We had parked Project 73 as far as we could from the Mall entrance. There wasn’t a car within 200 feet. Pretty safe, we thought. When we came out, we found that someone had used the front of our 73 Corvette for a bumper stop. Our once perfect bumper was now full of cracks and sags. If you are the owner of a 73 to 82 Corvette, you will be very familiar with this problem. The urethane bumpers of these years had quite a few problems. They would shrink with age which would cause ripples and bends. If you lived in a hot climate, they would become brittle and start to decompose. In cold climates, they could even crack. Along with these problems they also didn’t fit well and the paint never seemed to match the rest of the car. Up until now, you had two choices: Replace your urethane bumper with another urethane bumper with all it’s problems, or Install a hard fiberglass unit. A hard fiberglass bumper would look fine when installed, but it had one severe problem, it would shatter upon any impact. Now there is a third option thanks to Zip Corvette Parts , 8067 Fast Lane, Mechanicsville, VA 23111, (800) 962-9632. A Zip TruFlex Bumper. These new bumpers are constructed of fiberglass and a revolutionary resin which makes the bumper 70% more flexible than a standard hard fiberglass bumper. These bumpers will not shrink, warp, ripple or bend. Their fit is much better than urethane bumpers and best of all, they can be painted for a perfect match to the body.
Follow along as we install our new TruFlex Bumper on our Project 73 and quit singing The Rubber Bumper Blues.
Click on the images for expanded views – it’s much easier on the eyes.
01: Here are all the new items Zip supplied us for our front bumper replacement: Grilles, Parking Lamp Assemblies and Sockets, Upper, Lower, Right and Left Bumper Retainers and a new TruFlex Front Bumper. The only other items you will need are some hand tools, a rat-tail file or dremel and a shop manual for your car.
02: Start the bumper removal by raising your headlights. Now remove the license plate bracket or center grille. Then the right and left grille assemblies.
03: Remove both headlight doors.
04: With the headlight doors removed you will now have access to the upper bumper cover retainers. Loosen these first. Then remove the nuts on the right and left bumper cover retainers. You can gain access to these areas through the grille openings.
05: Now remove the front bumper cover lower retainer and carefully slide the front bumper cover off.
06: The next step is with a friend place the new TruFlex Bumper into place. Align it to get the fit that you want and then mark all of the retainer mounting holes on the TruFlex Bumper. You want to take your time here if you want a good fit. After you have marked all of your holes, drill them out with a 17/64” drill bit and then take a rat-tail file or dremel to enlarge them.
07: After the retainer holes are drilled and enlarged, install the bumper cover, upper, right and left retainers. Now re-fit the bumper cover onto the car. You want to make any adjustments now before you have it painted. If it now fits the way that you want, you can paint it. Our bumper didn’t need any work before painting. All it needed was to be prepped, primed and painted.
NOTE: Remember to leave the upper, right and left retainers in place on the bumper cover. If you remove them for painting, you could change the way the bumper cover fits.
08: Before we re-installed our new bumper cover, we installed the new parking lamp socket assemblies Zip Corvette supplied.
09: Start the bumper cover re-assembly by installing the lower bumper cover retainer. (You did leave the right, left, and upper bumper cover retainers in place, didn’t you?) Depending on the fit, you may or may not have to notch the ends of the retainer to fit the right and left retainer ends.
10: With a friend, carefully align the bumper cover and start to install the retaining nuts and bolts. Make sure that you keep the bumper cover aligned while you snug the nuts and bolts. If you are happy with the fit, tighten all the nuts and bolts into place.
11: Our original grilles were in fairly poor shape. Since we were installing a new bumper cover, we felt that new grilles and parking lamp assemblies would make everything look that much better. Start by installing the parking lamp assemblies onto the grille with the screws provided.
12: After the grilles are assembled you can then install them into the car. Now install the license plate bracket or center grille and you are done.
13: Here is the finished project. Bumper cover and grilles installed and ready to go. Good-bye Rubber Bumper Blues.
1973-1982 Corvette Replacing the Urethane Bumpers with Trueflex:
Replacing the Corvette Urethane Bumpers with Trueflex
Source: Zip Corvette Parts
8067 Fast Lane | Mechanicsville, VA 23111 | (800) 962-9632
Corvette Parts List Related to Article:
Aftermarket Bumper Cover Retainers
Factory Bumper Cover Retainers