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::: A Big Bumper Conversion for a MK2 Golf :::


In the interest of public service, we bring you the following important safety warning. Pattern-Part Big Bumpers may not be as safe as you'd like to think!

A bleedingly obvious statement granted, and yes, it probably does sound like a stupid thing to say...

We, like thousands of Matey-Matey visitors every month, chose to update our pre-90 spec mk2 with a Pattern-Part Big Bumper kit. The car's had a fairly hard life over the last 4 years including a good few track and 'fast road' miles :-) It's also spent most of its life parked outside, usually on the road.

At some point after the bumper kit was fitted, the car appears to have been 'nudged', possibly quite hard, by an incompetent parker.

This impact appears to have creased one of the bumper irons yet have made no visible damage..

So far, so good, that's what they're for - right?

The problem is, the cost-cutting required to flog a bumper to a punter for peanuts has meant a poor-quality paint-finish on the bumper iron [the bracket]. The paint has flaked off the rippled poor-quality bumper stay and tin-worm has totally ravaged the part, to the point that it has completely disintegrated and the bumper has broken free!

It goes without saying that a pattern part bumper is always going to offer less impact protection than a genuine VAG one. However, to have a bumper iron reduced to dust in such a short period of time is definitely a cause for concern.

We've replaced the offending stay with another equally shonky [but new] one from a spare bumper. We've reinforced this by seam welding it and we've over-painted it to give it mildly increased protection.

Heed this warning, take time to inspect your stays, especially if your bumpers have been installed for a while and above all, drive safely - you don't want to rely on these bumpers too heavily.

Finally, we would like to draw your attention to our disclaimer. We don't, never have and NEVER WILL take responsibility for the accuracy or validity of the information we chose to publish. Bumpers are a SAFETY CRITICAL part and we would not necessarily advise you read or follow the following article.

* / UPDATE *

What you'll need...

1. A big bumper kit - including brackets, looms and lenses
2. 5, 10, and c18 mm drill bits*, drill and round file.
3. 4 cans of plastic primer, 4 cans of top coat
4. Bucket, 1000 grit Wet'n'Dry, masking tape & paper
5. Trolley jack, a block of wood and a socket-set.

The process below outlines the basic steps involved in fitting a full colour-coded big bumper kit to a MK2 Volkswagen Golf GTi. To use the Haynes nomenclature this would be classified as a '2 spanner task' - however it does require the fitter to be fairly competent with a spray can. If you doubt your painting skills, we would recommend you use a recommended paint shop to get the bumpers colour-coded and then simply fit them yourself.

Step One

Lay the bumpers across a suitable bench and rub-down the surfaces you will be painting with the 1000 grit Wet'n'Dry. Use copious quantities of warm soapy water, repeatedly rubbing the paper into every nook and cranny using a gentle circular motion. 

TIP - The bumpers are smothered in a mould-releasing-agent and unless you carefully rub every iota of it off, the paint will NOT stick to the bumpers AT ALL 

Close Up:

Step Two

Once you are happy that the bumpers are totally smooth, grease free and bone-dry, you can start painting. [Remember: - The preparation of the surface is key to any painting job, so do take care to rub lightly and use loads of water to flush away any debris that might otherwise get dragged around under the paper] 

Mask the parts of the bumper that will not be being painted carefully and more importantly - accurately!

Give the bumper 2 or 3 light coats of plastic primer following the instructions on the can for build thickneses and flash times. Once this is dry, you can 'flat the paint off' using more 1000 grit before applying two or three generous coats of top-coat to the whole primed area.

Step Three

If you are fitting the bumpers to a mk2 that previously had small bumpers, chances are you will have to fit a 2-lugged big-bumper slide-bracket to the lower edge of each front-wing. To do this you will need to drill an extra *circa?? 20mm hole a few cms below the original factory hole. 

NOTE: Take the measurements for this from the bracket supplied with your kit, and drill it out using progressively larger drill-bits 'till it's a snug fit for both lugs. 

TIP - Do remember to rust proof the hole - A quick blast of left-over primer is ideal!

Step Four - Fitting the Bumpers

Fitting the front bumper is far trickier than the rear, so we will cover it first:

The front bumper brackets are load bearing - to extract the old bumper and fit the new one will require the weight of the engine and transmission to be briefly supported by the trolley jack and wood. To do this, place the wood on the casting of the transmission adjacent to [but NOT on] the sump and take the weight of the engine on the jack.

Take the rubber bungs out from the front under-valance, and undo the four 17mm bolts that hold the bumper in place...

The old bumper will slide out, and the new one can then be slid into its place. Wire up the indicator and fog-light looms [as applicable], bolt the new bumper carefully in place, and lower the car to admire!

The rear bumper is a doddle in comparison. Unbolt the four bolts holding the brackets in place [2 per side - as shown below], swap the bumpers over, and then simply re-bolt the new one in its place.

Note: This task is not especially difficult and as long as you spend time on the preparation [chiefly concentrating on the quality of your rubbing-down and masking] you will find it satisfyingly easy.

We would recommend you set aside 1 weekend for this task!

Disclaimer : Matey-Matey accept no responsibility for any of the information contained within this document or the accuracy thereof. It is intended as a helpful guide and is solely based on personal experience. The authors also wish to stress that the methods highlighted are centred around personal opinion and there may be other equally credible ways of performing this conversion.

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