bradley
I was wondering about removing bumpers and if this is street legal or not and if the legality might differ from province to province. I know you can buy those little metal pieces to put on instead but was just wondering about the legal side. I'm in Alberta but moving to BC in the Summer. 
I also have a gas heater that I apparently just need a glow plug to make work but the thing freaks me out and I would rather remove it. I've had my runnins with gas and fire and I would like to know if there is anything I should know about removing the thing, it seems like I'm just hauling around extra weight.
Thanks! 
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Wayne

A lot of the legal stuff falls on the officers discretion. A friend of mine got a ticket for driving his VW without the deck lid, showing off his chrome engine so you've got to be careful. I think that anything that could hurt a person if you hit them would be in question. And that includes those little metal brackets. As far as the heater goes most people are like you and afraid to have them in there. They can be removed but I'm not sure that you have to watch for.

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bradley

Thanks for the info, it sounds like a gamble. I ran my Super without bumpers for two years and never had a problem, I just wondered if I was just lucky. I'll most likely leave my bumpers on.

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MY72BUG
An accident at any speed above a few KPH will do damage to the car of a serious nature whether it is equipped with a bumper or not.  What you need to compare is a low speed hit on your bumper with a low speed hit on the sheet metal front end of your car.  The former can be handled for the cost of a new bumper and lesser work to the areas where the bumper mounts to the front end.  The latter without the protection of the bumper could add up to very serious bucks and major body work which only a shop could handle.  That was the true purpose of bumpers, to reduce the cost of low speed collisions.  I cannot say that for modern jelly-bean cars.  Those plastic shrouds that have taken the place of the classic chrome bumper can set you back a couple of grand! 
As for the gas heater the best comment I ever heard about them was from an old VW guy here in Ontario.  He told me:  " There are only a handful of people left who know how to get those things running safely.  I know that you aren't one of them and I wouldn't even trust my own work ! "  'nuff said.  Remove it and close off the gas lines with screws coated with Seal-All. ( available at CTC )   Dan (MY72BUG) in Goderich, Ont.

I'd rather have a partial bottle in front of me than a partial frontal lobotomy.
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bradley

That's a good point about the the cost of a repair without bumpers, I'll leave 'em on. And yeah, I'm not going to play around with that heater, except to take it out. My super didn't really have heat and I drove that for at least a couple winters! Southern BC though. But, I'm moving back to BC this summer from Calgary and I have good winter clothes.  Thanks for the extra info Dan, it's appreciated.

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AlphaWolf
In anything over a walking speed the difference between bumper or know pumper is a joke.  At any speed the bumper usually comes off leaving the two brackets to punch into the car ahead.  

NSTB has some neat videos of a bumpered bug hitting a pinto in the back and the two arm sized holes in the Pintos gas tank after the flames were put out.

It is just more weight you have to lug around but many states or provinces or cities will require some "bumper",

So they look better without them but the LEOs in your area may frown upon that.  Mine has Nerf bars.



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Ryan
Must have been some cheap bumpers.  I admit it, back in high school (30 isn't old is it?) I rear ended someone cause I wasn't paying attention.  I tagged this guy at 10 mph and DESTROYED his bumper,,, Buick Regal.  Zero damage to me, didn't even bend the bumper mounts.  Three years ago I was rear ended by a, I want to say a pontiac of some sorts,,, sedan.  Again I collapsed his bumper inwards about 4", zero damage to me.  Something to be said for old German steel.  You can lift my car by the bumpers (more stupid high school stuff) and not even bend the metal around the mounting holes.
I should mention this is a Super and the bumpers mounts are VERY stout,, but they certainly do work.  But I'd much rather have a mangled muffler than have someone slam the rear apron into my engine,, it would get ugly.
As for the legality side, in Ca you must have some sort of 'bumper' extending beyond any other part of the car,, this is a big loophole that they can use to nail you for a stinger if you piss off a cop.  But that also means that provided your nerf bars extend beyond the radius of the front and rear aprons & exhaust you are ok.  Draw a straight line between the two, does it touch the car or is the muffler sticking out past it,,, then you 'could' get a ticket.  --Ryan

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olspeed

I just thought I would put in my two cents worth on the gas heater question. First how old is it 20-30-40yrs. Has it had a lot of use or just a little. And are you mechanically inclined. If you are? PULL the unit out of the car FIRST! then dissemble it and check the fire box for rust holes if there are none (a pressure test is advisable 10 to 15 psi) and you have the wiring diagram, set it up on a stand (cement block) have a fire extinguisher handy. I have used a lawn mower gas tank to gravity feed it. Check the glow plug First and make sure it works, check AND double check your wiring! and then check it again.If all looks right light it off. outside if possible. it should start up with in a minute. If not turn it off wait for the glow plug to cool and then check the wiring again. The idea is you must have fuel,spark, and air blowing in to the combustion chamber, missing any one thing and it will not work. Also if you are using a electric fuel pump or are going to, make sure that you don't over pressurize the unit 1 to 2 psi is about all you need. PLEASE NOTE!!! if you don't feel comfortable working on a gas heater then DON'T!  PS Please check the wiring and make SURE that you have it right I know first hand as I watched a friend of mine try to start one in his garage (with no wiring diagram) when he touched it off it burst in to flames and shot across the floor of the garage like a rocket! a quick dose of the extinguisher and all that was left was junk as it had burst the combustion chamber and blew a hole in the side of the heater!

66 Ghia 76 std Beetle
It's not a car it's a VolksWagon
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AlphaWolf
As I said at low speeds 10 mph or less they will help.  Over that nada.

When I was rear ended twice back in the 70s by BIG American cars Lincoln and a Caprice.  Both times they just smashed my pumper down and crunched into the deck  lid.  I was stopped at stop signs both times.  Bumpers and mounts totaled.  Deck lid pushed in. 

When as a newbie driver of 16 (34 years ago) I rear ended  a pickup truck when he panic stopped and I was just too close.  Well my bumper never touched his.  His bumper was raised up and crunched the front end cleanly across the entire front end right through both headlights. 

So yes, at walking speeds they may protect the body but you will need new bumpers even at that speed.  Above that and they are useless.

But most places require bumpers.   Even useless ones.





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Ryan
As you said what???  Try reading your post...  You actually didn't say anything like that.

"So yes, at walking speeds they may protect the body but you will need new bumpers even at that speed.  Above that and they are useless."

Again, I just said that I had two collisions first was maybe 10mph,,, second I didn't say, but it was closer to 15 mph.  Want to see a pic of my bumpers??  They are pristine.
So YES they do serve a purpose but no you don't have to run them.  You pay your money and you take your chances...  --Ryan
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bradley

Hey guy's, thanks for all this info. There are alot of good points about the bumpers. If I decide to take them off I might try making some of my own when I get back to BC and start working in the metal shop I used to work in. It would be nice to have something lighter that would give the same, or similar, protection. Does anyone know about putting older bumpers, like 60's bugs on to a 74' standard. I think I would be able to construct brackets if need be? Also to olspeed, thanks for taking time to explain how to check the gas heater, and yes I am somewhat mechanically inclined, I grew up working in my dad's radiator shop (8 years), ironically enough, but we used to fix gas tanks and I blew one up once and got burned and wound up in the hospital for two weeks and off work for two months. I am a little scared to be playing around with a rocket so I think I would prefer to just remove it and wear a coat and longjohns! Thanks.  

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olspeed
Hello Bradley
Hope you have fun with your ride this summer. I think that I would leave the bumpers on though. Just thought that I would let you know that I didn't mean to imply that you weren't mechanically inclined, but I thought that if I was going to post anything about working on gas heaters that it would be a good way to start. Also for anyone that lives up here in the northern climite a gas heater can be a blessing. The one that I use is a military southwind heater it puts out 11000 BTUs on low and 22000 BTUs on high, plus I use a dual battery set up so I can run the heater with the engine off. I have used this heater for about 30 years now (with one heat exchanger change) and have never had any problems with it. I have moved it over in to four different cars now and have had exceptional heat in each one.(the Thing was not as warm as the bug or the bus but you could still drive around with your coat unzipped at -20) also the fuel consumption is not that bad at a gallon of gas in about 8 hrs on high. it's also great to run in to a store and come back out to a warm car with out leaving your car running. 
66 Ghia 76 std Beetle
It's not a car it's a VolksWagon
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bradley
Hi olspeed,

I didn't think you were implying anything, I do feel a little out of touch though, I've been painting houses and going to college for quite a few years and haven't had anything fun to work on for a long time. I just recently changed everything from the plugs to the points and had so much fun, it feels good to get my hands dirty again and my bug runs alot better. I am having a blast cruising around. I did pull the heater out but I'm going to hang on to it. There's an old vw mechanic (I think) in the town in BC that I'm moving to in July, I'm going to see if he knows much about these heaters. I'll probably want to give it a shot when it starts getting cold!

Thanks, Bradley.
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