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X5 E70 (2007 - 2013)
E70 BMW X5 produced between 2007 and 2013. Discuss the E70 X5 with other BMW owners here.

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  #1  
Old 10-26-2012, 10:36 AM
sharpgator sharpgator is offline
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2010 X5 Diesel: Thoughts on "heavy steering"

My 2010 X5 Diesel has always had "heavy" steering at low speeds. However, it was always acceptable. In the last 6 months, it has become so bad that it is really ruining my enjoyment of the car. The car feels to be in perfect alignment (confirmed by dealer). About 9 months ago, I had new tires put on at the dealership. They are the same as the ones that came on the car (Bridgestone dueler HT, 255/50/19 run-flats on all four). I have been to the dealership for this problem and was told "this is just the way all wheel drive is".

Now, here's the weird thing. When I take my car thru a car wash, my steering is better (but not great) for about an hour or so afterwards. To me, this implies some sort of lubrication effect underneath the car. I know the '12 and '12 models were recalled for some type of steering issue. Could I have it too?

I would appreciate anybody's feedback.

Is there much advantage to be gained from switching to non-run-flat tires?
What if I switched to the staggered set-up AND non-run-flats?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 10-26-2012, 11:54 AM
solstice solstice is offline
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Could be that the better grip in the new tires make the steering feel heavier and when you wash your car you have soap residue on the tires for a while. Personally I love steering with strong resistance with pronounced center weight that springs back to center when you let go of the steering wheel. I really don't like over boosted or significant variable steering that makes the steering light a low speed.
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  #3  
Old 10-26-2012, 04:35 PM
ard ard is offline
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That car wash thing is strange....

Hmmm. So I really like a solid feel. On my E39 M5 I upsized the fronts to 9.5 rims and 275/30s...and on the 996TT I run 9" rims with monster 265s up from (stock is 225). Not the est judge here for 'too heavy'! My 2010 X5D felt nice and planted, and so does the 2012.

However... I seem to recall a input to the steering box on some bmws that triggers the level of steering assist. If you are loosing that signal at low speeds, it will feel heavy- and if the car wash causes it to turn on... way long shot, but if I were you I'd search around and see if this is true for the E70

A
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  #4  
Old 10-26-2012, 10:31 PM
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ndabunka ndabunka is offline
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Ask to "test drive" a new one and see if they really all do "feel the same". If they do not, have them look into it. Ask them specifically to look at the steering control box, etc...

That the service writer drive the "test drive car" back-2-back with yours.

Another thought - You know how they weigh fruits & vegetables in the grocery? Get one of those to see (empirically) how much tension/pressure is REQUIRED to turn yours and then compare it to the pressure needed to turn the steering on the "test drive" car. Good luck & let us know how it goes.
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  #5  
Old 10-27-2012, 02:17 AM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Check the tire pressure and raise it to 38
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  #6  
Old 10-27-2012, 11:00 AM
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gresch gresch is offline
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Originally Posted by z51vette View Post
Check the tire pressure and raise it to 38
Why so high?
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  #7  
Old 10-27-2012, 01:31 PM
Ripred Ripred is offline
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Originally Posted by gresch View Post
Why so high?
It's not really high - the X5 manual states that the 19" equal-sized (front and rear) tires should have 32 psi front, 38 psi rear air pressure. But I highly doubt that the tire's pressure is causing such issue.

Last edited by Ripred; 10-27-2012 at 01:34 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-27-2012, 05:42 PM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Why so high?
Not really that high. Not sure if you have the sport pack or three rows. But you can have the front up to 41 and rear up to 48 per manual. I would keep at 38 front and 40 rear. This is a pretty good compromise. You will get better mileage on the highway with a slight increase in tire pressure and steering effort will be reduced. Try it.
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  #9  
Old 10-27-2012, 07:52 PM
ard ard is offline
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Will any of these suggestions address why the OP reports a change after the carwash FOR ABOUT AN HOUR?
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2012, 07:55 PM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Will any of these suggestions address why the OP reports a change after the carwash FOR ABOUT AN HOUR?
As someone already mentioned, the waxes and soaps used in car washes can and do affect traction. Less traction (friction) = lighter steering effort
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2012, 02:15 PM
ard ard is offline
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Originally Posted by z51vette View Post
As someone already mentioned, the waxes and soaps used in car washes can and do affect traction. Less traction (friction) = lighter steering effort
An hour later? Long time for tires to stay wet....Just sayin.
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  #12  
Old 10-28-2012, 02:56 PM
Ripred Ripred is offline
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Yea... not to mention that if the carwash is working properly there shouldn't be any significant accumulation of soap/waxes left on the wheels...
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  #13  
Old 10-28-2012, 04:28 PM
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Last edited by watrob; 10-29-2012 at 06:59 PM.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2012, 12:49 AM
xmlprgrm xmlprgrm is offline
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I love the internet. I am in the market to but an SUV. I loved the X5 but then I wasn't quite sure about the 'heavy steering'. And then I hit this forum and this thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=590228

Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me. I drove GLK and loved its wheel but am still waiting for ML. Apparently the dealer was sold out for MLs.
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  #15  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:25 AM
Ripred Ripred is offline
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Originally Posted by xmlprgrm View Post
Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me.
What's so strange? You don't believe different people should be allowed to have different preferences?
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  #16  
Old 10-29-2012, 08:53 AM
ard ard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmlprgrm View Post
I love the internet. I am in the market to but an SUV. I loved the X5 but then I wasn't quite sure about the 'heavy steering'. And then I hit this forum and this thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=590228

Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me. I drove GLK and loved its wheel but am still waiting for ML. Apparently the dealer was sold out for MLs.

So you bought the ML and not the x5 solely on the basis of what a few people have posted?? Not your own assessment?

THAT'S strange.
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  #17  
Old 10-29-2012, 09:01 AM
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gresch gresch is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmlprgrm View Post
I love the internet. I am in the market to but an SUV. I loved the X5 but then I wasn't quite sure about the 'heavy steering'. And then I hit this forum and this thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=590228

Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me. I drove GLK and loved its wheel but am still waiting for ML. Apparently the dealer was sold out for MLs.
If I can steer with one finger, a la a 1969 Chrysler, I'm not interested in the car. No road feel, no steering feel, I don't understand how people like that type of steering.

Opinions, everyone has one.
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  #18  
Old 10-29-2012, 09:53 AM
henrycyao henrycyao is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmlprgrm View Post
I love the internet. I am in the market to but an SUV. I loved the X5 but then I wasn't quite sure about the 'heavy steering'. And then I hit this forum and this thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=590228

Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me. I drove GLK and loved its wheel but am still waiting for ML. Apparently the dealer was sold out for MLs.
It really depends on what is your current car. I came from Honda Accord which had heavier steering than geo prizm. It is still lighter than the current bmw x5. It was not a huge jump. When I test drive it, it was not as heavy as I thought. Now that I got used to it, going back to accord feels strange as it is lighter.

All that will change as bmw electric steering is much lighter than current one.

I personally don't want a very light steering. A heavy steering is not a plus. I just want a precise steering. When I hold it straight, the car moves straight or the steering let me know there is something wrong. The X3 had some complaint regarding the steering under windy conditions. That was one of reason why I picked x5 over x3.

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  #19  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:14 PM
sharpgator sharpgator is offline
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Thanks for all the replies. I am headed up to the dealer now to drive a comparable car and see if there is a difference.
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  #20  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:15 PM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Originally Posted by ard View Post
An hour later? Long time for tires to stay wet....Just sayin.
It can happen. Rubber is a somewhat porous material especially the roughed up tread. The silicone waxes that are used in car washes migrate a few microns into the tread. Until that layer of rubber is worn off, traction is somewhat compromised, more so when it is not under load, biting (braking, accelerating) such as steering during normal driving. It may contribute to the perceived lighter steering feel.
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  #21  
Old 10-29-2012, 01:16 PM
z51vette z51vette is offline
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Originally Posted by sharpgator View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I am headed up to the dealer now to drive a comparable car and see if there is a difference.

don't forget to note tire make and tire pressure.
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  #22  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:35 PM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xmlprgrm View Post
I love the internet. I am in the market to but an SUV. I loved the X5 but then I wasn't quite sure about the 'heavy steering'. And then I hit this forum and this thread http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=590228

Looks like people love the heavy steering which is very strange to me. I drove GLK and loved its wheel but am still waiting for ML. Apparently the dealer was sold out for MLs.
You seem like a smart cookie. The heavy steering isn't just heavy because it can be. It's a signature BMW trait going back years, until very recently when they switched to EPS. That is what got me to buy a BMW. Perfect steering, great feedback. If you don't like it, then a BMW isn't a very good choice for you. If you like driving a couch and steering with one finger, then the ML is a perfect choice.
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  #23  
Old 10-29-2012, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henrycyao View Post

I personally don't want a very light steering. A heavy steering is not a plus. I just want a precise steering. When I hold it straight, the car moves straight or the steering let me know there is something wrong. The X3 had some complaint regarding the steering under windy conditions. That was one of reason why I picked x5 over x3.

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It feels weird trying to drive Japanese products now after my X5. My father recently got a new Toyota. I can steer the thing with one finger. No effort at all. It's pretty ridiculous


That being said, glad to see another Vermillion X5 owner on here
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