A front bumper can really set the tone and the look of the rest of the build, so this is a fairly important mod. In my TJ, I made the mistake of waking up one day and saying “I want a winch!” and then getting one that I could afford using a cheap winch plate with no earthly long term goal in sight. Not that there’s anything wrong with that line of thought, but it’s just going to cost you more in time and money if you build just to rebuild. On my JK, I thought and thought and thought and planned on what I wanted to do long term.
Features that are important to me in a front bumper:
- Multiple recovery points
- Recessed winch mount integration
- Additional light tabs
- OEM fog light integration
- A quality, durable solid piece that’s also good looking
After a bit of research, I ended up coming full circle right back to ARB. I really liked the bull bar I had on my TJ, so taking a look at the one they made for the JK seemed a logical step. And wouldn’t you know it, it meets all my criteria including being pretty damn good looking imho! As you saw in the pic in a previous post, I had already called up my good buddy at 4wd.com and ordered the bumper. When my wife pulled into the garage, I of course feigned ignorance when she asked what the 100lb box was in the corner. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t work on her.
The following weekend at 259 miles on the odo, I finally had some time to myself in the garage to get to work. Step 1, pulling off the OEM bumper (8 bolts, 2 light connectors & a couple plastic clips) is surprisingly easy. If you aren’t sure where to start just leave a message and I’ll be happy to walk you through it. This step is simple, but the effects sure as hell do look eerie on a brand new rig!
Before you ask or heckle, yes that’s an iPad on the hood. It’s helpful to have a forum or two up as well as a PDF of the install instructions on hand. Here’s a shot of the old vs. the new. Is there even a contest here?
Re-installation sounds simple enough, line it up with the OEM bolt holes, and screw all 8 back in. In theory, that’s really all you have to do. In practice… pray, pray, pray that the guy who threaded the bolts didn’t come in hangover to work that day. After my 3rd failed attempt to get the bolts threaded while also holding the bumper in place myself (yeah, I know get a buddy. Shush!), I took everything off and laid it out upside down to study the problem. Some threaded nice and easy. In fact, most threaded nice and easy. But one… one little bastard bolt took the combination of a can of WD-40, an assortment of hammers, and (this was probably the ticket) a drunken pirates vocabulary of profanity to get on. Everything threaded, I broke out my sharpie and numbered all the bolts. If I can see them working here, once I have the bumper in position I KNOW they’ll thread easily when I can’t see them. And wouldn’t you know it… My plan worked! In retrospect, always test out your bolt fittings. 99% of the time, everything will be just fine. But that 1% of the time, you will save yourself a huge head ache.