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Old 01-22-2016, 07:11 PM   #1
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Repurposing a Ruenel truck bumper

After I picked up my van in 2011, I got it home and made 'the list'. You know that list... "rear back up light bulb out, needs replacing. Windshield cracked, get estimate..." Thaaaat list.

Mine was kinda rough around the edges, so the list was long. Close to the top, was to straighten out the spare tire situation.

You see, my van was converted to 8 on 170mm lug pattern along with 4wd and 33" tall BFG's, the only spare that would fit on the factory hanger was a stock size tire and wheel combo. All th ePO gave me was an 8 on 6-1/2" wheel, a no-go. The rear has a lock rite locker, those ratchet sounding lockers don't like different size tires, ruins them to run very long with a big tire size difference I'm told. On my short list was a full size spare. And a carrier. And a bumper to hang it off of.

I looked at Aluminess, not bad, but fully outfitted was just not in the budget. Beside, I wanted something I could modify myself, and I don't weld aluminum.

I was selling my '88 F350 crew cab, that was replaced by 'The Beast' van, that had a super-stout Ruenel bumper. I pulled a few measurements, it would need a lot, but it was doable (I told myself). The truck wasn't worth much, so I pulled the Ruenel and installed a Craigslist OEM bumper onto the truck.

So the project began.

My bumper has an integral 10,000lb hitch that I wanted to use. But the mounting on the van was such that I woundn't trust those flanges to tow my big trailer. I didn't like the Ford end plate decided on a hibrid mount design, that would allow me to used half the end flange, and frame rail plates (like my old truck) putting the 5/8" mounting bolts in shear, for strength.

Pulled the bumper, and modify the frame end plates
Attached Thumbnails
frame end mod wider view.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:15 PM   #2
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First up were the frame mounts. The late 80's trucks and the mid 90's vans have completely different mounting schemes, and frame widths.

1/2" thick steel plate and several holes popped in with the drill press, was a good start.

Brackets tacked in place, heavy bumper man-handled into place, the the frame fit was solid.
Attached Thumbnails
new brackets, old F350 ruenel bumper.jpg   truck bumper in place, top view.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:22 PM   #3
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I wanted to match the body lines of the van. Where the truck was sqaure and had a notch, the vans line flow in the radius.

I made some cardboard templates, and burned upper and lower plates from 3/16" steel, to match the existing Ruenel steel.
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corner plate mock up.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:32 PM   #4
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Upper and lower plates tacked into position. I added a little 'kick up' to the lower plate, it just looked better to me that way.
Attached Thumbnails
top and bottom corners tacked in place.jpg   corners tacked in place, rear view.jpg   corners and end cap tacked in place.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:35 PM   #5
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couple of minor adjustments, ready for full weld
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top corner plate tacked in place.jpg   tacked corners ready for benchtop full weld.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:36 PM   #6
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fully welded top corner
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corner, benchtop full weld.jpg  
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Old 01-22-2016, 07:40 PM   #7
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Heating and wrapping the 1/8" face plate.

Heat with a rosebub, wrap, tack weld with MIG, heat and beat with 2x4, wrap, tack weld... rinse and repeat until happy.

Cut off excess stock with 4" cutoff wheel in a Makita grinder, then fully weld.
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Heating and forming corner plate.jpg  
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Old 01-23-2016, 05:42 AM   #8
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Thanks for sharing how to do this. Reminds me of the older style Warn winch bumpers which you cant find anymore. I like them a lot better than what they are offering now. Cant wait to see how the final product turns out.
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