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  #1  
Old 05-10-2005, 09:28 AM
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'nother Newbie Hitch Install

Picked up the install kit from Hank Aaron BMW Friday afternoon and started 'bout 10:00 Saturday morning. From backing up on the ramps to driving off was a little over 6 hours. A few things I learned that I didn't know(or completely understand) beforehand:
  • There really are only two T55 bolts and two trim screws holding the bumper on.
  • There are two trim screws in each rear wheel well and only the bottom screw in each needs to be removed.
  • It's a bear locating where the PDC harness enters the body. On our 2002, it's in the passenger side corner.
  • A pair of small jack stands works well to support the mufflers.
  • You really need at least two people - preferably three - to pull off and replace the bumper.
  • A door panel tool works pretty good at removing the "dammit" plastic fasteners. Just work it up under the pin's head and pry up. When the pin pulls up far enough to release the fastener, the whole assembly pops out.
  • Definitely install the wiring harness before mounting the hitch and be darn sure it's in the right position before bolting the hitch down
  • The mounting tab for the trailer light socket had to be "encouraged" rearward slightly with a 4 ft. pry bar to allow room for the bracket to fit. That was the only "fit" issue that I had.
  • The vehicle side trailer harness connector has a dummy connector on it that must be removed. Took me five minutes to figure that one out...

A few observations:
  • Yes - the OEM kit is expensive, but IMO, well worth the price now that I've seen it. I've installed at least a half dozen aftermarket hitches over the years, so I know what you get for $150 - $200 and there's no comparison.
  • This is a big job - I'd definitely recommend getting the help of a couple friends. $500 - $600 labor to get the dealer to do the install is probably not a bad deal.
  • I found a Stanley Torx bit kit at Wally World that included all three necessary bits for $20. Not Snap-On quality, but at 50 years old, this is the first time that I've ever needed a T55
  • The little rubber plug with "BMW" on it is so cool!

I made a run to Home Depot Saturday evening to pick up some pine bark mulch for the lovely wife. The X did a fine job pulling the trailer. With the light load('bout 1,000 lbs.), the 3.0 hardly noticed.

Thanks to everyone that answered my questions and convinced me to go with the OEM kit. Maybe someone will find my notes useful.

Patrick
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2005, 09:40 AM
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Nice job, Patrick!! I added the information to the X5world article on hitch installation - http://www.xoutpost.com/articles.php?...ticle&artid=91
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Old 05-10-2005, 10:00 AM
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Great write-up Patrick. Glad it went well for you. Smart man to go OEM for that one. Just isn't worth the risks.

Question: Do you notice any gap between the hatch door and the bumper? I think mine appears to be a larger gap than before the hitch. I have searched around but have not found anyone mentioning this, so it may be my feeble brain playing tricks on me.

Thanks
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncx
Do you notice any gap between the hatch door and the bumper? I think mine appears to be a larger gap than before the hitch. I have searched around but have not found anyone mentioning this, so it may be my feeble brain playing tricks on me.
I didn't notice any unusual gap - I'll look again when the lovely wife gets home from work. The X is her daily driver and I'm only allowed to drive it occasionally. I followed the DIY instructions to leave the support brackets loose until the T55 bolts had been tightened. Then I had a friend line up the side seams while I tightened down the support bracket bolts. Might have been beginner's luck, but we got a nice even gap on both sides.

Patrick
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:15 AM
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Beware of thieves that take the little rubber hitch cover w/ BMW logo. Had mine stolen twice, and thankfully its only about $5 to replace.

Now, I very rarely ride around with it on b/c someone may take it.
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diogenes!
I didn't notice any unusual gap - I'll look again when the lovely wife gets home from work. The X is her daily driver and I'm only allowed to drive it occasionally. I followed the DIY instructions to leave the support brackets loose until the T55 bolts had been tightened. Then I had a friend line up the side seams while I tightened down the support bracket bolts. Might have been beginner's luck, but we got a nice even gap on both sides.

Patrick
Cool. Thanks a bunch
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:51 PM
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Unless BMW has changed the insert dimensions of The little rubber plug with BMW youll find that it easily falls out if BMW is right side up or upside down. Ive tried several of them in my receiver and the only way they securely fit is when BMW is vertical. Additionally, make sure you check it each time the vehicle is washed since the brushes will pull the plug out and leave it on the drive. Go back to any BMW automatic carwash and youll see several lying around.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pseto
Beware of thieves that take the little rubber hitch cover w/ BMW logo. Had mine stolen twice, and thankfully its only about $5 to replace.

Now, I very rarely ride around with it on b/c someone may take it.
Is nothing sacred??

Might look for a way to secure it with the hitch pin if this becomes a problem down here. I was a bit surprised that BMW didn't make it long enough for the pin to pass thru it.

Thanks for the heads-up,
Patrick
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by withidl
Unless BMW has changed the insert dimensions of The little rubber plug with BMW youll find that it easily falls out if BMW is right side up or upside down. Ive tried several of them in my receiver and the only way they securely fit is when BMW is vertical. Additionally, make sure you check it each time the vehicle is washed since the brushes will pull the plug out and leave it on the drive. Go back to any BMW automatic carwash and youll see several lying around.
It's a press fit - wouldn't be surprised if it shrinks/hardens as it gets older. Hadn't thought about the automatic car wash problem. We rarely use one, but it makes sense that the brushes would pop the plug out. Should be pretty simple mod to allow the hitch pin to secure it.

Hmm...
Patrick
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Old 05-10-2005, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diogenes!
It's a press fit - wouldn't be surprised if it shrinks/hardens as it gets older. Hadn't thought about the automatic car wash problem. We rarely use one, but it makes sense that the brushes would pop the plug out. Should be pretty simple mod to allow the hitch pin to secure it.

Hmm...
Patrick
I don't use the auto washes either, but the dealership sneaks one in on me every now and then when they have serviced the X5 and I have had it poped out at least twice.
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