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Old 09-09-2019, 07:22 AM   #1
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DIY front bumper and mods

I picked up this home built steel front bumper several years ago from local forum member polishadam. Although I love the Aluminess bumpers, and the Move plate bumper kits, and I would love to have a 10k winch some day, that upgrade just isn't in the cards for me at this point. So I work with what I have.



Made from 10" x 2" A36 C channel structural steel and 2" x .120 wall tube, it's very stout, Adam did a nice job. I just added this monster transmission cooler, now tucked neatly behind said bumper, with no air flow. I'm ditching the spare tire off the front, as well.






Several years ago, I welded a front trailer hitch on my rig from frame rail to frame rail, so getting at the bumper bolts to take it on and off has been a SOB.



Thirdly, I've always wanted to build a tow bar for my rig. It's getting a little 'long in the tooth' so far as rigs go, and getting stuck out on the road is becoming a real possibility. Having a 10k lbs tow bar at home and ready, should ensure I'll never need it, ev-er!


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Old 09-09-2019, 07:38 AM   #2
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I came up with some real nice shackle lugs from 4x4 supply A_Z Fabrication. I'll run 3/4 shackles 99.99999% of the time, but use them as an anchor point for the tow bar that I'm making.







I cut the D rings off, and then addressed the mounting situation.


I drilled thru the front face, made spacers to fill the hollow space between the front face and mounting plate, making a more solid platform from which to attache a tow bar, and now thru bolt the bumper with longer bolts, into a threaded nut plate, that I'll fabricate later. That way I'll be able to more easily remove the bumper, without having to crawl under and wrestle with nuts and washers in a tiny space.






This thing is a monster, I had to make a temporary work support platform from a stack of tire/wheels and plywood, to support the other end while I drilled the 9/16" thru holes. I love my old 1969 Rockwell drill press, that I rebuilt shortly after rescuing it from a friend's backyard









Laid out and ready to weld


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Old 09-09-2019, 07:45 AM   #3
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Spacers made to a snug fit, then all 8 tack welded into place. These will support the hollow space between the front face and mounting plate, giving a solid foundation for the anchor lugs, and keeping the bumper from crushing as the hardware is tightened.


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Old 09-09-2019, 07:51 AM   #4
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Next I up was to cut out the opening. If it was up to me, the opening would purely be functional. My wife has an art background, so I got her opinion. She said I should try to match some of the existing Econoline grill and headlight lines.



I wanted to restore some of the strength I took away by cutting such a gapping 5" x 22" hole. She wants to learn metalwork, so we made a 'surround' for the opening (shown here) from 1/4" x 1-1/2" steel, heated and bent from 1 piece of stock, to give the final product some depth and finished look. I'll weld it in later. I may also make a grill of some sort. As a side note, there's nothing hotter than a cute woman holding a torch!



I'm happy with it so far.





Tools of the trade. Cuts through 1/4" A36 steel like butter. I like the .040" cut off wheels, for a thinner kerf and less sparks. You go through more wheels, but I'm ok with that.


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Old 09-09-2019, 10:30 AM   #5
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Great idea. I could have used a tow bar when recovering the SMB from Santa Barbra, but even though I probably could have found one, with a lack of mounting options it would have taken a lot of fabrication far from home.
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Old 09-09-2019, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctictraveller View Post
Great idea. I could have used a tow bar when recovering the SMB from Santa Barbra, but even though I probably could have found one, with a lack of mounting options it would have taken a lot of fabrication far from home.

Your situation got me thinking about that very thing. I've been very close to needing a tow out of Saline Valley Springs in Death Valley. I've heard stories of multi-thousand dollar tow bills getting a 9000lb rig out of the DV, and the last time I tried to use my AAA tow option, they wouldn't tow from an offroad location, if the van has anything inside, if it has a trailer, if you're carrying propane (I made the last one up).



Thinking I should come up with something BEFORE I actually need it, I'd been looking around, all I found were real high priced bars, and expensive Military bars. The lightweight one for a Hummer are intriguing, $300 or so on ebay, but nothing local, I'd need to get the correct adapters too. The the deal killer was the shipping. That and the fact the US military uses Lunette rings on the towed vehicle, so I'd need to also buy a Pintel hitch and have it handy in order to be rescued.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:09 PM   #7
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If you designed it to easily attach to the frame horns, perhaps by loosening the bumper bolts, you could probably rent it out several times a year. I just missed one of those really expensive tows out of Death Valley when my fuel pump died in Barstow. One day later, I was way back in the mountains up a rough ravine. The tow truck drive told me it would have been thousands, if he could have done it at all. So, I suppose it's too late to change your design huh?
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:25 AM   #8
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If you designed it to easily attach to the frame horns, perhaps by loosening the bumper bolts... So, I suppose it's too late to change your design huh?

Adapter plates my friend, I already have a conceptual design



I'll make it available to forum members, no charge, just leave me a deposit kind of thing.
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Old 09-10-2019, 07:36 AM   #9
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more bumper progress

I only had a couple hours to spend on it last night, pushed forward. I got the trans cooler 'opening surround' welded into place.





Then turned my MIG welder up as high as it would go, and welded on the 1" thick steel lugs. I'm an amateur weekend welder for sure, but they turned out pretty good.





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Old 09-10-2019, 10:33 PM   #10
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Now that I think about it, it would be pretty easy to remove the bumper and store it somewhere if needed to attach the tow bar to the frame horns. Well, perhaps not easy, but certainly far better than a remote tow.
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