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spreadmywing 07-29-2016 12:28 PM

BMW X5 towing setup
Hello all;

I just bought a 2013 flying cloud 25 rear twin. My tow vehicle is 2008 BMW X5 4.8is (gas).

CANAM RV canada, has been so generous in their helping me with questions even though I didn't buy my trailer there (they didn't have anything in stock for my choice plus we are far away). I do plan to visit them in the near future for reinforcement. They recommend a After market receiver and brake control.

The problem is my BMW dealer in Dallas is very slow in responding my phone calls and emails trying to set up installation appointment. It is really frustrating since I have made travel arrangement to pick up my AS located in another state.

is it essential that the receiver and brake control have to be installed by BMW dealer?

Thank you


LongShot 07-29-2016 12:58 PM

BMW Tow Set-up
I cannot speak to the BMW but having a Mercedes and getting it tow-ready, I think I can offer some helpful suggestions:
1) In a prefect world, have your delaer do this BUT be prepared to pay handsomely for the service; your automobile has a lot of driver control stuff built into to it that 'should' be incorporated into the brake controller
2) Have the hitch installed by someone that knows European cars (my dealer actually suggested I go to a hitch dealer and then back to them to do the brake controller - this saved me about $1,200
3) if you have a fairly late model, you're going to have to deal with the LED's on both the AS and your car - they tend not to play well unless you install a special circuit (not difficult, but most hitch guys have no idea how/where to do this)
4) If done correctly, your brake controller will integrate with your dynamic stability and you'll be amazed at how well you can tow
5) Make sure you get a proper weight distribution hitch set up and MAKE SURE that the hitch you install has additional bracing (mine actually has an extension to the frame)

Good luck, remember, you are the consumer and if you do not feel comfy with your dealer, call another one until you find someone that wants your business.

bono 07-29-2016 01:48 PM

The hitch installation is a very easy job. Definitely, any competent hitch shop can do this. Actually, I would not have a hitch installed by BMW dealer, because I always worry that they will break something... just crappy service in CA. You will need coding after the harness is installed. You can do this at dealership or even remotely, but someone who knows the staff.

Get OEM hitch not any aftermarket product.

Get BMW Electric Trailer Brake Controller 82110420082. I did not install this permanently (this looks ugly). Just plug and tow when needed.

spreadmywing 07-29-2016 09:19 PM

thank you so much
This is recommended set up for my 2008 X5 towing 2013 flying cloud 25 rear twin

1. CURT Class III receiver (13077)

2. Tekonsha Prodigy Electronic Brake Control

3. Eaz-lift Elite weight distributing hitch kit 1200 Lbs.

This is the current recommended set up and will do some reinforcement work with CANAM RV in Canada when I get there in a couple of months

I may have factory installed tow package. But I am not sure since I am not with my vehicle right now. I will not see my X5 until a month later.

Bgibbs 07-29-2016 10:31 PM

Be ready for really increased maintenance if you use your X5 as a tow vehicle. Towing is not what it was designed to do.

wvspin2 07-29-2016 10:37 PM

Hi Joy,
This video is posted on YouTube:
Installation of a Trailer Hitch on a 2008 BMW x5 - - YouTube

I had the same problem with my 2014 VW TDI Touareg the dealer seemed numb when I asked them to install a brake controller on my vehicle. Since my vehicle already had the hitch and electrical plug factory installed, they seemed to think it had the controller built in to the specifications. I could not find anything except on line with the VW Touareg tech pages. It told me everything I needed to purchase.
It involved the purchase of two wires from VW to attach the prodigy brake controller to the already prewired connect plug on the hitch. Find a professional hitch installer near you. I have a BMW also and there is a lot of information already available on the web. Dealers just hate any type of liability, so it may be rather difficult to get them to do the installation.

I recommend the Blue Ox 1000 lbs weight sway distribution hitch. I recommend it simply because its quiet and you will be able to back your unit without removing the bars or disconnecting it from your Airstream. The 1000 lb bars are more than enough to control your hitch weight.
I also recommend the Prodigy brake controller. It works great and is easy to adjust to your unit. Have fun with your new Airstream.


jcl 07-29-2016 10:42 PM

There was no factory tow package for the X5. All models are equipped with all the coolers, etc, that you need. All variants of your model (E70) have the same tow rating.

What BMW does sell, as a dealer installed accessory, is a hitch receiver kit. You don't have to have the dealer install it (I did two myself) and you don't have to use the BMW receiver, your Curt is fine. However, the BMW receiver kit includes an electrical connection kit, which is also sold separately for those that choose a Curt or other hitch. It provides the interface between the vehicle, and the trailer wiring plug which is mounted next to the hitch. Although you can use an aftermarket wiring kit it doesn't usually integrate into the vehicle as well, it just works the trailer lights. The BMW electrical trailer wiring module tells the vehicle computer when a trailer is connected. That does things like provide different rearview camera functions on some models, disables the rear sensors of the park distance control so it doesn't beep every time you put it in reverse, and provides a Trailer Stability Control mode in the dynamic stability control. Well worth it. This electrical module does not include braking functionality, you still need the Prodigy, and the TSC does not replace your sway control in your hitch.

Installation of the electrical wiring kit usually requires programming of the vehicle so that the vehicle recognizes the module. That can be done by a dealer, or any shop with the appropriate computer.

If the trailer wiring kit is already installed you will see an electrical connector for the trailer mounted near the license plate.

If you are having other than a dealer install the wiring kit BMW has clear technical instructions. If you can't get a copy from your dealer I can provide a link. Lots of info available on as well.

Hope that helps. Good luck.


PKI 07-29-2016 10:50 PM

The Easy lift is the standard recommended by CanAm. It is my belief that the X5 and an AS are better served by the Blue Ox Sway Pro. It sidesteps the hassle of a friction Sway Control and provides a reasonably soft TV to Coach link. The CanAm folks have been doing this for a long time and their advice is not to be discounted. Also the Easy lift will be a less expensive option. If your X5 does not have the air suspension, the more rigid link of the Easy lift may be of advantage.

Suggest you do your own investigation and understand your choices. Worth discussing Bono's suggestion to use an OEM hitch with him off line. He has gone through the process and has a unique perspective that is worth your time.

Edit - see Jeff's note above. He knows what he is talking about.

Good luck with your investigation. Pat

jcl 07-29-2016 10:52 PM


Originally Posted by Bgibbs (Post 1828404)
Be ready for really increased maintenance if you use your X5 as a tow vehicle. Towing is not what it was designed to do.

How do you account for the Trailer Stability Control that BMW designed into the vehicle? Towing is one of the things it was designed to do.

Towing will generally increase fuel consumption. Service intervals are triggered based on monitoring of vehicle parameters, so oil changes will be slightly more frequent.

jcl 07-29-2016 11:14 PM


I see you are already on xoutpost. I am jcl on there as well.

The link you got in your thread there to ECS shows the wiring module I recommend.

ECS also links the BMW install instructions for the hitch, the wiring kit, and the vehicle coding instructions. If this link doesn't work it is on the ECS page.


I do like the BMW receivers over aftermarket ones, and bought two of them, but I was not towing trailers that required hitch reinforcements. I respect CanAm's expertise, and I suspect that they like the Curt when planning reinforcements.


bono 07-29-2016 11:29 PM

Curt hitch has longer drop plates. My guess is that shorter plates serve better / do not flex that much for weight distribution purposes.

I went with ProPride hitch to eliminate sway, but my trailer is longer (33 ft).

PKI 07-30-2016 11:02 AM

OP - this note is not for you. It is for folks with new X5s who may read this thread.

The hitches offered for the F15/16 (2014 and newer) are different than what was provided for E53 and E70 models. The 2014 and newer OEM hitch is not compatible with an Airstream. No 2-5/16" ball. The Invisihitch - Execuhitch removable shank design is not compatible with weight distribution. The welded receiver aftermarket hitches are available.

Towing more than 6000lbs or 600lbs tongue weight probably needs hitch reinforcement. There is much discussion on the capacities of the X5. Investigate and understand before you proceed. With the right considerations, the X5 is a very capable tow vehicle.

Good luck and travel safe. Pat

StillRod 07-30-2016 05:59 PM

My 2012 X5d hauls our 2015 FC Rear Twin quite capably. Fuel economy suffers, just as with any vehicle, in our case ~14.5 to 15.5 mpg, depending on terrain and speed.

I opted for BMW's rebranded Tekonsha Prodigy because it included the proprietary wiring harness...worth its weight in gold. It routes from the right side of the rear compartment to the center console. I had the dealer in Minneapolis install it for me just to avoid disassembling all the trim myself. That cost about two-hours labor.

Can-Am did a great job of reinforcing the OEM hitch receiver, and just inspected it in June. Its holding up quite well.

You'll have a different torque curve than my diesel. Change your fluids regularly, including transmission and transfer case, and your V-8 should do quite well.

Ignore the ton truck crowd and enjoy yourself.

Stelear 07-30-2016 06:43 PM

We just had our hitch and brake controller installed on our '15 X5 at U-haul in McKinney. They did a very clean job.

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