Zorba, Male Belly Dancer


Henna Design Zorba's Jeep Henna Design
New Rear Bumper


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Reprised from the day after I bought it, the stock rear bumper shows minor
damage from a previous "incident" with the previous owner. A closer inspection
also showed its brackets were a bit tweaked. No damage to the Jeep proper.

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Also reprised from almost a year ago, I purchased this 5" channel for a new bumper.

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Weld on shackle/clevis D-rings. See text.

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Parts kit for new bumper, with old bumper in background.

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Stock bumper awaiting pintle hook and rear fog lite removal.

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Nuts from stock bumper, new M12-1.75x50mm bolts as well as
the two bolts removed from the underside bumper-to-frame location.

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Mount/standoff drilled and installed each side. Re-used stock locknuts.

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This brings the mount to the centerline of the frame.

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Main bumper channel iron held up by floor jack and propped up on the mounts.

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Drilling first pilot holes...

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Temporarily bolted onto mounts with ¼" hardware.

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End on view, awaiting welding.

A sturdier rear bumper was in the plans almost since day one - and even more so after installation of the pintle hook. I had acquired the 3x3 inch square stock on eBay early on. Later, I found the 5 inch channel for a good price, and obtained that as well.

It was originally envisioned as a completely bolt together project, and it still could be done that way easily. It is possible to purchase shackle D-rings already welded to a bolt-on substrate. However, I eventually decided have it welded as its a relatively minor project (read: Cheap) and would look better welded up. So I went ahead and purchased a pair of weld-on D-rings. Gotta have a set of clevises clanking away on the back bumper after all - its a Jeep thing!

I used the same metric size bolts for the new bumper to frame as the stocker. Turns out ½" bolts won't quite fit through the rear cross member, and I didn't want to drill it out at this juncture after all the painting I had done there, so I just went with the 10.8 grade metrics, and was able to re-used the stock lock nuts as a bonus! "Massive" ¼-20 bolts were used to attach the channel to the mounts temporarily. The welding shop will remove them after welding and fill the holes.

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Reprised photo of rear fog lite on stock bumper...

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From this (left) to this (right) - new bracket for rear fog lite.

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I really wanted to put a hole for the wiring, but due to the existing
slot I was unable to do so as I don't have access to a machine shop.

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New bracket will be welded on about here.

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And should look nicer as this test fitting shows!


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Fabricating the under bumper straps.

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"Old Grandad" drill employed, see text.

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Completed straps and square washers AKA spacers

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Trial fitment, still needs to be temp bolted to bumper proper.

Fabbing up the under bumper straps was easy enough, albeit interesting enough to be a minor learning experience. I had wanted to heat and bend them into a semi-"S" shape to bypass needing to use ½" of spacers as seen in the above photo (and having to purchase longer bolts!). However, my little propane torch just wasn't hot enough - I guess I could have burned $30 worth of fuel and forced the issue, but instead I went with plan "B" - use spacers!

The spacers - AKA "offset hole square washers" were a bit of a pain to make because they were so small that I had difficulty drilling the ½" hole in each one. I couldn't hold them, I tried two, then three clamps which mostly solved the holding problem - BUT - when I got up to the last drill bit (½" ), it kept grabbing and either twisting the work out of the clamps and/or locking up my little Harbor Freight drill press. Screw this. Clamped it into my bench vise - now its not going anywhere; then used my late father's huge "Thor" low speed/high torque drill to get the damn holes drilled. Nothing stops that old drill! Interestingly, the same sized holes in the straps themselves weren't nearly the problem as they were in the spacers; I was able to drill them fully with the drill press. They were long enough to simply hold by hand, and for whatever reason, the bit wasn't nearly as grabby!

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Old bumper waiting curbside for one of the local metal recyclers. The Plastic
end caps were removed and placed in the recycle bin. It weighs 15.6 lbs.

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In Commiefornia, you're treated like a criminal if you want to get rid of something.
In Florida, there's a thriving metal recycling culture, put something like this on the
curb, and its gone in short order. This one waited longer than usual as it was a weekend.

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Driver's side bottom brace attached. The "real" bolt to frame, temporary ¼" bolts to
bumper - which had been the bolts holding the rear fog lite brackets on the old bumper!

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Passenger side bottom brace as viewed from the side.

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I need more drills! Prepping to install the pintle hook.

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Pintle hook installed. Look carefully and the metal chips from drilling can be seen on the ground.

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I'll need to take the hook back off temporarily when I send the bumper to the welding shop.


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Removed the license plate and its holder to drill a hole for the rear fog lite bracket.

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If you look real close at the revealed area, there's blistered paint...

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Fortunately, no rust, Popping a sample of the blisters reveals clean galvanized metal.

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On the assumption that the blistering was caused by trapped moisture,
I glopped the license plate holder before I put it back on!


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Set of "back bumper clankers" arrived...

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Marking a limit line on the D-rings for the welding shop.


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Now the bumper is at the welding shop, so we wait. Touched up the rear crossmember paint.

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Back from welding shop.

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They did a GREAT job!

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Shackle D-rings welded on front.

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As well as back, connecting to the mount. Note the holes at the bottom, see text.

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Making sure there's enough clearance for the bumper clankers.

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Had them weld end pieces on as well.

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First coat of primer.

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Both sides...

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Then after a second coat of primer, top coat starts going on.

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Working the other side. Note the square washers, chainplate and rear foglite getting painted as well.

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Bolting it back onto the Jeep

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Testing the freshly re-plugged rear foglite. VERY brite, even in daylite!

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Closeup of the endcaps that were welded on.

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"Bumper Clankers" AKA "Bumper Jewelry" all on. Looks sharp!

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This is the retaining pin as supplied...

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This is a typical shackle used for very temporary use - threads in with no retainer.

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From the web: This style is generally used for marine and other semi-permanent
installations, but with cotter pins instead of quick pull pins as shown here.

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Also found on the web: Another type of retainer which works well on Jeeps where a long pin could contact the bumper.

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I used stainless steel cotter pins in leu of the quick pull pin, to both prevent
the pin from scratching the bumper, but more importantly, to deter theft.

Welding is done, and it came out well. They filled the holes the ¼" hardware was in, but they only filled them from the front side. I really wanted them filled from both sides, but it was my fault that I didn't specify that. As seen in the above picture, the backside bottom holes are still there and form a well that will hold water. That's OK, paintable RTV to the rescue! I'm not so concerned about the unfilled inner holes on the vertical as they'll drain, and aren't likely to get much, if any, water into them in the first place.

The as planned bracket for the rear fog lite was welded on, but a very last minute addition was adding the same type of bracket to the passenger side, albeit without the top cutout. I literally fabbed it up similarly to the fog lite bracket the nite before I took the bumper to the welding shop. It will hold a rear air outlet from the air compressor.

Weights are very important on Jeeps, its best to not bolt on too much heavy crap - but a sturdy rear bumper is a must. As noted above, the stock bumper was 15.6 lbs by my scale. The new one is 44.5 lbs, which is only 28.9 lbs heavier. In order to get a completely apples to apples comparison, this weight includes the upper 4 mounting bolts, but not their nuts and washers as the stock bumper had its bolts welded in place permanently (so these bolts were included in the weight). If I had been able to heat and shape the bottom brackets instead of using the square washers as spacers, that would have saved 0.9 lbs, making the new bumper only 43.6 lbs, giving a differential from stock of exactly 28 lbs! The pintle hook and its hardware are not included in these weights; with its bolts, nuts, and washers, it actually weighs 1 ounce less than 12 lbs - almost as much as the entire stock bumper! Its chainplate adds another 2.08 lbs by itself. Add another 2-¼ lbs for each of the two shackles that will live on the bumper for a total of 4-½ lbs. Then add all this up, and you get about 63 lbs back there, not insignificant, but "there for a reason". There are plenty of Jeep bumpers that are FAR heavier. But hey! I saved an entire 3 lbs by removing the stock recovery hook, so there's that.

As shown above, there are different types of retainers for shackles, depending on intended use and preferences. I have two WARN branded shackles like the plain galvanized one shown. They are perfect for temporary use as would be seen in a recovery, and are the type I grew up with. But not advisable for semi-permanent installation on a bumper where they could both come unthreaded or simply be stolen - these live in my recovery kit for use "elsewhere" in a rigging setup - such as securing a snatch block. The type with the nut and retaining pin was what was used when I worked in a marine related industry, and was actually my first choice for shackles that would live on the bumper. Then I found the type that combined these two together, threads in like the first, but has provision for a retaining pin like the second yet dispenses with the nut. However, the type of retaining pin supplied with this shackle I felt wasn't the best in this particular scenario - so I used cotter pins instead as detailed above. The remaining type with the "quick remove" circular clip would be fine also - no worries about it scratching a bumper, but also offers no theft protection.

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One last touch: An identical sticker was on the stock bumper!


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A final goodbye to the stock recovery hook, removed months ago...

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... Gave it away to a lady Jeeper on the Jeep forum...

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... who sandblasted and painted it!

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Even my old laptop gets into the act!

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The old spare was on the ground and picked up a nail. Plugged it!

Read on for the next part!

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