View Full Version : Tech thread: How to straighten the crooked bumper

03-09-2008, 09:14 PM
Got a crooked bumper like mine? You CAN fix it! Here are a few tips on what you can do to remedy the crooked bumpers that plague these trucks.
(Note: all of the images are clickable thumbnails, so click them to get a larger view)

Here's what I started with:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/th_DSC00738-small.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/DSC00738-small.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Tranny%20Pan/th_Image528.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Tranny%20Pan/Image528.jpg)

Here's how to fix it YelloThumbUp

First remove the 4 bolts which attach the bumper to the frame brackets:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01281.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01281.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01282.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01282.jpg)

See the bent bracket, it supposed to be straight as an arrow:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01283.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01283.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01284.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01284.jpg)

You won't be able to straighten these brackets on the bumper while they're attached, you can't get enough leverage because they're VERY strong. Alternatively, you can remove them (they bolt onto the bumper), but you'll need some heavy duty stuff to straighten them back out, which I didn't have at hand. So I decided to bend the brackets on the truck's frame in the opposite direction so the angles would counter each other. Here's the bracket I'm talking about:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01285.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01285.jpg)

I used a pipe wrench for most of it because I was able to get a right-angle on it, with a bit long handle. Then I used a crescent wrench for when I want to get it straight on, no right-angle:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01286.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01286.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01287.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01287.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01288.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01288.jpg)

You can see my feeble attempts at bending the bracket... It worked OKAY but I couldn't really bend the WHOLE bracket, could only get enough bite on it to bend the ends, as you can see:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01289.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01289.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01290.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01290.jpg)

This actually straightened out my passenger side very well (it wasn't as bent as the driver side), but I wasn't quite enough for the driver side. So I chose to take it back off and space the driver side with washers. The only washers I had were a bit too small so I drilled them out with a 1/2" bit and they worked just fine. So 1/2" inner-diameter washers should work fine.

With my amount of angle on the bumper, I used 3 washers:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01294.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01294.jpg)

So that did the trick! Both sides are now nice and level with the rest of the truck, but the washers on the driver side pushed it up a little higher than the passenger side, so I loosened the bolts on the passenger side and slid the bolts down a little bit in their elongated holes. Worked beautifully, here's the end result:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01297.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01297.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01298.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01298.jpg)

http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/th_DSC01299.jpg (http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u269/Skandociouss/Truck%20Crap/Bumper/DSC01299.jpg)

Credit for the washer idea goes to lost Larry, thanks brother :)

03-09-2008, 09:16 PM
Looks good. Great write up.

03-09-2008, 09:18 PM
I'm curious why you didn't remove the bracket from the bumper (or are those riveted?) then beat it straight on an anvil?

03-09-2008, 09:20 PM
I'm curious why you didn't remove the bracket from the bumper (or are those riveted?) then beat it straight on an anvil?No it's bolted on, and I thought about that, but not until AFTER I started bending the brackets on the truck, lol. Even if I had gotten them off, I don't think I've got anything heavy enough to flatten them out.

03-09-2008, 09:22 PM
Great write up bud looks real good now!

03-09-2008, 09:45 PM
Thanks guys :) Can't tell you how many guys I've seen with crooked bumpers like mine was. Hopefully this will give them so motivation to fix it, it ain't that hard!

03-09-2008, 10:31 PM
Looks good Chris , nice write up on it too.

03-09-2008, 11:15 PM
good write up. But on a more serious note. you gotta watch bending those ears, you can make the metal weak.

Plus a bracket that mounts on the bumper is about 6 bucks a junkyard...
or you can set it in a vice and wack it with a hammer a few times.

03-09-2008, 11:25 PM
you gotta watch bending those ears, you can make the metal weak.

or you can set it in a vice and wack it with a hammer a few times.But that can make the metal weak smilietease

03-09-2008, 11:38 PM
i rather have weak bracket that can be replaced for a few bucks, Then a weak ear on the frame, cost money to have it welded back on.

03-09-2008, 11:40 PM
Anthony I was poking fun at you. Calm down and just have fun with the rest of us.

03-09-2008, 11:45 PM
just like i said in the other thread.
Dont say im getting heated...

and im not getting mad. Im just laying out the facts plain and simple. If you wanna go about it the dumb way and cause a ear off the frame to get weak and break. Then so be it. Atleast im not paying to fix it.

and yes ive had to bend one. But it was already bent. I got hit in the snow and i got pushed into a gas pump. The gas pump came off. Caught on fire. SO i backed up so my truck didnt burn to the ground and the bumper got caught on one of those guards. Pulled the bumper out, SO i bent it back with a monkey wrench. it got weak and broke.

Cost me about 10 bucks for the new ear. and 35 to get welded on.

03-10-2008, 12:03 AM
Well as you can see I only bent the ear a couple millimeters, and indicated that that method is really only good if you've got a very slight adjustment to make. Anything more than that should just be shimmed using washers.

03-10-2008, 05:44 AM
Looks much better. Well done. :) Pics are always nice, too.

03-10-2008, 06:44 AM
I am soo used to having access to a steel fab shop....

You have no idea how many bumper brackets and bumpers themselves I have straightened down there. It is easy to do. The bent bumpers you use a porta-power on. I have fixed a lot of them without even cracking the chrome. Just go slow and pad any faces you push against or use against the stops.

One Cadillac bumper was touching the ground on the passenger side after an accident. After it was straightened you could not tell it was ever bent. Other than a few scratches from the accident itself.

I am not a body man, but dad and I used to rebuild totalled cars and trucks all the time.

I have never bent a frame horn to fit a bent bumper though. That is a new one one me. Guess it works...until you need to replace the bumper itself. Interesting approach to the problem.

Most of the truck bumpers I have fixed (like yours) was a matter of straightening the brackets. Then jacking up whichever side was down and bolting it all back together.

Some were bad enough we had to un-twist the bumper itself. I guess yours didn't have the twist in it. Those are harder (porta power time).

03-10-2008, 06:57 AM
I saw a porta power used once. I want one in the worst way.

03-10-2008, 07:00 AM
They are sweet! The shop has a 10 ton one. We used to use it on our frame machine. It would pull a car in half if we wanted to.

For general body work they are awesome. Even a 4 ton is plenty for that.

If I ever get the extra cash...that is one of the things on my list. A 4 ton one.

03-10-2008, 07:03 AM
It seems like the kind of tool that even if you only ever need it once, it is worth having.

03-10-2008, 02:42 PM
It sounds like the type of tool that'd be very useful if you were into rebuilding wrecked cars..

OK truck
02-18-2013, 10:20 PM
How do you straighten the part that the brackets are on, after my crash they are bent can't get them straight.

02-19-2013, 08:54 AM
looks good man great details and pics

02-23-2013, 09:03 AM
Good write up

Once bent even straight bumper mount brackets dont help at times . I have had the frame bracket be bent all way flat and came back .

It was a smart man that thought up those washer shims Skan

02-24-2013, 01:25 PM
Good write up

Once bent even straight bumper mount brackets dont help at times . I have had the frame bracket be bent all way flat and came back .

It was a smart man that thought up those washer shims SkanThat smart man was YOU, Larry! smilietease

02-24-2013, 04:14 PM
Great thread Chris! Bumper came out very nice! YelloThumbUp

02-24-2013, 06:08 PM
How is it holding up after all these years?

02-25-2013, 12:03 AM
How is it holding up after all these years?Still straight!!