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      05-23-2022, 11:41 AM   #1
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X3M towing 4000lb boat

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Hi everyone,

Prior to purchasing my X3M, I did a lot of research regarding towing with the X3M and couldn't really find that much helpful information. Previously, I had a Jeep GC SRT (tow capacity of 7,200 lbs) and was a bit nervous as to how the X3M would compare, especially when there is no factory-offered tow package in North America.

For my X3M, I went with a draw-tite hitch, and the plug/play OEM trailer harness retrofit kit and module. As much as I love the look of the stealth-hitch, the fact that you are limited to a pre-set receiver drop height was unsettling to me. OEM part numbers were:
-harness retrofit kit: 71-60-2-458-028
-trailer module: 63-11-5-A05-6D0

After install, I had the trailer module and all factory trailer coding done by codemybimmer remotely.

This weekend, I finally had the chance to put the X3M to the test. I just picked up a new boat (19 foot Yamaha 195S, est weight on trailer/full tank of gas was 4,000lbs) and towed it for little over an hour on windy, hilly back country roads from the Marina to my cottage (that's Canadian for lake house).

The X3M did a fantastic job with the load. I was worried about the lack of low-end grunt vs the 6.4L Hemi in the SRT, but I had no issues accelerating from a dead stop or a roll. The X3M was actually more comfortable with the trailer on the back than my SRT was - as much as people love to criticize the X3M's harsh ride, the SRT was even harsher. The rear end does have a little squat under load, which is normal, but kills my hope of fitting an MSS kit.

Overall, I was so impressed by how well the X3M did with a trailer - it blows my mind that BMW NA doesn't offer a factory tow package when it can tow so well. I would have no qualms recommending the X3M to anyone who needs to tow something of this weight/size.



I've been mulling over the idea of ordering a 2023 LCI - but I've read that some of the LCIs don't have the trailer prep wiring (S8SL I believe). Can anyone confirm?
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      05-23-2022, 11:59 AM   #2
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that's great to hear, thanks for the info.

anyone else know about the wiring on the new LCI models???
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      05-23-2022, 12:59 PM   #3
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I would also love to know if the 22+ MY's have the necessary wiring for towing.

I have 2022 on order (no build yet), but I'm currently on the fence because of issues like factory towing.

Your setup looks incredible btw, and it's great to hear your rave review of towing ability, especially in comparison to your Jeep SRT.
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      05-23-2022, 07:47 PM   #4
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Thanks guys!

I did a little digging - the trailer hitch pre-wiring is option code S8SL - "Trailer Coupling Preparation". Any online vin decoder should tell you if the car has it. I ran the vins of two 2022s for sale locally and sure enough, both had the option. So, running the factory retrofit harness/module should be plug and play just like on my 2020.
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      05-23-2022, 10:19 PM   #5
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My LCI Comp. is scheduled to be here this week and has the 8SL option code as part of the build. This was really important to me because I took the Stealth Hitch (with the adaptive wiring harness) off my M40i to install on the X3 M.
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      05-24-2022, 12:07 AM   #6
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Seeing this thread makes me like my X3 MC even more.
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      05-26-2022, 06:28 PM   #7
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You will Probably be Damaging your X3M

First, I have been with BMW for 27 years in sales and management. BMW does not offer a towing package on most of the true M vehicles so you went aftermarket I assume.
Allow me to tell you what happened to a fellow manager I worked with. He had a regular X5 without the factory towing package and bought a boat. He saw what it would cost him to have the BMW parts installed and balked at the price went out and got an aftermarket tow hitch for a lot less. About a year later he brought his X5 in for an oil change and they called him into the shop. You see the aftermarket piece was pulling the undercarriage mounting sites apart. So use this as a guide. If BMW doesn't want to offer a tow package on one of their vehicles, there's a reason for it.
Now look at the picture you included. You see how it's sitting lower already in the rear? Now put four people and supplies in the vehicle and see how it looks. If I am correct and you incur damage, you'll be having warranty issues like not being covered for any damage to your X3M.
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      05-26-2022, 07:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
First, I have been with BMW for 27 years in sales and management. BMW does not offer a towing package on most of the true M vehicles so you went aftermarket I assume.
Allow me to tell you what happened to a fellow manager I worked with. He had a regular X5 without the factory towing package and bought a boat. He saw what it would cost him to have the BMW parts installed and balked at the price went out and got an aftermarket tow hitch for a lot less. About a year later he brought his X5 in for an oil change and they called him into the shop. You see the aftermarket piece was pulling the undercarriage mounting sites apart. So use this as a guide. If BMW doesn't want to offer a tow package on one of their vehicles, there's a reason for it.
Now look at the picture you included. You see how it's sitting lower already in the rear? Now put four people and supplies in the vehicle and see how it looks. If I am correct and you incur damage, you'll be having warranty issues like not being covered for any damage to your X3M.
Ouch.
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      05-27-2022, 09:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
First, I have been with BMW for 27 years in sales and management. BMW does not offer a towing package on most of the true M vehicles so you went aftermarket I assume.
Allow me to tell you what happened to a fellow manager I worked with. He had a regular X5 without the factory towing package and bought a boat. He saw what it would cost him to have the BMW parts installed and balked at the price went out and got an aftermarket tow hitch for a lot less. About a year later he brought his X5 in for an oil change and they called him into the shop. You see the aftermarket piece was pulling the undercarriage mounting sites apart. So use this as a guide. If BMW doesn't want to offer a tow package on one of their vehicles, there's a reason for it.
Now look at the picture you included. You see how it's sitting lower already in the rear? Now put four people and supplies in the vehicle and see how it looks. If I am correct and you incur damage, you'll be having warranty issues like not being covered for any damage to your X3M.
Written like a true sales guy and not someone with any practical hands on experience.

First.... "you went aftermarket I assume" - no need to assume, I clearly listed exactly which components I used in my original post.

Second, every hitch for this platform (Stealth, draw-tite, etc) uses the exact same bumper beam mounting points as the OEM hitch on G01 X3s, as you can see in this thread: https://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1582562 . So, aftermarket vs OEM is a moot point as they share the exact same chassis mounting points.

Third, towing a load with any vehicle will cause some rear suspension sag - that is normal and I had it on my past Jeep SRT when towing a boat. Sure, loading more weight (4 people and supplies) will cause more sag. What's your point?

Lastly, the X3M is offered with the folding rear tow hitch in UK/Europe and is rated for 2500kg. BMW likely does not offer the power-folding rear tow hitch in NA due to regulatory restrictions. I'm confident it also uses the exact same chassis mounting points as the hitches described in this thread.

Anything else?
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      05-27-2022, 11:10 AM   #10
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One More Thing...

My point is trying to help avoid a catastrophe. After 27yrs with BMW I've seen a lot.
How about this: Call BMWNA and ask them why they don't offer the Towing Package on your M in America.
And one more thing: I'm glad you're confident!
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      05-27-2022, 01:54 PM   #11
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Just to be clear you cant even mount a bike rack to this car without having to purchase an aftermarket hitch system?
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      05-27-2022, 02:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Info@mad-us.com View Post
Just to be clear you cant even mount a bike rack to this car without having to purchase an aftermarket hitch system?
Correct - BMW doesn't offer any hitch/receiver as an option or accessory on the X3M/X4M.

Same deal applies on the X5M - no factory hitch/receiver. However, BMW offers a trailer hitch retrofit kit on the F15 X5 (which, incidentally, mounts *exactly* the same way to the bumper supports as the hitches outlined in this thread), and that hitch retrofit kit fits the F85 X5M bumper without trimming. Prior to purchasing my X3M, I looked at an F85 X5M locally which the BMW dealership had installed the OEM hitch retrofit kit in.
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      05-27-2022, 02:38 PM   #13
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Just trying to help

so after speaking with my Parts Pro here this is what I can tell you: Your part #'s are correct (yes I know you know that already) and not offered in N.America. He told me one of the functions of the module is to keep the vehicle level at all times when towing whether you're alone or with three passengers and the back loaded with stuff. And as you agreed it is sitting down in the rear a bit with no people on board.

Next is you had your X3M coding done by codemybimmer. I work at the second largest BMW in the country and BMW Warranty has been cracking down on cars having that type of coding being done, cars that have been tuned and even lowered. You bring you car in for service and warranty work will not be done; you're out of warranty and BMW for you stands for "bring my wallet."

As far as "hands on experience" I've changed motors on cars and changed the ring and pinion in the differential being very careful to set the lash. (any idea what that is son?)

so next time you bring it in for service let me know how that works out for ya.
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      05-27-2022, 03:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
so after speaking with my Parts Pro here this is what I can tell you: Your part #'s are correct (yes I know you know that already) and not offered in N.America. He told me one of the functions of the module is to keep the vehicle level at all times when towing whether you're alone or with three passengers and the back loaded with stuff. And as you agreed it is sitting down in the rear a bit with no people on board.

Next is you had your X3M coding done by codemybimmer. I work at the second largest BMW in the country and BMW Warranty has been cracking down on cars having that type of coding being done, cars that have been tuned and even lowered. You bring you car in for service and warranty work will not be done; you're out of warranty and BMW for you stands for "bring my wallet."

As far as "hands on experience" I've changed motors on cars and changed the ring and pinion in the differential being very careful to set the lash. (any idea what that is son?)

so next time you bring it in for service let me know how that works out for ya.
Hate to break it to you but you and your parts "pro" are incorrect. The trailer module is not intended to keep the vehicle level - the X3M has a traditional coil spring/damper suspension and not a rear air suspension like the X5 / X5M, so there is no adjustment of the suspension height that the trailer module could do. Instead, the module lets the rest of the car know when a trailer is attached so the rear PDC sensors and blindspot systems are deactivated, and helps to control the trailer swaying.

Any time any modification is done to a vehicle under warranty there is always a "chance" of warranty nullification. I have never heard of anyone getting denied warranty due to coding alone, unless it was proven the coding specifically caused a component to fail (on this platform or any other). I have had my X3M in for service at the dealer post-coding and have never had any issues. Engine tuning is a completely different ballgame - though it seems like you were the one that was interested in a RaceChip or JB4? https://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1842333

Lastly, I have swapped plenty of motors, transmissions, and rear ends in my life, and torn a few motors down to the block to rebuild. I have used feeler gauges to set valve lash and differential backlash. I can assure you I have more hands-on mechanical experience than you do.

You seem obsessed with a little bit of suspension sag in the rear, which is fairly normal for towing on any vehicle that has traditional coil suspension. Here is an X3 (20d) equipped with the factory tow hitch towing a trailer within it's weight limit. Does it look level to you?

Source: https://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1660985

I'm not sure why you feel the urge to continue to try to prove to me that the X3M cannot tow. I wrote this thread in an attempt to educate other forum members who are contemplating towing with their X3M (or are considering purchasing an X3M and are curious if it can tow). Every argument you have made to try to prove me wrong has been heresay - your manager's experience with their X5 or something your parts guy told you about a trailer control module. If you don't want to tow with your X3M - don't, I'm not forcing you to.
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      05-27-2022, 04:30 PM   #15
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"The trailer module is not intended to keep the vehicle level - the X3M has a traditional coil spring/damper suspension and not a rear air suspension like the X5 / X5M, so there is no adjustment of the suspension height that the trailer module could do.", you said.

Exactly what my parts guy told me: not a rear air suspension; and that is why your module will not keep you X3M level which it will do on a G01. He continued that he has seen X3's and X5's with their coil spring/damper suspension components torn apart because they were towing, but pretty much at the limit which might be close to what you are towing.

As far as my Racechip, it is sitting on a shelf in my garage because as I was about to install it is when our dealership had a crackdown on tuning and mods and one of my buds working here was turned down for servicing his modded M340.

As far as your picture of the X3 20D, it is not moving which is when the module would be doing its thing keeping the vehicle level duh. Obsessed about not towing on an X3M because I'm only trying to help save you unnecessary expensive out-of-pocket repairs, and, why does BMW not offer it on our X3M's??? Find that out for me. Actually find that out for you.

And listen, don't be embarrassed to let me know I was right.
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      05-27-2022, 04:34 PM   #16
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It's astonishing how much more people know in the forums than people that work at BMW. I guess that is pretty typical in all of the forums though.
I had my service guy try and tell me that they didn't mess up my RS3, they swore up and down they did just the normal service to it and they "didn't know" how the TPMS light came on and wouldn't go off with the winters on. They even told me I should contact Discount Tire, because it must be their fault. I took the wheels off the car and put them back on and everything was fine.
Just because you work somewhere for 27 years doesn't mean you know everything about the setups that people regularly use.
People come on the forums to have fun, share their experiences, and show off their cars. They don't go on to be hassled "by the man".
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      05-27-2022, 05:09 PM   #17
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Let's simplify this

so why doesn't BMW offer the Towing Package on our X3M's??

and if I offended anyone I do apologize.
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      05-27-2022, 05:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
so why doesn't BMW offer the Towing Package on our X3M's??

and if I offended anyone I do apologize.
to my knowledge, no SUV Ms have tow package. don't know why.
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      05-28-2022, 02:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
so why doesn't BMW offer the Towing Package on our X3M's??

and if I offended anyone I do apologize.
I live in Sweden and I am waiting for my new X3M with official bmw stealth tow hitch. I don't think there should be any differences between European and US models other than regulatory reasons in the US that do not allow bmw to offer it in the states.
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      05-28-2022, 09:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwsalepro View Post
"The trailer module is not intended to keep the vehicle level - the X3M has a traditional coil spring/damper suspension and not a rear air suspension like the X5 / X5M, so there is no adjustment of the suspension height that the trailer module could do.", you said.

Exactly what my parts guy told me: not a rear air suspension; and that is why your module will not keep you X3M level which it will do on a G01. He continued that he has seen X3's and X5's with their coil spring/damper suspension components torn apart because they were towing, but pretty much at the limit which might be close to what you are towing.

As far as my Racechip, it is sitting on a shelf in my garage because as I was about to install it is when our dealership had a crackdown on tuning and mods and one of my buds working here was turned down for servicing his modded M340.

As far as your picture of the X3 20D, it is not moving which is when the module would be doing its thing keeping the vehicle level duh. Obsessed about not towing on an X3M because I'm only trying to help save you unnecessary expensive out-of-pocket repairs, and, why does BMW not offer it on our X3M's??? Find that out for me. Actually find that out for you.

And listen, don't be embarrassed to let me know I was right.
Once again, you're wrong. As a BMW sales "pro", I would expect you to be more knowledgeable about the product you sell. Please enlighten me - which G01 model comes with rear air suspension? Actually, I'll save you the trouble - NO G01 X3 comes with factory rear air suspension. That X3 20D pictured has "adaptive" suspension just like the X3M - the dampers can be adjusted, but not the springs/ride height.

To summarize:
-BMW offers a factory trailer hitch on G01 X3 30i and M40i, which ONLY comes with traditional coil spring/adaptive dampers.
-BMW offers a factory trailer hitch on Euro X3M, which also ONLY comes with traditional coil spring/adaptive dampers that share the same part numbers as the North American version (and is rated at 2500kg, or 5500lb).

I don't need, or care, to ask BMW NA why it is not an option on our X3M. If you work at BMW why don't you ask them? The purpose of this thread was not to speculate about why it is not offered as an option, but rather to assist other members.

But - just for you - let's speculate:
-The power folding rear euro trailer hitch is likely not NHTSA compliant
-The take rate on the factory NA trailer hitch on G01 X3 and G05 X5 is already quite low
-The X3M is an even more "niche" product, and as the factory G01 trailer hitch would require extensive redesign of the rear plastic bumper to integrate it
-There is no business case to be made to spend the $ to R&D (and assembly line complexity) a unique rear X3M bumper cover to fit a trailer hitch, which I'd guess less than 5% of X3M orders would take. I'm sure BMW NA's internal marketing team is aware that towing a trailer is NOT a top purchasing criteria when it comes to M SUV models.
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      05-28-2022, 07:04 PM   #21
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This feels like "genius" advice I get at the Apple Store

lagunablue1 Great thread! I have only ever towed something once in my life (with my Armada) which has a rear air suspension (auto leveling).

For owners who do not have that option (or choose to remove it because it always fails and is overly complicated) they often get "coil helper bags" which are aftermarket air bags which fit in the coil spring and you manually inflate to get rid of the sag when towing.

Curious, would a setup like that work for the X3M to level it off?
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      05-31-2022, 04:39 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spta97 View Post
This feels like "genius" advice I get at the Apple Store

lagunablue1 Great thread! I have only ever towed something once in my life (with my Armada) which has a rear air suspension (auto leveling).

For owners who do not have that option (or choose to remove it because it always fails and is overly complicated) they often get "coil helper bags" which are aftermarket air bags which fit in the coil spring and you manually inflate to get rid of the sag when towing.

Curious, would a setup like that work for the X3M to level it off?
That's a great idea! I've heard about airbags before for leaf spring trucks, but I didn't know they made coil helper bags. It looks like firestone makes 15-20 version of the kit, so it would just be a matter of measuring the inner diameter and length of the springs.

Actually - something like that would definitely allow one to lower their X3M on springs or MSS and still be able to tow. Definitely something to do a bit more research on...
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