DIY Front Bumper

tommudd

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Have you looked into JCRs builder kits, they may have something to adapt for your build.

Just did one for my xj, thinking of trying to mod it for the kj
Would be hard since different way to mount, XJs are straight across where as the KJs have some curve to make them look right
Easier to start from scratch
 

eightballtruckin

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Spent the last two weekends making a bumper for my liberty. I could only find ARB that sells one and judging from posts on here there's not a lot of options. I opted to try and make one that was a kind of mix between two styles that I like. I know I'll face some criticisms with this one. I'm not a pro welder as I'm sure many will see in pics I can post. I do have some mig, and tig training/experience that was in a shop but in my home garage I only have a 110 outlet ,so am limited to fluxcore. I wasn't sure how to build the way it mounts to the unibody as I'm not a structural expert by any means, but I gave it whack anyhow. I just hope it doesn't tear apart the first time it gets yanked on as I probably won't be the one in danger. Don't want anyone getting hurt getting my simple head out of the muck.
I can post pics now (still have to paint, mount turn signals, and light bar) or I can post pics when it's all done. Unless everyone's tired of people's half thought bumpers ending up on the internet, then I'll just keep it to myself
I have seen many posts re: front bumpers on various online outlets. Looks like your building a nice one. I also have a 2005 liberty, ill be tackling a build myself, ive lost all my equipment to include welders,mig and tig and stick, tools etc, had a complete fab repair shop, **** i even lost my building everything was in, so ill be doing this with very little fab and mock up, ive decided to build a front winch support while still using the factory front bumper, so when iam done ill post it on here, i cant even begin to afford what is really needed, thus the most expensive thing i have bought so far is the winch plate from tractor supply which i have measured will fit there brand winch's as well as others, so other then buying the winch itself, ill be spending maybe 50 bucks on scrape steel that ill have to scrounge from junk yards that allow me to have the stuff for free.....i also will be using the uni-body as a receiver point. Anyone with comments or constructive help please feel free to email me @ [email protected]
By the way i love all the folks on here and enjoy reading up on everyone's ideas. I have a 3.7 auto trans model, cruise,tilt, am-fm-sat-cd radio,power windows,sunroof,i installed a class 3 receiver hitch, auto trans cooler,updated shocks, and added a 2.1/2 inch all the way around lift, sway bars, which i did myself on a set of jack stands, i wont ever do that again by the way, took me 6 hours, never again, also had to get it re-aligned, ive got 31.5 all terrain tires on it too. I tow a 7000 camper with this little jeep, i just dont tow it often right now, due to that being 2000 pounds over its limit weight wise, i also plan on turbo-ing this 3.7 very soon. I switched to amzoil 5-30 oil last year, the 12000 mile stuff, i run 93 octane fuel and my milage went up from 19 to 22.5 per gallon running the a/c this summer, of coarse not towing that camper, for those who want to know i get around 14 to 16 miles a gallon towing that beast, and i have to make sure my holding tanks are empty, believe it or not, full 60 gallon tanks makes a difference on this jeeps ability to even tow this 30 footer around safety.My brakes are upgraded to a after market kit, with slotted components, however calipers and other hardware could not be enlarged but i went with upgraded pads which were also slotted. I also am going to install dual pipes in about 3 weeks which iam hoping will also increase power and fuel mpg....Iam working on a puter program with a friend on mine or maybe the possibility of installing a hardware based mod, or software based mod, neither or which has had the details worked out as of now.
 

tommudd

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I have seen many posts re: front bumpers on various online outlets. Looks like your building a nice one. I also have a 2005 liberty, ill be tackling a build myself, ive lost all my equipment to include welders,mig and tig and stick, tools etc, had a complete fab repair shop, **** i even lost my building everything was in, so ill be doing this with very little fab and mock up, ive decided to build a front winch support while still using the factory front bumper, so when iam done ill post it on here, i cant even begin to afford what is really needed, thus the most expensive thing i have bought so far is the winch plate from tractor supply which i have measured will fit there brand winch's as well as others, so other then buying the winch itself, ill be spending maybe 50 bucks on scrape steel that ill have to scrounge from junk yards that allow me to have the stuff for free.....i also will be using the uni-body as a receiver point. Anyone with comments or constructive help please feel free to email me @ [email protected]
By the way i love all the folks on here and enjoy reading up on everyone's ideas. I have a 3.7 auto trans model, cruise,tilt, am-fm-sat-cd radio,power windows,sunroof,i installed a class 3 receiver hitch, auto trans cooler,updated shocks, and added a 2.1/2 inch all the way around lift, sway bars, which i did myself on a set of jack stands, i wont ever do that again by the way, took me 6 hours, never again, also had to get it re-aligned, ive got 31.5 all terrain tires on it too. I tow a 7000 camper with this little jeep, i just dont tow it often right now, due to that being 2000 pounds over its limit weight wise, i also plan on turbo-ing this 3.7 very soon. I switched to amzoil 5-30 oil last year, the 12000 mile stuff, i run 93 octane fuel and my milage went up from 19 to 22.5 per gallon running the a/c this summer, of coarse not towing that camper, for those who want to know i get around 14 to 16 miles a gallon towing that beast, and i have to make sure my holding tanks are empty, believe it or not, full 60 gallon tanks makes a difference on this jeeps ability to even tow this 30 footer around safety.My brakes are upgraded to a after market kit, with slotted components, however calipers and other hardware could not be enlarged but i went with upgraded pads which were also slotted. I also am going to install dual pipes in about 3 weeks which iam hoping will also increase power and fuel mpg....Iam working on a puter program with a friend on mine or maybe the possibility of installing a hardware based mod, or software based mod, neither or which has had the details worked out as of now.
You can not turbo a 3.7
I;ve done over 60 KJ lifts on Jackstands, nothing to it
Dual exhaust will do nothing at all
Been playing with the KJs since 04 , have 3 in the stable presently with 2 parts KJs
 

808inthe949

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You could put hooks under your front crossmember where there are two threaded holes on the unibody. Should be pretty good for a pull point. Front receiver is easy (don't personally like the look tho but I have seen some with a door that covers the receiver so you can hide it when not in use. Just a thought)

I agree with Tom. These 3.7s weren't meant to be a powerhouse or a racecar. For all the money you are talking about spending you can easily afford a regear of your axles. If you were all stock the regear wouldn't be incredibly noticeable but will be huge when towing or with a heavier KJ. I do believe there is a performance chip for the KJ, but your PCM/ECU will eventually correct itself back to stock values. So you'll have to "flash" the car repeatedly over time to keep your benefits.
For you, or really anyone, the best is a regear, possibly a tuner chip if they are available, lockers for your diffs, skid plates (easy to fab) a permanent winch point (can choose to make your winch removable if you like), additional entry into your airbox (or a snorkel if ya like), extending your vent hoses for water crossing. Spare parts that are likely to break on a trail are a good idea to carry also so you aren't stuck. Mount one of those fancy jacks on it too. Mainly things to make your jeep less likely to fail on a trail or far from the reach of society.
Regular maintenance and watching your gauges should help keep the KJ on the road for a long time. Mine has 189k and seems to be going strong as all get out.
I do have a question though, why do you run higher octane? I always believed the gas you use should be based on your compression, thus meaning regular grade is best and not a higher grade?
 

JeepLegend

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I got a wrangler off road bumper on mine
 

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808inthe949

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How'd you mount that one?!
While it's a good bumper for a Wrangler, I enjoy the shortness to my Libby and was trying to avoid having a bumper that stuck out too far. Got a small garage you get me? Especially putting one on the outside of the preexisting plastic cover.
 

808inthe949

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Quick update. Bumper had its final day of drying (wanting to be extra sure) before mounting. It's mounted up and the lights are installed. Will take pics when big yellow thing in the sky decides to come back, and make a final write up to post tomorrow.
 

JeepLegend

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How'd you mount that one?!
While it's a good bumper for a Wrangler, I enjoy the shortness to my Libby and was trying to avoid having a bumper that stuck out too far. Got a small garage you get me? Especially putting one on the outside of the preexisting plastic cover.
Yeah man got some 2x2 square inch tubing and cut the fame to fit that. Then made a bracket to fit the off road bumper. Welded that braket to the square tubing. Then slid it into the frame bolted it down.
Also had to cut the bumper so the square tubing could go thru.
Yeah I get you, when I had finished it. I also thought it was sticking out to much.
But know that I have bigger tires and a winche on it don't look so bad lol
 

riboild

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I just wanted to chip in since I was in similar situation with ARB. You will need to make a provision for the stock airbags because if you do in fact mount it, it will not be activated if indeed you are involved in a collision involving the front end or bumper. The ARB piece has a provision for just that that is part of the front assembly. That being said, unless you plan on reprogramming your stock ecu, you will have to incorporate a means with which to integrate the stock bumper airbag sensors into your custom piece.
My 2¢
 

808inthe949

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Yeah man got some 2x2 square inch tubing and cut the fame to fit that. Then made a bracket to fit the off road bumper. Welded that braket to the square tubing. Then slid it into the frame bolted it down.
Also had to cut the bumper so the square tubing could go thru.
Yeah I get you, when I had finished it. I also thought it was sticking out to much.
But know that I have bigger tires and a winche on it don't look so bad lol
That's a good mount just like mine. However might I make a recommendation?
I would be sure to overkill the mounts. I have a total of 10 grade 8 bolts. (will explain in next post) with 4 pointing to the sky and 6 pointing towards the rear so the stress it divided between those angles. I made a mount plate to my crossmember that my bumper than mounts to so it's still easy to remove.
 

808inthe949

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I just wanted to chip in since I was in similar situation with ARB. You will need to make a provision for the stock airbags because if you do in fact mount it, it will not be activated if indeed you are involved in a collision involving the front end or bumper. The ARB piece has a provision for just that that is part of the front assembly. That being said, unless you plan on reprogramming your stock ecu, you will have to incorporate a means with which to integrate the stock bumper airbag sensors into your custom piece.
My 2¢
This makes me curious to call ARB this week. When I removed the plastic cover there were no sensors or wires other than the two for each turn sugna. There was nothing attached to the firm plastic reinforcement when I removed it. And thats all that came off. I'd love to know about where this airbag sensor is in my 05 KJ 3.7 4x4.
With that said, I did take collisions into consideration when building my bumper. I have a out three inches of diamond plate welded to the ends of my square tube bumper mount that is then welded to the bumper. I did not put a reinforcement bar on either wing of my bumper in hopes that they hold up to trail abuse but buckle in a head on. The plate separating the square tube from the bumper face is there in hopes that it I'll break the weld and turn to either side, reducing the force applied to my frame. I also tried to keep the front of the bumper as close to the crossmember as I could so that it would be similar force applied as if I had no plastic bumper and only had that pinch welded reinforcement bar. Unibodies are basically trash when the frame is jacked.
Once I post the pics and everything I'm sure someone can chime in on wether my hypothesis of having some sort planning involved.
 

808inthe949

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Sorry to delay. Funny story, my neighbor has a real expensive Wrangler. Like a 16-20 model. Full nine yards mall crawler. His wife though she was in reverse and ended up driving into our apartment building (over the curb and through a bush!) Dented her stinger bar. Husband order a new Warn bumper for her on the spot. Asked me how much it would be for me to swap them out and write the lights up. I said "free to a Vet (I live on the fence line of Camp Pendleton) and I'll even take that hunk of scrap metal off your hands, sure I can figure out some use for the metal" he says deal. So about a week after spending three weeks designing and building my own bumper, I get a free 2000 bumper with lights and all that just has a little dent in the stinger! What a score. Anyways...
I'm in the process of restoring this 95 I4 5speed YJ. Picked it up for $1000 from a marine grunt with a baby on the way. Only issue was steering was all over the road and couldn't get past 45mph. Just a loose power steering line (not able to build full pressure so it kind of gave power steering and sort of didn't that's why it felt so wonky on the road) and a super dirty throttle body and attached sensors. I'm sure if anyone has seen the older cj,yj,tj style engine compartment you'll see those goofy plastic clips that hold the intake tube to the airbox and throttle body, those were the culprit.
Got the axles dropped and on blocks, suspension fully removed, drive axles removed (transfer case still bolted up) removed useless track bar, plastic fenders, wiring for lights in front, removed wires from wire wall for rust treating and painting, tore out the carpet, removed the seats, top covers, doors, hood. So it's almost bare and about 4' off the ground with the axles able to roll away for painting, cleaning gears, checking presets and clearances, replacing pinion seals at minimum. Rust treating and undercoating the frame and body, plus floor boards. Bedlining the floor. The rims that I bought it with looked terrible like a teen painted them. Splotchy, pitted, aluminum showing through. Let some CitriStrip soak on them for about 20 mins then I rubbed the jacked paint of with a rag to reveal.....CHROME BABY! 31's on some 15" chrome rims 4" offset I think so they are real wide. Thank God for ill-prepped paint work.
Gonna get the seats reupholstered and I'm rewiring the whole thing (read as replacing any bad circuits, rewrapping with proper tapes, soldered connections with heat shrink terminals), tucking the distribution box out of sight under the battery tray, removing shroud and possibly running an electric fan (they have a terrible fail rate and like the number one part of the cooling process). I modified the gas tank vent tube because I guess the yjs have a 20 gal tank but you can only fill to 15g cause the vent tube extends about 10" into the tank rather then the 2-3" on the cj AND tj. It's like jeep was testing a theory or something
The parts I have sitting in my garage ready to in (keep in mind I'm selling it on Camp Pendleton so I would have done it differently for myself) are RC 4.5 lift kit with relocation brackets and a transfer case drop bracket, the new to me Warn front bumper, led headlights and flush mounted led taillights, new gaskets for the exhaust manifold intake manifold oil pan valve cover throttle body thermostat, a new 190 degree failsafe thermostat, 12' each of various vacuum and fluid hoses, spark plugs+wires, serpentine belt, a 6cell deep cycle marine battery, 2 aluminum sheets 4x8 to make panels in the cab by the foot wells to hide wires and clean the cab up a bit, new speakers all around, picked up a hardtop for 400$ that I'm gonna repaint to match and I bought a bikini top online with a carry bag.
I plan to clean up the wiring under the dash and make a rocker panel plate with switches for Killswitch lights colored interior led lights (just for flashiness) power to the winch and electric fan switch. Debating if I should put an intake air temp gauge and a coolant gauge with numbers to ensure the fan is used when it needs to (if I do go with an electric fan I'll put a red led light in the dash to signal when the fan is in the OFF position). Gonna make a rear bumper with swing out tire carrier (if I end up buying a full size spare) rock sliders (probably only used as a step for whoever buys it). Got a new exhaust manifold on the way (these online jeep engines crack darn near ever exhaust manifold so I just got the stock cast one) a high flow cat, walker quite muffler (it's a four ****** so will always sound Ricey).
For the paint I was thinking of doing a matte green (military ***** style) in Durabac with some kind of logo on the doors that's military related (more than likely marine emblem or just star in circle) that is a gloss white or black (will tape off decal before Durabac so it will stand out).
TLDR:: I have been busy and haven't made my final write up yet.

My questions to you guys are (I love my KJ and I know there's stink between Wrangler crowd and other jeepers, mainly cause Wrangler guys think any other jeep is useless but they are wrong wrong wrong...but, I'm sure some on here have gone back in forth or built a Wrangler at some point. TOM I'm pointing at you wink) :
Since my market is strictly marines unless I go through advertising it
1.what other features or accents can I do that you think an active member of our military or a vet would appreciate?
2. Are any of the mods I have listed completely unnecessary and a waste of my money (aside from cosmetics)?
3. Are there any other mods aside from regearing, swapping a 6cyc, diff lockers, or other super pricey things that I can do to make the jeep more valuable (I already have a decent profit margin as I plan to sell it for 12-14k if I can find a deal of a winch)?

If I get a chance tomorrow to write out my post I will post it up. Are there any specif things you guys would like to see in detail from my bumper build like my wiring, the paint texture, uhh maybe my beads on the shackle mounts?

Sorry for taking up your sweet time!
 

LabRat

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Ya know adapting a premade kit would have probably been ridiculously easier. Gotta love that I have more energy than wisdom!
I'm 26 with no certifications or old heads to teach me so I'm learning as I go. Changed the way I planned to mount it twice and with toms help I think I got it. Probably a couple days to paint it and wire my lights. I'll include pictures of the process, mounting points, and how I wire the new lights up.
Truth. I gave up on my custom bumper build due to my poor welding skills. farmed it out a couple of times and wasn't happy with the results, so sold the prototypes to some suckers on craigslist. Found a bumper that not only looked good, but will fit perfectly on my 07. only have to fab the mounting brackets that way.
 

808inthe949

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I totally get the desire to buy not build especially without plans to follow. I think my welding is not an issue. My issue was the designing of the mounts and trying to account for collisions vs tow outs, two completely opposite directions of force
 

LabRat

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I totally get the desire to buy not build especially without plans to follow. I think my welding is not an issue. My issue was the designing of the mounts and trying to account for collisions vs tow outs, two completely opposite directions of force
I came up with numerous options for all that in my designs. If you like PM me an email address and I will share them with you...and if you are interested, I have some welding work for you.;)
 

808inthe949

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Alright here we go...
When I started to design my bumper I wanted four things:
-Have a safe and reliable bumper
-Keep cost low
-Keep it lightweight
-Not look like a 9 yr old welded scrap together

With these in mind I started looking through Google images for ideas. Found two examples I liked that were similar yet had different angles.
I wanted to try and mix the two together for my own unique design. In the end I think it looks similar to what can be found on Google images but still one of a kind.
I started by removed all the plastic in front including the turn signals.
I then removed my grill cover but left its frame work in place.
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Cut the factory fog lights out of my grill so the bumper has more mass in the center and not so wide looking.
Put grill cover back in place.
Using my 4.5" grinder I opened the inner frame rails (the squarish holes on the cross member) and cleaned the edges so that a square tube section would fit nicely inside.
I then started making some mock ups with cardboard so get ideas flowing.
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Once I had some shapes I liked, I started to design the mount. Just square tubing with 1/4 plate welded to the bottom so when it's inserted it will sandwich the cross member. Then I welded the two square tubes that were now protruding from crossmember together with a section of 1/4 thick 1.5 round tube.
I then started to consider front end impacts. With a unibody KJ I imagine that if the front bumper is too strong, an impact would total the jeep due to bending the underside or frame channel. So I made a gusset with 3/16" diamond plate that separates the square tubing from the face of the bumper, in hopes that this will be a point of relief for the forces applied to my KJ. (Maybe the gusset will buckle or split I'm not sure...it was a theory)
With the plan for the gusset in place I start transferring the cardboard pieces to 1/8 steel 4x8 sheet. Started with the front face and lower edge. Then made sure the two side "wings" that meet the headlight and grill were even. Test fitted and made minor adjustments.
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I did all my bends by grinding a very small channel into the steel and then either bending it by having weight on a cinder block with the steel pinched between two of them. And I jump or pound on the steel to bend it. Trust me it was a huge hassle, but got her done nonetheless.
After I had the outer bumper tack welded together I tested the mounts to be sure they fit properly.
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Then I removed the bumper and bolted it to some blocks I have bolted to my garage floor (don't tell my leasing company ) to use as a jig to be sure that the bumper didnt warp or move while finish welding.
Once I finished all the interior welds I went ahead and welded the seams on the outside too.
Then ground it down to a nice shape and finish. I filled any little pinholes in the weld that grinding revealed.
When I welded the diamond plating to the mounting bars I double passed all the connecting points and laid some angle iron corner prices to use as braces in all the corners. I could have made larger gussets to fill the inner frame work but again I wanted it light and also,hopefully, able to crumple a bit in a collision.
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I drilled the holes to mount my bolt on shackles then made some 1/2 plates as washers and mounted them with G8 bolts. Then I welded them... And double passed them
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Used a cordless drill and a hole saw bit to make my air holes in the lowest panel. Next bumper I will drill those holes in the plate withe my drill press then weld it to the bumper so I'm not having a harder time than necessary. I would have loved a hydraulic press so the holes would look more professional but whatever it works.
Cleaned the bumper and prepped for paint. I used self etching primer inside and out. Then I used a satin black Rust-Oleum. Waited 2 hours. Sprayed a light spatter of duplicolor bed armor (the older stuff that was super chunky) and after that dried over night I rubbed a slightly damp sponge over it to knock any loose pieces off.
My last coating was a Rust-Oleum bedlined textured spray.
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It comes out like regular spray paint (maybe just a touch lighter) and has a texture very close to powder coating.
I then drilled my 3/8 holes in the face of the bumper to install my turn signals. I just used a set of clearance/market lights that truckers use for the sides of their trailers (kinda looks like the raptor style Amber lights in the grill). Three on each side. Wired them to my original turn signal harness using the original plug. I just cut the old one off the turn signals and wired them to my new circuit with waterproof heat shrink soldered terminals. This way I can unplug them and remove the bumper easy. I haven't wired my led bar yet as I'm waiting for my other lights to come in and wiring them all at the same time.
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Ordered a set of red shackles and I have a sheet of honeycomb steel that I'm making a grill mesh with and painting it to match my shackles. Grill cover will be bedlined to match bumper.
The tools I used were:
corded 4.5" grinder
110amp harbor freight flux core welder
Various wheels for grinding cutting and cleaning
Wire strippers
Heat gun
Close up of a weld. Remember it's gasless and running on a regular household outlet (not even the full 110 amp) oh and it's a HF brand welder
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Could definitely be neater stacks. But I'm happy with them.
All I have into the bumper is:
$100 in scrap metal
$50 in lights
$30 in coating
Like 10$ in mounting hardware
So less than $200 and I think I have a decent enough bumper.
 

808inthe949

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As this was my first write up on any forums, does anyone have tips to make it more legible next time?
I haven't gotten to test my bumper on a trail yet but I will update the first time it gets a good thrashing so we can all see how it held up.
 
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