BMW R NineT Problems to Expect

Hey guys and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel. As with all of my vehicles, I like to nerd out and do as much research as possible, so in this video we will talk about common issues on the BMW R Nine T.  Specifically, we will dive into the engine reliability, bike electronics, sensors and other components. I will also discuss preventative maintenance, what to pay attention to and my bike’s repair history as well.  

If you have this bike, check out another video I have made on this bike where I talk about its hidden features and thing you might not know!

Engine:

Let’s start with the air and oil cooled engine. Is it reliable, do they overheat and have other major issues? Well, since this retro bike uses almost a retro engine so most of the issues have been ironed out by now. The R NineT runs the BMW R1200 camhead engine which is the same engine that’s used in the R1200RT and R1200GS from around 2010 to 2015. Based on owner reports, a typical lifespan of this engine is at least 100k miles and many examples have reached over 200k miles without major engine work. Although not the same engine, BMW Boxer design has been evolving and being modernized for decades before it ever was put into the R NineT. From what I have read, they are low stressed, overengineered and extremely reliable.. if you take care of them.

Now, what is there to take care of on this engine? The main and most important thing to remember with this and many other BMW engines is the oil. You have to check the oil often and make sure it stays around 75% in the little window on the side of the bike. These bikes tend to burn oil for the first 10k miles so it’s recommended to check your oil every 500 miles or so. Some swear that it stops burning oil around 10,000 miles and some say it still burns, just much less oil. You can think of it as a break in period so I guess I have another 8000 miles to go! Since service is expensive on these just like any other BMW and you will have to top up oil at some point, make sure you DO NOT overfill it. Apparently, it’s very easy to overfill and when you do, you will blow your rear main seal in no time.

Some people think that since there is no coolant, the engine won’t be as reliable and will overheat. Generally, it would be fairly difficult to get one of these to overheat but if you live in the desert, it is possible. So, you have to treat them as air and oil cooled bikes; especially since there is no temperature gauge on the early models. Luckily, they are equipped with a thermal shut off so at least the bike will not burn itself down. Starting 2017, they do have a temp gauge and a temp warning idiot light, but it’s not always accurate and can be deceiving. Why is it deceiving? Well, the temperature is read at the cylinder so it’s much higher than anything you’d ever see on a temp gauge on a car. On top of that, the max on the gauge is 143C/289F which isn’t actually the temp where it will overheat. It can go even higher before the warning light and the automatic shut off after that. Anyway, as you can see, it’s a bit confusing, but luckily not something one has to generally worry about. Just keep the bike moving and don’t get stuck in a traffic jam where you sit for 30+ minutes idling in 100 degree heat!

To summarize, this air-cooled boxer motor is a thoroughly tried and tested unit and has been powering boxer range BMW for years, so engine reliability is not really a concern on the R NineT, but do service it regularly like any other BMW. We will talk about some preventative items we can do, later in the video.

Electronics:

Next, let’s talk about electronics. As this is a retro styled bike, the R NineT isn’t on the very leading edge of technology like many other BMW bikes. It has a basic suspension, ABS and traction control as an option and not a lot of gadgets in general. That’s a good thing in m y opinion as there are way less things to go wrong with and it also means this bike can be a keeper for years to come. However, there is one issue that I have seen come up on multiple forums and group. The ABS Sensor. It seems that a lot of people have experienced issues with the ABS sensor going bad which of course disables your ABS and traction control, but also causes the speedometer and odometer to stop working. This is an issue that has been carried over from the GS crowed as it uses the same design. Some of the older models have also had a problem with the wiring loom to the headlights where the wires would run when while moving and eventually fail. BMW has fixed this issue on the 2017+ models with a plastic sheath, so it might be a good item to look into if you have an older bike like I do.

Those with closer to 100k miles should watch out for fuel pump issues and the mail seal failure, but these are not very common.

Other Issues:

Speaking of not very common, let’s talk about other issues or concerns that people have with the bikes that may not necessarily have to do with the engine or the electronics system. One of the biggest complaints on this motorcycle has to be the quality of the seat and suspension. Some say that it’s basically unusable in the stock form for long distances and I have to agree to a certain extent. I’m not a long-distance rider, the most I’ve done at the same time was about 3 hours and I did have to stretch a couple of times to prevent being sore in the back. From what I’ve read, it’s more pronounced with bigger riders and some choose to upgrade. A very good quality, thicker seat can be had for around $500 and the same for a good rear shock as well. Most likely a worthy upgrade if you want to do long distance on the bike.

I also wanted to mentioned the transmission on this bike. Luckily it doesn’t nee it’s own section. Even though it’s a little agricultural in its feel, the transmission is solid and there should be no issues with it for the life of the bike. The only major worry would if the clutch starts slipping, it becomes a major job as the engine has to be split in half. Luckily, the only reports on this are well over 100k miles.

The R NineT also has spoked wheels on some models and that means it has tubes in its tires, this isn’t necessarily an issue, but you can’t fix a flat with a kit or anything like that. I’m not sure I would be comfortable riding on a kit fixed tire, but people have complained about it. This also means that you have to be really on top of checking air in your tires and making sure it’s correct as you can cause problems with the valve stem on hard acceleration with low air pressure. The bikes also handles horrible with about 25 psi in the tires.. just from my personal experience.

This bike can also go through rear brake pads pretty quick if you tend to use the rear brake more than the superior front brakes, but that’s more of a preventative maintenance item.

Preventative Maintenance (and what to pay attention to):

Other than regular oil changes, what else should we look out for on these bikes? Well, of course you should be keeping up with the scheduled items in your manual like the transmission oil, final drive oil, brake fluid flushes **ADD ITEMS FROM MANUAL HERE**. Some people go by the book and some choose to change the fluids every time they put on a new tire. Some also recommend lubricating the transmission shaft splines very 40k or so and getting the valve clearance checked at 12k miles.

If you store your bike over winter, there are a few things to do as well. First of all, get yourself a battery tender, it’s much cheaper than buying and replacing a new battery in the spring. To keep the tires from squaring off, some people overinflate them slightly or ideally you can get a motorcycle stand and lift the wheels of the ground. It’s also a good idea to fill the tank and add a fuel stabilizer on the last ride of the season. This way no condensation builds up and she will fire up like nothing happened in the spring.

Personal Experience:

So, what has my experience been like with the bike. I’ve owned my bike for one full summer at this point and put on half of its 2000 miles. I had to do absolutely nothing but fill it up with premium gas, ride it and smile every time I open the garage door. However, I did receive a small packet of papers with the bike. Let’s take a look at those now. *Show pictures of maintenance done on the bike before I got it.*

I have realized a couple of items for myself since buying the bike. What you see on forums and groups can be slightly misleading as this is a premium brand and product and people have really high expectations. You have to enjoy this bike for what it is, an awesome retro styled roadster. Of course, I’m not afraid to work on my own vehicles anyway so that doesn’t scare me at all.

In general, there really shouldn’t be any issues with the BMW R NineT as it’s mostly gadget free with a drivetrain and engine that have been in the lineup for over a decade in some form or another. Most people, just like myself have had a wonderful experience with the bike, but I think it’s good to look at the bad sometimes and be prepared and on top of things. I’m generally very happy to have experienced the freedom of the open road, the exhilaration of riding on twisties and just cruising behind the bard on this gorgeous bike. Every time I pull up to another motorcycle, I get the same feeling, I’m riding a beautiful machine, a rolling piece of art that meant to be ridden hard! I’m willing to put up with any issues it presents for this experience and I hope you feel the same about yours. If you are looking to buy one, don’t hesitate, go for it and worst comes to worst, you’ll have to get your hands dirty wrenching on a cool bike.  On that note, thank you guys so much for watching, leave your comments and thought below, like the video if you like it and I’ll see you in the next one.

BMW X5 Problems to Expect – BMW F15

BMW X5 Problems to Expect

Hey guys and welcome back to another video on the SimpleCarGuy channel. Today, we will look into some common problems you can expect on the 3rd generation BMW X5 which is also known as the F15. We’ll discuss the best year AND model to buy if your main concern is reliability and which version to avoid, if any.

In this generation there were a few different versions of the car. There was the BMW 35i that came in RWD as well as AWD configuration and had the same N55 engine. The more powerful version of the X5 was the xDrive50i powered by the N63 engine which is what this car has as well as my BMW 550i, so I’m pretty familiar with this one. The last version was the xDrive 40e with the N20 engine combined with a hybrid system. I don’t know much about the diesels or the X5M, so I will not be talking about those versions here.

Before we continue, don’t forget to hit that like button for YouTube Algorithm and leave a comment letting me know which version you’d want to own.

Now let’s talk about some common issues across the range that are not dependent on the engine. We will get into the engines shortly. Of course, each car is different and even though some of these are common issues, they may never happen to your car, but then again you can easily have multiple issues I talk about here as well, even if you take good care of your car.

The most common issue people have reported is leather cracking on the side of the seat. Just something to look out for as it can cost a decent amount to repair if you’re out of warranty.

Another commonly reported issue is squeaks coming out of the steering column as well as the rattles from the tailgate when driving on rougher terrain and wind blowing through the driver’s door seals at high speeds. The latter one can be fixed with a simple door adjustment, but still something to be aware of.

A little less common, but some X5 cars will have water leaking from the drain tubes in the sunroof after a heavy rain or car wash. If you are looking to buy a BMW X5, check the roof liner and the rest of the interior to make sure there is no water damage.

If car has rear air suspension, the bags can develop little pin holes or leak air in other ways as well. Not only will the car sag after sitting for some time, but that also means the compressor will have to work overtime and can fail prematurely. A lot of them come with springs, but if you have the 3rd row seats, there is a chance you have air suspension.

I have also seen a lot of people reporting issues with the car not shutting down on the first press of the start/stop button, this isn’t something you can fix at home and a dealer visit is required.

BMW xDrive35i/sDrive35i (2013-2018) N55:

Now let’s break it down to specific models. We’ll start with the BMW sDrive35i and the xDrive35i that were available from 2013-2018. The difference between the two is that the xDrive version is of course all wheel drive. These cars come with the n55 engine and I’ll start by saying that this will be the most reliable engine you can get in this car. Does this mean you won’t have any issues? Of course not, but luckily BMW had pretty much figured out the N55 engine by 2013 and any issues they had in the early years were mostly solved. Most notably the rod bearing issues that the early n55 engines suffered from have been taken care of. If you’d like to see what kind of damage that can cause, check out my BMW N55 engine rebuild series!

Some issues you CAN expect to have on these N55 engines would be the oil filter housing gasket leak, which in itself isn’t that big of a deal, but if the oil goes onto your serpentine belt, it can cause all kinds of issues. It’s best to replace it as soon as there is any noticeable seepage.

Another issue that seems to be common and not fixed by BMW is the plastic charge pipe that can crack and cause boost issues. It’s a very popular upgrade for anyone with the N55 engine, even if they are not seeking more power or thinking of tuning.

BMW xDrive50i (2013-2018) N63TU:

Next let’s take a look at the xDrive50i with the n63tu engine produced between 2013 and 2018. This is the car we have here and of course the most fun out of the bunch with lots of power to play with. If you Google issues on the N63 engine, you will get a list long enough to make you cry, but luckily, most of those posts are about the original N63 engine which is not what this car has. The X5 has the updated version, the n63TU, which is a very important distinction. Not only does it have 40 more horse power, but it’s also much more reliable and does not suffer from the same issues.

I’ve done a lot of research on this engine as I have the exact same engine in my BMW 550i and all things considered, this is a pretty reliable twin turbo V8. Personally, I have not had any issues with the engine and I’ve only had to replace the ignition coils and spark plugs on mine. The owner of this X5 has also had to replace a couple ignition coils as the engine was misfiring.

Oil consumption is normal if thinner oils are used or not changed as often, but if you see some smoke out of the tail pipes, it could be much worse. This X5 has had its Valve seals replaced at just (See miles) miles. That’s a VERY expensive, over $10k, job from the dealer, that luckily for this owner was done under warranty. If you go with an indy shop, it can cost as much as $5000 to do.

Of course, there are other minor issues that can creep up on this engine, but nothing too excessive. I’ve seen reports of leaking oil pump gaskets, oil pan gaskets and maybe a head gasket leak here and there but nothing engine destructive. I recommend this engine if you like power and luxury all built into one car.

BMW xDrive40e (2015-2018) N20 Hybrid Combo:

The last model we will take a quick look at is the xDrive40e that was available from 2015 to 2018 and is using a hybrid combo system with the n20 engine. This is heaviest of the bunch and the most complex out of the X5s. While it’s using the updated n20 engine, these are known for timing chain and timing chain tensioner issues as well as rod bearing issues. I’m sure this engine is not very stressed with the help of the hybrid system, but it is a very complex vehicle. The only consistent issue I saw people complain about is the issue with charging at home where it fails to initiate randomly.

Conclusion:

While BMW’s X5 is a very fun SUV that provides luxury and sportiness and is overall a great package, just like any other BMW, there are some problems to expect and I hope this video has helped you make a better decision or prepared you for ownership. So, which model should you go with? As far as reliability, I would say the sDrive35i with the n55 engine will most likely give you the least amount of trouble, but the xDrive50i with the n63tu engine is not a bad buy either and a lot more fun to drive. I would avoid the xDrive40e due to complexity and the less reliable N20 engine. The production year difference is pretty much negligible as there were no updates through the production run. That’s about it for this video, thank you for watching, don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to the channel for a lot more car content and I’ll see you in the next one!

BMW F10 5 Series Problems to Expect

In the video above we will be discussing some of the more common problems you can expect with your BMW F10 5 series car. The BMW F10 was sold from 2011 all the way up to 2017. So, as you can imagine the issues have changed over the years. New ones came up and older ones have been resolved by the BMW. 

To start with, I have had my BMW 550i xDrive for 2.5 years and I’ve done all of the maintenance and took care of the car myself. My BMW F10 was CPO car from a BMW dealer and I’ve had zero issues for the year I had the CPO. After the warranty expired, I have replaced the ignition coils and spark plugs, engine oil, engine filters and that’s it.

I will be concentrating on the US spec cars as these are the ones I know about.

Right of the bet, we can split the cars into pre-LCI (model years before 2014) and LCI cars (model years from 2014 on). I would absolutely recommend getting the LCI cars as you get more features and most of the models have also fixed a lot of the issues in the previous version of the car.

The car has a great built quality, there are no rattles and the car really held up well even after 5 years.

All cars have run flat tires, so rim damage or deformation is not uncommon. Cars across the board have also had some issues with water getting into the trunk, back up camera and sensors not working well in the cold and other common BMW problems you can expect.

528i (N52B30 2010-2011)

  • Very reliable cars, but getting old now.
  • Oil and coolant leaks are the most common culprit when it comes to these engines and can cause engines to overheat.

528i (N20B20 2012–2016)

535i (N55B30 2011–2017 in US)

  • Early cars aren’t recommended (2011) due to having too many of the issues
  • BMW 535s with N55 engine is probably the most reliable car out of the 3 models we are discussing today. BMW are know for making decent straight 6 engines and this one is a good engine.
  • Known issues on early cars:
    • Increased battery drain issue
    • Fuel Pump
    • Leaking oil filter gasket
    • Belt Tensioner going bad
    • Turbos have issues, people have had them replaced under warranty
    • Oil Filter Housing and valve cover gaskets
    • Coil packs
    • Fuel Injectors

550i (N63B44 2009–2013)

  • Excessive oil consumption, although more so in the pre-LCI
  • Ignition coils and spark plugs around 60K miles
  • Valve Stem Seal Job – my friend has had this done on this 40k mile N63TU engine right before his warrant ran out and it was an engine out job. If done outside of warrant this could cost around $5000.
  • Timing Chains are also a common on all years to a lesser extent and is obviously more prone on  higher mileage cars
  • Known issues on pre-LCI cars:
    • High Pressure Fuel Injectors
    • Hot-Film Air Mass Sensors
    • Engine Vacuum Pump
    • Fuel System Low Pressure Sensor
    • Fresh Air Intake Turbo Seals
    • Crankcase Ventilation Lines
    • Timing chain
    • Fuel Pump
  • N63 Customer Care Package
    • The highlights are:
      • Check the timing chain for stretch; replace if necessary
      • Check the following items and replace if necessary: 
        • fuel injectors
        • mass air flow sensors
        • crankcase vent lines
        • battery
        • engine vacuum pump
        • low pressure fuel sensor
      • Change the oil service interval to 12 months/10,000 miles
    • This has helped many vehicles and many owners reported way fewer issues after this CCP. 
    • Most dealers and private shops recommend even smaller (5-7k) mile oil change interval.
  • If you go for a 550, it pretty much has to be a 2014 model or newer. The original N63 engine had a lot of problem. In 14, BMW switched to the N63TU for the 550.

LCI 550i (N63B44O1 (N63TU) 2014–2017)

  • BMW has improved the engine a lot with this update as well as increased the power to close to 450 HP from 400. Very solid performance. 
  • Parking Camera and Sensors issues are somewhat common.
  • Oil Pump Gasket leaks happen on higher mileage vehicles.

In conclusion, I would recommend getting the BMW 535i or BMW 550i that is 2014 or newer as you will have plenty of power and decent reliability for this type of car.