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Replacing M-Sport Air Dam

Discussion in 'E39 (1997-2003)' started by Dmarque, Jun 28, 2009.

    • Member

    Dmarque

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    Recently purchased a 2003 540 M-Sport. It's a beautiful car but it did come with a damaged front air dam. How can I be assured of getting an original equipment air dam with the same strength of material properties of the original?

    Thanks...

    vtx guest

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    Why would the strength matter? The air dam is almost purely cosmetic element, and the most it has to withstand is the air pressure on high speed.

    I'd be more concerned about the integrity of elements that are behind it - shock absorbers, etc.

    A picture would definitely help.
    • Member

    Dmarque

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    Strength

    I just believe that anything that deviates from the original BMW design is a bad move. BMW chose the design for a reason....I trust BMW original components to be my first choice and don't wish to settle for less. A lighter gauge material is more likely to wobble under the the wind pressures of high speeds. The suspension and major components are fine....it's the air dam that has been cracked by the previous owner. A picture would help you say? I'd have thought you would know what a 540 M-Sport air dam looked like and that wouldn't be necessary. I've attached a photo for your convenience.

    vtx guest

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    (cough...) Let me give you a few prominent examples where this is not the best strategy - radiator on V8s, early water pumps with plastic impellers, early dashboards with dead pixels, window regulators, hood switches, front suspension parts... This is just E39, other models have their share of grief caused by original BMW components.

    Unfortunately, the crack is not obvious - I was hoping that you'd get the picture of the crack itself. If I see it right and it is on the right side under the fog light - well, there's a good chance that you'd be better off repairing it than replacing the whole bumper. Best guess, when performing repair, you'd provide a layer of reinforcement from the inner side of the bumper, and after that is done, the rigidity will be higher than the original part. And again, this is not a load bearing part, so it's most probably next to irrelevant.

    Last time I checked, you can't get the bumper painted, only primed (most probably, you need part #51117894378, if I get the position of the crack correctly, and several companion parts if the damage is deeper than it looks). So, the tradeoff is:

    - Try to fix it in place and blend the paint in place, vs.
    - Buy new part, paint it all, pay for the labor of taking everything off the bumper (that'll be fog lights, proximity sensors, pressure washers) and putting that back onto the new bumper.

    Oh, and one more thing to consider - how many things will be broken in a course of taking them off and putting them back. For comparison, when a window regulator was being fixed on my car, five pistons out of nine that hold the door panel were found broken. When they fixed my radiator, they put a dent into the door. When they fixed the dent, they broke the center console. Another time, they killed the headlights during a "mandatory" car wash.

    Just my $0.02.

    Now back to your original question - you can walk into a BMW dealership, and ask them to sell you the aforementioned part - they will, at a premium price. You can try to ask them for the part number (the number above is a reasonable guess, not necessarily correct) - they may refuse, recently dealerships have become very touchy about giving out part numbers "because people waste our time and then go buy stuff off the Internet". In that case, though, all bets are off - you mayu or may not get the original part.
    • Member

    Dmarque

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    Boy, sure sounds like you've done a poor job in acquiring a good dealer and repair facility. Find one you trust and you'd be less skeptical. I've used Erhard BMW in Birmingham Michigan since 1973. Reliable and high quality work at all times. After 36 years working with them I've learned to trust their work.

    Hope you can find the same someday!

    Dmarque
    • Member

    CSBM5

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    Looks like you have two choices: either replace the bumper cover (at a respected body shop) or have said shop repair the surface/repaint. Just the bumper cover part runs around $500, add prep/paint/removal/install, and a good shop should have you out the door under $1k. If you go the repair route, then they might could do it on the car even. I know, sounds like a hack job, but I've been astounded by the work that the local franchise of Colors on Parade have done on cars I've seen. Going that route may run ~$300? Not sure...never done it.

    By the way, researching part numbers is easily done through www.realoem.com. Ignore the prices realoem shows as they are basically invalid. Take the part number and go to www.getbmwparts.com and plug it in. Then you'll see the BMWNA "real" MSRP (likely not what your local dealer claims is the list price) along with their discounted price. These guys are great to deal with in my experience also -- orders filled/shipped quickly.
    • Member

    Dmarque

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    Air Dam

    Thanks a lot Chuck. I'll check out the options you've provided.

    Mark

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