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stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
6/28/19 7:11 p.m.

My understanding is they built a few of the six cylinder X5s with a manual transmission, although doing a swap is probably more trouble than it's worth.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
7/1/19 9:44 a.m.
stuart in mn said:

My understanding is they built a few of the six cylinder X5s with a manual transmission, although doing a swap is probably more trouble than it's worth.

They did, and a friend a few hours south has one that I've driven. These X5s are just E39 5-series on stilts, so the drivetrain combos were the same. 3.0L I6 with a GM 5AT or whatever 5MT, and the 4.4L V8 with ZF 5AT.

The manual trans is interesting and weird but doesn't really add to the driving experience in my opinion. Letting it slush through gears is fine.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
7/10/19 8:59 a.m.

The X5 finally has a state safety inspection on it, so I've been driving it to work all week. It's been pretty peachy and does what a cheap BMW should do pretty well.

Naturally, as I got to my client this morning, the right rear window regulator exploded. $54 on Amazon for a new one and I should be able to pop it in this weekend. Thankfully I have covered parking at work and at home, and the job looks easier than the front regulators as the part is just one big piece, instead of two pieces connected by some cables.

GarageGorilla
GarageGorilla New Reader
7/10/19 4:29 p.m.
Brake_L8 said:

The X5 finally has a state safety inspection on it, so I've been driving it to work all week. It's been pretty peachy and does what a cheap BMW should do pretty well.

Naturally, as I got to my client this morning, the right rear window regulator exploded. $54 on Amazon for a new one and I should be able to pop it in this weekend. Thankfully I have covered parking at work and at home, and the job looks easier than the front regulators as the part is just one big piece, instead of two pieces connected by some cables.

Looks sweet.

With the crazy floods in Arlington this week, I bet its nice to have a 4x4 beater around.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
7/10/19 5:30 p.m.
GarageGorilla said:

Looks sweet.

With the crazy floods in Arlington this week, I bet its nice to have a 4x4 beater around.

Heh, thanks. I did drive it to work on Monday and got caught in the start of that storm, right as I got to the office (in Bethesda). The AC doesn't work, so some frantic hand-clearing of the windshield got the fog off and allowed me to park. My daily is a 2018 F-150 with very functional everything though, so I felt silly sitting at a red light swiping at the glass. But, the "beater" aspect has been great and given all old BMWs smell the same, it's been very nostalgic. This is my 10th BMW and it smells just like 1) my "first big boy job" beater, a 1991 535i, 2) my old roommate's E39 540i, 3) my racecar for the three weeks in 2013 I drove it to work pre-build, blasting Avicii's new album. So that's fun.

I got the rear door panel torn apart tonight and the window regulator removed. Whole process took about 10 minutes. I'm not quite sure what broke, the cable for the regulator itself is all in one piece and attached everywhere. The white clip holding the window glass to whatever (the small metal piece in the photo below, I think?) seems to be in okay shape, but I'm not positive how they should look. It's parked with the window shoved up in the tracks for now, and I will have a new regulator, motor and clip coming from Amazon on Friday.

The regulator is stamped March 2001, so it's original. Pretty impressive it lasted so long, given BMW's reputation.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
8/27/19 11:25 a.m.

SO I leave for my trip on Thursday afternoon. Haven't updated this thread in a little bit, but here we are.

Window regulator got fixed and that window now shoots up and down like a fine slap-chop. The others all work okay, though I wonder which one will go next. I also got the AC blowing cold again with a can of AC Pro. When my friend Jack and I hooked the can up the first time, the gauge showed it was at "caution" levels of pressure and to not add any juice. I tried again on Saturday and it was in the "empty" zone, so I shot the whole can in the system and it's cold now. I'm sure there is a leak somewhere, but in the spirit of "this only has to last me six days," then I think it's fine.

Driving to work today, I noticed a few instances of steady throttle application leading to a complete, very brief drop from 2500 rpm or so down to idle and then back to the desired RPM. Tom had noticed some transmission fluid leaking when we first worked on the X5, so I dropped it off at the little Exxon service center near my client site this morning and asked them to check and top off the trans fluid. It's a GM 5L40E so hopefully they can throw some Dexron in it and party on.

Someone on the X5 forums mentioned the DISA valve could be failing, so I ordered one of those for same-day delivery from Amazon today. Hopefully between the two items, she can hold together for the trip.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
8/30/19 7:43 a.m.

We are all here and hitting the trails in a few hours! Our vehicle count is:

  • 2001 BMW X5 3.0i
  • 2005 Volvo XC90 V8
  • 2001 Subaru Forester S
  • 1994 Chrysler Town & Country AWD
  • 1990-something Subaru Legacy

I'll be sharing pictures throughout the weekend on Out Motorsports' Facebook and Instagram, and we're filming everything too. Video to come later.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
8/30/19 12:53 p.m.

Good luck!  I vote the Volvo as most likely to finish on a strap.  The 94 AWD minivan is pretty cool!

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
9/3/19 8:24 a.m.

Well, we're home! What an epic weekend. I am putting a full video together of our adventures, but here's some teasers until then.

We ran Flagpole Knob on Friday and Peters Mill Run on Saturday. Flagpole was pretty simple, and Peters Mill was not. It was rocky, muddy, and washed out in places. With that said, every vehicle completed both days of the journey under their own power and we never once deployed a tow rope. The Legacy was riding on some WRX wheels with teeny-sidewall tires, and eventually busted one on Saturday. They completed the trail on a donut spare. The Town & Country's (third) transmission had enough by the end of Saturday, and the owners drove it 45 minutes to dinner on I-81 stuck in 3rd gear. Once cooling down, it found all the other forward gears again.

The X5 did very well, even on Walmart-special Black Lion tires. I think with some actual all-terrains, it would be pretty capable. We had one mud pit that was a huge challenge toward the end of Saturday's trail, and the van and I elected to go around instead of through. It worked but we got some pretty solid hang time. More to come soon. Also, I'm selling a 2001 X5.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
9/5/19 8:06 a.m.
Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/5/19 1:23 p.m.

Pretty funny stuff. 

Also, vindication for the AWD Chrysler Minivan, a truly underappreciated soft-roader in my estimation. It's got 'good' awd and is less likely to break than a lot of 'real' t-case 4x4s and almost everything else in this $1500 gaggle. It's either high-centered or it's going right through!laugh

trigun7469
trigun7469 SuperDork
9/5/19 2:42 p.m.

What Video Camera did you use? looks pretty good. THe offroading also looked like a blast.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
9/6/19 1:32 p.m.
trigun7469 said:

What Video Camera did you use? looks pretty good. THe offroading also looked like a blast.

Thanks! All of this was shot on iPhones of various age (oldest being an iPhone SE, newest XS) and a Galaxy Note 10.

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
9/6/19 1:35 p.m.
Vigo said:

Pretty funny stuff. 

Also, vindication for the AWD Chrysler Minivan, a truly underappreciated soft-roader in my estimation. It's got 'good' awd and is less likely to break than a lot of 'real' t-case 4x4s and almost everything else in this $1500 gaggle. It's either high-centered or it's going right through!laugh

What makes it less likely to break? We were doing some reading on the system and it seems to be fairly simple in its design (power transfer unit, vacuum actuated "slip and grip" with fast response). The X5 is a full-time mechanical system, and the Subarus I'm not sure on. The Volvo had the AWD turned into FWD due to some stability control fault.

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
9/6/19 1:49 p.m.

The chrysler vans have a full time AWD system. It has a viscous coupling. The only vacuum part of the system just serves to keep AWD functioning in reverse. The rear diff has an overrun clutch so that the rear tires can spin faster than the fronts (so as not to interfere with braking, i guess) and because of that there's a vacuum actuated dog clutch that engages to bypass the overrun clutch to make the AWD function in reverse. You could make it function in drive too but i dont think anything would be gained.  

As far as reliability nothing in the AWD system is known to be problematic, unlike many other AWDs and 4wds. I mean, i daily a 4wd vehicle with low range and a rear locker (cayenne) and it's a known issue that sometimes when you shift into low range the t-case shift mechanism will get stuck and you won't be able to get back to hi range without disassembling some stuff. We talk a lot around here about Volvo awd parts failing, honda dual pump awd not being 'real' awd, haldex audis suck because they aren't real quattro, etc etc.  And the common denominator is pretty much something either isn't 'real' awd, or it breaks. Chrysler minivan AWD is 'real' full time AWD, and it doesn't break.

The only big hangup with a van like the one pictured is you have to know a little about the transmission electronics to not be constantly misdiagnosing the trans as FUBAR. It basically has 3 electrical components all bolted to the outside which cause issues. If you have a code reader and some knowledge of how the thing works, it's not hard to address the occasional electrical weirdness. But if you don't know anything about it, you'll believe all the stories about those transmissions 'failing' or think yours is FUBAR when it starts going into limp mode even though it might just need a $7 (literally) sensor. And the engine is bulletproof. Compare that to when an X5 loses reverse...

Again though, cool vid. yes

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
9/9/19 7:56 a.m.
Vigo said:

The chrysler vans have a full time AWD system. It has a viscous coupling. The only vacuum part of the system just serves to keep AWD functioning in reverse. The rear diff has an overrun clutch so that the rear tires can spin faster than the fronts (so as not to interfere with braking, i guess) and because of that there's a vacuum actuated dog clutch that engages to bypass the overrun clutch to make the AWD function in reverse. You could make it function in drive too but i dont think anything would be gained.  

As far as reliability nothing in the AWD system is known to be problematic, unlike many other AWDs and 4wds. I mean, i daily a 4wd vehicle with low range and a rear locker (cayenne) and it's a known issue that sometimes when you shift into low range the t-case shift mechanism will get stuck and you won't be able to get back to hi range without disassembling some stuff. We talk a lot around here about Volvo awd parts failing, honda dual pump awd not being 'real' awd, haldex audis suck because they aren't real quattro, etc etc.  And the common denominator is pretty much something either isn't 'real' awd, or it breaks. Chrysler minivan AWD is 'real' full time AWD, and it doesn't break.

The only big hangup with a van like the one pictured is you have to know a little about the transmission electronics to not be constantly misdiagnosing the trans as FUBAR. It basically has 3 electrical components all bolted to the outside which cause issues. If you have a code reader and some knowledge of how the thing works, it's not hard to address the occasional electrical weirdness. But if you don't know anything about it, you'll believe all the stories about those transmissions 'failing' or think yours is FUBAR when it starts going into limp mode even though it might just need a $7 (literally) sensor. And the engine is bulletproof. Compare that to when an X5 loses reverse...

Again though, cool vid. yes

Awesome info to have, thanks for writing that all out! Didn't realize the vacuum system was just to keep it working in reverse but that's pretty neat. The guys who bought the van still have it and I think it's grown on them, so it may stick around. The T&C transmission did only have 2nd and 3rd gear after two days of trails (and it is on the... third? transmission at 242k miles) but regained the other two gears after the fluid cooled down.

Thankfully the X5 held on to all of its gears and fluids. I sold it last week for $50 more than I paid.

Billy_Bottle_Caps
Billy_Bottle_Caps Dork
9/21/19 2:00 a.m.

Don't know how I missed this thread.. Just read whole thing while sipping an adult beverage. Great idea looks like great fun kudos to you guys getting out and doing something with some cheap beaters

 

BBC

OjaiM5
OjaiM5 Reader
9/21/19 2:37 p.m.

A 265/70 -17 really rides well on the early x5. It totally made my M/T x5 much more driveable. 

 

PS - The video was Rad!

eebasist
eebasist Reader
12/2/19 1:22 p.m.

Sorry for the month(s) old reply.

Any chance you still have the Eonon head unit?  I just took the plunge and bought an X5 lol

Brake_L8
Brake_L8 Reader
12/2/19 1:49 p.m.
eebasist said:

Sorry for the month(s) old reply.

Any chance you still have the Eonon head unit?  I just took the plunge and bought an X5 lol

No worries! Glad to see this bubble back up again, it was such a fun trip and easily one of the highlights of my year. I sold the Eonon unit in the X5. My electrical gremlins were due to pinched wiring under the handbrake, which affected all of the K-Bus stuff. So, the factory audio gear I had picked up from the junkyard got sold separately and I retained the Eonon for Bluetooth functionality.

I do have a set of smoked, aftermarket taillights if you have an interest in those. Would love to sell them on the cheap and get 'em out of my house.

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