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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2013, 12:55 PM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Lower Grill Replacement

I know, I know... It has been talked about before, but I have not found a decisive answer. Most say that to replace the side grill that you must remove the bumper. I would really rather not remove the bumper and don't want the paint the grills. Tischer has the black lower grills for a good price. My thoughts are that the original grills could be taken out while the bumper is in place if I cut the mesh part out with come shears? Can someone that has changed them answer if that is doable? I don't care if I trash the original grills.
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2013, 01:16 PM
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I had to replace a large section of the lower grill mesh and we accomplished it without taking off the bumper or cutting it into pieces. Once you get the clips released you can pull the old one out pretty easily. To snap the new one into the clips I used a crochet hook, but a wire coat hanger bent into a hook will work as well.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:40 PM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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I have heard that the center section could be replaced easily, but the side ones are much more difficult. Did you replace the sides also?
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:45 PM
fdriller9 fdriller9 is offline
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Remove the wheel from the side your working on and remove the fender liner.

You'll have room to work with but not much.

Personally, I would remove the bumper.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:32 PM
LBK335i LBK335i is offline
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if you just want to change the color to black, why not just mask it off & use plasti-dip? That way, if you end up changing your mind later, it just peels off....
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2013, 04:54 PM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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I removed the rear bumper on my Z4 and it just never was the same again, so I don't mess with removing them anymore. I could remove the fender liner if necessary. I have seen many do the paint dabbing option, but I would assume that bugs at 85mph would chip that thin layer of paint. For $60 I would rather use the OEM black grills. I guess I don't really understand how the clips work on the side grilles, so I can't tell if cutting the mesh portion out or breaking them would help.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raiken1 View Post
I have heard that the center section could be replaced easily, but the side ones are much more difficult. Did you replace the sides also?
No, I only had to replace the center one due to an unfortunate piece of flying timber. No experience with the side pieces, sorry.
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:33 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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It's ok. Thanks for the help! From looking at my bumper, it appears that if I break the grills, they will come out easily. I am also not sure if the new side grills will go in from the front either?
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  #9  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:00 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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The side grilles are mounted behind the grille and are sandwiched between the bumper and the brake ducts so even though the bumper is quite flexible and you might be able to finagle the grille off with a lot of grunt and pulling the bumper forward, getting the grille back in would surely prove a frustrating experience that would likely result in damaging the paint on the bumper around the grille opening as you need to precisely line up 6 tabs on the bumper around 3 sides of the perimeter of the grille, with the inboard side of the grille sliding into a slot on the bumper; almost impossible to do when you are distorting the bumper pulling it forward to get the grille between the duct and bumper. So removal of the bumper to get to the grilles is highly advisable. Oh, and make sure you remove the plastic crossbar on the front of the grille first before removing the grille from behind.

I replaced my driver's side grille with a fully open version, intended for the BMW Performance Power Kit, in preparation for a "Mr. 5" intake. I snapped up a brand new OEM open grille off eBay because it appears BMW discontinued the open grille (only the half-open grille is now available for the drivers side) so its nigh impossible to get them from any of the usual places, dealerships and online e-trailers both.
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Last edited by Augster; 09-25-2013 at 07:14 AM.
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  #10  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:22 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Augster,
It sounds like you have an LCI car. Mine is pre lci. I don't have a crossbar in front of my grill. The side grills may be mounted from behind the bumper, which is what I am trying to find out. Can anyone comfirm this for pre-lci cars? I am not too worried about getting them out, because I can just cut them up while mounted and bring them out in pieces. Installing the new ones is what I am more concerned with now.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:32 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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I have a pre-LCI with the standard bumper as the LCI cars were introduced with MY2009.

Do you have perhaps the M-Tech/M-Sport or the BMW Performance bumper?
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:48 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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I just noticed that it sounds like your grilles are painted and you want the standard black look, so a previous owner had done some modifications to your bumper/grilles and may have removed the horizontal cross bars from the grilles.

Here a the stock standard pre-LCI bumper:



Here is an M-Tech on pre-LCI:



And here is an LCI BMW Performance Bumper on a pre-LCI:

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  #13  
Old 09-25-2013, 07:55 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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It will not let me see the pictures you posted for some reason. I have a 2008 335i E92 pre lci with regular front bumper. I have the silver grills and want the black ones from Tischer.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:03 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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I've attached the images in this post.
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  #15  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:08 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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BTW, the grilles are not painted from the factory; they only come in their natural black plastic color. A previous owner of your car painted them, which leads me to believe he/she removed the silver horizontal bars from the grilles.
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  #16  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:10 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Actually all Pre-Lci 335i E92's had silver lower grills. 328's had black ones.I don't know about the E90's
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  #17  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:13 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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This is the original lower grills for a E92 335i on my car.
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  #18  
Old 09-25-2013, 08:19 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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Ah, the color and horizontal bars I mentioned is for E90; didn't catch your last post where you specified E92. But installation is still the same: the E92 also utilizes "captured" side grilles that sandwiched between the front ducts and bumper, and is also held in place with similar tabs, so you still need to remove the bumper in order to properly install the side grilles.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:32 AM
Augster Augster is offline
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Removal of the front bumper is no where near as complex and tedious as the rear bumper: remove fasteners attaching lower belly pan to front bumper; remove leading front wheel liners (disconnect RDC harnesses) to gain access to two bolts on each side of the bumper and disconnect fog light harnesses; remove 4 large pan-head bolts on top of the bumper above the radiator opening; carefully guide removal of bumper around headlights then place on padding (must brace it to keep from tipping over if laying on its bottom). The tricky part during installation is stretching the bumper ends around the headlights without scratching them or chipping any paint, then making sure the rubber radiator seal doesn't get pinched or accidently folded into the radiator opening.
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Old 09-25-2013, 12:48 PM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Removing the bumper may not be so bad if a person helped me. I am just not sure what to do. How would you go about getting the new grills mounted with the bumper intact? Could I turn it sideways and then rotate once through the opening?
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Old 09-25-2013, 04:54 PM
Augster Augster is offline
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I did the removal and replacement by myself: the bumper assembly is really light and just includes the grilles and fog lights. The bumper can rest on just the center radiator opening while you are gently pulling the bumper ends around the headlights. You could put painter's tape on the headlights to ensure you don't scratch them.

Since you are removing the fender liners (or you could keep them in place and peal them back far enough to get to the two bumper end bolts), you do need to remove the front tires, meaning you need to lift the front on a jack and jackstands.

As I mentioned if trying to keep the bumper in place, the side grilles are practically squished between the front brake ducts and the bumper, plus the bumper tabs poke through the front of the grilles about 3/4", and the inboard side of the grilles themselves have a long tab on the end, which slides into a slot on the inboard side of the bumper grille opening. I don't have a photo of this, but you will have to insert the grilles' tab into the bumper at about a 15-20 degree angle in order to clear the retaining tabs protruding from bumper towards the rear, then line up these 6 bumper tabs into the small slots of the grilles. Since the bumper is very flexible and pliant (thus the tabs "float" and tend to fight your attempts to line them up), this takes a lot of dexterity and coordination in order to press home the grille completely into the bumper.

Thus, you would have to pull the bumper away from the duct at least several inches in order to give you clearance to install the grilles at the angles I mentioned. You may think that removing the ducts would give you all the clearance you need, however, they are held in place by one 8mm bolt which happens to be only accessible with bumper removed.

I personally was able to remove a side grille with the bumper in place, but absolutely gave up attempting to install the new grille with it on, and went ahead and pulled the bumper instead.
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Last edited by Augster; 09-25-2013 at 04:58 PM.
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  #22  
Old 09-26-2013, 08:54 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Well it sounds like I really would need to removed the bumper. I may just try to plastidip my grilles first. If they chip in a month then I will just change them to the oem black grilles. Would I get better results using a foam brush or using the balloon option and spraying them?
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:29 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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Nordic Cat,
How exactly did you unclip the center section? Did you use a tool? I think I am going to paint my grills with plasti dip. I can do the sides while mounted, but it would be nice to remove the center one.
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Old 09-30-2013, 05:53 AM
raiken1 raiken1 is offline
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I decided to give Plasti Dipping a try with my lower grills over the weekend. I removed the center grill and sprayed it. It turned out perfect! The side grills I taped off and painted, but were much more troublesome to get everything covered uniformly! Also, the tape pulled off some of the coating. I got a very small paintbrush and touched it up, so it looks pretty good now!
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  #25  
Old 09-30-2013, 03:49 PM
Augster Augster is offline
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Much cleaner look! Worth the effort, whether you mask it or take the trouble to remove the entire bumper.
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