Lotus Elan

Elan: New front bumper or fix/mod old one

PostPost by: 1owner69Elan » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:25 pm

I will be painting my car in the coming months. As such, my original front bumper has two issues:

1. The original bumper was delivered at the factory with a cutout for the US front license bumper. Majorly ugly, so I had it filled shortly after I got my car back to the States. This old mod, now shows some "sagging" and non-uniformity. This would have to be smoothed out. Probably not that big of a deal.
img_0452.jpg and

2. I am also considering removing the Federal side reflectors faired into the bumper. These appear to me as an afterthought slapped on to satisfy US regs. An original non-US bumper, without the reflectors, is a much cleaner and purer look, to me. If removed in prep for paint, the molded mounting locations for the reflectors on the bumper would have to be smoothed out.
img_0451.jpg and

My question is whether to make the above repairs/mods to the original bumper, with the attendant extra labor, or instead opt for a new front bumper that does not have these two issues. With a new bumper am I going to face other issues of getting it to fit well on the body? In other words, would this a new one require extra fettling to get a proper alignment; an alignment and fit problem not present with the original bumper? Trying to understand the trade-offs of old vs new.

Those of you that have fitted a new bumper, I would be interested in your experience in getting a proper fit. And further, not relying on the chrome strip to hide a sloppy fit.
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PostPost by: Gray » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:58 am

My UK S4 had a US bumper for some reason when I bought it. I could never get it to fit properly after modifying it so ended up buying a new bumper. A new one will probably need some work dependent upon the moulding. Replacement bumper redundant as now fitting 26R arches and bumpers, which has been very protracted.
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PostPost by: 69S4 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:13 am

I've not had any fit problems with the two front bumpers I've replaced over the years, but whether that's because the mouldings have been good or my standards are rock bottom I'm not certain. Both have come as 'bare shells' so have needed prep for painting as well as filling with expanding foam. The original one was foam filled so I've kept to that with the replacements. If you're going down the painting the whole car route I'd have thought it easier to start with a clean moulding than spend ages fettling the old one.
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PostPost by: nmauduit » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:29 am

If the current one fits well (gap line parallel to the body both horizontally and vertically, no significant spurious twisting or width issue esp. near the corners...) then I would smooth out the original one.

I've spent a large number of hours on some of the new repros bumpers I've tried to fit, to get at best a questionable result in the end... maybe I'm a bit picky and the silver trim can hide some of the waves (I prefer not have that trim)? but when the surfaces do not match consistenly (body front and bumper top) I see it and don't like it...
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:45 am

1owner69Elan wrote:I will be painting my car in the coming months. As such, my original front bumper has two issues:

1. The original bumper was delivered at the factory with a cutout for the US front license bumper. Majorly ugly, so I had it filled shortly after I got my car back to the States. This old mod, now shows some "sagging" and non-uniformity. This would have to be smoothed out. Probably not that big of a deal.
IMG_0452.jpg

2. I am also considering removing the Federal side reflectors faired into the bumper. These appear to me as an afterthought slapped on to satisfy US regs. An original non-US bumper, without the reflectors, is a much cleaner and purer look, to me. If removed in prep for paint, the molded mounting locations for the reflectors on the bumper would have to be smoothed out.
IMG_0451.jpg

My question is whether to make the above repairs/mods to the original bumper, with the attendant extra labor, or instead opt for a new front bumper that does not have these two issues. With a new bumper am I going to face other issues of getting it to fit well on the body? In other words, would this a new one require extra fettling to get a proper alignment; an alignment and fit problem not present with the original bumper? Trying to understand the trade-offs of old vs new.

Those of you that have fitted a new bumper, I would be interested in your experience in getting a proper fit. And further, not relying on the chrome strip to hide a sloppy fit.

To not have sagging you need to feather around the area and fill only with Tissue and resin NO Filler as per Miles Wilkins :wink:
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