A month or two back I had a small scrape-up backing out of my garage. We had been parking the wheelbarrow just inside the garage door on my side; no longer. Backing out one morning, in a hurry, I cut it too close. The inside front fender lip caught the stand of the wheelbarrow, and I heard a crunch. When I got out, I found the top of the bumper panel had popped loose. Looking closer, I found I had managed to pull the panel forward until it got pulled off its slide connector, so the panel was now flapping loose. And I couldn’t pull it by my own strength to put it back in place.
Cut to tonight. I found instructions for removing the bumper in my shop manual, and got to work:
- Remove four Torx screws in the front of each bumper that secure the internal mud shield in place.
- Remove the three screws from the bottom of the bumper.
- Remove the three bolts that secure the hood latch to the bumper; consider removing the whole latch but vote against it.
- Look at the instructions which say to remove the turn signal modules.
- Realize that you can’t remove the modules in the 2003 model without removing major components from the engine compartment.
- Ponder. Curse a bit. Listen to Jeff Buckley for inspiration. (“Nusrat: He’s my Elvis.”)
- Notice, then remove, another Torx screw on the top of the bumper panel, to the left of the hood latch. Note that there is now at least a centimeter more forward slack in the bumper than before.
- Desperately commence tugging the passenger side fender forward, grunting and swearing more, while applying pressure on the side to try to lock the slide into place.
- Drop jaw as the slide actually drops into place. Carefully slide the bumper panel back into place until it locks.
- Reverse steps 1-6, optionally omitting step 5. Drop a bolt while reversing Step 3, realize that it’s not going to drop out of the sealed bottom of the engine compartment, shine a flashlight into the compartment to make sure it’s not sitting in a fan belt or something, cross fingers and start engine to make sure it won’t rattle out and crunch something under motion, and close hood.
- Optional: Do victory dance. Not optional: Pants with the victory dance.
I used to futz around on my MG, and actually managed to replace a fuel pump without assistance once, but this is the first modern car repair I’ve done in several years. The fact that it doesn’t involve a critical system of the car is definitely beside the point.