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Subject: Front License Plate Filler Strip

Back in May, my '97 318ti Sport came with the typical front trim strip with the BMW lettering on it. Connecticut being a two plate state, I asked for the front license plate trim strip and associated hardware. In Connecticut some cars (not sure of the criteria) are legal driving without a front plate. My dealer, and in the future others, claimed there was no such thing. Not true. After a post to the digest, I received many conflicting responses (all correct in there way). Craig Wiswell furnished the number for the non lettered trim strip. I gave Craigs numbers to my dealer.

Today, five months later, I picked up the parts (at no charge) from my dealer. In the meantime, I decided not to mount them. After looking at the pieces, the following describes several ways to go about mounting the front plate. These are the ways I didn't do it. Feel free to do it your way.

Here we go.

Parts, depending on which way you elect to go.

    Buffer strip (stock)                  51 11 2 265 636   you have this item
    1 each Buffer strip (non-lettered)    51 11 2 265 632   $20.25 retail
    1 each Plate holder (metal)           51 18 1 908 062   $17.75 retail
    6 each Screw                          51 18 1 821 830   $ 0.30 retail each
    2 each Insert nut                     51 18 1 852 299   $ 0.25 retail each
    4 each Body nut                       07-12-9-925-735   $ 0.15 retail each

E36 Front Plate Mount

Method one:
Quick and dirty (cheap). Remove (it just pulls out) the stock trim strip. Look at the back side of it. Cut out (I would use a hole saw) the marked ~9/16" holes that are ~ 7" apart. Reinstall the strip and mark the hole center points on the air dam. Remove the strip. Drill 8mm holes and push in the insert nuts. Reinstall (make sure you center) the strip. Mount the plate with two of the above screws.

Method two:
This is how I would do it. The lettering of the stock strip makes the plate stick out slightly more. This is an advantage if you are using a plate holder (chrome or black) frame piece. Remove (it just pulls out) the stock trim strip. Look at the back side of it. Cut out (I would use a hole saw) the marked ~1 1/8" holes that are ~ 9 1/8" apart. Reinstall (make sure you center) the strip. Install four body nuts on the metal plate holder. Mount this to the trim strip holes. The body nuts for this were present on my car. Puncture the trim strip through the top two plate mounting holes with a pointed tool to accommodate the upper license plate mounting screws. Mount the plate. I would use a four hole black Mercedes-Benz frame part # Q 6 88 0007 $21.00 retail. The same item in polished stainless steel is Q 6 88 0005 $27.00 retail. Although the BMW accessory catalog shows the four hole version of the same items, only the two hole versions are available. Neither the MB or BMW ones come with the lexon protector common with aftermarket sellers, such as AutoSport.

Method three:
Same as method two using the non-lettered trim strip. This strip comes with the 1 1/8" holes already cut out.

Thanks go to all that helped in the above. Since I did not actually do any of the above the following note may apply, if you run in to problems. One mark of a craftsman is his ability to recover from a screwup., FLI BMW, FLY BMW, Marlborough, CT
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