Home Forums Articles How To's FAQ Register
Go Back   Xoutpost.com > BMW SAV Forums > X5 (E53) Forum
Arnott
User Name
Password
Member List Premier Membership Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Xoutpost server transfer and maintenance is occurring....
Xoutpost is currently undergoing a planned server migration.... stay tuned for new developments.... sincerely, the management


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 03-29-2021, 03:21 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 52
Tonyfeb14 is on a distinguished road
X5 Towing - need electronic brake controller

I just purchased a pop-up camper and thinking of towing with my 2003 X5 4.4, with 155k miles. I have been through all the typical repairs on the X5, valley pan, cooling system, door handles, window regulators, etc.. Just shy of doing the timing chain guides sometime in the next year. Being a glutton for punishment, now looking to add a tow package, ideally something factory.

The camper has GVWR (lbs) of 2950 with electric brakes, so I will need an electric brake controller. When checking out controllers, which I expected to be $100-$150, I found a website recommending a radio controller for the BMW because the electronics were so complicated (surprise, nothing is easy). That controller was more like $380. If I can find a factory hitch which seem as rare as hens teeth, otherwise will do the typical aftermarket for about $150 and sort out the controller and wiring.

Any recommendations on tow hitches and controllers would be welcome.
Reply With Quote

Sponsored Links

  #2  
Old 03-29-2021, 03:46 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 383
Bdc101 is on a distinguished road
The factory hitches seem to be easier to find due to so many E53s getting easily totaled, but they are very hard to ship, and have many parts which sometimes get lost by those selling, so it's best to look locally. The factory hitch is extremely beefy and solid, but requires a fairly large amount of work to install.



I already had the factory hitch and an aftermarket towing connector installed in mine (which was installed by the PO using spliced wires off the brake lights instead of the factory connector) and was not able to find a towing module at the time I needed it. I added a Tekonsha P3 proportional controller and wired it into the car myself. This unit (a wired controller) I can at least recommend without any reservation.



I believe that if you use a wireless controller you'll still need to wire up a trailer plug with brake, reverse, and running lights either way.



I have been towing my 18-foot Apex Nano camper (curb weight 3,050 lbs) with mine for the past three seasons. I'm definitely happy with the E53 as a tow vehicle.



A couple of times I've forgotten to install the brake controller and had to brake quickly without the trailer brakes, and it has been able to stop easily without trailer brakes. I wouldn't want to go down a long hill without them but it's just a much higher-quality vehicle than your average american pickup truck when it comes to brakes and suspension.
__________________
2003 3.0 5-speed
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 03-29-2021, 04:51 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 383
Effduration is on a distinguished road
I would look hard for a factory (westfalia) hitch and a factory trailer harness and trailer module...I have an extra set, and will PM you..

If you buy a used factory hitch make sure you get all the pieces. I see a lot of hitches on Ebay that are missing several important parts that can't be bought separately.

The aftermarket hitches are really pretty light-duty (4-4500 lbs) compared to the factory hitch (6,000 lbs).

A lot of people who attempt to wire in a generic trailer harness to an E53 end up regretting it. The E53's electronics don't like these kind of modifications.

There are a wide number of elec brake controllers that will work. Search on E53 trailer brakes and see if you can find one used.

Last edited by Effduration; 03-29-2021 at 08:02 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 03-29-2021, 06:32 PM
LVP LVP is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Ontario
Posts: 804
LVP is on a distinguished road
Here is a link to a good thread
https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...ation-pdf.html

This will show you clearly all the pieces you need (and how awesomely beefy it is - it saved most of my rear end in a collision recently ).
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-genuine-...e/71600009711/

This is the wireless controller I got. No issues and no wire running. I have it permanently mounted to my race car hauler.
https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Bra...ha/TK94FR.html

Snagged this for the 4-wire tows (no brakes on these ones)
https://www.etrailer.com/Wiring/Tow-Ready/TR20141.html
__________________
Daily Drivers:
- 2004 X5 4.4, 01/2004 production, 345,000km
- 2008 535i, 260,000km

Track:
- 1996 328i, track/race car, ~300,000km

Winter:
- 2001 Ski-Doo MXZ 600 w/800 engine, exhaust
- 1978 Ski-Doo Olympique 340 (vintage race sled)
- 1977 Ski-Doo Olympique 340E

Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 03-30-2021, 10:29 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 383
Bdc101 is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Effduration View Post
I would look hard for a factory (westfalia) hitch and a factory trailer harness and trailer module...I have an extra set, and will PM you..

If you buy a used factory hitch make sure you get all the pieces. I see a lot of hitches on Ebay that are missing several important parts that can't be bought separately.

The aftermarket hitches are really pretty light-duty (4-4500 lbs) compared to the factory hitch (6,000 lbs).

A lot of people who attempt to wire in a generic trailer harness to an E53 end up regretting it. The E53's electronics don't like these kind of modifications.

There are a wide number of elec brake controllers that will work. Search on E53 trailer brakes and see if you can find one used.

I agree with everything except wiring in a generic trailer harness. My car came with it like that four years ago (installed by PO) and I originally intended to remove it, but couldn't find a towing module so I just ran with it and it really works fine. The dash dings at you and says check your brake lights, but they all light up just fine.
__________________
2003 3.0 5-speed
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 03-30-2021, 04:29 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 52
Tonyfeb14 is on a distinguished road
Thanks for all the info and links. Very useful.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-05-2021, 03:37 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: USA
Posts: 383
Bdc101 is on a distinguished road
https://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-Trailer...wAAOSwi3Bf7OyN


Just FYI, I noticed today that it looks like someone is making repro wiring harnesses for the E53 towing module. The wiring harness has been out of production for many years, even though the module itself is still available new. This harness is reasonably priced and looks like it should be plug-and-play if you find a new or used module as well. (Coding may be required though)
__________________
2003 3.0 5-speed
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-10-2021, 02:57 PM
Lowblock's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 232
Lowblock is on a distinguished road
The wiring is easy, just get a PWM taillight converter, several company’s make them and wire up a normal 7 way plug. The brake control is a little harder, I made all my connections behind the spare tire except for the brake “trigger” wire which comes from the LCM. I don’t remember the pin or wire color but it is the center high mount brake wire you tap into. Remember to put a 20 amp circuit breaker on the BC power supply and a 30 amp breaker on the charge line. I used to wire up cars/trucks to tow at a rv dealership and have done several x5’s of all generations this way. As far as the hitch is concerned, I agree the best hitch’s are the factory ones and you can find them frequently in the junk yard, just be sure to get the bumper support brackets when you get the hitch itself, the wreckers don’t usually take those with and they are different then the cars without a factory hitch. You can still find “factory style” that bolt behind the bumper supports and don’t have the ugly bar that goes under the spare tire, you just have to look for them. I went this route cause at the time I couldn’t find a factory hitch. Because I worked in a fab shop I built and installed supporting brackets to accompany the hitch to get the rating of the factory one, perhaps a little more.

Good luck
Dave
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On





All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:40 AM.
vBulletin, Copyright 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0
© 2017 Xoutpost.com. All rights reserved. Xoutpost.com is a private enthusiast site not associated with BMW AG.
The BMW name, marks, M stripe logo, and Roundel logo as well as X3, X5 and X6 designations used in the pages of this Web Site are the property of BMW AG.
This web site is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with BMW AG or any of its subsidiaries.