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flickertheory

Buying a new ('94) front bumper piecemeal for an '87 WD21

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Wasn’t sure which forum to put this in, but took a swing given that we're talking about a newer bumper.

 

I’m in the midst of restoring my 87 Pathfinder “Aurora”. My original front bumper was rotting pretty badly even before getting dinged up recently, so I’m using this as an excuse to swap in a bumper from a newer WD21. Since the junkyard pickings near me are meagre, I’m going all-new.

 

What more do I need beyond the bumper face, ends, inserts and indicator lamps? Any further trim? Any additional brackets or hardware for installation to compensate for the newer bumper style versus older body? Any tips appreciated!

 

Next up: fender flares, a new hood, addressing a fuel leak, some upholstery work inside, and an eventual 5 speed conversion!

 

aurora.jpg

face.jpg

ends.jpgends2.jpgindicators.jpginserts.jpg

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Nice rig! I haven't done the bumper swap myself (both of mine came with the later style) but I know it's been done. From having mine apart, I know there's a steel mounting bracket behind the fog light that's not pictured. The fog light bracket goes behind the plastic insert (which look like you'll have to trim them to install fog lights), two fiddly plastic trim pieces go over the outside of the insert to hide the gap between the fog light and the insert, and machine-thread screws go through the holes in the trims and the insert into the fog light bracket to hold it all together. Probably sandwiches two of the bracket tabs on the bumper as well, looking at the picture (been a while since I had mine apart). You may need a couple plastic clips for the coarse-thread screws that hold the turn signal housing and insert to the bumper. Looks like the bumper brackets have the same part number, so your old ones should work with the new bumper if they're not messed up.

 

Mine had a stamped sheet metal fascia piece that went under the bumper, some kind of narrow gap filler kinda deal. It got bent up and I couldn't be arsed to straighten it, so in the bin it went. It would probably conflict with your existing fascia anyway.

Worth noting, the later bumpers aren't any more durable than what you had. Both times I've hit something (both low speed, one ditch and one deer), the bumper collapsed into the fender and bent it back far enough to push the flare against the tire. One of these days I'm going to get rid of the stock bumper and a better one, but as usual this is not that day.

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Awesome tips, thanks @Slartibartfast! Some essential info to get me started, will update this later in the month once everything's come in!

Edited by flickertheory

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When I had my 88, I did the 93+ front bumper (I did a one piece though).  You will need the bumper to frame brackets and if I remember correctly may have to notch one of the frame side holes on the bracket (might be case dependent as mine were originally D21 brackets as it was a setup off a previously owned Hardbody).  

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I don't think/know that those fog lamps will work in that model year. I have a 92' and have the factory/dealer installed fog lamps that mount under the bumper. I have yet to see how they mount in the bumper without modifying the plastic insert. All of them that I have seen, while it appears to be a fairly clean installation, have cut the plastic insert. 

 

I have been wrong before.

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Thanks for chiming in @nunya, that makes sense. Any idea if the bumper-to-frame brackets from the '87 front bumper might be compatible with the '94 bumper also?

 

And yeah, I had a similar suspicion, @gamellott. It's a strange design if they didn't intend for them to be used for fog lights, but I guess cutting the insert gets it done.

 

Looks like I just have to find those plastic trim bits to fit around the insert now. Though I wonder if this can be replicated with something else. Trial and error time!

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2 minutes ago, flickertheory said:

Thanks for chiming in @nunya, that makes sense. Any idea if the bumper-to-frame brackets from the '87 front bumper might be compatible with the '94 bumper also?

 

And yeah, I had a similar suspicion, @gamellott. It's a strange design if they didn't intend for them to be used for fog lights, but I guess cutting the insert gets it done.

 

Looks like I just have to find those plastic trim bits to fit around the insert now. Though I wonder if this can be replicated with something else. Trial and error time!

Do you already have the turn signals? I would be looking at that before the fog lamps. Although cool looking when they're all installed, there has to be some kind of mounting for the light in order to properly install it. Someone around here should know 🤪

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On 1/10/2021 at 6:47 PM, flickertheory said:

Thanks for chiming in @nunya, that makes sense. Any idea if the bumper-to-frame brackets from the '87 front bumper might be compatible with the '94 bumper also?

 

And yeah, I had a similar suspicion, @gamellott. It's a strange design if they didn't intend for them to be used for fog lights, but I guess cutting the insert gets it done.

 

Looks like I just have to find those plastic trim bits to fit around the insert now. Though I wonder if this can be replicated with something else. Trial and error time!

The brackets have to mount the proper bumper unless you get hacky.  They mount to the bumper differently

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My 93 came with the factory fog lights installed before I bought it in 99. I suspect they were factory installed rather than dealer since it was a loaded SE. The web in the plastic insert was cut out to fit the lights and there was a pair of plastic trim covers to finish each end of the light if I recall correctly. 

You will need the 93-95 Pathfinder bumper mounting brackets as well to attach the bumper to the truck. You will also need the fog light mounting brackets if they are not included with the lights. If they are replacement lights, probably won't have them. 

I don't recall exactly but I think there was a small fender extension that attached to the bottom of the front fenders at the bottom to match up to the steel valence/trim under the front bumper. All that I removed many years ago from mine when I lifted my truck and built a front skid plate that has proven to be serious overkill. 

 

As has been said, the bumpers are light and pretty much decoration. If you are willing to spend a little more and put in some work, a custom or aftermarket off road bumper would be good way to go. 

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^I think those fender extensions were part of the under-bumper trim strip bollocks I took off of mine. Clipped to the bottoms of the fenders and probably to the flares as well, I vaguely remember trimming the flares afterwards.

 

I'll have to check my parts pile, I may have a set of fog light brackets. I don't remember if I sold them with the housings or not.

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@Slartibartfast has brought up good and accurate information. There are machine screws and course screws involved in fitting this together, and the foglight deal is kind of a menace with extra trim pieces that are not included with the bumper insert you show. I don't think you absolutely NEED those extra trim pieces though, they just make it look better.

 

@Mr_Reverse is also completely correct regarding the fog light brackets, trim pieces and bumper brackets. I bought a bumper and brackets off a pre-facelift truck, maybe a 1992 or something for my 1994. Long story short, there was a bracket issue and I had to get...creative. It involved the 4 lb hammer and a bit of cursing (my truck had been involved in a front end wreck at some point as well so the bent frame horn and sheetmetal didn't help...)

 

Pay attention to how the bumper brackets mount to the frame. It's not exactly what I would call intuitive and would be easier with a second person. Just my .02

 

...Oh! And you may want to prioritize fixing that fuel leak! It has the tendency to explode, though the smell will be nice till that happens!

 

 

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Guys, thanks for all the great input. I'm in awe of the knowledge on here. I've managed to track down the correct mounting brackets from a junkyard '94, and have the indicator lights now also. Lucky for me that junkyard unit also had the OEM brush/grille guard, so that should offset at least some of the decorative qualities of the bumper...

 

And yep, I've prioritized the fuel leak -- turned out a hose was the culprit!

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