How to Install a Front and Rear Bumper on a 1965-1966 Mustang

How to Install a Front and Rear Bumper on a 1965-1966 Mustang

Last Updated August 8, 2023 | Alison Smith

Before we got started on Project Betty, our 1965-1966 Mustang build, we asked if there were any basic installs you wanted to see first. One of the questions a lot of people had was how to install bumpers on a classic Mustang. There’s no underestimating the power of brand-new bumpers. Re-chroming the factory bumpers can get pricey, so replacing them can save a lot of time and money.

Follow the steps below to learn how to put new front and rear bumpers on your classic Mustang in just a few hours.

Step-by-Step Instructions

In the following steps, we’ll show you how to install this CJ Classics Chrome Bumper Kit on a 1965-1966 Mustang. The kit contains a new front and rear bumper plus the hardware needed to mount them to the bumper brackets.

Required Tools:

  • 3/8" Ratchet
  • 1/4" Ratchet
  • Long Extensions
  • 11/16" Socket
  • 5/8" Socket
  • 1/2" Socket
  • Swivel
  • 1/2" Wrench
  • Phillips Screwdriver

Step 1: Begin Removing Front Bumper

Begin removing the bolts on the front bumper. Using a swivel, you can start with the side bolt on one side. Penetrating lubricant can help remove any stuck bolts.

Removing bolts from front bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Pro Tip: If you’re worried about messing up your Mustang’s paint job, put tape on the places where the extension could rub against the body to prevent metal-to-metal contact.

Step 2: Remove Bumper Guards or Brackets (Optional)

Bumper guards can make it challenging to remove the bumper. So, if you do have bumper guards, you may need to remove them before taking the rest of the bolts out of the front bumper. Also remove the bumper bracket if it’s in the way.

Removing bumper guard from front bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 3: Repeat Process on Other Side

Once you remove the three bolts on one side, repeat the process on the other side until all the bolts are removed. You can use one bolt to keep the bumper in place until you’re ready to remove it.

Removing bolts from other side of front bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 4: Remove the Front Bumper

Starting from one side, pull the bumper out and forward to clear the bracket. You should then be able to remove the whole front bumper.

Removing front bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 5: Inspect Bumper Brackets

With the bumper off, inspect the bumper brackets to see if they’re in good shape. Check to make sure they’re not bent or damaged. The slotted holes will help properly align the new bumper. Whether you’re using original or new brackets, you may need to open up the holes to fit the new bumper. Leave the brackets loose so you can make adjustments before tightening everything down.

Inspecting bumper brackets on front bumper of 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 6: Attach New Front Bumper

Grab the new front bumper and place it on the brackets by hooking it around the corner on one side. Hold it in place with a bolt if needed before moving on to the next step.

Attaching new front chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 7: Install Hardware on New Front Bumper

Reinstall the new or existing hardware onto the front bumper. Put all the front bolts in first, followed by the nuts, and hand-tighten. Then, reinstall the side bolts.

Installing hardware on new front chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 8: Tighten Bolts Down

Once all the bolts are seated, you can use your ratchet to tighten everything down. Finish by tightening the bolts on the side. That’s the last step for the front bumper!

Tightening bolts down on new front chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 9: Remove Bolts on Rear Bumper

Since there’s no way to access the bolts on the rear bumper, you’ll have to go through the trunk. Spray them with a lubricant ahead of time for easier removal. Don’t remove the last few bolts yet.

Removing bolts from rear bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 10: Unscrew License Plate Light Bracket

You will need to remove the license plate light bracket before removing the remaining bolts on the bumper. Using a screwdriver, remove the bracket by unscrewing the two screws on the bumper above the license plate.

Unscrewing license plate light bracket from rear bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 11: Detach Rear Bumper

Next, hold the bumper and remove any remaining bolts. You can then detach the bumper once all the bolts are free.

Detaching rear bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 12: Relocate Bumper Brackets

Remove the bolts attaching the bumper brackets to the old bumper. Once the brackets are removed, relocate them to the new bumper. Use new hardware to install the brackets on the new bumper if needed. Get both bolts seated before tightening them down. Repeat the process for each bracket.

Relocating bumper brackets on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 13: Attach New Rear Bumper

Grab the bumper and align it with the rear of your Mustang. Slide the license plate light bracket back in and attach the bumper with a few bolts to hold it in place.

Attach new rear chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 14: Reinstall License Plate Light Bracket

Get the license plate light bracket properly situated and screw it back into place.

Reinstalling license plate light on new rear chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Step 15: Install Remaining Bolts

Install the remaining bolts and tighten them down. Don’t forget to tighten any of the other bolts that were holding the bumper in place as well. After the bolts are all tight, the installation is finished!

Installing remaining bolts to new rear chrome bumper on 1965-1966 Mustang

Considerations for Your Mustang Bumper Install

A little elbow grease or lubrication might be needed to get the old bolts off your classic Mustang. If the brackets or any of the hardware are rusted, you can always replace them with new hardware. Not only will they be easier to remove in the future, but they’ll also look better too. Just be sure to follow any specific manufacturer instructions included with your new bumpers. For more classic Mustang how-to guides, check out How to Install a Radiator on a 1965-1966 Mustang, or How to Install Rocker Panels on a Classic Mustang.

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Please Note: This guide is a tool to help you install parts on your vehicle. If you don’t feel confident performing this installation on your own, please have a professional install the parts for you.

This article was researched, written, edited, and reviewed following the steps outlined in our editorial process. Learn more about CJ's editorial standards and guidelines.