Tech: Older Montero Rear Bumper Renewal Short Cuts

Author: Phil Hansford, May 22, 2000

Installing a 90's Montero Bumper on an Older Montero or Raider
tn_James_bumper.jpg (10974 bytes)
The original location of this bumper, on a 93 Montero in Tennessee.

Many older Monteros and Raiders (especially 80's vintage) are beginning to literally drag their rear ends around. The rear bumper is open on the inside, and has a shelf where contaminants such as salt can accumulate. Over time this can greatly shorten the life of the bumper.
When shopping for a replacement bumper, I found that 80's style bumpers were almost impossible to find, and those that were available looked like they should have gone down with the Titanic. Generic aftermarket bumpers do not address the problem of bumper end caps, so I decided to try a different approach: I acquired a bumper from a late model (in this case 93 - Thanks James!) Montero. These bumpers have less of a lip on the bottom, and are chrome, so they seem to stand up to the elements much better. And as an added bonus, they have built-in reverse lights, to make backing up in the dark with tinted windows much more "enlightening".

Step One: Removing the OEM Bumper
tn_James_bumper.jpg (10974 bytes)
This original bumper would hardly stand a direct look, much less a direct hit! Salt is bad...

This was one of the more difficult parts of the procedure - liberal amounts of penetrating fluid need to be employed in order to avoid breaking the mounting bolts (An impact wrench helps!). After the eight main bolts and four endcap bolts have been removed, have an assistant (or a set of friendly jackstands) support the bumper while you remove all the mounting bolts.
Separate the end caps from the bumper, and then find a use for the diamond plate steps, because chances are they haven't rusted a bit! You should now be left with four plates protruding from the chassis...

Step Two: Installing the New Bumper

The OEM and the 90's bumper mounting brackets line up almost perfectly, with no holes to drill. The only difference occurs in the spacing of the outside mounts, which means you have to shim the mounts and get longer bolts. I used stainless steel flatwashers to fill the space, allowing the mount to be solid enough to stand on. Once you have lined up the mounting holes and shimmed the outside brackets, you can go ahead and align the bumper and finally tighten the mounting bolts.

mount1.jpg (83849 bytes)
The factory holes line up with the new bumper's middle mount.
mount2.jpg (76412 bytes)
Washers were used to shim the outside mounts. The difference is 1/2 inch.
mount3.jpg (79723 bytes)
Outside view of middle mounting plate (only adjacent holes line up).

Step Three: The End Caps

This is where the install got a little more creative. The 90's end caps are too short, and leave a void in the rocker panels behind the rear wheels, so you have to adapt the OEM corners to fit. I used several angle brackets, and some stainless steel fasteners. I bolted two angle brackets on to the side of the end cap to attach it to the wheel well, and then I drilled two large pan-head #10 sheet metal screws through the back to keep it onto the bumper. A small hole was drilled (in line with a hole in the corner of the bumper step) up through the bottom of the end cap, amd ,making sure it did not poke through the top, I bolted it up with a small stainless capscrew. Finally, I used a stainless bolt and nut to bolt the bottom corner of the end cap on to the bottom corner of the bumper.

rear.jpg (70240 bytes)
The end caps are tricky to install, especially if the mounts are rusty.
mount4.jpg (80095 bytes)
Notice the extra angle bracket needed to anchor the side of the end cap.
You may need to drill two small screws into the back of the end cap.

Step Four: The Reverse Lights
bumper2.jpg (76765 bytes)
The new backup lights are a great supplement to the tiny OEM lights.
mount2.jpg (76412 bytes)
The mounting braket is a good place for a ground for the reverse lights.

With the bumper in place, you can now turn your attention to those two extra backup lights! The easist way to light these babies up is to tap into the existing backup light circuit.

Start by finding the hot wire in the harness for the backup light circuit and then use a connector to tap into the wire (I used the type that taps in without having to strip any wire off). Attach the other wire to a good ground on the bumper with a ring terminal. The backup lights should now light up with the factory ones!

Post Install
hitch.jpg (79397 bytes)
I'd recommend removing the strip below the hitch mount (already removed in this picture)
tn_blue.jpg (5745 bytes)
The bumper where it now sits, on my 89 two-door Raider.

Now that you have the bumper installed, you might notice that the rear tow hook is rendered ineffective, because of the close proximity of the new bumper. I simply used a grinder to cut out the bumper, to provide plenty of clearance around the tow hook mounting point. While you're cutting, I'd recommend removing the narrow lower strip below the tow hook, altogether. With this strip removed, you have a much better place to anchor your hi-lift jack should you ever need to raise the rear end.
I now have a bumper that will weather the elements better, provides a slightly better departure angle, yet still gives me the utility of the original step bumper. And just as important, it is much easier to find at a scrapyard than the 80's style derrire.
*Special thanks to James Webb for providing the bumper for this project.

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