Euro style rear bumper conversion

As far as I am concerned, the smaller Euro style bumpers on the square tail lights are the best of both worlds when it comes to 2002s. For a USA car, they fit with minor drilling.  Making them look like they came on the car in the first place is another story. Without serious planning from the start of the rebuild, this would not look this good.  The following information should help you with your conversion, if you dare!
Five years ago, the car's original bumper looked like this. Yes, they substitute for lawn chairs at 02 events!
Next, we removed the bumper and blasted the shell clean. White arrows indicate where the holes are that need to be welded up to keep water from coming into the trunk. These holes held bumper and trim before.
Many hours later, you should end up with something like this. No traces left of the bigger bumper.
In the trunk itself, you need to drill 4 separate holes, 2" in diameter to access the holes on the rear panel. These hold the 2-13mm bolts through the bumper brackets to the body.  No access is provided due to the reinforcement steel just behind the gas tank and the spare tire well.  If you use a long nail and aim it through each hole from the back of the car, you can make a dent in the reinforcement area you are drilling through so you know where to start. The main thing is you will need to get a socket wrench through these holes to tighten things up when the bumper brackets go on.
Next, you must acquire all the parts for the rear Euro bumper.  There are 3 main chrome parts, to chrome bolt covers, 2 angle iron brackets (1972 BMW only part) and the wrap around rubber strip with clips. There is also the two license plate lights, shown installed on the bumper in this photo.
For long life, mask and paint the insides of each chrome part with a Rust preventative black paint. I chose black to cut down on reflections, but grey also works.  Cleaning the insides and removing any rust on used bumpers is required here.   When done, use 3 Zero Steel Wool to polish the chrome for a like new shine.
Assemble the three sections of the rear bumper. In this photo, you can see how the Euro style bumper bolt covers go on that I used . If using the '73 style over riders, they would be substituted in this location.
On the back side, the over riders look like this. There are 2 distinct left and right covers, so test fit to make sure you are installing the right one on the right side, and so on.
Next, there are these clips which slide into the rubber surround strip. In order to get them to lock onto the bumper you first add them to the rubber strip by inserting them in a track on the back of the strip, then guide them through the bumper one at a time. I found that snap ring pliers helped to stretch them far enough to lock each one in place.
This one in the middle is properly locked, and the one on the far right is not all the way through.
I found it necessary to form the rubber strip to the bumper to get it to fit right. Use a rubber mallet and make sure it's snug and even all the way around to each end.
Ok, here is the 1972 bracket I recommend with the 74 and up cars. It hugs the body close unlike the 1973 bumpers do. There are two required, both use the same part number. Remove the sticker before installing on the car.
Next comes the embedded license plate lights.  There are screws which have small D shaped washer/nuts that come with the lights to secure them to the underside of the bumper (both screw/nut not shown).  In the wiring setup, you daisy chain the 12V + sides together and connect them to the power used for the original USA license plate lamps. The grounds are achieved by the bumper grounded to the body with the ground clips on the lamp bases.
Next, drill a hole large enough to feed a wire through the rear panel about 3 inches to the left of the right rear bumper bracket.  Create a pigtail wire that runs from the positive side of the left light to the positive side of the right light, with about 12" of wire to spare. I used 16 gauge wire here.
I used a rubber grommet to keep moisture out, and fed the blue wire through the hole.
Fish the wire through the bumper hole you drilled out. Find another hole to bring it towards the middle of the rear panel. This is where you will adapt it to the existing wiring harness that was used for the USA license plate lights. It is only one wire.
Have a helper hold the bumper up to the car and then install two M8x50mm bolts on each side to hold the bumper securely to the body. Make sure the gap under each side is even under the tail lights.  Next, you have to drill two holes on each side of the car near the edge of the bumper to hold the carriage bolts in place which secure the ends of the bumper to the car. I suggest you try and keep the bumpers level and mark the hole, measure twice, drill once and once secured, the bumper is on.
When the electricity is hooked up, try them out!
This section is now complete.




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