HomeRepair ArticlesBMW X5 General Control Module Removal (GM3) - 2000-2006 E53

BMW X5 General Control Module Removal (GM3) – 2000-2006 E53

Affiliate link disclosure – The BMW Repair Guide uses affiliate links in their site. For more information on affiliate links, please click here.
Repair Summary
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.
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.
The GM3 from a 2005 X5 3.0i.
If the video does not appear below, please click here to view
View the video version of this repair.
View the detailed parts diagram for this repair.
Includes detailed part diagrams, part numbers and links to purchase all of the required components needed to complete this repair.
Before starting this repair, you must have the following required parts.
Fits all BMW E53 X5 vehicles
Always replace your damaged GS3 module with a brand new unit. This is a Genuine BMW factory replacement.
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.
  1. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before starting this repair! This will avoid further damage to other sensitive electronics.bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - disconnect battery before starting this repair
  2. 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).bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - remove hinge pinPull side of door away from frame bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - Lower the glove box door
  3. Using a phillips screwdriver, remove the six glove box mounting screws.bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - remove the six glove box mounting screws remove glove box mounting screws bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - Remove glove box mounting screws
  4. Grasp the top of the glove box and CAREFULLY pull it free from the dashboard.Remove the glove box from the dashboard
  5. Disconnect the electrical connections from the back of the glovebox and move it out of the work area.bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - disconnect electrical connections
  6. 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.bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - Identify the module location and unsnap the air duct
  7. Grasp the GM3 and pull it free from its mounting bracket.Pull the module free from its mounting bracket
  8. Unplug the three electrical connections from the rear of the GM3.bmw e53 general control module (gm3) removal - Unplug the module's three electrical connections
BMW E53 general control module removal finished