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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-31-2010, 11:43 AM   #1
95m3ltw
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Bumper Repair/Plastic bonding/welding??????

On our ZHP, the front bumper was pulled forward when we backed off a curb. We didnt hear or notice the curb when parking and didnt realize it would do damage as we left.


So now on the passenger side of the bumper, it is not attached anymore and just sits about a inch out from the car.

I took the bumper off and noticed it is vastly different than the E36 in terms of how it is attached to the metal bumper/car etc.

It seems in BMW's search for making things cheaper, they used plastic tabs on the outer skin and then used heat to melt the tabs to the inner plastic mounting points which in turn attach to the car. Once you rip those tabs off, the outer skin has no way for attachment to the structural pieces used to attach the bumper to the car.

For those that havent seen the part I am talking about, picture a plastic nipple sticking out on the inside from the outer skin of the bumper cover (the part you see outside of the car) and sticks through the black plastic piece behind the bumper cover, then is melted together like a plastic rivet. This black plastic piece is the part that slides into place on the car, attaches the bumper cover to the bumper etc. Once you break that tab, there is no way to attach the bumper cover without some sort of glue or plastic welding.

So, anyone repaired or have experience in what type of plastic glue/welding I can use to repair this bumper cover so it can be attached back to the car?

At some point next week I will take it off and take pictures.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:16 AM   #2
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Same thing happened to my car when it was shipped to Korea.

The key is prep...make sure you prep the mating surfaces. Iso alcohol works good. I used CA glue on the mounting bracket and accelerant on the bumper. Make sure it lines up and stick it on. Should cure within seconds. My bracket is still good to go.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply, would not have thought superglue would hold. Will give it a shot.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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3M makes a product called "Automix Panel Bond Adhesive." That stuff is insanely strong, I suggest that stuff.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:31 PM   #5
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I use epoxy glue for plastic repairs at my shop. make sure you sand both surfaces with a sandpaper and make it rough before applying.

pretty strong stuff!
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:19 PM   #6
95m3ltw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Hots View Post
I use epoxy glue for plastic repairs at my shop. make sure you sand both surfaces with a sandpaper and make it rough before applying.

pretty strong stuff!
Decided to go with the epoxy for plastic. Rough it up on all the contact areas, cleaned and put it together.

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Old 01-07-2011, 03:21 PM   #7
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update, especially for those with the same issue and find most people never seem to update with their final solution.

The picture above shows the piece being reattached to the bumper skin. Went on a search for CA and accelerant but on the recommendation of a few body shop guys, used 3M plastic epoxy. It comes in a dual tube container like normal epoxy and can be found at most hardware/home depot/lowes etc.

Roughed the plastic with 80 grit sand paper, did a final alcohol wipe down and then applied the epoxy to every area that the bracket touched on the outer bumper shell. Clamped it overnight and then installed the next day. Seems to be doing the trick. I also noticed several tabs/brackets broken where the previous owner must have hit a animal etc with the grill. Will be addressing those bits in the next month or so.

Thanks for the response!
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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thanks...anymore followup news on this?
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:44 PM   #9
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I purchased a plastic welder for our shop. We have a lot of plastic equipment, and in the past we've just thrown out broken componants because the load we place on some of them is extreme. With the welder we can make the repair and keep the componant in use for 2 and 3 times it's intended lifespan.
The plastic welder is essentially a high temperature heat gun with special attachments to focus the heat. Plastic rods are used to fuse the two halves, while the flat plate on the end of the heat gun attachment smooths the surface. Good as new!

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Old 12-23-2012, 05:26 PM   #10
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just wondering where u picked up the plastic welding tool and maybe what brand is good
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #11
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Steinel is what we use. It was recommended to us by other shops welding plastics. I don't know where they sit in the field of heat guns, but the quality seems top notch. I'm certain there are other brands out there
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Old 12-24-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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what if material is gone? can this welder re-fabricate using donor material of some sort?
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:41 PM   #13
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Yep, it comes with rods of different types of plastics. You can cut strips from any donor to use as a filler as well. That way you're able to match color as well.
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