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View Full Version : Adding chrome bumpers and trim to exterior.



FiatPhil
10-15-2011, 05:01 PM
I have a "Pop", which doesn't come standard with chrome bumpers. I didn't want a Lounge, because I didn't want the glass roof, or the automatic A/C. But I do like the chrome bumpers on a Lounge. So I ordered chrome front/rear bumpers, the chrome "A" bar, and a chrome hood spear, all from 500 Madness.

Installation of these was straightforward. I attached everything with the 3M double-sided molding tape that either came with the part, or that I bought at an auto parts store. I used the half-inch wide tape with the red pull-off "cover". The tape was black in color when the red "cover tape" was pulled off.

To start with, the chrome front and rear bumpers have plastic tabs designed to attach to the car body along with the tape. These fit the models of Fiats that were factory made with chrome bumpers. A Fiat Pop has no slots in the car body for these tabs to attach to. So, I took vise grips, clamped them onto the tabs, and "worried" the tabs back and forth so they broke along the line on the edge of the bumper pieces. Then I used a Moto Dremel tool to grind down any remaining tabs, so the bumper would fit correctly. Since the Pop bumper edges are already recessed, none of this grinding work shows when the bumpers are installed. I only ground them for better fit, not "looks".

Then, I cleaned the stock body "bumpers" with rubbing alcohol, and attached the chrome pieces slowly and carefully. Each piece fits over the "outline" of the Pop bumper, so you can't get them on crooked. I just zipped the red "cover" off the molding tape and attached the pieces. They are stuck on really well, I didn't even have to add additional tape.

The rear bumper requires you to move the original Pop black trim below the orignial Pop "bumper". I used a slot screwdriver to release the tabs on that trim piece, and slowly peeled it off from side to side. It's attached with the same 3M tape (it came from the factory that way). Then you attach the rear chrome bumper as per above, and add the new black trim piece below it, because you can't place one black trim piece over the other. I also broke the tabs off the new black trim under-bumper piece and attached it with the tape supplied on that part.

I marked the center of the hood with a pencil and attached the chrome hood spear with its double-sided tape that comes on the hood spear already installed. Very easy. Just clean the middle of the hood with rubbing alcohol first.

My last project was to attach the chrome "A" bar, or "nudge" bar to the front of the car. That's when I bought the 3M molding tape at the auto parts house. The "A" bar doesn't come with tape, and the directions talk about using Loctite epoxy. I didn't want to use epoxy in case I didn't get it installed straight. I prepared the site by cleaning the car body with rubbing alcohol.

I merely measured the distance between the bottom of the "A" bar uprights, and made sure the distance to the inside of the chrome bumper edge (along the mid-line of the car) was equal on both sides. I put masking tape on the chrome front bumpers to help me align the "A" bar. I used the molding tape and applied it to the back of the "A" bar, attached it, and voila, a nice looking chromed-up Fiat.

I'm hardly mechanical, and have never done any body work even remotely similar to this, but I found it very easy. It took me about three leisurely hours (with the phone interrupting constantly) to install these items. It required a pair of scissors, some masking tape, a pair of pliers or vise grips, a grinding tool, and a slot screwdriver.

The finished pictures are below. When I posted the picture of the car taken "head-on" on another thread, the chrome hood spear appears to be wavy along its length. I don't know how the camera interpreted it that way, but it's on straight in the real world.

If you want to try adding chrome, I think anyone could do this.

500MADNESS.com
10-16-2011, 12:25 PM
That came out looking great!

Thank you for sharing.

Nance Lee
10-27-2011, 12:40 PM
I want to do this too. I ordered a Pop for the same reasons you did (plus I NEED a manual clutch :)) But I love the chrome look.

My car is not delivered yet so I can't go look at it to fully understand the only part of your description I didn't quite follow. I can't picture the black strip being moved. It is hard to see it on the picture. This is the only part that is scaring me a bit. I am thinking of asking the dealer to order and install this for me but now it seems silly if it is so easy to do myself. But I have never done any body work at all. And I don't have nor am I familiar with a grinding tool.

cmj912
10-28-2011, 08:59 AM
I want to do this too. I ordered a Pop for the same reasons you did (plus I NEED a manual clutch :)) But I love the chrome look.

My car is not delivered yet so I can't go look at it to fully understand the only part of your description I didn't quite follow. I can't picture the black strip being moved. It is hard to see it on the picture. This is the only part that is scaring me a bit. I am thinking of asking the dealer to order and install this for me but now it seems silly if it is so easy to do myself. But I have never done any body work at all. And I don't have nor am I familiar with a grinding tool.

The Pop rear bumper has a "fake" body-color molding along it. In other words, the appearance of a molding is pressed into the bumper itself. This is the outline of where the chrome molding will sit. At the bottom of this outline there is a black strip of plastic that you will need to pull off; it is held in by small tabs and is stuck on with tape. You need to take the black piece off the car because the chrome will completely replace it as well as the fakey-fake molding area above it.

The new chrome molding has tabs on it - tabs that are made for the Lounge - because it is not an accessory, it is the OEM chrome trim for the Lounge bumper. Since the Pop has no holes for these tabs to go into, you will need to remove the tabs so the molding will sit flat on the car.

Nance Lee
10-28-2011, 09:18 AM
Perfect, thank you. I understood about the tabs; just have to find a grinding tool for those. But the black strip had me baffled. Great explanation!

FiatPhil
10-28-2011, 10:46 AM
I used a rotary miniature grinding tool called a Moto Dremel drill. It's kind of like a hand-held dental drill with various sanding/grinding attachments. I first broke the "tabs" off by bending them back and forth with a pair of vise grips (or you can use pliers) clamped right along the base of the tab so it would be a clean break. Then the tabs only need a small amount of grinding/sanding, as you can't even see what's left of them when the bumper is installed. You just don't want them to hold the chrome bumper piece away from the car body. You could even use a regular hand file if you have lots of time.

As for the black plastic strip, it only has about two tabs that actually hold it on below the original non-chrome bumper on a Pop. I just looked at the new black trim piece that mounts to the new chrome bumper to find where the tabs were on the original black trim piece. It was easy to pop the existing tabs out of the car body (you can see them from underneath the car easily) and slowly peel the black trim off. It's all mounted with double-sided tape, and if you go slowly, you won't do anything to the car.

When you mount the new black piece to the new chrome bumper, you'll have to grind the tabs off both. In my experience the black piece tabs went through the chrome piece and didn't allow the chrome piece to get close enough to the car body.

I know it's a lengthy explanation, but it's far easier to do than to tell someone how to do it!

sjmst
10-28-2011, 10:54 AM
Very nice. Great write up and results!

Nance Lee
10-28-2011, 12:40 PM
I get it now. I would have gotten it sooner if I had an actual car to look at :) A few more weeks to wait!

Thanks again.

FiatPhil
10-28-2011, 03:23 PM
Hope I was of help.

Phil