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Repairing and retexturing a Ford Explorer bumper cover
This 2002 Ford Explorer front bumper cover has only minor damage, but most body shops would not attempt to repair it because it is textured. It has two broken grille bars, some minor dents, and some road rash. Since the OEM price of this bumper is a couple hundred dollars, it might make sense to repair it, if the insurance company is willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile.
This video demonstrates, from start to finish, how to repair a textured plastic bumper cover using a nitrogen plastic welder. After the plastic welding is complete, the dents and low spots in the bumper are filled with epoxy filler, which is then sanded down to match the original contour. The bumper cover is then retextured with MicroTex texture material from Polyvance. Finally, the bumper cover is painted with Bumper and Cladding Color Coat so that it matches the original color.
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This 2002 Ford Explorer front bumper cover has only minor damage, but most body shops would not attempt to repair it because it is textured. It has two broken grille bars, some minor dents, and some road rash. Since the OEM price of this bumper is four hundred sixteen dollars, it might make sense to repair it, if the insurance company is willing to pay enough to make it worthwhile. In this video, we will show the procedure for making the repair.
The first step in any bumper repair is to clean the bumper. First, use Scuff Magic Prep Soap with a red scuff pad and water. Wash and rinse the bumper inside and out. After the bumper dries, clean it again with Super Clean Plastic Cleaner. Spray on a heavy, wet coat in a small area. Let it set for a few seconds to dissolve any contamination, then wipe in one direction with a clean paper towel, exposing a clean surface with every wipe.
Remove dents by heating the bumper with a heat gun. Heat from one side only until the plastic is too hot to touch on the other side. This ensures that the plastic is heated all the way through. Reshape the plastic to remove the dents and stretched areas.
We will use a nitrogen welder to repair the broken grille bars. First, align the damage using aluminum tape. Use polypropylene welding ribbon and the nitrogen welder to weld the cracks. These bars can be reinforced by running two strips of welding rod on either side of the mounting hole.
It's faster to fill low areas with epoxy filler. To prepare, sand the area with 180 grit on a DA sander, then apply Filler Prep Adhesion Promoter to the areas that you want to fill. Mix epoxy filler by squeezing out equal portions on a mixing board. Mix completely until there are no streaks, then apply the epoxy filler and the low spots on the bumper.
Once the epoxy is cured, sand with 180 grit. Avoid using 80 grit on this soft TPO plastic, as it will leave swirl marks. Use the 180 grit to sand down any road rash. Then, when all the rough areas are smooth, sand again with 320 grit. Also, quickly sand the entire bumper with 320 grit sandpaper. You don't need to sand off all the texture, just knock the tops off for a more uniform appearance.
Blow the dust away with compressed air, and spray on a medium wet coat of Plastic Magic Adhesion Promoter over the entire bumper. Always use Plastic Magic whenever you apply any coating directly to the raw TPO or polypropylene plastic. Let the Plastic Magic flash off for 10 minutes before top coating.
We will use Microtex waterborne texture coating to retexture the bumper. First, catalyze the Microtex with 5% catalyst. Using a 1.3 millimeter basecoat gun, apply a medium wet coat of Microtex overall to the bumper. Microtex is unique in that the texture is built into the paint; this ensures consistency of appearance. There is no reason to adjust gun setting or distance to the work to achieve the texture. After the first coat flashes completely, apply a full second medium wet coat of Microtex. Once the Microtex has dried completely, sand with 600 grit to remove loose texture and even out the appearance. Use the white nibs that appear code to check for evenness of sanding.
To finish the bumper, we'll apply Bumper and Cladding Coat paint to match the original color of the bumper. First, to match the original unfaded color of the bumper, use the Bumper and Cladding Coat color chip chart on the backside of the bumper and find the color that most closely matches the original color. Mix the chosen color according to the formula. Use a 1.3 millimeter base coat gun and apply two medium wet coats of Bumper and Cladding Coat.
The finished bumper looks brand-new again. A fully textured bumper would be the most difficult because the standard of appearance would be more critical. However, textured areas on the bottom of bumpers would be much easier to do. So don't be afraid the next time you have a textured bumper. You can do a quality repair using Polyvance's line of products.