07 How To - Body

Quick Links: Front Wheel area   Emblems   Trunk lid versions   Trunk Lid replacement     

Over the years the M3 body needs some attention, love and tender care.

Depending on the environment there are some places where rust may turn out to be a problem. Especially the wheel arches, the areas behind the front wheels and in front of the rear wheels need to be in focus.

Front wheel area / Fenders

This video shows how to remove the front wheel inner liners
as well as remove the front fenders.

BMW E46 Front Wing Removal, How to Replace Fender –
3 Series M3 Arch Rust Issues

Personally I would have taken out the front indicator first in order
not to damage it – and to provide better access to unclip the
connection between the fender and the cover under the head light.

Emblems / Letterings

It is somewhat difficult to find out what is the correct position
of the M3 emblem (part 51 14 7 893 655) on the trunk lid.
The workshop handbook states that the horizontal measure
shall be 41 mm. This is however not correct – and looks “wrong”.

I have not been able to find an official BMW statement of where
the badge shall be positioned. Consequently I examined a number
of presumably original locations in my image files and posted the
question on “E46 M3 Owners UK”. 

The conclusion is that A=40 mm and B=33 mm is the correct position.

Be aware that at some instant BMW changed the width of the 
trunk lid handle - the newer is wider.

A slightly different position is argued for here:

Perfect BMW E46 M3 Trunk Emblem Placement!

The BMW badge at the centre of the boot lid is fastened by two pins
that fit into small plastic grommets sitting in holes in the lid. If standard
the badge may be pryed off as shown in this video:

How to Remove or Replace BMW Bonnet or Boot Badge

OBS: Beware that the badge may be held in place by some adhesive if someone has previously “fixed” the issue.

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Trunk / Boot lid versions

As you can see on the pictures to the right,
there are 3 versions of the original E46 M3
trunk/boot lid.
The first, with the narrow trunk lid grip was
standard to about 3rd month 2003 when it
was replaced with a version with a wider grip.
The 3rd version is the original CSL trunk
(however not on an original CSL).

It’s not possible to interchange the two non-CSL grips since the mounting holes in the trunk lid are different.
The narrow grip has part No 51 13 8 244 714.
The wide grip has part No 51 13 7 170 967.

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Trunk / boot lid replacement (wire repair/back camera)

In order to replace the boot lid you have to deal with the wire harness first.
Start with releasing the rear seat backrests. It sounds silly, but should you later by accident close the boot lid with the battery detached you will appreciate this precaution.
Then detach the battery ground. When you are fiddling around with the wire harness you may accidentally short circuit some wires.

Unless you are to replace the hinges and/or the gas pressurized springs, there is no need to detach these parts from the car body.

Regardless of you are aiming to replace the boot lid, repairing the wire harness or are in need to get more wiring out in the boot lid (back camera) the best starting point is to understand the wiring.

This video explains: E46 Wiring Harness Repair & Trunk Replacement:

Note the good idea to take photos of the respective connectors. Also note that it is most practical only to loosen the two top screws, which holds the lid onto the hinges. The two bottom ones need to go completely out. When doing so, it’s possible to replace the lid single handedly – although it’s better to be two or more not to scratch anything.

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