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Our Life Fitness X5 Elliptical: Part 1

I want to start off by saying that this is the greatest home elliptical I've ever used. I'm 6' and my wife is 5' 4" - the adjustable stride really goes a long ways (pun intended) towards allowing both of us to enjoy this piece of equipment. I'm not familiar with the Basic console, but I can attest that the Advanced console's auto-adjusting workouts are very handy at 6AM when you're really not interested in pressing buttons - or really thinking at all. This unit gets used almost daily (by Lindy - I fell off the wagon some years ago) and we've owned it for about 6 years now. Here are the stats on this mamma jamma:



We haven't had a SINGLE problem with it... until now. After our most recent move, to be exact. Now - we've been in our new place for about 4 months and this is the first time I noticed it was having an issue. Wait - but didn't I say it was used daily? Oh, it is. But Lindy is they type that doesn't really care about the flashing lights on the screen, she actually finds them to be distracting. So what she does is turns the unit on, hits all the buttons to get it in to manual mode, and lays a DVD case across the entire screen, cause she really doesn't care what it says. Well, I decided I should jump back on the wagon for some strange reason earlier today and my little auto adjusting program wasn't working. The Level area of the display simply says "OFF" and no amount of button pressing will wake it up.


So the only good news here is I get to give Lindy crap for always using the elliptical on Level 1 and being a slacker. Bad news, I gotta fix it since the warranty ran out like 3 years ago.

Initial troubleshooting of these things is just to listen to the motor. When you turn these units on, the thing seems to kind of limit seek, where it runs the resistance all the way up and all the way back down. Just a usual humming for a bit as you are picking your work out more or less. Listening to my unit yields a little different sound. You turn it on and it runs the motor for a little bit, then you hear this half second pulse one way, then you hear it again. then sometimes you hear it run the other direction for a half second. It's seeking. Trying to figure out where it is. Sometimes with that sort of symptom you can just clean something or replace some magnets. That's the assumption I'm working under, that i can just clean something or replace some magnets, so Step 1 is to take it apart and find some magnets... or at least locate the motor or something.

Since Lindy is off playing around with her girlfriends, I have free reign to rip apart the elliptical (assuming i can get it back in to a working state before she needs it tomorrow morning). Well... working as in working for level 1... slacker.

Basically, I just looked at the side and it's pretty clear that the treadle (i think that's what they call these things) has to disconnect from the rotating support here


So I popped off the cover that pretty obviously covers the bolt holding it on (starting the the LEFT side of the unit if you're standing on it correctly)

It's a 9/16" - you want a short socket with a 6" extension. Could also do a deep with a 3" extension for removal, but that is problematic in reassembly.

Next you realize that there's way too much metal around, so you have to remove something else to be able to flex the assembly enough to pull it off the pin. Remove the bottom pivot.


After pulling the plastics off, you'll find yet another 9/16" nut and bolt. Once you pull that off, you will be able to flex the upper assembly enough to get it off the pin. Once that's off, you can remove the inner grey plastic cover which is secured by 4 P2 screws. Once that's off you'll find a large plate - that plate exists simply to hold the light grey plastic on. Remove the two screws holding the plate on and you'll finally be looking at the crank.


Now this thing is starting to look pretty built. That's a 1/2" (or 13mm) nut/bolt at the bottom and that's a key'd shaft in the middle (and the key is giant). Loosen that nut'bolt a little and shimmy off the crank. Now you can remove the darker plastic (a bunch-o-screws around the outisde. plastic to plastic is course threaded, about half inch long, in to metal is about 3/8" fine thread, all P2.


Now assuming you started on the LEFT side of the unit as I did - you'll realize you're basically on the wrong side 😉 The belt side. Eh, we'll pry have to take both sides off anyway. But is is worth noting. The "belt side" is certainly the left side if you're standing on the machine properly.

Unfortunately, the wife's coming home soon at this point, so I have to bail out and make this thing work again That's the picture you see above, I put the crank and treadle pivot back on so she can use it tomorrow. Quick testing, no issues leaving it open - your feet never get back near the spinny stuff. As for observations that can be made from this side

The belt is shredding a little (may be normal, it seems to be aligned correctly):

This blue doodad is the motor that's making all noise. It seems to be moving a cable in and out:

And this is an access hole in the flywheel (the rear metal wheel is the flywheel, the other giant wheel that the crank is attached to is really just a big pulley) that shows the thingy that's moving up and down during that seeking process:

And that's where I'm at for now. I ran out of time - probably find time to pull the other side apart next week. No worries, it's in usable shape... Even if it does look like some sort of Terminator half-machine elliptical. You would be surprised what you wife will put up with if she thinks you're going to eventually fix it 😉

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  1. hi – did you get this fixed? i’m having the same problem.

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