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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently completed the front and rear bumper tuck on my 1974 Nova. I am very pleased with the results. Part 1 & 2 of this thread will feature the front bumper tuck and installation details. Part 3 will feature the rear bumper tuck and installation details.

Part 1 – Front Bumper Tuck
For the front bumper tuck, I just drilled and compressed the front bumper shocks.
Below are some Before and After photos of the front bumper tuck.
Before & After - Front View


Before & After – Passengers Side View


Before & After – Drivers Side View


Before & After – Side View


Before & After – Top View


Below are the installation steps (with photos) that I used to complete the front bumper tuck on my 74 Nova.

Step 1 – Remove Front Bumper
Since I am working by myself, I had to get creative to support the weight of the bumper during the removal process. I used a rolling rack with a couple of ratchet straps.


NOTE: During this process, I also removed my welded-on tow tabs.


Step 2 – Remove both front bumper shocks from the frame housings


Step 3 – Confirm angle of bumper shock flange
Before I drilled and compressed the front bumper shocks, I put the bumper shock's frame housing flange on a flat surface and noted the angle of both bumper mounting flanges.
Note the blue tape on the floor. The tape was used to mark the location on the floor where the angles were measured. Do not remove this tape until completing Step 6.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Front Bumper Tuck

Part 2

Step 4 – Drill a hole in both bumper shocks to release the compressed air
The red dot at the end of the arrow identifies the location that I drilled an 1/8” hole into the bumper shock.
NOTE: Be sure you are at least 1/2" away from the frame mounting flange when drilling this hole if completing Step 7.
You will drill thru 2 layers of metal during this process for each shock. Nothing will happen as you drill the hole thru the first layer of metal… But as you drill into the second layer, you will hear the release of some compressed air. There was no release of any compressed fluid after drilling both layers... only compressed air was released.


Step 5 – Compress Bumper Shocks
The first thing I did was drill a 1/2" hole into a 2x4 piece of wood and then inserted the threaded end of the bumper shock into the drilled hole.


Next, I placed another piece of 2x4 on top of the bumper mounting flange and hit the wood with a BMF hammer until the shock was completely compressed.


Photos to compare bumper shocks before and after they were compressed.


Step 6 – Reconfirm the flange angles of the compressed bumper shocks before proceeding with the next steps. Be sure to check angles of both shocks in same location (blue tape) as done in Step 3.
It is possible the flange angles may have moved during the hamming/compressing process. Tap on the flange with a small hammer to adjust the flange angles to previous settings.


Step 7 (Optional) – Install bolt into drilled hole of bumper shock
I’ve read several articles that stated the bumper shocks would not re-expand once the compressed gas was released and the shocks were compressed. Since I had the shocks out (and it only took a couple minutes to complete on each shock), I decided to tap each hole and insert a bolt into each compressed shock.


Step 8 – Reinstall compressed shocks back into frame housings


Step 9 (if available) – Cut approximately 1 ¾” off the front of the lower left and right rubber trim pieces that are attached to the front of the fenders.
I have seen photos of several front bumper tucks were these rubber trim pieces have been removed (or are missing) and leaves a gap between the bumper and fender. I wanted to avoid having this gap.

I cut along the dark line drawn on the blue tape (arrows)

Rubber trim after cutting


NOTE: I also like to paint all internal mounting components for rust protection.


Step 10 – (If previously removed) Reinstall bumper filler panel and inner bumper brace onto front bumper
NOTE: I had previously cut the middle section out of my bumper brace to reduce weight. This step is not required for the front bumper tuck.


Step 11 – Reinstall front bumper
I had to use some car ramps and furniture blankets to support the weight of the bumper during re-installation.


Photo of inner bumper brace bolted to compressed bumper shock flange.


Front bumper reinstalled


Final Result


See Part 3 for the installation details of the rear bumper tuck.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Rear Bumper Tuck

Part 3

Below are some Before and After photos of the rear bumper tuck.
Before & After – Back View


Before & After – Side View


Before & After – Licenses Plate Clearance

I was still able to rotate the original GM licenses plate holder down so I was able to remove the gas cap to fuel the car.

Below are the installation steps (with photos) that I used to complete the rear bumper tuck on my 74 Nova.
NOTE: For the rear bumper tuck, I took a different approach. I completely removed the rear bumper shocks and did not use them… but I did not mount the inner bumper brace directly onto the rear frame. I used some large 3/4” nuts as spacers between the inner bumper brace and the rear frame. I also had to use 2 ½” x 1/2" bolts to attach the rear bumper to the frame using this installation method.
If you chose to use this method of installation, you will need to cut out the middle section of the rear bumper’s inner brace (so you are able to hold the longer bolts while installing the bumper onto the rear frame).

If you chose to just drill and compress the rear bumper shocks, cutting the inner bumper brace is not required. Just follow the same procedures for compressing the bumper shocks in Part 2 of this thread.

Step 1 – Note levelness of bumper before removing

NOTE: When reinstalling bumper, be sure car is in the same spot to level bumper as needed.

Step 2 – Remove Rear Bumper

Once again working by myself, I used a rolling rack with a couple of ratchet straps to support the weight of the bumper during the removal process.

Step 3 – Cut rubber bumper filler panel
Since I was not going to install my rear bumper directly to the rear frame, I needed to cut off about 1 ½” of width from the rear bumper filler panel. I applied a 1 ½” wide piece of blue masking tape from the outside edge of the filler to use as a cutting guide.

NOTE: If you are using the compressed bumper shocks for the re-installation of the rear bumper, you will still need to cut off about 1 ½” of bumper filler as shown above.

Step 4 – Reinstall Bumper


Photo showing the nuts used as a bumper spacer (installed between the rear frame and the inner brace)


Bumper reinstalled


Final Result


 

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Bumper tuck

I am so glad you posted this, I am about to do the same thing to my wifes 74 and I really like the look. Thanks Doug!
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #6
I am so glad you posted this, I am about to do the same thing to my wifes 74 and I really like the look. Thanks Doug!
Doug (and 67nova73), Thanks for the feedback!
I got the idea for doing the bumper tuck by reading several other posts in this forum. I just wanted to add some additional photos and details that I thought would be helpful to others.
Good luck with the bumper tuck!
Mike
 

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Hey man, most awesome write up and detailed photos.

My first Q was can you still fuel the car with the rear bumper tucked in...and you addressed it... great planning and forethought!


My 73 would require cutting the bumper mounts, as no shocks. I do look forward to the time when am doing relatively small projects such as this for fun cause I want to, not need to.....I am doing some stuff now...as I have not ben able to find a bodyshop to work with me.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Hey man, most awesome write up and detailed photos.
As always... Thank you for the generous feedback!

My first Q was can you still fuel the car with the rear bumper tucked in...and you addressed it... great planning and forethought!
This was one of the first things I did when planning the rear bumper tuck. Prior to the tuck, I measured the distance from the inner edge of the rear bumper to the licenses plate trim while the licenses plate was tilted down (as would be for fueling). I determined that a 9/16"-5/8" clearance between these two points would meet my goals. This provided me with the max distance I could "tuck" the rear bumper and avoid any fueling interference... along with providing me with the other appearance aspects I was trying to achieve.

Next... I did a little math and determined that the distance between my inner bumper brace and rear frame needed to be 1 1/4" (this distance was achieved by using the two 3/4" nuts as "spacers" on each of the bumper's new mounting bolts - arrows).


If I had just compressed the rear bumper shocks, the distance between the inner bumper filler and rear frame would have been about 2"... a little more space then I wanted.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Nico!
I noticed you listed a 73 Nova under vehicles/Nova(s). Please be aware that a 73 Nova bumper tuck (both front and rear) will be done differently then a 74 Nova... since the 73 Nova bumpers are attached to the frame with brackets instead of bumper shocks.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for posting good tech and photos!
Your welcome.. and thanks for the feedback!
My goal is to post information that might be helpful other Nova owners in the same way that this... and other automotive forums have helped me.
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #15
rquad, Thanks!
I have been following your build and am looking forward to seeing the next set of photos of your Nova!
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Jayhawk!
 

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Front Bumper Tuck

Part 2

Step 4 – Drill a hole in both bumper shocks to release the compressed air

The red dot at the end of the arrow identifies the location that I drilled an 1/8” hole into the bumper shock.
NOTE: Be sure you are at least 1/2" away from the frame mounting flange when drilling this hole if completing Step 7.
You will drill thru 2 layers of metal during this process for each shock. Nothing will happen as you drill the hole thru the first layer of metal… But as you drill into the second layer, you will hear the release of some compressed air. There was no release of any compressed fluid after drilling both layers... only compressed air was released.


Step 5 – Compress Bumper Shocks
The first thing I did was drill a 1/2" hole into a 2x4 piece of wood and then inserted the threaded end of the bumper shock into the drilled hole.


Next, I placed another piece of 2x4 on top of the bumper mounting flange and hit the wood with a BMF hammer until the shock was completely compressed.


Photos to compare bumper shocks before and after they were compressed.


Step 6 – Reconfirm the flange angles of the compressed bumper shocks before proceeding with the next steps. Be sure to check angles of both shocks in same location (blue tape) as done in Step 3.
It is possible the flange angles may have moved during the hamming/compressing process. Tap on the flange with a small hammer to adjust the flange angles to previous settings.


Step 7 (Optional) – Install bolt into drilled hole of bumper shock
I’ve read several articles that stated the bumper shocks would not re-expand once the compressed gas was released and the shocks were compressed. Since I had the shocks out (and it only took a couple minutes to complete on each shock), I decided to tap each hole and insert a bolt into each compressed shock.


Step 8 – Reinstall compressed shocks back into frame housings


Step 9 (if available) – Cut approximately 1 ¾” off the front of the lower left and right rubber trim pieces that are attached to the front of the fenders.
I have seen photos of several front bumper tucks were these rubber trim pieces have been removed (or are missing) and leaves a gap between the bumper and fender. I wanted to avoid having this gap.

I cut along the dark line drawn on the blue tape (arrows)

Rubber trim after cutting


NOTE: I also like to paint all internal mounting components for rust protection.


Step 10 – (If previously removed) Reinstall bumper filler panel and inner bumper brace onto front bumper
NOTE:
I had previously cut the middle section out of my bumper brace to reduce weight. This step is not required for the front bumper tuck.


Step 11 – Reinstall front bumper
I had to use some car ramps and furniture blankets to support the weight of the bumper during re-installation.


Photo of inner bumper brace bolted to compressed bumper shock flange.


Front bumper reinstalled


Final Result


See Part 3 for the installation details of the rear bumper tuck.
 

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Really nice job I am new to this forum and had a question about your hood is that a 2" crowl? Really looks good and I will need something for mine. Thanks
 

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Mike - 74 Nova Baltimore, MD
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Discussion Starter #20
I am new to this forum and had a question about your hood is that a 2" crowl?
Yes. My hood is a fiberglass hood with a 2" cowl that was purchased a long time ago.
 
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