Okay, just finished reinstalling the piece, and here's what I found (which I didn't notice when I removed the bumper and installed a radiator protective screen):
- Both radiator and oil cooler end at the bottom of the lower bumper opening.
- Engine cooler is placed ahead of the radiator by about 2".
- Right behind this radiator there's a 1/4-circle shroud that starts at the top and ends at the bottom (stick your fingers from the bottom opening and you'll feel it).
- The bottom of the cooler sits in the 'front' rubber seal we're talking about. The bottom of the shroud sits at the 'rear' rubber seal that some us found laying around. We can remove both of them and there's about a 1/2" gap between surfaces. Even with the seals in place, you can squeeze your fingers to push the strip down (make sure you push hard enough -both hands- where the clips are).
- For some reason, BMW wanted the airfrow from the oil cooler to be dumped below the car, rather than hitting the radiator.
Here are my deductions:
-The strips are just to prevent road crap (especially when raining) from getting into the tray. Without the rear guard, my tray was filthy, but I didn't bother to remove the middle part (the one in post #9) during my project. In retrospect, I should have done that. That area is not sealed, but those rubber seals cover most of the bumper opening, minimizing water/crap accumulation inside the tray. NOTE: These are the same seals that protect water from getting into the engine compartment from the front/rear of hood.
- The seal was knocked out during assembly (nice QC
). It's not going to go anywhere again (we'll see about that
- The very bottom of the radiator gets no airflow, but it's probably better than hotter air from the oil cooler (nice design
Final note to all M3 owners: slide your fingers under the bottom of the front bumper until you feel the opening we're talking about. Reach a little higher and feel that BOTH rubber seals are installed, and press down on both in case one (most likely the rear) is coming off. Push the rubber all around so it fits squarely on the upper surface, sealing the area nicely.