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  #1  
Old 01-22-2009, 04:38 PM
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Tow hitch on E70?

Did anyone install the tow hitch on their E70? Just came back from the dealer, and I'm a bit disappointed that it does not have the 'hole' for the hitch like my 2002 X5. Sales person checked with the service guys, and they told him that they would have to cut the bumper in the order to install the hitch. They use the kit for the hitch install which, they say, was designed by BMW, so it would look like it was factory made. Anyway, my question is if anybody has the hitch installed, and if you could be kind enough to post some photos. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 01-22-2009, 05:01 PM
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Yeah, the dealer is correct. I have a friend who has the hitch and they cut a hole in his bumper and put some crappy trim piece to cover where they cut his bumper. I wouldn't put the hitch on mine, but that's my opinion. If I need to tow or haul anything, I go to Enterprise and rent a truck.

Craig
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Old 01-22-2009, 05:51 PM
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Thanks for quick reply. The thing is, I have a 4,500lb boat and I was thinking of getting either X5 diesel or MB GL320 diesel. I test drove both of them on the same day, and to be honest X5 is far superior over GL class. I did not want to get a pickup truck (not my thing) or any of the domestic SUV's, but I need something to tow. Also checked out Toyota Sequoia, and Lexus 570, but to go from BMW to one of those...
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Old 01-22-2009, 06:07 PM
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I've seen a member here who installed a non OEM tow hitch and it looks way better. If I remember it correctly that particular one does not require cutting the bumper cover.

Try and do search.
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  #5  
Old 01-22-2009, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sinX5
Thanks for quick reply. The thing is, I have a 4,500lb boat and I was thinking of getting either X5 diesel or MB GL320 diesel. I test drove both of them on the same day, and to be honest X5 is far superior over GL class. I did not want to get a pickup truck (not my thing) or any of the domestic SUV's, but I need something to tow. Also checked out Toyota Sequoia, and Lexus 570, but to go from BMW to one of those...
I've driven the GL and it drove like large station wagon compared to the X5. I don't think the Mercedes diesel has enough power in my opinion. I test drove the diesel in the ML and it was OK around the city, but didn't have enough passing power on the highway. The X5 diesel has plenty of power. I have the diesel X5 and really like it.

Good luck with your decision,

Craig
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2009, 12:56 AM
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I installed the hitch receiver on my 2008 X5. It really isn't that difficult. The BMW instructions are on the site here in pdf format, and the only really difficult part is removing rhe rear bumper fascia. That is only difficult because the fasteners are pretty well hidden.

A member here with the screen name "Ranchhand" has posted a good explanation with pictures here:

http://www.xoutpost.com/x5-e70-forum/...a-removal.html

Cutting the bumper fascia is pretty easy, if you have a saber saw or something similar. The factory installation instructions cover that pretty well. I was satisfied with the rear bumper appearance after the trim strip is installed. I believe the factory instructions cover most of the installation fairly well, except for the removal of the rear bumper fascia (already mentioned), and the location of a couple of electrical connectors in the rear cargo compartment.

You do have to have a LOT of patience to take on the job yourself, though. Once you are through, the dealer has to re-code the car computer for the hitch control module, and also bring up the coding to current specs. That took about six hours on my car, which was only about ten months old at the time.
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  #7  
Old 01-23-2009, 02:46 AM
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sinX5, I have a few more thoughts that may help if you plan to do the installation yourself.

1. I have seen a couple of non-OEM tow hitch receiver installations. None of them looks anywhere near as nice as the BMW OEM installation. I think you should take a look at some finished products, and decide which ones would be acceptable to you on your X5. To me, the OEM was the only way to go.

2. The OEM kit also includes the wiring harness and a trailer control module. I understand that those are not available except with the OEM hitch kit.

3. If you decide to install the hitch receiver yourself, take a look at ranchhandís thread. One thing I would suggest is that the reflectors which cover the two mounting bolts are easier to remove than ranchhand suggests. I didnít use the long screwdrivers as ranchhand suggested. You can just lay down on the garage floor at the back of the X5, and reach up there and release the spring clips. Make sure the car hasnít been run for some time, so that the exhaust system is cool. You canít avoid brushing your arm up against it. Your arm has to reach around the exhaust pipe Ė I found that I had to use my left hand on the left side reflector, and my right hand on the right side reflector, because of the particular curvature needed. Look at ranchhandís pictures, and just reach up there and locate the spring clips by feel. Squeeze the two spring clips together, and the reflector pops right out! It can be re-installed from the outside by just pressing in place.

4. You will also need the rear bumper fascia trim kit and the ball mount. I ordered those as a package with my hitch kit.

5. You will need a pop rivet installing tool, available at Ace Hardware or similar stores. If you donít already have one, buying the tool is much cheaper than paying your dealer service department to install the two pop rivets.

6. You will need four of the trim retainers that hold the wheel well trim in place. Those have to be destroyed to remove them, and you will have to install new ones. They are less than $1 each at your dealerís service department, but order them in advance, because I find that many dealers donít have them in stock. You also need a large pop rivet installing tool to install those, but once again, you can buy the rivet tool for less than the dealer charges to install the four rivets.

7. The trailer control module is supposed to be installed in a "module carrier" (which the service department refers to as a "module support"). If your X5 already has one or more modules installed in the rear cargo compartment, it will already have a module carrier. If your vehicle doesnít have a module carrier (mine didnít), it must be added! Thatís a simple job, involving just the module carrier and two plastic nuts. But first, you have to get the module carrier and the two fasteners. My dealer provided those under warranty, at no charge, but I canít guarantee that your dealer will. Look for the module carrier before you start, and have the dealer order the module carrier and fasteners before you start, if your vehicle doesnít already have them.

8. Have a torque wrench handy when you install the hitch with the eight new nuts. I installed mine with a socket wrench, just guessing at the 80 foot pounds of torque. When I went back with a torque wrench to check them, I had under-torqued all of them drastically! I torqued them correctly with the torque wrench. That has to be done before the rear bumper fascia is re-installed, because you canít reach them after that is in place.

9. I wrapped the wiring harness with duct tape (for extra protection, as recommended by the instructions) and labeled all of the wires with a label maker before I started the installation. In that way, all of the wrapping and identification could be done at the work bench in comfort and good light, rather than while straining to reach into the cargo compartment or stretched out under the car.

10. The 3-pin vehicle BUS connector on my X5 was wrapped around the original wiring harness and then wrapped with black electrical tape. That made it pretty hard to locate. If you have problems finding yours, just look for wires of the proper colors, and trace them into the bundle where they are wrapped for protection. The plastic connector was completely hidden by the tape wrap, so that takes some searching. Itís in there, though!

11. All of the wiring harness fits amazingly well. As you are threading the wiring harness around the various obstacles, each push-on connector will like up perfectly with one of the studs already attached to the body of your car. You just push the connector onto the stud. If something doesnít line up, check to see that you have routed it correctly. Everything fits so well itís actually a pleasure to install!

12. When you are pushing the wires into the back of the fuse panel, double and triple check to make sure that you have the correct place to plug each wire in. You will need a pair of needle nosed electrical pliers to get the plugs in. They are fairly hard to get in. Again, make sure you are in the right place before you press them in. Iím not sure how you would ever get one of them out if you get it in the wrong place!

13. The biggest problem I encountered was in removing the rear bumper fascia. Ranchhand has identified all of the bolts, and many of the push connectors. But there are some push connectors that are really hard to find. Just go slow to avoid breaking any of the connectors or the plastic pieces they snap into. I canít offer any better advice on that. I would really like to hear from any other members who have better information on removing the rear bumper fascia.

14. Oh, yeah! After you get the hitch and the wiring harness installed, you have to put the rear bumper fascia back on. Fortunately, that is about one-tenth as much work and trouble, and takes about one-tenth as much time, as did taking the damned thing off!

15. I didnít get any error codes from the trailer control module after I installed the hitch. However, you will have to have your car computer re-coded by the dealer after the installation. I understand that the hitch control module coding takes less than an hour. That is billable time for the service department. If your car is still under warranty, any other re-coding should be covered by warranty (defect code 72 60 93 02 00, according to the BMW instructions). I was glad that was covered by warranty, because that took six hours on my car!

Iím not as fast as ranchhand or most BMW technicians. The instructions call for 2.5 hours to install this hitch. Ranchhand did it in four hours. It took me longer than that, probably around six hours, although I did it over two days just because I wasnít in a hurry and was very careful. For that, I saved over $500 and I am confident of the installation.

Besides, I kinda like working on the X5. Itís my Baby!
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2009, 01:57 PM
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I am getting my tow hitch installed .. without instllation charge.. I just has to pay for the parts. part of the deal i got ordering the car...
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2009, 06:42 PM
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Ok, I finished my install and would like to add my .02 cents worth. THANKS Jim M for you added comments since they helped!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
sinX5, I have a few more thoughts that may help if you plan to do the installation yourself.

1. I have seen a couple of non-OEM tow hitch receiver installations. None of them looks anywhere near as nice as the BMW OEM installation. I think you should take a look at some finished products, and decide which ones would be acceptable to you on your X5. To me, the OEM was the only way to go.
Regarding non-OEM, if you do a search, you will see my comments after doing an exhaustive research. I found that the non OEM REMOVES the ability for you to use the 2 "tow hook" thread locations. Mind you, this is not just for towing the vehicle. This is also used to mount bike racks and other accessories. See my pic and where I point out the location of these tow hook threads.

Also, there is a "bumper support" at the top that looks like a handle. The non OEM's DO NOT have this. I would assume that this prevents the bumper (which is only plastic) from collapsing if someone steps on it to, for example, load something on the roof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
3. If you decide to install the hitch receiver yourself, take a look at ranchhandís thread. One thing I would suggest is that the reflectors which cover the two mounting bolts are easier to remove than ranchhand suggests. I didnít use the long screwdrivers as ranchhand suggested. You can just lay down on the garage floor at the back of the X5, and reach up there and release the spring clips. Make sure the car hasnít been run for some time, so that the exhaust system is cool. You canít avoid brushing your arm up against it. Your arm has to reach around the exhaust pipe Ė I found that I had to use my left hand on the left side reflector, and my right hand on the right side reflector, because of the particular curvature needed. Look at ranchhandís pictures, and just reach up there and locate the spring clips by feel. Squeeze the two spring clips together, and the reflector pops right out! It can be re-installed from the outside by just pressing in place.
+1 With Jim's comments above, it made it much easier. Also, in Ranchhand's thread, there was one screw that you don't have to remove that holds the heat shield down. However, even if you remove it, there's no harm, no foul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
5. You will need a pop rivet installing tool, available at Ace Hardware or similar stores. If you donít already have one, buying the tool is much cheaper than paying your dealer service department to install the two pop rivets.
+1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
6. You will need four of the trim retainers that hold the wheel well trim in place. Those have to be destroyed to remove them, and you will have to install new ones. They are less than $1 each at your dealerís service department, but order them in advance, because I find that many dealers donít have them in stock. You also need a large pop rivet installing tool to install those, but once again, you can buy the rivet tool for less than the dealer charges to install the four rivets.
I actually installed the "removable" ones. I didn't want to bother with the pop rivet tool again and I wasn't sure if the pop rivet tool that I had would work with this plastic. Anyway, I used the same exact trim "removable" trim retainer that is located in the same wheel well located a few inches away from the ones that you have to remove.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
7. The trailer control module is supposed to be installed in a "module carrier" (which the service department refers to as a "module support"). If your X5 already has one or more modules installed in the rear cargo compartment, it will already have a module carrier. If your vehicle doesnít have a module carrier (mine didnít), it must be added! Thatís a simple job, involving just the module carrier and two plastic nuts. But first, you have to get the module carrier and the two fasteners. My dealer provided those under warranty, at no charge, but I canít guarantee that your dealer will. Look for the module carrier before you start, and have the dealer order the module carrier and fasteners before you start, if your vehicle doesnít already have them....

9. I wrapped the wiring harness with duct tape (for extra protection, as recommended by the instructions) and labeled all of the wires with a label maker before I started the installation. In that way, all of the wrapping and identification could be done at the work bench in comfort and good light, rather than while straining to reach into the cargo compartment or stretched out under the car.
My X5 is a March 2008 build. It already had the module carrier. The wiring harness that I had was already wrapped with black electrical tape. So maybe they updated the kit?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
12. When you are pushing the wires into the back of the fuse panel, double and triple check to make sure that you have the correct place to plug each wire in. You will need a pair of needle nosed electrical pliers to get the plugs in. They are fairly hard to get in. Again, make sure you are in the right place before you press them in. Iím not sure how you would ever get one of them out if you get it in the wrong place!
I actually found the wiring to have taken me the longest. First, the "3 wire BUS" cable was very well hidden. I took pictures to show you where mine was. At first, I thought that they omitted it! See the pics of these orange and green wires that seem to have been encased in some sort of plastic casing. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS FOR? I finally found the 3 wire BUS plug and I am pointing to it with my finger.

Also, it was a pain trying to get these pins into the slots. I finally used a small screwdriver to help me drive the pins into the slot. As Jim stated, MAKE SURE YOU ARE PUTTING THEM IN THE RIGHT SPOT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim M View Post
15. I didnít get any error codes from the trailer control module after I installed the hitch. However, you will have to have your car computer re-coded by the dealer after the installation. I understand that the hitch control module coding takes less than an hour. That is billable time for the service department. If your car is still under warranty, any other re-coding should be covered by warranty (defect code 72 60 93 02 00, according to the BMW instructions). I was glad that was covered by warranty, because that took six hours on my car!
I got a "AWD 4x4 DSC" error of some sort when I first started the car. But then it went away. Now, I can no longer find it when I try to retrieve any stored error codes.

Lastly, the whole thing took me about 5 hours to install. The biggest time saver for me was the cutting of the bumper. I had a small reciprocating saw that made a real nice precision cut. Also, I didn't use the "exact" template that was shown on the back of the bumper. It seemed like they wanted you to remove more trim than necessary.

Lastly again, I PAINTED the exhaust with a black "grill" paint. It makes it looks tons better...

Lastly lastly again, I took some pictures with and without the black trim.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2009, 06:44 PM
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Finished pics with the black trim piece.
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2004 Porsche 911 C4S X51, Seal Grey / Black
2006 Porsche Boxster S, Guards Red / Sand Beige
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2002 Suzuki GSX600 Katana, Yellow
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