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I replaced the front and rear bumper fillers on an '85 I previously owned. Two points to consider:

1) I was fortunate enough to have an advance copy of Ed's installation instructions awhile back and they were extremely thorough. Its best you get a copy before taking on the project.

2) I see that the vendor Nathaniel mentions sells the left and right front and left and right rear pieces as one solid piece each ( total four pieces) which is a replica of the originals. All other venders that I've come accross split each of the four pieces in two (total eight pieces). Without some sanding/filing on your part these eight usually don't fit together very well. Please note that I am not recommending this vendor nor have I bought from them....just making an observation.

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In reply to Ship's observation that replica plastics sells the pieces as they were originally, I'll add this. Replica Plastics pieces are fiberglass, and from what I've learned lately, they'll take a lot of glass work to make them look nice. Apparently their molds are fiberglass and everytime they pull a set of fillers from the molds, the molds become worn. Why, I can't tell you, but to get your fillers smooth, you'll need to do some glass work of your own. I got this information from a vendor who sells both ABS and fiberglass fillers.

I did put a set of glass front fillers on my '84 convertible. I liked the way they looked with out the vertical seam you get with the ABS fillers, but they require a lot of fitting to get them right. The other scary part is that they don't fit until you force them into position; out of the mold, they're almost flat. You'll need to bend them into place. This was a number of years ago and mine were some of the first fiberglass ones to be produced. The rears weren't available in glass at that time.

The ABS are not perfect either, but they're the lesser of two evils.

Check the vendors in the back of the Riview. Ray had me interview another vendor a month or so ago and he'll be selling ABS through the Riview. His prices are very competitive. A couple of vendors I've dealt with that advertise in the Riview are Mussleman's Distributing and North Yale Auto parts.

One thing to remember - there is only one manufacturer of ABS parts, and one manufacturer of fiberglass parts. If you buy directly from the manufacturer, you'll pay the same as you do from a distributor. The distributors are the ones who support us and our hobby.


Edited by RivNut
clarification (see edit history)
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This is a subject that I've never understood. I have an '84 Seville Elegante which while the fillers are still intact, I know their days are numbered, they're no longer that flexible and as I'm planning on re-painting replacing the fillers is definitely on the list.

Why can't the replacement fillers be moulded of something similarly flexible to the originals? In a minor bumper-bump, I'm worried that the rigid pieces will transmit the forces to the bodywork rather than flexing as the originals did.

On the Seville at least the rear replacement kits are all 5 piece replacing the original 3 piece, leaving an additional seam. Can the filler panels be joined and the seam worked so that the seam is not evident?

And finally, in the various ads for these the people selling fiberglass say beware of the ABS kits and the ABS guys warn about fiberglass. Which do I want?

I'm frustrated and have never managed to resolve these questions.

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As I stated earlier, in my experience and from what I gathered talking to various vendors, ABS is the lesser of two evils. Your body will be safe in what you refer to as a minor bumper bump - The ABS is flexible. The fiberglass will break and you can replace them again. :D

This is part of the introduction of my article.

"GM put latex in the fillers to give them pliability. Latex, however, is not a stable chemical, and eventually sun, heat, cold, and other environmental factors will crystallize latex and it will begin to crack and deteriorate."

If the aftermarket folks were to reproduce the fillers the way GM made them originally, they'd be cost prohibitive to make. So we're stuck with what's available.

Good luck.

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If the aftermarket folks were to reproduce the fillers the way GM made them originally, they'd be cost prohibitive to make. So we're stuck with what's available.

I don't know why flexible plastic would be more expensive, but I for one would be willing to pay. I had a minor accident in my dad's then-new '85 Seville, pushed the front bumper in quite a bit deforming the side filler as well. I was sure I was in serious trouble, but within a couple of hours the front bumper had returned to its original position on its own and the flex filler looked as if nothing had happened. Never had to tell him what I did to his car. :cool:

I guess ABS is the way to go then.

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  • 4 years later...
Guest Autorifix

The original parts were made from latex. This was great because it was very flexible, but not so great because it was not a stable material, and the oils that gave the material it's flexibility leeched out over time, eventually leaving behind a very brittle material similar to bakelite when it gets old.

There are no aftermarkets made of this material now, and if you find any oems, you will be lucky to get much life of them before they leech out.

Aftermarkets are made of abs or fiberglass. ABS parts are made by being thermoformed on expensive machines, using expensive forms: a process designed for efficiently making many like parts at once.

Fiberglass parts are made by hand laying fiberglass over a mold for the most part.

So, in general production of ABS bumper fillers (and other plastic parts) have a higher fixed cost and lower variable cost, whereas fiberglass parts have the opposite: The fixed cost (investment in manufacturing equipment and maintenance) is not as high, but it is a slower and more labor intensive process (variable cost).

Over the years, I have found that in general people who need bumper fillers for more popular vintage cars will generally find that ABS bumper fillers is about the same or possibly cheaper than fiberglass bumper fillers. In addition, many people seem to feel that abs is overall easier to work with. If you have an odd car though, it is more likely that you will be able to find it in fiberglass.

Hope this helps!



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And we've discussed this in depth on the Facebook forum. The final was you either use the crappy aftermarkets or run around with broke bumper fillers. Since nothing else is available we are forced to buy the crappy fillers. Bobby Ward, an ROA vendor in the Riview, sells them. He tried to get better ones made and later reported: "No one wants to work in the United States and trying to communicate with overseas was a never ending deal, he spent thousands of dollars and abandoned the project."

Gotta love business in the USA!

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I replaced the bumper fillers on an 84 Eldorado earlier this year, and I bought them through E&K. They advertise in the Riview under www.sandkindustries.com. They made a new batch of ABS that are made in the same number of pieces, just like the originals. I inquired about fillers for a 85 Riv at that time, and he told me those were now made just like the originals too, in ABS, in the same number of pieces. No more extra seams.

They fit better than the fiberglass but they still need work. It took me about 15 hours to sand them smooth, paint, wet sand and buff. The end result was they came out beautiful but it was a lot of work to make them perfect. It was worth it because they look just like the originals with superior fit and finish.

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