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updated front bumper

V

vmrod

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I'm getting ready to install a 80-82 style front bumper on my 1977. I had to remove the metal/rubber nose that lies beneath the old urethane cover.

Do I need to install a rubber nose for this bumper? Anyone done this before?

thanks,

-Vic
 

bill81vette

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Jan 17, 2004
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Troy,NY
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1981 dark blue metallic
Vic,If I understand your question...
are you refering to the honeycomb,steel frame,and fiberglass behind the nose (which is needed for an accident),or all the little metal pieces that go around the nose to hold it in place???(yes you need these as well) and they are a &itch to put back on!!!!!
you can get either a urethane or truflex nose,which is what I have on mine.
 
V

vmrod

Guest
Hey bill,
it is neither of the 2 you mentioned. Right in front of the honeycomb piece (in the center) I have a 'block' of metal/rubber. It is as wide as the 2 front bumpers that stick out on the nose. It has the exact shape as the nose bumpers. I'm guessing that it's there to help keep the urethane bumper from warping.
I've got a fiberglass 80-82 style bumper in my attic, just waiting to get installed. I'll likely purchase some new bumper attachment pieces (the aftermarket single pieces) instead of using the long and hard to work with original pieces. (the metal things that attach the bumper to the body)
 

bill81vette

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1981 dark blue metallic
Vic, these are from the AIM for '81 I don't see what you are talking about.Unless yours is different???
 
V

vmrod

Guest
Look at the first pic.
The honeycomb has a point at the nose. My honeycomb has a flat nose about as wide as the license plate.
Another part bolts onto the front of that. This is the part I was talking about.
It sounds like I don't really need it. ...just for fun, I'll take a pic of it tonight, so you can see what I was talking about. Maybe it is a super-rare part that an Ebayer will give me lots of bucks for! hehe
 

6880 Mike

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Jun 30, 2006
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The Bluegrass State
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1968 convertible; 1980 L-82
Did the manufacturer of your 80-82 style bumper provide instructions for mounting it? Instructions should tell you what you need to remove and what you should keep. The honeycomb material absorbs impact. Without some form of impact absorbing material behind your new bumper cover, any whack on your new bumper is likely to hurt.
:w
 

gmjunkie

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Nov 11, 2004
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Old Fort NC/Vero Beach FL
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03 Z-51,78 L82 Coupe
Not Being Nosy,But Have you Modified your Front Fenders????
There Like Totally Different at the front where they mount to the fender!!:upthumbs
 

LVMYVT76

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Joined
Apr 21, 2006
Messages
664
Location
springfield, mo
Corvette
1976 medium blue
I'm trying to replace my front bumper with a truflex fiberglass bumper right now, and am having a h@ll of a time. First it won't match up with the sides of the front fenders and the center between the headlights will need some fill-in. Any help from anyone who has changed one out is appreciated.
 
V

vmrod

Guest
Hi GMJunkie. No, I have not modified my fenders, and I should not have to. The front bumper I have is a 80-82 STYLED front bumper and not a true 80-82 bumper.

This bumper fits just as the stock bumper and utilizes the stock grills as well. (albeit in a different mounting method.) I will be leaving the honeycomb material in place, though.

I did not see instructions, but will be digging into the box soon enough. If I can't find them, I can email Ecklers.

I will be doing some body filler/sanding in the near future, so whatever it takes, I can handle.

I have a truflex rear bumper (80-82 style) partially installed, but it will need some more fitting to look just right. I'll have to build up the body back there to match it too.
 

bill81vette

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4,272
Location
Troy,NY
Corvette
1981 dark blue metallic
I'm trying to replace my front bumper with a truflex fiberglass bumper right now, and am having a h@ll of a time. First it won't match up with the sides of the front fenders and the center between the headlights will need some fill-in. Any help from anyone who has changed one out is appreciated.

when my body man did mine last year,I happened to stop by that day to see how the work was progressing,anyway,He told me that they need to be fitted to the front clip of the vette,and that was what he was in the middle of doing From what I have read (NCRS Manual I think) almost all of the noses on the vettes were a custom fit even at the factory...
like yours he had removed as well added fiberglass to the body to make the nose fit!
It was a #itch to say the least....good luck with yours!!!!
 

ahoover

Member
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Jan 27, 2006
Messages
21
Location
Michigan
Corvette
1975 bright green roadster
vmrod & LVMYVT76

Nine out 10 front bumpers on '75 and later cars will not fit out of the box, even flex fiberglass. Flex fiberglass bumpers are of little or no advantage in front, since filler is still required on the bumper to fill gaps for a good fit. It's best to use a standard fiberglass bumper because it is a better foundation for filler.
A couple things need to be done to get both of your bumpers to fit over the factory hardware. Once they fit over the honeycomb and rubber cushion, you will have a more accurate idea of the fit to the body.

1. There is a steel reinforcement with a lip on it running horizontally across the top. You need to remove the lip with a cut off disc from the center outward on both sides. This will allow the fiberglass bumper to slide in place easier. Get a helper to hold a piece of steel flat against the body in case you slip with the cut off disc.
2. The big rubber piece in the center needs to be shaved on the top in conjunction with shaving the top of the honeycomb. Both bumper guards on the rubber piece will need shaving as well to make them narrower to fit in the fiberglass guard openings. Once all of these are reduced in size, the fiberglass bumper will fall into place. If you use some childs white sidewalk chalk smeared inside the bumper, you can check for interference. When you remove the bumper the chalk will remain on the parts it came into contact with. You don't want the fiberglass bumper rubbing on any of the inner structure, the abrasion will cause problems later on.

Once all the interference with the inner structure is eliminated, you can start working on bumper fitment. This is time consuming and you'll be test fitting a lot to get it right.
1. The top mounting surface (back side) needs to sanded to match the body contour across the front and between the headlights. The gel coat is pretty thick and a lot of fitment problems on the ends can be minimized or solved in this step. Use a flat block and stop sanding when you reach the fiberglass.
2. Once you have the best fit across the top you can concentrate on the ends. Expect a gap as much as 1/4" on the ends.

Use Evercoat Vette Fill to fill the end gaps essentially making a mold. No filler is needed on the body, in fact there will be no damage to the paint. This method also insures that the body and bumper mounting surfaces match at the same angle. I'm not referring to the visible outside gap, but the gap inside where the bumper and body tighten together. If you were to do a cosmetic fill on the outside, then tighten the bumper to the body and close the inside gap between the 2 surfaces, the top surface of the bumper will distort from the pressure. It may not happen right away, but within a couple months you could have a crease in the top surface.
This process works better the first time with a helper. To fill the gap (assuming the top fits perfectly without force) cover the front surface of the body and the mounting surface where the filler is needed (and slightly beyond) with Saran Wrap. This will keep the filler from adhering to the body and protect the paint. Sand the gel coat off the bumper where the filler is needed and slightly beyond as well as the some of the outer surface. Clean the bumper with wax and grease remover. Vette Fill is kind thin so you need to work fast and carefull. Apply Vette Fill to the bumper mounting surface (one side at a time) and put the bumper in place against the body with very little pressure against the body. Use masking tape to hold the bumper in place and take off the excess filler with a bondo spreader. Let it dry.
Working on the same spot, force filler into the gap from the backside as well. You'll need to verify the gap between the parts is filled sufficiently, add filler to air pockets if needed. Now just finish sand and feather the outer portion. The gap problem is fixed and when you tighten the bumper to the body, there will not be any surface distortion.
 
V

vmrod

Guest
Thanks for the info, AHoover. I'll definetly be checking back in on this post, as I install the bumper.

Since the new fiberglass bumper that I bought does not have the little bumpers in the front, then I will likely not even use this rubber nose.

Here's a pic for reference. (Note: It is just placed on the front of the car. It is supposed to be snugged up against the honeycomb and not have a gap like in the pic.)

 

bill81vette

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Sorry Vic,mine doesn't have that piece on it...
 

LVMYVT76

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springfield, mo
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1976 medium blue
I had talked to another person who had replaced the front bumper on their car, and had asked about cutting the metal off the top as you describe, they said they didn't have to cut anything. But I don't see how you can not cut this off and not get the bumper on. Thanks for the directions you have posted here.
 
V

vmrod

Guest
I was able to get the old one off fairly easily. I also plan on using a different mechanism to attach the front bumper. (Instead of those long metal strips with studs, I wanna use the several 'single pieces' method. Ecklers has them I think.)
 

ahoover

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
21
Location
Michigan
Corvette
1975 bright green roadster
I had talked to another person who had replaced the front bumper on their car, and had asked about cutting the metal off the top as you describe, they said they didn't have to cut anything. But I don't see how you can not cut this off and not get the bumper on. Thanks for the directions you have posted here.

Once you start test fitting the bumper with the studs installed, you'll find it easier to install and remove the bumper with the steel lip removed.
 

ahoover

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
21
Location
Michigan
Corvette
1975 bright green roadster
I was able to get the old one off fairly easily. I also plan on using a different mechanism to attach the front bumper. (Instead of those long metal strips with studs, I wanna use the several 'single pieces' method. Ecklers has them I think.)

Since you are removing your inner structure, you will have plenty of access from behind to run nuts onto the studs unlike the stock set up. It can still be easier to use the OEM retainers on the upper portions and the aftermarket retainers on the sides. Due to the angles on the nose, the center studs don't line up well and tend to push through during installation. I use PAL nuts to hold the retainers in place while pushing the bumper into position. I get them at the paint store.

 
V

vmrod

Guest
That looks like a good idea, especially since I will be installing it alone.
So far, I have fit-tested the new bumper on the car, and although a little tricky, I was able to get it in place without any cutting.
(I still want to carefully check all around, just to make sure nothing is getting in the way.)
The new bumper I have, has no holes in it, so I will have to mark the holes first, then go back and drill them. An extra step, but no biggie. After 12 years , I am in no rush here.

So far, the new bumper looks very nice. Much better than my original one. (IMO)
 

ahoover

Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2006
Messages
21
Location
Michigan
Corvette
1975 bright green roadster
So far, the new bumper looks very nice. Much better than my original one. (IMO)

Do the 2 mounting surfaces mate together, or is there a gap between the bumper and the body? This is usually a problem on the sides where the top curves down towards the side but can also happen across the top. Once you tighten the bumper to the body, the gap will close up and cause the bumper to distort. Another trick, is to use lock nuts (nylon insert) instead of the supplied nuts and lock washer. You can snug down the lock nut and it will remain tight whereas with the standard nut and lockwasher will need to be tightened.
 

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