Front Bumper Weight Reduction
I worked on the front bumper after I had finished the rear bumper. This article will be shorter that the rear bumper description because I felt the reader can look at that article if he doesn’t understand some of what I say in this one. The first thing to do when removing the front bumper is to disconnect the wires that go to the running lights mounted in the front bumper. The wires go into the main engine compartment and connect to the wiring harness. Simply pull the bullet connectors apart at the harness and thread the wires through the fender so they are loose. Next locate the 4 nuts holding the front bumper to the frame. Remove the nuts and pull the bumper off the car. It weighs 50 lbs. So be careful when removing it.
The front bumper mounting features are different than the rear in that there is a separate plate that bolts to the main steel beam. This can be removed and attached to wooden mounting features that cut the weight further.There is a tube that runs up from the main beam and supports the upper thin section of rubber. This needs to be removed by drilling out 2 rivets for each side. When you remove it try not to bend it unless it is already bent out of shape. This will be used when the bumper is reassembled.
The next step is to drill out all of the rivets that hold the rubber part to the steel beam. For pictures of what these look like see the article on the rear bumper. The cosmetic flap on the front bumper is even harder to get out of the way when drilling out the rivets. All I can tell you is I was able to do it, so you can too. After that you’ll remove the restraining plates. Again the restraining plate on the top is difficult to get out, but it can be done.
After you have the restraining plates removed pry off the rubber bumper from the steel beam using screwdrivers. See the rear bumper article for pictures of how this is done. You’ll then have the bumper fully apart.
After taking apart the bumper I proceeded to cut the steel beam into pieces like I had done with the rear bumper. After I was done, I weighed the pieces and found that If I used the mounting features as is, I would only reduce the weight of the bumper by about 15 lbs.
After doing all of this work I decided that I had to make my own mounting features so I could eliminate the entire steel beam. I removed the mounting brackets from the steel beam. They are held on with 4 bolts for each side. I then took a 2X6 board that had the grain going in the correct direction so that I felt it wouldn’t crack over time and cut it down to 4 inches wide. I made the length just a little longer than the mounting brackets I had removed from the steel beam. A 2X6 piece of wood in the US is slightly less than 2 inches thick and 6 inches wide. The width of the steel beam is almost exactly 4 inches, and has a flange on it that mates up to the rubber part of the bumper. I created a flange by using a piece of ¼ inch plywood. It was cut to be the same length as the 2X6 part, and 5 inches wide. This left ½ inch on each side after I screwed it down to the 2X6 part. If this is getting confusing, look at the picture below. I then mounted the steel brackets to the wood part so it would match the location of the original steel part. Take your time when doing this because if it isn’t in the same location, your bumper will not fit the way it used to. I used large wood bolts to attach the steel bracket to the wood pieces. Pre-drill the holes for the bolts so you don’t split the wood when tightening the bolts.
I then carefully glued the wood mounting features in to the rubber part of the bumper. I was able to align it correctly. Before I glued them in, I placed then in the rubber part and checked the fit to the car. I then marked the locations of the wood on the rubber part so I could glue them in at the correct location. I used Gorilla glue to do this, and you can see more details on the glue and the foam in the rear bumper article. I didn’t attach the tube that supports the upper rubber part of the bumper until everything had dried. I then used wood screws to mount it to the ¼ inch plywood flange.
Here is the finished product ready to be installed. The final weight was 25 lbs. So I cut the weight in half. Overall the two bumpers now weigh 43 lbs less than before. I did both bumpers in a weekend. I probably spent a total of 6 to 8 hours on this project. After seeing how it’s done, hopefully it will take the reader less time.