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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > DIY Guides > DIY: Ghetto Tow Hook License Plate Mount $5.00



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DIY: Ghetto Tow Hook License Plate Mount $5.00
Published by vtsng
09-25-2012
DIY: Ghetto Tow Hook License Plate Mount $5.00

Not sure if anyone else has done this yet, but I thought I'd share my experience here anyways.

Total cost: $5 (most of the supplies I had sitting around at home)

Metal piece was $2 - home depot
Drywall Anchor ~$1.75 - home depot
Rubber pads were $1 - dollar store

You may notice that some pictures already have some steps completed in advance (trial and error). The steps listed below are in proper order, regardless of what the pictures may communicate.

So here's how its done:

Materials:

- Scrap Metal Piece (this should come flat, not already bent as shown in the pictures)

- Butterfly Drywall Anchor

- Felt pads/ Rubber Pads

- Sandpaper (220 and 320 grit should be sufficient)

- Paint/ Plastidip (if you want to prevent rust)

- Double Sided Tape (3m automotive)





Step 1:

Sand the metal piece to prep for plastidip/ paint. Sand until the surface is clean and smooth, much like the matte blades of the scissors pictured below





Step 2:

Bend a dip slightly larger than the width of the tow hook opening into the metal piece, then drill a hole through the center of the dip:

*The pictures below show an unsanded piece. I would recommend sanding BEFORE bending it as it is much easier to sand across a flat surface



I couldn't find my drills so I just hammered a hole through the metal in a rush to get the plate on asap, hence the bulging edges.





Step 3:

Paint to prevent rust (thin coats)



You might as well paint the back of the license plate as well. This helps to hide the reflection on your bumper.



Step 4:

Stick two felt pads on to the angled sections of the metal piece (approximately 3 inches in length each). This will add a soft barrier between the bare metal piece and your bumper, you'll see what I mean later.



Step 5:

Put the ghetto rig together as pictured below:

The washer may not be necessary





Step 6:

Push the drywall anchor into the tow hook opening. Make sure it is grabbing to the back of the bumper in a HORIZONTAL position so that it is holding on to the tabs on the left and right side of the opening that the tow hook cover would have been clinging on to.

While you tighten the assembly, the anchor will push in to the back left and right sides of the opening. The plate mount will press down on the same spots (however on the outside) preventing the bumper from stretching/ warping.

If the anchor is placed vertically (grabbing the top and bottom of the back side of the bumper), it will pull that section outwards. As there is no downwards pressure stopping the outward movement, it will slowly warp the bumper as you tighten the assembly.



Step 7:

Double-side tape the plate on, remember to test fit first. If you want the plate to be further to one side, you may need to saw the metal piece down on one side to prevent it from sticking out past the side of the license plate (as I had to do).











This is the position before sawing down the metal piece:

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  #1  
By ///M3NACE on 09-25-2012, 01:11 PM
Nice writeup! I just 3m my whole plate and put it on the side. Yours looks more effective but how did this work at higher speeds?
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  #2  
By wdeerfield on 09-25-2012, 01:54 PM
Nice write up and i may consider doing this. but why not just use a bolt that screws into the tow hook opening? You could do some trial and error with length and just use a nut on the front and back of the plate holder for the correct distance out from the bumper. Maybe for version 2.
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  #3  
By Slow_335i on 09-25-2012, 10:16 PM
Nice info

one question what size drywall anchor did you have to use?
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  #4  
By vtsng on 09-26-2012, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ihsanshaik View Post
Nice writeup! I just 3m my whole plate and put it on the side. Yours looks more effective but how did this work at higher speeds?
I actually thought of taping the entire plate to the bumper as a temporary solution but I wasn't too comfortable with the plate coming so close to the bumper.

As for the speed test, I tested at about 120 km/h on a highway but that's about as fast as I'd go. For now it looks like everything's holding up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wdeerfield View Post
Nice write up and i may consider doing this. but why not just use a bolt that screws into the tow hook opening? You could do some trial and error with length and just use a nut on the front and back of the plate holder for the correct distance out from the bumper. Maybe for version 2.
That was my initial idea actually, but after some reading it turns out that BMW uses a proprietary thread pattern. I'm sure you could bring in your tow hook to a some metal shop and have them custom thread it, but then we'd be talking about much more than $5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slow_335i View Post
Nice info

Glad you found it helpful

one question what size drywall anchor did you have to use?
Good question, sorry I didn't mention it in tut.

It was a 1/4x3 toggle bolt anchor.
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  #5  
By CharlieBear on 09-26-2012, 05:36 PM
CLEVER. looks good.
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  #6  
By USAF Rick on 01-02-2013, 08:07 PM
Awesome write up! This saved me like $100. Thank you!
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  #7  
By j0ckinjz on 01-03-2013, 06:48 PM
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Looks great and I will definitely be doing this if I replace my bumper.

2 things though. In hindsight, you probably could've just put the bend with an offset to one side instead of cutting. And secondly, why not bolt the plate the bracket? Would it be too low and bracket would be showing? Maybe then you could use some thick L shaped brackets to mount the plate higher.

edit: and I don't mean higher like in the way of the headlight, I mean just the way you have it now, considering your plate holes are probably an inch higher than the bracket...
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