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  #1  
Old 11-12-2016, 09:34 AM
Dannyjoe111 Dannyjoe111 is offline
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BMW 2006 X5 ran out of gas 1/4 tank on gauge

2006 X5 3.0i ran out of gas at 1/4 tank on fuel gauge
Hi- newbie here so I apologize if I dont explain this proper but after reading for hours on this forum I wanted to post myself and get some insight.

I have a BMW X5 3.01 2006. 98k Miles 3 weeks ago I was experiencing a strong gas odor so I toke the car to a indy mechanic. They noticed a crack on one of the "nipples" on the tank and sealed it instead of changing out for a new gas take which would have taken 3 weeks to get from BMW and cost a boat load. They had to remove the gas tank to do this which cost $800 in labor and 10$ in parts ( sealant). All was fine until yesterday when my car ran out of gas while still showing 1/8-1/4 full on gauge and 100 miles let on tank. The car would turn over and sputter out. this morning I added 2 gallons of gas to the car and after about 5 minutes of trying to get it to start it started but ran very poorly and sluggish almost dying out at stop lights on the way to the same mechanic which is 2 miles away. When I got there and stopped,the car started to idle fine. I turned the car off and on a few times and no issues. needless to say the shop couldn't reproduce my issue. They advised me to fill up the gas tank and so how it goes. I took it to the gas station and it took 24.77 gallons to fill up. That with the 1.9 gallons I put in in the morning fits right in line with the gas tank capacity of 24.6 G + reserve of 2.1 I put in 1.9 g+ 24.77 = 26.67 tank 24.6+2.1+26.7 so obviously I HAD run out of gas the night prior.

What I have been reading is that in most cases the car was not out of gas. The problems were caused by the gas not getting used from both sides of the tank. Per info on this site I did
an OBC check no.6 and got info that I do not know how to interpret and am asking if someone could tell me what it means and if indeed I need to get a fuel pump fuel filter and/or a siphon hose that should move the gas from one side of the tank to the other as I have been reading. I'm not sure on this as I am a newbie with no mechanical skills ( just smart enough to know not to take it to the dealership) and 2. it appears the tank was actually empty per volume of the gas I had to had to fill it up so it seems as though I was getting gas from both sides of the tank?
I thank you for your time and I apologize in advance if I have left out any additional info needed

Please find the attached photos from my OBC test 6 after a fill up. Can someone please aid in interpreting it? Thanks again
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  #2  
Old 11-12-2016, 04:45 PM
gunyvw gunyvw is offline
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very simply
someone MAY have binded or 'muffed' the sending unit or float
it's easy to do
i have done it myself before
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Old 11-13-2016, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyjoe111 View Post
...
Please find the attached photos from my OBC test 6 after a fill up. Can someone please aid in interpreting it? Thanks again

-
The 1st image in your quote above reveals:
the data from the fuel level sensor on the left side of the gas tank/the data from the right fuel level sensor on the right side of the gas tank/the approx total of fuel in the tank
The 2nd image in your quote above reveals:
the approx total of fuel in your tank and PHASE 1 means that both fuel level sensors are working correctly and sending data
If you pull up TEST 6 as you drive around...you will see the left side decrease as you consume fuel and rack up mileage. The left side should decrease eventually to "0"...then the right side will begin to decrease. The approx amount of fuel left will also decrease as you consume fuel and rack up mileage.

When the right fuel level sensor gets close to only having approx 2 gallons of fuel (check your owners manual for the reserve amount for the 6 cylinder engine)...that is when your low fuel warning light should illuminate.

The e53 is different than most of its other generational cousins (the e38/e39/e46) in that its fuel tank is larger on the left side vs the right. The other aforementioned models have a bifurcated fuel tank that is approx equal on each side.

If your level sensors are working correctly now (based on PHASE 1 appearing in TEST 6)...you may want to do TEST 21. Test 21 is used to reset the data sent to the IKE like when you change a fuel level sensor. The damping functions designed into the software probably created the incorrect data that was sent to the IKE and is probably the reason that caused you to run out of gas when the gauge was reading you still had 1/4 tank of fuel left. TEST 21 reset should correct this without have to drive a long distance to counteract what occurred & to self correct.





{e53 X5 fuel tank - you can see in pic below that the right side is larger (its actually the driver's side/left side)...thus the 55 liters/27 liters you see in TEST 6 which reveals the left/right fuel level sensor data on a full tank}

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Old 11-13-2016, 03:50 PM
Dannyjoe111 Dannyjoe111 is offline
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Thanks QSilver! Great information and exactly the info I was seeking!
I did the test 21 and reset. I did notice it changed my mileage from empty from 320 to 420 with the tank full. That is much closer to the number shown on previous fill ups though I never get that much!
interesting enough that 100 mile difference was around the amount the car was telling me was left in the tank when the fuel gauge was showing 1/4 full when it in actuality had been out of gas. Wish I had checked the test 6 then but was unaware. I will be watching it this time.

Thanks again for your very informative and clear reply to my question!

Last edited by Dannyjoe111; 11-13-2016 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 11-13-2016, 03:52 PM
Dannyjoe111 Dannyjoe111 is offline
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Thanks for your info as well gunyvw!
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Old 11-13-2016, 08:02 PM
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dannyjoe111 View Post
Thanks QSilver! Great information and exactly the info I was seeking!
I did the test 21 and reset. I did notice it changed my mileage from empty from 320 to 420 with the tank full. That is much closer to the number shown on previous fill ups though I never get that much!
interesting enough that 100 mile difference was around the amount the car was telling me was left in the tank when the fuel gauge was showing 1/4 full when it in actuality had been out of gas. Wish I had checked the test 6 then but was unaware. I will be watching it this time.

Thanks again for your very informative and clear reply to my question!


BTW...I forgot to say that..if you see PHASE 2 or PHASE 3 on the 2nd screen of OBC TEST 6 it means:
  • PHASE 1 = both sensors are OK
  • PHASE 2 = at least one sensor is faulted (which would be the one registering "0" when you know there should be fuel on that side of the tank during TEST 6)
  • PHASE 3 = implausible input (fuel tank contents can't be computed...fuel gauge more than likely reads "0")
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97 740iL (Arctic Silver) <<~>> 99 540iT (Orient Blue) <<~>> 95 525IT (Alpine White)
91 735iL (Schwarz Black) <<~>> 85 325e (Bronzit)

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Old 11-14-2016, 06:01 PM
Dannyjoe111 Dannyjoe111 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post


BTW...I forgot to say that..if you see PHASE 2 or PHASE 3 on the 2nd screen of OBC TEST 6 it means:
  • PHASE 1 = both sensors are OK
  • PHASE 2 = at least one sensor is faulted (which would be the one registering "0" when you know there should be fuel on that side of the tank during TEST 6)
  • PHASE 3 = implausible input (fuel tank contents can't be computed...fuel gauge more than likely reads "0")
Good to know!! Thanks again! I apprecaite all the info!!
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:30 AM
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Old 12-10-2016, 02:09 PM
Dannyjoe111 Dannyjoe111 is offline
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A month later new problem or old problem not fixed?

Hi Please see above on the situation that brought me here and big thanks to QSilver7 for giving me some understanding on how to monitor the situation!

Today I filled up my gas tank but test 6 and the fuel tank gauge reported back that the tank was not full. ( see photos)
after driving around for bit and taking sharp corner test 6 showed a full tank (TNK:55.0/27.0/82.0L But unlike prior fill up the 2nd part of test 6 showed 55.0L PHASE 1 not the 82.0L as on prior fill up and now appearing on the first screen of test 6.

As I drove around more the numbers are coming up and are at 65.6L PHASE1 and fuel gauge is rising to almost full tank from 3/4. I assume with more driving it will catch up to the 82.0L

why is it doing this now? faulty fuel pump or sending unit? thanks for any help sorry if I'm not clear on this please let me know any other info you my need

Pic 1 and 2 are right after fill up
Pic 3 and 4 is after driving around 30 minutes. (The numbers of L on the last pic don't go up unless I'm giving it moving)
Pice 4 is showing same as last fill up but it took some driving to do and seemed to correct after a semi sharp right turn. As you can see pic 3 and 4 don't match up with total tank volume yet.
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Old 01-07-2017, 03:26 AM
andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
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BMW 2006 X5 ran out of gas 1/4 tank on gauge

I've been dealing with this problem for a month or so on wife's copy of x5 (we both have 2001 e53).

The fuel is not used in the way most people have been explaining and this info will help a lot of people.

On this x5, the problem ended up being a seal on the sending unit on the left hand side. The return gas was leaking out and not fully pressuring the jet pump siphons.

Here is the REALITY of how the e53 tank works:

There is a "pit" on the right side of the tank into which the gas pump and float for the right side sender goes.

The siphon pump has a "foot" that is sensing if that pit is full. When the pit is full the siphon loses suction and stops pulling gas from the left side of the tank.

Any number of things could disrupt this siphon.

The symptoms for my case was that the right side sender was reporting less than 1 liter as soon as the gas level was "below the hump". There was SOME siphon action but not enough to keep the "reserve tank" full. At about 3/16 of a tank remaining (typically about 70 miles to empty) the car would run out of gas.

I replaced the fuel pump but the right side sender (hidden test 6) reported less than 1L of gas as soon as I was below 28L on the left side.

I took out the left side sender and immediately noticed the o-ring was not seated in the groove and looked like a PEAR not circular





It was a nearly impossible feat to disconnect the siphon pump from the sending unit but I was able to do it and put in a proper o-ring. I put it back together and expected to see (because of other people erroneously reporting that the left side will pumped over to the right side) the test six show the fuel finally move over to right side of tank.

I opened up the right side to get a better understanding and maybe to remove entire jet sucking pump if needed when I started to put all the pieces together.

I did notice that the right side did report slightly more fuel than before but I did a test to see if my o-ring was holding and discovered that it was but there was NO SEAL at the seam where the siphon pump was attached.

Gas was spraying out of that seam at a liter a minute at least!

I engineered a way to add an o-ring into that seam and put it all back together again.

Took for a test drive and now my right sender is reporting 1.4L up from 0.9L when the gas is below the hump.

I drove about 50 miles testing so far I have yet to drive down to low fuel light for acid test.

I made a tool to turn the big metal rings:






Glad I did I had to remove and install about 10 times! I really don't like the unbalanced bang with hammer on one side method recommended by most DIY.

So: summary: the "reserve tank" you hear about on the x5 really is a dent in the bottom of the right side of the tank that holds maybe 2g or 8L of gas. The sender (at least in my car) reports 1.4L of gas in that dent of the tank. That gives me perhaps 6.6L of gas once both sending units are bottomed out and I suspect that is when the low fuel light kicks on.

It's a really smart design because the bottom of that dent is so small (maybe 14x6 inches) that you are not likely to have a problem running out of gas from going up or down a hill when the low fuel light is on.

I'm not sure what other cars report for the right side sender once the gas level is below the hump but the way the system is designed the right side will stay basically the same once the level gets lower than the hump.

I have another x5 also 2001 and will test it as well to confirm my findings but the alternator needs rebuilding so I can't test than yet.

Oh: I replaced the hose clamps with finger twist style. That really helped with diagnostics since the hoses are too damned short to do any look and see while connected.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Last edited by andrewwynn; 01-07-2017 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:23 AM
2001beamerx5 2001beamerx5 is offline
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running out of gas on 1/4 tank 2001 X5

How much does dealer charge to correct the issue?
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:48 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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- Just had this experience myself...

- I test drove a 2005 X5 3.0i with 60K, nice car. Gauge showed 1/4 for a while and did not drop even with driving.

- Car then stalled, code P0442 (EVAP leak) and P0301 (misfire cylinder #1), then code of misfire in many cylinders etc.

- Mechanic checked: fuel pressure low, opened the tank, there was only 1 gallon in the fuel pump well!

- So the issue of stuck fuel level sensor (driver side) is interesting. I see that in E39 5-series, E-46 3-series cars and also E53. I don't why the sensor is stuck, maybe people let the tank run dry so often, so fuel evaporates and left behind residue. The solution is to fill it up and add Techron etc.

- Anyway, I didn't buy this car.
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:34 PM
SterlingCharles SterlingCharles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
I've been dealing with this problem for a month or so on wife's copy of x5 (we both have 2001 e53).

The fuel is not used in the way most people have been explaining and this info will help a lot of people.

On this x5, the problem ended up being a seal on the sending unit on the left hand side. The return gas was leaking out and not fully pressuring the jet pump siphons.

Here is the REALITY of how the e53 tank works:

There is a "pit" on the right side of the tank into which the gas pump and float for the right side sender goes.

The siphon pump has a "foot" that is sensing if that pit is full. When the pit is full the siphon loses suction and stops pulling gas from the left side of the tank.

Any number of things could disrupt this siphon.

The symptoms for my case was that the right side sender was reporting less than 1 liter as soon as the gas level was "below the hump". There was SOME siphon action but not enough to keep the "reserve tank" full. At about 3/16 of a tank remaining (typically about 70 miles to empty) the car would run out of gas.

I replaced the fuel pump but the right side sender (hidden test 6) reported less than 1L of gas as soon as I was below 28L on the left side.

I took out the left side sender and immediately noticed the o-ring was not seated in the groove and looked like a PEAR not circular





It was a nearly impossible feat to disconnect the siphon pump from the sending unit but I was able to do it and put in a proper o-ring. I put it back together and expected to see (because of other people erroneously reporting that the left side will pumped over to the right side) the test six show the fuel finally move over to right side of tank.

I opened up the right side to get a better understanding and maybe to remove entire jet sucking pump if needed when I started to put all the pieces together.

I did notice that the right side did report slightly more fuel than before but I did a test to see if my o-ring was holding and discovered that it was but there was NO SEAL at the seam where the siphon pump was attached.

Gas was spraying out of that seam at a liter a minute at least!

I engineered a way to add an o-ring into that seam and put it all back together again.

Took for a test drive and now my right sender is reporting 1.4L up from 0.9L when the gas is below the hump.

I drove about 50 miles testing so far I have yet to drive down to low fuel light for acid test.

I made a tool to turn the big metal rings:






Glad I did I had to remove and install about 10 times! I really don't like the unbalanced bang with hammer on one side method recommended by most DIY.

So: summary: the "reserve tank" you hear about on the x5 really is a dent in the bottom of the right side of the tank that holds maybe 2g or 8L of gas. The sender (at least in my car) reports 1.4L of gas in that dent of the tank. That gives me perhaps 6.6L of gas once both sending units are bottomed out and I suspect that is when the low fuel light kicks on.

It's a really smart design because the bottom of that dent is so small (maybe 14x6 inches) that you are not likely to have a problem running out of gas from going up or down a hill when the low fuel light is on.

I'm not sure what other cars report for the right side sender once the gas level is below the hump but the way the system is designed the right side will stay basically the same once the level gets lower than the hump.

I have another x5 also 2001 and will test it as well to confirm my findings but the alternator needs rebuilding so I can't test than yet.

Oh: I replaced the hose clamps with finger twist style. That really helped with diagnostics since the hoses are too damned short to do any look and see while connected.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Looks like this is the same solution I saw on YouTube and looks like it got pasted to this thread. Well this may have worked in your case but not mine. I replaced both fuel pump and fuel sensing unit and I'm still having the same issue. I'm not sure if you're the same guy on YouTube. But anywho my o ring is brand new, it came on the sending unit..and when I turn the key forward. The passenger pump does not come on at all. Idk if it comes on when the tank is low but not immediately like the high pressure fuel pump does. That's comes on right away. Is there a separate fuse for the fuel sending unit? I know where the fuel pump fuse and relay is....
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Old 09-27-2019, 08:23 PM
SterlingCharles SterlingCharles is offline
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What was your SOLUTION??
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Old 05-04-2020, 08:27 PM
KevinBeamer KevinBeamer is offline
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Hi guys... :-)

I have a 2012 X3 F25 (not original owner) with a similar problem, where the gas gauge has never gone below 1/2. The range and gallons to refuel seem OK for the tank size, yet the vehicle runs out of gas when then needle dips just below 3/4. I replaced the fuel pump because it failed, yet that didn't solve the level issue.

I'm thinking issue is the LEFT or RIGHT fuel level sensor in the tanks.
How can I run the above mentioned tests to determine if they're sending data to the gauge ? I have e-SYS 3.33.4 and Carly app available to assist.

Any help is greatly appreciated. :-)

KB

Last edited by KevinBeamer; 05-05-2020 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 05-05-2020, 07:13 AM
andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
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BMW 2006 X5 ran out of gas 1/4 tank on gauge

You need to use the hidden menu to read the actual fuel levels. You also have to determine how that compares to reality.

If you have a working fuel pump there is no condition that will cause fuel starvation at 3/4 tank so you have an error in the fuel gauge department.

I suspect your left tank is reading high.

I had a similar problem I have a DIY how to fix a fuel gauge that rads high.

Also by far the best way to get stranded by a fuel problem is so "always keep the tank half full" the fuel system needs an occasional exercise to know it's working. At least a couple times a year pull up hidden OBC menu 6 and monitor both tanks until you get the left tank down near zero and confirm the right tank doesn't drop after the left tank goes below 25 L.

The fuel system uses a weighted average to display on the dash and I suspect that's what bit you. When my gauge was stuck the left sender was adding 10-15L to actual value and caused my gauge to both read high when low but also know when high (full tank read 2/3-3/4).

You can also start with reading the ohm (***937; from the sender. They range from close to zero to about 450. Higher is fuller.

To have a gauge struck at 3/4 it has to be the left side the right side only holds about 1/3 of the total.

Oh: run test 21 to reset the fuel system and get the gauge to read the actual level vs the weighted average that will also help determine what's going on

Last edited by andrewwynn; 05-05-2020 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 05-05-2020, 07:52 AM
KevinBeamer KevinBeamer is offline
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Thanks for the info Andrew !

FYI - the gauge rises to beyond full after I fill the tank.
The gauge seems OK, where it slowly declines from FULL to just under 3/4 - after which the vehicle runs out of fuel.

How do I access the hidden menu and run the proposed tests ?

QQ: is there a level sensor inside my driver side tank ? Filler neck is on the passenger side.

KB
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Old 05-05-2020, 08:05 AM
andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
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Filler neck is on the RIGHT side of the car. Half the forum member use RHD avoid passenger side nomenclature.

Both sides of the tank have a level float and sender unit. You need to open and look inside to see how much fuel is actually in there.

The sides of the tank become separate at about 27L where the car becomes dependant on the siphon pump to pull fuel from the left side.

The siphon jet has a design flaw in older models (I drive e53); given enough time the siphon jet will develop a bad leak and spray fuel back into the left side and cause the car to starve of fuel when the dash reads about 1/4 tank.

This cannot happen above 1/3 tank as the left side just floods over until the tank gets below that level.

Fuel starvation at 3:4 tank can only mean incorrect fuel level (or a defective fuel pump/fpr). So you need to know if your fuel tank is actually empty on the right side to cause starvation or is there a different problem like a FPR stuck shut.
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Old 05-05-2020, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinBeamer View Post
Hi guys... :-)

I have a 2012 X3 F25 (not original owner) with a similar problem, where the gas gauge has never gone below 1/2.

KB
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinBeamer View Post

How do I access the hidden menu and run the proposed tests ?
Help us help you better...we have no idea what type of instrument cluster you have. The X5 has TWO different types (low & high)...the low cluster only has one button (on th eleft side)...and the high cluster has two buttons (one on the left and one on the right)...so the procedure is different for each. Does your X3 have one or two buttons designed into it?

If you need the info faster...just go to YOUTUBE and do a search for how to unlock your BMW model's instrument cluster. If you can't find instructions for an X3...then if you see any BMW procedure that has an instrument cluster that looks just like yours and is within the same production/build range as yours...then the procedure should work.
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  #21  
Old 05-07-2020, 12:13 PM
KevinBeamer KevinBeamer is offline
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Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: 2012 X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
Fuel starvation at 3:4 tank can only mean incorrect fuel level (or a defective fuel pump/fpr). So you need to know if your fuel tank is actually empty on the right side to cause starvation or is there a different problem like a FPR stuck shut.
TY - I will open her up and have a look at fuel level in both tanks when she runs dry. Very helpful information. :-)

PS - the "in-tank" fuel pump was recently replaced, where I don't question the operation of that part. Perhaps the siphon pump is non-op.


KB

Last edited by KevinBeamer; 05-07-2020 at 12:15 PM.
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  #22  
Old 05-07-2020, 12:29 PM
KevinBeamer KevinBeamer is offline
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Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: 2012 X3
Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
Does your X3 have one or two buttons designed into it?
TY for the info sir !! This X3 has one button on the left side. I use it to reset trip odometer.
Here's the instrument cluster unlock procedure for the X3 F25. Code = sum of last FIVE (not last SEVEN).





KB

Last edited by KevinBeamer; 05-07-2020 at 03:09 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-07-2020, 02:26 PM
andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
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Location: Racine, WI
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 158
Mein Auto: '01 E53 X5 Black/Black
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinBeamer View Post
TY - I will open her up and have a look at fuel level in both tanks when she runs dry. Very helpful information. :-)

PS - the "in-tank" fuel pump was recently replaced, where I don't question the operation of that part. Perhaps the siphon pump is non-op.


KB
unless you have a diesel the only fuel pump is in-tank, but i think you are trying to bring up a difference between the ELECTRIC and SIPHON jet.

non-op of the siphon jet will only affect operation below 1/3 of a tank, so will not be the direct cause of a fuel starvation problem.

There are a couple other failure modes that could come into play; there is a pressure relief valve that dumps over-pressure to the right side of the tank (into the pump well) and if that fails open just a small amount (about 4L) of fuel will go in circles until it's consumed and the car stalls.

you don't need to run the car until it starves to know more info, but unlock the dash and find the hidden menu should be test 6 and report back how many liters it shows also run test 21 to reset the fuel gauge history.

I'm not sure if bmw improved the design or just maybe made it different and possibly much worse; most of the cars i advise on are 15-20 years old, yours should not have such a problem so soon, so it's more likely an early fail part such as the fuel pressure regulator is actually causing your grief.

hmmm.. the left/right balance could be much different on your car, i have no idea how similar the tanks are, so the normal '1/4' for fuel siphon failure could be a very different number on your car.
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  #24  
Old 05-07-2020, 03:04 PM
KevinBeamer KevinBeamer is offline
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Location: Buffalo, NY
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 31
Mein Auto: 2012 X3
UPDATE:

In trying to unlock the X3 F25 instrument panel, my option for unlock is #10 (not #4 as noted in the video). The code is sum of last 5 of the VIN - NOT last 7 seven as said in the video. Also, there is no "test " reset the fuel system. Last, the system check does NOTHING.

Fuel Gauge is presently exactly across 1/1 (a full tank - but not over full)

RANGE:
10.0 L / 100 km
Range 653 km

Econ Cons Factor = 1000

TANK:

NOT RUNNING
L tank 97 ohms 42.2 L
R tank 153 ohms 19.2 L

Total 61.4 L Tank = Phase 1


RUNNING
L tank 97 ohms 42.2 L
R tank 75 ohms 23.0 L

Total 65.2 L Tank = Phase 1


I find it interesting the numbers change when vehicle is running vs NOT running.


KB
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  #25  
Old 05-07-2020, 10:05 PM
andrewwynn andrewwynn is offline
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Location: Racine, WI
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 158
Mein Auto: '01 E53 X5 Black/Black
That is interesting about the running v not but the siphon jet is pouring a mini fire hose of fuel into the pump well so that could be related.

Search for the full list of hidden menu for your model. Find that reset function as the buffering will really throw things off. In my case even when both senders were maxed out I only saw 2/3 of a tabk on the gauge.

FYI my repair for sender unit is at xoutpost.com
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