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Posted By: jmmmn37 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Tue Jul 13 2021 02:04 AM
The rear bumper (and brackets?) on my Suburban is bent and cobbled up. Checking the Factory Assembly Manual, I believe that the rear bumper (face bar) on the Suburban is the same as the front one (3700438). Is this correct? If so, someone did a real "bend" job on the brackets, seeing that the short arm of each rear bracket is bent back about 3-4" from the mounting hole of my new bumper.

Has anyone had luck in bending bumper brackets--I imagine it will take a considerable amount of heat and a careful calculation to get the bend just right.

Any advice or hints?

Thanks,

Jim
Posted By: Rusty Rod Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Tue Jul 13 2021 04:44 AM
Not me. But i understand that a lot of the bumper brackets are made from spring steel and shouldn't be heated...much
Posted By: TrknGMC Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Tue Jul 13 2021 12:11 PM
Correct, the rear bumper on a panel truck and suburban from this era is just a front bumper. I'm not sure about heating the brackets, others can chime in.
Posted By: truckernix Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sat Jul 17 2021 11:51 PM
The bracket on the front of my 51 1 ton was bent a bit. When my body man was doing repairs after I hit a deer, he straightened it. I asked him if he used heat and he said no.
Posted By: coilover Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Jul 18 2021 01:16 PM
If your truck is going to be used as a working truck then the spring steel brackets are required. The way our trucks are used in 2021 mild steel brackets are fine. We heat the strap in a forge (rosebud can be used) till YELLOW hot and then form it to the shape needed to fit the bumper and frame. A bracket on the fork lift holds bumper rigidly in place while forming is happening. All thread with nuts and washers is used to draw the brackets into final contour. Do all this before bumper is re-chromed.
Posted By: Gord&Fran Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Jul 18 2021 05:41 PM
I bent the stock front brackets back into shape without heat. After all, they were bent out of shape without heat. Clamp on a 2x4 and pull. This was a minor adjustment; maybe 2 or 3 inches.

For the rear, I made new brackets using 2" sq steel tubing and angle iron.
Posted By: MiraclePieCo Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Mon Jul 19 2021 07:23 AM
It's been too long since I put mine together so I can't remember for sure, but it seems I recall that although the front and rear bumpers will interchange, the rear bumper was originally thicker steel: 1/4" thick versus 3/16" for the front bumper. The thicker bumpers were also used front and rear on the 1-ton model.
Posted By: MNSmith Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Mon Jul 19 2021 05:47 PM
Originally Posted by MiraclePieCo
It's been too long since I put mine together so I can't remember for sure, but it seems I recall that although the front and rear bumpers will interchange, the rear bumper was originally thicker steel: 1/4" thick versus 3/16" for the front bumper. The thicker bumpers were also used front and rear on the 1-ton model.


Correct, they will interchange.
Posted By: MiraclePieCo Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Mon Aug 09 2021 02:30 AM
Although the front and rear bumpers are interchangeable, the brackets are WAY different.

I have a spare set of rear brackets for my panel. They are like gold - specific to the 1/2-ton panel and Sub (1-ton won't work), not reproduced, hard to find, and expensive if you can find them.
Posted By: MiraclePieCo Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Thu Aug 12 2021 05:05 AM
jmmmn37

Jim, here are pics of the AD Panel/Suburban rear bumper brackets to help you identify yours:

Attached picture 20210811_214951 (Medium).jpg
Attached picture 20210811_214958 (Medium).jpg
Attached picture 20210811_215009 (Medium).jpg
Posted By: Twin Jimmys Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Thu Aug 12 2021 01:18 PM
Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Posted By: jmmmn37 Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Tue Aug 31 2021 11:46 PM
Guys,

Thanks for all of your replies--much appreciated. Here's an update and what I have discovered. A week or so ago, I decided to mount my new, aftermarket front bumper; in the process, I discovered (yet again) that often aftermarket parts are NOT identical to the originals. It was obvious that to mount it on my front brackets would take a considerable amount of "persuasion." I had my old, original front bumper, which was nicked up and painted, but not really bent up (unlike my original rear bumper, which was entirely trashed). When holding the original against the new aftermarket, it was clear that the new bumper was not as sharply curved on the ends as was the original. I then pulled out my rear bumper brackets (which I assumed were bent up because the new bumper would not conform to them) and discovered that they would, in fact, accommodate the original bumper. I then decided to try to clean up the old front bumper. I wire-brushed off the paint then buffed it with 3 degrees of buffing compound and it came back to life--not quite as bright as the new aftermarket bumper, but quite shiny and bright (albeit with a few scratches). I then mounted the old polished bumper to the rear brackets and then to the truck--it looks great and the mounting was pretty simple.

I then tackled the front--the new aftermarket bumper, as indicated, was shorter and less curved at the ends than the original, and as a result, it took some persuasion to get all the holes to line up, etc. After much time and frustration, I was able to get it mounted to the front brackets. So, I now have a Suburban with two bumpers, one aftermarket on the front, one original (brought back to life) on the rear. This is the third or fourth time that I have encountered rather serious discrepancies between a new aftermarket part and an original. I know this comes as no surprise, either to me or to other Stovebolters, but I thought that something as simple and straightforward as an AD bumper would not be this far off the original specs. This inaccuracy led me to assume mistakenly that my rear brackets were the things at fault and not the new bumper--I've now learned the lesson to doubt the aftermarket part FIRST, rather than the original.

Thanks again,

Jim
Posted By: NorCal52Suburban Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Wed Sep 01 2021 11:53 AM
Jim, Where did you buy your after market bumper?
Posted By: jmmmn37 Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Fri Sep 03 2021 09:45 PM
I purchased the aftermarket bumper at the big Iola, WI swap meet from a vendor who resides in WI. He was selling a large quantity of aftermarket Chevrolet sheet metal parts, including entire floors for some classics. He was also selling several generations of bumpers. I'm sure he was simply a distributor for one of the large aftermarket dealers, but unfortunately, I destroyed the cardboard box that the bumper came in, so I don't know the manufacturer. Sorry.
Posted By: jmmmn37 Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Sep 05 2021 01:59 PM
I did a bit of digging and found the aftermarket outfit--it was from Key Parts, located in Virginia. They apparently reproduce body parts for most models and years.
Posted By: MiraclePieCo Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Oct 10 2021 01:56 AM
Originally Posted by jmmmn37
Guys,

Thanks for all of your replies--much appreciated. Here's an update and what I have discovered. A week or so ago, I decided to mount my new, aftermarket front bumper; in the process, I discovered (yet again) that often aftermarket parts are NOT identical to the originals. It was obvious that to mount it on my front brackets would take a considerable amount of "persuasion." I had my old, original front bumper, which was nicked up and painted, but not really bent up (unlike my original rear bumper, which was entirely trashed). When holding the original against the new aftermarket, it was clear that the new bumper was not as sharply curved on the ends as was the original. I then pulled out my rear bumper brackets (which I assumed were bent up because the new bumper would not conform to them) and discovered that they would, in fact, accommodate the original bumper. I then decided to try to clean up the old front bumper. I wire-brushed off the paint then buffed it with 3 degrees of buffing compound and it came back to life--not quite as bright as the new aftermarket bumper, but quite shiny and bright (albeit with a few scratches). I then mounted the old polished bumper to the rear brackets and then to the truck--it looks great and the mounting was pretty simple.

I then tackled the front--the new aftermarket bumper, as indicated, was shorter and less curved at the ends than the original, and as a result, it took some persuasion to get all the holes to line up, etc. After much time and frustration, I was able to get it mounted to the front brackets. So, I now have a Suburban with two bumpers, one aftermarket on the front, one original (brought back to life) on the rear. This is the third or fourth time that I have encountered rather serious discrepancies between a new aftermarket part and an original. I know this comes as no surprise, either to me or to other Stovebolters, but I thought that something as simple and straightforward as an AD bumper would not be this far off the original specs. This inaccuracy led me to assume mistakenly that my rear brackets were the things at fault and not the new bumper--I've now learned the lesson to doubt the aftermarket part FIRST, rather than the original.

Thanks again,

Jim

Funny how guys will try to fit new parts onto an old truck that has 70 years of bumps, dings, wear and tear, then blame the new parts when they don't fit.
Posted By: jmmmn37 Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Oct 10 2021 12:56 PM
It's a pretty simple and straightforward process to hold a new part up against an original (especially when the original doesn't have a lot of bumps, dings, and wear and tear--and is something as sturdy as a bumper) and conclude accurately that the reproduction part is a very good, very close match to the original or not. In this case, it was off considerably. I have used lots of reproduction parts in my restorations, and I am extremely grateful for the companies and individuals who make and supply them (especially some of the more intricate sheet metal parts)--otherwise some restorations would be impossible, or nearly so. But like all products, some are well done and others are not. Many (maybe even most) fit very well; but I have encountered others (beyond this particular case) that were considerably inaccurate and subsequently cause lots of unanticipated problems. It was my mistaken assumption that a reproduction bumper for an AD truck (which, unlike many others years/models, is pretty simple) would bolt on without much trouble; it didn't, because the reproduction part did not have the same curvature and hole-spacing as the original. So, to avoid a lot of headaches in the future, as I said, I will check for accuracy and fitment first, before trying to fit the part--something I should have figured out a long time ago.
Posted By: Achipmunk Re: 1951 Suburban Bumpers - Sun Oct 10 2021 02:30 PM
Jim, I think we all share your sentiments. The sad part is we pay as much for poor quality as we do the good ones.
(Hope retirement is going well.)
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