I wanted to share my latest service work for the E53 X5. The air suspension system for the E53 plus a number of other models will eventually need some work, out of simple wear and tear.
In this case, the driver’s side rear suspension strut had a small hole at the point where the rubber flexes the most, and so would leak causing the X5 to sag on that side. Also, when doing this work, its a good idea to replace both sides at the same time. I found in my case the driver’s side was most likely original with an impressive 155k miles on it, with the passenger side looking much newer and likely still good. It was worth it thought to replace both.
This isn’t a hard job to do, with only a few simple tools and roughly 90 minutes to get the job done. In addition, make sure you get the correct components for your specific car, X or 5 series, with our without the sport package which mine doesn’t have.
Lastly, you will be jacking your car up so do it properly. Work on level solid ground, ALWAYS use jack stands, and never get under the car in any way while it is just on the jack alone. Also, make sure to torque your wheel lugs to the correct amount (105lbs for 2001 X5) once the tires are back on the ground.
If you your car is already displaying the “air suspension inactive” message, then you likely will need another step after the repair. That code is a “hard” fault, and cannot be cleared with a simple OBD reader tool. In some cases, pulling the battery for 10-15 minutes can clear the error, but more likely you will need an indie shop or your dealership to clear it with the correct tools. There are three possible paths.. the error will clear itself, which is slim. You can pull the battery which might clear the error, and lastly take it to your local shop and have them clear it.
Required parts and tools:
Air Springs, rear pair
Needle nose plyers
large flat screwdriver
Jack stands (pair)
Floor jack (do not use the emergency spare tire jack)
10mm socket and wrench
Nice to have:
Good music – BB King is always good for car work!