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      09-12-2011, 09:28 PM   #1
ec_E92
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DIY: fill license plate bumper holes

Many of us suffer from drilled license plate holes for some reason or another. First mod after I bought my car was to remove the front plate bracket, I felt the clean front end looked better even with bumper holes, which really stand out on AW. I figured I'd just get them filled along with reflectors and do a respray at 50k to deal with road rash as I drive my car year round. I'm at 45k and don't see this in my car budget in the near future so time for a DIY.

Disclaimer: THIS IS MY FIRST ATTEMPT AT ANY KIND OF BODY WORK and I was very pleased with the results. Going in I had no idea how this was going to turn out but figured it couldn't get any worse than 2 big black holes in my bumper. My plan is to fill with body filler and hit with the Dr. ColorChip touch up kit (works great on road rash by the way).

The screws pulled material out so I used a razor blade to cut back to flush. Go easy as a sharp razor blade with cut through the plastic without any effort.



Then I prepped the area by masking as close to the edges as possible


I found this for $7 at Advanced Auto. Squeeze some out on some cardboard as the top can be pretty runny. I put some on a small plastic putty knife and worked it in.



I'm letting this dry overnight to prohibit shrinkage.... snicker.... that and I can't find my 2000 grit wetsand. I'll hit the store tomorrow after work, apply a second skim coat and paint.
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      09-12-2011, 09:29 PM   #2
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Day 2, Victory!

I got some ribbing from some coworkers this morning who saw my car with "bullet holes" in the parking lot.


Picked up a bodyshop wetsand pack today and back to work. After a dry sand with 400 grit I pulled the tape away and reapplied more exposing the edge now so I could blend it in with the bumper. Keep in mind you want to create a slight cavity for the touch up paint to fill.



Now using 1000 grit I wet sanded the perimeter and the spot trying to get just under flush. Pull the tape away and dab with a damp MF towel. Once dry apply the touch up paint. I had to use 2 coats as the blob remover from the Dr. ColorChip kit pulled most of the paint out of the cavity, even after 2 hours. It's great on road rash but not large chips/spots I'm finding. I was more generous with the second coat and just did a light wipe with the blob remover to try and blend the edges. I'd rather have a slight blob than black or red putty showing through. You can also see the right hole is still a little shallow.

All in all a 100% improvement for 2 evenings worth of work and $12 (or $47 counting Dr. ColorChip kit I already had). I'm doing my first ever clay/compound/polish/seal/wax this weekend and I'm hoping it helps to blend it even better... why didn't I try this 2 years ago when I got the car?



Looking Mean!
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Last edited by ec_E92; 09-13-2011 at 11:22 PM. Reason: Day 2 results
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      09-12-2011, 09:59 PM   #3
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      09-12-2011, 10:50 PM   #4
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      09-13-2011, 12:05 AM   #5
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      09-13-2011, 12:08 AM   #6
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yeah im curious how this turns out as well i actually have 4 holes to fill just been running with them open on jerez.
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      09-13-2011, 11:29 PM   #7
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Updated with results, I'm pleased
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      09-15-2011, 09:12 AM   #8
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wow that came out great! you think a little wet sanding with a 1800-2000 grit sand paper would make it completely flush?
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      09-15-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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wow great job!
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      09-15-2011, 09:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1sikbmr View Post
wow that came out great! you think a little wet sanding with a 1800-2000 grit sand paper would make it completely flush?
Thanks! I've been thinking about that, with that fine of a grit I should still be able to get a shine on it after compounding/polishing/sealing/waxing right? I'll do some more paint work/correction research and think about it today. I'll post another update after I detail this weekend with some better D-SLR pics during the daytime instead of iPhone pics at night.
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      09-15-2011, 09:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ec_E92 View Post
Thanks! I've been thinking about that, with that fine of a grit I should still be able to get a shine on it after compounding/polishing/sealing/waxing right? I'll do some more paint work/correction research and think about it today. I'll post another update after I detail this weekend with some better D-SLR pics during the daytime instead of iPhone pics at night.
Sure you can. just mask off the bumper so that you don't sand unnecessary places. but great job nonetheless.
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      09-15-2011, 10:31 AM   #12
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not bad im tempted to try this but dont wanna screw it up.
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      09-15-2011, 12:33 PM   #13
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Quote:
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not bad im tempted to try this but dont wanna screw it up.
Look at it this way... can it get any worse than having 4 holes in your bumper?

As long as you mask off the area you mitigate your risk of screwing up anything other than the actual area where the hole is. I applied my touch up paint with a q-tip, not nearly as dangerous as spraying paint with a gun or can.

Add too much filler? Sand it down. Sand it down too far? Fill it back up. Take your time and you'll be fine.

Quote:
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Sure you can. just mask off the bumper so that you don't sand unnecessary places. but great job nonetheless.
I should really listen to my own advice
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      09-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #14
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nice work!
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      09-26-2011, 07:19 PM   #15
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i started this today. just used the razor blade to try and cut back to flush. i have 3 holes that are fairly straight forward and one that is much larger and sticks out from the bumper surface much more. i put painter tape around the edges as tight as i could get and sanded lightly to bring closer to flush. i quit at this point for today as i have a service appointment tomorrow and dont want to show up with the bullet holes look. i did this in my garage and used a fairly bright shop light and noticed how wrecked the whole front bumper is from tracking. i fear im am trying to apply lip stick to a pig. entire lower bumer and hood will need a reapaint and clear bra at some point.
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      09-27-2011, 08:52 AM   #16
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Wow, great job!

Will definitely use this method to fix mine, stupid VA laws making me put my license plate on the front. Now I am in NC though and there's no law requiring the front plate!
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      09-27-2011, 04:07 PM   #17
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went on to the next step of this process today after my dealer visit for my exhaust. i taped off close to the hole and used the same glaze putty that ec E92 used and got some bondo rubber spatulas to work it in. so far so good. like he said cant look any worse.
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      09-27-2011, 04:13 PM   #18
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I gotta make sure the dealer doesn't put any holes in my bumper!
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      09-27-2011, 04:33 PM   #19
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yes you do. i need a repaint of the hood and front bumper soon anyway but for the time being will continue with this diy
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      09-28-2011, 12:03 PM   #20
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update. looks like crap. the prep work went fine but after applying the paint there is a definite edge from the tape. tried sanding it down again and using qtip as suggested and doesnt look much better. if its not in direct light it looks okay but under scrutiny it aint so good. back to the beginning i guess. maybe i need a euro bumper.
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      09-28-2011, 12:06 PM   #21
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You can def still fix if you want to take the time to. You will wanna get rid of your previous work and then heat the bumper with a heat gun and get those holes as flat as possible and then continue with the repair. It should make the repair much nicer in the end. Also, with a brush, you will always be able to see the marks. You might wanna find someone who will sell you the color matched paint in a spray can. There is a place locally here that sells custom paint in spray cans. You can also check Ebay.
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      09-28-2011, 12:21 PM   #22
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im debating now what i am doing with the whole thing. should have left it alone i guess.
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