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How To: Install a Bumper Impact Strip

Project Overview

In this video Kevin Tetz will show you how to install a bumper impact strip on a 1988-98 Chevrolet and GMC pickup trucks.

Project Difficulty
Estimated Project Time
20 minutes
Required Tools
  • Soft Faced Mallet
  • 1/4 Drive Ratchet
  • Metric & Standard 1/4 drive 11mm or 3/8" Sockets
  • Penetrating Lubricant
  • Cleaning Supplies

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Kevin Tetz working alongside LMC Truck to bring you some tips, videos, and technical information that's going to make your truck restoration go even smoother. On this video we're going to be addressing the '88 through '98 Chevrolet and GMC truck platforms, sometimes referred to as the OBS trucks. Specifically, we're going to be talking about the front bumper and some issues that might come up when you're installing or replacing the new front impact strip.

Now this '92 Silverado behind me is in pretty good shape. There's some paint issues and a lot of interior issues but overall it's in good condition. The front bumper, while it looks brand new, but check this out. Bumper strips good, bumper’s brand new. It's a new bumper. It's been replaced, but this hole right here this tells me that they ordered the wrong bumper. This is the bumper that has the bumper guards on it. So whether your truck has the plain painted steel bumper, a chrome bumper, air vents, bumper guards, or either style of impact strip LMC truck has got you covered. So for this guy we just need to get him the right bumper.

Now, installing an impact strip on a new front bumper, not a big deal, but there is a procedure that we're gonna show you so that it fits right the first time you put it on. So you're gonna need some tools. Not very many, but you need a hammer. Not a metal hammer. You don't want to use that hard face on the plastic. You want to soft-faced mallet. The reason being, is this is a textured surface and that plastic might get marred by the metal face when you tap it in on the pins. The only other thing that you're going to need is a ratchet or a wrench to tighten the nuts on these pins that hold the ends in place.

You are going to need fasteners. We're gonna reuse our original hardware that came with the old impact strip. If you don't have that, well it's an easy trip to the auto parts store or the hardware store to get some similar fasteners. Just make sure that you match up the thread pitch to the size of the pin. It's not that difficult and it won't cost you that much money.

It's a really good idea to give your parts a thorough inspection and a good cleaning as soon as you take them out of the box. That way if there's any shipping damage you can let LMC Truck know about it before you put the impact strip on the bumper. Now there's some stuff on here that we're gonna clean off and it'll give us a chance to get a good close inspection. I'm using an ordinary glass cleaner and a soft paper towel. That way I don't scratch the chrome. But I can clean off this coating material that's on the chrome.

Now there's a peak stamped in the front of the bumper. It's obviously right there. There's also a peak that's molded into the plastic. You want to make sure that those are in alignment for a nice flush fit. What you don't want to do is start on one side and work your way and hope it lines up in the middle. This plastic can actually stretch and the pins will lock it into place so hard that you might think that it doesn't line up. So you want to start in the middle and then work your way from one side to the other side and finally lock in the ends.

So let's take a closer look at the impact strip itself. When you take a close look at this impact strip, it's a symmetrical pattern. It's exactly the same whether it's upside down or right side up. So it's important to be right side up. If you flip it over, look on your bumper, there's an alignment hole right here, and an alignment pin right here on the impact strip. That is gonna tell you what's the right side up and that's also why you want to start in the middle. So you just line this guy's out.

Here's where your soft face hammer comes in. Now sometimes, yeah there one of them went, sometimes just because of the inconsistencies in the plating and the plastic, sometimes you got to give it a little bit of love. Soft faced hammer, that's all it takes. Now make sure that's seated and we'll move to the other side. There's a bit of a gap. Gentle tap. We like that. Now we'll move back to the other side and then you're just gonna alternate. What that does is get even distribution of the retaining clips pins on the bumper itself.

I can just feel that fits perfectly all the way. Now we'll flip the bumper, put the hardware on the backside of the pins, and Bob's your uncle, we'll be done.

So we're gonna keep on moving towards the outside. That means we do this pin next and then finally this one. Maybe even a little bit of pressure with the heel of your hand pushing the impact strip up so you get a good solid fit. Now if you've ever torqued down a cylinder head it's the same principle as that. You're directing the material where you want it to go. So we've got original fastener that's gonna go on the plastic pin. The OE is an 11 millimeter size. It's important not to use pneumatic tools or an impact wrench on this. You want to feel it. See that when it's tight and then stop. So I'm gripping this, yeah, just when I feel this starts to snugs I'm done. All right we're on to the next one. Sometimes it's the simplest things to trip you up. I'm just following a procedure. Even if you're in a hurry, I hope you get the job done right the first time. No gap, alright. The other thing about using a hand tool on this is you're actually cutting a thread into that plastic pin. And if you torque it down when it's bottomed out you you're just gonna make a big ring around it and it's gonna be hard as heck to get it off, if you ever have to remove that impact strip. There we go. Let’s take a look.

It's little details like this it can make a big difference on the overall appearance of your truck and make it something you can really be proud of.

For more videos, check us out at, click on the product videos home page for ideas on parts to restore or customize your truck. Again, check us out at or just flip through the pages of your catalog. See you next time.