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E60 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series (E60 chassis) was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E60 is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 10-31-2013, 08:07 AM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 41
Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
E61 Power tailgate doesn't like the cold weather

Still working through my list of minor upgrades/repairs to my recently acquired 2007 530xiT. Sirius Satellite radio is working great! New BMW rubber floormats and rear cargo tray are installed and ready for winter slop. I sealed the tray of electronics under the spare tire in a heavy duty black garbage bag and installed a 9V water alarm in case my sunroof drains decide to clog. Had the Curt trailer hitch installed. Local mechanic managed to fix the rattle at the back of the headliner I posted about earlier.....turned out to be loose bolts holding the rear drive unit to the underside of the roof. Easy (i.e. cheap) fix there.....Mike Miller thought I needed a whole new sunroof cassette. New rotors and pads are on order, and will be doing a set of Blizzaks shortly.

And now for something completely different.....we've recently experienced our first taste of real Fall weather here in Central PA (i.e. below 40 degrees F). The power rear tailgate all of a sudden decided it no longer wanted to open any farther than about 4 inches. It would start to open, then just quite and the tailgate would flop back down. It would open all the way if I pushed the button again and gave it a little help on it's way up. Temperatures have warmed back up this week, and now it's back to normal operation. I've read about having to top-off the hydraulic fluid in the resevoir, and I've also read about having to replace the gas "helper" strut on the passenger side of the tailgate. The latter scenerio makes some sense to me, as I know those gas struts loose their effectiveness the colder it gets. I have not seen any hydraulic fluid leaking out of the cylinder.

Any ideas/experiences from you other wagon owners out there?

Cheers,
Stu
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2013, 03:36 PM
Jon325iT Jon325iT is offline
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Location: Seattle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 85
Mein Auto: 2002325iT, 2006530xiT
Having a similar problem. I'm hoping it's the helper strut as you called it and I figure it's worth a shot to replace it. Dealing with the hydraulic autolift portion is certainly going to be more complicated.

I'm assuming the helper strut has the same part number as the struts used in the manual tailgates (51247178273) - hope so anyway. I've replaced those struts on our E46 touring - it's very easy.

As it turns out the trunk lift lock has also failed! Good times.
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2013, 05:08 PM
toga94m toga94m is offline
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Location: Upstate NY
 
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Posts: 107
Mein Auto: 2006 530xiT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon325iT View Post
Having a similar problem. I'm hoping it's the helper strut as you called it and I figure it's worth a shot to replace it. Dealing with the hydraulic autolift portion is certainly going to be more complicated.

I'm assuming the helper strut has the same part number as the struts used in the manual tailgates (51247178273) - hope so anyway. I've replaced those struts on our E46 touring - it's very easy.

As it turns out the trunk lift lock has also failed! Good times.
I've been playing around on realoem.com/bmw in the past few days, so I thought I'd check this out. For my 2006 (build 10/05) the gas spring is 51247201468 which is about $80 online. An ebay seller with a compatibility checker says it's good for 2006-2010 5-series. They say your number works for non-auto-lift models.

What's up with your trunk lift lock? You mean the latch that holds the lid locked, or the motor in the body that holds it closed, or the button(s) that activates all that? I replaced my latch in the hatch, not too hard once you're in there.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2013, 07:31 AM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
Good stuff! I think I will get a new "helper" strut and see how much of a difference that makes. I'm guessing I may hear a difference in the sound level of the hydraulic pump, as it is probably having to work harder than what it was really designed to do if the helper strut is worn out. Seeing how complex this tailgate set-up is (what isn't complex about these cars?), $80.00 to save the hydraulic pump is probably well worth it.

Cheers,
S.
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2013, 01:39 PM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
Just replaced the "helper" strut on the wagon tailgate. I got it from mybimmerparts.com for $65.09 + shipping. Seems like the tailgate is definately operating more smoothly. The tailgate used to kind of slam shut during the last 10 or 12" of travel when closing. That action seems a lot smoother now. The hydraulic pump also sounds like it is not laboring nearly as hard when opening the tailgate, either. So, seems like it was definately a tired gas strut. Now onto that brake job....
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  #6  
Old 11-18-2013, 11:23 AM
Jon325iT Jon325iT is offline
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Location: Seattle
 
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Mein Auto: 2002325iT, 2006530xiT
Sorry, I was away for a bit. Glad to hear of your success with the gas strut - mine should be arriving any day.

The latch mechanism has failed (I think). The button is still working...for now.

OK, now I've bumped three touring threads to the top! Sorry everyone...
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  #7  
Old 11-18-2013, 01:07 PM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
Although the new strut seemed to make the overall operation of the tailgate better, I have since experienced the same phenomena where the tailgate only opens a few inches and just stops. I'm starting to think it's a glitch with the switch. Seems like if I hold the button in a little longer while it's raising, then it doesn't do it. I think I was at least able to rule out that it's something more serious like the hydraulic pump going out. I'll have to open the hatch using just the key fob for awhile and see if it will do it. If it doesn't, then I think that would tell me it's the switch on the back. In either event, it's not a big enough issue to warrant ripping into the electrical inside the tailgate, or some sort of tailgate control module, if that even exists. Just a very minor annoyance I can certainly live with.
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  #8  
Old 11-18-2013, 05:59 PM
mostroad mostroad is offline
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Location: SF Bay Area
 
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Mein Auto: 535xit
I had a problem like that with it only opening a few inches. It turned out to be the wiring harness which passed through the tailgate hinges losing its connection as the hatch rose.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2013, 07:30 AM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
I did see on some other posts that there's been issues with the wiring to the tailgate on these cars. What did fixing yours entail, mostroad? If it's simple enough, I may take a look at it. But, I have no plans to rip the headliner of the car out over this (at least not before it stops working entirely). Thanks!
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2013, 10:39 PM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
Re: E61 Power tailgate doesn't like the cold weather

Well, the 5'ers rear tailgate went from a mild protest of the cold weather to an outright tantrum. It's like a scorned lover....distant, uncooperative, combative. This thing must have lived in a heated garage in its' previous life....now relagated to slumber in a driveway on the North-facing slope of a mountain in central PA. After a night of the coldest temps since I've owned this vehicle, the power tailgate has given up entirely. I went to open the tailgate this afternoon, and it let out a pathetic little noise like it was asking me to somehow put it out of its' misery. I ended up manually raising the tailgate, at which point it obliged in closing on it's own power after I hit the button. Subsequent attempts resulted in the tailgate opening about an 1/8th of the way then stopping, then going about half way after hitting the button once again, then going all the way to the top on the 3rd request. So, am I dealing with a highly-engineered piece of German kit that wasn't thoroughly tested for operation in cold weather, or is there something really wrong with it that should warrant a visit to the power hatch guru? I can deal with raising the tailgate manually until Spring, I'm just worried about causing damage to some part of this system. And yes, it does the same thing when I use the key fob to open it remotely.

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  #11  
Old 04-20-2014, 01:57 PM
vash68 vash68 is offline
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Location: Denver, CO
 
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Mein Auto: 2009 535xiT loaded
My 2009 E61 tailgate exhibits all the same cold symptomps at or around 20F and below.
It also emmits a cavitation sound while raising tailgate. I did not check the hydro fluid level as I could not easily locate a cylinder in the left rear of cargo area. But I did notice a small puddle of yellow oily fluid just below audio amplifier unit.

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  #12  
Old 04-21-2014, 07:11 AM
stuboski stuboski is offline
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Location: Elizabethville, PA
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Mein Auto: '06 M3 Cab., '07 530xiT
Well, vash68, being your car is a 2009, they obviously did not make any improvements on the design of this system over the years. I have yet to have my tailgate checked out by anybody. Of course, now that Spring is (finally!!!) here, the tailgate is starting to work better. I know these cars are known for wiring issues in the tailgate, but I don't think that's the issue, as it obviously knows when I'm hitting the button back there. And the latch works fine. I think it all has to do with that hydraulic pump, because you can here the difference in the pitch it makes depending on how cold it is.

I was going to give my car to a local indie mechanic at some point. He's not a BMW specialist, per se, but he rolled up his sleeves and fixed a rattle I had coming from the back of the headliner last year. Turned out to be loose bolts holding the sunroof drive unit to the underside of the roof. So, it showed me he's not scared of it. I'll surely post the findings if and when I get this looked at.
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