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01-30-2010 07:47 PM #1
Hello, visiting from the E38 &E31 boards...
...considering adding an X5 2001-03 to the stable. Have much experience maintaining 740i 2001, 840Ci and daughter'd 2001 325i. What's the better path;3.0 or 4.4, then what are the major issues and worthwhile options to look for and what are the typical problems to consider.
Thanks in advance for all replys and advice.
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01-31-2010 06:54 PM #2
3.0 v 4.4
The 3.0 is a robust engine with more than enough power to push this around. It is easy to maintain and repair for the DIY'er. No water cooled alternator and stuff like that.
If you are doing your own maintenance, you'll have a far easier time with the good old reliable BMW inline six. You can't kill this engine.
The V-8 is more complicated, with the water-cooled alternator, as previously noted. It has a huge cosmetic engine cover that has to be removed to do any service. It has a coolant gasket in the back of the engine that, when it fails, requires removal of the engine. The list goes on and on. And there is basically two of everything, as well - vanos sensors and actuators, etc.
Yes, it has more horsepower. But for a bus, how much do you need?
I would avoid to much bells and whistles. I have a 3.0 with a 5-speed, sport package and nav system. No self-levelling suspension to deal with, for example. The nav system is laughably outdated and I would not make it a "must have" item. You'd do better with an aftermarket Garmin.
I tow a 3500 lb camper trailer with it, and it is a very nice tow vehicle. It is rated to tow 6,000 lbs. If that interests you, try to find one with a hitch already installed. Not hard to do, but some have complained that finding the OEM Westfalia hitch kit ($499 at the dealer) is getting harder and harder to do. I installed mine myself, it takes about 2 hours to remove the whole rear bumper, etc., and install.
Expect to replace a door handle, window regulator (or more likely, just the 99 cent window regulator clips), valve cover gasket, intake elbow, and other small things. In 50,000 miles, I have spent maybe $200 on parts, including a new battery, which is really a wear item.
If you own an E46, some of these repairs may sound familiar! Much of the body workings (door handles, window regulator, trunk release) are the same parts. From what I read on the E46 forum, window regulators are an issue on that car. I'll bet they are the same design if not the same exact parts.
The front CV boots can tear, but a lot were replaced under warranty. Not hearing much about that lately. So maybe they have gone to an upgraded part.
Some folks claim that the transfer case output gear splines can strip where the output shaft is inserted (see whiny post below). This can happen, but there are reman cases out there for as little as $700 and replacement is not all that difficult - no worse than a clutch job.
The hatch will rattle. An easy fix. See links below.
Consumer reports recommends the 3.0 but says the V-8 models are not recommended. I concur. I think people want the V-8 for status, but once out of warranty, it breaks expensively, and they become unhappy customers.
Of the four BMWs I own, this has to be the most reliable of the lot. And it has the most mileage on it of any of them, and I have put more miles on it than any of them, and I have not been exactly kind to it either. Yes, I've pulled tree stumps with it. I have 100,000 miles on it now.
That being said, you know the drill, a BMW is not like a Honda. This is an enthusiasts car, and you have to have a higher threshold of pain for it.
It handles remarkably well for an SUV, by the way.
Some links to some X5 repairs I have done. These seem to be typical failure points, by the way. The door handle/window regulator page gets over 1000 hits a week:
I've moved some of these pages recently, so the hit rate will probably go down somewhat, I think. They were misclassified in "good times" instead of "rides; bmws". Although fixing a BMW can be a good time if you like to tinker!
I've enjoyed this car. It is no M Roadster, but it is probably the only SUV I would stoop to owning. I am not a big fan of the genre. I bought the car to haul my dog around.
02-03-2010 11:56 PM #3
- Tampa, FL, United StatesMember No: 6805
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
- Rep Power
Re: Hello, visiting from the E38 &E31 boards...
I think Robert hit all the major points, and if you follow his postings you can save time and money with the annoying fixes that most have to take to the dealer. I had a 750 before the X5, and a 735 before that. The first day I thought I had made a terrible mistake, as it rode much bumpier than I had expected, and there is no armrest, just the console. No more theater seating. But I got used to it and now wouldn't go back. It will go anywhere and tow a 27 foot boat, occasionally forgetting its back there. The only thing that tows better is a Suburban. I'd get another if I could afford it. But for now, my 4.4 Sport with 190,000 miles will have to keep running. Looks and runs like new. I am replacing a transmission pan gasket as we speak. I finally get to change the tranny fluid! Otherwise, just the routine maintenance. The dip stick never gets below full between 5,000 mile changes. Since you have a 740 and 840 (I like that!) you know the engine well. I am in the car a lot and on the highway much of the time, on the phone, so I wanted an automatic and the V8. The V8 is coasting at 80. Coming out of passing gear at 110, pushing you back in the seat as it goes into fourth. But you know about that. Either engine, its a beast. In a good way. Good luck!
02-06-2010 07:43 PM #4
02-15-2010 01:02 PM #5
- Richfield, Ohio, USAMember No: 65681
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
- Rep Power
why valley pan requires engine removal?
I did this on my e39 540 a few years ego along with intake gaskets, EGR, water pump, and knock sensors and it was not that bad. Is the 4.4 in the X5 recessed deeper in the firewall? What is the reason for engine removal? Thanks.<B>
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02-17-2010 12:37 AM #6
Someone posted here that they had to go to heroic efforts to replace this part. The engine is tucked way back there, I guess. Search the archives for more details.
V-8s are nice, but they are more complicated and costly to maintain.
I prefer a simpler car - no air suspension, no V-8, no automatic, no water-cooled alternators, and as few electrical gadgets as possible.
The only option I have that I think is worthwhile is the sport package and the sunroof.
The basic drive-train on these cars is pretty robust. It is all the electrical toys that seem to be fragile.
Like I said, I beat the living snot out of mine and it has yet to break. I even pulled out a tree stump with it. I tow a 2500 lb trailer from New York to Georgia and back every year (and then from NY to Maine and back and from Georgia to Florida and back, etc.).
The only electrical gadget I have is the nav system, which, predictably, is shucking pixels. Outdated and slow, it is not worth fixing ($800 for a new screen on eBay) when a new Garmin is $250 at Price Club. Bear in mind, resale value on the car is about 10 grand. Spending about 10% of the value of the car to fix the nav system pixels is not a sound proposition.
And a Cassette deck? in 2002? Why not offer a radio delete option?
I like the car, but did not buy it for bluetooth compatibility. But reading this forum a few years back, that sort of stuff was important to the new car buyers, so they have to put it in - I guess.
The V-8 is nice, but the 3.0 inline six is pretty bulletproof and has all the power you need, IMHO. And I like its Shaker-like simplicity.
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