Thursday, June 18, 2020

Ms. Swan Starts Her "Nose Job".....Finally!

I have to admit that I let this go far too long before I addressed it. The black paint on the front urethane bumper was bad when I got the car in that the black had been slowly chalking off, and you could see the primer in large sections of it. It wasn't down to the plastic yet, but several years of neglect took care of that.

This is a year ago, before I started on it:

The yellow area is where the paint and primer had completely failed, and weathered away. The darker yellow has been exposed to the elements the longest, and has gotten oxidized and rough.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago....

I sanded the entire bumper to remove the worst of the oxidized, weathered yellow tint, and to remove the paint where it was severely weathered. In places where it was solid, but dull, I just scuffed it up good to promote adhesion of the new paint.

This is after the first sanding. The black splotches are where I've applied the special "Flexible Bumper Repair" filler material. It's a two-part system used to fill in pits, dings, and small divots, and can also be used to glue split and torn bumper covers back together. It cures to a very flexible material that sands easily and accepts primer and paint.

One of the tricks to use it for filling small cracks is to grind out the crack (or divot) so you're down to good, solid material, like I did here:

And here:

This gives the compound something clean to bond to, and usually stops the crack from propagating any further. I used a carbide ball-nosed bit in my Dremel, and it went through this stuff like warm butter.

After it cured overnight, I sanded it all down again, cleaned it, and inspected it. Some of the pits and voids hadn't filled in all the way, so they were given another coat of the filler.

The object is to get the cracks and divots filled in so that once sanded, you can't feel them with your finger tips. The "lightning bolt" in dark grey on the left side is the desired result, and the spot to the right of it needed a bit more filler.

This is just about the final result:

As you can see on a closer level, I had a whole lot of little cracks and divots!

I'll let this sit overnight, and then clean it again tomorrow morning. If it passes the "Finger Tip Test", which I doubt, I'll mask it off and prime it. Primer usually reveals more flaws, so I envision at least one more round of sand/fill/sand/prime/sand before it gets the topcoat of satin black "Flexible Bumper Paint", some kind of weird stuff with enough warnings on the can to scare DuPont.....


  1. Lots of fun roads in your back yard to drive. Envy you that car.

    1. Yeah, I wanna go up Rist Canyon, go across Stove Praire, and back down 14, Poudre Canyon.

      It's a nice drive in my Jeep, so I imagine it would be fun in the Supra.

  2. It's really taking shape. A journey.

    1. Thanks, but she's still a "Twenty Footer". I've just GOTTA get the rear seat bottom cushion out so I can swap the carpet. Pulling the front seats is four easy-to-get bolts, but the rear bottom cushion is held in with these damn spring clips that are supposed to pop loose when you tickle 'em a bit.

      After I'm done with the front I'm gonna change the oil and filter and drive her a bunch this summer. I still have that deferred maintenance to do, but I want to put some miles on her this year. It's been too long!

  3. Like a lot of things, I had no idea of just what is involved in some projects.
    Thanks for making me more aware.

    Maybe there is a special "Rear Seat Spring Removal Tool" in the Acme catalog.

    A recent home job was a bearing replacement on the pool pump motor. After some minor lathe work, I now have a the right tool to press the bearing onto the shaft.
    Nope, the deep well socket wasn't deep enough for one end of the motor.

    1. Acme stopped making them years ago....

      All my Supra friends tell me "It just pops right out". I can see the clips, and *almost* get at them with a hook tool I have, but not quite.

      The last time I tried doing this was last summer, in 90* heat, with sweat running into my eyes. I think I'll try again since it's a lot cooler....

  4. Would it have been easier to buy a new front clip if it was still available? I know sometimes the journey itself is the reason for the trip. If it has that many cracks and divots, wouldn't more show up later after you finish?

  5. A front clip is much more than just the bumper cover. It consists of the fenders and hood, and usually the radiator support.

    There are NO new parts like that available for this car. Period. The best I could have done was to get a used one from one of the forum members I know, or elsewhere. And then I'd have to take it to a body shop to be painted and freshened up.

    The divots are caused bu rock hits on the highway. The "cracks" are at the corners where people either tapped stuff, or it got backed into. Once you grind out the evidence of the crack (and they're never more than 1/16"~3/32" deep) and fill it, they don't come back unless it get another impact.

    This will cost me under $100 to do. Having a body shop refurb a used bumper cover would easily cost three or four times that amount.

    And then you have to remove the old one, and get the new one mounted and aligned.

    IMO, once you've taken something like that off the car, it NEVER goes back on and fits properly without spending a few days to weeks getting it to look right.

    I'd much rather do this one in place than fight with aligning a different part.


Keep it civil, please....

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