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Old 09-19-2011, 11:58 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 9
X5HAPPY is on a distinguished road
High Mileage 2004 X3 2.5i Concerns

I am considering purchasing a 2004 X3 2.5iA that a local BMW Dealer has listed for under $13,000. It is literally in showroom condition and has the premium and cold weather packages, xenon headlights, and indicates it has Montana leather (question about that later.) The vehicle is an one owner car sold originally by the dealership. It has been maintained religiously by the dealer and the former owner was apparently completely devoted to keeping the car in perfect shape. Sounds great, doesn't it. Here's the rub: it has over 135,000 miles on it and from service records, it has not had (or required) any major component replacements. The owner had very long commutes and the vast majority of the miles were highway miles (not necessarily freeway.)

Drawing on the collective wisdom of this site, I would appreciate your thoughts and cautions on purchasing a 2004 2.5i with this kind of miles. I would consider purchasing an extended warranty to cover those large expenses that would ultimately be in the car's future.

I'd love to hear the experiences of any high mileage X3 owners out there.

P.S. The 2004 X3 Sales brochure indicated that Montana leather was not available on the 2.5i even with the premium package. How could I verify this vehicle has leather. (Manufacturing date on this X3 was February 2004.)

Thanks for your replies!

X5Happy (former X5 owner)
Past BMW vehicles, all gone now:
2004 X5 4.4i, 2005 Z4 3.0i, 2006 325xi
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:31 AM
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JCL JCL is offline
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My X3 doesn't have high miles.

That said, the X3 is an E46 underneath. Pretty solid platform. I would consider the usual mileage related items as potential failures (transmission, cooling system components) and also add in the transfer case. It is the same as the E46 x transfer case but with a chain instead of gear drive. The chain is the likely wear item. The engine is generally very solid if reasonably maintained.

If they were highway miles, and the car was not driven hard, there can be lots of life left in it. It is still a 135,000 mile vehicle, but there should be fewer of the sort of nuisance failures the X5 gets at higher miles. All in my opinion.

2007 X3 3.0si, 6 MT, Premium, White

2008 535i, 6 MT, M Sport, Premium, Space Grey
2003 X5 3.0 Steptronic, Premium, Titanium Silver

2002 325xi 5 MT, Steel Grey
2004 Z4 3.0 Premium, Sport, SMG, Maldives Blue
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:41 AM
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Does it really matter to you what mkting name the leather is? Montana, Napa, Idaho...who cares, as long as you like the leather condition, color and lack of wear, imo. BMW, like every car mfg'er, is good at dreaming up nouveau riche sounding names.

Agree with JCL, though the mileage does give pause, but that's really only ~20,000 miles per year, which is not excessive for the age.

If you do go with the car, and get a 'warranty', read the fine print, esp 'what is excluded' and 'deductible' before you buy.
And, investigate to make sure it is a legit 3 rd party, and usable at additional shops besides your local 'friendly dlr', imo.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:29 PM
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Location: WNC
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If there has been no major or frequent repairs, then chances are it's one of the more reliable ones. It seems like BMWs fall into two categories of repair needs: those that are relatively trouble-free and those that seem to always need repair no matter what.

The X3 platform is based on the E46 3er and both have been relatively reliable. The weak spots on the X3 include the moonroof (check for leaks and rattles), transfer case (prone to failure if tires mismatched), and the window guides tend to creak/rattle sometimes. The CD player also has a tendency to stop ejecting CDs on the earlier models.

Note that the 2004 model year does not have Bluetooth although a passcode is inclusive.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:49 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 9
X5HAPPY is on a distinguished road
Good input all around. I did get a peek at the dealer records and this vehicle has had the usual window regulator replacements and three different service calls on the moonroof for noises. No reports of leaks, however, we live in a pretty dry climate. I'm going to drive it again for a longer period, but my first impressions were positive. The motor purrs and is smooth at idle and through acceleration. Tranny also seems to have very smooth shifts.

Are there any specific inspection areas I should check in a thorough going over of the vehicle? CV boots appear to have been recently replaced, no apparent rust anywhere, muffler looks good, etc. Is there any way to visually check suspension components?

Thanks to all for your insightful and prompt replies!


P.S. I need to update my signature.... we don't have the X5, 325xi, or Z4 anymore! Guess it IS time to start our BMW collection over again!
Past BMW vehicles, all gone now:
2004 X5 4.4i, 2005 Z4 3.0i, 2006 325xi
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Boise, Idaho
Posts: 9
X5HAPPY is on a distinguished road
Pulled the trigger on the X3

After three test drives, discussions with the service advisors, and the good input I received from some of you at Xoutpost, I purchased the 2004 X3 2.5i today. It has the premium package, cold weather, xenon, privacy glass, satellite prep and is Blue Water Metallic with gray leather interior. I've attached a couple of photos showing what great condition it is in despite having 135,000 miles on the clock. I'm looking forward to keeping it in this superb condition.

Thanks again for your replies and constructive input.

X5Happy (now X3 Happy!)
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Past BMW vehicles, all gone now:
2004 X5 4.4i, 2005 Z4 3.0i, 2006 325xi
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Old 09-24-2011, 10:37 PM
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Congrats, that's in spectacular shape and almost identical in options to my 2004.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:00 PM
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 45
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Thumbs up

Congrats on the purchase. I too recently purchased a BMW X3 for a family member.

The first thing that I did was to change the auto trans fluid. Since BMW do not specify a drain interval (they call it lifetime fill), I have no reason to doubt that the fluid in your automatic transmission and transfer case will be the same fluid as what was first put in at the factory.

In my case anyway, I was incredibly shocked to see the colour of the old fluid when I drained it out. It looked just like used engine oil. I have posted onto the auto trans fluid related threads on this forum.

If you are planning on keeping your vehicle for a while, I'd suggest changing the fluid of your gearbox as a 1st priority. BMW may charge an arm and a leg for the transmission fluid, but it's still cheap compared to a failed transmission down the track. If you are handy and can do a lot of DIY, check out the existing threads on this forum.
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:50 PM
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Congrats, Bob. The X3 is a great rig, and I hope it treats you well.
2010 X5M /// R63 AMG...Wifey's 540HP Family Hualer

2001 X5 3.0i Sport 335,448 miles & counting...

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Old 12-27-2011, 04:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 18
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Exact dupe of my 2004! It now has 174,000 miles on it. Only major hiccup was my vibration debacle at 170,000 miles...when they replaced all the wheel bearings and the transfer case only to find it was the rear universal joint on the driveshaft! Great car...you might want to do the seals in the Vanos (see Beisan Systems)...I did mine at 105,000 miles and my MPG went up by 4 MPG!

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