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Bmw x5 pings

Hello. Have a 2009 x5. 29k miles. The car pings going up a hill in sixth gear. I know sixth is not strong enough, I downshift to fifth gear and it does not ping. The car has a three liter engine. In the past, other cars would just wait for me to downshift automatically or manually using the steptronic transmission. Is the timing off? Or is this normal?
Thanks.

Which 3.0L engine do you have? If it’s a gasoline engine (which I will assume from here on out, although they did offer a 3.0L diesel), you may need to use a higher octane fuel. Is premium recommended or required for this car, and do you use it? If you’re using regular, you may need to switch to premium to make the pinging go away. It does cost a little more, like three dollars a tank, but that pinging will lead to engine damage over time.

I agree.
up the octane number.

After a good while of pinging in my 80 Bronco, It blew a hole through the top of a piston head.
Cackle, cackle, sputter, over head, steam, smoke, dead on the highway birm.
One ten dollar used piston head and it purred like a kitten. ( but that was back in the days of cast iron heads and block ) Then when I sold it to get the Explorer, I sold it to the mechanic who fixed it.

Are you using Premium fuel as required? If not start.

Otherwise get it checked out as it is still under warranty.

Or you have an EGR system fault.

It is definitely not normal or healthy.

Assuming that you are using minimum 91 octane fuel, and you are keeping a reasonable RPM pulling that hill in 6th gear, the EGR fault is a good suggestion, though that should set a computer code, I would expect.

The knock sensor for this car lists for about $100, or is available on line for about $80. My problem with this suspect is that it has two pickups on it so I would be surprised that both of them would fail, and if you can hear the ping from the driver seat, the other pickup should definitely sense it.

In the old days, we used to check knock sensors by watching the timing while tapping the engine with a hammer. I presume that there is a similar simple test that mechanics can do these days to check the knock sensor for function.

The other thing I would check is the cam position sensors. Those things can get pretty iffy before finally setting a computer code.

Raj is right. Unless it is a reclaim title, it should still be under warranty, so the dealer should be able to easily find the problem.

I’ve seen many damaged pistons from excessive pinging.

Yet it’s ironic to note how for many years, having low levels of pinging was an acceptable norm. Car makers used to have procedures in their manuals for setting the timing, and it often had accompanying comments about pinging - saying if you could hear a little bit, you were right where you wanted to be.

I even recall one car maker’s manual showing a picture of a mechanic on a running board of a car while it was driving down the road with the hood open (it opened sideways - half on each side). It was a description for turning the distributor.and listening for pinging under load.

Times have changed.

What kind of tachometer (RPM) numbers are you seeing when this occurs…? If a downshift cures it, you could just be lugging the engine…

Got any CEL’s? (Check Engine Light)

Is it pinging more since the weather has gotten warmer?
Maybe the engine is running hotter than it has been. Got a gauge on the dash?
Possibly a cooling problem?
Until you find the problem, shift down before the pinging starts.

I agree with those who say you might be using cheap low octane fuel in this car. Every BMW I’ve ever looked at requires high octane fuel. Tell us, @Keinholz, what kind of fuel are you using (octane – I don’t care about the brand)?