Reducing weight of '78-'81 front bumper

Discussion in 'Body Restoration' started by mrvedit, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    I find the weight of the '78-'81 front bumper ridiculously heavy and a hinderance to better handling. The issue is not the urethane and fiberglass bumper cover, but the steel structure underneath it. Here is a picture:

    [​IMG]

    I removed it and weighed it at 47.8 pounds.
    Adding the hefty brackets that mount it to the subframe and the associated hardware brings the total to 67.6 pounds.
    I don't know how much the urethane/fiberglass bumper cover weighs, but it doesn't seem too bad and I estimate 15 pounds.
    The total is likely double that of a modern car and perhaps even of an early Gen-2.

    Unless members here have better ideas, I plan to use my plasma cutter to cut away about half this structure. I have examined what the bumper cover needs and it is mostly just the top plate; also vertical sections of the right and left sides.
    I plan to cut the middle vertical section out completely as I want to make the lower grille functional for better cooling.

    I had hoped to replace the urethane bumper cover with a stiff fiberglass one, but I cannot find one. NPD lists one in their catalog but it is out of production. I don't want a race-only one-piece fiberglass front and fender combo.

    Basically, I am trying to lighten the car and am open to all suggestions.
    So far I am also planning on a Kevlar hood with billet hinges.
    I see that fiberglass inner fenders are available.
    If aluminum fender or doors were available, I would splurge for those.
    I plan to install the Detroit Speed front clip this winter, regardless of whether it saves weight; I already installed their Quadralink rear suspension.

    Thanks. I look forward to any feedback and suggestions. Especially if someone has already done this.
     
  2. Zspoiler

    Zspoiler Veteran Member

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    The front bumper is built like it is to meet crash standards,.Along with the doors. But if you want to lighten the front bumpers you could: 1 get the hole saw out and have at it.2 Have one made out of aluminum.( A friend of mine who family built aluminum fishing boats.actually did this.) 3 Have one made out Fiber Carbon or Kevlar. 4 Out of Chrome-moly tubing. And on the doors you could take the impact braces out of your original doors.Or use 1970-3 Camaro doors. It all depends on how much you are going to drive it on the street. I left mine on because I can and have taken some weight off in other areas.( On mine 1979 Z-28 RS Camaro. I replaced the steel factory hood with GlasTek 6"cowl hood.Front nose with an Fibremotive IMSA ,IROC one, Aluminum heads and radiator,Vette Brakes 1984 C-4 Corvette front supension and Tubular "A" arms.)
     

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  3. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    Thank you for the ideas; I am considering having an aluminum bumper fab'ed by a local shop that has done other work for me.
    More info on how to replace the front nose with a Gen-3 sounds interesting. I already have the tubular control arms, C5 brakes.

    I did find a post by woody80z28 stating that he was happy with the Stinger fiberglass bumper cover and found that americansportscar.com sells it. I will call to see if it is available. The $500 price would be largely offset by the labor to remove the paint from my OEM one.
     
  4. 351maverick

    351maverick full time Ebay seller/hustler/car killer

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    lots of G body Monte Carlos have aluminum front bumpers which are a pretty close match to the Camaro one
     
  5. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    I could not find an aluminum Monte Carlo bumper, although if I knew the exact year, I would call around more.

    The original bumper, spacers, brackets and hardware together weighed 68 lbs.
    I used my plasma cutter to trim the bumper, the spacers and the brackets and now have that total weight down to 47 lbs.

    Since the bumper and spacers are bolted together, I plan to cut off the mounting flanges and weld the pieces together.

    I finally did find a fiberglass bumper cover from American Sports Cars. Ordered the front, back and front spoiler.
     
  6. woody80z28

    woody80z28 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Yup, I'm pretty happy with the fiberglass nose so far. Not perfect, but since it's fiberglass it's workable. Mike Bustil used the same one and his came out beautiful!

    I have a lightened front bumper that I got in a lot of parts. Looks like plasma was the tool of choice. It's really light, I should weigh it, but it's really cut up. I would say the structure is next to nothing... I think it's too much, and I'm not planning on using it.
     
  7. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    What are people's thoughts on a Fiberglass or Carbon Fiber hood?
    Do they fit well?
    Are they safe?
    I searched but couldn't find good threads on this - if you know of threads, please give me the links.
    I'm considering a Carbon Fiber over Fiberglass hood from Anvil. Pricey at $1300 plus $250 shipping.
    (I would likely only let a little of the Carbon Fiber show through and paint most the hood to match the car/bumpers.)
    I'm also considering a Stinger Fiberglass hood from American Sports Cars who is supplying my bumper covers - that would likely save $250 in shipping as they only charge for the largest parts.
    Thanks.
     
  8. larrylarry

    larrylarry Veteran Member

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    I did this to my front bumper a few years ago on my 78. Opened up the bottom grill & boxed it in. Then last year I built a floor so incoming air wouldn't escape from the bottom. I didn't have any cooling problems before doing this but it does add to the air flow into the radiator. The metal bumper by it self weights 45 lbs. Also moved the horns inside the bumper cover. This is what it ended up looking like in the pic of the front
     

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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2016
  9. 80sz

    80sz Veteran Member

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    That looks really good and should of came that way
     
  10. mrvedit

    mrvedit Veteran Member

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    Very nice. I especially like the idea of adding a floor to improve cooling.
    I'm still thinking of making this car track worthy even though I'm also making my C6 Vette track worthy.
    For both cars that means adding an engine oil and PS cooler. Adding the floor will definitely help with all the coolers.
     

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