Saturday, December 10, 2016

Suspension Airbags Replaced

Shortly after the first service, the rear suspension airbags - on both sides - failed completely.  There were no fault codes.  But, the car was metal-on-metal in the rear and it was obvious.  We had to have the car towed to the dealer again.  The dealer was very nice, they believe they must have cut or scored the airbag material during the fix of the differential leak.  The airbags retail for $398 each.  You can replace them quite easily DIY, all from below the car.  Hopefully you never have to.

Friday, November 4, 2016

First Dealer Service

Took the car in for it's first "free" oil change at about 10,600 miles.  We used Rick Hendrick BMW in Charleston and they did a nice job.  They fixed the leaking differential seal and put new oil into the differential.  They confirmed on the F15 there is no drain plug for the differential.  So to change it, you either remove the rear cover or you use a fluid extractor.  I come from the old school and I like to change fluids on a regular basis.  You can see the part number for the correct fluid below... FYI cars with Dynamic Handling Package (DHP) have a different differential but both use the same fluid.

They used 0W-30 for motor oil.  We have been using 5W-30 with excellent results: no oil is burned by this car.  But, the manual for the 2016 does say that 0W-30 is the preferred oil, so we'll try it I guess.  I am going to continue to change the oil every 5,000 miles so we will alternate free / me until the free service runs out.

The car used three 2.5 gallon containers of AdBlue.  Not sure what the exact tank volumes are for the active and passive tanks, but that's a lot of AdBlue!

One of the techs did manage to scratch the intake plenum in the engine bay.  We mentioned it to the service advisor and he agreed to replace it without question.

We asked about diesel fuel contamination and the service manager reported they rarely if ever see it.  Much more common is people putting gasoline into their diesels.  We asked how common the leaking differential is and he didn't think it was very common on the F15 but they did see it often on the E70 X5s.

Details of the oil change.  Note the AdBlue Diesel Exhaust Fluid.  Part number is for a 2.5 gallon jug.  Also note the -951 oil part number, that's 0W-30 LL12.

Parts reacquired to fix the leaking differential.  Some hardware is one-use-only.  The differential did have to come off the car for the fix but the rear subframe did not.  They did do an alignment on the car once the new eccentric bolts were installed.  Part number for F15 X5 differential oil is shown there too, you need 2 liters for a change.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Wet differential

When I jacked up the rear end of the car to fix a punctured tire, I saw this.  I have seen at least one other post about a leaky rear differential.  I iwll mention this to BMW at the first service.  The leak is minor, but it should be dry there.

How to Jack an F15 X5 (rear)

Haven't seen any posts on how to do this.  Here is how I did it.  As always, feel free to do it your way.

On many of the newer BMWs, I have seen BMW official documents that say it is OK to jack using the rear differential.  This is unusual to me because on cars like the Z3/E36, this was forbidden.  So I'm not comfortable with it.  Still, I could not find any official BMW documentation on F15 jack points.  I haven't bought a 24-hour subscription to TIS yet to verify.

I needed to jack up our car to patch a puncture in a run flat tire.  This is the second puncture in less than 10,000 miles.  Bummer.  For the first patch, the tire guys (Hay Tire Pros in Charleston) scratched both the rim and the Xpel on the front bumper.  Not cool.  I will never go there again.  For this repair, I am taking the wheel (not the car) to my wheel guy, Hugh Jett at Jett Wheels of Charleston.  Hugh doesn't normally do tire repairs but he will for previous customers.  Anyway, I jacked up the car to put it on jackstands while Hugh fixes the tire.  I used the rear subframe as my jackpoint.  To access it, the jack needs to go in under the car at an angle because the center input pipe to the muffler is in the way.  I used a piece of 2x4 to help spread the load.  Worked like a champ, no issues.  Esco jackstands work perfectly with the F15 side jack pad receivers.

UPDATE: Bimmerpost member E90Fleet posted this diagram directly from TIS.  It shows you can jack directly by the differential.  That still scares me.  Also shows the front jack point and mentions you can jack by the outboard subframe points in the rear.

F16 Leather Knee Pads

For this mod, I followed the excellent how to provided here:

The only deviation/change I have is with respect to installing the passenger side knee panel.  The F15 X5 center dash does angle slightly towards the driver.  It is not as obvious as say the E30 center console, but it is biased to the driver.  This creates a clearance issue for the passenger side panel.  The front clip of the knee pad cannot mate with the female slot on the center console.  There isn’t enough space.  My solution, which wasn’t mentioned in the link above, was to leave the 2 T20 silver screws out of the new bracket (comes with the knee pad part).  This way the bracket can float a little.  Dock the metal locking tab into the center console completely.  Then drive home the 2 silver T20 screws from the passenger side.  This will help greatly.  In fact, I cannot see doing it any other way without scratching something.  Other than that, this is a great mod.

51169299125, Left Knee Pad, Black Dakota Leather with Black Stitching, $263.14r

51169299126, Right Knee Pad, Black Dakota Leather with Black Stitching, $263.14r

Total cost of this mod = $526.28r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $3721.40



Monday, August 15, 2016

Second Oil Analysis Report

I changed the oil again at about 5,000 miles.  After the first change, I wasn't thrilled with how the oil looked.  It was jet black.  And very thin.  Maybe that's a diesel thing and I am new to it.  Anyway, I tested it again.  And again, the results do not look great to me, but I am comparing them to the results I am used to from classic BMW gasoline engines.  I don't like seeing copper show up.  Usually that would be from bearing wear.  The iron seems high too.  I will keep tabs on this engine for sure.

Note that Blackstone incorrectly assumed I was using Castrol Edge LL04 oil.  That is wrong.  I am using only BMW-branded (Shell) LL04 diesel oil.

I do feel good about NOT waiting for the "free" oil changes.  The intervals seem way too high.

On the brighter side, this engine seems to burn no oil.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Oil Analysis

I have been in the habit of using Blackstone Oil Analysis since I have owned my S54 M coupe.  I tested the first oil used in the X5 too, here are the results.  I am concerned about the iron and copper readings.  Will continue to use Blackstone until those stabilize.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

First Oil Change

BMW specs the first oil change to be done at 10,000 miles or after 12 months of service, whichever comes first.  On the M cars, there is a 1200 mile service.  I believe (a) 10k is too long, (b) the M engines aren't that different and if it's good for them, it's good for the rest of us, (c) oil changes are cheap, and (d) changing oil is fun.

So, at 1522 miles, I changed our oil.  I use OEM BMW factory oil and filters.  The process is easy on this car.

1.  Car at operating temp.
2.  Put car onto ramps.
3.  Remove engine top cover.  It is clipped on, just pull straight up gently.
4.  Open oil cap to drain oil to sump.
5.  Under car, remove the aero cover to the drain bolt.
6.  Remove 17 mm drain bolt and let the oil drain.  Optional, but what I do, collect a small sample of used oil mid-stream to send to Blackstone for oil analysis.
7.  Back on top, loosen the 27 mm oil filter cap.  I bought a 6-point 27mm socket from Amazon because I didn't want a 12-point to touch the cap.
8.  Remove oil filter and cap from car.  Discard filter, clean everything, replace the O-ring seal with the new one that came with the oil filter.
9.  Replace oil filter.  25 Nm toque, per what is printed on the cap.
10.  Under car, replace the copper crush washer for the drain plug.  25 Nm toque.  Replace aero cover.
11.  Add 6.25 - 6.50 liters of LL-04 BMW 5W-30 oil.
12.  Start engine.  Let it idle.  Shut off engine.  Use dipstick to check oil level.  Yes, the N57 still has a dipstick and it's fabulous.

I was pretty sad to see how black the oil was.  No way 10K intervals are OK.  Will be changing every 5,000 for the life of the car and doing periodic oil analysis reports.

7 liters, 5W-30 BMW LL-04 diesel engine oil, part number 83212365949, $8.80r each
Oil Filter with o-ring and crush washer, 11428507683, $24.16r

Total cost of this mod = $85.76r
Total investment in vehicle to date = $3195.12r

Typical clip under the engine cover.  Mates to female rubber bushings on engine side.

Typical female bushing on engine cover.

There was already a good amount of sand and dirt under our engine cover after only 1500 miles. 
Drain plug, with aero cover removed.

Oil filter


-683 oil filter element "kit".  You do not need to buy the -132 crush washer separately.

Window Tint, De-badge, Paint Protection

We debadged the car right away.  Badges come off easily with dental floss and a little citrus-based Goo Gone (not to be confused with Goof Off, which is solvent-based).  We have plans to possibly re-badge the back in a custom way, later.  De-badging is nice because (1) you get rid of the ridiculous xDrive35d side badges which make no sense on a 3.0L car (2) the car is easier to clean. 

We added Xpel Ultimate paint protection to the front bumper and headlights.   We did not do the hood because quite frankly, clear film never looks good to me on the hood.  And, the cost to put film onto the hood is about the same as repainting it.  We did have Opticoat Pro Plus applied to the whole car.  This included the door jams, all the black plastic pieces, everything.  It performs great now and I am excited to see how well it holds up in the long run.  We used Chris Arthur of Arthur's Detailing for both services and are 100.00% happy with him and his work.

We added Llumar GTX window tint in 15% variety to the front windows of the car.  It’s an excellent match to the factory tint on the rear glass.

We also added Llumar Air80 clear film to the front windshield in order to reduce heat and UV.  The Air80 is invisible and does not interfere with the HUD at all.

For both mods, we used Charleston Window Films.  Joel Valencia is the principle owner.  We had previously used both Pleasant Details and also Audio Evolution and we were disappointed with both shops.  The disappointment continues (read: I am 0 for 3 picking tint shops) with Joel.  The Air80 film on the windshield has small "champagne bubbles" underneath it.  When I mentioned it, Joel was nice about it... no problem, please bring it back and I will redo it.  We agreed.  When we picked up the car, the Air80 looked much, much better.  but, there was a 2" long striaght scratch ont he rear passenger door.  Joel apologized and offered to buff it out, but the scratch was through the color and I knew buffing would be impossible.  I filled the scratch with OEM touch up paint and clear, wet sanded it smooth, and now we need to go back to Chris Arthur and get the Opticoat on the door reapplied.  Fantastic.  Hint: sarcasm.

Window film front doors and windshield, $295.00r
Xpel Ultimate clear film front bumper, mirrors, headlights.  Opticoat Pro Plus for all painted surfaces, wheels, plastics, engine bay plastics, all exterior glass except windshield, $1750.00r

Total cost of this mod = $2045.00r
Total investment in vehicle to date = $3109.36r

Friday, May 6, 2016

Car Seat and Child Defenses

We used a few products to help make the car more functional (and more protected from) for our 2-year-old daughter.  In addition to using a car seat protector, I modified a black bath sheet to also go under the car seat protector between it and the leather of the back seat.  Since we have a black interior, a black sheet was the obvious choice.  I folded it in half, sewed it together with a quilt-like pattern, and modified to slip over the headrest.  The car seat protector goes on top of it.

We also bought the BMW Seat Back Organizer, which had to come from Germany.  It's a quality piece.  Much nicer than the $20 equivalents sold on Amazon.  We like it because it clips under the seat bottom, instead o wrapping around the front seat like a belt.  Also bought a seat back "kick matt" to prevent scuffing on the other seat.

Kick mat on the left, BMW Seat Back Organizer on the right

Black bath mat, then car seat protector, then the car seat.

40"x80" Turkish Spa Large Bath Sheet, Luxury, Eco-friendly 650 Grams (Black, 40" x 80"), Amazon, $32.99

ROYAL OXFORD Luxury Car Seat Protector - Extreme Heavy Duty, Obsidian Black Leather - Bebe by Me International, Amazon, $26.97

Total cost of this mod = $201.93

Total investment in vehicle to date = $1064.36r