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-   -   Danny's X5 4.6 Thread (https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/x5-e53-forum/105208-dannys-x5-4-6-thread.html)

dannyzabolotny 06-19-2017 03:11 PM

Alright, so here's the full story of my 4.6 resurrection.

I started by pulling the X5 back into my carport so I would be able to jack it up on solid ground (jacking up a vehicle on gravel is sketchy).

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4247/3...c1b83563_b.jpg

I then dropped the middle section of the exhaust, which was quite easy compared to dropping the whole exhaust on my 540it.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4272/3...058f85b9_b.jpg

After that, I removed the heat shields and the transmission cross member while supporting the transmission with a jack. Then I undid the guibo bolts and the CSB to get the rear driveshaft out of the way. I didn't have to remove the driveshaft completely, I used another jack to keep it lifted so I didn't put any strain on the rear CV joint. With all of those things out of the way, I was able to lower the transmission a little bit to gain access to all the bolts holding on the transfer case. They're E14 external torx bolts usually, but whoever worked on this X5 previously had gotten crafty and used a 17mm bolt in one place. Once the bolts were loosened, I wiggled the transfer case a little and it came right off:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4251/3...c506c806_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4287/3...8f8f6b20_b.jpg

With the transfer case removed, I brought it to my workbench in the garage and cracked it open. Same E14 bolts all around. It's a pretty tight fit so even after removing the bolts the transfer case stays together. My solution was using a rubber mallet to tap it loose, that seems to have worked well for me. Here's what my 214k mile transfer case looked like on the inside:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4237/3...15715580_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4214/3...6219f9b8_b.jpg

The only indication of its mileage was in how loose the chain was, otherwise all of the gears looked really good. One thing to note is that unlike the regular 4.4 X5 that uses the NV-125 transfer case, the 4.6 uses an LWX-500 transfer case. It's pretty similar but has a few key differences, like in the way the internals are put together. The LWX-500 has all the gears just pressed into place so you can take it all apart by pulling on the components, whereas the NV-125 has snap rings holding the pieces together. Also, the NV-125 has a chain retainer spring piece whereas the LWX-500 does not. The transfer case chain itself is the same though— it's a Borg-Warner chain with one blue link.

While my 214k mile transfer case looked good internally, the front driveshaft output spline was totally stripped by the bad front driveshaft and that piece alone costs about $450 from Cobra Transmission, so I elected to get a good condition used transfer case. I found a forum member that was parting out a 4.6is with 141k miles and bought a transfer case from him. I opened it up, replaced the chain, and re-sealed it with black RTV, allowing the RTV to cure for about an hour before torquing the bolts down. Visually it looked identical to my 214k mile transfer case, proving that these units really were built to last.

With the transfer case ready to go, I took it back to the X5 and installed it, along with a 1" extended driveshaft that I bought from Cobra Transmission. It was quite tricky to line up and install the transfer case since I had to line it up to both the transmission output shaft and the front driveshaft at the same time. That's the only way to install a 1" extended driveshaft, by installing it with the transfer case.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4273/3...321c155f_b.jpg

After that it was all just reassembly. The only thing I did different was firing up the engine before exhaust was installed. I wanted to verify that the transfer case was working correctly before I went to the trouble of reinstalling the exhaust. Anybody here ever run a 4.6 without the exhaust? It is LOUD. Like, louder than my straight piped Mustang. I'm sure my neighbors appreciated me doing it at like 11pm on a Sunday night. Oh well, that's why I live in a non-HOA neighborhood!

Upon firing it up, everything worked perfectly. The engine fired up immediately, and once I put the transmission in gear I saw that all of the wheels were turning and in the correct direction. Relieved to see everything fixed, I finished reassembling the X5. The exhaust went back on pretty easily, and I finished the job off by reinstalling the stiffening plate (re-using the bolts, of course).

Dropping the X5 down to the ground, I took it on its maiden voyage, which I am happy to report was a success. No weird sounds, no warnings, and no CEL. After a thorough shakedown run I went to sleep, satisfied with my victory.

This repair took me most of a weekend, so in the grand scheme of things I guess it wasn't too bad. It was a lot less work than an average timing chain guide job, that's for sure!

I made a three part video series on my YouTube channel if anybody cares to see the job in more detail:

Part I:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBy1HcVHOrM


Part II:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTjoimSevCE


Part III:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m8HcobIvsQ

smokeyyank 06-19-2017 04:00 PM

Nice! Glad you got it hammered out.

dannyzabolotny 06-19-2017 04:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smokeyyank (Post 1111459)
Nice! Glad you got it hammered out.

Thanks! Yeah, I'm glad I was able to fix it and get it back on the road.

Anyways, after I got it running, I drove it to work and realized just how filthy it was!

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4254/3...db62153f_b.jpg

Later that night I went to one of those 24-hour self-service washes to try and clean the X5 up a bit. This is what it looked like before the wash, after 5 months of sitting outside. It was a pretty sorry sight, almost like a neglected stray dog.

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4214/3...14ca53a9_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4244/3...becca6b6_b.jpg

And this is what it looked like after a quick wash. By no means perfect, but a huge improvement:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4245/3...32a0c468_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4263/3...1f8d9b92_b.jpg

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4242/3...88960985_b.jpg

The Ammo Skin sealant had done its job and protected the paint from the majority of the sun and bird droppings. There are a few spots where the bird crap etched into the clear coat a little bit, but that's something I can polish out once it cools off a bit. It's too hot to do any real detailing!

A few days later it was back in its natural habitat:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4249/3...5fcbd92d_b.jpg

12.8 mpg, haha. I don't anticipate it getting much better since my commute nowadays is mostly street driving. Plus I drive it with a lead foot, because why the heck not?

After two days of driving the X5, I noticed that the right side of the dash was blowing hot air instead of cold air, so I replaced the heater valve. It's the valve next to the engine on the driver's side— it often goes bad on the E53/E38/E39. Thankfully a new one was only $205 and I already had it laying around from a previous order (I had intended to replace it back in January but then the X5 broke down). I don't have any pictures of that job because I did it while half-asleep at midnight one night. I will say that I spilled a bunch of hot coolant everywhere, so that was not fun. It only took about 15 minutes for the whole swap, and the problem was fixed 100%. Now the vents all blow cold, just as they should.

Fast forward a few days and the AC suddenly stopped working, which was really fun with it being 109º outside. I then went to my friend's house where we used his AC gauges to check the system. It turns out that the AC system was dangerously over-charged by whoever had previously charged it. The high side was really high and it was causing the compressor to go into a failsafe mode which is why the AC wasn't working properly. I assume it's because this X5 was last charged in Seattle which has a much colder climate and different air pressures— Phoenix is a pretty drastic change in climate, especially in terms of heat. We evacuated the system entirely, did a vacuum test to check for leaks (no leaks!) and then filled the system with an appropriate amount of R134, using a commercial grade fill tank (not the canned crap). That solved the AC problem, and we noted the duct temperatures were 44º with a 110º ambient temperature outside. So the AC works extremely well now, to the point of where it actually makes me cold. I'm glad I got that sorted out, because tomorrow it's supposed to be 120º here in Phoenix.

Nyc Dito 06-19-2017 04:47 PM

She cleans up really well!! Nice work!

dannyzabolotny 06-19-2017 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nyc Dito (Post 1111468)
She cleans up really well!! Nice work!

Thanks :) I actually detailed her even further this past weekend, I just haven't had a chance to take any good pics yet. Did a thorough wash with Ammo Foam, dried everything off, put on another coat of Ammo Spit spray wax, used Back To Black on all the plastic trim pieces, Invisible Glass on all the windows, and Ammo Mud tire shine on the tires. She looks really sharp now!

I went to the weekly car show on Saturday afternoon. It was pretty empty initially but as the sun set and the temps dropped it got pretty busy. Lots of cool cars there as always. My buddy's Imola Red 740il is parked next to my X5 in this pic:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4278/3...cdbf006b_b.jpg

I also did another quick repair last night. Over the weekend I noticed that when I was at a red light or otherwise idling I would feel an occasional bump. It almost felt like somebody was lightly nudging the car from underneath. I tried shifting into P and N but that didn't affect it, so I ruled out the transmission. I then tried turning off the AC which didn't affect it either. I then pulled out my laptop with INPA and started scanning for clues. There were no obvious errors or codes, but I did notice that the engine RPM fluctuated ever so slightly when I felt the bumps, so I narrowed it down to being an engine issue. The digital readouts didn't tell me anything new, so I switched to the analog readouts to try and make some sense of it all. The roughness graph is what clued me in to what was going on.

Most of the cylinders looked fine, but cylinder 7 was quite a bit rougher than the others:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4274/3...206b0a03_b.jpg

I noticed that every single time I felt a bump, the cylinder 7 roughness bar would jump up. Now that I narrowed it down to a specific cylinder, I went through my mental checklist of what could have gone wrong. The spark plugs are all brand new NGK Iridiums installed about 1000 miles ago, so that wasn't the issue. The injectors were all good too, so I ruled that out as well. The only unknown was the ignition coil, which dated back to 2002. Before the X5 broke down I had ordered a new Bremi ignition coil just in case, since it was only $35. I fished that out of my parts box and replaced the cylinder 7 ignition coil with the new coil. It was a little tricky with how hot the engine was, but I got it done without burning myself. After I replaced the coil, I started the engine and would you look at that, it's now buttery smooth!

https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4206/3...595550f6_b.jpg

It looks like the original ignition coil on cylinder 7 was on its way out, but it wasn't bad enough to throw a misfire code yet. Swapping the coil seems to have solved all of the problems and I have not had any issues since then. I'm sure I would have eventually gotten a CEL for the bad coil, but it was nice to fix the problem before it became more serious.

Overboost 06-19-2017 05:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
She cleaned up nice! Some headlight lens restoration should be on your list. I used the $30 3M Headlight Restoration Kit and the results were phenomenal. :thumbup:

She looks identical to mine except for the 4.8 pipes poking out. :D

dannyzabolotny 06-19-2017 05:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Overboost (Post 1111470)
She cleaned up nice! Some headlight lens restoration should be on your list. I used the $30 3M Headlight Restoration Kit and the results were phenomenal. :thumbup:

She looks identical to mine except for the 4.8 pipes poking out. :D

Yep, that's the next thing on my list! I have the same 3M kit, I just have to do it one of these nights. Though I'm tempted to wait until it's not as hot— it's 116º today and 120º tomorrow.

I still have a few other things I need to fix, like the driver's seat memory module so that I can actually have seat memory as well as working steering wheel adjustments. Then once I'm able to move the steering wheel out of the way I'm going to send off my cluster to get the pixels fixed, they're a mess right now.

Overboost 06-19-2017 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dannyzabolotny (Post 1111471)
Yep, that's the next thing on my list! I have the same 3M kit, I just have to do it one of these nights. Though I'm tempted to wait until it's not as hot— it's 116º today and 120º tomorrow.

I still have a few other things I need to fix, like the driver's seat memory module so that I can actually have seat memory as well as working steering wheel adjustments. Then once I'm able to move the steering wheel out of the way I'm going to send off my cluster to get the pixels fixed, they're a mess right now.

I feel ya. My Business radio screen has so many dead pixels I can't even read it anymore, cluster is good. I am waiting for a 3 day time frame I can be down so I can pull it out and send it to California for repair.

dannyzabolotny 06-19-2017 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Overboost (Post 1111472)
I feel ya. My Business radio screen has so many dead pixels I can't even read it anymore, cluster is good. I am waiting for a 3 day time frame I can be down so I can pull it out and send it to California for repair.

My nav screen is pretty terrible too. It has a giant dead spot that's so bad you can see it with the screen off.

dannyzabolotny 07-07-2017 01:17 PM

Just rolled over 215,000 miles on the drive to work this morning. I normally daily drive my 2000 540it, but it's been really hot here in Phoenix so I've been driving the X5 more. For some reason the X5 has a way better AC than the 540it— it can actually make me uncomfortably cold even when it's 115º outside.


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