Install: 2003 WRX Front Bumper Modifications

During the semester winter break, I knew this would probably be my best time to get some modifications done. And since I want to spray the front lip and bumper during the spring, I figured I should probably get a big jump on prepping those items for paint.

First thing first, weigh the bumper of course.

It actually came in a bit heavier than I thought it would at 19.3 lbs. I had weighted it on my bathroom scale at 20 lbs but I was hoping it was wrong.

The repaired v7 JDM STi grill also came in a bit heavier than expected at 2.2 lbs.

Since the lip has been attached to the bumper, I decided to remove the excessive parts of the bumper that are covered up by the lip. This should hopefully drop a pound or two, or at the very least clean things up on the back end.

I initially attacked this process with a Dremel, however, after having one too many pieces of hot plastic flung at my face, I decided it was time to switch to my utility knife. After a few scoring passes you can generally make a pretty clean and quick cut.

I removed the fog light buckets as well since my covers are glued on to the bumper as well. Although, I do have a plan for those covers later on in this post.

Back on the scale and the front bumper actually dropped to 15.8 lbs! Now this seems crazy to me, but I weighed the big pieces and they all came out to around 2 lbs. I didn’t weigh the pile of bumper shavings I swept up, but it was a lot. I am just surprised that it dropped over 3 lbs.

Fog Light Covers

Satisfied with my weight loss results, I moved on to an idea that I had for the fog light covers. I sketched out a design on cardboard and slightly mocked it up. While my initial inspiration was to put led pods in there, somewhat like the Rockey Bunny style, I decided these would be for either brake ducts or air intake duct.

I burned through most of the day just trying to figure out the size of the holes, the spacing, how many rows, how many holes per row, etc… I made a few trial runs with cardboard but they were all just a little bit off.

Eventually, I remembered I could just do all of the design phases in Illustrator. I made a few designs then revised a few versions out until I found one that I was happy with. Considering that I was a CAD Tech for well over a decade, I’m a little disappointed in myself for not doing this sooner.

I eventually settled on 1-inch holes, spaced about a 1/2-inch apart.

Before drilling out holes, I made a second version of my template to locate my center points. This way I could more accurately locate the hole saw. Nothing is worse in design than making a pattern and then immediately screwing it up.

Next, we cut out and place the template onto the fog light cover. Measure twice and cut once as the old say goes, yet I still managed to mess up the driver’s side but more on that in a minute.

With our template in place, we can drill the pilot holes. I believe I used a 1/4-inch drill bit for the pilots.

With the pilot holes drills out, we can now use our 1-inch hole saw to drill out our pattern. I went in a zig-zag pattern for no good reason at all. I guess I figured if I messed up early enough, it would be easier to patch up a mistake without a 1-inch hole right next to it.

If I had to do this over again, I would probably remove the paper after drilling the pilot holes. The hole saw has aggressive teeth on it that grabbed the paper, and subsequently the whole damn bumper, and made the drill a little bit harder to control until it began to drill into the fog light cover itself.

All the holes cut out.

Annnd, of course, I messed up the driver’s side. I measured repeatedly, but somehow it still came out crooked. I should have used the upper line on the fog light cover itself as a guide, but I didn’t.

It’s a lit easier to see from this angle.

Since I don’t really need vents on the driver side, I’m using the passenger side for an intake duct, I basically drilled them for symmetrical reasons, and then I failed at that. So, I decided to fix it instead of living with my failure and dumping air into an enclosed space.

So, it is time to patch it up.

First thing I needed to do was find the pieces of the fog light covers that we just cut out. It didn’t really matter if they were in their original locations or not, we just need clean examples.

With our select pieces in hand, we can tape up the front of the fog light cover to hold the circular bits of fog light cover in place and also to keep the plastic epoxy from running away.

It did take some time to work the epoxy through the gaps but the more we get through on this application, the less we need to use on the front side.

One the epoxy dries, we can flip the bumper over and work from the front.

Once again, tape up the other side to keep the epoxy from running through any remaining gaps or holes we missed the first time.

Then we sand down the high spots…

Reapply the epoxy to any remaining low spots and sand down the high spots again.

As usual, I ran out of plastic epoxy and the stores are all out of stock. Maybe I am not the only one repairing a bumper this time of year.

However, most of the low spots are filled in and we can get back to preparing the integrated lip for paint; which I will save for another post.



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