Minor repair to plastic bumper cover

Right corner of rear bumper, red '94 TBird. No breaks in the bumper cover, some minor scars, maybe 1 sq. foot of finish stripped off, leaving black-looking surface exposed.
I parked in the 3rd slot to side of my super-mkt, where no cars were. 40 min. later, still no cars except my damaged ThunderChicken.
Dealers estimate is $520. $250 deductable. I 'spect I'll have to repair myself.
Any body wrestled with such an alligator? Tips, suggestions, etc??
TIA, Puddin'
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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if ya ain't worried about showroom looks, git yourself a rattle can of duplicolor in the same color as the car, and spray it up. if done rite, you will not notice it from 10 foot away.

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I agree 100%.
A number of years ago I bought a used van that had been in a very minor bumper thumper - the prior owner had backed into a wall and the right rear bumper was banged in.
I pulled off the bumper cover and took the supports off, (the unibody itself was undamaged) and using a large sledge and some pieces of scrap steel, managed to hammer the bent bumper supports back into shape.
But I obsessed over the damn bumper cover. It had a 2 inch cut in it. Of course, being anal about a new used car, I canvassed every wrecking yard in the area until I found an undamaged bumper cover of the same paint color.
I put everything back together, proud and pleased that for only $200 ($150 for the bumper cover, $50 for the new fiberglass bumper itself) I was able to get the rear bumper back to looking undamaged.
3 months later the van was rear-ended, doing $2500 worth of damage that the insurance company of the other driver paid for.
I might as well have flushed the $200 down the crapper.
Go the rattle can route. This is a 14 year old car. Sorry if it's your pride and joy, man, but only the other drivers on the road are going to be looking at it's ass-end, and if you have owned it for 14 years, your not going to sell it until the coach starts breaking down, and by then whoever buys it isn't going to give you any more money just because the rear bumper is all purty-like.
Ted
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wrote:

Well, all that is more-or-less true. And I understand the sentiment, but ...
There's some old guy in my neighborhood that has like a '91 Town Car, I see him often whilst I walk my crazy dawg. The TC is **Flawlessly** **Immaculate**, hard to believe.
My AAT (Ancient, Ancient ThunderChicken) ain't perfect, but it's damned clean, has only 67k mi., and it's title is Transfer-On-Death to my niece. She will sell it: I'm not likely to.
It's mine. Why shouldn't I take care of it, fix it, nurse it, etc? Hell, I'm retired: I got all the time in the world. :-)
Again, I understand your sentiment. I swore off buying any more new cars back in the 80's on account of all the crazy BS we find on the streets (mutant road surface, Behemoth Pigmobiles driven by folks'd do well to handle a go-cart, and -always- with a cell-phone in they ear, etc, etc,ad nauseum).
Thx, P
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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actually, if you get the proper color paint, and prep it properly, your thunder chicken bumper will be hard pressed to show the offending spot at all. we did just this to the bumpers on the 99 crown vic i gave to my father a few months ago, and you can not see any of the touchup spots from rite on top of it.
when i made the 10 foot comment, i was referring to the fact that a poorly prepared job will not be seen from 10 ft. properly done with a rattle can, and you will not see it at all.

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No problem with Duplicolor, but it doesn't last (fades, etc). Anybody know of a good long lasting clear-coat to go over the Duplicolor?
Anybody know of a good generally available plastic bumper cover filler product with good instructions? Name of product, please.
Thx, P
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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wrote:

Have you called around to the wreckers? Bumper covers are quite often available in the exact same factory color that your car came with. Unless your under the impression that out of the millions of cars that the automaker made, that yours only, has a unique paint color.
Ted
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wrote:

Is not unique, but is one of many, many colors used for that model and year.
The junkyard(s) that could tell me by phone if they had the bumper in my color code are the junkyard(s) that want too much $ for 'em. The DIY yards generally have beat-up junk and no clue re color codes.
P
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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Been there done that. Neither of these are valid excuses. Unless you have 100 wreckers within driving distance, you can probably count the DIY yards on the fingers of two hands. Visiting all of them can be done on the weekend if you get up early, and you said your retired in any case.
You don't want to body-putty a flexible bumper cover. I've seen it done by a pro, and yes you can't tell it was done by looking at it - but if someone runs a shopping cart into it, it will crack and look like crap. You can get a flexible bumper cover that is -lighter- than your paint job that needs no filling from a DIY yard for less than it would cost to pay a pro to fill it. Then just wet sand the whole thing with fine grit to give the paint something to grab, rattle can the whole thing with color that's intended to stay flexible, rattle can it with flexible clear, give it a couple weeks in the summer sun to cure, and remount it. Sure the color won't be an exact match, but since it is a bumper cover that is a separate item, few people will notice.
Auto painting is one of those things that you either make a commitment to do it like the professionals do it, and get all the gear, get space set aside that's dedicated to it, get all the materials, or you rattle-can it and forget about the looks. And as was said, if you rattle-can it and do it carefully, your the only one who is going to notice the flaws.
Ted
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On Sun, 13 Jul 2008 10:38:11 -0500, Puddin' Man

It takes some time and elbow grease to do the prep and paint repair, but it can be done DIY - 90% of the cost is labor. First step is to go to the local auto parts that mixes auto paint and sells supplies to auto painters in your area. NAPA stores usually have one per region that does this.
They have the special fillers and glazing putties to fill in the small scratches and build up the edges, special primers to build the entire surface even with the paint. And the fine grades of wet-dry sandpaper to block sand it for painting.
When they mix you a pint of matching car paint for use on the bumper, they have to add a flex agent so it will resist cracking if the bumper cover bends. Don't use that paint mix elsewhere, or it won't set up hard.
(Unless you want them to mix up a full quart, then portion off a half-pint and add the flex agent to that. Then you'll have some custom touch-up for later.)
You'll probably spend $25 to $75 on supplies depending on what you already own, and the same to have the paint mixed - but the results are only limited by how good a job you do on the prep work BEFORE the color-coat paint goes on.
As to spraying the primer and color coats, you can do a good job with a rented HVLP gun or an old-style "touch-up gun" from Harbor Freight. Follow the paint man's thinning and application instructions to the letter, there are different reducers and/or different amounts depending on the weather that day - humid or dry, cold or hot.
WARNING: For metallic or pearlescent paints you can do the prep, but let the Painter at the local body shop do the final color painting.
All those tiny reflective particles in the paint have to be laid down in the same direction and the same thickness as the paint that is on the car now, which is tricky. Get it wrong and the patch will stand out big time, and the whole panel will need to be resprayed.
--<< Bruce >>--
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Why would he be painting the panel? The bumper cover was damaged, not the panel.
Ted
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On Mon, 14 Jul 2008 03:09:55 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"

Okay, the entire bumper cover, smart ass. >_< You have to mask at a convenient parting line, and the gap between the bumper cover and the body is your only choice here.
--<< Bruce >>--
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wrote...

It's easier to just remove the bumper and remove the cover and make up a makeshift paint booth with a couple of big cardboard boxes, and spray it. Since your not having to worry about overspray, you can concentrate on doing it right, and you can keep the cooties off of it while it's drying.
Ted
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On Sun, 13 Jul 2008 19:49:56 -0700, Bruce L. Bergman
wrote:

OK ...

I got no Binks gun ...

I got no compressor (sigh) ...

I'm kinda used to surface-prep on painted metal like on older cars, but I've never worked on their "Plastic Wonders" ...

Fortunately it's not a true metallic or pearlescent.
Thanks for the write-up, Bruce: it is helpful.
I'll try part of what you suggest if I can find a truly knowledgable NAPA body/paint guy. But I fear if he's used to serving pros he'll not wanna nursemaid po' me. :-(
I might be stuck with using Duplicolor, but it doesn't last (fades, etc). Anybody know of a good long-lasting aerosol clear-coat to go over the Duplicolor?
Anybody know of a good generally available plastic bumper cover filler product with good instructions? Name of product, please.
Thx, P
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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On Mon, 14 Jul 2008 22:16:30 -0500, Puddin' Man wrote:

But it could e another store - Look in the yellow pages and/or call around.

Don't need one. If it's a small enough repair, you can use a Preval Sprayer which is a cross between a rattle can and a spray gun. Runs off a can of propellant.
Or you can go buy or rent a small "pancake" oilless air compressor and a cheapie touch-up gun. You can get out of Harbor Freight for under $100, just don't expect them to hold up to heavy use.
The compressor is also good for filing tires and other stuff around the house.

The only difference is you have to plan on it moving a bit - you can't just use Bondo and regular glazing putty, because it won't flex.

They will - your money is just as green as the body shop guy's. And if you don't want to bug the paint guy, you can call the paint maker or check their website for instructions.
You have to match what's on the car now, and some new cars use a water based paint that requires different techniques.

You can have them sell you a pint or quart of the right clear-coat at the same time. Get the color coat right, let it cure long enough so you can sand it out and call it 'done', then you can spray the clear-coat.
You usually have to put on multiple real thin coats of Clear with drying time in between, try to spray it heavy and it will sag and run. Then you have to sand out the runs.
--<< Bruce >>--
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wrote:

You don't really need a gun or compressor for that small an area. We used these where I used to work:
http://www.tptools.com/p/1612,64_Preval-Professional-Portable-Sprayer.html
They spray a good pattern, and should work fine for your application.
Bondo makes a good flexible filler kit. I used some on my '89 Probe way back in '94, and it was still in place when I traded it in 2000.
Have fun!
SC Tom
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and it don't cost an eyeball and a testicle ...

Thanks, SC Tom. That's the kinda info I was after.

Second only to a fire-hose enema on the fun-rating scale ... :-)
P
" ... and the bees made honey in the lion's head." - from "If I Had My Way", Blind Willie Johnson
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wrote:

You're more than welcome! Let us know how it works out.
SC Tom
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