Finally, the last part of the front bumper build for PJ. Today we tie it all together by adding reinforced tubes to finish out the sides of the bumper. Be sure to check the completed pics at the end!
I do occasionally bump into trees offroad, so I want the front bumper to be beefy enough to bump into stuff but not heavy. Nothing personal if you have one, but I am not a fan of the giant 1/4″ plate steel offroad bumpers. They are overkill in 99% of situations and increase strain on parts due to how heavy they are. Weight is enemy #1 for hardcore offroading.
I have tried to make this bumper as heavy as necessary but as light as possible. I went a little bit heavier with 1/4″ plate under where the winch mounts, but felt it prudent given the capacity of the winch. However I cut weight everywhere else I could think of.
Random note about abrasive chop saws. If you notice above I use my 4.5″ grinder to cut just about everything. Ever since I found out about diamond cut off wheels for 4.5″ grinders (click for detailed write up), I haven’t even gotten the chop saw down off the shelf. I used to use my chop saw a lot but found they are loud, create a lot of dust, and are kind of slow.
Coping tube using a PipeMaster
A PipeMaster is just like one of those metal pin impression toys you used to play with as a kid that copies the shape of your hand/face/army guy or whatever. The main difference being these metal pins are in a circle that fit around a 1 3/4″ tube so you can make an impression of what it is going to fit up against. Simple but handy.
TIP: If you find the pins bending around the tube instead of getting pushed back to mark the cope, you might have the plastic collar too far back. Move the plastic collar closer to the cope and there won’t be as much of the needles sticking out to wobble around.
I forgot to take a picture once I finished the cut, so I will briefly describe the process. I make the large cuts with my 4.5″ grinder and diamond wheel then switch to my other grinder with an 80 grit sanding flap disk and ‘sneak’ up on the cope test fitting and sanding until it fits perfect.
Making your own steel tube end caps
Do this now. Don’t save it for ‘someday’ because you will never do it. I didn’t do this on my prior rigs and the tube on the bumper constantly got packed full of mud and leaked out rusty water. It also looks a lot more finished with a cap on it. It only takes 10 minutes, just do it.
Moving to the drivers side
For more info on bending tube, check out my other article: Tools of the Trade! Tubing Benders
Roll cage tubing specifically 1 3/4″ x .120 wall is pretty tough stuff but it does bend. I mean… we send it through a bender and bend it without too much trouble. Most of the strength from roll cages comes from the design, specifically triangulation. If I stopped here and didn’t reinforce these bumper tubes, they would be pretty much useless if I actually hit something.
Triangulation is the name of the game here. After welding in this support, the bumper doesn’t flex at all. Obviously it will bend if I hit something really hard, but for the design and weight, it should be pretty stout.
A note on choosing paint. I ONLY buy rustoleum black gloss these days. I tried cheaper paints and they look fine right when you do it but 6 months later they quickly fade in the sun. Don’t be cheap, just buy good paint so you don’t have to do it twice. The cheapest place I have found anywhere is the 6 pack on Amazon linked below which comes in at ~$5 a can for the big 15oz cans.
Hope you enjoyed the build. Congratulations if you read all 7 parts. That was a longer writeup than planned, but I wanted to go through the entire process in case anybody else is working on a similar project. Hope this helps!
Now YOU, go outside and work on something!