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Car: Mercedes-Benz | CLK | W209 | Avantgarde | Coupe
Engine: CDi | 2.7 | Inline 5 | (170 BHP) | Turbocharged | Diesel

Replace Standard CLK Bumper Covers with AMG versions

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This article details how to fit AMG Bumper Covers to the W209 CLK, which I did to replace the standard 'non-sport' bumpers right

The 'Cover' is the actual moulded part of the bumper which this is typically sold separately to the structural reinforcing piece that sits behind and mounts the cover to the car.

Front

Remove existing Bumper

CLK AMG Bumper Cover Fitment

The front bumper is held in at 3 main areas; behind the front grille, behind the lower air dam, and at the front of each wheel arch.

To start with, the front under trays and splash guards must be released from the lower edge of the bumper. Look underneath the car and remove all of the plastic retainers right using a trim removal tool or set of Pincer Pliers

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Next put the steering on full lock (either direction) and remove the front lower section of the wheelhouse splash guard on both sides (look in front of the wheels for 2 x 10mm bolts).

With the splash guards removed look inside the opening on both sides up to the lip of the bumper to find a 13mm bolt, remove this, then use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the locking plate outwards from the wing/bumper, freeing the sides of the bumper from the car.

Open the bonnet/hood and remove the grille as described here, then look either side of the grille opening next to the headlamps for a black 10mm bolt, remove this bolt on each side and the top edge of the bumper should become loose.

The final 2 bolts are behind the central grille of the bumper, on my car I removed the grille by squeezing it inwards to remove the locking tangs from the bumper. Whilst removing the grille pull out the external temp sensor from the back of it and place carefully back on the car. Now 2*10mm bolts should be visible either side of the opening; remove these and the bumper can be withdrawn enough to allow access to the fog lamp connectors. Once they are free the bumper can be moved away from the car (above Left).

Mounting the AMG Cover

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The black plastic reinforcement frame must be salvaged from your existing bumper to mount the AMG bumper. To do this, first remove the 2 impact-absorbing foam pads and then use a grinder to grind down the plastic welded tabs around the circumference of the frame. When all are removed the frame will pull away from the old bumper cover together with the fog lampsright.

The old fog lamps can not be re-used; I sold these on eBay along with the bumper covers.

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The old bumper cover cannot be dispensed with yet. Compare the bracket which holds the headlamp washer flap (left); the facelift version was subtlety different to mine and meant the existing flap could not be fitted on the AMG bumper.

My solution was to mount the old brackets on to the AMG bumper, rather than purchase a set of the correct flaps.

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As it happened the brackets on my bumper were far more sturdy than on the AMG bumper anyway.

Please see the images to the right for a comparison between my pre-facelift non-AMG cover (far right) and the Facelift AMG cover (right).

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I removed the AMG bracket by using a 115mm Angle grinder with thin metal cutting disc to carefully grind away most of the bracket and adhesive (Left).

I used the same technique on my old cover, but only in the areas which had been plastic welded and so leaving the majority of the cover in tact to re-use.

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Next, I wiped the pre-facelift bracket and the AMG bumper with panel wipe and used a liberal coating of Sikaflex 221 adhesive sealant to bond the pre-facelift bracket to the rear of the AMG bumper cover (Far Right), using the installed flap as a mounting guide (Right).

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The facelift AMG Fog Lights mount directly to the bumper cover, and I'll state again the standard bumper fog lights cannot be used for any type of the AMG bumper.

I obtained the mounting screws, clips and wiring connectors and 10" of wire from Mercedes; the facelift wiring connectors are different. Now on to mounting the bumper reinforcement

information

Facelft vs Pre-Facelift bumper mounting

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The Facelift cars employ a slightly different method of mounting the sides of the bumper; the Facelift bumper cover has a lip which attaches to the wheel arch splash guards, and this lip isn't present on the pre-Facelift cover and is instead integral with the reinforcement.

If you are upgrading facelift car to a facelift AMG cover, or a pre-facelift car to a pre-facelift AMG cover then no action is required.

If you are upgrading a pre-facelift car to facelift AMG such as I, then cut away the lip on the inside of the bumper Right.

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There is no shortcut to modifying the existing reinforcement, careful trimming, trial fitment and more trimming is required to produce a quality fit. I started by laying the reinforcement in place around the headlight and grille recesses (the top profile of the AMG bumper is identical for all models as the front lights and wings of the CLK never changed) and began trimming and cutting until a good fit was attained.

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I found that the central impact-absorbing foam required modification to suit the front profile of the AMG cover

I used an angle grinder to cut the foam and trial fit in the bumper cover until I was happy (Left).

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The final stage was to wipe all mating surfaces with panel wipe in order to remove traces of grease and other pollutants. I applied a liberal coat of Sikaflex to all mating surfaces and mounting tabs, then secured the reinforcement to the cover using a mix of welding clamps, G clamps and duck tape.

The bumper should be left overnight in order to give the Sikaflex time to sure.

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When the Silaflex has cured the clamps and/or tape can be removed, leaving the finished article (Left). My bumper didn't come with grilles or fog lamps so I obtained these from Mercedes, the cost for these is approximately £400. I also trimmed my existing number plate mount to fit the AMG bumper.

The bumper is now ready for immediate fitment or paint.

Painting

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As always with painting, the preparation is key to a good finish. It was evident after I'd finished preparation that the bumper had been sprayed several times before, especially around the parking sensor holes (Right), so I needed to ensure there was a good barrier between old paint and new.

I recommend using the best paint available and DuPont is used my Mercedes themselves. I used a two-pack DuPont primer in a light shade of grey (right), a version chosen to suit their Cromax® water based paint in 744 'Brilliant Silver'.

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This was to be the first time I'd sprayed with a water based paint, and in fact only the second time I'd sprayed at all. I used a DeVilbiss GTi gun intended for two-pack paint but didn't have a problem achieving a perfect finish with the waster-based base coat.

I found that water-based lays on 'wetter' than two-pack basecoat (no quick-dissolving solvent) so the amount of paint to 'lay on' must be judged carefully to prevent runs.

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I used DuPont ChromaClearx® two-pack for the clear coat, which is a one shot clear I mixed with 10% Thinners. I achieved a finish that could be likened to a sheet of glass!

I would urge anyone thinking of spraying their own parts to get stuck in and have a go, it is incredibly rewarding.

Rear

Remove existing Bumper

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To remove the standard rear bumper (right), jack up the rear of the car so that the wheels 'droop' enough to give good access to the back of the rear wheel arches. The bumper is secured here by a 13mm bolt through the lip of bumper, inside the wheel arch.

Next, inside the boot area there are a further 2 bolts along each side edge of the bumper, and these are accessed by 'peeling back' the boot carpet around the rear light area. Finally, there is a securing nut below each rear light.

Mounting the AMG Cover

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Mounting the rear AMG bumper cover is very easy compared with the front, as the reinforcing piece (right) requires minimal modification.

The reinforcement is removed from the old bumper by using an angle grinder to carefully grind away the plastic welded tabs around its circumference.

If you have parking sensors fitted ensure these are in place before the reinforcement is fitted to the AMG bumper. To fix the reinforcement simply coat the fixing tab locations with Sikaflex 221 or equivalent, and lay the reinforcement piece in place. Use clamps or duck tape to hold down if necessary.

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One final task is to install the metal mounting strips that run along the top edge of the bumper at the sides (the side mounting bolts attach here). Check your AMG cover; you may be lucky and find them already attached, if not, drill out the rivets in your old bumper and transfer the strips across.

Painting

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I found that the black infil section was bonded to the bumper cover, therefore I masked this off rather than attempt to remove it.

As with the front, I sprayed with the chrome trims removed and used DuPont Cromax® water-based base coat and finished with DuPont two-pack Lacquer. The final finish was better than my original bumpers.

© Mark Stewart, Wednesday 15th October 2008
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