Rear licence plate rattle advice pls

I've got an E83 and have noticed that the rear licence plate rattles.
It's got a German plate on it, meaning a long rectangular licence plate that is clipped into a standard plastic bracket (dealer-fit).
By design, the body area under the plate is curved on the E83, so the plate holder is not flush against the body surface.
Plus, it appears that it is only attached to the tailgate with two screws. This is what causes the plate-holder-to-body rattle when going over big bumps or closing the tailgate.
What I want is for the plate to be PROPERLY fixed in place (as opposed to sticking foam or stuff underneath).
Problem is I think there are only these two pre-drilled holes in the body. TBH, it all feels kind of flimsy... Any suggestions?
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They're hardly taking much weight so should be more than adequate. Perhaps they've been over tightened and stripped the threads? If so buy some new bushes. If the plate is vibrating and touching the bodywork attach a bit of foam rubber in the middle.
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Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

Thanks Dave. Call me dense, but what do you mean by 'bushes'?
The two mounts feel properly snug, though I see what you're saying.
I assume some plastic inserts (are these what you mean by bushes?) hold the two screws to the metal body, and over-tightening would strip not the metal threads, but rather those plastic inerts. I always assumed those plastic inserts could not be replaced...?
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They're plastic 'plugs' that fit into a hole in the bodywork - often a square one to prevent rotation. The self tapping screw expands them so they grip the bodywork and can't come out. Rather like a masonry wall plug. Their use is to prevent the corrosion caused by using self tappers into the steel direct.

Yes, the screw cuts its own thread into the plastic, but can easily be over tightened. Or the wrong size screw might have been used.

Once the screw has been removed they should simply pull out.
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I've been speaking to someone who has an X5, and he says that in Germany, they don't use metal screws. Instead, they use plastic pins and just 'pop' it onto the body of the car (plug 'n play style).
Probably because plastic doesn't rust, but this means you could literally just pull the plates off of any BMW(!!)
Back to my problem though -> this means that it's not a case of stripped screws.
Begs the question of how does this plastic pin-mounting system work then? Do they use the same bushes as would be used for metal screws or is this another system entirely??
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BMw use plenty of those sort of fixings around the car. But I've not seen it used for numberplates. However, the screw type fixing has a plastic cover which is obvious if you look, so popping off the cover will soon show the truth.

It's a quick job even if they're screwed on. Or held on by self adhesive pads.

It's very similar. The plastic pin simply expands the bush in the same way as the screw. Remove the pin, and the bush comes out. However, it's easy to break the pin. But they're cheap enough.
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Sounds logical, begs the question of how durable this whole plastic pin concept is...
On my BMW, there are no screw holes in the metal number plate at all. The plate is enclosed by the plastic mounting bracket. My assumption is that the two pins are mounted on the back in some way.
This is then just pushed onto the bushes that were inserted into the two factory-drilled holes, expanding the bushes and holding it in place.
The real question is: Is there then any way of 'tightening' the connection between the two pins that have been pushed into bushes(as you could a metal screw-setup)?? Or would the only way be to replace both pins, bushes, and hope for the best?
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Well, my UK BMW main dealer manages to break them near every time, and either doesn't bother replacing them or uses something else instead. Cable ties in the case of the engine fan shroud. Nothing in the case of the missing ones after they removed the CD player 'flap' inside the boot to repair a dent. But their stores stock them, and they're about 10p each.
I use two 'tack (small nail) lifters' to remove them - if you lever from one side only they break.

Well, unless you remove the plate and see how the mounting is fixed it's just a guess?

It depends on whether it was designed for this sort of mounting. The push in pin method needs, of course, the correct size hole in the panel for the fitting to tighten properly.
The ETK should show the correct parts and they won't cost much so I'd just buy them from your dealer regardless.
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Glad to see they're taking pride in their work. =)

They are purpose-designed for the German market at least, but I think BMW uses the same 'push-pin' system in Holland, Sweden and other European countries (same type of non-drilled plates, held by standardised black plastic bracket). I notice that in the UK, they prefer to use metal screws directly though the plates, which I would prefer.

Thanks, will do so if I need to eventually.
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I'm not sure which model the E83 is, but it sounds like an old one. If so, is it possible that a previous owner damaged the license plate screws, or put them in too tight and stripped the nut plate on the inside? If this were to happen, then a natural strategy might be to replace the screw with one that is a little bit bigger, but "bigger" has two dimensions, length and diameter. If the screw is larger so that it grips the remainder of the nut plate, then that is fine, but maybe it is too long and bottoms out before it can hold the plate steady.
This really is a pretty simple issue to fix, all you need do is take the screws out and see what is needed to make them fit tightly.

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Old? If the X3 is considered old at only 2 years young, then my E36 is postively pre-historic.
Dan
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I didn't know the X3 was an E83.

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Neither did I. Took me about 30 seconds to find out using Google :)
Dan
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These sort of plugs ain't 'blind' - and they're split down most of the length so when the screw goes in they spread to grip onto the back of the panel preventing the whole lot pulling out. Of course a very long screw might foul on whatever is behind the panel
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wrote:

That's what I was thinking, the screws bottom out in the hole and strike whatever is behind it.
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