In my humble opinion, the best way to shed the mommy mini van look, is to pull the bumper covers. What you are left with is less than flattering, so why not kick it up a notch... BAAAAM! The stock Jeep Wranglers JK (2007-20xx) have a great, aggressive looking bumper. It lines up well and nothing interferes with each other, it would actually fit perfectly if not for the tilt on the bumper crush mounts. BTW- I'll show you how to fab up some brackets that will allow you to use one of those cool bumpers on a dime.
The best thing about it is a TON of people pull off the stock bumpers in favor of something with a winch plate, stinger, etc. Therefore, they are super cheap and quite plentiful, and come with damn near everything you'll need to install, just be sure you gather everything from your donor. Everything aligns very well and follows the body lines for the most part, so it doesn't look out of place in my opinion that is.
How big of a project is this?
Follow these "no welding required" guidelines, and any shade-tree mechanic can knock it out in about an hour. I did all the knuckle busting so your experience should be way less painful.
Can I use other Jeep Bumpers?
Well, so far swing and a miss, so perhaps not. If you do give it a shot, please post your experience here!
How well will this hold up on front end impact?
Hell I dunno, I'm not the NTSB, like everything here do at your own risk.
2007-2014 Stock JK bumper w/ the following:
-- Steel sub-frame
-- Plastic cover
-- 2x recovery hooks w/ 8 18mm nuts
-- 4x 15mm bolts (attaches cover to sub frame)
-- 2x fog lights (or get some aftermarket) $40 with LEDs/ bulbs for the pair... Link: http://a.co/0msPrN1
- 2x original bumper bolts (bring with you the the Hardware Store)
- 2x ~7 cm long bolts of same size/ thread as bumper bolts (sorry I forgot to write the size down)
- 2x ~3 cm long spacers (these will account for the slant in the original brackets, or you can fab your own.
- 15mm socket
- 18mm deep socket
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Cut off wheel or grinder
- Square or T-Ruler
- Measuring tape
- Remove front bumper cover and sub bumper support, donate to charity or equiv.
- Remove crush mounts from frame, bring to the bench.
- Using a square or level, determine height and angle of the spacers as shown below. Mark cut line and cut.
- Once cut, insert bolts a few threads to ensure the spacers remain centered. Use epoxy or similar to secure them to the crush mounts (keep from sliding off or rotating during assembly) like this:
Note: The bolts will not stand straight since there is a bit of an angle to the crush mounts. It's a little funky but it'll bolt, explained more below at that step...)
- Once completed, reinstall on van (remove new bolts first).
- Measure to find center of donor bumper, mark with sharpie. Align to the center of the grill. NOTE: The front grill support is NOT centered.
- Place donor bumper on crush mounts and center both vertically and horizontally. (Note: I found taping 2 washers (or quarters) to the top of the crush mount vertically centered the bumper perfectly).
- Mark off crush mount holes relative to the bumper. There are a few ways to do this... I traced the outline of the spacers on the back of the bumper, then used calipers to determine the hole center and a punch to start the hole.
- Drill holes, probably one at a time to ensure you are still on target. Do plenty of test fits, make slots and use larger washers if you are off target like I was, dang it only a 1/4" too!
- Once the holes are ready, feed the new longer bolts through the bumper with the spacer behind the bottom hole. You may have to add washers to ensure the bumper sits at 90 deg with the frame. Tighten everything down.
(Note: These photos were taken before I installed the bumper relocation brackets and after my 2" body lift; this is why it looks a little funky here)
- Using the 15mm socket, remove the crush mount from the frame while still attached to the bumper sub frame.
- With the bumper cover laying face down, put the tow hooks into place in the cover. Then lower the sub frame onto the cover, align the 8 tow hook bolts through and secure the nuts with 18mm deep socket. Then attach the cover to the sub frame via the 4x 15mm bolts.
- Add fog lights and secure with Philips head screws. Wire light in with pig tail or directly, how ever you like. A switch can be added easily in the cab to operate them, or just shove them in for looks (lame).
- Place assembled bumper back on to frame by bolting on the crush mounts. Tighten with 15mm socket.
- Open beer or favorite frosty beverage and celebrate, you just made your van look that much more bad azz!
PHASE II: Crappy Bumper Relocation Strap (2")
Here's my crappy bumper relocation bracket build for 2" body lift... only cost about $25 all in...
Since my fabrication skills and equipment are very limited, I was about to order up some bumper relocation brackets (for 2" body lift) to properly mount my new Jeep bumper.
I hear that OLV makes the best out there, but Journey also makes one for half price. When I looked at theirs, I quickly realized why that is... they kinda suck... and they are way over priced. So I set out to find a cheap easy solution.
Here's what I did...
On a trip to Lowes, I found some 1/4" think steel straps that looked like they might work. When I got them home I found not only did they fit, but the holes were already in the correct locations! Also, I could make both brackets from one strap... AND it was only $12!
Here is the strap, made by USP Structural Connectors, PN HST2-R, Lowes item# 140630
Then measured off 7.5" from each end and marked off a cut line.
Using my $20 HFT cut off wheel, I chewed through that strap until I had 2 bumper mounts. A little flat black paint later, I got it installed in under 5 minutes. As suspected the bolt holes lines up very well, although they were a little larger than needed, so I went ahead and added washers (photo is test fit).
On the top hole, I added 3x 1.5" long 1/2" diameter spacers to keep the crush mount from crushing more.
Then added a grade 8, 5.5" 7/16 diameter bolt to the bottom to help hold everything in true position and cranked down those bolts as hard as I could.
For 3", use the instructions above with the following modifications:
These brackets will work, along with a couple 3/6 x 6" bolts...
Started with 8" long, 1.5" wide piece of 1/4" steel. after some fitting and trial, I decided to sit the crush mount right on top of the sub frame rails, juuust barely fit. Measure everything out like so...
If you're having trouble reading this, its 2.38" between the center points of the holes on the mount, with 1.46" between them. Starting from the edge and measuring linearly, mark off at 0.8, 3.18, 4.65, 7.00"
Then hit the points with a punch and drilled them out.
For the top holes use either 7/16 or 1/2" bit, bottom use 3/8" or whatever you are using with your 6" long bolts.
REMINDER: Use Grade 5 or better bolts on all these.
Unfortunately the bung on the crush mount is still at an angle, so its not exactly 100% square on when you put the bolts in. I have found that spinning around the spacer to just the right angle will help minimize the offset. Also, the thin steel of the bumper will conform to the new shape when you crank it down.
Here is the positioning of everything. The crush mount sits right on top of the frame rails, giving us our new position 3" higher than stock. When making the bar stock mounts, be sure to position the top hole towards the edge of the metal to avoid interference with the body.
On the top, stock bolts were used to secure the crush mount to the brackets. On the bottom, 3/8 x 6" bolts with washers in all the right places.
Here is the final product with 3" straps:
Many folks have tried, modified and improved this mod over the past year. Please keep reading to see their mods because they are excellent! AstroPop came up with a set of rubber inserts and method that better handles that dead space between the top of the bumper and the bottom of the grill (thanks for the kit my friend!)