How to Replace a Silverado Rear Bumper
Has your truck started showing its age after many years of loyal service? If so, it might be time to change your old rusted bumper. This is a laborious job but can still be done by anyone with a good set of tools and this guide.
- Ratchet and various sized sockets
- WD-40 or equivalent penetrating fluid
- Flathead screwdriver
- Hacksaw (will only be needed if your bolts won’t move)
- Tape measure
- Safety glasses and gloves
You will be spending a lot of time underneath your truck so the first step is to jack it up safely and apply the parking brake. Once this is done you should disconnect the wiring harness for the license plate lights behind the bumper and remove the license plate itself.
You now need to remove the bolts that hold the bumper in place. On both sides of the truck there will be a bracket at an angle holding it in place. This will be fastened by by two 3/4 inch bolts on the angled bracket, a 5/8 inch bolt next to these two and a 7/8 inch bolt underneath the bracket. With the exception of the 7/8 bolt that faces to the ground, the other three will face outwards. Remove all four of these bolts on both sides of the truck.
Once you have removed the 8 bolts underneath your truck you have two final bolts to remove. These are two 7/8 inch bolts on the underside on the truck, either end of the trailer hitch. With all of these bolts removed (10 in total) you should now be able to pull the bumper off the truck.
With the bumper off the truck you can now remove the plastic trim from the metalwork. There will be a plastic pin in each bottom corner that you will need to remove first. These may get damaged in the process but they are cheap to replace. Use your flat head screwdriver to pry it out of place, and if needed, pinch the end of it with the pliers.
At the top of the bumper there will be some plastic tabs that are protruding through. To remove these you simply pinch the protruding end with your pliers and pull on the trim until it comes free from the metal.
Remove the license plate lights and the license plate clips. Use your Flathead screwdriver to tap the tights out. The license plate clips can be removed by pinching them with the pliers or by prying them out with the screwdriver. These may have become brittle over time so you will need to be careful not to break them.
Now you need to remove the spare tire lock bezel. For this you will need to use either your screwdriver or a chisel to knock out the teeth that hold it in place. This may take some time depending on the amount of rust that has built up. If you can’t remove this part, you can cut the metal retaining ring out and replace it.
You will now need to remove the angled brackets from the bumper. These are prone to rusting to you may need to soak them in WD-40 prior to removing them. If they still won’t come loose then you can cut these out with a hacksaw and replace the bolts.
With the brackets removed, you can now remove the reinforcing bar in the center of the bumper. This will be held on by 6 bolts that again may have become rusted over time. As with the brackets, try to soak them with WD-40 first, but if this doesn’t work you can simply cut the bolts out with a hacksaw.
With the reinforcing bar removed, you can now fit it to your new bumper. If you want, you can try and clean off any rust that is on this part and repaint it, but this isn't necessary. It is recommended that you use new bolts for this part, as you would have noticed the rust on the old ones. Buy 6 identical size, galvanized bolts for this job. Use a large washer and lock nut when reattaching them as well. Slightly tighten all of the nuts to allow the part to fit neatly first before tightening them properly.
Re-install the bumper brackets. Again for this you can use new bolts should you have damaged to original ones removing this part. When fitting this, you will want to tighten the bolts enough so that the bracket can still flex slightly when you go fit the bumper again. Once these are fitted, you can install the angled brackets, again, leaving enough in the bolt for them to be able to flex slightly when refitting the bumper.
Refit the bumper on to the truck with the reinforcing bar fitting over the trailer hitch. The horizontal brackets should fit on the inside of the truck's frame with the angled brackets on the outside. It may be helpful to have another person locate these brackets for you whilst you hold the bumper in place. Once in place, refit the two 7/8 inch bolts on the underside on the bumper to the hitch. You will want to leave some flex in these bolts to allow you to align you bumper correctly.
Refit the two 5/8 inch bolts that you removed in Step 2. Make sure that your angled brackets are sitting flush against the trucks frame and leave some flex in the 5/8 bolts.
Refit the four 3/4 inch bolts that hold the two angled brackets in place, again, leave some slight flex in these bolts. Once these are in place, you can now measure the horizontal distance of the gap between the bumper and the tailgate. Once you have these equal you can tighten up the two 5/8 inch bolts. This will hold the bumper in place horizontally but still give you the ability to raise and lower either side of the bumper if needed.
Tighten the bolts that hold the angled brackets to the bumper and reconnect the wiring harness for the lights.
Measure the vertical height of each side of the bumper compared to the tailgate. Once equal tighten up the four 3/4 inch bolts that hold the angled brackets to the frame. Once done, refit the 7/8 inch bolts that hold the bumper onto the frame.
Check all of the bolts and ensure they are all tight. Once done you can now refit the plastic trim. Start with the bottom piece that had the plastic tabs that you had to pinch to remove. Line it up and you should be able to hit it into place with your hand. Next you can refit the top plastic trim. Again line this up and strike it with your hand to get it to hold into place. Replace the plastic pins at the bottom of the pieces.
Refit the license plate lights an reconnect them. Also re-install the spare tire lock bezel and license plate clips by pressing them into place.