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Pelican Technical Article:

Hood Grille Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

Flathead screwdriver, plastic prying tool

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Hood grilles

Hot Tip:

Be gentle, the grilles are generally pretty fragile

Performance Gain:

Replace broken hood grilles

Complementary Modification:

Replace Roundel emblem

The hood grilles (radiator grilles) consist of two snap together grilles. The outer chrome ring can be separated from the inner black plastic grille and each can be serviced. The plastic clips break on the inner grille and the chrome can wear off the grille. If this happens, you can replace the grilles quite easily and freshen up the look of your E46. 

To avoid marring the trim if you need to pry anything, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out the trim panels, switches or electrical accessories.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

ThisPicture shows the front end of an E46.
Figure 1

This picture shows the front end of an E46. Notice the two black hood grilles.

The grille in this photo shows what can happen when the internal grille retaining clips fail.
Figure 2

The grille in this photo shows what can happen when the internal grille retaining clips fail. The grille becomes loose and can hang out of the engine hood. If this happens, you will need to replace the inner grille.

Begin by opening the hood.
Figure 3

Begin by opening the hood. Using a flathead screwdriver, detach the retaining clips by prying it out and release the grille from engine hood (green arrows). There are metal tabs on the hood and plastic tabs on the grille. You are releasing the connection between the two.

Once the clips have been detached, remove the grille from the engine hood by pulling it straight out.
Figure 4

Once the clips have been detached, remove the grille from the engine hood by pulling it straight out. If clips re-engage or become snagged, you may have to release them again. When removing left side grille, be careful not to catch hood release lever.

If you are re-using the chrome grille trim, release the retaining clips and separate the chrome grille from the inner grille.
Figure 5

If you are re-using the chrome grille trim, release the retaining clips and separate the chrome grille from the inner grille. There are a total of 4 clips to release. Green arrows point to locations of these clips. If you are re-using the chrome grille trim, snap the chrome trim onto the new inner grille.

Install the new grilles by feeding them into engine hood and pressing around chrome grille edges.
Figure 6

Install the new grilles by feeding them into engine hood and pressing around chrome grille edges. The grille will snap into place.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Ant Comments: How would one remove the grills on a 2005 x3 3.0? The dealer told me that they would have to remove the front bumper, but I just want to get them out to paint them... Thank you...
January 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The bumper doesn't have to be removed, if you work carefully. You can remove the fasteners at the radiator support, then pull the bumper cover forward to get them out.


We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BrucemaninaBMW330i Comments: I would like to know if the retaining clips can be ordered seperately. My wife hit a bird and the 2 lower clips were lost, there is also a piece of trim just below the headlight that was broken. It is a clean break that could be easily repaired with a reccomended adhesive; carefully applied.

Thanks for your time and expertise.

Bruceman
July 1, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I do not think you can get them separately. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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