Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

1965 - 1972: 250S, 250SE, 300SEb, 280S, 280SE, 280SEL, 280SE 3.5, 280SEL 3.5, 280SE 4.5, 280SEL 4.5, 300SEL, 300SEL 6.3, 300SEL 3.5, 300SEL 4.5
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300 SLR
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Model you own: w108
Location: Canberra

Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

Post by cuisses » Thu 22 Dec, 2016 10:39 am

This might be helpful for anyone trying to do this, as I couldn't find much about it on the web.

The W108 had, when I purchased it, a small ding in the rear bumper. The metal looked fine, but the rubber was compressed. Only very slightly unsightly, but annoying to me. I assumed this was the fault of the rubber - which is expensive to buy new.

I pulled off the bumper. 6 bolts, and possible to do without any help, as it sits on the brackets attaching it to the car with the bolts undone. There is a rear light in the bumper to illuminate the numberplate, which of course means wires, but being a quality car there is a plug that attaches to the top of the brake lights inside the boot/trunk, so no wire cutting involved, just unplug.

To get the rubber off, you need to undo the two small nuts at each end holding it on. Once this has been done you can peel it off. It sits on a "T" lip which protrudes out (and then up and down) from the bar, and should be easily removed unless it is in really bad shape (it might tear). Shown below, complete with a lot of rubber grease for installation.

It turned out that the rubber was almost perfect, but the lip had been dented in. The lip is pretty strong, and there is no way I could bend it back. I took it to a local panel-beating place. They took one look at it and said "no way, too difficult", but recommended Real Steel in Queanbeyan. Theses guys are really excellent. They usually do much more sophisticated things (CMC machine, making panels for older cars), and despite this being a really small job, they were happy to do it. They used "spoons". Next day, after handing over the princely sum of $50, I picked it up. They did a great job.

When I got it home I noticed a bit of surface rust on some of the upper projection of the lip (not the underside), where water obviously gets trapped. This was scraped off, and then painted with some rust proofing.

Now for the part that will hopefully be useful, for anyone trying to do this. (I apologise for those who already know this secret). It should apply to lots of different chassis types - probably anything with the rubber insert. The rubber peels off, but how to get it back on? I started from one end and all seemed to be going well for about 30 cm, but then it proved impossible. I struggled with rubber grease - and even tried to bang it on gently with a rubber mallet - but no good. I eventually found a hint on the web. You bend it back from the bumper (as per the photo), which opens up the lip inside of the rubber, and effectively it "peels" back onto the car. With this trick it is simple, without it, simply crazy.

Car looks much better now.
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David Williams

W108 280SE 4.5 (Papyrus White and Palomino)

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Astrid W108 280SE
S Class
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Model you own: w108
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Re: Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

Post by Astrid W108 280SE » Fri 23 Dec, 2016 4:29 pm

Thanks for the tip David,

I have a new bumper rubber sitting in my boot that will replace the old one that has gone all a little "sticky" these tips shall come in handy


1970 W108 280SE - Astrid
1968 Type 1 VW Beetle - Helga aka Hiccup aka the H-bomb
2000 - Subaru Lancaster - Pearl

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Model you own: w108

Re: Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

Post by Bordeauxdan » Sat 22 Jul, 2017 7:14 am

I'm doing the same with my 72 w108. Were two of the bolts required to remove the bumper accessible from inside the trunk?
I've removed 2 side under bolts, 2 back under bolts but still won't come off. Not much on web except many say 4 bolts to remove?..? Aaah


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Re: Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

Post by Bordeauxdan » Tue 08 Aug, 2017 10:14 am

Found the two bolts in the trunk so total of six and the whole assembly pulls right off........thanks.

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Re: Bumper Rubber Installation or Replacement

Post by CraigB » Thu 10 Aug, 2017 12:02 pm

sorry for slow response - thanks for feeding back into thread so others know.
Craig Baulderstone
280SL Ruby
300TE Otto
350SL Gloria
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450SEL Boris
500SEC's...including Syd
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