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  #1  
Old 11-14-2016, 09:19 AM
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X5 towing experience and fuel economy

I don't see a lot of threads on the X5 showing actual towing experiences and I thought I'd start one for people researching the vehicle. I have a 2008 X5 with the 4.8i and I added the BMW hitch. It was a great choice as the hitch system detects when you've installed the hitch shank into the car. It shows when your backing up to a trailer indicators on how to align the car to hitch it up. Awesome feature makes hitching a cinch.

I have a 2017 Flagstaff Micro Lite 21DS which dry weighs 4300lbs and at max weighs 5400lbs well with in the towing capabilities of the car. I use an anti sway weight distribution hitch. The trailer for the most part stable behind the car. The mirrors are perfect and allow a good view around the sides of the trailer. The car was able to keep it going at a steady 65mph-70mph even in very hilly terrain. However I had to keep it in 5th on flat terrain to keep it at 65mph, and manually downshifted to 4th and sometimes 3rd to keep it at speed on hills. Liked that the cruise control didn't kick off when manually shifting the transmission.

I did find that when in drive the car was very aggressive about downshifting on hills and would reluctantly upshift, when it did it would go to 6th and immediately back down to 5th. Found it better to manually shift, to keep the car from hunting and constantly shifting.

Also,now take this with a grain of salt, a lot depends on your trailer, terrain and speed. My micro lite is 8 feet wide and 11 feet tall of brick wall with lots of projections. At 65mph on hilly roads of I averaged 7.5mpg. On flatter ground at 70mph it was about 8mpg. This setup drinks gas.... I'm thinking stops at every 120 miles when I go to glacier next year.... normally I get about 13 around town and about 17-18 on the highway. I'm thinking a tune might help fuel economy if it adds enough low rpm torque to allow me to cruise in a higher gear.

One other bad thing, when backing up the trailer, and only while backing up if you turn the car off. Then back on after backing up, it smokes.... dunno why, I'm going to replace my ccv. It never smokes otherwise. Just when idling and backing up slowly. It's definitely oil you can smell it clearly. Dosent smoke when not towing and when driving forward while towing.

All in all a great but thirsty tow vehicle.

Last edited by Thecastle; 11-14-2016 at 09:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2016, 02:24 PM
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Towing Photos with X5. - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2016, 03:38 PM
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I pull a 3500# boat and 2500# Airstream with my 2008 X5 4.8i. My mileage with the boat is just north of 10 mpg. Just north of 11 mpg pulling the Airstream. The X5 pulls both effortlessly, but I too notice and fight with the transmission wanting to hold gears too long. On level terrain, it is fine. On hilly roads, I too manual shift.

The smoking issue is probably due to valve steam seals. My X5 is at 107k miles and is beginning to smoke (oil) after prolonged idle or when struck in traffic. I have already performed valve stems seal replacement on a BMW V8, so I have the tools and the knowledge...still not looking forward to the very arduous task.

I installed the BMW hitch and wiring harness, but my X5 does not guide me to the trailer tongue. All it does is turn off rear PDC when the trailer wiring is connected. Is this an iDrive setting I don't know about?


Last edited by Davidf; 11-14-2016 at 03:43 PM. Reason: added photo
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Old 11-14-2016, 08:26 PM
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Zoom function on the hitch which must be coded. I also just realized the difference, you guys are all towing with gasers....
The 35d doesn't exhibit the transmission holding the gear too long, and I get 14mpg at 100km/hr towing 6000lbs with the diesel
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2016, 08:44 PM
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I have an 2008 X5 4.8i, 2011 335d (tuned) in my fleet along with a Mini Cooper S. The d has the advantage of having more torque at lower rpms than the v8 allowing it to probably run a gear higher. However I'd suspect in my rig under my conditions it would be about 20% better fuel economy, so I'd be in the 9-10mpg range. It really depends on the aerodynamics of the trailer and the speed/Terrain

Once the smoking is fixed on my car, I'll probably get it tuned to see if the extra low rpm torque would allow me to hold a higher gear. But at least with my trailer 6th isn't gonna hold 65mph on flat ground, I lose speed.
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:58 AM
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2011 35d pulling a 5,000# enclosed trailer Florida to Alaska last year averaged 17.9 MPG. Not towing average 32 mpg at 60 MPH. DPF/EGR delete & tune.
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:41 AM
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Thats pretty impressive, maybe its time for me to switch? My 2011 335D which is JR Stage 2 tune with EGR delete doesn't do as well as your X5. My D averages about 27mpg around town with mostly highway driving around Houston. Best I've ever gotten is 32.5mpg on the highway driving to Wyoming. Worst I've seen is about 22mpg with no highway driving.

My D Lost in the trailer storage shed.
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My x5 4.8 best I've seen is 19.5 (more typical is about 17-18mpg) driving on i-10 at 80mph, and worst was 7.3mpg while towing my trailer out of east Texas at 65mph on hilly terrain.

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Old 11-15-2016, 09:09 AM
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I tow 21' Sea Ray and a car trailer, usually with track car on it, with my '12 35D. As a matter of fact I bought it because of the boat. The previous '03 4.6is was doing a brilliant job even with 7k lbs car trailer, but the boat was just too much for it. Diesel, on the other side, is made for this job. When in auto mode in a regular traffic it will hold the gears for too long and i shift it manually, but this is the only complain that i have. On a flat terrain and ~65 mph I can get 15-16 mpg with the boat and up to 19 with the car trailer. And of course i feel angry that BMW omitted the 8 speed tranny from the diesel, it could have been the perfect SUV ever. I am also missing the rear air suspension, but that will be corrected soon.





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Old 11-15-2016, 09:20 AM
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I'll have to admit the biggest reason I didn't buy a diesel X5 is my 335d has had really subpar reliability (or is it bmw typical??). Its had a CBU Cleaning at 21K miles, EGR valve replaced 3x, EGR cooler replaced 4x, MAF 4x, Exhaust pressure Sensor 4x, DPF replaced 1x, SCR metering valve 1x, SCR tank 1x, NOx sensors 2x, vacuum hoses, red boost hose (replaced with forge), etc. The car has only 52K miles on it and has a service record rap sheet like a career criminal ;-) ..... Fortunately all was covered under warranty, no extended warranty on the car, not worth it at the prices I've seen, tune and delete.

So after that I was like, gasoline for my tow vehicle. I still like my D especially with its tune, but damn the thing spends almost 50% of its time in the service bay at the dealer. I'm a big participant on the M57 forms at e90post and my reliability issues are not unusual, though mine may be worse than average. Case in point I have a fellow D owner with 90k on her 2011 335d and she has just spent 6K recently fixing the car; injectors, vibration damper, egr cooler, CBU cleaning.

The 4.8i isn't the most relaxed towing engine, this is where I think the D with its superior torque at around 2000rpm or a 5.0i would be a better choice.. The 4.8i has to be kept revving all of the time at 3200-4500 to stay in the fat part of the torque curve so as keep my speeds constant on hills and on flat stretches. The 4.8i makes noticable noise at full throttle in 5th to make the uphill grades and can't keep a constant 65mph in 6th even on flat interstate. The wind resistance is killer, with my trailer being 10 feet 11" tall and 8 feet wide sail, thats significantly larger than the frontal area on open trailers or boats. Thats what is killing fuel economy for me. I suspect the X5 D would still be about 9-10mpg with my trailer which is about 20-25% better fuel economy then I get in my 4.8i. Boats are better on fuel economy, because of their low profile and hull shape.

Last edited by Thecastle; 11-15-2016 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 11-22-2016, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thecastle View Post
Thats pretty impressive, maybe its time for me to switch? My 2011 335D which is JR Stage 2 tune with EGR delete doesn't do as well as your X5. My D averages about 27mpg around town with mostly highway driving around Houston. Best I've ever gotten is 32.5mpg on the highway driving to Wyoming. Worst I've seen is about 22mpg with no highway driving.

My D Lost in the trailer storage shed.
image upload no registration

My x5 4.8 best I've seen is 19.5 (more typical is about 17-18mpg) driving on i-10 at 80mph, and worst was 7.3mpg while towing my trailer out of east Texas at 65mph on hilly terrain.

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Thecastle, what MicroLite do you have? I have a 2015 23LB. Are you using a WDH? Curious how that is working for you.

Oh yeah, back to the post. I tow a 23' 23LB trailer. I typically get about 13 mpg. I get 22 mpg during my typical commute. I have a long road trip coming up and will log the mileage.

-CAD
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