2001 X5 4.4i Steering Column Telescoping Stopped working - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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Old 09-21-2013, 05:48 PM
gforse gforse is offline
Location: Las Vegas
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2001 BMW X5 4.4i
2001 X5 4.4i Steering Column Telescoping Stopped working

HI! I have had this X5 for a few years. Occasionally the steering tilt/telescoping would get dodgy and stop tilting, then stop telescoping, (like they were STUCK) and on occasion when moving a loud grinding. But they always came back... usually after a few minutes to an hour of driving they will mysteriously start working again.

Two days ago the whole steering wheel remained stuck in the 'park' (upright retracted) position. after playing with the tilt and retract lever a few thousand times and shaking the column (you can always hear the motors 'trying' to work but it seemed STUCK) it freed up and made a gawdaweful noise when it returned to the memory position. Then I noticed it was only tilting... NO TELESCOPING OUTWARD. It is HARD STUCK in the retracted position.

Next day the column (and seat) will easily travel to the proper memory positions. No weird noise anymore... But STILL fully retracted. VERY annoying. All seat and steering adjustments work fine, EXCEPT telescoping. Also I notice now there is NO NOISE WHATSOEVER when trying to go in and out telescoping. Up and down fine, seats fine.

Checked all fuses. Fine. After research I saw the seat switch is often a problem, but I saw my plastic housing for the switch seems fine, but I removed it anyway and saw the switch is fully seated and in great condition.

I just can't bring myself to approach the dealer. I am having nightmares of thousands of dollars of repair costs. Any suggestions? Think the telescope motor burned out since there is NO noise? Can I somehow just extend the steering column and lock it in place?

Thank for any help!!
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:25 PM
tintrx tintrx is offline
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Location: greensboro, NC
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 8
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Mein Auto: 1989 bmw 525i, 1988 735i
I'm having the same problem with my 01 X5 too. I wish someone would chime in. I can't figure out if the problem is mechanical or electrical.
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:37 AM
gforse gforse is offline
Location: Las Vegas
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2001 BMW X5 4.4i

Well, I finally took it to my trusted mechanic. Turned out (as I suspected) it WAS the motor controlling retraction/extension. To fix it, the motor would be a little over $400.00 and then the $150.00 labor. So I had them manually extend the column and detach the broken motor. So, it still goes up and down, but stays in the out position. MUCH better and I don't have to worry about a motor anymore.... ($106.00)

Now I need motor mounts, and that is over $600.00 and the power steering is starting to make whiney noises, another $1000.00... I'm looking for a suitable cliff to drive it off....
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Old 11-10-2013, 08:46 AM
puddinboo puddinboo is offline
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Location: on earth
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 573
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW X5
just think when its fixxed its like new again till something else goes and you don`t have car payments for 6 yrs (thats a pos)
2003 X5 3.0i
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:11 AM
yhwankang yhwankang is offline
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Location: los angeles
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: bmw '97 528i
I have 02 x5, 3.0 engine with 175000 miles on it. Steering column tilt/telescoping stopped working along memory of driver seat. Can anyone help?
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:10 PM
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DirtyDan DirtyDan is offline
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Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 170
Mein Auto: 2003 X5 3.0i
Do a search on memory seat. I found my old response:
Yes it is the memory seat module in the seat. I bought a used one on ebay from bimmerbob1965, camebay67@yahoo.com, 562 225 6509. There are guys on ebay out there parting out X5's and you can get one a lot cheaper. I think I paid $80 with shipping. It actually is a do it yourself task, just be careful with the plastic snaps around the module. I broke one but it was not a significant snap.

My steering wheel, mirrors and memory seat all work properly now.

Good luck,

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