Guys, I *have* to run a front plate...

I'm pissed at GM right now... not homicidally pissed, mind you, just a little more so than the usual low level annoyance at their craptastic
products. However, this is an example of why people continue to think that their products are cheap junk.
My company car is a current body Impala, it's OK for what it is. However, it's not a high end car, so while I like to keep it looking nice, it gets hand washed exactly once a year, immediately before its annual waxing. Any other time that it starts looking a little dirty, it gets run through an automatic car wash.
Why does this piss me off at GM? Because the front license plate bracket is an embarrassing piece of shit. It's this molded plastic contraption that screws to the plastic front bumper fascia with two pathetic little screws, flops around loosely, and worse yet, is constructed so that it is impossible to put a proper license plate frame on your front plate, so that you're always running the risk of having the front plate bent into a pretzel by the car wash rollers. (three guesses why I'm posting this rant today; first two don't count.) In fact, the whole thing is so tenuous, I'm wondering if I shouldn't try to figure out a way to attach it to the lower grille as well as the current two screws into thin plastic so the whole thing doesn't get ripped off in the car wash, because now that I've taken it off and looked at it, I'm really surprised that it hasn't come off already.
Come on, GM. I know that front license plates look like shit. However, my state requires them, so to be a good law-abiding citizen I have to use them. Please at least recognize this fact and don't hand off the design of the front plate brackets to one of your junior engineer's children.
For an example of how a proper license plate bracket should be constructed, I recommend to you any number of plate brackets available on the aftermarket or as supplied by any number of other manufacturers. Typically constructed of metal, those brackets often have rolled edges to securely hold the flimsy aluminum plates and prevent damage. Often they also have provisions for the plate to be retained by all four screws, and do not impede the mounting of a license plate frame if desired for extra protection or appearance reasons.
I also found that annoying squeak that happens when I slam the trunk lid while adding a license plate frame on the rear plate; the rear bumper fascia (to which the rear license plate is "securely" held by two screws into plastic - I "fixed" that by adding two more holes of my own, although I have to say I still would prefer something like riv-nuts into metal, I realize that that would be way too expensive for you to meet your price point) is loose and vibrates against the actual metal of the bumper assembly, and there is no way to tighten the weird little push-clip fasteners that you used to attach it, so I'll be listening to that squeak until I finally get rid of this car, or in desperation finally remove the fascia and replace all those wacky fasteners with speed clips and sheetmetal screws.
thank you for your consideration.
Nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

NY almost dropped the front plate 2 years ago. The police union objected saying it made it more difficult to identify the vehicle.

I have a custom plate bracket on the front of my vehicle because I run two front plates. The NY and one for the VFD.

Easy fix. Use a pull rod to create a small space and shoot some clear silicone caulk in there. It will stop the motion and the squeak.

--
Steve W.

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On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 17:09:04 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

I was told by an Oregon cop that they use the front plate law as an excuse to pull someone over when they're suspicious but don't have cause -- i.e. it's one of the many ways that you can get pulled over for Driving While Hispanic, but if you're not otherwise generating suspicion or aren't a member of The Wrong Group they'll let it by. And if you _are_ a member of The Wrong Group they'll find some other reason.
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On 02/21/2010 01:39 AM, Tim Wescott wrote:

I dunno, years and years ago I had a VW Scirocco and the front plate bracket had been mangled beyond use before I got the car. I got hassled regularly until I found a replacement, and I don't really think I look all that threatening. (it took a while too, as it wasn't available from the dealer as the car was already more than 10 years old. I think at one point I installed the mangled original bracket and zip-tied the license plate to it. Eventually I did find a replacement front bracket, and was able to mount the plate correctly.)
nate
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Until the day when the plastic ages, your plate falls off and a couple miles later you get pulled over for not having one. At the least do a bit of simple mechanics and fix it properly.
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fred wrote:

Yeah, I'm going to make a retractable bracket using rc servos. That way I can flip a switch from inside the car and drive twice the SL passed speed cameras (while giving the finger) without worrying. ;-)
Of course, it has to be infallible...

Ulf
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wrote in arm... :-)

Trade in for a jet car - I refer to Mythbusters when they showed the *only* way to beat a speed camera with a licence plate showing - be going over 180Mph. I make no promises you won't get roadside inspections however. <g>.
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Ulf wrote:

You mount the plate slightly below the front bumper from a hinged bracket so that it can swing up to a horizontal position below the bumper. Make the pivot point very near the center of gravity of the mounting assembly so that the slightest aerodynamic pressure will cause it to swing up.
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On Sun, 21 Feb 2010 06:51:35 -0500, Nate Nagel wrote:

I do share your frustration, by the way -- an otherwise nice front bumper with a honking big notch in it for a plate looks a lot nicer than a plate sticking out like a sore thumb on the front of a nice curvaceous bumper.
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Tim Wescott wrote: (snip)

Several models used to have the best of both worlds- a curved plug matching the bumper contour (like a drive bay cover on a 'stylish' PC), that you only took out if you had to have a front plate. (And hopefully kept it, for you or next owner, if car moved to a no-plate state later.)
I guess that went away with all the decontenting to meet price and weight bogeys. Lighter and cheaper always wins, etc.
--
aem sends...

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Nate,
My 73 Impala's front license plate bracket ended and inch past the four bolt holes, and the plate got bent around everytime it went through a car wash. Eventually I had a three piece front license plate screwed down to a piece of wood which was then fastened to the license plate mounting bracket. The car wash never wrecked the plate again..
My mothers 1991 Cadillac front License plate is screwed to a backing plate that slides down over two round protrusions in the center of the front bumper. If you give the plate a bumpe upward it comes right off. She lost it once while parking - the front bumper rode up some plowed up snow. I found it later at the restaurant when I noticed it missing.
Forget using those license plate frames. They also block the view of the registration decal if you have one on the rear plate.
Good Luck
harryface 91 Bonneville 321,654 05 Park Avenue 95,001
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Nate Nagel wrote:
[snip]

Consider yourself lucky. You've got a great excuse as to why you don't have a front plate when you get pulled over. "That cheap piece of plastic junk must have fallen off again, officer."

No, No! Aftermarket devices or modifications to factory brackets could present a hazard to a pedestrian should you be involved in an accident with one. Nasty metal edges, screws, etc. could cause serious injuries. For which you will be liable. GM, in their infinite wisdom, spent millions of dollars on R&D to design this pedestrian-safe break away plate holder. So, should that cop suggest that you "just screw the missing plate on somewhere", you can inform him of your concerns and ask him if the state will be accepting liability for the hazard. Think of the children.
--
Paul Hovnanian snipped-for-privacy@hovnanian.com
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