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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really doubt many people have tried putting a bull bar on their e46 before, but I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and I need a place to mount a big pair of driving lights for the winter time when it's dark all the time. I was thinking that a bull bar would be perfect, and would protect the front of the car from various whatever. My friend is a welder and he said that he could fabricate me one if I gave him the dimensions that he needed.

I know that the X3 is based on an e46, would one of the bull bars available for that work? (with or without modifying it)

Also one thing that occurred to me is that the car is pretty low to the ground. It's a 2000 328i with the sports pack. So the little ground clearance that I have would be reduced, wouldn't it? Although with the terrible curbs and whatnot here the protection for the underside might be nice.

Any thoughts other than "That would look terrible" would be welcomed. Or other ideas of how to mount the lights. My Dad has been a mechanic for about 50 years and he will be helping me out. He has a 95 Chevy Lumina and he mounted his lights by just welding metal bars on to the frame and straight through the bumper cover because it's a 95 Chevy, can you really make that any uglier? I'm looking for something not quite that tacky for the BMW.

Thanks for your input,
Daniel
 

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Ich bin ein Bimmerer
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Could you go through the front plate holder area and mount one to the bumper support? Probably have to be custom fab'd. Interesting dilema you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's not a bad idea. I thought about that. It wouldn't protect the bottom at all, but wouldn't encroach on the ground clearance either.
 

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Here are some thoughts:

-Just get brighter lights.

-Get rid of the fog lights, and put in aircraft landing lights.

-The roof has mounting places for a rack...get a rack and put the aircraft landing lights on them.

-Then what ever you do...upgrade you alternator.
 

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ROLL TIDE!
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Could you not use some sort of a bike rack or something and attach a bunch of lights to that?
 

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is a Texan
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Is cost a factor? Looking at ebay, seems X3 type bull bars are typically $200 plus. Seems with the folks you know, you could pull something together for less.

Can't find a picture to show how the X3 bar mounts for comparison, but as you noted, the ground clearance can become an issue if you plan to leave the bumper untoched (aka, go under it).

Maybe some square tubing (or rectangular, rather) to minimize ground clearance problems on the bit that goes under the bumper, then weld the round tubing to it for the portion that's going to gain the height you need.

Interested to see what you pull together...I think it'll be hard to make it look "less tacky" but done right, it can probably be pulled off with a certain Utilitatarian flavor.

EDIT: Ahh ^ Roof rack lights...also a good idea.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Depending on the weight & stress anticipated on the light bar, you *might* be able to utilize the tow-hook screw mount, probably the strongest spot on the front of an E46.
 

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I do'nt make mistakes.
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If just lighting, I'd upgrade the car to xenons. More expensive than cheap off-road lights, but they wouldn't stand out like a sore thumb.
 

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+1
on the rack and adding lights to it

or
something like this


kinda admire how the bar flows with the body
 

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ROLL TIDE!
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Another option would be to mount a cross bar where the kidney grilles are and then mount the lights to that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I couldn't find a picture of a 3-series similar to what I'm thinking, but I found a Mini tricked out with the same sort of design idea I had in mind.

http://www.automotto.com/entry/dsquared-unveils-quirky-2011-life-ball-mini-cooper/

I like the black bull bar. I would likely just got for the two upper lights mounted on it tho, and forego the two lower ones and the the roof mounted ones. Although I was thinking of getting a roof rack at some point.

The car already has Xenon lights stock, and they are bright. Just not bright enough. Especially when I get away from town at all in the middle of the winter when it's dark and the roads are just snow and sheet ice. Stopping from 70mph on ice takes a bit of time, so seeing down the road is important.

My Dad has some really good connections for getting cheap HID driving lights. He has to commute once a week a little over an hour each way with no civilization between. He put four lights on his car and it might as well be day time when he turns them on. You can see down the road for like two miles.

And contrary to what you would think, the sport pack actually makes it better to drive on ice than normal. The LSD and design of the suspension is made for maximizing grip. My car actually handles a lot better on ice than my girlfriends 2005 Grand Cherokee. Much more stable. I just can't handle deep snow.



I'm kinda liking the idea of going in through the opening below the license plate. That'd keep it from intruding on ground clearance and be above the plastic shield underneath the car. I'd just have to find some nice pieces of frame to attach it to.



Thanks for all the input and ideas guys :)
 

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Upgrade to bi-xenons then find an Indy shop to program your lights so fogs, bixenons, and the flash to pass lights are all on when brights are activated....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Upgrade to bi-xenons then find an Indy shop to program your lights so fogs, bixenons, and the flash to pass lights are all on when brights are activated....
That's not a bad idea. I didn't know that you could program that in to the computer. My Dad has access to the professional grade scan tools at work, which is nice because no one within several thousand miles knows anything about BMWs. There is a really ****ty tiny dealership in Anchorage, 7 hours away. They don't really know anything though.

The OBD2 port in my car has problems. It works fine with simple code readers and whatnot, but when we tried to hook up the big boy $2000+ scan tool to change some of the cars settings last summer it said that the port on my car was faulty, so I don't know if programming it would work.
 

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Usually a dealership can't do that type of programming even if they have the means by which to do it best bet is private shop or in your case your dads programming equipment... May want to look into replacing your port too that way you can program what to suit you and keep the car looking stock
 
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