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Pelican Technical Article:

Radiator Grille Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1 hours1 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

Small flathead screwdriver, T30 Torx

Applicable Models:

X3 E83 (2004-06)
X3 E83 facelift (2007-10)

Parts Required:

Radiator grille

Hot Tip:

Work carefully to not damage grille retaining clips

Performance Gain:

Nice looking exterior trim

Complementary Modification:

Paint grilles black

The front radiator, or kidney grills on a BMW have been a signature feature for what seems like forever. Let's be honest here. The most prominent trademark of the BMW brand is the kidney shaped grille. The shape or location slightly evolves with each model, yet still retains that classic look. The grills are usually coated in chrome and make of plastic. This leaves them susceptible to damage. In my area, the chrome flakes off or the grills themselves become loose. Once loose, they will rattle and sometimes scratch the finish on the hood. If you have a faulty or worn grill, you can quickly freshen up the look of your BMW X3 by replacing them. You can paint the chrome black, or install aftermarket versions of the grilles as well.

If your kidney grilles are looking bad, you should do something about it. In this article, I will go over the easy steps of removing the grilles for replacement or radical improvement.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

The radiator grilles consist of two grilles (red arrows) mounted in the front bumper cover.
Figure 1

The radiator grilles consist of two grilles (red arrows) mounted in the front bumper cover. The plastic clips break on the grille and the chrome can wear off. If this happens you can replace the grilles quite easily and freshen up the look of your X3. You can paint the chrome black, or install aftermarket versions of the grilles as well.

Working at the radiator support, remove the three T30 Torx fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 2

Working at the radiator support, remove the three T30 Torx fasteners (red arrows).

Pull the front bumper away from the radiator support to gain access to the rear of the grilles.
Figure 3

Pull the front bumper away from the radiator support to gain access to the rear of the grilles. Locate the slots (red arrows) that surround the grilles. There are eight.

Use a small flathead screwdriver to lever the tabs inside the slots away from the center of the grille (red arrow).
Figure 4

Use a small flathead screwdriver to lever the tabs inside the slots away from the center of the grille (red arrow). As you lever each tab away, pull the grille out slightly to detach it.

This photo shows accessing the slots for the outer tabs (red arrow).
Figure 5

This photo shows accessing the slots for the outer tabs (red arrow).

Once all eight tabs are released, pull the grille straight out to remove.
Figure 6

Once all eight tabs are released, pull the grille straight out to remove.

This photo shows the mounting spots in the bumper (red arrows).
Figure 7

This photo shows the mounting spots in the bumper (red arrows). If you have a loose grille, be sure to inspect these to see if they are damaged. If damaged, you will have to remove the bumper to replace the plastic bracket. See front bumper replacing for more information. When installing grille, align the tabs with holes in the bumper cover. Once aligned, push the grille into the bumper cover until it snaps into place (inset).

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 03:08:58 AM