BMW i3 Repair Video


BMW i3

BMW i3

Collision Hub released an interesting video with a review of the procedures for a rail and apron replacement on the new BMW i3.

It’s a good supplement to previous stories on i3 repairs and joining lightweight materials by ONSERT bolts.

Also, this time there is a lot of glue involved, as the procedures require special rivet bonding.

As noted in the video, technology evolves and it will be more and more complex/expensive for independent bodyshops to deal with new repair methods.

“You’ve heard about Aluminum and Rivet repair procedures in today’s collision repair centers, but have you seen it?”

“In this episode of Repair University we review the procedures for a rail and apron replacement on the new BMW I3. From proper fixture to preparation of the replacement parts, using a rivet bonding procedure will create new obstacles in today’s bodyshops.

Category: BMW

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12 responses to "BMW i3 Repair Video"
  1. Alaa says:

    I don’t like it. Tesla is right not to use that plastic and use Aluminum.

    1. franky_b says:

      And of course you read and watch? It’s about the aluminum repares. So are you saying you don’t like aluminum also?

  2. James says:

    No BMW nor i3 fans want to watch these types of videos. If you want to save time – just remember I told’ja just how expensive and complex these things are to repair. Today – i3 is still required to have BMW certified technicians repair your mini/minivan ( Euros call it a “SuperMini” ).

    This SEMA demo details the aluminum frame/or foundation. Interesting how they spec cutting and rivets vs. aluminum welding. I wonder if Tesla specs the same? Naturally, ALCOA has announced new alloys that are closer to steel alloys in price – as they are going hard for the OEM auto market now that cf ( true carbon fiber, not BMW’s plastic CFRP sandwich ) is being used for aeronautical fuselages ( Boeing 787 Dreamliner ). OEMs welcome the more affordable; lighter material, and steel manufacturers are countering with new lighter alloys as well. Ford’s introduction of the 2015 F-150 with aluminum body means all body shops will need to be trained and equipped to repair aluminum bodywork. Frames? That looks even more exotic and requiring jigs, tools and micro-specific components per manufacturer.

    This is without even going into the gluing, cutting and finessing of the CFRP. Some here have wrongly stated all the upper i3 is plastic. Instead, the “Life Module” or basic body skeleton to which plastic panels attach is made from CFRP as is the large floorpan. These will narrow down even further who can repair the pieces and increase the number of i3s I’m certain, that are totaled by insurance companies with damage that would easily be repaired on a more conventional vehicle.

    The end result of all this is soaring insurance rates. You see, right now, as we speak the IIHS Institute and body repair specialists aren’t too aware of what these types of repairs entail. They actually rely upon BMW to inform them – and sadly, BMW has widely stated that “i3 costs about the same to repair as a steel 1 Series”. This is truly a crock. You will begin to see/realize this shortly. i3s are not getting into accidents of all magnitudes from parking lot fender bender to 30mph incidents. Whoa to you, i3 owner when they total your ride because of a bump that normally would mean some body filler and a bit of massaging!

    Don’t kill the messenger. I’m no BMW or any OEM-hater. Just sharing the facts as they are.

    1. James says:

      * paragraph 4: ” – i3s are NOW ( not, not ) getting into accidents of all magnitudes…

      Sorry – need to proofread twice, cut once.

    2. jelloslug says:

      You assessment is nothing more than speculation. I have read all the BMW repair specs on repairing the aluminum frame and the CF life module and repairs are straight forward and much more simple than a standard steel body car.

  3. James says:

    Ford’s new “all-aluminum” F-150 truck is body and truck bed panels. The frame is still channeled steel. I’d like to see some video like this on fixing aluminum body panels, like Tesla or the Ford truck.

    What truly boggles is those jigs you see. The cost really skyrockets when you expect a body shop to buy special jigs just for one car that doesn’t sell very well in the first place. Obviously, Joes Auto Body down on the corner isn’t going to repair i3s.

  4. James says:

    Thanks for sharing this type of information. It backs up my opinions that many of us consumers don’t consider when buying a new car.

    You can see that a LEAF, Ford Energi product or Volt made of steel alloys will be much less exotic ( read, expensive ) to repair.

    Ford has hit the tech show circuit with a Fusion made of new, more exclusive materials for components previously made of steel alloys. Even some of the new steel alloys will pose challenges for the repair industry. Lightweighting is the new black these days – as meeting government mandates for fleet MPG have taken center stage.

    First off – a manufacturer has to weigh considerations as to repair costs, tech training and will that come back to bite them in the butts. BMW just plowed ahead, it seems and felt all that would sort itself out later…. ???…..Hmmmm….Good luck with that!

  5. James says:

    Maybe the body shop of tomorrow will just 3D Print you a new panel or part! 🙂

  6. alohart says:

    James, in 50 years of driving, I have never been driving when an accident occurred, and thus have never filed an accident claim. Accident repair and insurance premium costs are way down my list of priorities when considering which car to buy. I heard similar FUD when I bought my all-aluminum 2000 Honda Insight, but its insurance rates remain reasonable, and my i3 insurance rates are not high. If they increase tremendously as you predict, I’ll just drop collision and/or comprehensive coverage and self-insure. I won’t let this stop me from enjoying an innovative car.

    1. James says:

      You have been extremely blessed. I have avoided fender benders myself, and yet we naturally cannot say, “it will never happen to me”, because – then it does. That’s life.

      I can write this because my wife is out and about and not looking over my shoulder at this moment – but she has insured we have a steady stream of nicks, parking lot dings and scrapes on our cars. It’s just the nature of living in a crowded society and …maybe not being as depth-perception or coordinated as the next person… I don’t know. I stopped being too picky when it comes to blemishes, and now see them as broken in, like your favorite pair of blue jeans. 🙂

      One big internet observation we all make is people who write stuff about their needs or experience and then assume it’s the majority of folks’ experience. While I am happy for you that you consider BMW ownership important enough to make that large of a financial investment and/or risk – insuring ourselves is seriously off the table for 90% of us. Risk avoidance is key.

      If my understanding of modern acronyms serves me, you are accusing me of spreading fear ( FUD = Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt ). That couldn’t be further from the truth.

      It used to be inside info for consumers not to buy that extended warranty on home electronics and appliances except in cases where the device was portable, so susceptible to droppage and theft. For sure, you don’t let the car salesperson lead you down that nasty road of an extra warranty, right? The salespeople who push this stuff sell fear. Not so with insurance. While some do try to spread anxiety, I am attempting to educate people so they don’t feel slighted or uninformed when these things do arise. We need car insurance for ourselves and other’s and that is just a given.

      Again, happy for your good fortune over the years, but it’s absolutely INSANE not to take into consideration things like replacement cost and repairability before you buy a car – period.

  7. Ryan says:

    Aluminum aircraft aren’t welded together and neither are repairs. The riveted repairs seen in the video remind me of certain aircraft repairs(needed for cracks/corrosion) when a doubler or stiffener is called for to fix it. It will work just fine; just won’t look great/nice.

    Think of it this way: Repairs can’t be so easily hidden the way steel cars can be to hide crash damage.

    1. James says:

      Ryan, you win Optimist Of The Month. Very creative in finding a positive angle for this information on fixing an “i” BMW! 🙂

      With an “i” ,you are saying we can look underneath and easily see rivets and glue! LOL!