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Old 01-09-2020, 10:11 PM   #1
Mwags
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How to tell if it's been in an accident?

Besides misaligned panel gaps and mismatched paint, are there any other giveaways that an e46 has been in a wreck and had the body panels replaced, like something you could spot in pictures in the engine bay or door jambs? I've found some candidates on my search for a car but it sucks not being able to inspect the car in person.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:18 PM   #2
05SMG
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This may be a clue that a fender was removed or possibly had a different one installed.....

Fender attach bolts that have the factory seal broken.

Meaning, an obvious break in the original paint to the point where a re attachment took place. It would look as if small crescent shapes of unpainted metal showing around each fastener.

Years ago when I took off my front right fender to address a rust spot, I repainted the fastner attach points with touch up paint because although my fender went back on pefectly, I could still tell that the bolts didn't look like the paint was laying over them as it came from the factory.

One other thing, although you probably will not see this on a fender or body panel, but a whilte BMW part number sticker is a dead giveway that a part was purchased and installed after the fact. fender liners, front air dam pieces, underbody trays etc. will have stickers on them.

I hope that helps.
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Last edited by 05SMG; 01-09-2020 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:29 PM   #3
Mwags
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^ would somebody be willing to post a picture of what their original fender bolts look like so I have a reference?
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Old 01-09-2020, 11:05 PM   #4
05SMG
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Here is what they should look like. These are from my wrecked 330ci. The right fender was removed 6 months prior so I could fix a rust spot on the A pillar. When I re attached the fender I used matching BMW touch up paint around every bolt shown with a bit of clear coat to replicate the original look. I don't have pictures of the bolts prior to painting them, but it was definitely noticable with what I termed "broken seal". This was with a perfect re attachment with no gap issues during the re install.

Dropbox link issues... I'll try posting pics with a different format.
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Old 01-10-2020, 03:15 AM   #5
Mwags
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thanks for the pics and the info
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