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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 10-03-2014, 11:24 PM   #1
geronimoslp
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My Ride: BMW 320i 2001
Question E46 2001 320i Front fender/wing replacement

Here's something i fixed on my 2001 320i. Rust was getting serious, on the front driver's fender, actually the previous owner tried his best (and failed) at concealing the accumulated rust on the inside of the wing, and it was starting to bubble up.

In this guide, instructions are always just above the picture.

So, I got a wing/fender off a destroyed 323i, surprisingly enough, in near-mint condition.

Here's what it looks like:
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How many screws? What tools do I need? Look at this:
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Tools you'll probably need -
  • Ratchet
  • 8mm socket
  • 10mm socket
  • 12 inches socket extension
  • flat screw driver
  • Torx-30 screwdriver bit
  • long nose pliers


So let's proceed with the wing removal. Tire can be removed, or oriented as needed to facilitate access around it. I started with the 8mm screws, to lift the plastic cover to access the single upside down 10mm behind the signal light:
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Then, the plastic rivets, replaceable if you break them. Lift up the plastic cover, there's a 10mm screw right there close to the bottom. Look further inside, completely at the back (towards the lower part of the door) there's another 10mm there. That one will require a footlong extension. You can see it sticking out on the other side when the door is open, on the bottom:
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After removing it, open you door halfway out and remove that last 10mm with the socket extension. If the door is fully open you may damage your paint, you'll see what i mean:
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You can see in the next picture the rust eating out the wing. The inside part is scary. So, I finished with the easier torx screws on top, hood needs to be raised obviously. One of them is hidden under a black plastic trim, right next to the windshield:
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Wing may be lightly stuck and may need a little wiggling around before it's detached. Careful, there's a wire inside connected to the signal light, unplug it.

Wing removed:
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NOTES ON NEW WING INSTALLATION ***

- Do the same steps in reverse order.
- First, screw on the top torx screws but tighten them last.
- Watch what you're doing, the wing may be screwed alright in the end, but may need adjusting.
- Do not screw too tight. Some holes are really thin, not much space for threads, so it's easy to break them.
- *** Time saver tip: do as I say, not as I do. That means plug back the (new) side signal light before screwing everything back together...

CRITICAL NOTE ***
- When done, slide your fingers inside the wing, and if not done already, be sure to push the plastic cover inside the wing bent edge. use the other side as reference if needed. You don't want any water buildup inside that area or you may have to do this procedure again soon

Good luck & cheers

Simon

Last edited by geronimoslp; 10-03-2014 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Added a little more information, error correction
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Old 10-04-2014, 08:56 PM   #2
jclip
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Nice write up. Sorry, gotta ask; how off is the color?
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Old 10-04-2014, 10:20 PM   #3
geronimoslp
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surprisingly, it's exactly the same. got very, very lucky.


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:12 AM   #4
Jahpa
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thx for this instructions... :-) Please can u help me, today I wanted to replace my front fender, but I couldn´t loosen torx´s on the top..:-(
I read, that there could be some protective coating... do u know something about it? Should I used to a heat gun?
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Old 02-28-2015, 08:52 AM   #5
geronimoslp
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I've never heard of that. There was none on the 2 cars that i've had to work on for those screws.

I guess I would just make sure to use the correct torx size as to not damage the screw or you'll be really stuck if you don't have the right tools.

What coating is it? like paint? or glue, resin? can you post a detailed pic?
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:06 AM   #6
Jahpa
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I had torx 30, so i think that it is right.. It should be some protective coating. I think, that this is coating against corrosion. I don´t know, if u know the book written by H.R. Etzold (instruction to cars). He wrote there about this coating..
.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:39 AM   #7
geronimoslp
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Do the screws look shiny with a gloss finish or is there no apparent coating, they are just stuck?

What I would do -

(if no protective coating apparent)
In a straight swing, hammer the screws, to break the coating or thread rust. This may help. Use other method if it fails.

(if glossy coating is obvious)
I would heat the screws to at least 200C or more to exceed the heat tolerance of most coatings. This would also make the screw expand slightly; upon cooling down it would cause fissuration in the coating, as well as separate the thread rust if any. I would use extra care on that last screw close to the window though, there's some plastic liner close too. I would wait a good 5 minutes after cool down before unscrewing.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:42 AM   #8
geronimoslp
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I'd be really interested in seeing a close-up pic of one of those screws, you got me curious.

And coating is definitely not stock on this model, and there are so many kinds of coatings out there, who knows what was used by the PO.

Last edited by geronimoslp; 02-28-2015 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 02-28-2015, 10:08 AM   #9
geronimoslp
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And one more thing, I wouldn't use a standard heat gun on those screws, the quick heat propagation through the metal would prevent the screw from heating, so this could take a long time holding the heat gun on the screw before (and if) it heats up at the desired temp. Use a blow torch directly on the screw. Make sure to clean up around the screw properly if you used any solvents, before applying any heat I would put protective coating back on the heated metal afterwards though.
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:17 PM   #10
Jahpa
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thank u for help.. I am attaching photo. I´m not sure if my screws are usual.. I prefer heat then hammer. So at first I would like to try this.
I bought some coating with wax.. I am sure that it helps to protect ..:-) However at first I must to put away this screw´s....:-D Today I used some screw releaser, which is very flammable. So I know that I have to wash it up..
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Old 02-28-2015, 07:39 PM   #11
geronimoslp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahpa View Post
thank u for help.. I am attaching photo. I´m not sure if my screws are usual.. I prefer heat then hammer. So at first I would like to try this.
I bought some coating with wax.. I am sure that it helps to protect ..:-) However at first I must to put away this screw´s....:-D Today I used some screw releaser, which is very flammable. So I know that I have to wash it up..

I can't really see the screws, the picture is either too small or your camera lens is not close enough :S
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Old 03-01-2015, 05:05 AM   #12
Jahpa
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Old 03-01-2015, 08:52 AM   #13
geronimoslp
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were you able to loosen the screws?
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