Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Towing with a 2018 BMW X5...help please!
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 > Towing with a 2018 BMW X5...help please!

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cjclay15

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Posted: 08/06/20 01:01am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey ya'll! My name is Cinnamon and while I am not new to RVing (thank you Grampa, Uncle Irwin, and Uncle Jerry <3 ) I am new to living in one. I'll be calling a RV home for majority of the year since I am a travel nurse and it's easier to bring my house with me rather than find new housing at every location I go to. I have not yet purchased one but I am actively looking.

Before I can purchase my RV I need to add a towing package to my SUV. I have been doing my own research, but I have a question. Which trailer hitch package would be the best? One that is pre-wired or one that I need to buy my own wiring kit? Anyone with experience with a BMW and towing a trailer have any advice? I am pretty good with wiring and working with my hands, so ease of installation isn't really an issue.

MFL

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Posted: 08/06/20 05:34am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having done your own research, you probably know of hitches available. I think BMW has a class 3 for the X5. The only way to get a prewired pkg, is to have it factory installed. If you are good with automotive wiring, you can add your own.

Keep your trailer purchase sized to SUV capability. While it appears you can tow about 6K, that may not mean a high walled TT. Your SUV shows just under 1K lbs of payload, so another consideration is tongue wt of TT.

Good luck with your new experience!

Jerry





Geo*Boy

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Posted: 08/06/20 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cinnamon, Torkliftcentral.com has the hitch and trailer wiring converter for your vehicle. If you live on or near the west coast they can do the install for you. Good luck.

rexlion

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Posted: 08/06/20 10:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You could look at etrailer dot com and see what class-3 hitch receivers are available. I'd suggest a Draw Tite or Reese brand (I've had some issues with Curt receivers). They usually bolt into place, so that's not too complicated. If you're good with wiring, you can buy the 7-pin plug and wires to install yourself; personally I like to have my local trailer repair shop do it because they do them all the time and know where to run the wires.

Your BMW might have a wiring harness under the dash for plugging in a brake controller (my Lexus did). I like the Tekonsha Prodigy P3.

I'd suggest not going too long or too heavy with your trailer. If 20' or longer overall, you probably should use a weight distribution hitch with sway control (such as the Equal-i-zer), which adds some fuss when hooking and unhooking. I have towed 16'-17' trailers with mid-size SUVs for more than 100k miles without using a WD hitch or sway control device, but I always make sure to have at least 10% of trailer weight on the tongue which is crucial for avoiding dangerous, oscillating sway.

A Scamp or Casita might be worth looking at. They are only 6'8" wide and (IIRC) less than 90" height, plus they're more aero shaped, so you'd get an extra 3 or 4 mpg when towing one of those versus a typical boxy trailer.


Mike G.
--for now, using a cargo trailer for camping--
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. --Benjamin Franklin
photo: Yosemite Valley view from Taft Point


valhalla360

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Posted: 08/06/20 11:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What are you planning to tow?

A smaller trailer for weekending, it's certainly viable but full time people tend to load up. Good chance you run out of payload before you hit the "tow capacity".


Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2008 Copper Canyon 5er
Catalac Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and 5er


ShinerBock

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Posted: 08/06/20 12:57pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Much of the running out of payload before hitting tow capacity has to do with the vehicle class the X5 is in. Class one has a max GVWR of 6,000 lbs and since the the X5 is about 5,200 lbs, this leaves little left for the manufacturers rating. Overseas, the X5 has a higher payload because the Euro and UK vehicles classes have higher GVWR limits than the US.

However, this is really all a mute point since manufacturers payload rating is meaningless in the eyes of the law. It is the registered GVWR that matters.

* This post was edited 08/06/20 01:15pm by ShinerBock *

valhalla360

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Posted: 08/07/20 10:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ShinerBock wrote:

Much of the running out of payload before hitting tow capacity has to do with the vehicle class the X5 is in. Class one has a max GVWR of 6,000 lbs and since the the X5 is about 5,200 lbs, this leaves little left for the manufacturers rating. Overseas, the X5 has a higher payload because the Euro and UK vehicles classes have higher GVWR limits than the US.


I've seen a lot of mid-size SUVs practically dragging the rear bumper down the road pulling trailers. Nothing to do with the legal limits. They simply aren't sprung to handle heavy hitch loads well.

At least with the 1/2ton pickups, the rear suspensions are pretty simple to beef up if you want to push the limits but most of the SUVs don't have the simple leaf springs in the back anymore.

ShinerBock

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Posted: 08/07/20 01:31pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

valhalla360 wrote:

ShinerBock wrote:

Much of the running out of payload before hitting tow capacity has to do with the vehicle class the X5 is in. Class one has a max GVWR of 6,000 lbs and since the the X5 is about 5,200 lbs, this leaves little left for the manufacturers rating. Overseas, the X5 has a higher payload because the Euro and UK vehicles classes have higher GVWR limits than the US.


I've seen a lot of mid-size SUVs practically dragging the rear bumper down the road pulling trailers. Nothing to do with the legal limits. They simply aren't sprung to handle heavy hitch loads well.

At least with the 1/2ton pickups, the rear suspensions are pretty simple to beef up if you want to push the limits but most of the SUVs don't have the simple leaf springs in the back anymore.


I am not referring to a lot of midsize SUV's. Not all SUV's are the same or have the same equipment.

I am only talking about the SUV in question, the BMW X5 which my wife used to own and used to tow our boat without sagging due to the air suspension which is standard on all X5's.

Grit dog

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Posted: 08/08/20 10:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, I’d do some BMW specific research about the wiring for lights and trailer brakes.
Idk what provisions X5s have, but it’s not like the older vehicles where you can just scotch lock into the tail light wires and and tap the brake switch wire to activate brakes.
Newer vehicles electrical systems are more highly integrated and likely multiplexed wiring systems.
Unless someone with specific experience with your vehicle chimes in, this is a question for a dealer or expert, imo.
Hitch? Whatever bolts up with a 2” receiver and hitches are cheap so get the one with the most capacity.


"Yes Sir, Oct 10 1888, Those poor school children froze to death in their tracks. They did not even find them until Spring. Especially hard hit were the ones who had to trek uphill to school both ways, with no shoes." -Bert A.

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