No longer an all-Toyota family...

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Fort Knox

May 30, 2006
Durham, NC
Well, the wife was getting a little tired of the base model '01 Rav4 that she's been driving. When I say "base model", I mean 2wd, no sunroof, cloth interior, didn't even have keyless entry when she got it. So we went looking.

Briefly, she flirted with the idea of an 80-series, but that was until she parked the Rav4 next to one and decided it was way too big and decided she wanted something smaller, that she could deal with a bit easier. However, the idea of a vehicle with some luxury to it caught her eye. So this is what we went with:

2002 BMW 325i - Alpine White with tan leather interior





I'd never driven a BMW before. My first impression - WOW, this is one solid, quality vehicle. It's got ample power. While 184hp isn't a lot (my Accord had 240), the power is smooooooth in the BMW straight-6. Erica has never owned anything but a 4-cyl., so she feels like she's in a racecar. Needless to say, she is happy with the change. :D
These are awesome cars. Really fun at VIR.
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Nice ride Alan. My wife went through one many moons ago. We loved it, like you said, a very solid vehicle and fun to drive in the country. I'm sure she will enjoy it...
Good choice. My pops has the exact same car but with black interior...he loves it.
They are great solid cars with good dependability and handling...but when there is maintenance that cannot be done yourself, break out your wallet :D
They are great solid cars with good dependability and handling...but when there is maintenance that cannot be done yourself, break out your wallet :D

Yeah, that's what I've heard. The parts are expensive, but I don't think I'll be paying the dealer's overinflated hourly rates.
Well, I didn't think I'd have to price BMW parts so quickly, but we already got some damage today. Went to Elmo's for some breakfast, got in the car to leave, started to back out. *crack* *pop* WTF? The wife gets out to check what it was and the bottom lip of the bumper caught on one of the parking blocks and as I was backing out, it dang near pulled the bumper off the car. F*&K!!!!! I was able to pop it back close by hand, but a couple of the brackets are broken and there's a slight crease in the bumper. WTF? We've only had it less than a week and I get trail damage backing out of a parking space?




The brackets aren't that expensive really (less than $10) and if necessary I could use a sheet-metal screw to take up the gap on the side, but that would still leave the crease, which you can kinda see in the last picture above. It runs from the black trim piece down and to the right from above the foglight down to the bottom below the tow-hook cover. I'm curious if a heat gun could be used to carefully get it worked out a little. Anyone ever done anything like that? It's either that or pony up the money for a replacement bumper and get it painted, which would be significantly more money, but at least it would be perfect.

If it were my car, I'd say it's a perfect time for an aftermarket bumper, but it's the wife' I'm not sure how that would go over.
I priced out a new one from a BMW dealer in Silver Spring, MD (Tischer) for $285 plus shipping. Haven't called the local dealer, but the guys on the BMW forums swear by Tischer. Of course, they're also all suggesting getting an aftermarket bumper like the Mtech II, which is a sharp bumper, but would be $400 shipped. I like it more than the stock bumper, but it's really Erica's choice.

Ideally, I'd rather be able to work the crease out with a heat gun. Thoughts?

Oh, here is a pic of the Mtech II bumper. Wow....I can't even leave the wife's car alone now! :grinpimp:

What about an ARB, IPOR, or Slee for it? ;)

Sorry to hear this happened, Allen! I hope it doesn't dampen the enthusiasm for the Bimmer!
Heat Gun

I saw on Trucks! this past week that they used a Heat Gun to help fix a damaged molded plastic piece in a Silverado.

They had a dented section that had sprung back into shape. It was straight, but discolored (lighter/white looking - just like bent plastic). They heated the front side for about 3-5 minutes and it kind of melted everything back together to form the original color.

There was also a dented (deformed) corner - they heated both sides of the plastic and bent it back out with a corresponding shape (looked like they used the handle of a screwdriver).

I think the biggest fear is getting the plastic too hot and then melting through it - they had their gun about 3-5" away and didn't keep in one place for too long.

This was on an interior panel that is a bit thicker and not glossy, so I'm not too sure about heating the outside of your bumper, but a bit of heat on the backside should make it semi pliable and then you could form it out.
That's actually exactly where I got the idea for using a heat gun to form the bumper. :)
What about an ARB, IPOR, or Slee for it? ;)

Sorry to hear this happened, Allen! I hope it doesn't dampen the enthusiasm for the Bimmer!

Definitely doesn't dampen the enthusiasm for the Bimmer. Definitely does dampen any enthusiasm I had for parking blocks. :bang:

Took off the bumper yesterday evening and changed out the bracket that was broken and readjusted the fog light bracket. I also gave the heat gun method a try and it worked! It was difficult to get something in behind the metal bracing on the bumper to push out on the plastic, but by heating up the outside of the bumper and pushing where I could reach, I got about...I'd say 90% of the crease out. No more gap on the side.....foglight lines up.....crease is all but gone.... Cost me $9 for the broken bracket at BMW, $49ish for a new lower inner fender cover, $4 for a T-14 Torx socket, and about $4 worth of new plastic rivets. I borrowed the heat gun from work, so I didn't even need to buy that. That's a whole lot better than the cost of a new bumper! :grinpimp:
Sweet! Glad it worked!

Did you heat from only the backside?
See above for pics of the damage. Here are a few camera phone pics from last night. Not much detail.


Erica is in NJ visiting her mom and sister this weekend. I sent this one to her to make her nervous. :D


This one is the bumper on my workbench when I was just about done w/ the heat gun.


Here it is back on the car:


One showing the corner. No more gap.


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