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Old 09-19-2012, 01:04 AM   #29
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Mhhh, do you have a picture of the receiver from underneath on the X5 model you're considering? In the diagram posted further above, it looks like the receiver is attached to the bumper using a vertical bracket. If that's the case, I doubt it would hold up to the WD torque you'd be putting on it. But that doesn't mean you can't mount a different receiver system instead...
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Old 09-19-2012, 01:29 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by tvoneicken View Post
Mhhh, do you have a picture of the receiver from underneath on the X5 model you're considering? In the diagram posted further above, it looks like the receiver is attached to the bumper using a vertical bracket. If that's the case, I doubt it would hold up to the WD torque you'd be putting on it. But that doesn't mean you can't mount a different receiver system instead...
The parts department manager at my local BMW dealer who gave me the hitch receiver instructions told me several times that the hitch is mounted on the bumper.

Unfortunately I do not have a photo of the actual hitch receiver mounted on a BMW.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:30 AM   #31
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As a longtime BMW enthusiast, 28-year member of the BMW Car Club, and owner of a 1st generation X5 with factory tow hitch, I offer the following:

The factory tow hitch on the X5 attaches to the body of the truck, essentially replacing the stock bumper. It is a 6-hour job to install one after the fact since you have to remove the stock bumper in order to install the hitch if it was not done at the factory

I used my 2002 X5 4.6is (with no WD)to tow an enclosed trailer with a car inside it (combined weight approximate 5800 lbs--never measured the tongue weight ) throughout AZ, NM, and CO with no issues at all. My X5 has now provided over 200k miles of troublefree transportation.

I would not hesitate at all to rely on another BMW product for towing up to the mfgr recommended limits. The original X5 was over-engineered with plenty of margin built in, and I would expect the newer models also have plenty of margin as well.

YMMV
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:29 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Budget M3 View Post

I would not hesitate at all to rely on another BMW product for towing up to the mfgr recommended limits. The original X5 was over-engineered with plenty of margin built in, and I would expect the newer models also have plenty of margin as well.

YMMV
All reports I have read indicate that the BMW X5 is a very capable tow vehicle. My issue concerns the manufacturer's recommendations.

In my case I would be exceeding the manufacturer's recommended limit with respect to tongue weight. My actual tongue weight, depending on freshwater, gray and black water ranges from 780 to 880 lb. I can't imagine towing without a WD hitch.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:06 AM   #33
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All reports I have read indicate that the BMW X5 is a very capable tow vehicle. My issue concerns the manufacturer's recommendations.

In my case I would be exceeding the manufacturer's recommended limit with respect to tongue weight. My actual tongue weight, depending on freshwater, gray and black water ranges from 780 to 880 lb. I can't imagine towing without a WD hitch.
I personally installed my 2001 X5’s OEM hitch (was $500 to purchase and included a “module” which interfaces with the X5’s electronics and the 7 pin connector). As just stated above, it is involved in that it requires dropping the exhaust, removal of the OEM bumper and it’s shock struts; which are replaced by a VERY substantial bumper and hitch with receiver, which is NOT attached to the new bumper, but attaches to struts which insert into the body where the OEM bumper shock absorbers were removed, so the bumper does NOT carry any of the receiver load.

If you read Andy Thomson’s “Tow Vehicle Assessment” in detail it advises that the manufacturer’s recommendations are more for marketing than actual towing and don’t generally correlate to a vehicles actual towing capability.

As I have previously stated, my assembly is a ASCL 31 foot with Hensley with a GVWR of 8,300 pounds, a tongue weight of 720 pounds which I have loaded to ~8,900+ and tongue weight of 1,000+. I have towed it for over 35,000 miles (over the continental divide 3 times) at speeds up to 85 mph without ever experiencing any problems. I have recent photos in one of my posts of the receiver/bumper which shows that in those 35,000 miles the receiver/bumper clearance has not changed, i.e. no bending since installation.


I mean no disrespect, but I perceive that you put so much weight on the manufacturer’s recommendation that it inhibits your ability to accept the fact that the X5 can handle ANY size travel trailer, assuming the assembly is set up correctly. The manufacturer’s recommendations in reality are not the “be all, end all”.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:42 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by withidl View Post
I personally installed my 2001 X5’s OEM hitch (was $500 to purchase and included a “module” which interfaces with the X5’s electronics and the 7 pin connector). As just stated above, it is involved in that it requires dropping the exhaust, removal of the OEM bumper and it’s shock struts; which are replaced by a VERY substantial bumper and hitch with receiver, which is NOT attached to the new bumper, but attaches to struts which insert into the body where the OEM bumper shock absorbers were removed, so the bumper does NOT carry any of the receiver load.

If you read Andy Thomson’s “Tow Vehicle Assessment” in detail it advises that the manufacturer’s recommendations are more for marketing than actual towing and don’t generally correlate to a vehicles actual towing capability.

As I have previously stated, my assembly is a ASCL 31 foot with Hensley with a GVWR of 8,300 pounds, a tongue weight of 720 pounds which I have loaded to ~8,900+ and tongue weight of 1,000+. I have towed it for over 35,000 miles (over the continental divide 3 times) at speeds up to 85 mph without ever experiencing any problems. I have recent photos in one of my posts of the receiver/bumper which shows that in those 35,000 miles the receiver/bumper clearance has not changed, i.e. no bending since installation.


I mean no disrespect, but I perceive that you put so much weight on the manufacturer’s recommendation that it inhibits your ability to accept the fact that the X5 can handle ANY size travel trailer, assuming the assembly is set up correctly. The manufacturer’s recommendations in reality are not the “be all, end all”.
I already stated several times that the BMW X5 appears to be a capable tow vehicle. I have also stated it is the best SUV I have ever driven.

I also mean no disrespect but BMW knows the engineering aspects of their automobiles better than us amateurs, regardless of the experience we have. If BMW's towing ratings are done for marketing purposes then I submit they would be at the maximum possible amount. There is no advantage for the marketing department of BMW to underestimate the towing ability of their X5.
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Old 09-20-2012, 07:43 AM   #35
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I also mean no disrespect but BMW knows the engineering aspects of their automobiles better than us amateurs, regardless of the experience we have. If BMW's towing ratings are done for marketing purposes then I submit they would be at the maximum possible amount. There is no advantage for the marketing department of BMW to underestimate the towing ability of their X5.
With all due respect, the good info has been reported to you about why things are the way they are but you are just not getting it.
There are many others in your boat and that is fine. Get your X5 and a 2,000lb pop up and don't use a WDH. It won't tow as nice or be as safe as your neighbor who has an X5/Airstream but so be it.
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Old 09-20-2012, 12:35 PM   #36
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With all due respect, the good info has been reported to you about why things are the way they are but you are just not getting it.
There are many others in your boat and that is fine. Get your X5 and a 2,000lb pop up and don't use a WDH. It won't tow as nice or be as safe as your neighbor who has an X5/Airstream but so be it.
Hi, sorry, but I don't get it either; Many people have jumped off of bridges and lived, I'm not one of them to try it.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by withidl View Post

I mean no disrespect, but I perceive that you put so much weight on the manufacturer’s recommendation that it inhibits your ability to accept the fact that the X5 can handle ANY size travel trailer, assuming the assembly is set up correctly. The manufacturer’s recommendations in reality are not the “be all, end all”.
Withidl,

There was an interesting development with the Toyota Sequoia between 2008-2012. Back in 2008, Toyota touted that the Sequoia could tow up to 10,000 lbs. In fact, currently there is still a video stating this on their web site:Sequoia Demos and Videos
Click on the "Test Drive" video to hear Tommy Kendall - 4 Time Trans Am Racing Champion tell us that the max towing capacity is 10,000 lbs.

The "interesting" part is that the max towing capacity on the Sequoia has now dropped from 10,000 lbs to 7100 lbs. Still the same engine, wheelbase and rear axel ratio.

Questions to consider:
~What caused Toyota to drastically decrease the tow rating from 10,000lbs to 7100 lbs on the only capable towing SUV in their lineup?

~Why would Toyota reduce the tow rating since the Sequoia is specifically marketed to the towing crowd?

~Wouldn't it benefit Toyota sales to keep the tow rating as high as possible?

My point is this, perhaps there is a reason the BMW x5's tow rating is 6000lbs.

Just my two cents...
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:57 PM   #38
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For those interested:
~What caused Toyota to drastically decrease the tow rating from 10,000lbs to 7100lbs on the only capable towing SUV in their lineup?
Toyota eliminated the tow kit from the Sequoia beginning in 2010. This tow kit included an oil cooler, transmission cooler and a heavy duty battery. The reason for eliminating it is because a lot of Toyota customers who were purchasing Sequoia’s weren’t towing up to that 10,000 lbs so they didn’t require that additional kit to be built into the vehicle. It was a cost issue because the vehicle is already expensive. So Toyota eliminated that tow kit to reduce the cost since most customers did not need that towing capacity. In addition, unfortunately they currently don’t offer that kit as an upgrade for those that would like the kit.

People can add after market parts and it does not eliminate the warranty. However, if these after market parts or installation cause a problem and it is discovered that the problem is not a defect in manufacturing but in the after market parts, then it wouldn’t be covered by warranty.

So again, there could be a very specific reason as to why the BMW x5 is only rated to 6000 lbs. towing capacity.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:04 PM   #39
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Withidl,

There was an interesting development with the Toyota Sequoia between 2008-2012. Back in 2008, Toyota touted that the Sequoia could tow up to 10,000 lbs. In fact, currently there is still a video stating this on their web site:Sequoia Demos and Videos
Click on the "Test Drive" video to hear Tommy Kendall - 4 Time Trans Am Racing Champion tell us that the max towing capacity is 10,000 lbs.

The "interesting" part is that the max towing capacity on the Sequoia has now dropped from 10,000 lbs to 7100 lbs. Still the same engine, wheelbase and rear axel ratio.

Questions to consider:
~What caused Toyota to drastically decrease the tow rating from 10,000lbs to 7100 lbs on the only capable towing SUV in their lineup?

~Why would Toyota reduce the tow rating since the Sequoia is specifically marketed to the towing crowd?

~Wouldn't it benefit Toyota sales to keep the tow rating as high as possible?

My point is this, perhaps there is a reason the BMW x5's tow rating is 6000lbs.

Just my two cents...
From a marketing perspective BMW’s X5 is marketed as an SAV (Sport ACTIVITY Vehicle), NOT an SUV (Sport UTILITY Vehicle), therefore they would not want to emphasize the “work truck utility” capability of the X5 as it would distract from the FUN aspect. Again, Andy Thomson’s “Tow Vehicle Assessment” article directly addresses this matter.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:11 PM   #40
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Another thing that happed with Toyota is that they are embracing the new SAE towing test and results. A lot of other companies are dragging their feet and sticking with the old claims.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:12 PM   #41
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With all due respect, the good info has been reported to you about why things are the way they are but you are just not getting it.
There are many others in your boat and that is fine. Get your X5 and a 2,000lb pop up and don't use a WDH. It won't tow as nice or be as safe as your neighbor who has an X5/Airstream but so be it.
I guess from my perspective most of the "good info" that has been reported to me consists assertions based on individual forum members experience who have used the BMW for towing trailers that exceeds BMW's written load limits and used equipment (WD hitches) that is expressly forbidden by BMW.

How can BMW, which makes such a finely engineered SUV be so wrong about the towing capabilities of its vehicles? It blows my mind. Do forum members also ignore BMW's recommended maintenance schedule because they know better? I find it hard to believe that forum members, however much experience they have with a few BMWs, can know more about the engineering properties of the BMW than the BMW engineers that designed it.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:46 PM   #42
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The world of manufacturers' tow ratings is a very confusing place. We've heard that BMW make specific warnings about tongue weights and WD hitches and yet Withidl has a BMW (fitted with a non-BMW hitch and WD device) that has successfully towed his Airstream for more than ten years.

I think the truth of it is that BMW is a European company and designs its hitches for the lightweight caravans and trailers in Europe. It may do some testing but will not test its vehicle with a non-BMW hitch towing a North American travel trailer, with or without a WD device.

Enter someone like Andy Thompson, a professional hitch rigger, and he will go where BMW engineers don't want to. He'll fit non-standard, strengthened or bespoke hitch receivers and he will do the testing that manufacturers like BMW have no interest in - how many X5s will actually be used for towing? Very few, I'm certain, so it's not worth their while to test.

Just because they don't test, though, doesn't mean that they haven't built a vehicle that will tow, and tow well, albeit with a little modification along the way. The proof is in the real world results, which is where Withidl, and others I'm sure, actually prove a vehicle in a manner that no manufacturer has the time, money or inclination to attempt.

It is possible to put a far more cynical spin on things and say that BMW don't want to be associated with the trailer market; it's a small proportion of their sales base I'm sure and they don't necessarily want to encourage trailer use with the attendant after-sales support that could be required. So, they keep the stated tow limits down and actively discourage large trailer use. For what it's worth, my Toyota suffers from exactly that attitude; a perfectly capable tow vehicle but one that carries a very low stated tow rating because the manufacturer would prefer that I buy a much more expensive vehicle, in all probability in addition to the one I'm currently using.

It doesn't really matter, though, because the OP isn't going to be convinced and that's absolutely fine. I personally think he might be missing a good Tow Vehicle opportunity, but then that's just my view.
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