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      02-25-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
rtb001
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Damage to the skidplate

Hi all, hoping to get some opinions/advice on some damage to my 328i sedan.

While traveling this weekend, a guy in a Jeep behind me rolled up next to me at a red light and told me he thought part of my bumper was "falling off" and nearly scraping the ground. I pulled over and took a quick look but didn't see anything obvious at the back of the car.

But I did start driving without the stereo on to see if I can hear any abnormal sounds, and I did notice that while going down a steep ramp at the hotel parking garage or under moderate braking, both situations causing the nose to dip down a bit, there is a mild "dragging" sound. So then I looked carefully at the front of the car, and there is a bit of damage to the "skid plate," the big flat sheet of plastic which protects the underside of the engine/transmission etc.

There is maybe a 7" x 7" squarish piece of the skid plate near the middle of the car, which is partially broken off and is hanging down a bit, which is why I hear the dragging sound whenever the nose dips down. I drove the car around 800 miles on a long trip this weekend, and it otherwise operates just fine.

Thinking back, I remember a big "thump" on my way home from work about a month ago. I was going about 30 mph, and it was after one of the snow storms here in upstate NY. I am assuming there was a piece of ice or something jutting out of the street, which hit the undercarriage and ripped this hole in the plate.

I'm going to take the car into the local dealership to have it looked over, and hopefully the damage is limited to the plastic plate, and the engine bits over the hole is not damaged. The car certainly feels okay to drive.

Assuming that, they would probably still recommend me to replace the entire skid plate. Any thoughts on whether this is absolutely necessary? It's not a very large rip, and if the proposed fix is super expensive, I was considering just cutting the hanging bit off so it's not dragging on the ground, especially if there is nothing vital over where the hole is.

So I guess my questions would be:

1. If I just trim that bit off, thereby leaving a small hole in the plate, would it somehow affect the car warranty. I know repairing the plate is not a warranty issue, since it is the result of that bump, but would not completely repairing the plate be used as a reason to deny any warranty repairs which may occur in the future?

2. Do I need to go through my local dealer on this issue? The repair itself, assuming the damage is limited to the plate, would seem pretty simple. They order a new plate, jack the car up, remove the old plate, and slap the new part on.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any input/advice!
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      02-25-2013, 09:59 PM   #2
DarkTrigger
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1. That should not affect the warranty, you are not modifying it. It's already broken.
2. You can use any repair shop, they just order through the dealer anyways, so just pick some place close that you can trust. Or call the dealer and ask which repair shop they use since they normally don't deal with insurance claim repairs.
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      02-28-2013, 01:21 AM   #3
BMWrules7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtb001
Hi all, hoping to get some opinions/advice on some damage to my 328i sedan.

While traveling this weekend, a guy in a Jeep behind me rolled up next to me at a red light and told me he thought part of my bumper was "falling off" and nearly scraping the ground. I pulled over and took a quick look but didn't see anything obvious at the back of the car.

But I did start driving without the stereo on to see if I can hear any abnormal sounds, and I did notice that while going down a steep ramp at the hotel parking garage or under moderate braking, both situations causing the nose to dip down a bit, there is a mild "dragging" sound. So then I looked carefully at the front of the car, and there is a bit of damage to the "skid plate," the big flat sheet of plastic which protects the underside of the engine/transmission etc.

There is maybe a 7" x 7" squarish piece of the skid plate near the middle of the car, which is partially broken off and is hanging down a bit, which is why I hear the dragging sound whenever the nose dips down. I drove the car around 800 miles on a long trip this weekend, and it otherwise operates just fine.

Thinking back, I remember a big "thump" on my way home from work about a month ago. I was going about 30 mph, and it was after one of the snow storms here in upstate NY. I am assuming there was a piece of ice or something jutting out of the street, which hit the undercarriage and ripped this hole in the plate.

I'm going to take the car into the local dealership to have it looked over, and hopefully the damage is limited to the plastic plate, and the engine bits over the hole is not damaged. The car certainly feels okay to drive.

Assuming that, they would probably still recommend me to replace the entire skid plate. Any thoughts on whether this is absolutely necessary? It's not a very large rip, and if the proposed fix is super expensive, I was considering just cutting the hanging bit off so it's not dragging on the ground, especially if there is nothing vital over where the hole is.

So I guess my questions would be:

1. If I just trim that bit off, thereby leaving a small hole in the plate, would it somehow affect the car warranty. I know repairing the plate is not a warranty issue, since it is the result of that bump, but would not completely repairing the plate be used as a reason to deny any warranty repairs which may occur in the future?

2. Do I need to go through my local dealer on this issue? The repair itself, assuming the damage is limited to the plate, would seem pretty simple. They order a new plate, jack the car up, remove the old plate, and slap the new part on.

Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any input/advice!
Well, I have come to the conclusion that the skid plate (as you call it) serves a much different purpose than the one BMW would have us believe.

I believe BMW claims the skid plate (as you call it) was designed to improve aerodynamic properties (as indicated in an old E65/E66 brochure.

That may be true. But, I think the skid plate is really designed as a device to help BMW prove undercarriage damage. Without such a device, it can be tough to determine if the car was subjected to damage from underneath.

So, I suspect the primary function of this device is to rip open anytime the undercarriage cones in contact with something.

This makes it easy to signal to BMW that further inspection is warranted in that area under the car. Plus, it makes it hard for insurance companies to deny claims when the bloody plate is ripped agape.
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      02-28-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
rtb001
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Well in either case I was a bit surprised that it was made of plastic. I'll try to look at the front most part of it later, hopefully that's made of a harder material.

Hopefully it won't be too expensive to replace.
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      02-28-2013, 08:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWrules7 View Post
Well, I have come to the conclusion that the skid plate (as you call it) serves a much different purpose than the one BMW would have us believe.

I believe BMW claims the skid plate (as you call it) was designed to improve aerodynamic properties (as indicated in an old E65/E66 brochure.

That may be true. But, I think the skid plate is really designed as a device to help BMW prove undercarriage damage. Without such a device, it can be tough to determine if the car was subjected to damage from underneath.

So, I suspect the primary function of this device is to rip open anytime the undercarriage cones in contact with something.

This makes it easy to signal to BMW that further inspection is warranted in that area under the car. Plus, it makes it hard for insurance companies to deny claims when the bloody plate is ripped agape.
Paranoid much? It IS for aero, nothing else. You're are however correct in that it's NOT a skidplate.

If you hit something hard enough to cause damage you don't need a busted plastic shroud to lead you to the point of impact.
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      03-05-2013, 06:27 PM   #6
rtb001
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Well in case anyone is wondering, that molded piece of plastic costs about $180, with the labor, it'll be about $230 to fix.

I don't know what I hit in the dead of night, but beyond ripping a hole in the plastic cover, but also ripped off a small piece of one of the welded steel components of the steering assembly. The service tech didn't seem to think it was too big a deal since the overall steel bar wasn't deformed.

However, between the ripped off steel bit, the hole in the plastic tray, and all the road salt around here, there is quite a bit of rust already after just 1 month. So I guess what ever is covered by the plastic is largely unpainted and you really will need a hole-less cover in place to prevent corrosion!

I am going to have to crawl down there, sand the rust off, and rust-oleum those steel components before getting them to put a new undertray on. Oh well, I'm glad a bit of rust is all I have to worry about.

Time to go buy a jack, since I guess my car, which lacks a spare tire, also lacks a jack!
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