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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 06-18-2012, 03:24 PM
UberXY UberXY is offline
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DIY fender replacement

The other day I backed my Toyota pickup into the front fender of my daughters 05 X3. Never felt a thing - didn't realize it had happened until I saw the car later in the day.

The Good News: the Toyota wasn't scratched; in fact the ever-present heavy duty coating of protective dirt wasn't even disturbed.

The Bad News: my local goto body shop said $1250 to replace the fender on the X3.

Given that this car belongs to my daughter in college; that it is 7 years old; that it parked outside 365 days a year; that if it is very lucky it gets washed annually, I decided to look for an alternative. I found a guy on eBay who sells and pre-paints body panels. It was Fedex'd to my house in 3 days for $320 total, including shipping.

There are only ten small bolts that hold an X3 fender on the car - six T-30s and 4 10mm. It's more of a decoration splash guard than structural. Here's how you replace it:

1. remove headlight assembly unit - 4 bolts, T-25 I think.
2. remove plastic rivets from fender arch plastic trim with a drill or dremel.
3. remove fender arch trim.
4. remove fender well plastic. This involves a number of 8 mm bolts, and one or two of those plastic rivets underneath.
5. remove l-shaped plastic bit that connects the front of the fender to the grill surround just outboard of the headlight. do this by removing a 10 mm bolt that is vertical with the head on the downside. Then gently pry the end of the grill surround away from the car to the side and you will gain access to the two "hidden" screws.
6. Remove the six T-30s under the hood.
7. remove side marker light.
8. Remove the remaining 3 10 mms from the door vicinity. One at the top in the door well; one on the bottom; and one inside the fender pointing towards the back of the car. (It is hidden behind a plastic bag of soundproofing that you simply pull out).
8. The fender should now fall off the car. Be sure to scavenge all the little clips and plugs off the old fender so that you can re-use them on the new fender.
9. Re-assembly is basically reverse of assembly. You do not need a special tool for the big plastic pop rivet - I just used a big flat screwdriver to hold the flat surface in place while I pulled the tap with some vise grips - it's only a few pounds of pressure. You can get the rivets at your dealer for about $1.35 each - just get a bag of ten.

Total time, without a manual or a clue as to what I was doing, working slowly, trying not to break the plastic stuff - 3 hours total. If there is a next time - 2 hours.

Skill level required: it's easy, but if you don't own a Torx set or have any idea what one is, it's beyond your ability.

Fit and finish: The fit was perfect. Considering that BMW has twelve shades of TiAg paint depending on date and location of manufacture, and the fact that the existing contiguous panels have been in the sun for 7 years, the color match is fine with me. Nothing a little dirt and sun won't fix. If your X3 is your total pride and joy, and you admit to owning and using a clay bar, you might want to have you fender painted-to-sample. No such worries here.

3 hours work - $900 saved.

Ub
00 M5
86 Porsche 930
08 X3
05 X3
07 Tundra

Last edited by UberXY; 06-18-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:02 PM
noego noego is offline
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that's great -- good for you!
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2012, 12:16 PM
UberXY UberXY is offline
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The finished job. The bully truck in the background, unrepentant.

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  #4  
Old 06-26-2012, 09:09 PM
murderland murderland is offline
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sooo the paint doesnt match?
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  #5  
Old 06-27-2012, 01:55 AM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Originally Posted by murderland View Post
sooo the paint doesnt match?

It does not appear to match. Uber seems to have taken the approach that it is better to have a slight mismatch rather than a dinged up fender.

Betcha if you do a full detail on the older parts it will look better. I just got a new Porter Cable buffer from wife for Father's day. I plan on using it for the first time today.

I'll let folks know if its as good as they say. You could use something like this to breath a nice new shiny look to other sections and thereby not "dumbing down" the panel but bringing up the older one's.
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  #6  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:03 PM
murderland murderland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
It does not appear to match. Uber seems to have taken the approach that it is better to have a slight mismatch rather than a dinged up fender.

Betcha if you do a full detail on the older parts it will look better. I just got a new Porter Cable buffer from wife for Father's day. I plan on using it for the first time today.

I'll let folks know if its as good as they say. You could use something like this to breath a nice new shiny look to other sections and thereby not "dumbing down" the panel but bringing up the older one's.
i was just wondering, cause it doesn't look different from the picture.

Also because a while back someone backed into my car and ran off so now I have a dented fender and i dont really want to pay the deductible and risk my rates going up.
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  #7  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:34 PM
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Dominic49 Dominic49 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murderland View Post
i was just wondering, cause it doesn't look different from the picture.

Also because a while back someone backed into my car and ran off so now I have a dented fender and i dont really want to pay the deductible and risk my rates going up.

what year and color is your car?

which fender is damaged?


A used junkyard fender is most commonly the best fix as the paint should match fairly well between 2 cars as they have weathered about the same.
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  #8  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:48 PM
murderland murderland is offline
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Originally Posted by Dominic49 View Post
what year and color is your car?

which fender is damaged?


A used junkyard fender is most commonly the best fix as the paint should match fairly well between 2 cars as they have weathered about the same.

left titanium silver, i've been looking for a used one online. haven't found any good ones. nor do i know of any junkyards around me here in the dc area
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  #9  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:58 PM
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Dominic49 Dominic49 is offline
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car-part.com is a universal junkyard checker
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2012, 07:17 PM
noego noego is offline
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the paint match looks pretty good to me -- good job.
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