MAKE A BUDGET "IS" LIP FOR YOUR E30
Author: Landis Smith
I have long thought of the e30 like Lego cars. It seems like you can put just about anything on them, and that is exactly what I did. Anyone who has an e30 wants to add a special flair to their car. What better way than to add an aggressive accent like an "is" splitter? An issue with this is the cost of a genuine BMW splitter. Many of which are hard to find south of a hundred dollars. To me, the late models look a little off without some form of splitter below the valence. When I bought my car it was missing the splitter completely. An "is" without an "is" splitter was unacceptable to me. So, how do you get the "is" look for $20 instead of $100? The answer is a Volvo lip.
What You'll Need
• Volvo lip
• Clips from the Volvo
• Dremel or Reciprocating Saw
• Tape Measure
The first thing you'll need to do is find a splitter from a Volvo. Specifically one from a 1988-90 760, 1990-92 740, 1991-95 940, or 1992-94 960. Be sure that the splitter has the section in the middle that resembles the notch in the OEM "is" splitter. You can usually find these splitters at a junk yard for around $20. When you remove the splitter, it is held on by snap clips, and a couple screws. Make sure to save all of these so you can reuse them on your e30.
Once you get back to your car, you can begin the process of mounting the splitter. This process is much easier with a lift, or a jack, but is not necessary. You'll notice two things about the Volvo splitter. First, it is a little long on the ends and two, you'll be mounting it upside down relative to how it was mounted on the Volvo. Before you start cutting things up, you'll need to find the center of your splitter. The easiest way to do this is to place a piece of the tape in the middle of the valence (at 10 1/4 inches) and the middle of the splitter (11 inches).
To test hang the splitter, you can either use the original "is" clips or use the snap clips taken from the Volvo.
To provide clearance for the length of the Volvo splitter, turn your wheels all the way to one direction, mount it and take a step back. If it looks straight, use tape and mark where to cut the sides off on each side. Leave a little extra just in case. You can always take off more material later. For reference, there are about eight inches of splitter from the cut to where the splitter begins to turn on my car.
Now that the splitter is marked, use a Dremel, or similar tool (a reciprocating saw works well too) to cut the ends off. You'll also notice a few tabs sticking off the now bottom of the splitter, remove these as well. Before you mount the splitter, remove the "is" clips if they are still present. To secure the splitter to the e30, there are some holes in the splitter that actually line up with a few holes on the e30. Use the snap clips to secure the two ends and the middle of the splitter first. Then use the clips with the screws to hold the splitter up to the e30. I had to use a drill bit on the Dremel to widen some of the splitter holes so the screws would go in easier. This is what the screws and clips will approximately look like from under the car. There should be about five give or take.
At this point, your splitter should be on securely. Wiggle it and see how much give there is. My car sits low, so I did not mind having a little play, just in case the splitter scraped the ground (which it has many times). Next, you can sand off the edges and make them flush with the rest of the body.
Now you can paint the splitter or just leave it how it is. I chose to have mine painted with the rest of the car and now it looks like it was meant to be there. Here are a few more angles of the Volvo splitter.
You may notice that the Volvo splitter is a little thicker and slightly more aggressive. I personally love the way it looks and for $20 plus a couple of hours of work, you cannot beat it.