Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Tale Of Two Bumpers

Sara and I spent Saturday mounting the front and rear bumpers back on KITT. I really do not need them on the car yet, but I also really do not need them off the car any longer. Plus, it will be nice not to have to store them any more.

Sara and I started by cleaning the nuts and washers for the front bumper. This is a fused nut and washer combo where the washer is allowed to freely spin.

I wire wheeled the nuts and washers and gave them a bath in WD-40.

Here is where I have been storing the bumpers since they came off the car.

I had forgotten that two of the front bumper studs had snapped off, most likely when the car was in the front end collision. Even though the broken studs would be long enough, I did not want to reuse them as I had no way of knowing the stress that was applied to the other bolts.

We slowly worked off the bolt retaining washers and removed the first of the broken studs. Each bolt pair was welded to a bracket that served as a washer for the bolt head. Because they were welded I was not going to be able to reuse this bracket.

We went to Menards and bought bolts, washers, and lock washers.

Here is what the new bolt looks like. We were able to reuse the retaining washers to secure the bolts.

Here is the new bolt in place.

Here is the support bracket sitting next to our new bolt.

Second bolt is in place. Six to go.

We use a small screwdriver and the trim removal tool to pry up the retaining washers. Once they were pried up, we turned them off by hand. Sara was very careful. We were worried about breaking these as they are not readily available.

Second bolt pair is removed.

Here is a picture of Sara working on her second pair of retaining washers.

Here is a picture of me working on my second pair of retaining washers.

Here I am installing the final retaining washer on my side. All eight bolts are now in place.

Next I brushed off the front bumper.

Once we had the front bumper in place, I secured the driver side.

When I went to secure the passenger side of the front bumper, we ran into a problem. Because the frame had been pushed back on this side a half an inch, it needed to be shimmed to make it even with the driver side. It was shimmed when we took the front bumper off, however they did not use enough shims to make the bumper even. Sara and I went to every auto store in town looking for body shims, but no one had them. We ended up going back to Menards to buy another pack of fender washers, which have the same surface area as the shims. I used the fender washers on the bottom bolts and the body shims on the top bolts on the passenger side of the front bumper.

The front bumper is back on!

Passenger side of the front bumper (shimmed). The shadow on the frame is actually where it is dented.

Driver side of the front bumper.

Next I wire wheeled the eight nuts and washers for the rear bumper. These also got a quick bath in WD-40.

Sara and I pushed KITT forward in the garage. The auto dollies make this super easy. We are very glad we bought them.

Before and after picture of the nuts and washers for the rear bumper. (There are eight - I was wire wheeling the one that is missing when Sara took this picture.)

Here I am installing the rear bumper.

Installation of the rear bumper was easy, other than the tight space between the frame I had to turn these nuts on. I could barely get my hand in there to turn on the nut. It was going pretty smoothly until I got to the final bolt. The nut cross-threaded and stripped the bolt. I ended up fighting with the bolt to get it out of the rear bumper.

I had an extra bolt leftover and used that as a replacement. It is not an exact match length-wise, but it is more than long enough to suffice.

Rear bumper back in place! It is exciting to get these larger parts back on KITT!

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