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  #1  
Old 09-14-2018, 08:12 AM
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2004 X5 4.8is, Risky?

Hi everyone, new to the community here and had a few questions. Looking at purchasing a 2004 X5 4.8is with a little over 100k miles.

The biggest thing that worries me is the auto trans, how reliable are they? I'm planning on ditching my Z4 if I get this one but want to make sure it won't instantly die on me. We do have 3 other vehicles so it won't be a DD.

I'm aware it's an older vehicle it will most likely be in need of plenty of things to be up to snuff. I do enjoy working on cars and have done major work on engines and replaced an auto trans. From what I see after market parts seem reasonable. The X5 meets our needs, plenty of room, power, and can pull a trailer.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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Old 09-14-2018, 08:29 AM
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The power in the 4.8 is great and tons of fun to drive, but the engine can be equally frustrating. It has the normal seals that fail over time on vehicle that age from the valve cover and head gasket and it has stupid ones that can fail with no warning and will leave you sit. I had both the alternator bracket gasket (which will dump all the oil on the ground) and the dreaded transfer pipe seal (which will dump all the coolant on the ground). The transfer pipe seal can be catastrophic if it weren’t for bimmerfix. There were tons of other old age repairs that I did to it in the three years we had it, but I finally threw in the towel as the transmission started to go.


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Old 09-14-2018, 11:34 AM
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Mine is in very good shape. Just needed valve cover gaskets engine wise. Gets a small puff out the back after idling for long periods of time (not stoplights). Transmission required a rebuilt mechatronic unit and solenoids but the replacement didn’t break the back. The car is great to drive but the fuel economy sucks. Lucky to get 18 around town. Road trips can return 20-21. Overall I do love it and plan to keep it around for quite a while.


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Old 09-14-2018, 11:44 AM
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18? I'm lucky to get 17! lol, but same road trips.

I would worry less about the trans and more on the Valve stem seals and coolant transfer pipe, as well as air suspension stuff.

A good way to put it is, you have money to repair/manage a $100k car, but don't want the high initial buy-in. Which in that case makes this a fun car if you play your cards right.
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Our03Z4 View Post
….. I do enjoy working on cars and have done major work on engines and replaced an auto trans. …..

You have passed the litmus test with flying colors The thing to worry most about is the valve stem seals failure, which causes the vehicle to emit huge embarrassing plumes of smoke upon take off after extended idle, for example at traffic lights or stop and go traffic. But even that would be no challenge to someone of your skill level Before purchase when you find one, do that little test
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Old 09-14-2018, 12:28 PM
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It's not too risky if the PO kept up on maintenance.

I have a 2005 4.8iS with 200,000km on it and have only MINOR problems.....


(The above statement is just in case the wife reads this)

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Old 09-14-2018, 09:17 PM
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Deep pockets or a big tool box and time are the only way to get through E53 ownership.

Personally, I think the trans is absolute junk in the X. On the flip side they can rebuilt fairly easily with time and space.

Valve stems, window regulators failing, door handles breaking, the list goes on. While I love my X given the chance to do it all over I would have passed. If you have the time to work on them and a passion for turning wrenches, they are awesome. But seriously one of the most PITA vehicles I've ever owned and I've had a few.
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:56 PM
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Recently took on an 04 myself.
About a year ago. Found it on here too.
Tranny started acting up.
Did flush and seals. Previous service they didn't do the seals.
Did seals. New fluid. Acting better, next step I'm gonna do all the solenoids.
Besides that tho, it's been good to go. Spark plug tubes are leaking, just found that out last week. I'll do that after I sort the tranny.

They're not bad vehicles, puts a smile on my face when it's not shifting all fuctup.



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Old 09-15-2018, 07:44 AM
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Risky you say?

Definitely!.....but.... drive it out there and everyone's just lookin and lovin it!

They're not bad once you got those issues sorted....You know you WANT one!
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Old 09-15-2018, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Our03Z4 View Post
Hi everyone, new to the community here and had a few questions. Looking at purchasing a 2004 X5 4.8is with a little over 100k miles.

The biggest thing that worries me is the auto trans, how reliable are they? I'm planning on ditching my Z4 if I get this one but want to make sure it won't instantly die on me. We do have 3 other vehicles so it won't be a DD.

I'm aware it's an older vehicle it will most likely be in need of plenty of things to be up to snuff. I do enjoy working on cars and have done major work on engines and replaced an auto trans. From what I see after market parts seem reasonable. The X5 meets our needs, plenty of room, power, and can pull a trailer.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!
I guess my 2 cents worth is much like others have voiced: Great when running well, but, ...you MAY need a healthy bank account and/or shop time to keep it on the road as much as you want and in the tip-top condition you want.

I'd be curious how much service was done in it's first 100k miles of life. When I had my 2000 750iL, I got it with 72k and ...right around 100k a LOT of things needed to be replaced. I spent a lot of money getting ready for the next 100k.

And now I have an '01 740iL and (knock on wood) it's awesome, but, I am fearful of the timing chain guides issue. I just bought an '03 X5 with the 3.0 six cyl and during my search, I saw a LOT of the 4.4s and a few 4.8s and over half of them had engine troubles. So while my 3.0 ain't gonna melt the tires off the rims, I am confident I won't have to shovel money at it.

Tough call. When I was in my 20s-30s, I just wanted the vehicles that had a healthy 'badass' element to them. Now that I'm in my 50s, I've turned the corner to wanting more reliability. Not sure where you are on that scale, but, that may be the determining factor. Good luck regardless.
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