Sunday, 21 February 2016

E60: Front 12V Socket spring mechanism assembly.


  • Mechanism has collapsed and 12V socket will not pop up out of housing.
  • Ash-tray has been removed during work on car and has fallen apart.
  • Coins or other objects have jammed in the mechanism and are stopping it from operating.
  • The 12V socket is jammed up and ash tray will not close.
As with everything on the E60, even the mechanism that pops the 12V socket up and moves the trim around in over-designed to death. There are two springs in the assembly. A main flat-coiled spring that lifts the 12V socket up when the ash-tray is slid open and a small one that operates a tiny trim-flap that fills the gap created as the socket rotates up. You know, so everything looks neat!

These come out really easily when the ash-tray is removed from the fascia, or when things get jammed and the ash-tray is forced shut, but it is quite confined under there and the springs should not get lost. Be careful not to push them under the foam-trim at either side while retrieving them.

The main spring is on a spindle running through the socket housing, with a screw at one end. The protruding arm faces forward and tenses against a lip in the plastic. The screw will need removing to get the spring back into place, so do not over-tighten it when refitting so the socket still rotates freely.

The smaller spring slides onto the plastic stud on one side of the front socket hinge and the two protruding arms should be in a V shape pointing upwards and sit in the grooves on the hinge and trim-flap, as pictured.

** For a guide on removing the dash and fascia trim required to get to the ash-tray see THIS POST. **

Sunday, 7 February 2016

E60: New front bonnet-badge... cheap eBay replica.

With all but one job complete on the 5 Series I decided to treat the car to a new bonnet badge, since the last one has become severely de-lacquered, as they do.

A genuine BMW one will set you back about £25. Cheap fakes can be bought off eBay for as little as a fiver, but these don't look promising, with visibly low-cost manufacturing and the quality of plastic used in festive tree decorations.

In the end I couldn't justify the cost of the real deal and plumped for a middle of the range one - a 'replica' OEM badge. It was £10 delivered and is complete in every detail - the BMW roundel on the back, authentic looking packaging and even the right BMW part number.

Despite the 'realistic looking' markings on the back, which were nothing like on my original one, the quality of the plastic was not great and the overall depth about half of the original, which meant fit isn't great either. The locating pins were far too long, tapering to a point from manufacture and needed cutting down for the badge to sit flush, which it does barely - there is still a tiny bit of movement if the badge is rocked back and forth. Ok, this may be a pretty critical review of a fake badge still costing less than half that of a real one, but wouldn't the money spent on packaging and fancy insignia been better spent creating a more quality badge?

At the end of the day it looks fine on the car and you would have to be an expert to spot it was a fake, but then again, most BMW fans are and, most importantly, I know it is. In future would I spend the full £25 on a genuine badge? Yes, I think so.