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Old 07-16-2015, 06:29 PM   #29
jcl
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Originally Posted by biyak269 View Post
I learned the hard way towing with a BMW X5 that a trifle too much weight over the rating can bend the undercarriage where the hitch attaches. Unlike American engineers, Germans seem to design pretty close to the rating.

I suggest you find a better tow vehicle, preferably Ford, GM or Ram.
I saw photos of a number of vehicles that experienced damage by using aftermarket hitches that didn't include the stiffening structure that BMW included in the OE hitch (on E53 models). That is the basis for the recommendation to use the OE hitch, and to reinforce it (as Canam does) if you are using significant amounts of weight distribution.

I know that withidl, who posts here, had a stock hitch on his E53 with his 31, and experienced no issues in years of use.
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Old 07-16-2015, 07:32 PM   #30
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As a 2011 X5 35d owner towing a 1972 23' Safari I've found this thread very interesting. Lot's of good advice. First off my experience. On the older trailer I have the luck of being within all stated limits, as well as axle ratings after going to the scale. Yes, quite close, but not over on any. Payload is minimal as well. The vehicle tows great. It has all the power you'd ever need and the handling and braking of the X5 are about as good as your going to get in a large SUV. Towing w/o sway control is senseless. What others said about BMW not understanding it is most likely. First euro trailers are built with different approach and second the trucks don't tend to barrel around at 80mph like they do in the US. You will appreciate the anti-sway. My better half is even comfortable towing with the X5. The only complaint I have is that the narrower body/mirrors require extensions. I do miss the mega sized trailer mirrors that come on trucks.

Setting up the vehicle. As with anything, sweating the details matters. Our X5 is a low end model which works out well. We didn't have to deal with parking sensor coding or fight the air suspension. I purchased a hitch and harness of of etrailer.com and use the Prodigy RF Brake controller. Works like a charm. The harness and prodigy RF work well together. The RF picks up the brake light and calculates braking from there. I've also towed Uhaul's and the lights work fine as well. One watch out with the Prodigy RF is that you cannot pair the unit with the BMW!!! We had to borrow a Tahoe to execute the pair and have been good since. It does leave me wondering if the pairing is ever lost, but I'll flag down someone and deal with it if that happens.

The talk of reprograming shift points is an interesting one. Both previous posters seem to have credible backgrounds but seem to have differing views. I'm going to dig a bit more, but would love to get more confirmed info if BMW actually addresses parameters such as the transmission/braking when a harness is recognized. If so, I'm missing out on that.

To the receiver.... As previously noted, my research indicated Invisihitch was NOT the way to go with WD/SWAY setups. It's a beautiful and strong setup, they have great cust service so call them up. We went with a standard receiver which I installed. We also found getting the correct front WD was flexing it a good bit. I didn't like the flex so we had the Can-Am style strut added.

The 15-16mpg towing can't be beat.
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Old 07-16-2015, 10:08 PM   #31
jcl
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Originally Posted by Widget View Post
The talk of reprograming shift points is an interesting one. Both previous posters seem to have credible backgrounds but seem to have differing views. I'm going to dig a bit more, but would love to get more confirmed info if BMW actually addresses parameters such as the transmission/braking when a harness is recognized. If so, I'm missing out on that.
The disagreement may be a bit of a technicality. The reprogramming required is to get the vehicle to recognize the trailer wiring module in the vehicle order, in the software. It isn't a new program for something like a transmission.

However, when the vehicle recognizes that module, and also that a trailer is connected, it can access previously dormant features that we don't have a full description of. We know it can change the camera, call on the TSC program in the DSC, and turn the park sensors off. My particular models didn't change the transmission shift points, but we are now on an updated X5 that has a next generation ZF transmission. I haven't heard about brake bias, but given that BMW are now utilizing disc drying programs and preactivating brakes, it is certainly possible. It would be interesting to read about those features.

You are missing out on the trailer stability control. I was not able to get it to activate when I tried, even towing a box trailer throug the Rockies on snow covered roads, but I liked that it was there. I could get traction control and stability control to activate, just not TSC. I do like the integrated trailer wiring module for avoidance of potential issues with multiplexed lighting circuits. And I share your interest in the simpler models. I avoided all of the fancier electronics (nav, cameras, lane departure warning, heads up display, phone integration, on board Internet) as they cause too many dealer visits IMO. Nice vehicle you've got there.

Jeff
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