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      08-05-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
CBattle28
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Asymmetrical Grill Inserts

Has anyone else noticed asymmetrical grill inserts on the lower left and right front bumper - where the park distance sensors are located? On my 2011 X3 the driver's side grill insert is completely solid (i.e. closed) except for one open segment in the upper left hand corner (if facing vehicle). The same grill insert on the passenger side is open, allowing complete airflow through. I called my dealership to inquire about this and they said "all the new X3's are like that". Does anyone know why this is?
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      08-05-2011, 01:39 PM   #2
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It is true they are all like that because it was the first thing I noticed on mine when I picked it up and thought it was strange. Went on a mission to compare it to others and they are all the same. Maybe Lotus will have a answer for us!!
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      08-05-2011, 03:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want the thrill View Post
It is true they are all like that because it was the first thing I noticed on mine when I picked it up and thought it was strange. Went on a mission to compare it to others and they are all the same. Maybe Lotus will have a answer for us!!
Right side is a real air intake for the oil cooler (at least on 35i's - haven't checked if the 28 i has an oil cooler). The left side has nothing behind it - just a BIG empty space between the "non-grill" and the inner fender liner. There's enough room to store a couple of "6-packs" in there.

I've been looking for a location for some loud air horns, and the left fender seems to be the best location. If they go there, I'll be opening up the "grill" on the left side so it's also real.

Last edited by Lotus7; 08-05-2011 at 10:17 PM. Reason: edited for clarity of component names
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      08-05-2011, 03:16 PM   #4
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If your car has an oil cooler behind the passenger side (US) grill, you will be able to see an aluminum "radiator-like" device directly behind the opening in the plastic grill molding. You will also see two large oil lines connected to the oil filter assembly at the top front of the engine.

Last edited by Lotus7; 08-05-2011 at 10:17 PM.
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      08-05-2011, 05:31 PM   #5
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Thanks Lotus! I knew if anybody knew, you would! Figured the closed one was covering up something, but didn't know what. Looks stupid with one open and one closed!
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      08-08-2011, 08:38 AM   #6
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Thanks Lotus, I appreciate the information!
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      08-08-2011, 06:06 PM   #7
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Also noticed that one side is open and the other side is closed while waxing the car awhile back. Got down to check if there is a purpose for this and noticed the big shiny metal thing on the passenger side and none on the driver's side. Thanks for comfirming that the oil cooler is the reason Lotus.

Now if only we can confirm what the ducts under the rear doors are for.

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showth...highlight=duct
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      08-08-2011, 06:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Beyu View Post
Also noticed that one side is open and the other side is closed while waxing the car awhile back. Got down to check if there is a purpose for this and noticed the big shiny metal thing on the passenger side and none on the driver's side. Thanks for comfirming that the oil cooler is the reason Lotus.

Now if only we can confirm what the ducts under the rear doors are for.

http://x3.xbimmers.com/forums/showth...highlight=duct
If they were really ducts, one could speculate all kinds of plausible explanations. The strange thing is that they are not open so don't collect air for anything. Why have a NACA duct shape designed for low turbulence and drag and then end it in a dead end - maybe future cooling intakes for the real X3M's rear brakes (if it ever materializes).
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      08-08-2011, 08:27 PM   #9
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The passenger side is completely closed and the drive side has a small opening on the top left on my 28i.....
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      08-08-2011, 11:32 PM   #10
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The passenger side is completely closed and the drive side has a small opening on the top left on my 28i.....
I checked the parts drawings and only the 35i uses an open grill on the passenger side.

The 20d and 30d both use an oil to water heat exchanger to cool the engine oil. Both diesels use the same type of heat exchanger.
The 28i uses a different heat exchanger which is also an oil to water design.
Therefore the 20d, 30d and 28i do not have a oil cooler in the front fender and have "dummy" (closed) grills. Oil temperature is regulated by the engine's water temperature controls.

The 35i uses a remote-mounted oil to air heat exchanger/oil cooler/radiator behind the open grill. That engine also has a oil thermostat that regulates the oil temperature to around 118 Deg. C (245 deg. F), by bypassing the oil cooler when the oil is cold.

The small opening in the left side grill on all models is for the outside air temperature probe. The vehicle must be moving so air is pushed through the small triangular opening for the probe to measure the correct outside air temperature.

The non-functional "NACA" ducts on the plastic bottom covers just inside of the rear doors are still a mystery!
Attached Images
 

Last edited by Lotus7; 08-08-2011 at 11:49 PM.
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      08-08-2011, 11:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the great info Lotus!
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      08-09-2011, 09:03 PM   #12
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Name:  Underbody.jpg
Views: 2616
Size:  36.3 KB

The apparently non-functional NACA ducts can be seen in this image that I found on another forum, located just forward of the rear jack points. I'm not sure what the protocol is here for linking to other forums, so I've copied the image.

Key:
1 Brake cooling air ramp
2 Underbody panelling
3 Air guide
4 Heat insulation
5 Wheel arch panel
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      08-10-2011, 03:16 AM   #13
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NACA ducts = Essential equipment.

Leftover technology from the BMW Sauber formula 1 program, helping to generate over 300kg of downforce in the X3 at highway speeds.


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