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Front and Rear Wheel Well Liner Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front and Rear Wheel Well Liner Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$150

Talent:

***

Tools:

10mm, 8mm sockets, flathead screwdriver, small pick, floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, safety glasses, lug wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Wheel well plastic rivets

Hot Tip:

Tape body so you don't scratch it

Performance Gain:

Access to front lights, horn and washer reservoir

Complementary Modification:

Replace all plastic rivets

The wheel wells (inner fenders) on your BMW E53 are fitted with plastic liners. These liners help to keep water and debris from entering body panels, electrical components and the engine comportment. The wheel well liners also help to reduce road noise and offer another level of weight reduction by reducing the amount of metal used in the fenders and surrounding components.

The front wheel well liner protects the front fender from water and helps to dampen road noise. You will need to remove it to replace a front fender. Also the windshield washer reservoir is located behind the driver side front wheel well liner. Wheel well liners are frequently damaged from impacts with parking blocks or curbs, sometimes leaving the liner hanging or dragging on the wheel. When replacing, I suggest having one large plastic rivet for the front splash shield connection and three small plastic rivets for the rear connection to the fender on hand. These items frequently break when removing, and there is nothing worse than not having all the parts you need to complete a repair.

Remember that 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. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Raise and support the front of the vehicle. See our tech article on jacking up the vehicle.

Remove the front wheel and the engine splash shields. See our tech article on splash shield removal.

Front liner: 
Front liner: The wheel well liner (red arrows) is one piece, wrapping around the inner fender and behind the strut.
Figure 1

Front liner: The wheel well liner (red arrows) is one piece, wrapping around the inner fender and behind the strut.

Front liner: Starting at the wheel well arch trim piece, remove the plastic rivets (red arrows).
Figure 2

Front liner: Starting at the wheel well arch trim piece, remove the plastic rivets (red arrows). Use a small Phillips head screwdriver (inset) and push the center tab inward, then lever the rivet out using a trim panel tool.

Front liner: Working under the vehicle at the rear of the wheel well liner, remove the two 8mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 3

Front liner: Working under the vehicle at the rear of the wheel well liner, remove the two 8mm fasteners (red arrows).

Front liner: Then, remove the five 8mm when well inner fasteners (green arrow).
Figure 4

Front liner: Then, remove the five 8mm when well inner fasteners (green arrow).

Front liner: Working at the front corner of the bumper, remove the two remaining 8mm fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 5

Front liner: Working at the front corner of the bumper, remove the two remaining 8mm fasteners (red arrows). The front most fastener in this photo has already been removed. An empty rivet bore is shown.

Front liner: Working at the rear of the panel at the bottom of the fender, remove the plastic rivet (red arrow).
Figure 6

Front liner: Working at the rear of the panel at the bottom of the fender, remove the plastic rivet (red arrow). Lever out the center pin, then remove the rivet body.

Front liner: Pull the wheel well arch (red arrow) trim away from the fender enough to clear the wheel well liner.
Figure 7

Front liner: Pull the wheel well arch (red arrow) trim away from the fender enough to clear the wheel well liner.

Front liner: Working at the rear bottom of the wheel well liner, detach the wheel well liner from the body.
Figure 8

Front liner: Working at the rear bottom of the wheel well liner, detach the wheel well liner from the body. Pull it out of the body and down while you pull the liner out of the fender (red arrow). Guide the liner out of the fender. Then move to the front of the liner. Pull it out of the front bumper and down.

Front liner: Once the liner is detached from the bumper, fender and body, push the front and rear section toward each other.
Figure 9

Front liner: Once the liner is detached from the bumper, fender and body, push the front and rear section toward each other. Then pull the liner up from behind the brake line and front strut. This is the tough part, as it is a tight fit out from behind the brake hose. As you lift, wiggle the liner back and forth to get it out. Install the wheel well liner in the reverse order of removal. Remember to replace the plastic rivets and any damaged fasteners. When installing, start by holding the front and rear sections toward each other, almost folded. Then feed the liner into the wheel well and behind the brake hose. Wiggle it back and forth to get it in. Be sure that it is behind the brake hose. Once in, feed the liner lip into the fender and behind the wheel well arch trim. Finally install the fasteners, splash shields and wheel.

Rear liner: 
Rear liner: The rear wheel well liner (red arrows) is one piece, wrapping around the inner fender and behind the strut.
Figure 10

Rear liner: The rear wheel well liner (red arrows) is one piece, wrapping around the inner fender and behind the strut.

Rear liner: Start by removing the wheel well liner fasteners.
Figure 11

Rear liner: Start by removing the wheel well liner fasteners. There are seven 8mm fasteners 9red arrows) to remove.

Rear liner: Next, remove the wheel well arch trim plastic rivets (red arrows).
Figure 12

Rear liner: Next, remove the wheel well arch trim plastic rivets (red arrows). Use a small Phillips head screwdriver (inset) and push the center tab inward. Then lever the rivet out using a trim panel tool.

Rear liner: Pull the wheel well arch (red arrow) trim away from the fender enough to clear the wheel well liner.
Figure 13

Rear liner: Pull the wheel well arch (red arrow) trim away from the fender enough to clear the wheel well liner.

Rear liner: Working at the front of the wheel well liner, detach the wheel well liner from the body.
Figure 14

Rear liner: Working at the front of the wheel well liner, detach the wheel well liner from the body. Pull it out of the body and down while you pull the liner out of the fender. Guide the liner out of the fender. Then move to the rear of the liner and pull it out of the fender and down.

Rear liner: Once the liner is detached from the bumper, fender and body, push the front and rear section toward each other.
Figure 15

Rear liner: Once the liner is detached from the bumper, fender and body, push the front and rear section toward each other. Then pull the liner down to remove it. As you pull it away, wiggle the liner back and forth to get it out. Install the wheel well liner in the reverse order of removal. Remember to replace the plastic rivets and any damaged fasteners. When installing, start by holding the front and rear sections toward each other, as if you were trying to fold it slightly. Then feed the liner into the wheel well. Once in, feed the liner lip into the fender and behind the wheel well arch trim. Finally install the fasteners, splash shields and wheel.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:44:07 AM