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Old 12-20-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
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aftermarket bumper questions.

did a few searches and didnt see what I was after or a real specific spot for these questions, so if thread needs moved/deleted, or these questions have been brought up before, I appologize in advance.

my van came with a big ole bulletproof deerkilling bumper. it had a winch, a vice and a cone holder along with some really stout brushguards. it was total overkill for me, so i sold it on craigs list and now im debating on a stocker, building exactly what I want, or buying aftermarket. So ive been asking around.

in the process, talking to a bunch of the performance diesel dudes around the shop a point got brought up id never thought of. somebody mentioned they didnt want one of the many replacement bumpers available due to an issue one of thier friends encountered. his buddy had a big jacked up dodge with a very stout aftermarket bumper on it and got into a front end collision. he said the bumper held up perfectly, however, his framerails didnt. all the force from the accident was absorbed by the frame instead of the bumper. while hardly any damage was done to the actual truck besides a few little things like a headlight and a grill, the insurance company totalled the truck because of the frame damage. got me thinking...

have any of you actually got into a wreck that involved your aftermarket bumpers? if so, how did it hold up and was anything done to your frame? are any of the aftermarket bumpers available designed to take a light to moderate impact like a stock setup is without hurting the frame? any info or opinions are welcome, tia.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:03 AM   #2
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Bumpers are designed only to absorb the impact of a low-speed collision (5 mph max). From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website:

"When a low speed collision occurs, the bumper system absorbs the shock to prevent or reduce damage to the car. Some bumpers use energy absorbers or brackets and others are made with a foam cushioning material."

and...

"The car bumper is designed to prevent or reduce physical damage to the front and rear ends of passenger motor vehicles in low-speed collisions. Automobile bumpers are not typically designed to be structural components that would significantly contribute to vehicle crashworthiness or occupant protection during front or rear collisions. It is not a safety feature intended to prevent or mitigate injury severity to occupants in the passenger cars. Bumpers are designed to protect the hood, trunk, grille, fuel, exhaust and cooling system as well as safety related equipment such as parking lights, headlamps and taillights in low speed collisions."

So, the frame on the "friend's" vehicle with the after-market bumper did just what it was designed to do...absorb the energy of the accident by crumbling, thus protecting the driver.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Look closely at the frame on Ford van's, and you will see a section that has a series of bends, looks convoluted. That is the crumple zone. It is designed to crumple and absorb the force of an impact and protect the passengers from harm.

Much better to need a new truck than to spend 6 months in a hospital ( like a friend did).

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Old 12-20-2012, 10:57 AM   #4
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Truck bumpers (over 8500 GVWR) don't have to meet any specs actually, other than compliance with airbag systems.

I've seen friends' trucks hit deer and and cause $4000+ in damage. This is exactly why I got my Buckstop, because it is designed for animal strikes. Even a small deer at highways speeds probably means you won't be driving home unless you have good deer guard on there (notice I didn't say brush guard.... Those cheap bolt on guards will probably cause more damage...)

If a collision is bad enough to cause frame damage with an aftermarket bumper, chances are it would do the same with a stock bumper. Truck bumpers are barely more than ornamental. There is no energy absorbing structure in truck bumpers. It would simply fold away in a collision, then the frame would be doing it's energy absorbing anyways. Ford does sell an energy absorbing bumper for the E-series. It is often installed on transit busses.

Since the E-series has conventional rolled frames, Ford allows frame repairs. None of the automakers approve of frame repairs to hyrdoformed frame rails, unless it is a segmented frame where the damage is isolated to to the rear frame segment. Full frame replacements are allowed, but some trucks route brakes and wiring inside the boxed frame, so that makes replacement prohibitively expensive.
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Old 12-20-2012, 12:56 PM   #5
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Look closely at the frame on Ford van's, and you will see a section that has a series of bends, looks convoluted.
thats actually what sparked the conversation. standing in front of my van with no bumper on it and seeing the crumple zones clear as day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Much better to need a new truck than to spend 6 months in a hospital ( like a friend did).
I suppose this is what i should be thinking about rather than wether or not my van gets damaged in an accident. thank you good sir.

yvrr, & carringb, thanks for the info. it all makes good sence. I guess ill be looking at this a little differently to replace bumper. I guess money is going to dictate more than anything honestly. I just want to get something on there asap.

I suppose a stocker is going to be the cheapest alternative at this point. are most the bumpers the same for the most part? Ive noticed lots of differnt styles throughout the run of this bodystyle. any that I should look for or stay away from for any reasons? any that look better (in your opinion), allow more airflow, etc, that I might try to find?

I tried a image search for the energy absorbing bumper carringb mentioned, but it didnt yeild much.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #6
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

This E450 has the factory energy absorbing bumper:


Newer front end with energy absorbing bumper:


For stock bumpers, '92-'07 are interchangeable mounting wise, but the '97+ bumpers have the extra slot for more airflow, then in '03 they added even more slots in the lower trim (if equipped) for even more flow.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:22 PM   #7
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

A welder friend of mine had the same experience with a big 'ole sch 80 pipe bumper he built. Bent the front sections of the frame rails. But, he trying to use his truck as a battering ram or something foolish like that (at the time, he was young and had a few too many barley-pops).

In my mind, a bumper on a camper/utility/or 4x4 vehicle serves less as traffic accident protection, and more of a frame extension (maybe even an ego extension, haha). Having recently R&R'd both factory bumpers, I agree they are not very substantial. Lightweight energy absorbers at best, ornamental parking bump stops at worst.

In my opinion, trail rig/camper vehicles need other attributes from their bumpers. Deer stopping is a great example, a bumper that doubles as a winch-to-frame mount is another one. Having a place to 'anchor' a D-ring for pulling your stuck rig out of sand or mud, a place to hang a hylift jack, both of which could come in real handy someday. In a big accident, I'll accept frame damage and whatever come with it, so long as the occupants don't get hurt. Vehicles are replaceable.

Looks are less important to me than function, but in the 'tough looks' department, nothing screams 'ready for action' like a 1/4" plate steel bumper with a winch hook hanging out of it on the front of an offroad rig. Orange traffic cones... not so much, unless it's your work vehicle

I have been going back and forth about what my front bumper will look like, but it will be heavy duty I think, and might incorporate a winch, and a couple of protected fog lights recessed within the bumper. My rear bumper was salvaged from an F350, and is already under re-construction to fit my E350, hold a swing-away spare and generator box, have an integral 10k trailer hitch (I was working on it last night, in fact).

I'm sure you've seen Aluminess, Ruenel, Buckstop, who all offer nicely thought out heavy duty fabricated plate bumpers (with options) for the E-series vans. The problem for me has been justifying the expense on my limited budget. The Aluminess rear bumper I picked out was going to cost over $2500 with the options I wanted, and I still would have needed to replace the hitch that came with my van. I've searched craig'slist, used ones don't go up for sale often. I'm choosing to trade my labor hours for $$, build versus buy. I'll re-purpose a bumper I bough new about 18 yrs ago, and get exactly what I want in a bumper as a bonus. if you don't have the skills/tools/patience to build you own, the options are pretty limited to those I mentioned above.

I'm in the process of integrating a 10k lbs hitch into my rear bumper, so I can get away from the low-hanging, add-on receiver hitches that take away rear ground clearance, an issue I found over Thanksgiving with extended vans with a large rear overhang like mine.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomsBeast

I'm in the process of integrating a 10k lbs hitch into my rear bumper, so I can get away from the low-hanging, add-on receiver hitches that take away rear ground clearance, an issue I found over Thanksgiving with extended vans with a large rear overhang like mine.
That was one of the big appeals for me with the Reunel bumper. But then I added underfloor storage, so I may install a stock receiver anyways to protect the storage box (so far it has been drug on ground many times w/out damage.... but i'd rather drag a hitch). Plus, the integrated receiver is too high for most small trailers, even with my ball adjusted all the way down.
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:52 PM   #9
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

I definitly like the looks of the aftermarket setups, but the price I cant swing. plus if its gonna be that beastly, its gonna have storage in it instead of wasted space like the majority of the setups ive seen. so I will end up building me something that serves purpose as far as space, toughness, and I know it sounds weird with a van, but some sort of areodynamics, if possible of course. looks will play a factor as im super anal like that.

animal protection is a huge plus. my entire way back from georgia in this van was pretty much worry free other than maybe getting a legbone up underneith and puncturing the rad or something. my van really looks nekkid right now with nothing, lol. especially after only seeing it with that huge ass deal it had on it when purchased.

rear bumperwise, id love to see the designs you guys come up with for a built in reciever. i too want a setup where it creates some ground clearance for the eb. i know it would be handy, but what about when you need to hook up to a trailer? wont the receiver be kinda high? ive moved one trailer since owning the van and the reciever i used was adjustable and it was in the lowest position and the trailer was still at a pretty good angle. im sure my neighbors loved the thing draggin ass at 5:30 am through our drainages earlier this week, lol.

Also, im very interested in rear storage compartments where the spare currently is. i came up with an idea on my civic for a header protector that ended up working great that I think I can incorporate into a understorage/skidplate type of deal. ive seen similar deals on the longer rv's to keep them from hanging up and ripping the rear bumper off.

oh and thanks for the bumper info and the pix carringb! dont really care to much for the looks of those, lol.
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Old 12-20-2012, 04:09 PM   #10
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Re: aftermarket bumper questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shenrie
rear bumperwise, id love to see the designs you guys come up with for a built in reciever. i too want a setup where it creates some ground clearance for the eb...
I need to start my Rear Bumper/Hitch/Swingaway Build thread, so you guys can see what I'm up to...
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