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Bumper customizing


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carstereonewb 
Member - Posts: 35
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Joined: April 13, 2006
Location: United States
Posted: October 03, 2006 at 11:50 AM / IP Logged  

i was recently rear ended and am waiting for insurance money which i see as a good opportunity to learn how to do body work without killing my wallet.  i want to take my eclipse rear bumper and take out reverse lights move the license plate and probably shave the exoughst hole and put it somewhere else ... Bumper customizing -- posted image.

i planned to do it with fiberglass but will that hold right ... any suggestions (other than to buy a body kit ) i want it to be diff from anything else but im new to body work and i have heard fiberglass has trouble sticking to a bumper in the long run...

If the cars not shaking the radio's to quiet
bellsracer 
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Posted: October 03, 2006 at 5:12 PM / IP Logged  

Bumpers are an advanced level of glassing. It is an area that is constantly exposed to the weather along with whatever you through at your car (rough roads, bumps, really sharp turns, unskilled drifting, etc) How much experience do you have with it?

You are going to have to make a jig for the bumper and build a lightweight but super strong frame that will take all the pressures of driving. Since it is the rear bumper, drag pressure (especially above 70) will be your biggest enemy for this. Plan on using struts where the bumper will hang off of or away from the car with no supports. It sounds/looks like you plan on modding a factory bumper. It's a urethane bumper so it will expand and contract more than FG will so blending it seamless will be kind of useless because the expanding and contracting of the two materials will crack the bonding areas. If the bumper you are using is FG then there shouldn't bee too much of a bonding issue if you hit the areas that you are bonding to with 40-60 grit sandpaper and then bond the pieces together and smooth it out.

If the bumper is urethane, your best bet for a clean and to minimize the maintanence is to create pieces that bolt or rivet on to the bumper and seal around the piece. Depending on how wild you want to get with the design of the bumper, you'll use different techniques.

On a safety/legal note: where do you plan on reloating the back-up lights? Unless this car is only going to be used in shows strictly, it is required in all states that backup lights are on the vehicle. How/where will the liscence plate be after modding?

Never send your ducks to eagle school.
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mi_what 
Copper - Posts: 208
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Joined: April 20, 2005
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Posted: October 03, 2006 at 5:22 PM / IP Logged  
Good tips from bellsracer.
If you plan on modding the existing rear bumper (the one that was damaged) try to learn the *art* of fiberglassing by starting to fill in the cracks and eventually working your way up to filling in holes.
I have noticed that the best and often easiest way to fix fiberglass bumpers is to fiberglass from the rear:
lay fiberglass on the inside of the bumper to fix cracks and lightly sand the outside to blend the two surfaces of the crack together, lay a light coat of body filler and sand it away til you have a smooth even surface.
Really can't tell you much about urethane because I haven't had any experience fixing these...just old school fiberglass body kits.
On a side note (and I feel that I have to mention this not to insult your intelligence but so that others don't mis-interpret what I am writing; DO NOT lay a couple of layers of glass behind the bumper to cover your reverse lights and fill in the hole with body filler. If you want to fill those, cut away the minor inward curve of the light housing so that your patch area sits flush with with the bumper and then lay glass.)
tackbradley 
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Posted: October 03, 2006 at 5:48 PM / IP Logged  
hey guys...i have a lincoln towncar and i want to change the tail lights. will glassing to the body be an issue? obviously sand and prep but im talking long run mostly. also, if i just yank the bumper, can i use foam to form the design then glass over that and flush with the body with no cracking in the future? any tips on this would be huge!!! thanks again guys.
~Jason
(516) Drum Co.
carstereonewb 
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 2:33 AM / IP Logged  

sounds like alot of work ... but that's what i figured the tailights have been changed and currently there are 2 centerpiece reflectors that i can change lens color to clear and fit  alight into them for reverse lights. im pretty sure body is urethane but i am going to try and find a broken one i can fix and mold the way i want so i have time to work and learn as i have no experience and my friend thats helping has very little as far as i know but i'm a hand on learner and thats why i wanted to get a bumper that i can throw in garabadge if it is too difficult and i run out of money. 

is there anything other than fiberglass that would make the task a little easier and maybe stand up to the bending a little better? i kinda have an idea of how i'll do most the work but i'm afraid fiberglass might be to stiff especially as low as my car is if i hit a speed bump that i can't get enough angle on and rub i don't want half my bumper fallin out...  it's still going to be a month or 2 till i get money so i figure in that time i want to research and learn as much as i can on the topic.  any reading material that you guys know of would also be very helpfull ... thanks again

If the cars not shaking the radio's to quiet
mi_what 
Copper - Posts: 208
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 8:33 AM / IP Logged  
tackbradley -
Glassing to the body will not be an issue; however, when you change out tail lights do not buy just the light itself and try to attach it that way...it won't work. You have to either find a parts store that sells the light and housing (such as the ever so popular caddy tailights) or go to a junk yard with a reciprocating saw and get to work cutting out the tailight housing of the vehicle of your choice. Then you should cutout the area on your vehicle that matches the light housing that you purchased and weld them together and make the seamless transition using fiberglass. You SHOULD NOT rebuild a whole tailight using fiberglass...that just will not work. As for creating a bumper out of foam and molding it to the car; yes it is possible, yes it is a huge pain in the ass, and yes it will crack. The seam between the rear bumper brackets and the body of the car is a stress point, every time you go over a bump the bumpers flex of little metal joints on the side of the bumper, fiberglass this together and the constant flexing will crack the fiberglass.
carstereonewb 
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 10:15 AM / IP Logged  

Bumper customizing -- posted image.

this is what new tail lights look like and the middle 2 are only reflective but i could rig a harness and drill hole out on them and run wire from old lights into it (i figure this will be easiest part of whole thing....  as for glassing the bumper and it flexing still wondering is tere anyway to avoid this and still have car as my daily driver because my car rattles alot from the 2 15" rockfords in the trunk so i figure even without bumps that bumper with alot of glass on it won't like me...   if i don't have a huge amount of layers would it be more flexible and then i could just use really good paint or would that be a bad idea?

thanks again for all the great help

If the cars not shaking the radio's to quiet
carstereonewb 
Member - Posts: 35
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Joined: April 13, 2006
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 10:38 AM / IP Logged  

Bumper customizing -- posted image.

this is one horrible photoshop of kind of what i am trying to achieve and i may paint tailights white or keep black haven't decided....

If the cars not shaking the radio's to quiet
mi_what 
Copper - Posts: 208
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 3:14 PM / IP Logged  
I see the general idea of what you are trying to acheive there. you want multiple layers of glass for strength, don't worry about losing your rear bumper on I-35 going 70 miles an hour. The glass will hold, but for added support, hit the bumper on the back with a light sanding of 40 grit paper, drill some holes (1/16th bit) about a quarter to half inch apart from each other and lay the glass over that. I do it alot of get fiberglass to adhere to plastic. If you plan on making that Mitsu symbol 3-d I would suggest a foam block sanded down to rough shape, wrap it in aluminum foil, use super glue of spray adhesive to attach it temporarily to the car, and glass over that. It will give you the shape but ALOT of sanding will go into that. As for your recessed license plate, I once did it to a Honda bumper, I cut out the shape of the license plate into the rear bumper (canted like you have it) and built an MDF lices plate housing with an MDF ring around it to set it in about 1/2 an inch. Then I glassed it from behind and laid glass down in front to seal it in there...once again ALOT of sanding but, you have to be sure that you cover up the MDF with fiberglass because if it gets wet it will split, then it will look like doodie. Too bad you don't have metal because welding is SOOO much easier.
carstereonewb 
Member - Posts: 35
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Joined: April 13, 2006
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Posted: October 04, 2006 at 8:35 PM / IP Logged  
yea i wish i could afford gas for a nice old metal mopar but instead i have my little 4 banger made of urethane lol ... thanks again for all the info the symbol will more than likely be vinyl just to make life easier but also any opinions anyone think this would look good bad tacky or indifferent? and just out of curiosity doing all the labor myself and using original bumper any idea the cost it would take me to do it?
If the cars not shaking the radio's to quiet
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