Author Topic: Front bumper conversion, with pics  (Read 971 times)

3l33ter

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Front bumper conversion, with pics
« on: 16 October 2018, 07:28 PM »
Thanks to the great information found in threads on this forum, I was able to learn enough to make an attempt at converting from the later North American bumpers (AKA park benches) to the early N.A. (basically same as euro/ROW). But I never saw any pics or specific details so I thought I'd share my experience.

The brackets to which the bumper shocks mount need to be cut off from the body, and some nuts need to be welded into the 6 existing holes in the newly revealed frame underneath. So I carefully cut the welds with a cutoff wheel on my grinder and the weld in the center was drilled out. There are a lot of very thick welds on these brackets. I won't lie, this is a chore - it took about an hour for each side. I was in a bit of a hurry because all of my garage spaces are currently taken so I had to do this work outside... so my grinding is a little ugly but hey, it's all hidden at the end.

Then I bought some M8 weld nuts and carefully fished them into place using a very slender magnet through the larger hole, then screwed a bolt into them to manually hold them positioned for welding. I think the cars with ROW (or early N.A.) bumpers have these weld nuts spot-welded from the factory, but with the lack of access, plug-welding was my only choice. And since my shopmates used up all of the argon, I had to use flux cored wire which explains the sooty appearance. Grinding and painting finished it off, and again it all gets hidden anyway.

I did not fill the holes in the fenders - I don't want to mess with blending the silver paint. You can't see them unless you bend down and look for them. I'll come back to it when I have more time, and make some kind of subtle plugs for the holes.

With the bumper, I acquired the sheet metal piece that sits just below the grille (which I painted satin black and installed), and the plastic lower grills (not yet installed).

I mounted the bumper this morning, and it mounted very easily. I need to wash the car before I take the "after" pics. :D

It wasn't too bad of a job, by far the hardest part was cutting the old brackets off and grinding the factory welds down. Getting the weld nuts in was actually way easier than I'd thought.
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Diesel 617

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #1 on: 17 October 2018, 07:24 PM »
Wow, this is awesome! Please update this thread when you have it finished.

Btw what is the part # for the weld nuts?
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nathan

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #2 on: 20 October 2018, 02:23 AM »
a good pictorial on how to correct one of natures abominations!  update the pics as said - good effort
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Mick74

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #3 on: 21 October 2018, 12:31 PM »
Well done on doing this. I was seriously considering a US spec car before I got mine, and this was one of the first jobs I was planning, as the US bumpers are, in Nathan's words, an abomination. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results. I actually like the look of the car sans bumpers: kind of a rat rod look.

3l33ter

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #4 on: 28 October 2018, 06:46 PM »
The late US bumpers are indeed an abomination. I've been a European car fan my whole life, and grew up in the time when the 70s and 80s cars were ubiquitous on the roads. "Euro bumpers" and "Euro lights" have always been a thing to me, and most of my friends. I have to say, the W116 wins the prize of having the absolute WORST "US bumper". I actually never liked w116s growing up.

When I bought my 280 S, I took the bumpers off and scrapped them, but left the mini upper bumpers on. I got used to the look of the car that way for a couple of years, but never liked it. First I mounted the rear bumper as it wasn't too hard, and liked the look of the w116 for the first time! That got me excited.

I had the front of the car bare like in the above pic for a few days, and I agree, it looked very cool in a rat rod way.

There's still a lot to do to this car, like the grill trims, some nice wheels (currently running w108 steelies because they had good tires), etc, but the bumper was the biggest improvement.
'75 280S
'77 6.9
'82 300TD

marku

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #5 on: 30 October 2018, 11:58 AM »
Very different from the Euro version. Just discovered that the reinforcing bar on mine has died from rot so I have got to figure out how to fabricate a replacement. Any tips would be much appreciated.
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rumb

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marku

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #7 on: 01 November 2018, 11:57 AM »
Thanks never thought for a moment that the reinforcing bar was still available. Not cheap though and what might the shipping costs might be?
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ptashek

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #8 on: 01 November 2018, 03:35 PM »
Thanks never thought for a moment that the reinforcing bar was still available. Not cheap though and what might the shipping costs might be?

Check with MB themselves, the bar was still available a couple years back.
But it'll be trivial to fabricate for anyone with reasonable metal shaping and welding skills.
I got mine made during the resto, and thanks to the guy owning a spot welder it came out looking stock :)
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3l33ter

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #9 on: 02 November 2018, 06:29 PM »
Hi Ptashek, I think it was your thread that I saw in the archives that gave me the inspiration to do this. I've nabbed 3 sets of bumpers from the junkyard so far (yes, I'm a hoarder, but to be fair I do have 2 W116s), 2 sets of early US and 1 set off of a gray market European car. I don't remember what the Euro car was like but both US cars used bolts to hold on the front bumper. You welded studs into your chassis - just wondering what was the reason for that?
'75 280S
'77 6.9
'82 300TD

marku

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #10 on: 04 November 2018, 09:47 AM »
Thanks never thought for a moment that the reinforcing bar was still available. Not cheap though and what might the shipping costs might be?

Check with MB themselves, the bar was still available a couple years back.
But it'll be trivial to fabricate for anyone with reasonable metal shaping and welding skills.
I got mine made during the resto, and thanks to the guy owning a spot welder it came out looking stock :)

Got it all apart now, who would think that they would use coach bolts, however as you say it looks a simple job to fabricate and it doesn't need all those holes would even be stronger. Determined to have a go and think it would be much easier to turn it back to front and have the channel on the outside shaping the open side to give the curve. No doubt I have missed an important point and will find it out when I realise that what I have done will not fit.
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floyd111

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #11 on: 07 November 2018, 07:27 PM »
Here's one. Did that reenforcement bar, as a NEW part in a box, come as a squarish tube, or as a U-shaped tube, with one wall missing?
I bought a NOS one, and it was U-shaped. Gave my mechanic no relief, since he still had to hammer and shape a 4th wall in there, work we wanted to avoid. Never did solve that mystery, since the used ones I saw all are C-shaped with 1 welded wall in there, as a standard, creating a squarish tube. Never saw another NOS one again, after that, so I could not compare, find out wtf.

floyd111

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ptashek

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #13 on: 08 November 2018, 01:05 AM »
Here's one. Did that reenforcement bar, as a NEW part in a box, come as a squarish tube, or as a U-shaped tube, with one wall missing?

Would need to verify with the EPC, but if memory serves it was delivered as a two piece part, front and back.
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marku

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Re: Front bumper conversion, with pics
« Reply #14 on: 08 November 2018, 06:41 AM »
Are we talking front or rear? The rear is a one piece channel closed the back which carries the welded nuts for the chassis fixing.
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