Many months ago, I splurged on bumpers from Group Harrington for the 240Z & 260Z. I installed the rear bumper on the 240Z a while back, and I finally finished installing the front bumper on the 240Z.
While the back bumper was an exercise in simplicity, the front bumper was much more involved. The North American 1973 240Z has a front bumper different from the earlier 240Zs. It was the first effort as complying with new crash-resistance requirements in the United States. This included a different (and MUCH heavier) bumper bracket. After I removed the bumper and trim cover pieces, I took off the three bolts holding the left mount in place. That is when I discovered that the valence was in the way. I loosened the right side and middle of the valence and removed the right bumper mount. I re-attached the right side of the valence and loosened the left. I pulled the old bumper mount free. Now I had to figure out how to install the older style mounts.
I looked at the thin pieces of metal and realized they did not attach anything like the heavier bumper mounts. Fortunately, I was able to take pictures of a friend’s 240Z. I then located the proper mounting points for the brackets. I purchased some new M10x1.25 bolts to attach the bumper mounts. Next I did a dry fit. I realized that the sides of the bumpers needed to be pushed away from the fenders. I looked for the stock parts online, but on the the right side is still available. Next, I thought I would try nylon spacers. Those didn’t look right. I searched for spacers on McMaster-Carr’s website. I happened across door bumpers, specifically part number 9540K782. They were black rubber and the right size.
The next challenge was figuring out how close the bumper should come to the car. I tried two nuts on each post, a single, and nothing, before deciding that one washer would work. Next came lining up the sides. I struggled with getting the bolt to line up and thread into the bumper. Fortunately, my neighbor was willing to help. He suggested doing a fitting without the rubber spacer in place. That gave us the angle we needed. We did the right side first. After some pulling on the bumper, we finally got the bolt threaded. Next we did the test fitting on the left. After trying out various strategies unsuccessfully, my neighbor pulled on the bumper while I tried to thread the bolt. Finally it worked. I tightened the front bolts down and admired our work. It is an improvement over the 41 year old bumpers.
I’m thinking that when I go to convert the 260Z to the earlier bumpers, I will pay someone to fabricate front brackets for me, since the 260Z lacks the mounting points for the front bumpers used by the 240Zs.