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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 12-04-2012, 01:09 PM
JDCLibby77 JDCLibby77 is offline
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Self leveling suspension with third row seating

What effect on handling and ride will this self leveling air suspension have as compared to an X5 without the third row seat option?
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2012, 01:36 PM
BimmerX5D BimmerX5D is offline
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in my opinion the "self leveling suspension" is only useful to adjust the ground clearance by adjusting the height of the suspension if there is load in the trunk. If you dont have 3rd row and will not use it for towing then I dont think it is of any use. Adaptive drive will effect your ride for sure.
Some say SLS is standard on X5M and X5D but I am not sure. This thread has some information

http://www.xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-foru...need-help.html
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2012, 03:47 PM
X5 35d X5 35d is offline
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I find it hard to believe rear air shocks won't affect the ride quality vs springs. Maybe not in cornering, but I bet you'd discern a noticeable difference on rough pavement (less bucking/bouncing from the rear springs).

I ordered mine with the 3rd Row Package because I'll be towing a 4500 pound boat up and down big mountain passes in the summer and the self-leveling suspension gives me piece of mind.

I have full self-leveling, height adjustable air suspension in my LR4 and absolutely love it--I will never go back to a fully sprung SUV or truck again. The ride quality on air shocks is sublime.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2012, 04:00 PM
BimmerX5D BimmerX5D is offline
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because it is only self "leveling" suspension which means it only adjusts height. It does not do anything to the firmness or shocks. If you want adjusting or adapting firmness based on the road conditions then "Adaptive drive" is the options to go with.
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  #5  
Old 12-04-2012, 04:34 PM
JDCLibby77 JDCLibby77 is offline
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just what I was lookign for.

Thanks guys.
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  #6  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:34 PM
X5 35d X5 35d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerX5D View Post
because it is only self "leveling" suspension which means it only adjusts height. It does not do anything to the firmness or shocks. If you want adjusting or adapting firmness based on the road conditions then "Adaptive drive" is the options to go with.
From the owners manual: [in addition to height compensation due to heavy loads] "spring motions resulting from cornering or irregularities in the road surface are reduced to a minimum."

In other words, it rides better than the standard springs....it's NOT just height adjustment.
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  #7  
Old 12-04-2012, 10:50 PM
henrycyao henrycyao is offline
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There was an old post on this forum about the self leveling suspension. Basically, it works by optimally set your suspension where it was designed for. I got third row for exactly that reason. For some odd reason, my nephew loved it and always want to sit in the back.

Here is the ZF video for that.
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  #8  
Old 12-04-2012, 11:53 PM
ard ard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5 35d View Post
From the owners manual: [in addition to height compensation due to heavy loads] "spring motions resulting from cornering or irregularities in the road surface are reduced to a minimum."

In other words, it rides better than the standard springs....it's NOT just height adjustment.
Thats 'proof'????

Not IMO
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:52 AM
arrivederci arrivederci is offline
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Interesting info about how this system works in the video above. I also have an Audi allroad with air suspension...which uses a separate compressor and operates much differently than that video would have one believe. The Audi system is notorious for failures and wear/tear every 80K miles. I've had better luck with the lexus/toyota air suspension system.

Looking at the parts diagrams below, something doesn't match up with the video. They look like totally different systems.

Some approx prices just so that you know what you are getting into if you ever had to pay for replacement/repairs:

conventional OEM rear shock - $220
self leveling OEM rear shock - $500
adaptive drive, self leveling OEM rear shock - $1100

Last edited by arrivederci; 12-05-2012 at 11:21 AM. Reason: Inaccurate info deleted
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  #10  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:46 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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Range Rover and others have spawned a "cottage industry" making steel spring replacement kits for the air suspension system because the failures were pervasive I would pass unless I was leasing and turning in the car before warranty expired on any air suspension set up.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:16 AM
smyles smyles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrivederci View Post
On the BMW, it uses a physical spring...
no it's not.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:56 AM
jashearer jashearer is offline
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See if that works, its the diagram from real-oem, which clearly shows it is 2 air bags instead of mechanical springs.

If you don't think that has a different set of ride/handling characteristics you are crazy.

Jay
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  #13  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:58 AM
jashearer jashearer is offline
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I'm also assuming the bags aren't just supplemental... which they may be, in which case nothing has changed, I'm an idoit...

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  #14  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:17 AM
arrivederci arrivederci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jashearer View Post


See if that works, its the diagram from real-oem, which clearly shows it is 2 air bags instead of mechanical springs.

If you don't think that has a different set of ride/handling characteristics you are crazy.

Jay
I was wrong -- will edit my post to reflect it. I was looking at the wrong parts diagram. The BMW system is much like the Audi, Lexus, VW, and Range Rover systems with a dedicated compressor and true air springs.

I think the video above is describing a different system. The systems with a built in compressor don't use the motion of the vehicle to pump it up. They are usually active.

Last edited by arrivederci; 12-05-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:38 AM
henrycyao henrycyao is offline
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The video is not meant to show what bmw does, but the benefits of self level suspension. In BMW site, they do list this as air suspension. I have read post regarding failure of it. So I suspect it is as problematic as other vendors.

I have sat in cars with suspension compressed due to weight. It does make a difference. Now this applies to a Chrysler minivan. Perhaps the BMW does it better. I can't see how you can beat the problem of compressed spring? May be I am totally off the mark.

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  #16  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:49 PM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henrycyao View Post
There was an old post on this forum about the self leveling suspension. Basically, it works by optimally set your suspension where it was designed for. I got third row for exactly that reason. For some odd reason, my nephew loved it and always want to sit in the back.
Bad move, you would have gotten self leveling anyway with purchasing adaptive drive. Mine has self leveling and no 3rd row
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:15 PM
X5 35d X5 35d is offline
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Originally Posted by Kar Don View Post
Bad move, you would have gotten self leveling anyway with purchasing adaptive drive. Mine has self leveling and no 3rd row
Only on the 50i. I have the order sheet from my dealer and the only way to get self leveling on the 35d and 35i is with 3rd row.

I had a first gen 350z that had horribly calibrated rear springs which made the rear end literally porpoise up and down on uneven pavement or road expansion joints. Many owners at the time were going to full aftermarket air suspension set-ups to get rid of it since none of the 3rd party guys had figured out how to dial out the bounce in their own springs yet without sacrificing ride quality.

Air suspension handles night and day from spring/shock set-ups. It doesn't continue bouncing/rebound after hitting a bump like springs do.

Granted BMWs are so dialed there's probably not that much difference in the ride, but here in Northern Cal with our crappy freeways, ill take the chance!

Last edited by X5 35d; 12-05-2012 at 02:20 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:22 PM
arrivederci arrivederci is offline
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My order has the self-leveling listed. I asked about it during the test drive but didn't explicitly ask for it. Note the lack of 3rd row.

Also, an air spring is a spring that can bounce/rebound every bit as badly as anything else. When it isn't properly dampened by a well tuned shock absorber, you'll get exactly what you are talking about regardless of air or conventional spring.
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Last edited by arrivederci; 12-05-2012 at 02:27 PM.
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  #19  
Old 12-05-2012, 04:40 PM
henrycyao henrycyao is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar Don View Post
Bad move, you would have gotten self leveling anyway with purchasing adaptive drive. Mine has self leveling and no 3rd row
It's okay. Turns out my nephew loved it so much that he sits in that row all the time and do that in their MDX. Next time I will do more careful study.

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  #20  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:23 PM
arrivederci arrivederci is offline
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Originally Posted by henrycyao View Post
It's okay. Turns out my nephew loved it so much that he sits in that row all the time and do that in their MDX. Next time I will do more careful study.

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From the threads I've found by searching, it seems that there is lots of variation -- many people don't have it and it isn't clear what else may trigger it other than 3rd row. Again, it is N/C on my order and I didn't tell my dealer to put it on the order.
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  #21  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:31 PM
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finnbmw finnbmw is offline
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Sport Activity Pkg?
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  #22  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:35 PM
arrivederci arrivederci is offline
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Originally Posted by finnbmw View Post
Sport Activity Pkg?
Could be...thus the deletion of 'sports suspension' with the SAP.
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  #23  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:19 AM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by X5 35d View Post
Only on the 50i. I have the order sheet from my dealer and the only way to get self leveling on the 35d and 35i is with 3rd row.

I had a first gen 350z that had horribly calibrated rear springs which made the rear end literally porpoise up and down on uneven pavement or road expansion joints. Many owners at the time were going to full aftermarket air suspension set-ups to get rid of it since none of the 3rd party guys had figured out how to dial out the bounce in their own springs yet without sacrificing ride quality.

Air suspension handles night and day from spring/shock set-ups. It doesn't continue bouncing/rebound after hitting a bump like springs do.

Granted BMWs are so dialed there's probably not that much difference in the ride, but here in Northern Cal with our crappy freeways, ill take the chance!
Incorrect, I have a 35d with AD, self level and no 3rd row. Confirmed the code on my build sheet and looked under the car, def have self level.
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  #24  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:21 AM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arrivederci View Post
My order has the self-leveling listed. I asked about it during the test drive but didn't explicitly ask for it. Note the lack of 3rd row.

Also, an air spring is a spring that can bounce/rebound every bit as badly as anything else. When it isn't properly dampened by a well tuned shock absorber, you'll get exactly what you are talking about regardless of air or conventional spring.
my build sheet shows the exact same thing.
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  #25  
Old 12-06-2012, 02:51 PM
X5 35d X5 35d is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kar Don View Post
my build sheet shows the exact same thing.
Bummer, my vehicle flipped to in-production today and apparently I can't make that change anymore. Would have much rather had Adaptive Drive than 3rd Row if Adaptive Drive does seem to add 220 anyway...

Oh well...
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