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Topics - bascule

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General X5 Forum (E53) / Urgent help please am broken down!!
« on: October 10, 2018, 02:20:21 PM »

Having never had the slightest electrical issue in the last 25k miles of ownership, it’s all gone wrong today.

I’m stuck at Watford gap devices on the M1, heading back to the South Downs..

Driving along at usual 75 cruise, I noticed that my indicators had stopped flashing. The alert lights came on, but no repeated blink. Both sides. Not a slow blink like a bulb gone, no flashing at all. I don’t like this.

Over the next few mins, noticed that some other controls weren’t responding either. The cruise control light is on, but can’t turn it off, for example.

I decided to pull in to the services to see if the lights on the outside were the same, and check the brake lights zzz

NOw it won’t start at all. No click, just dead.
The Headlights have come on and I can’t turn them off.
Central locking doesn’t work.
Cruise light is still on.

No idea what else - have called the RAC as I’m not happy getting back on the motorway even if it starts!

Any thoughts as to what’s gone on?!

It was driving perfectly and smoothly. No prior warning lights such as alternator at all

It’s a manual, 3.0d, no previous issues, service d about 1k miles ago.

Any suggestions welcome!

General X5 Forum (E53) / ebay suspension kits?
« on: August 28, 2018, 11:51:18 AM »
Anyone bought one of these types of kits?

On the face of it they appear to be very good value indeed. In a past life I bought a kit like this for an Audi A6 I used to have, and that was great, but I'm keen to know if anyone has bought one of these for a E53, and specifically which one!


General X3 Forum (E83) / Wow at cost of rear silencer (e83 2.5i)
« on: June 26, 2018, 06:37:18 PM »
  :o   so the ex has a 2004 X3 2.5i, and the exhaust has cracked near the entry to the rear silencer.  I've not seen it, but apparently its not rusty all, just cracked..  prices for a replacement rear section seem exorbitant compared to for example a 3 series with the same engine, at £500 plus.. 

what are the odds of being able to weld/repair it do you think? 

Or - wheres the best source of a more reasonably priced replacement.. 

Or - know anyone breaking one of these??!

All responses gratefully received!  Thank you..

General Discussion / Insurance scam that wasn't... GRRRR
« on: April 22, 2018, 06:46:27 PM »

Insurance tale: Part 1.

So I received a large number of calls from a company I'd never heard of, wanting me to respond with all my details about the car accident you had last month.

(For reference: I have not had an accident.)

I also received a letter asking for me to contact them about it. I took one of the calls, and they straight away wanted personal info, and wouldn't discuss the alleged incident until I'd proved who I was. (Not falling for that one - it was a short conversation).

At the point where the calls were coming every few hours, frustration lead me to google these scammers.. and then it got interesting, as they're a genuine insurer and the phone numbers all match up. A little more research, and it turns out that my own RAC insurance was underwritten by this company. Huh - who knew?.
A further call to them, and yes - they're my own insurer (oops!) and yes, there's a claim against me, for an accident I had last month on the M27 - the other party being a Nissan Navara.  :o

Well thats wierd, as I've not had an accident. I do use the M27, but not on a workday. Protesting innocence (and getting that whole feeling of not being believed), I push for more details.. and finally find out that the damage was caused when a large trailer I was apparently towing, lost a wheel which caused extensive damage to said Nissan. Huh.

Again, I don't possess a trailer, and haven't towed one in a long time. More protestations of innocence were basically met with 'Well its up to you to prove otherwise if you dispute this but we still need to proceed with the claim etc' - so thats fun, as the X5 does have a towbar and how do you prove you didn't tow a trailer? :(

An epiphany moment suggested that if they got the number from the anywhere it would be the trailer not the car.. could there be a trailer somewhere with my number plate on it? Hang on - I bought the car last year from a chap who had just retired and sold his business, which was a garage in Sussex.. Called him and asked the question.. "Oh yes, there was a large trailer we used to tow, but that went to the brother in law, I'm sure he changed the plate, why do you ask?...."

Explained the insurance query and he was horrified, and yes of course I'll get all the details for you.. Which was the next issue, cos this other chap is going to have to a) accept liability and b) presumably be in trouble for using the wrong plate and c) for not stopping at an accident... and then it all went quiet..

Fortunately, I've now received an email with the name, address and registration of the brother in laws car which was towing said trailer at the time.. All I have to do now is convince my insurers that it wasn't me, was nothing to do with me, and please don't hold this against me!! watch this space..

Also - if you sell a trailer or anything else with your number plate on, REMOVE the plate! And lesson learned -  if you buy a car with a towbar, make sure anything with your plate on has been sorted...

General X5 Forum (E53) / Advice on door carrier?
« on: April 22, 2018, 06:36:09 PM »

So my ex-mrs managed to bust something on my passenger door and now it wont open from the outside.  Obviously this is pointing at the door handle carrier - I've watched a couple of youtubes and it looks within my capability to sort..


I would appreciate any recommendation as to what to buy!  Is it worth paying extra for a genuine one?  What have you used in this circumstance?

The rest of the car is great and i plan to keep it so...


General X5 Forum (E53) / Failed MOT on HIDs - oops!
« on: April 09, 2018, 06:53:08 PM »
Went in for an early MOT on Saturday, half expecting my LED main beams to be an issue.

Nope, they were completely fine - but the HIDs that the previous owner had installed into the normal dipped lights were a failure, "Headlamp aim beam image obviously incorrect (both)"  along with a couple of other items (a wheel bearing and a CV gaiter)

Anyone else fallen foul of this one?  It makes sense, the HIDs were in the original headlamp housings for halogens so they're clearly an issue.

I was wondering if putting LEDs in to replace the HIDs would be any different, they've been great in the Main beams.

I'm not too unhappy with with that fail though for a 14year old truck, but I was a bit worried about removing the HIDs.

looked up what the bulbs should be for the car, everything said H7.  bought some H7. Nope. not H7.

Mercifully, the previous owner, who did a nice neat job of installing the HIDs, had left the original connectors in line - turned out to be 9005 bulbs needed.  New bulbs fitted and HIDs currently disconnected.

she's going in tomorrow for the wheel bearing and CV to be fitted and a retest.

General X5 Forum (E53) / replace single tyre?
« on: January 22, 2018, 09:00:36 AM »
My '53 x5 has Michelins all round, but one of them (nearside left) is approaching legal limit. The Offside left is a matching Michelin but is a good tyre which has 4-5mm left.  I don't have any issues on the car, but will need to address the tyre that's due for replacement - do you think it will be ok just to replace that one? 

to my thinking that will result in less RR difference than there is currently.. 

General X3 Forum (E83) / Left hand power mirror doesn't...
« on: October 03, 2017, 10:49:53 PM »
So the electric folding works perfectly on the drivers side, but the left does nothing and feels a little loose.

Is this a common issue?  Is there a 'usual culprit' component that will have broken?  I'd like to fix it for her if I can!

All advice appreciated.

General X3 Forum (E83) / Faulty 'mode' button on Stereo?
« on: October 03, 2017, 10:48:07 PM »
Anyone had this?  Or have I missed something ?!

On my X5 the mode button switches between stereo sources.  On her X3, the mode button does literally nothing.  The default is the radio, and the only way to play a CD is for it to automatically start when you insert it, and the only way to switch back is eject the CD.. and the CD changer in the armrest is powered up but we can't switch to it..

Am I being dumb?!

In better news, the Bluetooth works perfectly with her iPhone!

So she's had her 2.5i X3 for a few days now and has noticed two issues.  Neither are major, but she's mentioned them..

For ref - the car has covered just over 100k, has a full service history, (most recent service only about 3k ago), is a 2.5i with a manual gearbox, I believe the engine is the M54 as it's a 2004 car.

1 - Small knock under braking.  I only drove the car briefly and didn't notice this, but she says occasionally when braking at low speed there's a knock noise - having dug into this it sounds like it's a single one-off knock just as the attitude of the car changes.  I am assuming it could be a bush - though the new MOT last week gave no advises.  Any thoughts on this would be appreciated!

2 - mild hesitation on acceleration in lower gears.  The idle is fine and smooth, and there's no lack of power, and the car will rev freely up the range.  This hesitation seems to be at lower revs (say around 2k) when accelerating, and is just a mild almost stutter at that point.  It's not bad, but seems to be consistently there.  It's not particularly noticeable in higher gears.  She's done a hundred or so miles in one mostly motorway journey with no issues - this seems to be only noticeable at lowish speed, low gears, round town.  She's not an aggressive driver at all, in fact quite the opposite.  There's no warning lights on or anything like that. 

I started googling - I'd never heard of VANOS before which someone suggested, and that doesnt sound fun - but it also sounds like vanos issues would have a more pronounced effect on the idle and power in general?   Also, Maf sensor seems unlikely given how silky smooth the car is in general, it's only this mild hesitation at that point of the revs.  Another source said vacuum leaks etc - at this point I thought I'd ask all you guys if you've had anything similar!!

all advice appreciated!



General X3 Forum (E83) / Picked up an X3 last night :)
« on: September 27, 2017, 02:26:09 PM »
So have been looking for a while for an X3 for my ex - she loves my X5, and had her heart set on an X3, but only has a limited budget, so we've been looking at the very cheapest end of the market. 

Not surprisingly, we've seen some proper rubbish at dealers being presented as great condition..  (worst was a shockingly bad one with bad oil leaks from engine and diff, a really rough engine note, jerky clutch, a terrible MOT history for a few years where the advisory was that it was so overdue for a service he could hardly get it past emissions, then the following year it still wasn't done and failed and he put in capitals about it causing engine damage, it was showing several warning lights, AC was feeble and it was proper tatty all round - still up for 2.5k!)

We ruled out the 2.0d and the 2.0 petrol, along with any automatics, and narrowed the focus to 2.5i petrol manuals, and set the autotrader search alerts accordingly!  we were looking for proper histories, not mad miles (though if the history was perfect we wouldn't have ruled out a higher mileage one) and as clean as possible - she didn't want a battered school run special.  Not that we're fussy or anything ;) Though its frustrating how very few adverts actually resemble the truth - Immaculate shouldn't mean every panel is scratched and dinged!

Having ruled a few out, this one popped up on AT yesterday, and we were all over it - a hasty 230 mile round trip last night, and she's now a very very happy lady indeed!

It's a 2.5i petrol 6sp manual, full history right up to date with all the paperwork, really good mot history too and a brand new MOT with no advises (again), almost new tyres all round, new discs and pads all round, bone dry on diffs and gbox and engine, no knocks or clonks or rattles (can see it's had a couple of new lower arms/bushes), brand new 5yr guarantee battery, and is absolutely immaculate both inside and out. No parking dings, no scratches, couple of (tiny) stonechips on leading edge of bonnet. Has bluetooth as well.  Has clearly been very well looked after indeed!  Private sale, very nice older chap,  and I reckon this was a bargain at £2.6k.

Issues?  Passenger side folding mirror doesn't, and a fingernail sized patch of bubbled plastic cover on the window trim by one rear window.  ummmm..  That's it.  Drives absolutely beautifully, nice clutch, great brakes, everything silky smooth and everything seems to be 100% working.

It was interesting for me to compare with my X5.  I definitely prefer the ride quality of the X5, as the X3 seems not quite as unruffled by poor surfaces.  I prefer the brakes on the X3.  I prefer the stereo in the X3. I like the low boot floor in the X3. I prefer the 'spacious' feeling in the X5, the 3 definitely feels more cramped in the cockpit, while not being a small car at all!  I reckon I'd be very happy with an X3 - but would want the 3.0 diesel version.  She does very few miles, so the fuel figures of the 2.5 petrol were not an issue for her.

Immediate plans:

 - Install an Aux cable for the stereo
 - Work out how to pair hew iphone to the bluetooth unit
 - do the same LED headlight upgrades we did on the X5
 - maybe replace the bootlid bmw badge as it's a little blemished
 - replace the number plates as both are looking a little tired.

think that's it!

Looking forward to seeing how this works out for her.

General X3 Forum (E83) / What to look for - Cheap X3..
« on: September 08, 2017, 01:17:26 PM »
So my ex-gf has spotted this car for sale..  Fresh MOT etc on it..

I know nothing about these engines or this model.  She loves my X5, and this really appeals to her!

Would really appreciate your thoughts and advice!  It's a cheapy one, but is still pushing her budget, so a) don't want to get it wrong, and b) there's not much more ££ to add.

She drives very few miles, circa 5k annually, mostly school runs and shopping and the occasional 40mile motorway run to visit me.  Manual is her preference too.

Please help!

General X5 Forum (E53) / LED Headlights.. Wow!
« on: August 24, 2017, 03:22:39 PM »
I already had HIDs for the dipped beam lights, which were excellent - very strong lights, nice white colour, great coverage. 

But - when going to main beam, the standard bulbs I had didn't really add anything, as the dipped were so good. 

Picked up a set of these after a recommendation in a facebook group, and they arrived today - £33 delivered from Amazon, nicely made, took about 2 mins to replace.  They have integrated cooling fans and a little inverter for the power, build quality looks fine.


They're canbus compliant, and I have no errors showing.  What's not clear from the pictures is that there are LEDs both sides.

Turned them on, and well, judge for yourself as these are 1pm daylight pictures!

You can see the HIDs I already had compared to the standard main beam.

General X5 Forum (E53) / EGR Delete / bypass?
« on: July 21, 2017, 12:14:21 PM »
On past vehicles, I've had great results from eliminating the EGR, followed by a clean (like terraclean).  In fact I've been truly shocked at how much crap has needed to be cleaned out that results from the EGR process.

On one, it totally resolved a recurring limp mode issue, as well as a much smoother and stronger response. I've ended up viewing EGR bypass as a positive thing.

Every vehicle is different though, so what's the view here on doing this on the E53 3.0d?  Is this a popular route to go down?  Any particular challenges?

Mines a 53 plate pre-facelift model.  It's been remapped already, and is a super drive - I'm not looking for performance gains, its more I just like the idea of stopping all that crap being chucked back in.

So, have many done this?  any recommendations welcome!

This covers the installation of a Parrot MKi9200 into an E53 with the widescreen SatNav head unit.

The parrot gives full Bluetooth hands free, including voice control of dialling and answering, contact synching,  USB music management with artwork on the display unit, Aux input, Bluetooth streaming audio etc, and intelligently mutes the normal stereo while in use.  It’s a good solid unit – I’ve had the same one in 6 different cars now.

You will need:
One parrot MKi9200 hands free kit.  This has a display module, a dual microphone, a USB and aux interface lead, the controller itself, a remote control unit with scroll wheel and interface leads for standard units.

One BMW SOT lead – this fits ‘between’ the existing amplifier and the speaker connections, and provides the interface point for the parrot to connect to.

One 5m long loom extension cable, to run from the parrot controller back to the electronics in the boot.
I bought all my kit from justcarkits.co.uk – used them for years and they’re really helpful, but there’s plenty of other sources.

Screwdrivers and a set of Torx bits

Socket set

ESSENTIAL – a set of trim pry tools – I wouldn’t consider doing this without them, they make it SO much easier and hugely reduce the risk of damaging trim.

Turn your Ignition OFF!

I start by gently prising the stereo surround from each side.  Dead easy with a plastic pry tool, and it just pops out.

There are four torx heads holding the stereo in, located here:  I’ve seen people opening the flip front and pulling the stereo fuse to lock it open etc – but frankly a fine torx tool simply works without the need to go through all that, it’s very straightforward.

Pull the stereo out, and let it rest carefully so as not to scratch anything.  On this pic you can see the location of the official AUX IN connector on the loom – I already had this fitted, but if you don’t – this is where it goes.

Gently pry the wood trim to the side of the stereo towards the steering wheel.  This makes an excellent place to mount the Parrot Display, and the display lead can simply be tucked behind that trim and routed into the cavity behind the stereo ready for connecting later.

Use plastic pry to remove the ‘AIRBAG’ plastic cover on the A pillar.  This simply hides the TORX screw head which holds the A pillar in place.  Once removed, its easy to pull the A pillar to one side – go careful and don’t use anything sharp, there IS an airbag behind there.  You wont need to disturb it if you carefully route the microphone cable around it.

Here’s where I mounted the microphone:

In the boot, remove the boot floor and the spare wheel.  Use your socket set to undo the bolts holding the compressor dome frame, and lift the whole assembly out of the way.

Unscrew the electronics cover panel

This is the connector you are looking for – the big square connector on top of the radio amp.  Make sure your ignition is off and keys in pocket before disconnecting anything!

use the lever and disconnect the connector.  (if you’ve not done this before, look at the lever on your parrot lead, to get how you pinch the release before lifting the lever!)   Make a note of the two additional connectors highlighted, as you’ll need to transfer these too in a minute.

Connect one end the parrot SOT lead to the amp, and the other end to the lead you just disconnected.  Transfer the secondary connectors from the old lead back onto the amp as shown:

TEST!  At this point, if you turned your radio on you would have no sound.  However - you can connect the 5m extension cable temporarily, and plug the blue parrot control unit to the other end.  Try your radio now, and confirm that you have sound coming through the speakers as normal.

If all good, switch everything off again, disconnect the blue box and start routing the leads – make sure nothing is going to be ‘pinched’ or crushed when the frame and wheel are back in place.

Pop out your rear bench seat (lift from front edge) and bring the extension cable through from the rear to the nice big gap under the seat.

Pry off your front and rear door trims, so that you can tuck the cable well away under the corner of the carpet

In the passenger footwell, the lower trim is held with a screw and two twistlock connectors.  With that and the side trim free, its easy to route the cable up to the cavity behind the stereo.

I ran the USB and AUX lead down from the stereo cavity and into the front ashtray –there’s a hole in the side of the ashtray which I needed to enlarge a little to get the USB connector in, but it tucks away nicely.  Some prefer to have this in the glovebox.

That’s pretty much it – connect up the extension lead, the USB lead, the Microphone lead, the display lead and tuck it all away tidily behind the stereo.
Find a place that suits for the controller and stick it there.

Turn your ignition on – it will boot automatically, you’ll need to go through the usual pairing process (only once, it’s remembered after that) and job’s a goodun! Click the green button to activate voice dialling. Plug in a big USB full of music.  In audio effects, you might want to turn off the bass expansion as it’s a bit overplayed!

Hope that helps..


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