Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bumpers and Side Skirts

Front Bumper - Who doesn't love the bumpers on the 84-6/88 E30's? I believe these are referred to as diving boards! You can drill holes in the shocks and compress the bumpers down about a 1 1/2". Then you still have to deal with the wavy bumper fillers. Here is what I know about E30 bumpers

84-85 have the fat square marker light
86-87 have the long skinny marker light
88 metal bumpers have the long skinny marker light, but also have the metal valance that holds the fog lights. These fillers (88 only) are thinner than the 86-87's and won't work with the 86-87 bumper shocks.

6/88 -91 Plastic bumpers

These year splits apply to 2dr and 4dr cars. The E30 convertible uses the metal bumper up to 10/90 and then goes to plastic.

The valance ( the metal below the front bumper) also changes at the same time as the fillers.

The front spoiler on the bottom of the valance also changes on these year splits. Not counting the ES/IS spoiler with the fog lights mounted in it.

I opted to lose my metal front bumpers and go with a plastic factory front bumper. Here's what I changed

Bumper Assembly - Plastic - 6/88 - 91 E30
Turn signals - Metal bumper and Plastic bumper turn signals are not the same
Bumper Shocks - Again metal bumper and plastic bumper shocks are not the same
Valance - the 1988 metal bumper valance will work, but it has provision for the early fillers to mount to it. I used one from a 89-91 E30
Fog lights - 88-91 Valance mounted fog lights
Brake Ducts - 88-91 brake ducts and inner fenders
Lip Spoiler - I opted for the 3 inch "IS " spoiler for 1988 to 1991 cars. You could use the 1"
Engine Splash Shield - 88-91 black plastic cover below the engine

The swap is pretty straight forward. I was able to get all the parts in the same color as my car (Delphine Gray). Simply unbolt all the old parts from the car and install the new ones.

It makes for a much better look.

Rear Bumper - For the rear bumper I opted for a 88-91 S14 M3 rear bumper. Since my car is a 1986, I have the 2 row tail lights as does the M3. When you remove the metal bumper off the early E30 there is no valance panel below the bumper. A plastic rear bumper is slightly thinner and the 88 to 1991 E30 with the 3 row tail light has a valance/tail light panel that continues down below the bumper. The plastic bumper is also longer on the sides. You would need to cut the plastic bumper down and make some kind of valance to go below the bumper. The M3 bolts up and only requires a little modification to the quarter panel to make the bracket snug that holds the sides against the car. I was not lucky enough to get a rear bumper in Delphine Gray. I believe the M3 only came in red, white and black.

Side Skirts - As I mentioned, I work for a BMW dismantler. I have my pick of parts, I'm not going to lie. We also sell parts, so I try not to take the high dollar stuff. We had a 325is come in one day with a set of factory side skirts that I thought looked quite nice. Not to flashy, but they brought the body lines more in line with the front and rear bumpers. Once again they were not in Delphine Gray. I tried painting them my self with some factory paint a friend gave me. I think they came out fairly nice.

I used all new factory hardware with the skirts. The hardest apart was drilling all the holes and making sure I kept everything straight.

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