The near-seamless bodywork on the Chevrolet Corvette is achieved with meticulously manufactured composite body panels. These panels wrap the Corvette from front to back and cover the front and rear bumpers. When the need arises to remove the front bumper (for repair, replacement, upgrade, etc.), the first thing to do is to remove the body panel that covers the bumper. Neither procedure is difficult, but can be time-consuming, and thus patience is required. Also, you may need the help of another set of hands to remove, lift and carry the various large body parts involved.
Corvette's Covered Bumper
The painted bodywork seen on the front of Corvette is not the bumper. The bumper is a safety-rated impact absorbing metal device behind the composite body panel. Bumpers on modern automobiles are designed to be completely resistant to impact up to five miles an hour and to dissipate or absorb an impact at higher speeds.
The need to remove the front bumper will arise if at any time the Corvette is involved in an accident at around 10 miles an hour or more. The bumper is mounted on the car's frame and has shock-absorbing qualities; and even though the bodywork may not have been visibly damaged, the bumper underneath may have lost some of its shock-absorbing capabilities.
Body Panel Removal
The front body panel on the Chevy Corvette wraps around from just ahead of the wheel well, across the front of the car, under the hood and around to the other wheel well. Removing the body panel means getting under the Corvette and behind the panel. There will be several types of fasteners holding the panel in place: clips, screws and slide-together tongue and groove meetings between two different panels and the car's frame. There is no need to rush this part of removing the bumper. There are also fasteners in the wheel well securing each end. You will have to remove the inner wheel well covers to access these fasteners. And to remove the wheel well inner covers, you'll have to remove fasteners in the engine bay and behind the wheel. Once the body panel is free, pull it out from the Corvette and set it aside.
Front Bumper Removal
The Corvette's front bumper is secured to the frame with nuts and bolts. There are no welds to pop or rivets to pull. The bumper is designed for removal and replacement after a collision. A good idea, though, is to use adjustable jack stands or wood blocks to support the bumper while removing it. This is easier than getting two volunteers to hold both ends while you work on removing the fasteners in the middle.
- GM Corvette 1984-96 (Chilton's Total Car Care Repair Manual); by The Nichols/Chilton Editors; 1999
- Chevrolet Corvette 1984 thru 1996 Automotive Repair Manual; by Mike Stubblefield and John H. Haynes; 1997
- Photo Credit corvettes image by michael langley from Fotolia.com
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