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Old 09-20-2010, 12:07 AM   #1
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Caractere Front Bumper

Just recently installed a caractere front bumper on my 2001. After searching relentlessly the internet for install answers and finding nothing, I decided to call caractere in Belgium but offices were closed for summer vacation, I called LLTEK for some install help, they politely declined to help me since I had bought it from a third person. there is two choices, to buy the euro bumper front impact bar $177 www.lltek.com/porschtek/986_bxstr_s_aero.htm (out of stock. looks thinner, may be stamped steel?) or to modify original bar. I was so eager to see my new bumper in my car that i decided to cut reinforcement, Grabbed a beer and relaxed to some tunes and decided to use a 7'' wheel to cut of excess of original bar and simulate the shape of euro version. should have used a 4" wheel instead since 7" was too big and I could have hit the car with it by mistake as i was cutting. I took bumper off following this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um-h2aUJHY4. it has pretty straight forward info on how to take it off . Mark the vertical incision with a ruler and a marker, I cut impact bar to try to simulate lltek picture of boxster s impact bar. Had to vertically cut reinforcement starting from the bottom, excactly to the shock absorber and then, horizontally straight out towards end. make sure you cut slowly and little at a time so you dont damage your car or any of the lines nearby. thought I was going to be difficult to cut aluminum but cutting wheel cut smoothly and quite easily. Finish cutting by rounding off corners below shock absorber, take off each "sharp" newly created corner by rounding them off towards the inside. No lubricant or warping occurred. Finally, drove front wheels up on some pieces of wood that were laying around for extra clearance to get underneath to attach bumper. It was almost a perfect fit, All bottom screws fitted exactly, sides fitted just fine as well. Had to play with top screws adjustment for about ten minutes to get it centered and with some tweaking around, I got a very good fitment on car. Bumper has way less screws than the original bumper and i was able to retain the foam pad on front of bumper. Oh yeah! and dont forget to clean your radiators and condensers while you are at it. found a LOT of debris in between. hope this helps somebody.

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Old 09-21-2010, 07:50 AM   #2
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Nice work, I REALLY like that front bumper! I had to do some similar cutting and modifying to fit the Gemballa rear bumper cover. I did not realize there are front bumpers that need similar massaging to fit. Nice to know...
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:48 AM   #3
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I've had my eye on that same bumper, but it's a knock-off made out of fiberglass reinforced with plastic. Much cheaper than the Belgium original, but still $1200... which is why I have not purchased it.

May I ask you what you paid for it?
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:47 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot Kirk, you must have put a lot of time and love into your car, looks unique, very nice! thanks for helping me with info on the LED taillights.

Randall, think I paid around $850 plus $400 for shipping. I looked everywhere for a while and found this bumper with the carbon fiber trim being sold on ebay, took a gamble and bought it from a guy in Canada. He was very helpful with transaction. No cracks on it, my friend sanded and painted it. I still think it was a good deal since Im on a budget. A couple of local shops did not want to install it for me, saying it would not fit right or would be warped being fiberglass and that it was required to take the impact bar off completely, so decided to do it myself. Bumper is very high quality and a perfect fit after adjusting. Im not mechanically inclined at all and I have to say taking off original bumper was by far harder than to install new bumper. I also noticed that it does increase down force on the front end. No vibrations or overheating since its an enclosed type. bottom portion also splits air into channels to aid cooling front brakes.
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Old 09-22-2010, 03:52 AM   #5
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I think it looks terrific. Great job. The only concern I would have is that since your car is a base model, and it doesn't have a center radiator, the center opening in the new bumper actually draws in a lot of air into the center void behind the mesh center grille. In cars with a center radiator, the grille is needed. In your case, it should be blocked off, so that it doesn't catch a bunch of air in there and slow the car down.

In a Ruf bumper, for example, with the larger openings on the left and right side, they even provide you with larger plastic ducting that directs air into those side radiators that exactly fits the larger holes in the bumpers so that it is fully functional, and no air is being caught inside the bumper where it slows the car down.

Another example is the OEM GT3 bumper... If you have an S with the center radiator, Porsche sells the bumper with the center opening, but for the base Boxster, they sell one with a blocked off center. I bet a lot of the extra downforce you're feeling on that new bumper is just the car being slowed down by all that air catching into that center void. Not a big deal though...I'm sure you could fabricate a plug to fit behind your mesh center grille if you wanted to. Again, it looks great. Congrats.
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Last edited by Boxtaboy; 09-22-2010 at 03:55 AM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandallNeighbour
I've had my eye on that same bumper, but it's a knock-off made out of fiberglass reinforced with plastic. Much cheaper than the Belgium original, but still $1200... which is why I have not purchased it.

May I ask you what you paid for it?
If my memory serves me right, an online company by the name of Wicked Bodies use to "knock-off" the Caractere bumper. In fact, they often used Caractere's photos to feature their products. I'm not certain, but this may have led to some legal issues that forced them out of business. Its possible that they now operate under a different name, however, a quick search on the web didn't reveal anything. In any case, unless the bumper has the actual Caractere insignia on it (which is an engraved during the molding process), along with TUV stamp ect.., there's a strong likelihood that the bumper originated from these people . Thats not say its bad a thing, just merely a clarification .
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Last edited by Johnny Danger; 09-22-2010 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Thanks Boxtaboy! Im new to the forum and I want to know where you found "porsche" logo? been looking for something similar for a while.

Yes, my car is a base model. Thanks for the observation! I see that you do have a valid point there! I forgot to mention that you also have to leave out left and right front air induction cowls as well. Im not an engineer nor a race car driver but my personal opinion is that I don't think the car is being slowed down or air caught in the center "void" since air is being forced to go to the right or the left radiator by the constant pressure of more air coming through the opening and aided by a syphon effect from air coming from right and left intakes and passing through radiators and exiting the vehicle, it can't go anywhere else because bumper forms a bottom enclosure. I could see how the design could affect the aerodynamics and the streamline of airflow in front of the car and offer slightly more resistance in exchange of trapping and directing way more airflow to the radiators. Since bumper is way lower than OEM I think it does not affect the deflection of upwards flow but takes advantage of lower air that otherwise would travel underneath car. I feel an increase in down force on the front end at moderate to fast speeds maneuvers and cornering. I believe bumper acts like a front spoiler and keeps your front directional tires down just like rear spoiler keeps traction on back tires. If there is any slowing down occurring, must be very minimal to the point i cant notice it, but again, just my personal opinion. I was a little concerned about overheating since porsche engineers design stuff for a reason but i have to declare that fans are not turning on as often as they did before.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxtaboy
I think it looks terrific. Great job. The only concern I would have is that since your car is a base model, and it doesn't have a center radiator, the center opening in the new bumper actually draws in a lot of air into the center void behind the mesh center grille. In cars with a center radiator, the grille is needed. In your case, it should be blocked off, so that it doesn't catch a bunch of air in there and slow the car down.

In a Ruf bumper, for example, with the larger openings on the left and right side, they even provide you with larger plastic ducting that directs air into those side radiators that exactly fits the larger holes in the bumpers so that it is fully functional, and no air is being caught inside the bumper where it slows the car down.

Another example is the OEM GT3 bumper... If you have an S with the center radiator, Porsche sells the bumper with the center opening, but for the base Boxster, they sell one with a blocked off center. I bet a lot of the extra downforce you're feeling on that new bumper is just the car being slowed down by all that air catching into that center void. Not a big deal though...I'm sure you could fabricate a plug to fit behind your mesh center grille if you wanted to. Again, it looks great. Congrats.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:58 PM   #8
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yes, Johnny you are right, it was still available a couple of months ago. I was looking at that bumper before as well but did not like that all bumper including splitters and air louvers was a rotomolded one piece. It would have to be all painted one color and not look good in my opinion. you can tell an original from a knock-off by looking at the top louvers ( 2 pieces, removable) bottom splitter extends the whole width of the bumper and its also removable (bigger piece) and either one or two air louvers on intakes option. carbon fiber or kevlar. I went for a cleaner look and decided to fill or shave caractere logo from bumper.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Danger
If my memory serves me right, an online company by the name of Wicked Bodies use to "knock-off" the Caractere bumper. In fact, they often used Caractere's photos to feature their products. I'm not certain, but this may have led to some legal issues that forced them out of business. Its possible that they now operate under a different name, however, a quick search on the web didn't reveal anything. In any case, unless the bumper has the actual Caractere insignia on it (which is an engraved during the molding process), along with TUV stamp ect.., there's a strong likelihood that the bumper originated from these people . Thats not say its bad a thing, just merely a clarification .
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:52 PM   #9
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I think this vehicle belongs to a member on 6Speed. In any case, I always thought that it was a nice example of how well the Caractere bumper can look also.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:37 PM   #10
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I bought the PORSCHE trunk lettering from Suncoast Porsche in Florida. It is actually the factory lettering from the Panamera sedan, so I'm sure you can order this from any Porsche dealership. The badge on the back of the newer Cayenne's are probably the same thing too.

As for the center voids left behind the bumper, the other concern I'd have is that the left side induction cowl also protects the two audible horns from rain water/water from car washing. If water hits those horns, they can malfunction, so be careful to not spray water on them directly when you wash the car.
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Danger
I think this vehicle belongs to a member on 6Speed. In any case, I always thought that it was a nice example of how well the Caractere bumper can look also.
Johnny, thanks for the compliment.

I purchased the CTR bumper from xtrememotorcars.com They also sell on eBay. The customer service is fantastic and the fit of the bumper was pretty spot on. All in all it was a quality piece and I was happy with the end results.
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingnut2u
Johnny, thanks for the compliment.

I purchased the CTR bumper from xtrememotorcars.com They also sell on eBay. The customer service is fantastic and the fit of the bumper was pretty spot on. All in all it was a quality piece and I was happy with the end results.
Your vehicle looks great. Its one of my favorites in fact. Haven't you since gone to black wheels ?
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:16 PM   #13
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This is what it looks like now with the black wheels
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Old 09-23-2010, 01:44 PM   #14
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xtrememotorcars.com contacted me via my web site and said they'd send me this bumper, their side skirts, rear GT2 bumper knock-off and wing for free if I agreed to paint them and put pix here and on my web site.

Then the recession hit and he didn't have the cash to do it for me.

Too bad too. That front bumper is stunning, wingnut2u... the whole car is stunning actually. One of my favorite 986's on this forum.

Keep it shiny, my friend!
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Old 09-23-2010, 02:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wingnut2u
This is what it looks like now with the black wheels
Very nice. The only thing that could make it look better, would be if it was yellow !

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