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Headlight Liner


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I am nearing the end of a 5 month exterior paint job on my 1972 BMW 2002.  A question has come up about the way the headlights set in the aluminum frame.  See attached photo.  Is this right?  It seems like the headlight should be aligned with the front of the aluminum headlight shroud.  Should the interior of the shroud be painted black?  Any help on this will be appreciated.


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You must have an early '72 with the "deep" side grilles/headlight surrounds.  Either that or a PO has swapped grilles. 


There are actually two different roundie side grilles:  those used from '68 to early/mid 1972 have deep headlight surrounds and use assymetric headlight retainers.  Grilles used for the remainder of 1972 production and all of 1973 have shallow headlight surrounds and symmetric headlight retainers.  The deep grilles are still available from BMW; the shallow ones have been NLA for many years.   


It appears from your picture that you have the early grilles and late retainers; that setup will leave a noticeable gap between the headlight and the grille.  The early retainers shouldn't be hard to find and they will give it a more finished look.  However, those early "deep" grilles will always make the headlight look recessed.  It's supposed to.  the later grilles allow the headlight to be more flush with the outer rims.


If the headlight doesn't appear to be centered in the grille opening, the headlight mounting assembly can be adjusted by loosening its four mounting nuts and centering it in the grille opening.  The mounting holes are larger than the studs for that reason. 


Couple more things:  the insides of the headlight surrounds are natural aluminum color, and most of the grille bars should have black aluminum appliques on 'em.  BTW, the paint looks great!




'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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So would you recommend that the inside of the deep headlight liner be left natural aluminum as opposed to being painted black?


Do you want to keep it original or personalize it a bit?  Your call.  Using something like black aerosol Plasti-Dip would make it reversible if you wanted to change it back.

John in VA

'74 tii "Juanita"  '85 535i "Goldie"  '86 535i "M-POSSTR"  

'03 530i "Titan"  '06 330ci "ZHPY"


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The assymetrical surrounds are stainless steel and shiny and fill the gap for a better appearance than the bare aluminum grill.  I think it would look better than the plain aluminum.  I would leave it black for now until you find the correct surrounds.

71 2002

06 330i

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