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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 07-26-2014, 05:55 PM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
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Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
misc gas tank issues - X5 runs fine though

I hate to pile on to this forum for all it seems to be nowadays is people with aged vehicles with issues. Anyway, this is also about the best place to come with stuff like this I think, you guys are good! So...2006 X5 3.0i, 133k miles...always use 91 octane no ethanol from mostly the exact same store, ran a bottle of Chevron Techron through two separate tanks about 2000 miles ago hoping for an easy fix.

I have two issues that don't seem to affect the drivability at all. I preface this by saying I've driven the truck 2200 miles so far this month and gotten 20.24 actual overall mpg. Probably 1800 of the miles is highway. It runs as it has since I bought it last August, mpg is consistent with what I've always got during warm weather.

First, I get intermittent SES warnings where every time, I go to the gas cap and loosen/tighten, and it clears after a couple starts. I've had issues with this in the past, always immediately after a fill-up (engine off always), maybe once a month. Lately, it seems to begin/illuminate while driving when I hit a patch of unusually bumpy pavement - it is construction season after all. And again, I loosen/re-tighten the gas cap, clears eventually. It's happened 4 times this week, getting more frequent.

Secondly, about late June - after backing up a short but steep driveway with the tank at about 6-8 gallons remaining, my tank gauge went empty next time I started it. Again, by the mpg calculator, I knew I had roughly a quarter tank + remaining. I filled before leaving town, and it went to about a quarter way past 1/4 tank after a complete fill, dropped to empty as I burned off approximately 8 gallons, where it remained for the rest of the week...then I had to leave for a drive of 600 miles (filling up right before leaving) where it began the below pattern.

During the subsequent 1200 round trip miles (and after the two bottles of Techron) the gauge started reading more accurately but not 100% normal, and remains as such. Except for immediately after filling where it always reads as full/accurate for the first few gallons used, it reads accurate I'd say roughly 75% of the time, but can vary during even a drive of say 30-100 miles...when it mis-reads, it'll start out low (off maybe 2-6 gallons), then gradually move back up to where it should be...things like that, some times the reverse. Only if I get below say a quarter tank will it drop to empty like initially...but it always resets on a complete full to begin the readings pattern again.

The Techron seemed to make it better, but not back to normal.

I've searched the forums here and I know I probably have some sort of sending unit issue, be it the actual gauges (small tank, large tank, or both) or the electrical attachments themselves. I'm curious if the SES/cap issue is related since it's now occurring more often. I'm almost of the opinion there's a ground somewhere on how it reads the cap being loose that might be the ultimate fault - something stupid simple like that.

Heck, could my gas cap itself just need replacing possibly? Meybe not venting when tightened? It certainly looks normal.

But the gauge issue...it's almost like it has a float hung up or off kilter...assuming the floats are similar to other cars' tank gauge assemblies.

Any advise anybody could give me would be much appreciated. I'm in a sort of BMW capable mechanic/shop desert...I don't trust my BMW dealer at all (and they have only one mechanic devoted to BMW's). I do have two alternatives, one whom I've never used before and appears from what I've investigated to be terribly expensive but advertises as a BMW specialist of sorts, and another who is a local, 50+ years site who is much less expensive who I've dealt with before with my prior C4 Corvette and whom I trust 100%. Plus, one of the mechanics served in Germany and learned his craft working on 90's era BMW's.

For lack of a better way to say it, I'd like to go wherever I go being able to not open the service up to a grab-bag of replacing everything and not have that being the ultimate issue and give them a "look here" request to avoid guesswork/over-spending. I have up to say $1k to fix all this, but want to keep it low as possible for I will need bushings/suspension work before winter sets in. Doing the work myself is out of the question logistically and I don't own a code reader.

Thx again, tried to be as detailed as possible. Again, for all I know, the X5 is running fine...no drops in mpg, no telltale misses, smoke, high temps etc, fresh oil'filter change I did myself with the recommended Castrol (gets a tad bit better mpg) which otherwise caused no different symptoms. It's running as it always has, very nice.
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2014, 12:00 PM
QSilver7's Avatar
QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Have you unlocked your OBC/cluster and run TEST 6, yet? OBC TEST 6 allows you to check the fuel level sensors...to see if one of them is acting up. BTW...before going further...do you have the low or high instrument cluster? I have images of TEST 6 for the high cluster which I can post.




__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 07-27-2014 at 12:28 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-28-2014, 03:54 PM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
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Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
OK, if I read a search correct, I have the high cluster (two buttons). So...just making sure.

I press CC and hold for 10 seconds.
I then press CC 19 times to get to test 19.
My last 5 digits of the vin = 12, so I press the reset button 12 times, then CC to confirm. I then press CC to where I pull up test 6, then reset to view the values. If phase 1 shows, both are working correct, 2 = calc in progress from TKVA signal (?) faulty sensor, 3 = levels cannot be computed, gauge reads 0 (at least 1 sensor faulted).

Correct?

If so, then I read the values in liters. Should my tanks be completely full doing this? I've used about 3-4 gallons of this tank but will fill if need be.

Thx Qsilver7 for the help. Right now with approx. 21 gallons, it's reading just above a quarter tank, which tells me that the small tank is reading full, and the big tank is reading empty.
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2014, 03:37 AM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
No, the tank doesn't need to be full....but TEST 6 should reflect what should be in the tank. What values are you getting from TEST 6? What are the left/right fuel level sensors showing...and does it add up to the approx amount of fuel you have in the tank? What does the 2nd screen show...Phase 1, Phase 2, or Phase 3?

In the 1st pic below (this is from my 97 e38), you can see that the left fuel sender is registering only 2.8 liters of fuel & the right fuel sender is registering 35.2 liters of fuel...and the approx amount of fuel left in the tank is 38.1 liters. And when you look at my fuel gauge (approx 1/2 tank left)...OBC TEST 6 appears to be accurate in reflecting that the left side is almost at 0 whereas the right fuel sender is registering higher.

Then the 2nd image below shows the 2nd screen with PHASE 1 showing...which means that both fuel level senders are working properly:



__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg
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  #5  
Old 07-30-2014, 05:14 AM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 22
Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
OK, finally able to do this. Just now, the gauge is reading completely full. 61.8 miles used on the tank so far - approximately 3.5 to 4 gallons should be used. When I turned it off yesterday evening it was reading just above a quarter tank.

The readings are right now...

55.0/27.0/81.8L
TNKANZ 81.8L Phase 1

81.8L = 21.6 gallons roughly...it's reading correct I'd think right now. But again, 12 hrs ago, gauge just above a quarter tank.

Looks like I need to do this when it's mis-reading.
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  #6  
Old 07-30-2014, 01:53 PM
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QSilver7 QSilver7 is offline
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Location: Northeast Indiana
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 740iL / 2006 X5 4.4
Quote:
Originally Posted by bagdropper View Post
The readings are right now...

55.0/27.0/81.8L
TNKANZ 81.8L Phase 1

81.8L = 21.6 gallons roughly...it's reading correct I'd think right now. But again, 12 hrs ago, gauge just above a quarter tank.

Looks like I need to do this when it's mis-reading.
Most definitely. Or if you think that the issue is random...just go to TEST 6 every time you're driving the vehicle around and see if the one level sensor decreases as the fuel in the tank decreases...and if there's a sudden jump or change from either sensor...then you'll know immediately when it happened and which sensor faulted.

For instance, if either one of them suddenly jumps to "0" before it should...then you'll know that one of them is possibly hung up, gummed up, or bummed up. And if this occurs...make sure you go to the 2nd screen to see what "PHASE" the TEST displays. Again, this will indicate that a fuel level sensors data is corrupted etc and is not registering properly if you get a PHASE 2 OR 3.

At this point, both level sensor are sending the correct data. If at some point it goes way off, then pull up TEST 6. Now that your cluster is unlocked...you can just press & hold the right cluster button until you see TEST 01 appear in the display...then release & press the RIGHT button until you get to TEST 6...then press the LEFT button to enter TEST 6. You won't need to UNLOCK the cluster again until you've lost power to the car (like replacing the battery etc)...until then, the cluster will remain UNLOCKED and access to the 21 TESTs are available for when ever you need to access them.
__________________
Q {BMW CCA Member #191509}
2006 E53 X5 4.4i (Sterling Gray) 12/05 mfg date <<~>> 97 740iL (Arctic Silver) 3/97 mfg date
(SOLD)
99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

http://imageshack.com/scaled/grid240/822/e38e532ndsigpic.jpg

Last edited by QSilver7; 07-30-2014 at 06:58 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2014, 07:03 AM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 22
Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
Yep, got it, thx again. I'm taking a trip up to my cabin today where the steep driveway is...that seems to cause the issue more than anything else, so I'll get updated results before the week is over.
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  #8  
Old 07-31-2014, 07:21 AM
hongkongloftus hongkongloftus is offline
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Location: HONG KONG
 
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Mein Auto: HONG KONG
bahdropper

if ur reading is 55.0/27.0/81.8L and 81.8L Phase 1 after you full tank. that is good for you. cause the spec. of our X5 E53, the total tank capacity is 93L , that is including the 10L spare tank.

in my car RHD , the gas injet on right hand side and the shape of the tank is like a saddle and like a opposited number 7, so that means the left hand side of tank is bigger then rigth hand side.

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  #9  
Old 08-04-2014, 01:55 PM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 22
Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
OK...I had to run the tank down some over the weekend to get it to where there were say less than 8 gallons of gas remaining for the fluctuations to really appear...and they did.

All of these 4 sets of data are across maybe 90 minutes of in-town driving with stops separating them all.

1) first start of the day, tank reads empty, yellow warning light on, range = 14 miles. 320.3 miles driven, approx/ 18.5 mpg give or take a few tenths. That means there's probably roughly 17.5 gals used.

0.0/4.6/4.6, 3.5L Phase 1

It slowly rose after driving a bit to where the yellow warning light went out and the needle rose off of empty.

2) at the 327.3 mile mark... reading about halfway between empty and a quarter tank.

20.8/4.8/25.7, 13.3L Phase 1

3) 330.1 mark...needle reading just short of a quarter tank now and rising slowly as I drive.

20.1/4.7/24.9, 18.9L Phase 1

4) 333.4 mark, now reading slightly above a quarter tank but the climb stopped. My trip has stopped.

20.1/3.9/24.2, 23.5L Phase 1.


If I had to guess, I got about 6-7 gallons left in the tank, right where the needle is reading currently..

20.1/4.7/24.9, 18.9L Phase 1



This is typical of how it reads when the tank is about 8 gallons till empty on down...can read something vastly different every time while normally not driving over 2-10 miles a trip.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2014, 07:39 PM
bagdropper bagdropper is offline
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Location: Iowa
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 22
Mein Auto: 2006 X5 3.0i
an update...just filled it full.

Gauge reads just short of 3/4 full.

55.0L/27.0L/82.0L
60.8L Phase 1

60.8 = just over 16 gallons...that explains the gauge reading. Not sure what this means as far as what's truly wrong though.
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