Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Repairs

Keeping in line with DIY repairs, I have this lovely bit of dental work to display:

OK, so it's not really dental work, but I prefer to think of it as wiring the Jetta's bumper shut. The front bumper and grille assembly is a stackup of several pieces, nearly all of them plastic. As far as I can tell, they all snap together with so many spring-hook features molded in. The lowermost, black ABS piece is essentially a skirt that reduces wind resistance, and elegantly curves under the grille and the forward section of the engine compartment. This means that dragging it backwards over anything (curbs, the concrete blocks at the end of parking spaces, snow berms left by the plow guy) has a tendency to break it.

After a number of years of abuse, after one of last winter's numerous storms, the passenger-side of the skirt broke away. After some time with it dragging on the pavement and looking sad, I decided it needed fixing, lest it catch on something and tear more of my car off. Last spring, I was able to reattach it to the bumper segment above. Where they meet is a sort of flange that the now-missing spring fingers originated. I was able to drill some holes and thru-bolt it back together. It was tricky work that mostly had to be done blindly by touch, but It was fairly clean from the outside.

About two weeks ago, I pulled just a little too far into a parking spot and caught the skirt on a concrete block. Pulling back ripped away my careful thru-bolt job. After some more time with the bumper segment flapping in the breeze, I decided to make a serious fix. Again with my drill I this time installed some bolts with nuts as studs, then used wire to cinch it all back together.

Ain't it pretty? But for a 10-year old car with 94,000 miles on it, I am unlikely to replace the front bumper assembly just for looks.

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