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Old 01-23-2019, 05:08 AM   #1
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2016 BMW x5 xDrive 35i with Invisihitch

I put a deposit on a 2019 25' AS international serenity with a 7300 GVWR. Before I go through with it, I was hoping to get some feedback on whether or not my 2016 BMW x5 xDrive 35i with an Invisihitch rated to pull 7700 lbs is truly capable to tow this trailer from coast to coast. I want to add sway bars but doesn't seem to be compatible with the hitch. What other modifications could/should I have done to provide peace of mind while traveling. I also have a 2017 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4x4 with crew cab should it be a better option to work with.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:05 AM   #2
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Call Andy at CanAm RV. He is the guru of towing, especially of the non-giant truck variety.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:15 AM   #3
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Dont know anything about the BMW but the Tacoma would not be a good choice for a 25.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:42 AM   #4
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Consider loading your trailer lightly. Our 2018 28 Serenity weighs 6140 lbs from the factory. With all of our gear, we are just shy of 6700 lbs total, well under the GVWR.
Get your new Airstream weighed when you get it, so you will know your true weight.
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Old 01-23-2019, 07:46 AM   #5
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Call Andy at CanAm RV
i looked at Invisihitch but decided against
i suggest a std hitch rated above your max tow weight along with sway control and weight distribution.

Andy can also beef up the frames of most TV's . If the tow/tongues weight exceeds the rated for your TV, he may be able to help.

he pulls a large AS with an older jetta to prove it works.

NOTE, some TV designs are bad, i.e. short wheel base. The longer the better for towing
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1stTime View Post
I put a deposit on a 2019 25' AS international serenity with a 7300 GVWR. Before I go through with it, I was hoping to get some feedback on whether or not my 2016 BMW x5 xDrive 35i with an Invisihitch rated to pull 7700 lbs is truly capable to tow this trailer from coast to coast. I want to add sway bars but doesn't seem to be compatible with the hitch. What other modifications could/should I have done to provide peace of mind while traveling. I also have a 2017 Toyota Tacoma Sport 4x4 with crew cab should it be a better option to work with.
Search for Jihong Tang on FB. She's a member of AirstreamAddicts FB page and also has a blog. She has an x5 modified by Andy Thomson. She's had 3 Airstreams: a 25', a Basecamp and a 30'. All towed by the x5. She sold the 30'. Jihong also has working knowledge of winter camping... good resource.

https://m.facebook.com/groups/search/?groupID=1544357289164612&query=jihong%20tang&ref= content_filter&tsid=0.3674644406088994&source=type ahead
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:25 AM   #7
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It looks like the Invisihitch is Rated for 7700 lbs towed weight / 600 lbs tongue weight.

A new 25' Airstream will exceed this tongue weight. You will need a weight distributing hitch system and the Invisihitch may not be compatible with this type of system.

This post has information from the manufacturer: https://f15.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh....php?t=1490106
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:44 AM   #8
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Coast to Coast? you need a better tow vehicle. You can probably make it work but will it be a safe tow vehicle. We pull our 25FB with a full sized 1/2 ton, the 25FB maxes out the load capacity of our truck when rolling down the road. Also we easily have the power and stopping capability when towing in the mountains. In the long run you will save money by purchasing a full sized 1/2 ton or larger plus you and your family will be safer.
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Old 01-23-2019, 09:45 AM   #9
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Jihong Tang is currently pulling her 25 with her X5 and is on a winter ski tour. She has traversed multiple mountain ranges from British Colombia, Colorado, Utah, and now headed to Nevada and California. Check out her FB posts and am sure she will be happy to answer any questions about towing a 25 with the X5. It is risky business asking TV questions on this forum. Unfortunately, in the past many replay stating you can’t do it and you need a 3/4 diesel to go over the big mountains without citing any practical or technical expertise. Good luck.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:01 AM   #10
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I am sure it’s possible and I have no practical experience towing with that vehicle. But I will say towing a much lighter 22 sport with an f150 I can feel the trailer a bit and I’m not sure I’d want to be towing with a lighther suv. All that said can am seems to be the place to get info as others have mentioned. If anyone can assist they can. Best of luck.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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I have towed with an X5 (not an Airstream).

The X5 is well able to tow that trailer. I would not use the Invisihitch, I would remove it and install a hitch with a square receiver so that you can use WD equipment. You will also need a brake controller if one isn't already installed.

There are no modifications required to the X5 for the maximum tow rating. If you have the BMW wiring harness, it integrates into the vehicle electrics and turns off the rear park sensors when a trailer is hitched (so they don't beep), changes the rear view camera operation on some models, and activates the built in Trailer Sway Control (TSC) mode in the dynamic stability control, when a trailer is connected.

Talk to Andy at Can Am. Also, read his article on towing with German SUVs.

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Old 01-23-2019, 10:15 AM   #12
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Tow Vehicles

HI,

I would also concur with the suggestions to contact Andy at CanAm. E-mailing him might be better followed up by a phone call since he is so busy. He also has a fellow employee that also does all the testing. Not sure of his name at the moment. Ron in service is a huge help and will provide the name and other ideas regarding the tow vehicleinspection and marrying of the TV to your trailer.

They have been a huge support to us on our old TV and the new expedition we have. Again, peace of mind and minimizing any risk or hiccups by completing good due diligence is always a better path. Enjoy your new trailer and all the kind folks you will meet, especially at the rallies! We do
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:15 AM   #13
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We drive 2016 BMW X5d - not going to work with 25'

Hi,

First, let me tell you that I know exactly what you are trying to accomplish I have the same dream and have tried to convince 'experts' and Airstream employees that I could pull our dream 25fb twin Globetrotter with our beloved 2016 BMW X5d M.

Not gonna happen (sorry I registered just to respond to you - first post I feel I have the most experience here regarding this question).

The real GVWR of the 2016 X5 is 6,000lbs. We looked at trading in to the new 2019 X5, heavier now with a GVWR of 7,200. I almost ordered a X7 with a GVWR of 7,500 lbs. In the end, all of these options cannot pull a 25'.

Your trailer needs to be ~70% weight that of your tow vehicle capacity.

I mean, you could pull the 25', but you'll have to go flat the whole way, and never expect sudden braking or anything downhill.

In the end, it was either upgrade to a Dodge Ram, or keep our X5d M and buy the 19cb. We are not ready for a pick up truck yet

We bought the 2019 Flying Cloud 19cb. Upgraded to 200 watt solar, LTE booster, etc.

We did a 3 week trip just over the holidays, Seattle to Palm Springs via Oregon and California Coast 101, through MT Shasta, etc. 4000 miles. It was amazing, and the combination was an amazing experience to drive (and random people constantly taking pictures of our set up for some reason). The total length fits in 2 parking spots, which means we were able to park anywhere for groceries, shopping, starbucks, etc.

Here's some photos of our set up, including sway bars, stabilizers, wireless brake controller.

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PS: The trailer is too small for sure. I sleep on the bed, my wife sleeps on the kitchen table, and the dog under the kitchen table. We are NOW thinking about getting a Dodge Ram and trading in. Will probably wait for the 2020 models.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:32 AM   #14
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"Your trailer needs to be ~70% weight that of your tow vehicle capacity."

?? Please cite the reference for this guidance. Engineering specifications already account for a safety factor (i.e. the vehicle is actually capable of towing something heavier then what it is rated for.)
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by T2plt View Post
"Your trailer needs to be ~70% weight that of your tow vehicle capacity."

?? Please cite the reference for this guidance. Engineering specifications already account for a safety factor (i.e. the vehicle is actually capable of towing something heavier then what it is rated for.)
BMW. Dealer called all the way up to Germany to get the real answers. They explained, unlike a pick up truck, the X5's suspension is designed for comfort and or sport's mode. In this case it is NOT just about weight and hitch, it's a different vehicle configuration. They explained the frame + suspension + brakes = trailer should be no more than 70% of the tow capacity. The anti sway bars and stabilizers help a lot too.
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Old 01-23-2019, 10:58 AM   #16
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The OEM hitch and the Invishitch are documented as not compatible with the WDH application. This is a BMW position, possibly linked to limiting waranty and liability risk. BMW has been through tough times and takes a very conservative position on towing. It is just not their primary marketing focus. The same is true with respect to off road use, although the current advertisements would suggest a different direction. The new X7 is even reported to have a skid pad option. The X5 is a great tow vehicle in both gas and diesel versions. There is even one owner using the hybrid with a 22. However BMW does not give you much help. The good news is that they don't stand in your way either. The weight distribution prohibition is on the OEM hitch and is not mentioned in the vehicle manual. Check yours before you proceed as we have a 2015.

Invisihitch was a competitor that wanted to be the OEM hitch for BMW. So they have adopted the same WDH prohibition policy. In their case, the design is substandard due to the removable hitch ball adapter. The socket has not worked well for folks using weight distribution. Invisihitch does sell the brake/lighting cable/module and provides programming support. Not a bad deal if you pick and choose. The fabrication is a good structural design and weld configuration. The socket block mounting tabs would make a good mounting location for an upgraded receiver and torque arm.

The OEM and after-market receivers are restricted to 600lb tongue weight. The receiver structure replaces the crash cross-member and mounts to the eight horizontal studs on the verticle rear chassis structure. Consequently, you need to upgrade the hitch structure for tongue weights above 600lbs. See CanAm. Research what others have done and understand the impact before you make the modification. There is also a welded vs bolted approach that is appropriate to evaluate. Shops other than CanAm have done this work, but you will likely need to provides the design for their fabrication and installation.

The prior models of the X5 had a much better OEM receiver. The new X5 is not compatible with those receivers. There is information on Bimmerfest in several threads on towing.

To rig an X5, you need a receiver, a brake module, a wiring harness, some programming and a torque arm upgrade if the tongue is over 600lbs. BMW sells the brake module and wiring harness. Get the wiring pin out diagram. The brake module just plugs into the existing position. BMW can do the programming which improves camera and proximity sensor operation but does not seem to be mandatory for towing. Invisihitch also sells the module, harness and programming. The rear bumper cover must be removed to do the install. There is an install video for the Invisihitch on Bimmerfest and that provide the concept for any installation.

There are limited reports of BMW dealers doing an after-market or Invisihitch installation. Suspect that has been done to help out customers who ended up with OEM hitches that did not have 2-5/15" ball capability to support an AS. The new OEM hitches have replacement ball capability. However, I suspect that most owners do their own install or have a third party perform that work.

Good Luck with your research. Pat
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:14 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T2plt View Post
"Your trailer needs to be ~70% weight that of your tow vehicle capacity."

?? Please cite the reference for this guidance. Engineering specifications already account for a safety factor (i.e. the vehicle is actually capable of towing something heavier then what it is rated for.)


Please site your reference for engineering specifications already accounting for a safety factor. With design emphasis on lighter and higher fuel efficiency safety factors are very slim. To reduce safety factors great effort is spent in the analysis of parts to make them lighter.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:49 AM   #18
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BMW. Dealer called all the way up to Germany to get the real answers. They explained, unlike a pick up truck, the X5's suspension is designed for comfort and or sport's mode. In this case it is NOT just about weight and hitch, it's a different vehicle configuration. They explained the frame + suspension + brakes = trailer should be no more than 70% of the tow capacity. The anti sway bars and stabilizers help a lot too.
This isn't a real limit. BMW publish a maximum tow rating of 3500 kg (7700) lbs for the vehicle. There are other things that reduce that rating.

In North America, the BMW marketing organization (BMWNA) sells a hitch rated for 6000 lbs towing, max 600 lbs tongue weight, and this then becomes the limit from BMW, based on the hitch. It is a challenge to design something to hit two separate limits at once, so one has consider that either BMW worked to a 600 lb tongue weight design guideline and applied a standard 10% to get 6000 lbs, or they did it the other way around, but the latter is illogical. The 600 lb tongue weight limit as a design spec is more likely IMO. Invisihitch don't use the BMW hitch, but their own design, so they offer a 7700 lb rating (but don't accommodate WD equipment). In Europe, there are guidelines relating vehicle weight to trailer weight (85% is one guideline in the UK) and that is based on their use of surge brakes, which require the vehicle to slow, and then the trailer to sense that and self actuate the surge brakes (no electric brake controller, no ability to apply the trailer brakes independently). Surge brakes are not legal in much of North America at that trailer weight, so the limit is not applicable here.

My X5 (an earlier model, an E53) had no vehicle tow rating from BMW. Neither the manual or tech literature (I have access to the BMW tech library) or door jamb decal listed tow ratings. The tow rating of 6000 lbs came in the installation instructions for the BMWNA hitch, and came with a label that it said to make sure to affix before delivering the vehicle to the customer. It was obvious that it was a hitch rating, not a vehicle rating, except that it served as a vehicle rating if one used the standard BMW hitch offered at that time.

If BMW want to claim a lower trailer weight limit than they publish, then they should put it in writing and amend the manuals and technical literature. Some guy on a phone is not a reliable source. I would be surprised if they amended their published rating, as it would open them up to a large number of claims for financial compensation from owners who purchased the vehicle in good faith. See all the current lawsuits on payments to owners for false advertising relating to published emissions figures.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:01 PM   #19
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I am sure itís possible and I have no practical experience towing with that vehicle. But I will say towing a much lighter 22 sport with an f150 I can feel the trailer a bit and Iím not sure Iíd want to be towing with a lighther suv.
Your situation calls out for attention to hitch setup. If you are not comfortable towing a sport 22 with an F150, there are adjustments you can likely make to address the issue.

The good news about the X5 is that it is a much more solid platform than an F150 in terms of handling and stability, and if one wants to have a good handling combination it really helps to start with a vehicle that handles well solo.
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Old 01-23-2019, 12:02 PM   #20
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But can you stop...?

Sometimes itís not a matter of simply towing, but how your tv handles quick stops/accident avoidance in inclement weather with the extra load. Pay specific attention to all the tow specs and tongue weight ratings. I always have a professional assess and install my stuff. Not only is it an expensive trailer behind me, but donít want to skimp on safety. Accidents do happen unexpectedly after all.
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