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

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  #1  
Old 11-28-2012, 09:05 AM
artinstead artinstead is offline
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Unhappy So why am I so afraid to drive my bimmer?

I picked up a pretty decent x3 in May of this year, described on an earlier post. Previous owners maintained it, service updates belts, hoses, fluids, etc and it runs perfect, 71000 mi, only driven it 2000 mi since I took delivery. But here's the deal, when I take a long road trip 400-500 miles I rent a car because at 70k I don't want mechanical failure of common components that typically go around that mileage to fail on a remote highway somewhere, tow it to some unscrupulous mechanic and end up renting a car anyway. The disconnect is that I don't get to show off my little black steed when I arrive at my destination.
But get this, last weekend I stay at my sons future inlaws in Boston and of course i rent a car to get there from the Buffalo area. His fiances father drives me around to show me the area and he's got a mercedes e320 7 or 8 years old like my bimmer. As we're driving I turn my head to see the mileage and he's got over 200k. so I ask how the car has been for him and he answeres that it's been a great car. Then i ask if he takes it on trips and he says he takes it everywhere. Then I'm asking myself why am I so terrified to drive my bimmer on a trip when I've got a fraction of the miles that the mercedes has.
I either need bmw owner counseling or scrap it all and get a corolla.

Last edited by artinstead; 11-28-2012 at 09:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2012, 09:21 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artinstead View Post
I picked up a pretty decent x3 in May of this year, described on an earlier post. Previous owners maintained it, service updates belts, hoses, fluids, etc and it runs perfect, 71000 mi, only driven it 2000 mi since I took delivery. But here's the deal, when I take a long road trip 400-500 miles I rent a car because at 70k I don't want mechanical failure of common components that typically go around that mileage to fail on a remote highway somewhere, tow it to some unscrupulous mechanic and end up renting a car anyway. The disconnect is that I don't get to show off my little black steed when I arrive at my destination.
But get this, last weekend I stay at my sons future inlaws in Boston and of course i rent a car to get there from the Buffalo area. His fiances father drives me around to show me the area and he's got a mercedes e320 7 or 8 years old like my bimmer. As we're driving I turn my head to see the mileage and he's got over 200k. so I ask how the car has been for him and he answeres that it's been a great car. Then i ask if he takes it on trips and he says he takes it everywhere. Then I'm asking myself why am I so terrified to drive my bimmer on a trip when I've got a fraction of the miles that the mercedes has.
I either need bmw owner counseling or scrap it all and get a corolla.
We have 101,400 miles on our 2009. My wife and I are retired, drive it everywhere, and it has never let us down. Just do like we do and keep a credit card with plenty of available credit on it in the car and don't worry about it.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:03 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is online now
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The best thing (besides keeping up with reasonable preventative maintenance items) is to be educated about the systems in your car, and how they behave and misbehave. That way if you ever have an issue on the road, you're not totally at the mercy of, as you said, an unscrupulous mechanic somewhere. A code scanner and a bimmerfest app, coupled with a reasonable working knowledge of your car, should get you pretty far if you ever have an issue away from home.

That, or don't drive a 7 year old car if it makes you nervous.
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Last edited by 1972ford; 11-28-2012 at 10:04 AM.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:33 AM
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I think/hope following these suggestions may bring you peace of mind:

1. Get a AAA upgraded towing coverage (or whatever they call it, the one that will cover you for long distance towing in case the car is disabled) or get a towing coverage add-on on your car insurance policy. Then you will be able to tow it to a mechanic of your choice or a nearest dealership.

2. Before going on a long trip, take it to your mechanic for a trip inspection (or do it yourself). Some mechanics would do it free of charge.

3. Learn to listen and recognize unusual noises or handling and do regular maintenance.
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:48 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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My advice, just drive it

Seriously though, there are a quite a few of us on here with high miles and we use them as daily drivers.

The current record (that has been reported) is an 05 used as a super commuter...owner finely sold earlier this year...approx 210k miles and he reported no major issues. You can read his log in the milage thread here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=291640

I also use my 09 as a super commuter and regularly drive it to LA for work (900 mile round trip). I have zero concern of it breaking down and I am currently at 103k miles.

Now part of what eliminates my concern is the following:

1) I have had multiple cars over the years that have gotten 200k plus miles (one with 300k) and have only had 1 instance where my car broke down during my daily 200 mile commute. Meaning this kind of failure is EXTREMELY rare.

2) I over maintain my cars so I have a feel for how they are wearing.

My recommendation to you is that you know the common failure points on the m54 motor. They are:

Cooling system/expansion tank failure

Intake boot cracking

Ccv wearing out

Disa value and the 4 hoses cracking

Valve cover and oil filter housing gasket leaking

Of those common problems only the cooling system will leave you on the side of the road. Most of the others will give you "advanced" notice with a CEL. The leaking gaskets are just annoying at first but could foul spark plugs if left alone.

Back to my original advice...just change the oil and fluids regularly and drive it! It is meant to be enjoyed!

Last edited by x3brian; 11-28-2012 at 11:25 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2012, 12:02 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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There's an irony here: Artinstead, you say that you're afraid to drive the car on long trips because you don't want it to break down; however, the long trips are the easiest on the vehicle. In fact, you are much more likely to break down and incur repair costs driving the vehicle around town than on a 500 mile trip. Stop and go traffic is very hard on a vehicle; its also part of the reason you don't get as good as gas mileage. Likewise, all the parts in your car work better together when they're warmed up and in the continuous motion of a longer trip.

Personally, from all of my years driving multiple cars, I honestly think the only time I ever had a problem on a long trip was a flat tire. I wish I had a dollar for every time I sprung a coolant leak or the transmission went out or whatever else just a mile from home though. And don't be concerned about the age or mileage of your X3; today's cars are literally designed to last a quarter million miles; 100k miles is no longer considered high mileage.
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Last edited by halltristan; 11-28-2012 at 12:05 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-28-2012, 12:39 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invariant View Post
1. Get a AAA upgraded towing coverage (or whatever they call it, the one that will cover you for long distance towing in case the car is disabled) or get a towing coverage add-on on your car insurance policy. Then you will be able to tow it to a mechanic of your choice or a nearest dealership.
+1

For us belt and suspender types:

I have AAA "Premium" coverage which gives me a 200 mile tow to the shop of my choice.

I also switched my auto insurance from AAA to Liberty Mutual which has a BMW insurance package. Besides the assurance that any repairs will be made with OEM BMW parts (the main reason I switched to Liberty), they offer towing to the nearest BMW center. Looking at my map there are sections of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming where that could be 300 - 400+ miles away. Though I haven't traveled in any of those states recently, I have been in areas of Eastern and Southern California where the nearest dealer is more than 200 miles away. The cost of the towing coverage is only $4/year!

Fortunately I haven't had to use the towing service at all. But this coverage, admittedly duplicative and possibly excessive, gives me peace of mind.
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  #8  
Old 11-28-2012, 02:59 PM
artinstead artinstead is offline
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Thanks all, I'm feeling a bit more confident after reading the responses. One thing bothers me though. At 70 mph the 2.5 engine is running 3k rpms in 6th gear mt. I didn't think any consequence of this until I drove a rented malibu 4 cyl which at 70 mph was running 2k rpms, that means the bmw requires 30% more effort at that speed and also using 91 octane instead of the bargain fuel. And who does a paltry 70 on the interstates? Keeping up with traffic I'm probably gonna run in excess of 4k rpms for several hours. I'm sure bmw is designed for it but I was just surprised at how much less the chevy 4banger has to work.
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  #9  
Old 11-28-2012, 06:09 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artinstead View Post
Thanks all, I'm feeling a bit more confident after reading the responses. One thing bothers me though. At 70 mph the 2.5 engine is running 3k rpms in 6th gear mt. I didn't think any consequence of this until I drove a rented malibu 4 cyl which at 70 mph was running 2k rpms, that means the bmw requires 30% more effort at that speed and also using 91 octane instead of the bargain fuel. And who does a paltry 70 on the interstates? Keeping up with traffic I'm probably gonna run in excess of 4k rpms for several hours. I'm sure bmw is designed for it but I was just surprised at how much less the chevy 4banger has to work.
Many Amercan cars are geared too tall for realistic use in order to achieve good numbers on the EPA test cycle. BMW gets its gear ratios right; given the torque curve and weight, the gear ratio allows the X3 to better maintain speed up moderate gradients and overtake vehicles. In American and Japanese cars, this often entails a downshift or two in order to achieve the desired effect.

So it's not really "The Malibu works 30% less to maintain speed", its more "GM engineers may have geared it too tall and compromised real world performance"

In addition, BMW gear ratios are engineered so that there is a mostly uninterrupted flow of acceleration from 0-250km/h, i.e minimsing gaps where the revs fall below the powerband. I used to wonder about the gaps in the 6-speed AT in my mother's 325i, until I did my first hard run in it and understood that gears 3-4-5 allow good acceleration in the 130-230km/h (81-140mph) range without too much a drop between gears.

My X3 has over 227.000km (141,5k mls) on the clock and I continue to put more all the time without thinking twice. It sees prolonged periods of speeds >130km/h (81mph) almost every weekend and redline every so often, and I never worry about a mechanical failure. I've maintained it well, it's been good to me, and I don't see why anything should go seriously wrong on a roadtrip as long as I don't abuse it and do appropriate maintenance. High revs just aren't a bad thing in these vehicles; it's usually the babied vehicles (i.e never above 4k, ever) that see problems IMO.
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Last edited by AzNMpower32; 11-28-2012 at 06:10 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-28-2012, 10:24 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
High revs just aren't a bad thing in these vehicles;
Its actually healthy to rev up the engine every so often. It helps clean out excess carbon. Just don't do it for five minutes straight or when the engine is cold.
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2012, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artinstead View Post
Thanks all, I'm feeling a bit more confident after reading the responses. One thing bothers me though. At 70 mph the 2.5 engine is running 3k rpms in 6th gear mt. I didn't think any consequence of this until I drove a rented malibu 4 cyl which at 70 mph was running 2k rpms, that means the bmw requires 30% more effort at that speed and also using 91 octane instead of the bargain fuel. And who does a paltry 70 on the interstates? Keeping up with traffic I'm probably gonna run in excess of 4k rpms for several hours. I'm sure bmw is designed for it but I was just surprised at how much less the chevy 4banger has to work.
I dont know why u make such comparison. I'm not car professional, I just know how to drive, but in my eyes, Malibu doesn't look like a medium size SUV and X3 is not a compact sedan either. Weight, size.
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Last edited by reytran; 11-29-2012 at 02:36 AM.
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  #12  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:04 AM
artinstead artinstead is offline
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Thankyou. Respectful and knowledgeable forum here. I buy bmws because of the engines, especially when coupled with a manual trans, pure excitement. I had a '98 328 and now this x3 I bought for the space. Both times I only had to turn the key and rev them and they were sold.
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2012, 02:39 AM
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reytran reytran is offline
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I'm in the market looking for a daily drive SUV. This and the E53 have amazingly high miles. Even the dealer in Beverly hills selling one with 245,000 miles on it. Basically you don't have to worry. I checked with the E53 forum awhile ago, they said their maximum maintenance and fixing bill for their decade old car is maximum 1,500 a year. That doesn't sound crazy to me since these SUV is born to be driven as much as possible.

Last edited by reytran; 11-29-2012 at 03:02 AM.
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  #14  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:36 AM
usaret usaret is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artinstead View Post
Thanks all, I'm feeling a bit more confident after reading the responses. One thing bothers me though. At 70 mph the 2.5 engine is running 3k rpms in 6th gear mt. I didn't think any consequence of this until I drove a rented malibu 4 cyl which at 70 mph was running 2k rpms, that means the bmw requires 30% more effort at that speed and also using 91 octane instead of the bargain fuel. And who does a paltry 70 on the interstates? Keeping up with traffic I'm probably gonna run in excess of 4k rpms for several hours. I'm sure bmw is designed for it but I was just surprised at how much less the chevy 4banger has to work.
GM's are typically geared to cruise at the edge of "lugging" the engine which admittedly produces good flat highway mileage. That's what many GM buyers fixates on even when the average car will be driven more in light to light traffic (much like they fixate on the 100,000 miles of a 5 year PT warranty). BMW's are geared to cruise along smoothly and be able to accelerate easily without a lot of fuss and downshifting. Take that same Malibu to the mountains and it will bump in and out of high gear so much that you'll find yourself having pulling it down a gear where it will tach higher than the BMW. My X3 will pull most mountain grades with ease and with no downshifting.
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:11 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Drive it and enjoy it. You can be left by the side of the road just as easily in a new car as an older one. I have 87K on my '06 and take long trips virtually every week end to Tahoe, or Mendocino, or Santa Barbara and don't think twice about it. Just gas it up, check the oil (we still have a dipstick), tires and go. Sometimes, I don't even do that! I do not however drive it to a Starbucks! As far as the Mailbu goes, it is what it is, and provides decent transportation for rental users. Chevy does make some exciting cars, but they are not Mailibus -- Cameros and Corvettes will have absolutely no trouble getting up any hills you choose to climb. Either will their SUVs.
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:06 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Cameros and Corvettes will have absolutely no trouble getting up any hills you choose to climb. Either will their SUVs.
I suspect you're right about the two sports cars but my dad's 2001 Tahoe will not pull Cabbage Hill without dropping out of OD. My X3 will do it in 6th, on cruise control, with ease.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:32 PM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Lol neither would my dads 2008 Sierra with the 5 liter and 4l60e!

Funny story...I leant him my x3 and 3 days later the Sierra was traded in for a new 2012 x3...at least his build month still has our n52 motor. I would kill for his 8 sp ZF tranny though. That thing shifts insanely fast....once he got the right software installed....oh BMW....same story different chasis.

Last edited by x3brian; 11-29-2012 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:01 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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Originally Posted by x3brian View Post
Lol neither would my dads 2008 Sierra with the 5 liter and 4l60e!

Funny story...I leant him my x3 and 3 days later the Sierra was traded in for a new 2012 x3...at least his build month still has our n52 motor. I would kill for his 8 sp ZF tranny though. That thing shifts insanely fast....once he got the right software installed....oh BMW....same story different chasis.
My dad had kind of the same reaction but tows a big travel trailer with his Tahoe so an X3 is out of the question. I'm absolutely flabbergasted with the N52. I know it's not what BMW wants to hear but I don't see myself ever getting rid of my X3. It's hands down the best overall vehicle I have ever owned.
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by usaret View Post
I suspect you're right about the two sports cars but my dad's 2001 Tahoe will not pull Cabbage Hill without dropping out of OD. My X3 will do it in 6th, on cruise control, with ease.
The (somewhat ancient) 2,5 litre in my X3 changes down at a whim on the slightest incline but I suspect all of us 2,5i owners already know this.

On autobahn sections I usually lock it into 5th gear. I give the X3 and the EGS (AT gearbox software) credit for effort, but I don't generally don't need much acceleration when going uphill......it otherwise changes down 5-4 even when I'm going 140-160km/h up an incline. Realistically, 4750rpm isn't really necessary (and it's just even more thirsty)
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Old 12-01-2012, 07:54 AM
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On a fairly regular 400 mile trip I make I often rent a $9.99 Enterprise weekend rental. At 50 cents a mile driving my ride would cost $200 in wear and tear, deprectiation etc. Even backing out the fuel cost I still am way ahead of the game.
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  #21  
Old 12-02-2012, 08:11 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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You do know that most insurance companies will sneak roadside service onto your monthly bill if you dont say no. GEICO will automatically put it on the minute you call to tell them you have a new car.

I had to argue one time with the rep asking what good does their added roadside service do me when BMW covered everything including properly flat-bedding mine if necessary.

Did the same thing to my wife and she had toe to toe coverage on her Mini-Cooper S.
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  #22  
Old 12-03-2012, 10:59 AM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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I had to argue one time with the rep asking what good does their added roadside service do me when BMW covered everything including properly flat-bedding mine if necessary.
I'll have to double check, but I think my BMW coverage ran out after my OEM warranty ran out. So I'm more than willing to pay $4/year for equivalent coverage.
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Old 12-03-2012, 02:41 PM
usaret usaret is offline
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You do know that most insurance companies will sneak roadside service onto your monthly bill if you dont say no. GEICO will automatically put it on the minute you call to tell them you have a new car.
+1

I have BMW Performance Insurance and after my roadside assist that came with the car ran out I called my agent to see how much it would be to add it on. He said I already had it. Since it doesn't show as a separate line item I'm assuming it's standard with that policy. I also have towing and labor as a separate line item that only cost's $6.00 annually.

Quote:
We'll also tow your vehicle to the nearest BMW center for repairs if you purchase optional Towing and Labor coverage (subject to policy limits)2.
Quote:
2 With the purchase of Towing & Labor coverage. Applies to mechanical breakdowns and disablements. Does not apply to accidents where collision or comprehensive coverage applies.

Last edited by usaret; 12-03-2012 at 02:47 PM.
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  #24  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:30 PM
spokelizard spokelizard is offline
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I'll have to double check, but I think my BMW coverage ran out after my OEM warranty ran out. So I'm more than willing to pay $4/year for equivalent coverage.
Quoting myself here.

I double checked and I actually do have BMW Roadside Assistance as part of my CPO. But the catch is apparently it covers towing for mechanical breakdown only if the breakdown is covered under the CPO. So I think my $4/yr coverage via my insurance carrier is broader than that, no complaint about paying for it as well.
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