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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Bumper Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

Plastic prying tool, socket set (8mm), T-50 Torx bit,

Applicable Models:

BMW E46 3-Series (1999-06)

Parts Required:

Bumper mounting brackets

Hot Tip:

Have a friend nearby to help lifting bumper on and off.

Performance Gain:

Better looking rear!

Complementary Modification:

Replace exhaust hangers

BMW46 models use a plastic bumper cover over a rigid strut-supported aluminum bumper. This cover is painted to match your vehicle. It is frequently scratched and damaged. Over time, your rear bumper will have absorbed the elements, small fender-benders, dents, cuts, scrapes and more. The mounting brackets that bolt to the body can also break from an impact or improper installation. So if you're an E46 owner that is looking to replace your bumper but don't exactly know how or where to begin, continue reading!

Fortunately for you, the removal process for the rear bumper is quick, painless and best of all, easy! A few fasteners and two clips and you can slide it off. You can replace a bumper cover with a factory part, or an aftermarket one if you want to upgrade the look of your E46. Remember to plan to have it painted before you install it, so leave yourself extra time.

In this article I will go over removing the rear bumper as well as replacing the mounting brackets. Have a friend present to help slide the bumper on and off quickly. 

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.

Working under the corner of the bumper, remove the 8mm fasteners (green arrow).
Figure 1

Working under the corner of the bumper, remove the 8mm fasteners (green arrow). The left side shown in photo, right side is the same; you will have to remove both.

Working under the center of the bumper, locate the two bumper bolt access holes (green arrows).
Figure 2

Working under the center of the bumper, locate the two bumper bolt access holes (green arrows).

Then, using a T-50 Torx bit on a 6-inch extension, remove the bumper bolts through access hole.
Figure 3

Then, using a T-50 Torx bit on a 6-inch extension, remove the bumper bolts through access hole.

Using a plastic prying tool, lever the front corner of rear bumper off the mounting bracket (green arrow).
Figure 4

Using a plastic prying tool, lever the front corner of rear bumper off the mounting bracket (green arrow).

Once the bumper corners are detached, slide the bumper off the vehicle and store it in a safe place. Be careful not to scratch the bumper when moving it around.

If your rear bumper mounting bracket is damaged from an impact, you can replace the mounting bracket now (green arrow).
Figure 5

If your rear bumper mounting bracket is damaged from an impact, you can replace the mounting bracket now (green arrow). This is the bracket you will want to replace if the corner of your rear bumper will not stay attached to vehicle. Be sure to inspect bumper cover also, as it can become damaged as the brackets do.

Working in the fender well, remove the 8mm bracket fastener (green arrow).
Figure 6

Working in the fender well, remove the 8mm bracket fastener (green arrow).

Remove the mounting bracket fasteners.
Figure 7

Remove the mounting bracket fasteners. There is one 10mm nut (blue arrow) and one 8mm bolt (green arrow). Remove the bracket from the body. Install the new bracket and tighten the fasteners. Repeat this process for other side if that bracket is also damaged.

When installing the bumper, slide the bumper slots onto the bumper mounting bracket on the body.
Figure 8

When installing the bumper, slide the bumper slots onto the bumper mounting bracket on the body.

This photo shows the slots on the bumper cover (green arrows).
Figure 9

This photo shows the slots on the bumper cover (green arrows).

This photo shows the clips on the bumper mounting bracket (green arrows).
Figure 10

This photo shows the clips on the bumper mounting bracket (green arrows). Once the bumper corners are installed correctly, install the bumper. Next, install the T-50 Torx fasteners at the corners of the bumper.

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Comments and Suggestions:
stingray230sx Comments: someone has hit the right rear corner of my 330ci and the edge at the fender [section where your photo says pry the front corner off of the mounting bracket] is slightly loose and lower. can I pop this back on or how does this attach ?
September 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the bracket is not damaged it should slide back on. You may have to remove the bumper to re-fit it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Beemerlover Comments: Sounds good, thank you
July 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
beemerlover Comments: I had a quick question. I hit a solid object and buckled the front bumper on my 2004 bmw. The insurance co. says they will repair but *very* reputable body shop says replace bc its not safe, 2nd shop says it's not safe, and to replace. Can anyone comment, replace or repair, thanks
July 23, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It depends on what is buckled. If just the cover it can be repaired. If the support is damaged, it may have to be replaced. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ss_mikey101 Comments: I cannot find the mounting brackets for purchase. Can somebody direct me to the proper place?
July 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
spuddy98 Comments: Not all these cars have the bumper access holes shown in figure 2. I guess you have to remove a lower black strip and work thru a slot in that area.
September 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Somem odels may be equipped with a lower trip piece, depends on the vehicle options. Thanks for the additional Info. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:21:42 AM