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BMW Technical Article

BMW E36 Front Bumper Removal
Jared Fenton

Difficulty Level: 3
Difficulty scale: Adding air to your tires is level one
Rebuilding a BMW Motor is level ten

     On the BMW E36 3 Series models, there are circumstances in which you will need to remove the front bumper. For instance, to remove factory fog lights or install a lip spoiler. That in mind, this tech article covers the steps involved in removing the front bumper.

     First, jack the front of the car up. This will help in accessing the lower bumper mounting screws. Be sure to chock the rear wheels and place the car on suitable jack stands. If you are not familiar with jacking up the front of the car, check out Wayneís article on the subject.


     With the car securely on jack stands, the next step is to very gently pry off the tow eye cover on the passenger side, on the front bumper. At the same time, gently pry off the driverís side trim strip as well. Directly under these trim strips, you will find the bumper mounting brackets. The bumper is held to them by two nuts in each bracket. Remove the two nuts in each side and place the nuts somewhere where they wont get lost.

     Next, crawl under the front of the car and remove the screws from the left and right side corner trim and remove the trim pieces. Now turn the steering wheel all the way to the left, and look in the passenger side wheel well. In the very front, you will notice two screws connecting the front bumper to the inner wheel well arches. Remove these two screws. Now, turn the steering wheel all the way to the right and look in the driverís side wheel well. Remove the two screws on this side as well.

     Now, look up under the bumper and disconnect the electrical connections to the fog lights. Just pull back on the clip and pull them off. Move the plugs out of the way. Disconnect the electrical connector for the outside air temperature sensor on the rear of the left side of the bumper. Now disconnect the harness connector for the temperature switch at the rear of the right side of the bumper, (if applicable, some cars donít have these parts, if you donít have them on your car, just skip this step.)

     You should be able to now simply slide the front bumper off the mounting brackets. You may want to have a friend help you do this, as the bumper is a large piece and can be awkward to move by yourself. Plus you donít want to take the chance of dropping the bumper and damaging it.

     To Ėreinstall the bumper, make sure that the mounting brackets line up correctly and follow the removal instructions in reverse, making sure that everything lines up correctly.  

     Well, there you have it - it's really not too difficult at all.  If you would like to see more technical articles like this one, please continue to support Pelican Parts with all your parts needs.  If you like what you see here, then please visit our online BMW catalog and help support the collection and creating of new and informative technical articles like this one.  Your continued support directly affects the expansion and existence of this site and technical articles like this one.  As always, if you have any questions or comments about this helpful article, please drop us a line.

Comments and Suggestions:
McDermott Comments: Curious, I replaced my bumper cover last night with an M3 style cover and fog lamps. This article was very helpful however I have 2 questions. On the new/old cover, each side where the cover mounts in to the support guides inner wheel-well there seems to be a machine screw available where the guide slides in to the bumper guide.

1. Is there a "CAP" of some sort which prevents the bumper from sliding out of the guide?

2. I could not find the TEMP Sending unit, whoever owned the car before me did not take very good care and I noticed a 2-wire connection dangling need the drivers-side fog lamp. I am assuming this would be the temp sensor? This would also explain why my temp display show -37 degrees? :

Thank you for your article and the response.

May 21, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1. There might be a guide you are missing. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.

2. Sounds like you found it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Gershy Comments: Thanks for the help, I'm about to strip my bumper that's damaged & put the new one one.
November 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
kslater Comments: Two things I found when doing this job: 1 My temp sensor is plugged into the brake air duct on the driver's left side of the bumper, 2 the replacement bulb type for the Hella fog lamp is a H1, not an H3 not sure where I saw that, maybe on the ordering page for the fog lamp itself?.
June 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kslater Comments: Excellent information and so are the comments and responses. I am getting ready to do this today and really appreciate the information. A stupid ground hog took out my driver's side fog lamp, and lived to tell his friends about it! I whacked him going 35 and can't believe he ran off the road afterwards. Maybe he died in the woods.
June 7, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Timberwoof Comments: What precautions need to be taken against airbag deployment? Where is the SRS front impact sensor?
December 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: - Nick at Pelican Parts

The crash sensor are under the hood they should be the large orange boxes by the strut tower. To avoid deploying the air bags you should disconnect both battery cables and touch them together for about 15 seconds. this will discharge the aig bag control unit.

Got more questions?  Join us in our BMW Technical Forum Message Board, and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.
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