Removing Front Nose

  • It happened again. A low-level life form managed to scrape the front corner of my 850 while it was parked in the deck at my office - and leave no note. No broken parts, but enough scraped paint to require a R&R of the front trim of the car.

    I've become a pro at this now, having removed and reinstalled the front trim three times now (first time for the oil cooler installation, second and third times to remove and install parts needed for painting). While it's still fresh in my mind, I'm going to write up the procedure with as much detail as I can recall so that any other DIY'ers among us can undertake such projects as factory oil cooler installations, etc.

    1. Elevate front end of car

    2. Remove front tires

    3. Remove "flash-to-pass" light bars (pull out air inlet grilles next to
    light bar by giving a firm tug at each end; remove upper and lower screw on each light bar assembly (inward side, middle two screws are for light adjustment), and tilt light assembly horizontally outward and then straight forward to remove "arms" from mounting holes at the rear. Unscrew wiring harness connectors).

    4. Remove forward facing covers from front wheels wells (this is the piece the brake duct discharges through. These are held in place by several 10mm head fasteners and one screw on the bottom lip. Removing these will expose the air collectors.

    5. Unscrew the first two fasteners on each side of the wheel well liners, and bend back to catch and hold them on the brake calipers.

    6. Inside the rectangular opening on the lower air collectors (for the CSi front air dam, anyway) is a screw which mounts the air dam mounting bracket to the collector. Remove these screws.

    7. Remove the large splash shield which covers the front of the lower engine (held in place by four large fasteners.

    8. Disconnect the alternator air inlet hose.

    9. Remove headlight assemblies (I debated adding this step, because the purpose of this is to provide easy access to the air inlet hoses which connect the lower air collectors to the air filter housing boxes. It's not so much a problem to loosen the clamps when removing the front cover, but trust me on this one - based purely on personal experience - you'll be very glad you have full access to these air bellows when your reinstalling. I've done it both ways, and this most recent being my third time, all I can say it was SO MUCH EASIER to realign and connect up the air hoses with the headlight assemblies out of the way).

    10. Loosen clamps on air filter housing to lower air collector housings and pull hoses off.

    11. In the area behind the two air inlet grilles (already removed), there is a 16mm bolt which attached the front bumper and cover assembly to the bumper shocks. Remove this bolt on each side.

    12. On the top, there are six screws with large black washers which secure the top of the cover to the front chassis. Remove these and be sure to also remove the little spacer washers in the holes.

    13. At the lower air opening, there are three screws which hold the inner air snorkel (which directs air coming in the kidney grilles)to the lower bumper cover/air dam. Be sure to remove these screws.

    14. You are now ready to remove the entire front cover (upper and lower air dam) as a single assembly. Make sure to place a large blanket, moving pads, or big towels on the floor to place the painted parts on when they are removed from the car. Gently tug straight forward. The sides are held in place by a slide-in bracket. This piece is reasonably heavy as a single assembly, so be prepared for the weight of it when it clears the bumper shock mounts.

    15. Set the assembly down on the pads.

    16. To separate the upper from the lower assembly, you must remove the the slide in plastic retaining g clip on each side of the lower cover by pushing upwards. Next remove the single screw at the wheelwell opening on each side. The lower cover will now slide out from the upper cover.

    17. Depending on how much further disassembly must be done, you will find that the bumper, the center air duct, and the lower air boxes are all held to the cover by plastic rivets. You can remove these as needed.

    18. The two kidney grilles are installed from the rear and are held in place by four clips, one on each side.

    19. The BMW roundel emblem is secured from the rear by two small circular clamps and adhesive tape backing. To remove this, you must first remove the clamps before gently prying up the emblem.

    20. Installation is basically reverse of above, except that I would install the upper cover first, and then add the lower cover /front air dam after the upper cover is completely mounted.

    21. Final step is to properly realign headlights in hood openings and adjust horizontal levels as needs.
    Anyway, I put my car back together after getting the painted parts back from the shop (they did it for me in only four days this time) and it was sure nice to have it back on the road. And the front end looks brand new again.

    Steve Castle

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