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Bumper Damage: Repair or Replace?

19 December 2004
Glastonbury, CT
The below video shows my front upper bumper which is damaged in two places. The question is, do I repair or replace? I'm leaning toward repair to retain the VIN tagged part (my bottom doesn't seem to have one) but I don't want any issues. My plan for the winter is to repair or replaces this upper half of the bumper and then re-spray both the upper and lower half. I will then wait until spring to get clear bra put back on. I'm not as concerned about the cost of a new on as I am the VIN tag. This car is in my Will. Meaning, I will be in possession of it until I bite it and I'm in my 40's now. So it will hopefully be a while...



Note: This links to my bumper removal and disassembly instructions I put together for the team here:

I would replace and keep the damaged part as proof of an original part. My worry is when you try to repair a plastic part such as your bumper cover, it never turns out right. Just too much flex in the material. Paint cracks, etc. I get the desire to keep the panel as it has the original VIN tag, but a repair that goes to to shit is worse than a replacement panel IMO.
Normally this is where my head would be at. In this instance though, I almost cannot see either of these damage points with the bumper on and most don't notice anything (If I pull on the larger area it does split but not by much). If I could get the repair to hold strong and not re-break completely (would need wire mess backing etc), it may work fine. Also, If there was a hairline split mark where the damage is, it's almost 100% covered by the lower bumper so that risk seems low. Lastly with the clear bra on top of that, I'm not even sure that would happen. I have been doing a lot of research and there are many repair options such as adhesives and plastic 'welders' but I have not seen any good feedback about longevity or what do on 'special' cars. It it was on my Mazda the decision would have been made...

I spoke to two different body shop people. One that sold products to body shops and another person who was a friend of a friend that works at a top notch shop but does work on the side. After talking to both of them for a while, the feedback was that the fix should be permanent and stronger than the original piece (due to additional mesh backing). The friend of a friend said he could do it through the shop itself and get a 10 year warranty if desired. Especially with the 95% of the cracks being hidden anyway they both felt this was a pretty solid option. I was going to do the prep myself but the friend of a friend seemed to really know his stuff so I will have him do it. Looks to be in the $700 range.

Conclusion: I will repair the bumper.

Note: Upon closer inspection, the primary two areas that hold the top and bottom bumper together were both cracked. One completely per the video, the second was just starting. I suspect this is either common or my front lips has hit the ground more than average. My car is lowered about 1" and I have hit it a couple times. Who knows prior to my ownership. This is my second NSX but I have only had this one for about 5 years.

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Well, I got some feedback from my body shop guy and most of it's not good. First we found this which I presume is bad:


More significantly I'm being told that these bumpers are apparently made of ABS. I guess this is what plastic bumpers used to be made of compared to what they are made of these days or at least this is what I'm being told. What my guy is then telling me is that ABS required a different type of repair. I guess glue doesn't bond to it like other types of plastic. He said in these instances you need to melt a type of staple into the plastic so it will hold the crack together. He also was not confident this would stand up in what he believes is a high stress area. So...

Conclusion: I am NOT repairing the bumper. Fortunately there are a few new ones out there. I just bought a brand new one for $1094.47 Shipped to my house from Florida.

I'm a bit sad...
FYI NSX Gen 1 Front, rear bumper covers and valances are plastic type PBT. Side skirts are PBE.
Such parts, plastic, generally have the information bonded on the underside or rear of the part in question. This is throughout the industry and not peculiar to any brand or model part(s).:wink: