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BMW X5 Mk2 common problems (2007-2013)

BMW X5 Mk2 issues

It’s fair to say the BMW X5 rocked the automotive world when it was launched in 1999 because it was a large 4x4 that drove like an executive car. A sporty one at that. And the second-generation E70 car simply improved on the recipe by providing better performance and efficiency, no matter what fuel it had in the tank.

However, it isn’t perfect, with owners noting a number of issues concerning the transmission software, the fuel system and the suspension.

Nevertheless, if you’re willing to get the spanners out and fix it yourself, there’s nothing here that should unduly worry a home mechanic. And best of all, you’ll save hundreds if not thousands of pounds on BMW garage labour rates.

So, now’s the time to download our Haynes Autofix product for the BMW X5 Mk2 and let it guide you through the most common faults and repairs.

BMW X5 AutoFix

Has the BMW X5 been recalled in Australia?

The BMW X5 Mk2 has been recalled to dealers a couple of times.

One such recall, in February 2013, concerned the brakes on 1,603 X5s. "Engine oil which has entered the brake booster may damage the internal rubber membrane. The membrane may develop a leak and this will impair the brake power assistance system.

"If the defect occurs, it is then only possible to slow the vehicle with an increased level of brake pedal pressure. This may pose a hazard to the driver and to other road users."

Then, in August 2013, another X5 Mk2 recall was issued because: "An internal short-circuit may occur in the area of the electric contacts of the diesel fuel filter heating unit. In unfavourable individual cases, an electrical short-circuit may occur in the diesel fuel filter heater, which may lead to a vehicle fire."

Check that these recalls have been dealt with by contacting your nearest BMW dealer.

Mk2 BMW X5 issues

What common problems does the BMW X5 Mk2 have?

As much as BMWs are known for the quality and care with which they’re put together, they’re not immune from issues. The good news is that these are usually fixable at home, with your trusty Haynes Autofix by your side.

For example, the car can be permeated with a smell of fuel while you’re driving along, which is always a bit of a worry. This is due to a faulty fuel pump module.

Jerky or ‘notchy’ steering wheel movement is also a problem, particularly on vehicles that have been fitted with the active steering system.

And a clicking noise emanating from the front end is going to have you wondering if it’s the steering or suspension at fault. It’s neither, it’s the wheel bearings.

The X5 Mk2 doesn’t come with a manual gearbox, but some owners have reported that the automatic transmission on the BMW X5 can become reluctant to shift, either from first to second or second to third, while others have reported its reluctance to shift at higher speeds. A reset is required.

And finally, the X5 is known to flash up a coolant warning on the dashboard, and this can be accompanied by plumes of white smoked from the exhaust. Not good.

BMW X5 Mk2 interior

Why is your BMW X5 leaking fuel?

Driving along and suddenly being assailed by the odour of fuel, be it unleaded or diesel, is a worrying thing. Where’s it leaking from, and is it dripping onto anything hot? This is a worry that numerous BMW X5 E70 owners have experienced.

The issue is the fuel pump module, and more accurately a melted wiring connector.

The only solution is to remove the module from the vehicle and replace or repair the affected connector and wiring.

And that’s where Haynes X5 Autofix comes in, because it will give you a clear idea of where the module resides, and how to remove and replace it.

So, don’t worry, just dig out the tools and you’ll soon be driving along to the smell of fresh air once more.

Mk2 BMW X5

Are steering problems a concern on the BMW X5 Mk2?

The ‘active’ steering on the BMW is a neat system, because it varies the ratio of the steering rack. So, at parking speeds, you need to turn the wheel only once in each direction to go from lock to lock, while at higher speeds the ratio is changed to prioritise stability.

However, the system can sometimes develop an issue that causes the steering to feel jerky around the straight-ahead. There’s also a disconcerting knocking noise.

The rack is at fault, and needs to be replaced, but while the part itself won’t be cheap, just follow the instructions in your Haynes X5 Autofix and replacing it should be quite simple.

Do the BMW X5 wheel bearings click?

So you’ve got the steering system sorted on your BMW X5. You turn it on to full lock in celebration, move away and… what’s that clicking noise?

Yes, the X5 Mk2 can generate a clicking noise from the front end when turning at low speeds.

The issue lies with the front wheel bearings, which is caused by a poorly lubricated contact area between the bearing and the wheel bearing housing.

To remedy this, you’ll need to remove the wheels and brake discs, then clean up and relubricate the affected area, before reinstalling everything. There is a repair kit for this (part number: 83 19 2 298 825).

And make sure you clean up and lubricate the contact surface between the brake disc and the wheel bearing, because this can also cause an untoward noise.

As ever, the Haynes X5 Autofix will help you through the procedure to remove the brake disc and bearing, and putting it all back together.

BMW X5 rear seats

Does the BMW X5 have transmission problems?

The automatic transmission in the BMW X5 E70 is known to be smooth when shifting, but it also can fall victim to an issue that causes it to suddenly stop shifting between ratios.

Sometimes there can be a reluctance to shift between first and second, and second and third gears, and at higher speeds it can refuse to change up from fifth gear upwards.

Much of the time, this can be attributed to the software that runs the gearbox becoming confused. But there is a fix that resets the gearbox – in effect, you’re turning it off and on again.

The procedure requires you to sit in the driver’s seat with your feet on the floor and switch on the ignition (do not touch the brake pedal because you do not want the engine to start).

Then, with the ignition on, press the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor, and hold it there for a minimum of 30 seconds.

After that, release the pedal and switch off the ignition, leaving it off for a minimum of two minutes. The gearbox should now be reset.

Does the EGR cooler play up on the BMW X5 E70?

This is not an unknown occurrence. It’ll be fairly easy to spot, because when you start the diesel engine of your X5 you’ll see clouds of white smoke behind, and they won’t go away when you start to drive along.

The cause? It’s likely that your EGR cooler has sprung a leak. There’s an easy way to find out if this is the issue – just pressurise the system using a hand pump and see where the leak has sprung from. The likelihood is that you’ll need to replace the EGR cooler.

Your Haynes X5 Autofix can guide you through the intricacies of your car’s cooling system, and how to replace the vital components. You’ll need to set aside the bulk of a day to carry out the task thoroughly, but your car will thank you, as will your wallet because you won’t be shelling out hundreds on BMW labour charges.

BMW X5 Mk2

Is your BMW X5 leaking oil?

An oil leak always feels like it’s going to be an involved and expensive thing to fix. But it needn’t be that way, and the X5 Mk2 is a case in point.

You see, some owners have said their car is dropping a small puddle of oil on the road. The issue is due to a faulty seal in the turbocharger air outlet hose. BMW has produced and improved component (part number: 8506786), so it’s just a case of removing the turbo outlet hose and fitting a new oil seal.

Ominous-looking puddles will immediately be a thing of the past.