Mintgrun 2002

I remembered reading how to do this back in 1988 in an article from Roundel, the BMWCCA's magazine. After a 10 year hiatus, I started getting interested, and perhaps even inspired in working on the '02. It also helps that in that 10 years, I have come to slow it down a bit and take a look at how things really work. If you have a 2002, this is not only simple, it's essential.

-Shorten the buggy bumpers-
"My first cosmetic mod since 1992"

Unfortunately, the thought of taking pictures to show the 'before' aspect of this mod did come to me, but I was inspired after a weekend of tracing grounds and running wires to just get the thing done. Seeing a before picture is as easy as looking at any 2002 with the extended bumpers and then looking at this one.

Below is a picture of the car with the new and improved shortened bumpers. It is a bit difficult to tell from the side, but I have included pictures from the front and rear for your review. Yes, the car is on an incline.


The steps are pretty easy, but here is what I did and some tips on making it easy for you, too:

Preparation:

  • Disconnect the battery cable. (I'm kidding, but it seems that all of these things start with that.)
  • Gather your tools. For this, I used:
    • Eye protection and nose mask to keep fluid and metal shavings out of eyes and nose.
    • Drill. Mine happens to be a 14.4v Craftsman. I hate it as the bits got stuck more than once. Need more POWER!.
    • Self-tapping screws or bolts with necessary driver. Nice if you have a driver that will fit in your drill.
    • Drill bits. Two sizes. One to tap and drain the fluid, and one that was just a bit (Ha! pardon the pun) larger than the self tapping bolts I had from another project. I used carbide tipped (I think- are they the gold ones?) drill bits so that I could chew through the metal with relative ease.
    • Blade. I used a box cutter to cut the bumper ends.
    • Black silicone to tidy up the cuts. Though, I didn't use any. Looks pretty good. I probably will tighten it up a bit before the next CCA meet.

Drilling I:

  • First, I used a larger bit thinking that this would allow the fluid to drain more readily.
    • What I didn't know, and wasn't mentally prepared for was that the hydruallic fluid is under PRESSURE!
  • Find a suitable place for you to get a good angle on the bumper holders and start drilling.
    • Here is where good eye protection and the nose mask come in handy. Metal bits will fly from the drill, but the biggest protection is from the fluid inside the bumper cylinders.
    • You'll know you've done well when the fluid expels forth with great fanfare- and mess.
  • Once drained, the bumper should move with very little effort- held out only by the rubber baby buggy bumper, ummmm holders on the side.
  • Now, before you go cutting the side pieces, drill out the other side, too.
    • Here is where things were a little different between the front and back:
      • On the front, there were TWO bumper holders to drill, while on the rear bumper, there were three- one in the middle.
      • But, even when drilled twice, the middle one in the rear produced no hydraullic fluid.
      • When the sides of the rear where drained, the bumper moved freely. Your mileage may vary.
  • The bumper should now move easily, so it's time to cut the rubber sides down.
  • Don't put the drill away, you're not done with it, yet

Cutting I:

  • Use the box cutter to slice the ends near its end. On the front, I cut nearest to the bumper, but on the rear, I chose to do closer to the car. It's a detail thing, but I like the way the rubber meets the edges better as a result of cutting this way on the back.
  • This will allow the bumper to slide in and out more freely than before. You can set the length of the bumper at whatever you wish. Mine are set as far in as possible.
  • Don't trim the sides, yet. You want to make sure they're not going anywhere before you cut them too short.
  • Once you have set the desired distance from the car, it's time to drill again.

Drilling II:

  • Once you've gotten the bumper to stay in as far as you wish, find a drill bit that is just a little smaller than the self tapping screw you want to use to hold everything down. This will allow a good thread and ensure a good hold by the screw.
    • Here is where things were a little different between the front and back:
      • On the front, the outer sleeve of the holder stayed put while the inner sleeve slid in to shorten the bumper.
      • This left me a nice hole to use, and a little less to drill.
      • On the back, both slid inward and I had to drill through both sleeves to tap the screw in.
  • Once you have drilled the smaller holes, simply change your drill bit for the driver bit and power that screw (or bolt) right in.
  • Congratulations! Your bumper ain't goin' nowhere!

Cutting II:

  • Now that you can be sure your bumper is secure, you can feel better about cutting those ex$pe$ive side bolsters. You may not even want to cut. Some have said they just tucked the sides into the bumper. This works, of course, only it you cut on that side of the bolster. I am a bit obsessive, so I wanted them cut to look original-ish.
  • Eyeball the distance you think you'll need and cut one rib more than what you think. This will allow you some fudge room if they're not long enough. Not to mention, it will keep you from feeling like a dolt with side bumpers to short.
  • Once trimmed down to the desired length, get out your black silicone and shape the cuts a bit.

Optional:

Admire your work, wash off all of the hydraullic fluid on your arms, (neck, face, head) kiss the wife, get a beer, and admire your work.

It's pretty easy to tell from the front, but because it doesn't just go right to the car, it is a little tougher.

The back is a huge difference. You can almost sense the resentment the engineers had when they stuck these things on their cars back in 1974:

"They want some 5mph bumpers... We'll GIVE 'em 5mph bumpers!"

Well, that's pretty much it. In the coming weeks, I hope to outline the new brakes installation: 4 piston calipers and vented rotors for the front, a tii master cylinder, and, of all things, rear disc brakes. The suspension will follow including 22mm fr/rear swaybars, eurathane bushings all around new Bilsteins shocks and H&R springs. I also recently 'won' a set of Weber sidedraft 40's from Ebay that I hope to install sometime this summer. Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by!

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