OK, I figured the answer to my 2nd question would be no.
Originally Posted by invisihitch
I am surprised to see the gravel-guard opening get much attention. Other vehicles come from the factory with an opening in their gravel guards. It's not unusual at all, and you never see the opening since it is underneath the vehicle.
As to what keeps the gravel guard together once an opening is notched into it, the gravel guard extends the full width of the vehicle, so the opening for the hitch receiver is a small portion of the entire gravel guard. Also, as you can see in the photo I posted earlier in this thread, the gravel guard is bolted to the vehicle on the along both its front and rear edges, surrounding the opening for a hitch, so it is quite secure. Lastly, the gravel guard is a pretty thick material. It's not going anywhere.
2013 x35i (Space Gray, MSport, CW/CWII, DHP, Premium, Premium Sound, Technology, BMW-Apps)
Retired:'09 C300 4Matic, '09 GTI, '06 750i, '05 C55, '04 R32, '03 M5, '02 GTI, 01 M5, '00 M-Coupe, '00 540i/6, '99 M3 Coupe, '98 M3 Coupe, '96 328i, ..., '86 4000CS Quattro, ... too many to list