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XBimmers | BMW X3 Forum BMW X3 Forums | E83 (2003-2010) First Generation BMW X3 General Forum X3 E83 - Transfer Case Actuator Gear DIY

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      01-10-2014, 01:47 PM   #1

Drives: Audi VW Doge Turbos
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Brighton, MI, USA

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X3 E83 - Transfer Case Actuator Gear DIY

I stock now the E83 transfer case actuator gear (from Europe).
Users ask me for good DIY instructions.
Does anyone have or can link?
Write up, photos, video/youtube?
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      02-06-2014, 01:18 PM   #2

Drives: 2015 X1 35i M sport
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: NE OH

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Search it on Youtube. It is there.
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      06-15-2015, 08:14 AM   #3

Drives: Audi VW Doge Turbos
Join Date: Aug 2012
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The transfer case actuator / motor: Made By Bosch OEM. Part# 27 10 7 566 296.
The models listed for the part:
2004-2010 E83 BMW X3 2.5i X3 3.0i X3 3.0si
2000-2006 E53 BMW X5 3.0i X5 4.4i X5 4.6is X5 4.8is

Is the same actuator (and hence the replacement gear that always wears out) used for the MANUAL version of the X3?

Can some confirm?

Part searches do NOT 'ask' for specifying the tranny type (auto or manual), but that could just be an omission if manual is not offered in the US (for example)?
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      10-21-2015, 10:35 PM   #4
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Drives: 2007 335i Montego Blue/2008 X3
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Philadelphia, PA

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DISCLAIMER: This is just a written instruction from my own experience, combined with information from a couple of DIY videos I have watched regarding this job. I will in no way be responsible for any damage done to your car, nor any personal injury sustained while using these instructions. Rule #1 is always safety first. Use eye protection and always exact the utmost care when working on a car under ramps or jack-stands.
__________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _______________________



  • Get the "SAV" up in the air. On my first attempt I used jack-stands positioned at each of the front body support posts, and had plenty of room to work. IF YOU DO THIS MAKE SURE YOUR CAR IS SECURE ON THE STANDS WITH WHEEL CHOCK BEHIND THE REAR WHEEL. On my second attempt I was able to use a friends garage and lift-- this is the BEST way to do it if you have the resources.
  • Consider placing a jack under the transfer case before the next step, but not 100% necessary for the teardown, depending on what you are doing. If you are taking out the 18mm through-bolt from the transfer case crossmember, then you will need to use the jack. If you are not taking out the through-bolt, then the jack will keep the crossmember from slipping down out of your way. The weight of the transfer case will help you in moving the crossmember in that scenario if you do NOT remove that 18mm bolt. Either way, you WILL need to use a jack on the transfer case when bolting the crossmember back in place during reassembly.
  • Locate the transfer case (TC) crossmember. It contains 4- 13mm bolts and 1 (one) 18mm through-bolt.
  • Remove the four 13mm bolts from the TC crossmember.
  • Notice the 18mm through-bolt. Take your 18mm wrench... and smack yourself with it. It will do more good than trying to turn that bolt out! I spent 2 hours trying to turn it, only to come home and watch a video that shows you don't even need to remove it.
  • Take your 10mm wrench or socket and remove the bolt that holds the heat shield in place just behind the crossmember. Once removed, carefully bend the heat shield down and out of the way, exposing the rest of the TC motor.
  • Locate the 2 sets of wires going to the TC motor and carefully disconnect them.
  • Locate the 4 reverse Torx bolts on the TC motor and remove them using your E-10 inverted Torx socket.
  • Now you will be free to pull the TC motor down off of the transfer case. Careful of your eyes, as one or two drops of TC fluid may drip out from the TC.

  • Use your T-25 Torx driver or Torx socket to remove the 4 bolts holding the motor assembly to the gear case..
  • Carefully slide the motor assembly off.
  • Use your small/thin flat-blade screwdriver to pry up the seal cover off the gear casing, then carefully remove and set aside. I ended up having to wedge the screwdriver into a corner and tap it with a hammer, then work around the edge going in one direction until it was freed up enough to pry it off.
  • Remove small retaining snap ring/circlip from inside the drive gear assembly. Use a snap ring/circlip removal pliers or you may work it off with 2 small flat screwdrivers if you have a lot of skill and patience.
  • Remove washer from below snap ring/circlip location and safely set aside for the reassembly process.
  • Use something (pencil, marker, etc.) to mark across gear and spline to record how they were lined up.
  • Carefully rotate out the gear assembly, being careful not to damage the O-ring seal, gently working it off of the shaft.
  • Inspect the drive gear for wear.
  • Using the marks you made on the shaft and gear, replace the gear back onto the shaft, completely opposite (180) of it's initial position.

  • Make sure that you get the seal cover seated back in place and use a punch to "close" it back up so that it does not easily come back off
  • When connecting the motor assembly back to the drive gear casing know that it can only go on one way. You will see 3 tiny raised tabs on only 3 corners of the drive gear casing. The motor assembly casing has 3 tiny notches. Make sure you match those tabs and notches when reassembling the TC motor or it will NOT work, and you may end up damaging the motor or your transmission. I learned this the hard way, when I reassembled it incorrectly.
  • After installing the TC motor and putting the bolts back in place don't forget to plug your 2 wire connectors firmly back in place.
  • Don't forget your 10mm bolt for the heat shield-- you're almost done!!
  • Use a jack under the crossmember to take off the pressure created by the weight of the transfer case. Your bolts may not reach their threaded holes otherwise.

I think that's everything-- HAVE FUN!!!

Again, to reiterate, don't waste a lot of time trying to get that 18mm through-bolt out of the crossmember. You will have enough room to get to the TC motor without removing it. That's definitely where I went wrong the first time I attempted this.

NOTE: I am the original author of this DIY, however it is not exclusive to Bimmer Post. This exact write-up is on another BMW forum, but since it is my post, I do have, and will exercise, the right to repost it wherever I think it will help other X-Series DIY'ers.

Here are 2 links to 2 great videos showing the process:

Last edited by 335idrive; 10-22-2015 at 09:56 AM.
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