BMW E46 Kidney Grill Clip Replacement

by murat, published

BMW E46 Kidney Grill Clip Replacement by murat Jun 30, 2013
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6497Views 800Downloads Found in Automotive


Mounting clip replacement for the BMW E46 kidney grill.

The kidney grills are held in place in the bonnet through flexible lips, which become brittle with time and heat exposure. My car is 14 years old and the kidney grills had lost their grips a while ago and were about to fall over. The quick fix was to string them up from the inside, but hardly an elegant fix for a BMW!


There are 6 lips to secure each kidney grill in the E46 models, but due to the difficulty in making the replacement clips flexible enough, it is very diffucult to replace all 6, as they wouldn flex enough to push in.

There are two different thicknesses for the replacement clips; you will need to print the following:

For each kdney grill:

  • 1x 2mm clip
  • 3x 2.5mm clip


  1. Trim off all broken mounting lips down to 1mm above their base, leaving the 3 cavities under intact. The replacement clips have three prongs that fit inside these cavities. One of the sites require the thinner 2mm clip, all others take the 2.5mm clip. Do NOT glue them in place!
  2. Only populate the top and bottom sites, don’t worry about the sides.
  3. Position the top kidney grill in place at an angle with the top clips in place below the square bent metal lip from the bonnet.
  4. Push slowly the kidney grill in place by making sure that the clips don’t fall off. Aid them in place with a fine screwdriver. You may have to flex the whole structure to push it in place.
  5. Make sure that each metal lip sits on the flat edge of the wedge of their respective clip.

If you print with PLA, the clips may come loose under heat. I printed in PLA and will be checking them often.

Enjoy saving few hundred dollars of replacement kidney grills!

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Trimmed to fit. Nice grille fix.

Does anyone have the whole kidney STL model?
I would like to print the whole kidney ;)

Is it fit to E46 after face lifting?

Feb 15, 2016 - Modified Feb 15, 2016

Ok, they need a lot of trimming because the size and shape does not fit perfectly but after a bit of trimming it des the job well!
Thanks ;)

Works very perfect. The clip is very fit and tight. Exactly what i needed. Mine has E46 1999 and has same problem.

Works like a charm, thanks !

You're welcome, enjoy!

WORKED! THANK YOU! I printed in ABS using a rather upscale 3D printer. I had to trim down the "toes" to get them far enough into the housing to allow the grille to pop back into the car, but since this fix was basically free, I'm overjoyed.

I love you if this works....