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· Registered
2000 323ci convertible
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133 Posts
Yep, that's the windshield cowl. Nice easy job to replace. You'll need to remove the wiper blades first. Well worth replacing that part not just for cosmetic reasons, but also to avoid water damage. In my case water entering from the cowl damaged the light control module.

There are quite a few videos on YouTube showing how to replace the windshield cowl:




 

· Registered
2000 323ci convertible
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133 Posts
Hey friends, thanks a bunch. I’m thinking this is the part right here:

You should double check the part number on realoem.com to make sure it's the correct part number for your vehicle.

Note that not all E46's have the exact same windshield cowl, there are differences between E46 models.
 

· Registered
2003 E46 Touring
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37 Posts
I just replaced this on mine and it was a fairly straight-forward install. The new part made a decent difference visually, too since my old one was cracked profusely, gray, and overall nasty.

To help get the wiper arms off their mounts I picked up this little puller from Amazon - Battery & Wiper Arm Puller - so I didn't have to pry or yank on the arms and accidentally damage anything.
 

· Premium Member
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5,137 Posts
It's a deflector, not a seal.

The chassis is sealed to the windshield, and 'in theory' the rest of the firewall is sealed, too.

So the cowl under the wipers, while when it's in good nick deflects 95% of the water,
if it fails, you won't get a water leak. Unless you have a leak somewhere else, your heater plenum
tubes are plugged up, or some other failure's present, too.

The giveaway is that it only has one lip, whereas a true seal will form a complete perimeter.

I replaced mine, too.

t
 

· Registered
Joined
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4,090 Posts
It's a deflector, not a seal.
Agreed.

When I replaced mine, it was clear to me that it wasn't a seal against water, only a deflector of it.

A bit of advice to the OP: Take pictures as you remove the nuts and gaskets on the Wiper Arms as you want to be certain to reinstall those different parts correctly.
 

· Registered
2001 330xi 208k
Joined
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145 Posts
Mine was filthy underneath. Factor some time to possibly need to clean out that area.

I like the hint in one of the video to mark where your wiper arm sits.

I didn't try to wiggle the arms off, another video tells you to tap the tapered spacer with a screwdriver. That worked as well.
 

· Registered
2001 325ci
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1,499 Posts
You need to replace the Windshield Cowl. Not an expensive part - less than $100.
just replaced mine. $99.99 from FCPeuro. first I ever returned (warranty replacement) $56.36 from 2014.

You should double check the part number on realoem.com to make sure it's the correct part number for your vehicle.
(y)
Note that not all E46's have the exact same windshield cowl, there are differences between E46 models.
(y)
To help get the wiper arms off their mounts I picked up this little puller from Amazon - Battery & Wiper Arm Puller - so I didn't have to pry or yank on the arms and accidentally damage anything.
puller no need

So the cowl under the wipers, while when it's in good nick deflects 95% of the water,
if it fails, you won't get a water leak. Unless you have a leak somewhere else, your heater plenum
tubes are plugged up, or some other failure's present, too.
(y)
 

· OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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26,370 Posts
it’s just a beauty cover. as mentioned it’s not a seal that’s something else.
 

· Premium Member
2001 330ci Convertible 5-speed
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hey folks..... I just wanted to follow up and thank everyone who wrote in. It's a breath of fresh air to be part of a respectful and helpful community. Happy to report that with your suggestions, I did in fact get a new windshield cowl installed.

View media item 116834
^^^ Just look at that smooth clean rubber!


View media item 116833
View media item 116832
 

· Premium Member
2001 330ci Convertible 5-speed
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16 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Couple other things to note: while I was in there, I noticed the cabin air filter was a disaster.....so I replaced that too. Also went ahead and replaced the air filter at the cold air intake box. Also replaced the little round plastic caps that go over the windshield wiper hex bolts.

In terms of pulling the wipers off.....well, I got one off with my hands. The center one wouldn't budge though. I pulled, and jiggled, and rocked, and wobbled...until my hands were bleeding. Then I gave up and ordered the tool for prying off windshield wipers and stuck battery terminals. That part sucked, but that tool was make it way easy.

Jonathan
 

· Registered
2001 330xi 208k
Joined
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145 Posts
Couple other things to note: while I was in there, I noticed the cabin air filter was a disaster.....so I replaced that too. Also went ahead and replaced the air filter at the cold air intake box. Also replaced the little round plastic caps that go over the windshield wiper hex bolts.

In terms of pulling the wipers off.....well, I got one off with my hands. The center one wouldn't budge though. I pulled, and jiggled, and rocked, and wobbled...until my hands were bleeding. Then I gave up and ordered the tool for prying off windshield wipers and stuck battery terminals. That part sucked, but that tool was make it way easy.

Jonathan
I watched a video and they just used a screwdriver to tap the wedge up. No bleeding. No special tools.
 
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