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Discussion Starter #1
Hello guys,

Long time no post. I’m working on an update post for the “Off the beaten track” thread to fill you guys in on adventures. But first...

I’m coming to you to ask for you help as I work on restoring some of damage done to my car after about a year of hard use. There will be several small projects involved with making this happen. My first project is my rear bumper. My poor rear bumper has been pulled off more times than I can count and unfortunately it has done some damage to body where the bumper clips attached. My plan is to use hammers (thinking probably a dead blow hammer) and wooden dowels to very slowly and carefully work the edges of where the bumper clips back to being flush and then cover with touch up paint. Is this a solid plan or am I likely to cause more harm than good? Not looking for perfect, just need fixed.

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Additionally there are places where the bumper/bumper clips are broken/cracked. I was curious if there is some type of filler I could use that would act as a filler and then can be worked back and painted. I first though super glue and wasn’t sure if there would be something that would work better? Maybe JB weld or some other 2 part epoxy.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

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2018 Orange Subaru Crosstrek Limited
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A small piece of metal and some channel locks or small c-clamps might work as well. Place the small metal piece on the deformed edge and then, if they fit, you might be able to clamp it to the deformed edge and draw it more uniformly into submission. I've never been good at body work so you should write this suggestion down and place "Don't try this!" on the suggestion. Good luck!
 

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That's a really interesting problem - I'm amazed the plastic clips on the bumper can do that much damage to the steel body!

It has been a while since I did any serious bodywork. I never had much success with the bumper covers on our old Honda and resorted to aircraft safety wire and color-coordinated duct tape. I tried JB Weld and various epoxies but they don't adhere well to the bumper cover material and are not flexible enough to withstand the bumps and vibration of normal driving.
 

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That's a really interesting problem - I'm amazed the plastic clips on the bumper can do that much damage to the steel body!

It has been a while since I did any serious bodywork. I never had much success with the bumper covers on our old Honda and resorted to aircraft safety wire and color-coordinated duct tape. I tried JB Weld and various epoxies but they don't adhere well to the bumper cover material and are not flexible enough to withstand the bumps and vibration of normal driving, much less going off road.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A small piece of metal and some channel locks or small c-clamps might work as well. Place the small metal piece on the deformed edge and then, if they fit, you might be able to clamp it to the deformed edge and draw it more uniformly into submission. I've never been good at body work so you should write this suggestion down and place "Don't try this!" on the suggestion. Good luck!
I like the idea more than my hammer idea but can't figure how to get it to clamp with even pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's a really interesting problem - I'm amazed the plastic clips on the bumper can do that much damage to the steel body!

It has been a while since I did any serious bodywork. I never had much success with the bumper covers on our old Honda and resorted to aircraft safety wire and color-coordinated duct tape. I tried JB Weld and various epoxies but they don't adhere well to the bumper cover material and are not flexible enough to withstand the bumps and vibration of normal driving.
Unfortunately it’s a plastic piece that is spread by a steel screw so so body deformed before the screw did. Poor design imo but I think the bumper was supposed to separate from the clip, not the clip separates from the body. Definitely bummed about it.

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That's a really interesting problem - I'm amazed the plastic clips on the bumper can do that much damage to the steel body!

It has been a while since I did any serious bodywork. I never had much success with the bumper covers on our old Honda and resorted to aircraft safety wire and color-coordinated duct tape. I tried JB Weld and various epoxies but they don't adhere well to the bumper cover material and are not flexible enough to withstand the bumps and vibration of normal driving.
Is it possible that portion of the vehicle body is aluminum?
 

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Doesn't look like there is any way to back up the impact area. I'd be worried that hammering to straighten the clip slots might deflect the surrounding metal as much or more than the intended contact slot. If you can find a set of pliers/channelocks/vice-grips that will fit into the slot you might have a better chance of bending only the intended target area.
 

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Is it possible that portion of the vehicle body is aluminum?
I have little to no body experience so can't say for sure but it appears to be welded in with the rest of the body and it's getting just a tiny tiny touch of surface rust (will be fixed of course) so that leads me to think it is steel. but again, am totally uneducated on this kinda stuff
 

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Doesn't look like there is any way to back up the impact area. I'd be worried that hammering to straighten the clip slots might deflect the surrounding metal as much or more than the intended contact slot. If you can find a set of pliers/channelocks/vice-grips that will fit into the slot you might have a better chance of bending only the intended target area.
^^THIS ^^ is my number one concern. Luckily upon further investigation I can pop the large square vent loose to get better access to the area behind. That lead me to discover that those are vents for the passenger cabin, and upon even further investigation, I found that if I remove the hatch interior, donut spare, etc, I should have full access to the opposite side of the panel!!

What would you suggest to use as a "backer" as I work it back? Metal, wood, plastic?
 

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I think I'd start with a wooden block. You can fashion whatever size or shape you need and it'll absorb a bit of the impact too.

A small pair of 4" chanellocks might fit into the slots and give another method of attack.




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I like the idea more than my hammer idea but can't figure how to get it to clamp with even pressure.
I like the idea more than my hammer idea but can't figure how to get it to clamp with even pressure.
A small "mending plate" maybe a couple inches long will fit within and outside of the hole. This is , as I said, an imperfect idea, requiring you use something like gum to hold the inner mending plate in place while you hold the outer one in place with the vise grips/channel locks. When I was a welder we used "Sheet Metal Vise Grips" which have flat metal contacts on each jaw. Depending on how much room you have to work these vise grips were used to grip thin sheet metal without too much deformation. You'd need a smaller pair than I used but I think those are available..just depends on if they fit in the space you have. There are also some interesting c-clamps with tiny work areas and flat jaws you might look into. Having said all of this I recommend you listen to someone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think I'd start with a wooden block. You can fashion whatever size or shape you need and it'll absorb a bit of the impact too.

A small pair of 4" chanellocks might fit into the slots and give another method of attack.




View attachment 299956
A small "mending plate" maybe a couple inches long will fit within and outside of the hole. This is , as I said, an imperfect idea, requiring you use something like gum to hold the inner mending plate in place while you hold the outer one in place with the vise grips/channel locks. When I was a welder we used "Sheet Metal Vise Grips" which have flat metal contacts on each jaw. Depending on how much room you have to work these vise grips were used to grip thin sheet metal without too much deformation. You'd need a smaller pair than I used but I think those are available..just depends on if they fit in the space you have. There are also some interesting c-clamps with tiny work areas and flat jaws you might look into. Having said all of this I recommend you listen to someone else.
Heading to Home Depot tomorrow to peruse the tools and see if something jumps out at me
 

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Luckily upon further investigation I can pop the large square vent loose to get better access to the area behind. That lead me to discover that those are vents for the passenger cabin, and upon even further investigation, I found that if I remove the hatch interior, donut spare, etc, I should have full access to the opposite side of the panel!!
If you have full access to both sides I would try something as simple as two rectangles of steel, probably at least 3/16" thick, sized to match inside the formed pocket and with holes drilled in the middle for a bolt as large as can be fit through the holes for the clips. Crank down as tight as possible on the bolt and nut and most of the deformation should flatten. Use some washers to help disperse the force.
 

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I have little to no body experience so can't say for sure but it appears to be welded in with the rest of the body and it's getting just a tiny tiny touch of surface rust (will be fixed of course) so that leads me to think it is steel. but again, am totally uneducated on this kinda stuff
Try throwing a magnet on it, if it sticks... ;)
 

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Is it possible that portion of the vehicle body is aluminum?
I think the hood is aluminium (someone here will surely correct me, and the spelling, LOL) but not the main unibody, where things like the plastic bumper cover connect.

Slightly off topic but I love the snap connectors on our Hyundai - they are a combination of a snap and a plastic screw to tighten them. I've been doing some work on it lately and the plastic connectors are vastly superior to anything I've seen on other cars (Subaru, Lexus/Toyota, Honda, Jags, etc.)
 

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I think the hood is aluminium (someone here will surely correct me, and the spelling, LOL) but not the main unibody, where things like the plastic bumper cover connect.

Slightly off topic but I love the snap connectors on our Hyundai - they are a combination of a snap and a plastic screw to tighten them. I've been doing some work on it lately and the plastic connectors are vastly superior to anything I've seen on other cars (Subaru, Lexus/Toyota, Honda, Jags, etc.)
You silly Brits and your extra vowels... ;) Although I'll admit I've forced myself to correctly pronounce Jaguar instead of the "jag-wire" pronunciation I grew up with.
 

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For what it's worth, I checked today and the hood failed the magnet test, so I'd guess it is in fact alumiNUM.
LOL! I wish they'd had that on my V12 Jag-you-are "hood". That was a damn heavy bonnet! 😸
 

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Yes, it's (very thin) steel. First unscrew the clips, tap the holes back into shape as best you can, and I would add some Gorilla Glue on the clips just to ensure they are held in place and will also keep out water. All this plastic stuff seems flimsy, but it is by design as a mechanical fuse to keep you from causing more expensive damage for minor collisions.
 
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