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Old 04-08-2015, 12:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Uk
Posts: 105
Dark_stranger is on a distinguished road
I take my hat off to you sir, outstanding job.
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 148
Deansbimmer is on a distinguished road
Thanks everyone for the kind motivational words, I need them so I can keep telling myself that it's going to be worth it all in the end lol. I do have about 100 miles on the car now and can say that I love the way it drives. I'll love having it up to par. So far, The things remaining on my list are:

Trailer hitch (!)
Steering column fix (the stalk doesn't adjust the column)
Fix passenger front window regulator
Replace front wheel fender liners
Source and install front bull bar
New tires (dry rotted and mismatched) Maybe some style 87's if I can find a good deal
Rear suspension refresh
Rear air suspension sensor needs replacement (have a code)
Trans and rear diff fluid change
Dynavin Nav install

I've been trying to figure out what to do for a trailer hitch. I need one asap for work but can't find an OEM hitch to save my life. I couldn't even find an aftermarket one heavy duty enough for me until I located a CURT 13070 on eBay. I bought it. I'm going to find an OEM trailer module and make my own wiring harness with OEM parts, so I should end up with something decent in the end.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 189
n_sievers is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by Deansbimmer View Post
Haha thats funny! I wish the previous owner could know what I am doing to the car but he isn't classy enough to be on a forum. He is a lying super douche!

I continued today on some things.... The windshield had a big round crack in it like someone threw a basketball at it so I had a glass guy put a new one in. I bought new OEM top trim for him to put in too which got rid of the deteriorated old one.

Then, since the cluster display was just about completely dead I had purchased a new LCD and ribbon to rebuild the cluster. Let me tell you... In hindsight, for the $60 difference in cost, I would totally ship this off to someone for a rebuild. It tried my patience and took 3 hours out of my day and I'm still not happy with the results. I don't know if I got a bad part or if I messed something up, but I still get some faint lines through the display when I first activate the dash which is weird because it only last a few seconds. But at least it's good and usable now!

This is what I had to start with. Also note mleage unknown. The PO used that to his advantage when he sold it to me...

After I figured out how to crack open the case I got smart and looked at some DIY's. You have to drill on your cluster to get the LCD panel off! 4 holes!

Then you get to the ribbon cable. Mine basically fell off...hardly any of the contacts were still holding...

New display on the left, the parts I'm fixing on the right...

Cleaning the old material off the board contacts.

Lined them up to hold with some tape. Once you bolt back down the LCD sub-assembly it clamps the ribbon cable to the circuit board for a good connection.

And testing... I had very little faith in my repair so before putting it all back together I just connected the wires to the back to make sure it worked. It was mostly OK but I went back to redo my ribbon cable and this picture is the second test. Note the mileage, 182,000 miles!!! The PO said he knew it had about 147k on it! DAMN! Looking at the paperwork and DMV registration history, it means that he drove it around for almost 40,000 miles without transferring the title into his name. What an ASS!
I completely agree with you regarding the cluster repair! I completed mine on my own about 5 years ago with 100% success but for the few bucks one saves, it is definitely not worth the time and brain damage unless you need a cold snowy day project.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:09 PM
Ricky Bobby's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Wake Forest, NC
Posts: 9,332
Ricky Bobby will become famous soon enough
^^^Agreed on the cluster, too delicate for me. I paid $110 and got silver gauge rings put on at the same time
2003 X5 3.0i 5-Speed - Born on 9/18/2003
105k miles -Topaz Blue/Schwarz/Titan Int. Trim/EHCII/Sport
Proud 3-Pedal owner, UUC SS/AFE/4.8iS Exhaust/Sharked
2013 X5 35D (CEO's) - Born on 5/17/2013 -
68k miles - Alpine White/Cinnamon Brown/Premium Pkg, Sport Activity/Premium Pkg and Sound/20" Style 214/Running Boards

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Old 04-08-2015, 02:45 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: NJ
Posts: 385
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The steering column not moving could be the drivers seat switch, they are connected. Very common the seat switch's go bad and the seat memory goes bad and the use of the tilt steering column.

This is just my opinion and it will probably cause a shit storm, but if it were me I would leave the transmission alone. If they work, they work until they don't one day. They are fragile.

The most important is to change the transfer case fluid, also very fragile with OEM oil only. If the fluid is black change it twice. The drt rott tire noise may be the transfer case.

OEM trailer hitches are almost impossible if not impossible. I have a unit from U-Haul that works great and I use the pig tail plug just taped in the wire harness.

I know you had the battery disconnected for a while but try this. Disconnect the battery then touch the positive and negative together for 20 seconds then reinstall. Your steering tilt adjustment may come back and you may loose a code or 2.

The things I'm commenting on fixed my car or what I experienced with mine.

What to watch out for, common problems:
Cooling system expansion tank, they just crack..on my 3rd.
Water Pump...this will go.
EGR Valve and breather lines.

You fixed the valley pan-water pipe, valve covers and timing chain guides and alternator.

I think the modern wheels look good once the car is lowered like the wheels in this pic ECS News BMW E53 X5 ECS Wheel Spacers
2002 X5 4.4i Sport Wheels
2014 X5 35i M Appearance & suspension package
1995 Porsche 993
2020 GLE 450 Twin Turbo
2019 Alfa Stelvio Quadrifogilo
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 148
Deansbimmer is on a distinguished road
Great post! Thanks for the tips from your experiences. I'm on track to handle all of those things. I had almost forgot about the transfer case though so I'm glad you mentioned it. I'll be under there replacing the front drive shaft this weekend so that would be a good time to do the t-case fluid. The splines are feathered and worn out so it makes a loud "DING" when it loads and unloads while driving.

Luckily the cooling system was mostly new, and I just today ordered a new overflow tank. The radiator and hoses are all new, as is the water pump and thermostat. All the hoses for the EGR and EVAP systems are new, and I installed a new oil separator and its hoses. Hopefully I won't have any surprises with blown hoses any time soon!

I also remembered that I need to replace the secondary air pump too. Its doing the jet take-off noise thing when it's running. I would take it apart to see if I can put in a new bearing but I may have learned my lesson on dollars-saved to time-wasted ratios while messing with the cluster...

I'll try the battery disconnect trick. I looked a little closer, looks like the PO has been in there hacking at wires, presumably to install that Alpine head unit... The steering column trim wasn't reinstalled properly, so it's not seating all the way. Oh boy.
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Little Elm,Texas. (40 minutes North of Dallas)
Posts: 7,353
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Doing all the right things. I don't agree they are unreliable especially when one takes care of them as you are doing.
X5 4.6 2002 Black Sap, Black interior. 2013 X5M Melbourne Red, Bamboo interior
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Old 04-08-2015, 06:52 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Indiana
Posts: 24
Xtacy5 is on a distinguished road
Great post. Thanks for sharing. Also I believe I have an OEM plug and play tow harness in my garage. Im in the military and often gone but I am home for the moment. Lemme check and see if I still have one. If so I will PM you and we can see what its worth. I also just pulled some 4.8is calipers off my 4.4i if you are interested in those. And I have an OEM hitch on mine and might be selling the truck...., maybe,. My tranny wont go into reverse so I'm contemplating what to do with her. I've just done a bunch of work to mine as well. But if I sell and take the hitch off you'll be the first to know. And again, great post and work on your new toy.
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 148
Deansbimmer is on a distinguished road
Yes, I'd be interested in the parts you may be willing to part with, just PM me when you're ready.

So... I've been looking at my driveshaft situation, and found that I had ordered the wrong replacement shaft on eBay. It's too short- I got the short version that started for '04 builds.
Now, I also looked at my old driveshaft, which has worn off splines, but also the female end in the transfer case is worn out too! The shaft doesn't seat all the way in the TC, so it doesn't engage but only 3/4" of the splines in the TC! I searched about this and found it to be yet another point of friction between E53 owners and BMWNA. Of course you can't buy just the output shaft of the transfer case, so luckily it looks like the aftermarket has a solution by offering modified shafts with 1/2-3/4" longer splines.

It looks like I'll need to order one of those to fix my driveshaft issue. I'm not interested in replacing the transfer case... Sheesh!
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Old 04-09-2015, 11:40 AM
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,164
David.X5 is on a distinguished road
I think Cobra Transmission sells replacement output spline parts for the X5 Transfer case, along with longer splinned front driveshafts. Check out their web site or call them. They were very helpful to me on the phone. Not very cheap, but I tried the cheap ebay way and I wasted money there...

Look at the metal plate on your transfer case and figure out which version you have. There were 3... I think Cobra Transmission has photos to help you figure out which you have.
2001 X5 4.4i Sport
SOLD! at 160k miles
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