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Old 07-31-2014, 12:06 AM   #1
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Why bumpers and fender flares?

Many (most?) seem to add the big, beefy, and heavy bumpers to their SMBs, and I don't understand why. Ok, if you are going to install a winch in the front you get some utility if you get stuck rock crawling, and it definitely seem handy with the tire swing arm and the box in the back, but the bumpers themselves... What's the point? Do they serve any meaningful purpose other than the looks and that you can attach some stuff to it?

Same thing with the fender flares. I like how they look, but don't quite know what purpose they fill. I assume it's for protecting kicked up rock/gravel from scraping the side but that seems pretty rare of a use case...
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:28 AM   #2
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

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Originally Posted by gzzd
Many (most?) seem to add the big, beefy, and heavy bumpers to their SMBs, and I don't understand why. Ok, if you are going to install a winch in the front you get some utility if you get stuck rock crawling, and it definitely seem handy with the tire swing arm and the box in the back, but the bumpers themselves... What's the point? Do they serve any meaningful purpose other than the looks and that you can attach some stuff to it?

Same thing with the fender flares. I like how they look, but don't quite know what purpose they fill. I assume it's for protecting kicked up rock/gravel from scraping the side but that seems pretty rare of a use case...
Sounds like you answered some of your own question.
>>winch mounting and protecting it.
>>recovery.
>>storage.
>>animal and/or any collision protection.
>>obviously looks.
>>lighting
>>tire and equipment box mount.

With flares for me in Ca is being able to run wider tires per the law. I now have mud flaps that aren't required in Ca but are in other states.
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Old 07-31-2014, 06:33 AM   #3
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Additional storage space is a huge one IMO.

The front an read Aluminess bumpers have a locking storage box (unless running winches) that are great for storing items like tire chains, extra oil, wet clothes. The rear bumer can be configured to carry fuel containers and/or a generator, both of which are preferable outside the van. Both bumpers are great places to attach items like a Hi Lift jack as well.

A lot expense for the job though? Absolutely.


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Old 07-31-2014, 10:29 AM   #4
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

My wife thought the lifted van looked 'wimpy' with stock bumper on the front. Our rear bumper is stock with an Aluminess spare mount. We have 5 matching wheels/tires and do 5 tire rotations, so the underbody spare just wasn't going to cut it.

Fender flares are another story. I don't care for wider tires and the need for flares. I run 275/70-18's and no flares.

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Old 07-31-2014, 03:10 PM   #5
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

For me animal strikes was the primary reason for the Buckstop. I didn't want a trip sidelined due to a deer through the radiator.

Back bumper went on because it has a 20,000# hitch receiver built it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:17 PM   #6
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Rear bumper added because I needed the extra storage space (deluxe box) and tire carrier. Front bumper added because OCSMB said it wasn't a Sportsmobile unless it had an Aluminess bumper. I caved into the relentless hazing.

It also has a winch in case I need to rescue one of my fellow SMB owners.
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:24 PM   #7
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

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...It also has a winch in case I need to rescue one of my fellow SMB owners.
Reminds me that the front bumper, with its shackles, makes for a strong recovery point. Stock bumpers should not be used for securing a recovery line.

I think the rear Aluminess bumpers should all come with shackle mounts.


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Old 07-31-2014, 04:00 PM   #8
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
I think the rear Aluminess bumpers should all come with shackle mounts.
Agree, disappointed I didn't think of that before ordering it. Has anybody retrofitted shackles on the rear?
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:05 PM   #9
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

The rear bumpers require a different mount if shackles are added. SMB used shackles on the Qatar vans for aircraft tie down only and are not to be used for recovery I was told. I think Aluminess can outfit the bumper for recovery but was told it interferes with the storage compartment. BTW I did see a van with a front shackle that failed but it was an owner/operator issue for the most part. The guy was stuck in mud, hubs not locked and single lined IIRC. There are limits!
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:47 PM   #10
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

I kept the "whimpy" stock bumpers. but have a front hitch receiver, so if I need to snatch someone out of the ditch, or be snatched, that's where it can hook up. The back bumper is also stock, but has the heavy duty Trojan spare tire mount. Also have a rear hitch receiver, to snatch someone, or me, out of the ditch.

The aftermarket bumpers were just a little too much for me. Even with the idea that I could get extra storage space. Weight becomes an issue and Form must follow Function.
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