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STRAIGHTENING A BENT BUMPER

At the risk of too much repetition, my preference is to repair rather than replace parts. Used original parts are most often much better quality than current replacement parts. Original parts are only rarely damaged beyond repair.

[Image Original Bumper]

This is an original front bumper for the N-Tractors. Other than the bottom rung, this bumper is in better shape than most.

[Image Original Bumper]

That bottom rung is really bad. The right way to straighten this might be with a torch or a shop press. Many people don't have a torch that burns hot enough. Propane won't even come close, and I'm not sure the Mapp gas version would be much better on 1/4" thick steel. It may be even less likely for the average tinkerer to have access to a shop press.

Most people working on a tractor will soon have a floor jack, and heavy steel chain can be found at the local hardware store for a lot less than buying an acetylene torch or shop press. Just to show what is possible, I used my floor jack and a logging chain to bend the bottom rung close to where it should be. It took several different "presses" with various chunks of wood and scrap steel to put the force right where it would do the most good. Don't try to get it all in one shot, and don't be standing, or have any body parts lined up with anything that may suddenly fly loose. Chain is better for this type of work than just about anything else that might be handy. Rope of any kind stores too much tension, and will jump out and get you when it breaks. Break a chain and the broken link relieves the tension, usually before coming completely loose. Run back and forth with several lengths of chain, and there is no way the floor jack is strong enough to break it.

[Image Original Bumper]
[Image Original Bumper]

The pictures taken of the 8N bumper for this write-up came out pretty awful. This is a different bumper, same problem. The setup is about as simple as it gets. Bolts and washers can be used if your chain does not have grab hooks. The jack can be repositioned, and different chunks of scrap can be used to put the pressure where it will do the most good. Steel has some spring in it. The trick is to go just enough past, so it springs back where you want it to be. That springy steel is also a danger. Stay well away from anything that might break and jump around. Always release pressure from the jack before trying to adjust anything.

[Image Original Bumper]

This could be improved with a few more pushes, but it's far enough along to show what can be done with a floor jack. Clean this up, shoot a little primer, paint, and this will be a decent-looking original bumper.

8Ntractor52a
8Ntractor52b
[Photo Nothing Spacer]

These photos show two of the new aftermarket replacements for this bumper. Others are similar to the photos above. Some have two vertical bars, some have three. Very few have the drop down side bars like the original. To me, none look anywhere near as good. Even some of the new "restoration quality" bumpers are bent a little differently. If you want to go that route, stick to the Dennis Carpenter version. If they say it's "just like original" it really is.

RESTORING A HACK JOB

[Image Replacing Top Bar]
Many of these bumpers have had pieces removed for one reason or another. This sequence was copied from my V8-8N project. It's easy to see the torch tracks where the uprights for the top bar were burned off. The 8N bumper rails are atraight with a few fairly sharp bends that can be easily duplicated using a vise or shop press. This bumper has curved bars. That smooth curve could be a little more difficult.
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
Buy more tools. This is a modified Harbor Freight manual tubing bender. The wing extensions are from SWAG Off Road. The base is another HF item.
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
A set of flat rollers quickly put a smooth bend in a piece of 1-1/2" flat bar.
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
The sharp curve at each end was done on the shop press. It took more than one shot at each end to make that curve look right.
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
[Image Replacing Top Bar]
Trim the ends with a saw and grind the round profile to match other bars. All that remains is to weld on some 3/8" x 1-1/2" scrap to extend the supports and attach the new top bar.

This is an example of the work many of us greatly enjoy doing to preserve/restore these tractors and original accessories.

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Content and Web Design by K. LaRue — This Site Was Last Updated 21 OCT 2017.
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