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X5 E53 (1999 - 2006)
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  #1  
Old 04-11-2005, 03:55 PM
Mirror Dodger Mirror Dodger is offline
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Towing harness and hitch

I was hoping to install a tow hitch on my x5. I called the dealer and they quoted me $200 for the wiring harness and $500 for the harness + hitch. These prices seem a little ridiculous to me.

Has anyone installed a generic harness and an aftermarket hitch? If so, recommendations as to what and how would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,
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  #2  
Old 04-11-2005, 04:12 PM
Jeremy Jeremy is offline
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Mein Auto: X5 & 5
MD - Welcome. Searching here and X5World will turn up a lot of info, but here is what I took away when I looked:

Not all hitches are created equally and there have been some reported problems with non-factory hitches. General consensus is that if you aren't towing anything you should be fine with an aftermarket part. Cargo carrier, bike rack, etc. However, if you are actually towing, the factory hitch is the safe bet.

Aside from possible structural integrity issues, some aftermarket hitches are reported to not fit as cleanly as the BMW part.

There was enough bad publicity on the aftermarket hitch to scare me into a factory unit so I couldn't say for sure about the aftermarket unit.

BTW - the $500 is only half the cost. If your dealer installs, expect $1K out the door.
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2005, 05:01 PM
jcl10 jcl10 is offline
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Agree, lots of previous posts. Good additional instructions/FAQs for hitch installation on the other site too.

I looked at 2 or 3 different aftermarket hitches (eg UHaul, Reese, Hidden Hitch, etc), and at the BMW hitch. There was no comparison in the construction. Not just the heavier BMW crossmember, but the replacements for the bumper shock absorber struts that are included in the BMW kit so you don't collapse the 5 mph bumper on the hitch. I wanted to tow with it; for a bike carrier you would likely be fine with an aftermarket hitch.

In terms of the wiring harness, I wouldn't suggest that you use anything but the BMW kit. Even if you do go aftermarket, spring for the BMW wiring kit. Yes, I have used lots of UHaul kits and similar for other vehicles. In this case, it is just not worth the trouble in case of any future problems with electrics. These vehicles are complicated enough without adding untested aftermarket electronics into the mix.

I bought the combination kit (BMW hitch and wiring harness in one box). It was cheaper than the two separate parts.

I installed it myself; easy job if you are handy or have someone to work with who is. Took me 5 hours, working methodically. Everything fit perfectly, which was what I was paying for. If you do need it installed, you could buy the BMW kit and take it to any independent garage, it isn't complicated and the kit includes instructions
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2005, 05:13 PM
Mirror Dodger Mirror Dodger is offline
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Thanks for the information.

I do plan on towing a small race car.... about 1200-1400 lbs. So, I guess I will break open the check book and buy the OEM hitch and harness. I suspected this is what I would end up doing to be safe, but was hoping for a cheaper alternative.
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  #5  
Old 04-12-2005, 05:02 AM
DUCTTAPE DUCTTAPE is offline
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There is a similar post on the X3 board. ERDoc seems to have found the maker of the BMW hitch. I think he paid +/- $125, plus the bucks for the oem wiring harness.
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2005, 05:04 AM
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Nick325xiT 5spd Nick325xiT 5spd is offline
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Are you a member of the BMWCCA?

Have you shopped around?

Pacific BMW discounts HEAVILY for mail order parts, as do a number of other dealers.
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  #7  
Old 05-26-2005, 04:45 PM
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Interactive Interactive is offline
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I just had a hitch installed today on my X5 at UHaul. I bought the wire harness from BMW because several people scared me into not messing with the electrical system for fear of complicating warranty issues. Here's my review: The U-Haul hitch is flat out UGLY. The receiver itself is fine, but the lower brace sticks out below the sight line of the lower skirt by several (too many) inches and just looks terrible. It actually looks like there's another 2" receiver below the primary one. I'm actually really disappointed. Also, the BMW wiring harness has no where to attach on the U-Haul harness so they basically left it hanging for me to figure something out. It's on a lease so I really don't want to modify anything more than necessary.

I paid about $200 for the wire (rediculous) and about $225 for the hitch, installed. The dealership wanted $1000 to install factory model so I may just get used to the bad looks. I'm only using for a bike rack and an occasional tow of a utility trailer.

I'm fairly anal so I wouldn't put it past me to get frustrated and bring it down to BMW. But then I'll have to deal with my wife saying "So now you spent $1000 AND $225....etc, etc, etc to tow garbage to the dump?"
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  #8  
Old 05-27-2005, 12:40 AM
Dygital Dygital is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirror Dodger
I was hoping to install a tow hitch on my x5. I called the dealer and they quoted me $200 for the wiring harness and $500 for the harness + hitch. These prices seem a little ridiculous to me.

Has anyone installed a generic harness and an aftermarket hitch? If so, recommendations as to what and how would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,
HEY! I have a brand new BMW OEM towing hitch for X5 in original box for $450 + shipping. Let me know if you are interested.
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  #9  
Old 05-27-2005, 07:18 AM
gdkucera gdkucera is offline
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Mein Auto: '01 X5
I purchased my hitch from etrailer.com at http://www.etrailer.com/productdetai...rfrom=2001&h=e for $135. Installed it myself in about 2 hrs. Instructions are downloadable from their website. It looks beefier than the hitch from bavarian autosports.
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