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Old 04-22-2020, 06:33 AM   #1
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2020 22' Caravel
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Pulling with BMW X5i

Please advise
BMW says I can pull 7000 lbs. I bought a 2020 20 ft Caravel. Pulling here in Florida was fine, but I want to drive to my home in high mountains of NC. I was afraid to risk the mountain roads both up
And down.
Anyone have experience or thoughts please?
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:00 AM   #2
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BMW is very conservative in their ratings. You can tow a 5000 lb trailer up any hill and not have to worry.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:07 AM   #3
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Contact these folks, they can help you out.

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Old 04-24-2020, 12:29 PM   #4
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I am towing 7,200-7,500 lbs Jayco 33 ft trailer with X5 diesel. Power is not an issue. Braking is great. Faces of others when I arrive to a campground... priceless.

Your BMW will not even notice towing 20 ft Caravel.


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Old 04-24-2020, 01:00 PM   #5
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Ditto what others have said. You didn't say but I assume you have a WD anti-sway hitch. If not, be sure to slow down in cross winds.
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:56 AM   #6
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What type hitch are you using? I have searched the entire State of FL online, and physically walked behind every local X5 and none included a factory hitch. Do want to stay with the BMW family (upgrading from a Mini Countryman) but may be forced to Mercedes or Audi where at least 75% of the competing 3.0L turbo GLS and Q8/Q7 come with a factory hitch as a standard option on the lot. For BMW, special factory order (assumes includes secondary upgrades if applicable)? Dealer add-on? Third Party? Don't know if there are other issues like alternator and cooling upgrades which presume would not be done with aftermarket installs, so would prefer factory.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:44 AM   #7
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What type hitch are you using? I have searched the entire State of FL online, and physically walked behind every local X5 and none included a factory hitch. Do want to stay with the BMW family (upgrading from a Mini Countryman) but may be forced to Mercedes or Audi where at least 75% of the competing 3.0L turbo GLS and Q8/Q7 come with a factory hitch as a standard option on the lot. For BMW, special factory order (assumes includes secondary upgrades if applicable)? Dealer add-on? Third Party? Don't know if there are other issues like alternator and cooling upgrades which presume would not be done with aftermarket installs, so would prefer factory.
There are various versions of the X5 depending on year of manufacture. Different answers for each.

BMW doesn’t have a factory tow package. All models rated to tow can tow. No changes to coolers or charging for the X models I owned and worked on.

There are dealer supplied hitch kits from BMW, aftermarket hitches, and on some models a lightweight factory hitch that is often removable. Those hitches don’t typically handle WD equipment.

There is a dealer sold BMW module that handles electrical connections for turn signals, brake lights, etc. On my X5 and X3, that module sensed when a trailer was connected and turned off the rear camera, enabled the trailer stability mode in the DSC system, and so on.

On a current model I would use the BMW trailer wiring module and either a BMW hitch if a proper receiver was available (no hidden removable ball) or an aftermarket one (not a hidden one). I wouldn’t expect to see any hitches installed on inventory vehicles, they wait to see what a customer wants and install it then if requested.
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:37 PM   #8
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The only problem with the X5 is that it is unit body. It has no frame. I owned a BMW, Porsche and Mercedes repair shop for 42 years and saw a lot of owners try to tow trailers, usually towing race cars to the track. I saw several X5s where the hitch had pulled through the Sheetmetal. The Porsche Cayenne has a frame and will tow just about anything. The only thing I have towed with a BMW was a Hobie Cat and it weighed about 500#. Use caution.
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Old 04-25-2020, 03:44 PM   #9
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The only problem with the X5 is that it is unit body. It has no frame. I owned a BMW, Porsche and Mercedes repair shop for 42 years and saw a lot of owners try to tow trailers, usually towing race cars to the track. I saw several X5s where the hitch had pulled through the Sheetmetal. The Porsche Cayenne has a frame and will tow just about anything. The only thing I have towed with a BMW was a Hobie Cat and it weighed about 500#. Use caution.
I never had an issue with the unibody structure on my X5. Heaviest trailer I towed was a large flat deck from a construction company, designed to carry a backhoe loader or small dozer. It was used for a parade float, with 20 or so people on it. Low speed. The X5 made a good parade vehicle. Longest trailer had a 41 foot articulated and telescopic hydraulic bucket lift.

I used the OEM receiver that had stiffeners designed in where it attached to the chassis. That generation of X5 (E53) had problems in 2001 and 2002 only with aftermarket hitches that did not include those reinforcements and attached just to the rear pan. In response, aftermarket hitch manufacturers added a brace and the problem was resolved. No known problems since. I had photos of such a failure at the time. Pretty obvious what the issue was. It was worse with luggage carriers extended out from the receiver. Nothing wrong with the vehicle itself, just a deficient receiver design and overloading.

And note that the Cayenne has a unibody. It tows very capably as well.
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Old 04-26-2020, 05:25 AM   #10
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Pulling

Wow. I just took my cat to a local hitch installer. The hitch that is now attached to the trailer came from airstream. It has sway bars and things. I didnít realize I needed something special for my X5. I thought all I needed was a hitch. I asked BMW how much I can tow, but never thought to ask ďhow do I rig up to make this happenĒ
It pulled fine to where I am now, Clayton Ga. but today I was going to drive up to my house in Highlands and itís a 8 percent grade with 14 miles. Is there something you suggest please? I donít want to ruin my car or not be able to stop. I do have a brake installed under the dash. Itís set at .5.
Thank you so much
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Old 04-26-2020, 05:31 AM   #11
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Thank you thank you thank you
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Old 04-26-2020, 05:33 AM   #12
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Thank you
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Old 04-26-2020, 05:55 AM   #13
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Piddleplace,

I'm not familiar with your BMW but I have made the trip into Highland several times.

Folks those roads are common destinations for car and bike clubs to enjoy. Curvy hilly scenic and not very wide and the views fantastic.

You stated you have a brake controller, great. But I doubt anyone can say what setting is correct. You'll need to make sure that you feel the trailer brakes helping to slow your rig down.

If I was using my rig to demonstrate first it would be an open empty road or a parking lot. Get moving and just using the slide control only apply trailer brakes and feel whats happening. The trailer brakes should stop the rig not just coast. brakes take the energy of the vehicle moving and thru friction turn that energy into heat. The brakes dissipate the heat. That's the system. So if you were actively using the brakes the drums on the trailer would be WARM-ish plus? not air just temp. Alternative testing would be to repeat test on gravel and look for skidding etc.

Highlands is quite the location, I'm over in SC.

Be safe.

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Old 04-26-2020, 06:31 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jcl View Post
There are various versions of the X5 depending on year of manufacture. Different answers for each.

BMW doesn’t have a factory tow package. All models rated to tow can tow. No changes to coolers or charging for the X models I owned and worked on.

There are dealer supplied hitch kits from BMW, aftermarket hitches, and on some models a lightweight factory hitch that is often removable. Those hitches don’t typically handle WD equipment.

There is a dealer sold BMW module that handles electrical connections for turn signals, brake lights, etc. On my X5 and X3, that module sensed when a trailer was connected and turned off the rear camera, enabled the trailer stability mode in the DSC system, and so on.

On a current model I would use the BMW trailer wiring module and either a BMW hitch if a proper receiver was available (no hidden removable ball) or an aftermarket one (not a hidden one). I wouldn’t expect to see any hitches installed on inventory vehicles, they wait to see what a customer wants and install it then if requested.
Thanks for reply. After original post did a little more research. I was talking about current models, and for further research "borrowed" a VIN from dealer inventory which was required to obtain an owner's manual. Very concerned about what I found and the concept "if they want a hitch we can install it". That 7200lb rating ONLY applies to original factory installs per the owner's manual. While not stated, makes me wonder if adjusted suspension on a factory build to support the higher weight rating. The trailer hitch is offered as a $550 option on "build your own", and given the price of BMW options, that is cheap. To not include it on at least 10% of dealer inventory does an absolute disservice and effectively makes NONE of the inventory capable of the 7200 lb rating.
From page 404 of the manual: (all model variations same on towing/drawbar)
Towing - without brakes: 1653 lb
Towing up to 12% grade - "retrofitted by BMW": 5952 lb
Towing up to 12% grade - "factory installed mount": 7209 lb
Drawbar: 551
Based on the above appears all after sale dealer installs (and not mentioned 3rd party hitches) have a towing capacity of 5952. Appears only way to get the 7209 rating is NOT take one off the lot, but special order and wait...which would push me to Mercedes (or Audi/Porsche) where at least the dealer's buyer had enough sense not to cheap out on the option list with factory installs available in inventory - NO WAITING!.

More concerting in the owners manual were the next pages discussing capacities which vary by build - 40i/50i/M, sDrive/xDrive, 2/3 row seating. The 551 drawbar would have to be subtracted from the stated Load.
Three row seating models had higher GVW with resultant load at 1246lb. Two row seating had lower GVW and the resultant load, varying by drive and engine ranged from 827 lb (sDrive40i) to 872 lb (M50). That doesn't leave too much for passengers and gear before exceeding the "Approved GVW".
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Old 04-27-2020, 11:52 AM   #15
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BMW X5 has been manufactured with tow package from the South Carolina factory for years. However, not for the US market For the US market e.g. E70 had dealer installed hitch.

The current model G05 (2019-) comes with an option for tow package from the factory. Indeed, the 7,200 lbs towing rating comes with factory installed hitch vs. hitch installed later (6,000 lbs). Some people tracked down the differences - the factory installed hitch comes with bigger brakes in the rear (M-Sport brakes). Such brakes are standalone option (or come with M-package), so in theory, if you have M-brakes and install hitch after, you should be able to have the same tow rating.

By the way, the tow rating in the rest of the world is 7,700 lbs.

Also, the payload numbers in the US are crazy low. BMW X5 with air suspension in Europe is rates to almost 2,000 lbs payload (Zuladung). Without air suspension it is 1,700 lbs. I do not understand what game BMW is playing with the US with the low numbers.

https://www.bmw.de/content/dam/bmw/m...e_01%20(2).pdf
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Old 04-27-2020, 01:46 PM   #16
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Bono, my best guess is the low US numbers are due to the SAE J2807 Tow Test for combined handling. The standard applies to 2013 and later vehicles sold in the US and includes a test for oversteer. I can't be sure, but my controls modeler indicates the X5 may have some trouble maintaining under steer with heavy trailers for the conditions imposed by the test standards. Short wheelbase high performance vehicles generally have suspension configurations close to optimal when unladen so trailer inertia tends to induce excessive rear tire cornering slip.
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Old 04-27-2020, 02:29 PM   #17
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SAE J2807 Tow Test does not explain huge difference in US and EURO payload (actually, in the meantime, I thought that this may be related to lower speek rating tires used in the US - speed in many BMW US spec is electronically limited and BMW installs lower speed rating tires on there cars vs. in Europe).

I have no hard data, but I assume BMW tow test is at least as stringent as SAE J2807. However, I would prefer, if e.g. jcl would comment on this.
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Old 04-27-2020, 03:09 PM   #18
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BMW may be reducing payload while holding tow weight to the highest allowed by the Combined Handling Test in order to pass the Launch on Grade Test or the Highway Gradeability Test, both which tax the Combined weight limits. The manufacturer is free to decide what trade-offs they are going to make. If the standards BMW uses to rate the X5 for European markets were as stringent in these particular conditions, there would not be such a significant difference. The SAE standards tests represent a simulation of what the authors and approves considered important, they may not be as realistic as the Europe or internal BMW standards. We can be sure though BMW has no incentive to describe the X5 as less capable than US market competitors unless under industry tests it, unfortunately, paints it that way. It must be a hard pill to swallow.
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Old 04-27-2020, 03:17 PM   #19
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Of course, there are plenty of reasons to derate capabilities of vehicle and these were discussed here MANY times. I gave one of the examples: BMW limits speed in some of the cars, because they know that in the US cars drive much slower than in Europe. That gives them a chance to install lower speed rating tires, which translates to millions $ of savings.

Same with hitch on E70 - US hitch was rated to 6,000 lbs, where rest of the world used 7,700 lbs hitch. 6,000 lbs hitch is cheaper than 7,700 lbs. In the US only trucks can tow and nobody (apart from some crazy people) is thinking about serious towing with BMW. So why BMW would bother to install something more expensive?

"(...) It must be a hard pill to swallow." hahahaha, good one!
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Old 04-27-2020, 03:24 PM   #20
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We have towed for 5 years with a 2015 X5i. The coach is a 2015 FC23FB that weighs 6000 gross with a 600# tongue weight. We use a Blue Ox 750 Weight distribution sway control hitch with a wireless brake control. The rig tows well on the flat, over hills, up mountains and on the twisty Pacific Coast Highway. We shot Smuggler’s gap, make u-turns in a wide spot of road, do the I70 Ike tunnel, and generally go where we want to travel.

Take it slower on down grades. Towing is not like driving your X5 solo. High winds move Semis around, so take care when the winds build. After you have developed some experience, you are going to really like your rig.

Do your research. Keep weight out of the ends of the trailer. Drive conservatively and enjoy your RV. The 8 speed transmission running in Sport mode will serve you well. It’s a very good tow vehicle.

Yes CanAm can help you. JCL and Bono are best resources we have. Research prior towing threads for their posts. The more you read, the more you learn, the safer your RV experience will be.

Hope to meet you down the road in your shiny. Pat
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