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This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the general control module (GM3) in an E53 X5. Even though we used a 2005 X5 3.0i to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 2000-2006 X5 model with minor modifications to the repair steps.
See all vehicles this article applies to
E53 X5 Series X5 4.8is
E53 X5 Series X5 4.6is
E53 X5 Series X5 4.4i
E53 X5 Series X5 3.0i
E53 X5 Series X5 3.0d
A BMW E53 general control module replacement may be necessary if the key fob or power windows are malfunctioning in your 2000-2006 X5.
The general control module, also known as the "GM3, is an electronic circuit board that controls various interior systems including keyless locking/unlocking of doors, power window operation and interior lighting. It replaced the use of relays by efficiently combining all of the functions into one convenient module. The GM3 in 2000-2005 X5 vehicles is located behind the glovebox on the passenger side of the vehicle.
The GM3 is infamous for failing. The classic symptoms of a defective GM3 are; key fob won't lock or unlock doors, power windows not functioning, or interior lighting malfunction.
Replacing the X5 GM3 is a relatively easy job for the home mechanic and can save a very expensive trip to the dealership. The glove box assembly must be removed from the dashboard to access and remove the GM3. The BMW Repair Guide strongly recommends replacing a failed GM3 with a new unit - avoid purchasing used ones. We give detailed step-by-step instructions on removing the GM3 from your 2000-2005 X5 below.
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Section 1 - Removing the general control module (GM3)Removing the GM3 from a 2000-2006 X5 is a fairly simple procedure. It requires removing the glovebox from the dashboard. Once the glovebox is removed, the GM3 can be easily accessed.
- Always disconnect the negative battery cable before starting this repair! This will avoid further damage to other sensitive electronics.
- Using a flat blade screwdriver, remove the glove box hinge pin. Carefully pull the side of the glovebox door away from the glovebox frame and lower it into the fully open position (see images below).
- Using a phillips screwdriver, remove the six glove box mounting screws.
- Grasp the top of the glove box and CAREFULLY pull it free from the dashboard.
- Disconnect the electrical connections from the back of the glovebox and move it out of the work area.
- Locate and identify the GM3. It is located in a plastic mounting bracket on the firewall. Unsnap the air duct and carefully move out of the way.
- Grasp the GM3 and pull it free from its mounting bracket.
- Unplug the three electrical connections from the rear of the GM3.
BMW E53 general control module removal finished