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X5 not starting straight away in the cold monrnings....


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Hi Can anyone help me please?

I have a BMW e53 X5 3.0i Diesel that i am having issues with.

When i start the car in the cold mornings the engine will crank and try to start and then stop. This happens about 4 or 6 times and finally the car will start.

There will be lots of white smoke from the back as the engine warms up.

After this the car drives as normal.


There are no error lights in the car or messages.


Can anyone help me with this issue please?


Thank you

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Hi Dave

Thank you for your reply. Using INPA i see no error codes at all.

The issue was worse when it was very cold, minus figures outside.

As soon as the weather became more mild the situation totally improved and everything is normal now.


It will become colder now and i need to fix this issue as i dont want the same issue when it is really cold.


Where would you suggest i start checking for this issue?




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Morning Paul

Diesels fire on compression not ignition so require good fuel pressure, good compression and good cranking speed with those the engine will run. In cold weather the Glow plugs raise cylinder temperatures to aid fuel atomization and help starting.

So if I were checking I would begin with the battery, is it in good condition and fully charged, only charge from the charge points under the bonnet or remove the battery from the car. Check the starter is in good condition Magnetti starters did cause issues at one point with E53's. Is fuel pressure correct (when was the fuel filter last changed?) I would still check the Glow plugs and Glow Plug controller and loom for chaffing or cracks.



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Hi Dave


Thank you for your reply. The weird thing is that the car is running fine and starts as normal. Having said that i would think as soon as it gets colder again the issue will start.


So, too answer your question. The battery is new about 6 months old. The charging system works fine as i have checked.

Now, as the car has done around 175k i think i may need to change the glow plugs? and at the same time i will check the wiring and also the glow plug controller too.

The fuel filter was changed about 2 months ago.


Thanks Dave

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If the glow plugs have been in there since new (not unknown) they can be a sod to get out so soak them with a good penetrating fluid for a few days before or pay a garage 

As an aside I have a friend who has a Range Rover same vintage same engine similar mileage always totally reliable until last year when it started acting like yours. When we finally got the glow plugs out 5 of them had pretty much disintegrated the last one had no resistance so wasn't working. After changing them and the controller (same Parts as yours) he said it is like a new car again 

Good Luck

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Hi Dave

Thank you for your help. I will keep you informed as to what happens with the injectors. Yes you are right that they can be hard to remove and you dont want them snapping in the engine head!


I will prepare everything and share my results with everyone.


Thank you


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