3 had an option for 19" staggered wheels. 235/45-19 front and 255/40-19 rear. That's a 1% difference in diameter, or 3.75mm difference in sidewall height. Now if that's acceptable, I just cannot understand how unapproved, but equallly sized tires should destroy the transfer case.

Last edited by gp500; 06-22-2012 at 02:35 PM.
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  #8  
Old 06-22-2012, 02:42 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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I just replaced all four of my original 17" STR's with the exact same tire from http://discounttires.com/product_det...E=&prodID=2722 .

They were identical in every way to the tires that came on it from the factory.... Right down to being made in Germany as well as having the BMW star.
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  #9  
Old 06-22-2012, 09:52 PM
ioannis214 ioannis214 is offline
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Recently changed the tyres onto a set of pirelli scoprions (not the str) wth no star embedded on them and the car drives smoother than the old set. Dimensions are the original and I also agree if the tyre dimensions are correct the car will not have any problems!
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  #10  
Old 06-23-2012, 07:54 PM
todd92 todd92 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMajor64 View Post
Had a really bad transmission knocking for ages (2005 X3 3.0d M Sport - manual).....starting at the transfer box and going into the diffs.
After visits to several garages and 2 BMW main dealers it turn out that the tyres are critical. I had the correct tyres sizes fitted so the rolling radius was OK but the BMW technician told me that the X3 is very sensitive regarding the tyres and the 4 wheel drive calibration.
To cut a very long story short BMW have calibrated the entire 4 wheel drive system on Dunlop SP01's, Pirelli Scorpions but failed to mention any other premium brands - non premium brands would certainly not be compatible.
'Incorrect' tyres have different friction rates and throw the electronics into chaos causing false signals being sent to the stepper motor on the transfer box.
The details of the tyres specs have been kept to BMW main dealers and is not common knowledge with 3rd party tyre fitters so I have asked BMW to come clean and provide me with a specific list of tyres that are compatible.
The factory fit is Dunlop SP01 - since fitting these I have had no problems.
Will post up the list if ever they release it.

Please review this when considering replacing tyres on an X3
Nonsense.
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  #11  
Old 06-23-2012, 09:16 PM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Don't really need them to release a list - your BMW tech. is just referring to the 4 "starred" tires that could be fitted to the X3 on initial delivery.

That is, they have a star symbol integrated into the mould on the sidewall,
indicating that BMW have tested that tire model on the X3 during suspension design and found them to work O.K.

Don't think you can buy replacements with that star on them anywhere else but a dealer.
I am not sure about your choices in the Canadian market. I bought my last set of tires (tyres) at Discount Tire, which is a chain mostly in the southwestern US. My tires are the Pirelli Scorpions, and have the star symbol, so they are approved by BMW. I paid substantially less than I would have at the BMW dealer.

I think Tire Rack also handles BMW-specific tires.

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  #12  
Old 06-23-2012, 10:07 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinweiss View Post
I am not sure about your choices in the Canadian market. I bought my last set of tires (tyres) at Discount Tire, which is a chain mostly in the southwestern US. My tires are the Pirelli Scorpions, and have the star symbol, so they are approved by BMW. I paid substantially less than I would have at the BMW dealer.

I think Tire Rack also handles BMW-specific tires.
Yes, I was probably jumping to conclusions. Makes sense that they wouldn't create a mould specifically for BMW, or Mercedes, etc.

And Honda owners who buy Pirelli Scorpion STRs for their Ridgeline, or whatever, wouldn't even notice the star or wonder what it means.

Here's some explanation I found on these "approved" tires from a Conti site:
These tires differ slightly from tires without the additional code.
MO tires, for example, are produced to Mercedes specifications, while Porsche-approved tires are labelled N0 – N 4.
Tires approved by Jaguar are identifiable as such by a “J”.
The tires that BMW fits on the cars at its factories are identified by a small star.
The designation “R01” can be found on tires for Audi Quattro GmbH.
Tires with such identifiers can, however, also be fitted on other vehicles.


Don't believe the first line, but the rest is useful info.

Stars aside, I think there is general agreement on what is the real issue here.
xDrive is touchy about markedly different tread depths, front to rear, and certainly on the same axle.
And differing tire makes or models front to rear on an X3 should definitely be avoided.

Staggered setups on an X3 are likely pushing the xDrive envelope, and need extra thought when buying aftermarket replacements.
(Because stated tire sizes are only an approximation of width and height and can vary between brands and models.)
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2012, 03:34 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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For a company founded on technical expertise and engineering objectivity I hear more voodoo science from BMW SA then I have ever heard anywhere else.

When I had problems with my 2007 AT, one tech said that it was due to the stereo I installed. Fortunately, I had scoped the electrical system before and after and had hard evidence that he was full of it.

I told him and the other idiots that were trying to pass that off as the reason for the faulty transmission that if their vehicle designs were so susceptible to the slightest change in voltage or current it would have a rough time during an electrically charged atmosphere during a storm and I would pursue returning the car completely.

Seriously, the answers they give out for problems would be comical if they were not actually trying to make people believe it.

I have found over the years that BMW's are pretty good cars and would be better if BMW's staff would stop trying to bull**** their way through things and actually troubleshoot a problem like most engineers. It worked before, it doesn't work now, what has changed. Very simple process.
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  #14  
Old 06-26-2012, 08:36 AM
Frenchx3 Frenchx3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
When I had problems with my 2007 AT, one tech said that it was due to the stereo I installed. Fortunately, I had scoped the electrical system before and after and had hard evidence that he was full of it.
Now THAT's funny... We should start a thread to log all of these ridiculous diagnoses given by half trained BMW "Technicians"
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  #15  
Old 06-29-2012, 05:09 AM
murderland murderland is offline
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i'm running nitto crosstek cuvs on my x3, no problems yet *knock on wood*

not as much grip as my old continental pro contacts but it does the job
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  #16  
Old 08-10-2012, 02:39 PM
IEX3 IEX3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp500 View Post
Remember that the X3 had an option for 19" staggered wheels. 235/45-19 front and 255/40-19 rear. That's a 1% difference in diameter, or 3.75mm difference in sidewall height. Now if that's acceptable, I just cannot understand how unapproved, but equallly sized tires should destroy the transfer case.
According to my '05 owner's manual, they also allowed for a 235/50-18 front with 255/45-18 rear, a little less than 1% difference (27.25 inches versus 27.03). I believe I'm going with this set up on my next set of tires.
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