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Old 10-07-2012, 11:37 PM   #347
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Springfield OH
Posts: 740
My Ride: '00 323i + '75 2002
Finally got started on the removable front clip. I've been trying to think about how to do this for a while now. There are probably a bunch of ways to do it, but this is the best way I could come up with and I think it should turn out pretty nicely. The first step was to clean up the edge where the old nose clip was spot welded on. With the edge straight and clean, I applied some weld-thru primer to the areas that would be overlapped with new sheet metal to help prevent future rusting.

This is where the front clip was spot welded in place.

With the edges cleaned up I needed to make a template for the new metal. This section is important because it helps to block off the front wheel well from the headlight area and engine bay.

With the template made, I could transfer it to my 18ga metal and cut out the driver side plate.

Now just a plain sheet of 18ga isn't very strong. So in order to add some strength I decided to roll a couple 'dimples' into. These also mimic the OEM plate.

Traced the pattern:

Rolled the dimples and the welded in place:

And welds ground smooth.

Now here is a rough example of how the front clip will bolt on. I'm planning to use the same type of fasteners that hold on the fenders, and so I will have a bit of adjustment to help make sure everything lines up. There will be two screws in the tab along the top of the nose panel, as well as a couple of connection down along the bottom edge. Also note that the nose panel will no longer be a structural panel of the car. I will be adding more bracing across the engine bay, welded in place along the bottom edge and then a separate piece that bolts into the top that is incorporated into a strut bar assembly.

And here is a view from the inside of the wheel well. As you can see it still creates a barrier between the wheel area and the engine bay (the light you see coming through is from some rust holes that I still need to patch on the nose panel).

Then it was onto another round of plastic surgery on the nose panel. Not much left on it, but it doesn't need much either. I'll be adding some light bracing in strategic places once it's bolted back up and I know it's true and straight. As far as weight the only thing that it needs to support now is the headlights, grills and part of the front turbo lip.

To finish up the night I knocked out the passenger side panel. I still need to do some trimming along the outer edge so the nose panel can fit up tight to it, but it looks good so far.

Thanks for looking.
Tinker Engineering - 2014

Mica - 2000 BMW 323i - The one that started it all
Fiona - 1975 BMW 2002 - The Definition of Project Creep
Heidi - 1988 BMW M5 - The piece of BMW history
Silvia - 2013 Subaru WRX - Stock, for now
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