"In this Special Series about the M3 V8 Widened & Vented Front Fender Kit, I document the development targets, unboxing and fitment of the complete carbon kit made in Germany.
In this entry, we're back to the driveway. I touch on the removal of the OEM fenders, set up expectations with the Genuine BMW fitment and test fit the passenger side of the kit.
I tack on 20mm spacers and review preliminary fitments.I finish it up by answering various questions I've received about the kit and give my final impressions."
The driveway: part II.
On Saturday, I was test fitting the OE+ Carbon Trunk. Having accepted I wouldn't be able to test fit the fender in the same day considering the PITA that was refitting the Vorsteiner CSL trunk, my tank of patience was emptied and I knew fitting fenders would be another test of it.
I enjoyed my Sunday morning with friends & family and set off to work by the middle of the afternoon. September is ideal DIY weather for us in the North East if driveway DIYs are your thing.
The OE "fender" removal.
The liner removal.
Cutting straight to the chase: removing the OEM fenders is mostly about removing the liner itself and it's dozen crooked bolts. The fenders themselves are straight forward to remove outside of 3x bolts that require a little patience.
This is where it starts - and where it will end: alternating between being on your ass, knee (s) and back. I'm sore today.
The passenger side liner is actually 4x pieces: there is a corner piece by the side skirts, the front part of the liner, the DCT cooler shroud and the main liner that remains on the car unless you feel like getting an alignment.
The main liner section has a gap for the strut to pass through, and cannot be removed unless you unbolt the top mounts, remove the end links and slide the top mounts outside the fenders - not interested :)
The liners' sections are held by a bunch of 8mm and a few 10mm bolts.
I also had a sketchy 7mm bolt for the DCT cooler shroud.
Pop the skirt off - just a bit.
The next step is creating a bit of space to remove the 2x bolts at the bottom of the liner. In order to do so, the the side skirt needs to be loosed. If you've never do much body work, you're about to get cold sweats and learn how flexible plastic body panels are on these M cars.
I started by lifting the door sills's front section to remove the push pins holding the side parts to the chassis.
The white clips belong on the door sills - and they can easily be lost, or forgotten on the chassis.
With the side skirt loosened, I pulled and remove the 2x 10mm bolts. The right side has a massive washer & spacer. The left side also has a spacer that is designed to perfectly align the fender. You need these.
The interior bolts.
To fully remove the fenders, you need to unbolt the wider fluid reservoir. It has a single 10mm bolt straight into the chassis.
You can slide it into the wheel well without worrying.
Sliding it out of the way gives you access to the 2x interior bolts by the door. They each have a sprung insert to thread into.
Don't lose them, like this guy at first.
The top bolt is easily removed by the door hinges. Don't try to thread any of these bolts the other way around. You were warned.
Lastly, the front corner has 3x interior bolts to remove beyond the liner. This is the first, and there are 2x others closer to the headlight (unpictured, my bad!).
The top bolts.
The E9x engineers visibly learned from their E46 mistakes. I threaded all the engine bay bolts - fun times.
This is straight forward - AH! They added slotted spacers / washers to the top side bolts for slight adjustments, along with using a 10mm bolt instead of a round hex bolt. You re-use the bolts but not the spacers.
The only bolt that will take a bit of from your fuel tank of patience will be the one by the firewall. You need to use a ratcheted wrench to loosen it, then you can fit a 10mm box to unscrew by hand - or have a small 10mm bolt with extensions.
As always with DIYs, you do with the tools you got - and that's a fundamental difference with the pros.
The side indicators.
By this point, you have the fender fully off and the side indicator unclipped. There are a few methods to remove the side indicators. Having the fender off makes it much more intuitive when looking at the underside.
I personally use the push and pull method: I worked the tabs to be lightly loose and push on the tip - it slid out with ease.
Some also use this painter's and scotch tape method (thanks Josh!).
Can you find the tell signs of the widened fender? Look by the front bumper brackets!
The original fenders are thermoplastics, and already pretty light. The carbon fender felt lighter - and sturdier.
The side indicators slide back into the carbon fender with ease.
Bam! Time to test fit.
So, how does it fit?
Setting expectations with Genuine BMW fitment.
What will make or break an aftermarket body panel will be the gaps with the original parts on the car. The fenders are the junction of 4x different body panels, in this regard it's inherently similar to yesterday's test fit of the carbon trunk.
The most OCD of us already struggle with achieving a satisfying fitment using Genuine BMW body panels.
The front bumper & hood fitment is infamous for this: it requires mostly bumper height adjustment and some hood adjustment.
Take notice how the original fenders fit with the door.
You should expect to spend about 30 to 60 minutes to reach similar panel gaps as pictured below. It is reasonably easy to achieve fitment similar to Genuine BMW panels if you have someone to help you.
The name of the game is having a friend (or dad!) holding it into the target fitment, and bolt the most important sections to "freeze" the gaps.
The hood gap.
The hood gap is achieved by adjusting height - which is mostly dictated by the 2x bottom bolts by the side skirts.
We ended up achieving OE gap on this one.
The continuing line between the door, onto the fender is what dictates your height - don't mistake the door's top corner as the guide here.
A matching horizontal hood gap across the entire panel is achieved by adjusting the top bolts across the engine bay.
The door gap.
This is arguably the tightest gap with Genuine BMW body panels - and the most time intensive gap to match. When closing and opening your door, you'll be surprised at how close the door is to the fender.
This is explained by both the lower side skirt bolts and the top bolts dictating the fitment for this gap.
Yea, one of these.
You don't need to bolt all of them. We used 2x.
We ended up achieving a result extremely similar to OEM, with the door clearing the fender ever so slightly when half opened.
The side skirt was not fully clipped in - the line is straight.
The little things that remain.
My test fitment had been positive across the board with a few aspects that will finalized upon professionals getting their hands on this kit.
The front extensions.
I fitted the extensions using painter's tape simply to provide impressions of the fully fitted kit. This requires professional attention by molding them into the bumper.
It's impossible to judge gaps and fitment here - the pros will do it.
You could easily slide down the extension to meet the line of the bumper - and bolt the bumper completely to the fender. Knowing it didn't matter, I didn't do it.
Can you do without the extensions? No.
If you would blend in the fender into the bumper in some other, smaller way - you would leave the front tires exposed to wind and create further aerodynamic drag at speeds, along with even more dirt kicked up the sides of the car.
The vents need something.
The vent is a signature aesthetics of these fenders: you could not design a vent of a standard sized fender without having to delete or relocate the fluid reservoir.
This design choice does reveal a little something: part of the wiper fluid reservoir can be seen on the passenger side. The driver side holds the brake vacuum pump and it is much smaller.
You have 2x combinable options: purchase a lower front bumper grill and cut out sections to glue to the backside of the side and/or spray paint the reservoir in satin black.
I'd do both.
The side skirts need to clip in, somehow.
Sascha could not re-create the tabs on the fenders using carbon composite materials. This section is thus left bare as of now. He is working on plastic clips that will be glued.
The side skirts large plastic cut outs are clipped into the tabs on the OEM fenders.
The preliminary aesthetics.
Truth be told, I developed this kit for track guys first, and to motivate me to track this car. I also wanted to use this to develop the M359 forged wheel program. I didn't initially have intentions to fully fit the kit (!).
Having slept on the fenders - I really, really like the aesthetics, and the dreams of running a square 295 were too vivid to *not* do it. It will be fully fitted over the Winter with the OE+ carbon doors and the upcoming CSL carbon trunk.
These are the aspects that do it for me.
It's wider - noticeably wider.
To test the wider fitment, I had 20mm Chinese spacers laying around to test fit. It effectively made my OE+ flowformed M359s into a 19x10J ET5 at the front.
There's room for a lot more: lower offsets, and wider tires. This is at -2.0 camber with a 265/30/19.
The end game is to fit a 19x11J ET10 to 15 with a 295/30/19. It has the inner clearance and the negative camber range to do it.
At a slight angle, you really catch how much wider it is.
The vented design.
The vent is a-ma-zing! Sascha nailed the curvature.
It creates new visual complexities by the fender lines, most notable below with the sun's shadow playing games.
The cut-out is optional and it can be closed off - it's how it comes out of the mold. I find it adds technical purpose and denotes the widened aesthetics. To each their own on this one!
Matching front and rear widths.
This is the forever-asked-question from E46 M3 and E92 M3 owners when it comes to these widened fenders.
Q: But how does the font and rear match?
The front ends up protruding further out from the chassis - but the end result is the rear wheels and fender arches are now perfectly aligned for symmetrical aesthetics.
Well - sometimes, you need to set yourself up for surprises.
I'm excited about this kit and the possibilities it will open up for new wheel & tire fitment.
Up next: either the pros get to fit it first, and I'll test fit the new 19x11 forged M359s before.
Until then, you can source the kit year long here.