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How to Replace Rear Bumper 94-02 Dodge RAM 1500

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How to Replace Rear Bumper 94-02 Dodge RAM 1500

Created on: 2019-09-23

Check out this video showing you how to replace a rusty old bumper on your 94-02 Dodge Ram 1500.

  1. step 1 :Removing the Rear Bumper
    • Disconnect the license plate light electrical connectors
    • Remove the three license plate bracket Phillips screws
    • Remove the rear bumper bracket bolts
    • Remove the bumper
    • Remove the remaining two license plate bracket Phillips screws
  2. step 2 :Installing the Rear Bumper
    • Check the fitment of the mounting brackets and bumper
    • Loosely install the mounting brackets with included bolts and nuts
    • Install the bumper onto the mounting brackets
    • Support the bumper with jacks or blocks to level it
    • Tighten the nuts and bolts
  3. step 3 :Installing the License Plate Lights
    • Cut the electrical connectors from the old license plate lights
    • Splice together the electrical connector with the replacement license plate light using wiring butt connectors
    • Cover the splice with heat shrink tubing or electrical tape
    • Install the light assembly into the bumper
    • Connect the electrical connector

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools


    Jack Stands

    Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Electrical Tape

    Wire Butt Connectors

    Heat Shrink Tubing

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches


    Wire Cutters

  • Sockets - Metric

    Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

    Acetylene torch

  • Wrenches - Metric

    Complete Metric Wrench Set

Installation Video
Watch video

Hey friends, it's Len here at 1A Auto. Today we're going to be working on our 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, and we're going to be replacing the rear bumper. It's going to be fairly easy. I can do it. You can do it too. As always, if you need any parts, you can always check us out at, thanks.

Okay, so as you can see, this bumper unit has seen better days. It's just completely rotted. I don't know if this thing was parked at the beach for a long time or what, but I know it seen a lot of New England winters, about 22 of them. In fact, it's been a work truck, so we're just going to try to do it some good and go ahead and get this bumper out of here. We're going to replace the brackets that go with it. There should be a nut here with studs that come from this side. Should be a nut there, there, up here. As you can tell. This is all just kind of disintegrating. So what we're going to do is we're just going to get rid of all this. We're going to blast it right off with a torch. Your case may not be the same as mine, where you might have some actual nuts on there that you can grab onto with sockets, in which case good for you. I would do that.

So we're just going to go ahead and grab the torch and we'll start blasting this out of here. So our new bumper assembly is going to come with new plate lights. So we're just going to disconnect the whole harness. Just right here. You grab this little tab, give it a little wiggle and a little tug. Take a peak up in there, make sure you don't see any corrosion. Blue, green, brown, red moisture. Everything looks good there. We're going to go over and grab the one over on the passenger side. We're going to do the same exact thing. Just grab the little clip, pull it. There we go. Take a peek. That looks decent. We can reuse it. All right, let's move along.

So we're just going to take out these three Phillips heads. You can use a screwdriver. I'm going to use a bit driver. See if I can get it out of there so I can show you. That's what it looks like. I'm sure it looks a lot like this one. Of course, my battery's getting weak. Let's get this one the rest of the way out. They're just really rusted in there. They've been in there a long, long time. Who knows? 23, 22, 23 years at this point. So we're going to do it a favor. Get rid of that. We'll move along.

All right, so here we go. Get our torch ready here. Forgot to mention that we put a couple of supports underneath the bumper here and that's just to help make sure that this bumper can't really go any place once we get everything cut apart. So we've got our safety glasses on, special torching glasses, hand protection and we're going to keep our mouth closed while we do this. What we need to do is get this so it's cherry red and it looks like it's starting to almost turn to like liquid and then we can blast it and it should start cutting this away. There's one. Generally speaking, when you first start cutting on something that's rusted, it pops a lot and it shoots little sparks out. So just be careful for your face. I'm not saving any of these brackets so I'm really not worried about cutting them. There we are. There's number three. Now to continue the process we would do the other side. First, I'm going to make sure that I spray all this down a little bit. Get it nice and cool before we continue.

All right, so here we go. On the other side, flame on. There we go. Time to go away. There we are. Bolt number two. Make sure I get the rest of it right there. Cool. Last one. At this point you want to be super careful because there isn't going to be anything holding the bumper into the vehicle aside from a lot of rust and of course the stands or whatever it is you use to support your bumper. There we are. Awesome.

So now that we've got the vehicle closer to the ground, we don't have to worry about it coming down and falling and hitting us on the head. I'm just going to try to shake this bumper all around and see if we can get it to come on down. Almost. All right, what do we see? Something on this side? Oh yeah, it's got one little spot right there that I could have went a little further on. Okay, there we go. Let's get this out of the way, maybe. Come on baby, don't play no games. Cool. I'm going to try to bonk this thing out of here. Just going to grab my hammer.

All right, so this side right here, we have a nice clear view of what's going on and it's pretty much the same as what's going on in the other side. Where we cut, which is still pretty warm, so I'm not going to go ahead and touch it. They're studs that come through from the other side with a bracket. If you don't cut those far enough or take off the nuts completely, obviously this bracket won't be able to come off. So I can continue cutting. But first what I'm going to do is I'm just going to give it a couple of bonks with this and see if I can help it along. So there we are, can see what we're dealing with here. We have the bolt that didn't want to let go yet. There we are. Now we have our nice clean holes for our brand new bumper bracket. We'll come over to the other side and do the same thing. There we are. There's that part. Yee-haw. Cool.

So we're going to continue taking out these screws. We already got those three out from earlier. They go right here, Phillip head. I replaced the battery, bet you're happy about that. Get this out of here. You have your plate lights. The brand new bumper, may or may not come with this. The one that we're going to be replacing it with does. So I'm really not too worried about this, but there are some 194 bulbs in there if you wanted to save those.

All right, so we have our bumper brackets here. As you can tell, they're a little squiggly. They're not a straight shot, which tells me that either the frame between here and here or the bumper on the mounting area, same like this, is wider than one another. Okay? So we need to find out if the frame is wider than the mounting area for the bumper or the bumper area's wider than the mounting area on the frame. Something as simple a measuring tape. We're just going to measure it to the outside because that's where those brackets are going to go. We're looking at 37 and three quarters right here. So we'll come over here just like this. And this is much thinner. So that means when we put those brackets on, we need them to come in. So essentially once we get this mounted on, we're going to have these so they bring this in.

All right, so we've got a couple of our mounting bolts here. We're going to take one of these flat washers there, one for you. We've got enough for everybody, so nobody's going to get jealous. Okay? We're going to take the bracket that matches up. What you're going to notice is that there's holes that are close and two holes that are much further away. The holes that are closer together fit on the frame. Also, we want to pay attention to the way that the bend is because we remember that the frame is wider than the bumper mounting area, so we need to make sure that when we mount this onto the frame, it's going to be going in.

All right. Take one of your bolts, put it through this hole, line it up with the next hole, put it through there. Just like that. We're going to take one of our locking washers. They got like a little slit in them and it's your prerogative if you want to use a little thread locker on these. I personally do. Not everybody does, so you do you boo-boo. Then we have this on there. Just like this. You can snug them up, but we're not going to tighten them yet. We need this to be able to move around. The reason for that is because once we get the bumper on, we need to level it, set it wherever it needs to be so it's not hanging down looking kind of wonky. So we'll leave these nice and loose. We're going to do the other side same way.

All right, so we've got the brackets onto the frame where we want them. They're still nice and loose, which is good because we're going to need to manipulate the bumper around once we get it situated and then we'll go ahead and tighten it down once it's level. So what I did is I just put my bolts out. I have them ready. My nuts, bolts, washers, everything. And I'm just going to have a helper come over, help me lift it up so everybody's nice and safe. It's not a one man show. Team makes the action happen.

So we'll do yours first or do you want me to do mine first?


Let's both go under.

So we're going on the, with the bracket on the outside?

Yeah, bracket on the outside.

I'm on the outside.

I'm on the outside. All right, I'll hold mine until you get yours going.

One bolt in.

Let's see where's my hole. One, two. Okay.


Lock washers.


Put our nut on there.


Yup. Very cool. Easy peasy. Like I said, much easier with teamwork. Awesome.

Okay, so what we did here, we tried to level out the bumper as much as we can. We're on a flat even surface with the vehicle. We're inside of our studio, so we got the bumper jacked up over here. Jacked up over there. Until we're right in the middle of the area for the level. That looks really good. The last thing you want to think about also is the fact it needs to be pushed in as far as it can go and also the cantor of the bumper front to back. Okay. Doing something like that with a level like this? Eh, not so much so we just kind of eyeballed it. Do the best you can. If you have a level and you want to go front to back as well, feel free. That's always good. Okay. For what we're doing here and the purpose of this video, we're going to go with the way we have it.

Once you have it where you like it, just go ahead and tie it if you can. We just used something as simple as a ratchet strap. I took the ratchet off, I gave it a little tie just to hold it in there for me. Now we're going to get underneath the vehicle and we'll be able to continue.

Okay, so I got my 19 millimeter swivel socket here. It just pivots. It's going to give me a little bit of wiggle room. I've got a 19 millimeter wrench. That's what fits on my hardware. Your hardware may or may not be different, so just use whatever fits. You can use a ratchet or an air gun. If you're using an air gun, make sure you're wearing eye protection of course. There we are. Get my wrench off of here. Just make sure they're tight real quick. Okay. I'm going to move up here to the frame bolts. There we are. Tight, tight, tight, tight. We'll go over the other side of the vehicle and continue.

We got the bumper as level as we wanted it. There was quite a bit of adjustments that needed to be made, a little bit here, a little bit there. Tighten it, loosen it, back and forth and so on. It just takes a little bit of time, a little bit of patience and a helper is always nice. But as you can tell, it looks pretty level, so now what we have to do is go ahead and wire in some plate lights. It's going to be pretty easy. Let's do it.

Okay, so we have our plate light here. The original plate light, our wiring harness for that. Just going to come over here and give it a little snip, and we're going to be able to reuse this part. To do that, what we'll do is we'll go to the vehicle, we'll plug it in, we'll figure out which one of these wires should be positive and which one should be negative, and then we'll be able to continue. Get the little locking tab right there. A little lock on this, slide them in. I mean, theoretically you don't even really have to slide them in. You can just look at them, so there's that. You can take a peak up at the top right here. There's a solid black wire and then there's one with a stripe. The one with the stripe is the positive. So we'll just follow that down. Make sure we don't mix those up.

Yeah. So this one right here is the positive. So I'm going to splice that real quick right now. Just give it a little, just so I know. There we are. So now we'll just unclip it again. We'll bring this down to our bench. Set this aside, here's what we got for wiring. We can cut this any length you want. What we're going to do though is we're going to try to make it so these are kind of staggered. So essentially what I'm going to do is since this one's already cut, the positive, I'm going to cut this one up further, probably closer to this tape right here. Just like that. Okay. I'll take off the other sheathing, give it a nice twist. Give this one a nice twist.

What we're going to do, we'll start with the black or the ground. Cut this one. I gave myself plenty of space on both sides. We don't have to use this whole thing. Then you're just going to have a whole bundle of wires sitting down there. It's going to look ridiculous, so I'll trim that. Take off the outer, give it a little twist. I like this to be a little shorter actually, take one of our connectors. I like to twist them while I push them on. Make sure that that wire's all the way in there as far as it's going to be able to go.

Take the crimpers right down here and when you crimp this, you want to make sure that you've got some of the metal showing on the outer portion there. You're pretty much right in between that dot in the center and where the end of the metal is inside the insulator. Give it a nice squeeze. Give her a tug. That feels good. I'm going to grab this. We got a little heat shrink here. Make sure you've got a size that's just bigger than the size of the connector you're going to be using. I'm just going to slide it right over. Make sure you have your negative wire. Push that in as far as it can go. Give a little twist. That feels great. This wire out of the way. Great in the center of that dot and the end of the connector, just like I did before. Squeeze this. Give it a nice tug. That feels good. Heat shrink, go right over this. Just like that. Now you've got a little bit leftover on the sides. Perfect. Let's do the same to the other side.

We're just going to bring it like this. See if I can get it to work with me here. Just try to lay it out so it's nice and flat, just like that. Bring this one so it's nice and flat so it looks like we're going to trim it right here. Get that extra wire, extra wire, we'll recycle all that. We're going to use a little bit of heat shrink on this one. Just got to grab a piece. Yes, I know it's a different color and that doesn't really matter. It's still the same size on this particular type. Some types, different colors, different size. This particular type that we're using is not, and in all honesty, I really don't mind if it's a different color because it's underneath the truck. Twist this up again, this one's a little longer than I like too. Come on baby. Twist, twist, twist. Twisting things with gloves on isn't always the easiest. Especially super dirty gloves. Twist it in there. Very nice.

Try to get it right in the center. Not on the edge of that metal in there like I said before. Give this a nice squeeze, as always a nice tug. That is not coming apart. Very nice. We'll continue to do the heat shrink. We're going to make sure we're right in the center. I can see the outline there and the outline here. I've got a whole bunch on the sides. I'm going to use my little mini torch here. As you heat it up, it shrinks, that's what it's supposed to do. That's going to help keep moisture out of there, so this is going to be able to last for a long, long time. Good luck getting in there moisture. There we go. Make sure this one's centered. That looks great. I got a little bit on both sides. If you stay in one spot too long with this, generally speaking, it'll really heat up the stuff and it can cause issues. So just keep moving. All right, let's tape it up. Start on whichever end you want. I'm not picky. You do you boo-boo.

The reason for this is just to keep the wires together. If you have some wire loom, you can go ahead and use that too. It might be a little easier for you. I'm just holding the tape and twisting the wires around. You can go either way. Hold the wires, bring the tape around and around, whatever you want to do. Okay. It doesn't have to be perfect because it's not waterproofing. All it's doing is supposed to be holding these wires together so they don't flop around. We'll get this whole thing taped up and we can move along. So we're going to get our brand new connector up into the vehicle. We've got our locking tab here, locking tab there, line them up, give it a little squeeze, give her a tug. Very nice. Now we'll do the same to the other side of the vehicle and we can move along. There we are. So now we got both of them done. Perfect. These are ready for us. Let's continue.

So now you're going to want to put some bulbs in these of course. Generally speaking, you'd use something like this. This is a 194 and they are breakable. What we chose to go with is something a little bit more like this. This is an LED 194. They make these in all shapes and sizes. We went with the biggest we could because, well we love this truck and why not? And we're going with the LED tail lamps. So those are pretty sweet. It's a great addition for this vehicle. So we're going to go LED here. We might as well go LED here. If you like the tail lamps, check out the videos on those. So here we go. LED, pop her right in there. Give it a little wiggle. That feels great. You got this right here. You got a little nub there and a little slot there. Just press it in. Give it a little twists so that it's locked in. There we go. We'll do the same to the other side and then we can get the plate light assemblies into the bumper.

Okay, so now we've got our assemblies. When you look at the assembly itself, you can see it's got these little ears. We've got these little clips. These are going to slide right in, just like that, up against the back of the bumper and hold up against these ears and hold the assemblies from flopping around. I'll show you what I mean. You put this in like this. If you don't put the clips in, that's what you get. So I'm going to take this and I'm going to come underneath the vehicle just like this. Okay? You can go in from the top down or the bottom up. Whatever you want to do. I'll come from top down. There we are. Cool. We'll do the same to the other side of the vehicle. Nice.

So now we've got these. These just press right into the square holes in the bumper, just like that. Now what you would do is you would take your license plate. I'll grab a license plate and I'll show you what I'm going to do. So now you'd just take your license plate, put these brand new bolts in. As these go in, they're going to expand the ears in those plastic doodads and they're going to grab right onto the bumper. Can use a 10 millimeter or a Phillips head. Of course some washers would work well, but for demonstration purposes, I just want to show you how it is. As you can tell, the license plate's nice and tight.

Okay, so this bumper install was a lot of fun. And of course, if you want to see any other really awesome videos, you can check out our playlist. 1996 Dodge Ram 1500 getting a makeover. Boo-yah.

Thanks for watching. Visit for quality auto parts shipped to your door, the place for DIY auto repair. And if you enjoyed this video, please click the subscribe button.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Hammer
  • Jack Stands
  • Floor Jack

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Electrical Tape
  • Wire Butt Connectors
  • Heat Shrink Tubing

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Crimper
  • Wire Cutters

  • Sockets - Metric

  • Complete Metric Socket Set

  • Specialty Tools

  • Acetylene torch

  • Wrenches - Metric

  • Complete Metric Wrench Set

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