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  1. #1
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    Member No: 189609 richardx5 is an unknown quantity at this point richardx5's Avatar
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    Rough ride and very firm air suspension

    Hi (new to this forum)

    I've owned a 2003 X5 3.0d sport for 12 months and since the day i took ownership I have been very disappointed with the ride comfort. It has rear air suspension which is so firm that its feels very uncomfortable for rear passengers on anything other than smooth tarmac. There are no faults codes, the dealer could find nothing wrong, and the car handles well. It is running on 19in alloys but I have also tried a set of 17in alloys but with no noticeable improvement. I have also had the rear carrier bushes replaced recently, improved handling but no suspension improvement.

    Could this be caused by an undiagnosed problem with the air pump/regulator/sesnor or can this setup be adjusted in anyway. Grateful for any advice.

    Thanks
    Richard
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    Member No: 6805 hlgilbert is an unknown quantity at this point hlgilbert's Avatar
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    Its probably normal if it is at the correct height. It is quite stiff. As I understand, the ride height can be set on the dealer's computer. Lowering it a half inch might make it less rigid, but its probably the shocks. Try lowering the air pressure in your tires to maybe 32 lbs and see if it helps. Maybe 34. I forget exactly, but going down 3 or 4 pounds makes a lot of difference.
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  3. #3
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Tire Pressure?

    This may sound too obvious, but what tire pressures are you running? I was shocked to realize how low the stock pressures are for this car (32 psi for some tire sizes). I tend to run higher, particularly when towing, and it does give you that kick-in-the-pants feel.

    Also, very low profile tires, like 19" rims are going to ride hard. They may look cool, but you are going to lose ride quality over them. The even larger, aftermarket rims are worse.

    Low-profile tires may look cool, but they can be an annoying pain-in-the-***, as the rims tend to bend more easily, the tires can be staggeringly expensive, and they can ride very harshly. Eventually, one tires of them, no pun intended.

    On the M Roadster, I actually went up a size (same aspect ratio and rim size, just a larger tire) when I replaced the tires, as the stock tires were like strips of paint on the rims. The rims end up getting rim-rashed and the car rode like a board. Now it sits a little higher (no more air dam damage) rides a little nicer, and ironically handles better (the tires stay in contact with the ground more over bumps, so it no longer does automatic lane changes when you hit potholes).

    All that being said, the X5 is an SUV and has a fairly short wheelbase, so it rides pretty hard. Not much can be done about that. Physics.

    I have the 18" sport wheels (P255/55 R18 tires) and sport suspension (no air suspension) and it rides OK, but certainly not like my neighbors Mercedes S-class. That's like riding a pat of melting butter.

    Good Luck.
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    We have a 2006 E53 Diesel with sports suspension, and I'm sorry to say that what you've described is completely normal. Excellent handling characteristics for a vehicle of its mass, and the wheels look great, but the ride is very choppy. I bought a set of 17" rims so I had a set of winter treads for frequent trips to the snow, but it hasn't made much difference.

    Toyed with the idea of fitting aftermarket shock absorbers, but it was going to cost a fortune, without any guarantee of improving the ride.

    So I've grown to accept the way it is.

    When the going gets rough, remind yourself of the benefits in roadholding, and safety!
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