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Rear Bumper Reinstall Help Request

Help Please...

Anyone remove the rear bumper from a Model 3 (to install a trailer hitch)?

Removal went fine, install of the trailer hitch went fine, I can not get the bumper back on properly.

I could tell you everything I've done/tried but I'm exhausted right now. Don't think I've "damaged" anything thus far, but just can't get it on and everything lined up again.

Any advice greatly appreciated.

Kinda desperate at this point, Buddy helped me today, I sent him home, we weren't getting any closer.


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AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,692
15,175
San Diego
I assume the problem you are having is getting all the clips to engage on both sides?

I have done this before, but sadly it has been long enough that I don’t remember the exact sequence. I remember it being fiddly and the clips around the corner of the bumper being particularly annoying.

Be really careful of the metal bracket the torx bolt goes into - it tends to get levered up and can hit the fender and scratch that paint, as you are working to fit the bumper.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. Make sure you have all the clips along the rear upper edge of the bumper, near trunk opening, properly engaged and that the bumper is not below or above anything it should not be.

Absolutely a two person job...so you will need your poor buddy back.

These guys are fiddling around with it for a good three minutes. There are a couple other YouTube videos but did not see instructions for reassembly. It’s really just making sure all the clips align and engage as I recall.


Remember to connect the wiring harness before starting, of course...

Make sure the bottom plastic bit (diffuser) goes on the correct side (under) of the aero cover when the bumper goes on - otherwise you’ll be taking off more bolts from the aero cover to get the rear diffuser to go under the aero cover later. You can get this right when you first put the bumper cover on but not once it is clipped on. Can always remove more aero cover bolts but ideally you don’t have to (just have to remove the three if you get the order right).
 
Thx for the nice reply. I am able to get the bumper on and aligned what appears proper - but then the black pan on the bottom doesn't align with the holes and I can't complete the install. It's very strange, why would the top align but then not the bottom. And we're talking off by a 1/2 inch, not a mm or 2.

Found a local certified tesla body shop, if I can't get it on tonight on the 1st try, going to bundle it all up and take to them to reinstall for me. Will be worth it... Hopefully they have the expertise and the lift will surely make it easier.

I'm up for any other advice to try again tonight though...
 

AlanSubie4Life

Efficiency Obsessed Member
Oct 22, 2018
11,692
15,175
San Diego
Thx for the nice reply. I am able to get the bumper on and aligned what appears proper - but then the black pan on the bottom doesn't align with the holes and I can't complete the install. It's very strange, why would the top align but then not the bottom. And we're talking off by a 1/2 inch, not a mm or 2.

Found a local certified tesla body shop, if I can't get it on tonight on the 1st try, going to bundle it all up and take to them to reinstall for me. Will be worth it... Hopefully they have the expertise and the lift will surely make it easier.

I'm up for any other advice to try again tonight though...

Hmm. Can’t think of a reason for that. Don’t remember that being a problem at all - except for how I had to take the aero cover halfway off to fit the diffuser under the cover. Remember there is no hole for the middle bolt of the diffuser - but sounds like none of the holes align. Is it getting hung up on something? Is it hitting the hitch somehow?

Pictures might help but seems difficult to describe.

I would personally use a couple hydraulic jacks (probably jacking from the front jack point) and jack stands at the rear jack points (with adapters of course) to give yourself a couple inches more working room. But don’t kill yourself and only jack up the car if you can do it safely without damaging the car. We used a lift so there was plenty of room. Would be nearly impossible, or at least incredibly time-consuming, without extra room.

As I recall the hitch replaces other pieces...there is nothing that was left in that should have been removed, nothing causing the crash bar to stick out too much or something like that?
 
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I got it off easy, but that's a less-precise task.

I did eventually jack up one wheel to gain some working space. Didn't put on jack stands, just wanted better visiblity. I think at this point, it may just be easiest and safest, to pay the nearby shop to do it for me tomorrow. Just need to get all the parts bundled up nicely.

I tried... And they said they would NOT install the hitch, but I wasn't asking them to, just to reinstall the bumper. Here's hoping this turns out well in the end. Even if I end up dropping $100-150 for labor, will be worth it. I KNOW the hitch is torqued on properly, happy with that, this is just to move my bikes around...

I'll let you know how it turns out in the end...
 
I just recently learned how to remove the bumper and put it back.

First attempt to put it back on, it lined up properly at the top, but on the bottom one of the three 10mm hex bolts (the one towards the driver side) wouldn't go in. The problem was with that the plastic piece at the bottom didn't line up properly with the carpet-like lining and the left side of the bumper. I pulled the bumper off again.

Second attempt, it all fit together at the top and bottom, but two problems: the torx screws wouldn't stay in, and the bumper would "pop out" at the top middle (near where the trunk handle is) by itself, regardless of how hard I pressed it in. For the torx screws, the retaining metal pieces had fallen off. I had to get them in properly (slide them over the top plastic edge with the hole facing downwards). For the problem of the bumper popping out at the top, the solution is to use the rubber seal on the trunk opening to cover the bumper. The bottom portion of that rubber seal is designed to tover the top 1 inch or so of the bumper. Once you get it in there covering it, it won't pop off.

Did you remove the two 10mm hex bolts on the outer edge under the bumper that are covered with a plastic piece? Removing those definitely makes the bumper easier to maneuver with for fitting it back on.
 
I just recently learned how to remove the bumper and put it back.
The problem was with that the plastic piece at the bottom didn't line up properly with the carpet-like lining and the left side of the bumper.

Exactly my problem. I honestly don't know if I checked the 'carpet' on the sides when I was having my issues, but i can visualize this being the problem. Will give it another shot after work and focus on this potential reason for the problem. Thanks!
 
Exactly my problem. I honestly don't know if I checked the 'carpet' on the sides when I was having my issues, but i can visualize this being the problem. Will give it another shot after work and focus on this potential reason for the problem. Thanks!
This is an easy one to fix, just need to visually line up both the sides with the plastic and "carpet" with the "carpet" inside the plastic of the bumper and inside the undercarriage plastic piece. It is much easier to do if you have another person to help, but I was able to do it solo after a couple of tries. Do this on both sides before snapping the bumper into the clips on the back of the car and the sides. Then put in the three 10mm hex bolts at the bottom. After that the two 10mm hex bolts on the bottom of each side, then the two torx screws, then the one 10mm hex nut bolt on each side on the top, and then the six plastic holding clips at the bottom, three on each side.
 
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Tried quick again last night, the 'felt' wasn't the issue.

Took it to a Tesla certified body shop this AM, they banged it out quickly. I obv didn't notice, but there was some plastic hanging up on the new hitch - they ground it off and it went back like a champ. I was prob "oh-so-close" - but such is life. $125 for the install to wrap up and I'm a happy camper - and now I have a trailer hitch for toting the bikes around.

Really, I need to install the wiring at some point so I can tow a small trailer if necessary. But in the past 3 years, I didn't have wiring on my Outback, so probably unnecessary really.

Truly appreciate the guidance posted above. Glad to see responses with potential solutions. If I had a true lift, might have been able to better see what was going on, that's for sure.
 
Tried quick again last night, the 'felt' wasn't the issue.

Took it to a Tesla certified body shop this AM, they banged it out quickly. I obv didn't notice, but there was some plastic hanging up on the new hitch - they ground it off and it went back like a champ. I was prob "oh-so-close" - but such is life. $125 for the install to wrap up and I'm a happy camper - and now I have a trailer hitch for toting the bikes around.

Really, I need to install the wiring at some point so I can tow a small trailer if necessary. But in the past 3 years, I didn't have wiring on my Outback, so probably unnecessary really.

Truly appreciate the guidance posted above. Glad to see responses with potential solutions. If I had a true lift, might have been able to better see what was going on, that's for sure.

Do you mind posting a picture of the hitch?
 
So first let me say, everything is back on and I am thrilled. Dropped a c-note with a local tesla certified body shop and they popped it on very quickly for me. I love the hitch and even though the install was super simple, the re-install of the bumper was a royal PIA and between worrying about breaking the plastic tabs and the problem I had with it hitting something, I honestly wouldn't suggest this for others without a lift. FTR, I am a DIY'r and have previously installed 2 hitches, one of which required removing the entire exhaust system and drilling multiple holes in the frame to install the bolts.

That said, photos were requested, so here they are.

I have one remaining question - AutoPilot? Taking the bikes to Maine in a few weeks. I have to presume this is going to mess with my sensors and I am going to have to drive there on my own :-( Will have to search to see if others have reported already one way or the other.

Unlike with my previous *3* vehicles, I am going to be able to access the trunk/hatch with the rack installed, for that, I am so happy. I dinged and scratched up my last 2 vehicles quite badly hitting the button to open the hatch only to have it hit the bikes. Although, with a bike there, it probably will hit the handlebars.

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Looking to add a hitch for a Yakima Hold Up bike rack. What brand hitch did you use? I have used Curt hitches previously and they were straight forward to install. The Model 3 version is only like $235 on Amazon but the reviews (all 2 of them) mention it doesn't line up with the mounting points on the car.
 

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