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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, I’m in the market for an e70 x5 with the 3.0l engine and around 80-120k miles with n52 engine.

I’ve owned e53’s with the m54 engines for the last decade at this mileage and drove them well into 180k miles. Only problems I’ve had with these m54’s is chasing leaks and vacuum codes. And I’m not flipping these cars, I had my last car for 8 years. Never touched the transmission or the timing chain. it was a solid car, never even had sunroof issues. Maybe I’m lucky, because all you see on YouTube is horror stories about bmws.

I’m just wondering if the ownership experience is similar with the n52 at 80k-120k or do I have a higher chance of screwing up something more major like the timing chain , etc.
 

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Water pump is electric and not as durable or easy to replace as on M54. Oil filter housing gasket (very important to replace as soon as it starts leaking before it drips on serpentine belt),oil pan gasket, valve cover gasket.


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah the m54’s cooling system was pretty garbage I had to overhaul the entire thing. Did it myself, the car is very easy to work on. I understand the n52 has a better cooling system.

Mostly scared of the timing chain, that’s foreign territory for me. I understand on some bmws the guides just fall off into the oil pan, maybe it’s just scare mongers… those YouTube guys who buy the cheapest bmw in the country on purpose and make the videos where they’re like “oh my god it’s such a pos”.
 

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As mileage approaches 100k, transfer case is a known problem like the water pump. Vanos solenoids too.
 

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Yeah the m54’s cooling system was pretty garbage I had to overhaul the entire thing. Did it myself, the car is very easy to work on. I understand the n52 has a better cooling system.

Mostly scared of the timing chain, that’s foreign territory for me. I understand on some bmws the guides just fall off into the oil pan, maybe it’s just scare mongers… those YouTube guys who buy the cheapest bmw in the country on purpose and make the videos where they’re like “oh my god it’s such a pos”.
Timing chain issue is on N20 4cyl engines.
Cooling system is better minus water pump.
I have 106000 miles on E90 328i with N52 and i just changed all (and I MEAN all) hoses, expansion tank and water pump and thermostat. Didn’t want to get stranded skiing or tracking car.


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Is that worse than the m54? Would it preclude you from buying a used n52 ?
Check vibrations at parking speeds while turning steering wheel. Two possibilities if excessive :
TC fluid was never changed
TC is done.


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Is that worse than the m54? Would it preclude you from buying a used n52 ?
E53's transfer case problems were with a plastic cog where the teeth wore out. Inexpensive fix if you know how and Youtube has videos on this. E70 TC problems are primarily clutch pack I am told and are a design flaw.
 

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02/2012 X5 35d M57Y CPO 105K miles NOKIAN WR G3 20K miles
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At low speeds, parking speed, the TC clutch should be open to minimize steering effort. The TC clutch should also default open at high speed.
 

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Expect the unexpected, especially if the oil wasn't changed regularly. I would change oil every 4000 for a couple changes, then change every 7500 or so. You will get some oil leaks at some point. Some of the time you can snug up the bolts using the factory bolt tightening order and be good, but lots of threads on oil leaks, in general. Vacuum lines will start to disintegrate and leak, causing issues. With German cars, I always check the vacuum system first. High probability of root cause on vacuum related systems. Change the power steering fluid- it's probably never been changed. Change the trans fluid as it's probably never been changed. Also, change the transfer case fluid with the correct fluid (critical). The front and rear differential are probably ok not to change if you want to save some bucks, but I would at around 100k.
 

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At 165k miles. Valve cover, eccentric shaft sensor, front crank seal, oil pan, coils/spark plugs (for good measure and I was there), valve body rebuild (sleeves, tubes, filter ...), water pump, starter, coolant hoses, vanos solenoids, differential fluid, regreased blower fan, a/c compressor, front suspension arms, struts, shocks and tires, tail light gaskets, rebuilt front driver seat, catalytic converter and MAF. That has all been done in last 10k and all of it was needed but the plugs and coils. Currently the car runs well and has ZERO leaks.

The big ticket items I farmed out were the oil pan gasket and front crank seal which were leaking oil really bad. I bundled the eccentric shaft senor and valve cover as the valve cover was leaking. Labor for these was $1500, parts $1600 as the valve cover was $500 BMW, plus some hoses and seals also BMW. $3100 for all the work and parts was a great deal.

Other farmed out item was the A/C compressor, mechanic at BMW did it for me on the side.

I am the third owner and other than the catalytic converter the repair items, although very expensive, are not unheard of for a car at 150k miles.

Currently the car is running well.
 
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