10 Common BMW Parts Issues & Repairs – E53 X5 (2000-2006)

The E53 was BMW’s first generation SAV (Sport Activity Vehicle). It was produced for seven model years and you’ll still find plenty of them on the road today. Price, style and functionality all make this an attractive vehicle to own.

I have created a list of the top ten repairs any BMW X5 owner or potential buyer should be aware of on this vehicle. For added convenience, I’ve linked directly to many of the exact replacement parts discussed below, and remember, you can always browse our extensive online catalog of BMW parts for any of your other BMW maintenance and repair needs. We offer a wide variety of kits that include well-researched collections of BMW parts including both genuine OEM parts as well as premium BMW aftermarket parts.

1. Coolant Transfer Pipe

BMW parts for coolant transfer pipe kitX5 models with the N62 engine have a coolant transfer pipe that runs from the front to the rear of the engine located under the intake valley pan. The front seal fails over time causing a coolant leak from the weep hole by the timing cover. The original design is a one piece tube with a seal that can take up to 20 hours of labor to replace.

We offer an updated style transfer pipe (11141439975R), which saves on labor since it does not require removal of the timing cover. We also sell a complete kit (100K10125) with all the correct, necessary BMW parts included (same transfer pipe, intake gaskets, and new valley pan).

For those that have the updated transfer pipe, but need new seals, eEuroparts also has you covered with those parts for your BMW, (111414399752).

2. Exterior Door Handle Carrier

If any one of the doors will not open, then chances are the door handle carrier is broken. There is a plastic piece that tends to break, which allows the cable to hang loose and prevent the door from being opened. A replacement carrier is the only fix. As a cost-effective alternative, we offer our eEuro Preferred BMW aftermarket door handle carriers.

BMW aftermarket door handle carrier parts

3. Plastic Cooling System Components (M54)

The BMW X5 M54 engine uses the same parts that the E46 models used with this engine. Our BMW cooling system kit (100K10097), includes the expansion tank, cap, water pump, and thermostat. Each of those BMW parts fail because they are made of plastic. The constant expansion and contraction of these plastic components coupled with the heat of the engine compartment and you can start to see why this BMW system requires frequent maintenance. The original water pump has a plastic impeller which is prone to breaking apart, so this kit also includes the upgraded parts for that – a Hepu water pump with a metal impeller.

BMW timing chain guide rails4. Timing Chain Guide Rails

The BMW X5’s timing chain guides should be replaced every 100k miles as maintenance. If left too long, the parts can separate and material can become lodged within the chain or gear. The timing chain can also jump teeth without proper tension on it which would cause catastrophic engine failure.

We offer a timing chain kit (100K10089) containing the proper parts you’ll need to repair the M62 engine. We also sell the M62 timing tool (2894) which is required to complete this repair.

5. Self-Leveling Suspension

Air suspension systems are complex and include many different parts to make them work. BMW suspension systems will include air struts, air springs, compressor, accumulator, lines, and sensors. Because of this complexity one item isn’t more prone to failure than another. There can even be variations in parts so it’s always best to call in with the VIN for proper application fitment.

6. Front Control Arm Bushings

While bushing life is attributed to driving habits and road surface, some do bear a greater load than others. The front control arm bushings, also referred to as a thrust arm bushing (31126769715), is a common failure point. That BMW parts typically only lasts between 60-80k miles. The bushing itself is a rubber housing filled with hydraulic fluid. Failure can occur by the rubber tearing and fluid leaking out, or vibration in the steering wheel at speeds around 50mph. For more convenient repairs and maintenance, we also offer pre-assembled parts kits with the bushing pre-installed into the control arm driver side (3112676717) and passenger side (31126769718).

BMW control arm and bushing

7. Tail Lamp Assembly Repair

A faulty tail lamp assembly may trigger a “Check Rear Lamp/Brake Lamp” message on the dash. Always inspect the bulb first and then turn your attention to the tail lamp assembly. The control module will detect a malfunction by monitoring the resistance of the bulb circuit. A bad bulb connection at the tail lamp circuit board, which is usually caused by corrosion, will trigger the malfunction indicator.

BMW part numbers will vary since there is a chassis split at 10/2003, and also if your vehicle has white or clear turn signal lenses.

8. Transfer Case Actuator Motor Parts

Over time from engaging and disengaging, the teeth on the black plastic gear inside the motor will eventually wear down to the point where the motor will not engage. This will also illuminate some lights on dash such as the ABS and 4×4 indicators. You might also hear a clicking noise when turning the vehicle off.

eEuroparts has remedied this by offering a nylon actuator gear with carbon fiber reinforced material (27107566296GR). This makes the gear stronger and less prone to failure. For those looking to upgrade, we’ve linked to a PDF below with instructions on how to install the replacement actuator motor parts.

BMW Transfer Case Actuator Motor Gear Repair

If a complete motor assembly is needed we have you covered there also, with genuine BMW replacement parts for the Transfer Case Actuator (27107566296).

9. Auto Trans Valve Body Sealing Sleeve Leaking

BMW sealing sleeveBMW uses a sealing sleeve (24347588725) to keep transmission fluid from leaking onto the electrical connector which connects the transmission control unit to the valve body. This can be checked by inspecting the transmission where the harness enters the transmission. Oil found on the outside the transmission near this point can indicate the sleeve needs replacing.

10. Rear Subframe Bushings

While the BMW X5 (E53) won’t experience the same failure as the E46 models, the rear subframe bushings will wear on any rear wheel drive vehicle. Symptoms that indicate you would need to replace these BMW parts would be a clunking noise on acceleration and the rear end not tracking straight at highway speeds.

For convenience with repairing your BMW, we’ve assembled a complete subframe and differential bushings replacement kit (part#100K10251).  We also recently added a Powerflex option, PFR5908X4, which will be significantly more durable (ie, lifetime warranty) and be easier to install as well.

BMW’s X5 became a very popular vehicle, so I hope this outline helped you get acquainted with the most common areas that will probably need replacement OEM or other aftermarket BMW parts. Don’t forget you can browse the BMW X5 parts section of our catalog for any other part number your X5 might need that I didn’t link to above.  If you are having X5 shifting problems, such as erratic auto trans shifting, banging, holding gears, and downshifting randomly, check out this article, where specifically X5 transmission faults are described.

If you ever need anything else for your X5, any other BMW in your garage, or any Swedish or German car, please browse our parts catalogs or feel free to contact us!

16 thoughts on “10 Common BMW Parts Issues & Repairs – E53 X5 (2000-2006)
  1. Don gana

    Should a person replace the rear shocks & subframe to body mounts by buying your tools and find a place to buy the mounts & schocks and DIY. I was quoted to replace all four schocks and subframe to body mounts at around $3000. I can do the job if I know the steps and right tools but I have not priced everything out yet. Do you have to cut the rear muffler bar as I have seen. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Adam Goral

      Hi Don, many people have done this job by themselves, but depending on your suspension setup it may be easier or harder because some of these X5’s use air shocks (we have them in the high quality Arnott brand). We also carry the bushings, which are not on the cheap side either, around $500. We do now offer payment plans on these parts should you attempt the job yourself, so you don’t have to pay all at once. I am not sure about having to cut the muffler, but I assume this is only the case if the system is too rusty to disconnect with the standard hardware. If you need to replace your exhaust pipe, contact customer service with your VIN and we will find the right part for you, fast.

  2. Biola Orekoya

    At 5600 miles my 2006 X5 4.4i developed total electrical problems. The source was BST cable from the battery. Cost about $3000 not from a an European cars specialist. I don’t have any confidence in the vehicle anymore.

    • Keith Russell

      i suggest you get it investigated by an experienced bmw repair specialist as soon as possible. Cars like these burn to the ground quickly with wiring falure. I am not kidding. I am an auto mechanic of 44 years and have come across many late model vehicles with these complaints.

  3. Keith Russell

    I’m going to replace the rear air bags or shocks on my bmw x5 m e53 WBAFB32050LN89299 what is cost of air bags sugest anything of note. Also need a dashboard or rebuild the leds are failed. Maybe a new radio satnav pack and rear camera.Timing chain kit and tool.I have re[placed waterpump and alternator.
    Kind regards keith russell

    • Adam Goral

      Hi Keith, since we don’t officially sell parts for non US model cars, you will have to provide us with exact part numbers. We do carry these parts for US market cars but our software cannot verify if they are the same.

  4. I have a 1996 bmw 750il the problem I have is my park indicater light will not go out and it is draining my battery mechanic can’t find the problem modulators have been tested and still no solution any suggestions about repairs

      • Marco De novellis

        Please help with my 2006 x5 4.4
        I keep getting error codes
        There is a flat spot on acceleration around 1800rpm
        engine goes into failsafe mode
        Also low vacuum at oil cap
        Also no vacuum at fuel regulator

        Error codes are

        I replaced the leak detection pump
        The code still comes back

        I replaced fuel filter
        Codes comes back after I clear it

        Codes keeps coming back after I clear it

        Somebody please help solve these problems

  5. David

    I have bmw x5 i3.0 . I was turning into a drivethrough window when I started hearing a noise coming from the engine. It wasnt real loud, kinda a rumble.Then all the sudden something popped, I immediatly seen a puff of smoke come from front drivers side under hood.Then I realized my battery light was on.The vehicle didnt appear to be overheating and the smoking stopped but when I pulled out of the drivethrough I had no power steering and I did smell a brief smell of what I thought was antifreeze.I was only about a mile from my house so I drove home shut it off and haven’t started it again.Odd thing other than no powersteering it drove home great. But when I popped the hood I seen a fluid of some sort, maybe powersteering fluid,it was light brown,all over everything under my hood and I’m talking everywhere.I see no hoses busted.I checked my oil, level is fine color is good.My car is parked and closest bmw repair is an hour away. Please let me know if you have any idea what has happened.Thanks

    • Adam Goral

      Hi David, it sounds like a belt came off or broke. Gain access to the belt area and see what kind of misfortune you are looking at. With the 3.0 N5x engines (I’ve seen this on many 3 series and 5 series) the oil filter housing gasket leaks onto the belts, which degrades them substantially. Eventually the serpentine belt breaks and if you’re unlucky, they jammed between the main crank pulley and the engine, and subsequently gets sucked THROUGH the main seal into the engine. So thoroughly inspect the belt area and see what you can find down there. DO NOT drive it until you find the problem without question of a doubt, and make sure that the main oil seal is OK. Here’s a photo of this happening. http://i.imgur.com/WeNayqO.jpg

  6. paul

    hi there, my problem is when I go to overtake on the motorway and kick down the car revs but doesn’t move up the gears until I ease off on the gas. any ides guys?

  7. Chris Case

    Can anyone point me in the right direction. 2001 bmw X5 e53. After installing new battery as the old one was tested and was bad. Car started right up. I let it idle for a few minutes as I just added coolant. The car completely shut off. No power completely. I couldn’t open the rear hatch to check the battery because it was locked and no power. My year doesn’t have key access anywhere other than the driver side door. I went in the house for probably 10 mins came back outside and everything was working perfectly again. 2 days later and the same issue is happening. Using a battery/alternator tester shows the battery as being good. However still no power. Using the positive/negative battery terminal contacts under the hood with a jumpstart booster pack do nothing as well… Total darkness? What’s happening?

    • Adam Goral

      Since BMW’s battery registration protocol didn’t start until 2002, I don’t think that’s the problem here. The only time I’ve run across issues like this is because the battery cable wasn’t actually tight, even when it felt like it was. Double check the integrity of the battery cable, make sure it’s not frayed or has internal breaks, and is connected tightly with some dielectric grease. Hope you can find out what’s going on!

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