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Unread 07-19-2012, 08:17 PM   #1
Area.3.Fiftyone
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How to: Fix a cracked, broken or holes in your bumper cover

The bumper cover on my ZJ is not the correct one for my model (Limited) and while most people would never notice, I do and it does bug me even though it's been trimmed quite a bit to clear my 35's.

My original one was cracked pretty bad and the PO really did a bad job of painting it with a rattle can and there were holes in it from a previous license plate bracket.

I had another 96-98 bumper cover laying around, but it was not the Limited model and the lines are slightly different. It too has some holes from a front license plate, and I temporarily drilled more holes in it and mounted a Euro plate on it from a friend in Czech for a different look.

Well, I finally came across another good Limited front cover in the junk yard a couple of weeks ago that was in pretty good shape. These things are really hard to find used that aren't all beat to hell, chipped, cracked or broken in some way. The only thing wrong with this one are a couple of light scratches and yes, previous holes from a front license plate.

Here is what I did to fill the holes.
  1. Clean the area very well with soap and water
  2. Using a soldering gun and another piece of the same bumper cover material left over from when I trimmed my old one, heat and melt the plastic into both sides until it's relatively flat. Put more in than you think you need.
  3. After the plastic has cooled, take a sharp razor blade and carefully shave off any high spots.
  4. Lightly sand the repaired area with 220 grit sand paper. Use a block to keep the panel straight.
  5. Fill any remaining imperfections with either more plastic, glazing putty or bondo. I chose to use glazing putty because there were only tiny pin holes and I already put the soldering gun away and got lazy.
  6. Lightly sand again using 400 wet/dry sand paper and it's ready for paint and primer.

I need one more light coat of glazing putty on the holes I filled in and a couple of minor scratches. More pics once I get this done and ready for paint.

Obviously the same thing can be done with the textured bumper covers, but you have to be real careful when melting the plastic in. You won't be able to fill any imperfections on the raw cover so take your time.

This procedure also works well for large cracks. Just heat and melt some donor plastic into the crack from both sides.

img_20120718_132037.jpg   img_20120718_132102.jpg   img_20120718_132048.jpg   img_20120718_132355.jpg   img_20120718_133933.jpg  

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Unread 07-20-2012, 04:26 AM   #2
speedbucket
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I seriously thought it would just be a pic of a torn off bumper cover
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Unread 07-20-2012, 05:07 AM   #3
gearheadnick
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This works on most types of plastic. I learned to "weld" plastic years ago using my pencil tip soldering iron and a zip tie as a filler rod. One thing you want to do when working with melting plastic is to put a fan on yourself to blow the fumes away, it's not fun breathing that stuff in.
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Unread 07-20-2012, 05:41 AM   #4
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Nice, I was just thinking of a bumper sticker.

Well done.

Hunter
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Unread 03-04-2014, 08:01 PM   #5
ZeeJay1997
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gearheadnick View Post
This works on most types of plastic. I learned to "weld" plastic years ago using my pencil tip soldering iron and a zip tie as a filler rod. One thing you want to do when working with melting plastic is to put a fan on yourself to blow the fumes away, it's not fun breathing that stuff in.
you guys think i can fix this with a soldering iron and donor plastic. it was just melted on there to begin with.

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Unread 03-05-2014, 03:19 AM   #6
gearheadnick
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Should be no problem. And it's a good place to learn if you've never done it, since it won't be seen.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 04:16 AM   #7
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The HF kit works pretty good, comes with filler rod. Used it when I transferred 5.9 trim to less faded panels.
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Unread 03-05-2014, 07:07 PM   #8
ZeeJay1997
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the cover had tabs on it that the block was slipped on to, then the tabs were melted to hold the block to the cover. Those tabs snapped off.

i dont know how i can duplicate that process with a heat gun... unless i build the tabs back up and file them to size... X6

I am looking into adhesives. Pricey but may be worth it in time

Opinions?
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Unread 03-05-2014, 11:45 PM   #9
Myusername1674
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedbucket View Post
I seriously thought it would just be a pic of a torn off bumper cover
same
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Unread 03-06-2014, 03:22 AM   #10
gearheadnick
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I would just melt the edges into the bumper, being careful not to melt through to the front. And use lots of filler material. I prefer zip ties myself, I've found the nylon to work well when it's mixed with plastic.
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Unread 03-06-2014, 04:28 AM   #11
ZeeJay1997
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i can see myself melting a a hole in it now. i forgot to mention that the two pieces are different type plastic. TPO and TEO.
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Unread 03-06-2014, 02:21 PM   #12
gearheadnick
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I've never let details like that stop me before

Personally I'd try it anyway.
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Unread 03-06-2014, 02:38 PM   #13
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JB weld... I did mine. Yet to put it on, but I did it...
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Unread 03-06-2014, 04:52 PM   #14
joe19934
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coralman View Post
The HF kit works pretty good, comes with filler rod. Used it when I transferred 5.9 trim to less faded panels.
The HF kit works fine you just have to be patient & take your time !
I fixed the rear bumper cover on mine it had a 3'' crack down the driverside.
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Unread 03-06-2014, 04:55 PM   #15
joe19934
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeeJay1997 View Post
you guys think i can fix this with a soldering iron and donor plastic. it was just melted on there to begin with.
I would try using Gorilla Glue Epoxy, it should do the trick
Scuff up both pieces then apply epoxy !
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