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Saturday 3 September 2016

Raptor bumpers

It's taken a few days work but I have coated the previously rusting TP4x4 heavy duty bumpers in U-POL Raptor load bed liner.

When I fitted the bumpers I wrote about how I did that. Initially the front and then a couple of months' later the matching rear bumper.

They have been on the car since August 2014. Barely 2 years and the useless powder coat on the bumpers was peeling off in sheets and the exposed metal was rusting very efficiently. I've never had any luck with anything on a car that was powder coated.

Out of line and rusty

I would have preferred to have the bumpers sand blasted but the dates that the companies could do that did not suit when I would be available to do the rest of the work. The compromise was to clean off as much of the powder coat as possible with scrapers, wire brushes and sanding. Then treat the rust.

I made the job of taking the front bumper off easier by constructing a stand to help hold it.

I had some Dinitrol rust converter and primer so I used that to treat the rust. It was easy to use and appears to have done an effective job.

The usual thing that makes most jobs longer is waiting for things to dry. I left a day between the primer and the U-POL Raptor. Then a day before fitting.

The U-POL Raptor was touch dry in less than an hour and I would have been confident fitting the bumpers the same day but it was nearly evening by the time I was ready so I waited until the next day.

The U-POL Raptor was excellent to use. I was very impressed by how easy the manufacturers had made it for me to prepare it. The bottles have a level marker for the hardener and another if you are mixing a colour. I had the black, so I only needed the hardener. You add it to the level and just shake. I used a Schutz underbody seal spray gun because the bottles of Raptor are designed to fit that.

Just as a side comment here, for years I've struggled with wearing glasses and a filter mask at the same time.

3M 7501=small, 7502=medium, 7503=large

Easy to use neck catch

I now have a 3M 7501 mask and this fits me while wearing my glasses without any problems. I'd go so far as to say it's comfortable. Not only that but the straps are so easy to put on and take off.

Back to the job. I probably spent as much time cleaning the spray gun as I did spraying. I used Acetone to clean everything and it worked well. I can hardly tell the Schutz gun has been used.

Sprayed at about 65psi

I did two coats of Raptor. One bottle did one coat on the pair of bumpers so I used two bottles in all. I am very pleased with the results.

As I had the rear bumper off I took the opportunity to make some different spacers.

Slightly angled 60 to 65mm long, 50 x 25mm box section

Offer up

Cut to fit round the rear light frame

Rear bumper mounting bolts from behind

Lines up with the bodywork

The original spacers crushed too easily and held the bumper at the wrong angle. I made mine out of box section steel with an angled face. I padded inside the top with some scrap copper pipe so they rested about half way above the bolts when fitted. Even though I say so myself, I think mine work much better than those supplied with the rear bumper.

Sprayed the washer bottle black

Fit the towing electrics before fitting the rear bumper

Textured surface

The surface finish looks excellent and feels very strong. I have high hopes that it will last well.


Where to buy?
If you plan to buy any of the things mentioned on this page, here's a few places to start looking:
U-Pol Raptor load bed liner
Dinitrol rust converter and primer
3M 7500 series mask
3M 6055 vapour filters to fit 7500 series and other 3M masks
Schutz spray gun


Follow-up Dec 2016:
Because of this blog I've exchanged a good few messages with Craig, the owner of Buzzweld. They do some competitive alternatives as well as Raptor.
I can't comment on their products yet but just on the enthusiasm and knowledge of what I want from these things, I'm going to try some of them out and I'll post my findings.

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