BMW E53 X5 3.0i Sport

It only seems like yesterday when I was picking up the 530i E39 and was totally besotted (which I still am) but it has now been over a year since the E39 became part of the family.

When I got the E39 I was actually looking for a X5, preferably a 04 or 05 model. Whilst I was looking around I saw the E39 and that was the start of that adventure.

Now that the E39 is as close to how I want it as it can be, apart from some paintwork which will be done over the winter, I needed another project. This is when an 02 E53 popped up on my Facebook page from an X5 group. Turned out it was not too far away and had only just been posted and so no visible interest so far. The car needed some work, the owner was very open about this and was priced appropriately. As this would be a side project then as long as there were no major issues then this could be the car for me. I quickly got in touch with the owner and a meeting arranged.

When I got to see the car I could see straight away that there was some work needed doing, the car needs some TLC. Visibly from a distance it looks great. There are a few bodywork dints here and there,  nothing major. A few scratches that will easily polish out. The wheels are in a bit of a state and may need a professional refurb rather than me getting out the sandpaper and spray cans. The tail gate lights are fogged over, which is the same issue on all these models, including the E39 touring. The windscreen wipers need painting and the drivers side mirror has paint falling off. All this is nothing really for a 15 year old car.  The usual dash pixel problem.

From a mechanical side I had been told the engine light comes on now and again and the three wheel sensor lights (which is fixed by turning the steering wheel to reset the unit, only happens occasionally). I had brought along my laptop with BMW Scanner to take a look at what issues were being reported.

  1. Running lean banks 1 & 2
  2. Drivers door central locking not working
  3. One of the two keys does not start the car. Reports Out of Sync. (the second of the keys, which does start the car is held together with sellotape). Neither key remote buttons work and I have been unable to sync them to the car. Tyres looking very worn.

Again, nothing to make me worried. A test drive showed that there were no funny sounds from the suspension and the gearbox and engine seemed to work well. Head under the bonnet and you can hear a sound that sounds like the bearing in the alternator may have gone so will have the garage check this out.

A deal was struck and I picked up the car the next day. Once you have your hands on the car, this is when you really start to find out all the little things. A full list of items that I have found so far: –

Outstanding Items

  1. Engine light comes on now and again. Running Lean banks 1 & 2.
  2. Drivers Central locking not working.
  3. Issues with the keys.
  4. Garage to check the alternator and the water pump.
  5. When in reverse on a hill the car will sometimes slowly roil forward. Local garage has confirmed that this is working within normal parameters and probably needs a fluid change. This is happening this coming week.
  6. The handle on the handbrake not fastened on. Quick fix to tighten the screws and it now works a lot better although all the teeth seem to have been worn away so I will be having this replaced.
  7. Rear tailgate lights need a refurb. Have already set to work on this with the Autoglym Headlight Restoration kit. First attempt has done good but need to go back and work on all the edges to get them better.
  8. Going to put on new tyres all round.
  9. Just about ready for a service so this is being done for piece of mind.

Fixed Items

  1. The tailgate release switch on its last legs. Sourced a new unit from Sytners. This was an easy swap. Couldn’t fix the existing one due to it being a sealed unit and besides, the rubber was past its best.
  2. The middle rear seatbelt does not fix in to the holder. Replacement sourced from eBay and fitted.
  3. 12v socket in the rear had been disconnected so this has now been fixed. Great that the kids will be able to charge their phones in the back.
  4. Radio does not work in the stereo. An aftermarket Pioneer double din unit has been installed, with screens in the headrests. When this was installed the antenna did not have a converter fitted. Now Sorted with a cable from Halfords. There was all the wiring hanging around for an old telephone Bluetooth kit which has now been taken out.

A few things to sort out to get this car where I would like it to be but not that much, and great fun sorting the little things, leaving the bigger things to my local garage to sort for me. As with all these things, if left they build up. What could have been small costs along the way is becoming a lot of things all adding up but I see this as being well worth while to have a lovely car at the end of it. I will have to watch it though as the better half has decided she likes it too. She prefers it to the 530i. She says she prefers the higher up driving position. How she can say that when she drives a Beetle.

I am looking forward now to following the X5 groups and seeing if there is a group out there for the X5 that can match up to how great the BMW E39 Club UK is. Any group has big boots to fill to try and match The E39 group and I am honoured to be a member.

I’ll be posting more on how the X5 is coming along and posting some pictures when I get to take it out properly for a few good runs.