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Old 08-01-2014, 01:09 AM   #11
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

I suppose the utility of bumpers and flares depends on how you use your van. I bought my first 4x4 van in 1976 and drove that thing 32 years before I got a great deal on the one in the below photo, and sold the '76. In those years I learned some lessons that I applied when outfitting my current van. As there are very few paved roads where I live, the vans drive mainly dirt/gravel roads and a lot of those roads are good enough that I am able to run 50-60 mph with no problem. The spray of rocks coming off the tires took paint (and some metal) off the wheel wells, and the rocker panels behind all 4 tires. it even took the paint off the front side of the rear shocks. So with my new van I made sure to have good quality flares installed, and big wide mud flaps all around. There's 45,000 miles on the new van now, and no damage on the body from gravel flung up by the tires. I even built extensions on the flares for the front and they keep mud - and what's worse, wet cow pies - from being splattered all over the front doors and windows.

As far as bumpers - take a good look at the front of your van. Imagine yourself stuck and needing a tug - what are you going to hook to? The front axle, as I saw one poor fool do? At least on a stock Ford van, there is absolutely no place to pull from the front unless you have a custom bumper with shackle attachments. I understand there are front receiver hitches but I'm not sure how stout they are and how they'd stand up to a strong pull. The rear bumper I had custom built. I would have liked an Aluminess unit as they are a lot lighter but they don't allow the rear doors to fully open. Most of the time I haul a full-size quad in the back of the van; it just barely fits with the doors fully open. Plus, that bumper freed up a lot of interior space. You can't see it in this photo but there are gas cans on the other side of the spare tire. Inside the bumper is a floor jack, full-size heavy duty shovel, jumper cables, tow straps, etc. A lot of storage and yes, a lot of weight but it's all stuff I deem essential to remote travel.

What the van looks like after about a hundred miles of dirt roads, brush and trees:
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:33 AM   #12
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

I have one of the Aluminess rear Quatar bumpers on mine with the shackle mounts.
I was told by both SMB and Aluminess not to use them as a recovery point.
I was also told that Aluminess will not add the shackle mounts or produce that bumper any more.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:41 AM   #13
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dig255
I have one of the Aluminess rear Quatar bumpers on mine with the shackle mounts.
I was told by both SMB and Aluminess not to use them as a recovery point.
I was also told that Aluminess will not add the shackle mounts or produce that bumper any more.
Very interesting. I wonder what the differences are between the front and rear shackle mounts? Different design, or maybe they just didn't have the time to actually put some engineering into it, and it's more a concern about liability that makes them make those statements?

Could also be that the rear Ford frame isn't as strong as the front of the frame. I've seen people pull bumpers off of vehicles as the mounting bolts pulled through the material of the frame. Not on a van, and usually while doing something stupid though.


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Old 08-01-2014, 07:17 AM   #14
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deserteagle56
The rear bumper I had custom built.
^^^ do you have a build thread or any more pictures of your setup? its a good looking bumper


i like the flares, but everybody has them. its hard to have a white van round these parts and have your own look. if i ever replace my wheels with something more aggressive in the offset dept, ill likely get them, but for now what i has rolls and gets me to where i wanna be, so i need to be happy enough with that.

the bumpers. again, other than so many people having them, i love'em. i understand they are the epitomy of "set up", and some of the ones ive seen are just badass, but not for me. being a cartard i still like a "look", and none of the front bumpers ive seen really grab me. ive seen lots of rear bumpers that id rock, but very few fronts. im likely going to do a custom rear bumper and a front receiver for now. maybe eventually, ill figure out something for the front, but i really like the looks of the stock stuff.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:52 PM   #15
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

When we ordered our Aluminess we were told to get a hitch for snatching and rear recovery. Front bumper is fine. I didn't dig any further but now I'm curious - thanks for that.

We had Reunels both front and back and would have kept them if we weren't planning on driving all or part of the Pam Am. Storage was our "main" motivator for getting the Aluminess even though Mandi really likes the looks of them over the Renuels. They are "her" birthday present, or so I claim (I've been blaming the 4x4 swap on her too). We tried a local fabricator but they weren't interested, even at the prices we paid Aluminess so it was a no brainer. We don't care if everyone else has them, there are other ways to set your van apart if that's wanted. We're such a niche market there are very few off the shelf bolt on products. I love the modified ARB on here, can't remember the forum member, but in the end it came down to availability and storage needs.

Honestly, I'll still be smiling big if our van was parked in a row of look-a-like vans.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:08 PM   #16
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dig255
...
I love this picture!

-John
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Old 08-01-2014, 07:34 PM   #17
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Thanks for the like.
The uncropted view.
On the Dalton Hwy last summer
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:56 PM   #18
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
I wonder what the differences are between the front and rear shackle mounts?
I don't know about everyone else's vans, but on mine, the front bumper has holes in it and the shackles are attached directly to the frame. It's hard to see in dig's photo, but it looks like the rear shackles on the Qatari bumper are just welded to the bumper's sheet metal. If so, that's probably why they shouldn't be used for recovery.
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Old 08-02-2014, 12:42 AM   #19
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Because it makes the van look like a monster
Everything else is secondary for me. Also like DaveB said you've already answered your own question in terms of functionality.
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Old 08-02-2014, 02:35 PM   #20
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Re: Why bumpers and fender flares?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shenrie
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserteagle56
The rear bumper I had custom built.
^^^ do you have a build thread or any more pictures of your setup? its a good looking bumper

No photos of the build. It was done by a talented neighbor of mine, I told him what I needed and this is what he came up with. Here's a shot of the driver's side of the rig:
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