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Old 12-14-2014, 10:56 PM
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Lubehead is on a distinguished road
Diesel Value

I'm on my 2nd X5 which is a '10 35d, the first being an '08 gas job. At 123,000 miles, I have decided to sell it. It has been very good with no repairs required between 50k miles until 107k except rear air spring replacement. Brake rotors and pads were replaced at 80k miles as well as complete transmission/rear end/transfer case fluid change at 75k but those are maintenance tasks.

At 107k miles, the EGR cooler and a valve required replacement within 2 weeks of a failed # 5 injector (which is a common issue). Now at 123k miles, the NOX sensors required replacing and 2 days later the glow plug control module needs replacing. It is now in the shop and although I don't know the final tally on this job, over $5,000 will have been spent since the 107,000 mile mark.

My goal was to get to 150,000 miles, but I realized I have been here before, and I should listen to the warnings. My 1992 MB 300SD developed a problem ( albeit at 190k) that simply could not be diagnosed, and my 2003 GMC Duramax developed an issue that could not be resolved at 117k. Although I am obviously a diesel die hard, this situation with my present vehicle is making me question the overall cost effectiveness of diesel ownership. While I cannot deny the great mileage and torque diesels provide along with my favorite benefit, that being the substantially reduced fuel stops, the dollar savings in fuel have been negated by the costs incurred since the 107,000 mile mark.

In retrospect, I should have sent her down the road at 100k and called it a day. I am now on the verge of ordering another X535d and am trying to come to grips with my decision. I am hooked on the torque, great towing capacity and of course super efficient fuel use, but any thought that the diesel is in fact a long term cost effective solution to the high mileage user has been put to rest as a myth in my opinion. I am now thinking ( and I hate to admit this because it goes against my grain), that the "smart" 35d buyer gets rid of it somewhere between 50 and 100k miles. This of course is exactly as BMW would have it and that rubs me wrong as well.

I am trying to have an open mind and have decided to look at other vehicles as well ( a Cayenne diesel?/), but my confidence of owning modern clean diesels cost effectively well into the 200k range just isn't there. That "truth" calls into question my love for driving vehicles like the X and makes me wonder why in the heck I can't be satisfied with a Subaru or Honda.

There is no question here, simply a sharing of my situation. Fortunately, I can purchase another X, but the financial manager asks why?? I know it's not about the money, but at some point one has to look hard at the reasons why we are driven to drive these cars.
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:41 AM
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Not sure if you saw this but perhaps the information might be helpful.
"What you hear in a great jazz band is the sound of democracy. “The jazz band works best when participation is shaped by intelligent communication.”
Harmony happens whenever different parts get to form a whole by means of congruity, concord, symetry, consistency, conformity, correspondence, agreement, accord, unity, consonance…….
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Old 12-15-2014, 11:51 AM
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I did see that-thank you. Perhaps I need to take a 35i for a drive as the engine/transmission is different than the '08 I had. There was a world of difference in towing though between the 3.0 and 35d though.
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Old 12-15-2014, 12:43 PM
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Reading stuff like this makes me apprehensive about my recent purchase of a 2011 35d. It has almost 74k on it now and is, by all indications, running great.

The X5 certainly has its share of issues for sure. What it has going against it is inherent complication, new technology, by way of clean diesel technology particularly, and just a lot of expensive technology, mostly providing creature components. All of this just increases the parts count which means there's more to go wrong.

To calm myself, I just remember that it is much the same with the other BMW in my life, a 2001 M5. There is a lot of online anecdotes that suggest that it is a money pit and I've certainly put a bit of money into it this past year. I think once you're caught up on the maintenance and if you don't let issues fester and linger, the M5 is not too bad.

My plan for the X5 at this point in the ownership is to get all of the fluids and filters changed, probably not flushing the transmission and using Mobil 1 oil, monitor it closely and then just drive it. It seems to work for the M5 and me. Threads like this and the one linked to above definitely help me to know what to look out for.
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Old 12-15-2014, 02:09 PM
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Lubehead, very cogent commentary in your post.

As I occasionally daydream about 'what SUV-like' car to replace our '01 3.0 X with, the diesel version crosses my mind: we don't tow, but we keep cars a long time and my daydreaming thinking was this would be a 'last replacement' for our '01, (that really doesn't need 'replacing' soon, imo).

But it is posts like yours and others that suggest the diesel option is not a superior real advantage, at least in terms of how we use our car(s), and the extended future time repairs remain a real concern.

Curious to read your ultimate decision and other commentary in your thread.
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Old 12-15-2014, 09:50 PM
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Frankly I dont know what to think...

I had a 2010 with every emissions issue- one of the first ones on which BMW 'learned' all the SCR/DEF 'fixes'...and I lemoned it: http://www.xoutpost.com/846433-post20.html

Then bought a 2012 that has been flawless for 55k.

Just luck? Short term fixes in place, but long term storms gathering?? Hmmm...

But one wonders, with posts like this- will we see a broad series of failures post 100k?

I dont mind putting 5k, 10k or more in a car to go from 100 to 200k. Just awfully hard to pony up a pile right at the beginning. (ie 107k)

I also suspect that as DIYers learn more, the most economical repair methods will be discovered. (Im relying on lpcapital to pave the way!)
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Old 12-15-2014, 10:11 PM
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I understand diesel BMWs are a fairly new thing to the North American market, but the e53 3.0d have been running around Europe and Australia (as well as other markets I'm sure) for over 10 years. As a result, I have found that there is a large amount of knowledge out there for DIY'ers, but that you need to look towards the UK forums to find it.

I think diesels traditionally come with this illusion that they are unbreakable, and will just keep on trucking until they rust into the ground. That may be true of old Landcruiser's and Hilux's - but these modern diesels need just as much maintenance and upkeep as a petrol/gas powered car. In fact, as you've pointed out, with all the emissions gear on them required to keep them smog legal, and the issues that come up from carbon build up in cars that don't get regular long distance runs - they can be even more problematic. Unfortunately when they break, they break $$$ hard.

I have been through my own share of issues in my short diesel ownership. But I'm confident, that once I get on top of the maintenance and undo all the neglect from the previous owner it will pay me back with those low running costs (the 3.0D is cheaper on the drink than both our 2007 C180 Kompressor and 2012 C300) and that strong torque surge.

Best thing for diesels is to just put the mileage on them. Give them a long run and stretch their legs regularly. Stops them from blocking up, plus, it's where they're happiest!
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:05 PM
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Picked up the X on Monday, replaced glow plug control module- insisted on keeping it overnight so the tech could verify it starts properly in the morning. Got there at 0900- was given the keys- it had not been started by anyone-so much for the tech oversight. Anyway, all is well until yesterday when the check engine light reappears on the way back home from a trip to Boston.

Dropped it off today to the service manager-just gave him the keys and said it appears you are throwing parts at it, I think you need to really figure it out on the 3rd try. He calls later today and says the code indicated the catalytic converter needed to be replaced. Said they had never seen that before, so they drained out all the DEF, checked the system for deposits and cleaned and refilled it with DEF. Adjusted the NOX sensors ( which had just been replaced on the first visit) drove it the required 30 minutes and now all is well. He said the master tech questioned the service history (or lack of it) as the car is never in their shop for service ( I change the oil, replace pads, bleed brakes etc.) Asked where I bought DEF to which I replied either Walmart or Autozone. I was then told that there is a difference between BMW DEF and other DEFs and it would appear that may be the cause of the problem. Went on to also state that DEF is not DEF, just like engine oil is not engine oil. Since I happen to be in the oil business, I can't help but agree about the comment regarding engine oil but stated they were grasping at straws regarding BMW's DEF being different or superior to other branded DEFs sold in retail outlets.

So the takeaway is, had I have used BMW DEF, I wouldn't have experienced the issues I am now seeing. Take note Walmart shoppers!
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:31 PM
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You are joking, right?

DEF is DEF- there is an international specification for DEF (AUS 32) that BMW and all others meet.

The owners manual lists this.

You are trapped in the parts replacement cycle with the DEF/SCR cats and test plan mess. There are a few threads on this....
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Old 12-19-2014, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ard View Post
You are joking, right?

DEF is DEF- there is an international specification for DEF (AUS 32) that BMW and all others meet.

The owners manual lists this.

You are trapped in the parts replacement cycle with the DEF/SCR cats and test plan mess. There are a few threads on this....
The sensors in the active and passive tank will sense if you put water or DEF that is substandart and will throw a specific code,not say "Replace cats".
I have some DEF (or SCR )related codes in my '12 X5D and they are very specific.
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