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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 06-09-2006, 03:27 PM   #1
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Replacing lower windshield cover/cowl DIY

After searching the forums for this issue, I noticed it was common but there was no DIY for the fix. Ignoring the advice of others, I tried prying my wipers off to do this. $280 for a new windshield later, I was ready to do it right. I thought I'd take some pictures along the way. The whole thing took about 20 minutes, and that includes taking the pictures.

This DIY was done on a 2000 323i Sedan, but should be pretty much the same for all models.

What you'll need:
Replacement "Cover, Windshield" Part.
For My car it is part number 51718208483, and I paid $55 shipped from Tischer.
15mm Ratchet
Small gear puller

Remove old cover

(Optional step is to mark with tape the position of your wipers on the windshield. Mine had a nice dirt line, so I knew where they'd go.)

You will need to open the hood now.

Pop off the plastic covers from the nuts holding on the wipers. These should just pull off with your fingers.

Using a 15mm socket, remove the nut holding on the wipers.

Position the gear puller over the wiper bolt with the arms under the wiper arm. Slowly tighten the puller until the arm raises to the top of the bolt.
Remove the puller and remove the wiper arm. Repeat for the other wiper.

Once the wiper arms are removed you can carefully pull up on the plastic cover. You need to lift up and towards the windshield. It may help to remove the cabin air filter cover and weatherstrip at this time too.

Match up the new cover with the one you just removed, making sure they match up. This would be a good time to vaccuum/clean out the area below the windshield to remove any debris that may have accumulated over time.

Install the new cover from the top, the opposite of the way you removed the old one. Make sure the little pins are fully engaged into the holes in the car. Work from one side to the other so it does not bow up in the middle. I found it easiest to do this in the sun so the plastic is a little more flexible. Once installed, this is a great time to apply a good coat of Armor All or similar protectant. Once the wipers are back on, you can't reach all the surfaces.

Replace the cabin air filter cover and weatherstripping.

Place the wiper blades back on the bolts, lining them up with the tape or dirt line on your windshield. Make sure they are level as you slide them down the bolt.

The nut will push them down the rest of the way, so just tighten this up with your 15mm socket.
Replace the plastic nut cover. Close the hood, making sure all of your tools are out of there! Test your wipers, and you're done!
Yes, I'm still here.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:43 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Nice work!

I did mine a few months ago. I didn't have a chance to do a DIY.

Thanks again and good work!
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:51 PM   #3
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I always wondered about this.

Great Job and Thanks for the write up!!!
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:54 PM   #4
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I just repalced mine last night. Was a ***** getting those inside metal things off. Took me awhile, but after that it was straightforward. Mine was in just as bad a shape as yours. Looked terrible. Now it's back to new......ahhhhhh
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the write up! I was just thinking about changing mine and this was really helpful. Why can't they make the original so that it lasts longer?
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Old 08-20-2006, 10:11 AM   #6
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where do you buy a gear puller, and how much?
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Old 08-20-2006, 11:19 PM   #7
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awesome! I took it to my body shop and they did it for freeeee!

** they didnt use a gear puller..
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Old 04-19-2007, 07:27 PM   #8
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just found this great DIY and thought I would bump it in case anyone else needs it

I'll be doing it this weekend

Hello dirsh it appears that you have not posted on our forums in several weeks, why not take a few moments to ask a question, help provide a solution or just engage in a conversation with another member in any one of our forums?
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Old 05-02-2007, 12:53 PM   #9
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Things that go BUMP in the night!

This (as far as I know) aesthetic problem has been bugging me for months! Thanks for the DIY.


"The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night, drop them off at the wrong house." -Jeff Foxworthy
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Old 07-24-2007, 10:21 AM   #10
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Another bump...

Was a ***** getting those inside metal things off.
I'll be doing this DIY as soon as my new part arrives. Can anyone tell me what the "inside metal things" are? Are there any screws or bolts involved (other than the nuts that hold the wiper arms on). Clips or pins,etc.?

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Old 07-24-2007, 05:24 PM   #11
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Under the nut is an aluminum cone-shaped serrated "thing" that is called a "washer" with xxx in.lbs stamped on it. It's ok to use gear puller but you don't have to -- just push the arm down flat and pick-wiggle the cone-shaped thing up, and then push down and up again on the arm. Inside the arm on the post is a white plastic circlip that holds the arm on, but you can't see that.

And put white sport tape on your windshield and draw the outline of the wiper on the tape.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:32 PM   #12
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Thanks, Tom. I was just wondering if, after you have the nuts for the wiper arms removed, there are any other fasteners holding the cowling itself on?

Sounds like it should be fairly simple. I'll take pics and post, to add to this DIY if I run into problems. Just ordered the cowling today, and it should be here by the end of this week.
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:21 AM   #13
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Why would you replace the cover?
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:02 AM   #14
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In my case, the cover is cracked and brittle. I went to put some 303 Protectant on it and chunks of it just broke off. Aside from it looking bad, I don't want water leaking into the cabin.
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Old 07-29-2007, 02:45 PM   #15
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Just an update and a couple of additions:

I just replaced mine, and it took maybe 20 minutes. Having done it once, I'd say the next time will take half that.

I did use a small gear puller, which I picked up at O'Reilly's for $5. It had one small problem, in that there's a small nib/point on the end of its threaded shaft (the shaft that pushes on the wiper arm bolt to remove the wiper arm). The nib doesn't seat securely on the wiper arm bolt, and wants to slip off to the side. I just inserted a couple of small washers between that shaft and the wiper arm bolt, which resulted in a larger, flatter surface contact.

Another thing to mention is that it's helpful to raise your wiper arm a little at the spring-loaded connection point, as the spring action tends to put the wiper arm in a bit of a bind with the shaft that it's attached to.

Also, that piece of weatherstripping that runs along the front edge of the cowl/seal that you're replacing comes off by pulling it toward the front of the car, not by pulling up on it. That might be obvious to some, but I tore mine a little by pulling up on it.

Other than that, it's a piece-o-cake.
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Old 08-14-2007, 08:39 AM   #16
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Thanks for the DIY. I'm going to try this as soon as my part arrives.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:00 AM   #17
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finally done it

just to let you know that this DIY you posted was very helpful and finally got it done it. like the member said it was a b**** to pull that metal screw but the trick was to push the wiper down and it flexes on its own start jiggling it.
now it's nice and clean. thanks again

2001 orient blue330i
Umnitza p46, 6000k hid's, oem 18's, eurospec grill, bimmian solaris bulbs. H & R sports springs, euro-spec aluminum pedals , leather and matte chrome auto shift knob. CF strut bar from euro-spec, ///M chrome oil cap
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Old 10-13-2007, 06:25 PM   #18
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thank you for writing up this DIY.
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Old 03-14-2008, 10:52 AM   #19
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I just did this yesterday. There is an easy way to take off the wiper arms without any tools. Just press down on the spring on the wiper arms and the bolt configuration and it comes up slowly. So in short, take off the cap, use a 15mm to take off the bolt, then press on the spring and the configuration comes up. Easy as that. Good luck
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Old 03-14-2008, 06:00 PM   #20
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word you dont need a gear puller. i just pulled mine up and wiggled out
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