A while back a little “mis-hap” with the tailgate of a pickup truck left a big dent in the middle of my front bumper. Luckily the dent happened to be right in the middle of the bumper, so a front license plate covered it nicely, but the bumper was going to need to be replaced at some point. When that time came I decided to replace the stock bumper and Savanna Jones brush guard with a Custom 4×4 front winch bumper and brush guard. I went with Custom 4×4 because of the design and my good experiences with their rear bumper and tire carrier. After talking with Mike at Custom 4×4, I had a bumper and guard on the way, just in time to get them on before I left for Camp Jeep.
When the bumper came it was packed into three boxes: one for the bumper itself, one for the winch mount and brackets, and one for the guard. Just like the rear bumper and tail light guards, the front bumper and brush guard are a work of art finished in black powdercoat. Each piece came labeled with clear instructions as to how the parts are assembled.
The first step was removing the factory bumper, which was just a matter of removing 4 torx bolts. Make sure you unbolt the vaccuum canister on the passnger side before removing the bumper though. Next came removing the factory tow hook brackets/bumper mounts (the Custom 4×4 front bumper mounts using brackets almost identical to the OEM tow hook brackets). There are 3 bolts holding each of the regular bumper brackets on, and 8 bolts per side for the factory tow hook brackets. If you have the factory tow hook brackets, you can reuse the angle bracket that bolts to the front of the nose panel (each two hook “bracket” is actually composed of three pieces). After installing the mounting brackets you bolt up the winch mount, then you install the bumper over the winch mount. Mike recommends not tightening the bolts all the way until all the pieces are put together so you can align and level the bumper with the vehicle.
It’s pretty clear how the brush guard goes together, but again, each part is labeled and the instructions are very clear. I opted to get the “Euro-bar” for my guard for that spiffy “euro” look that is so popular now. :) The brush guard comes with two light tabs welded to the lower crossbar, but I wanted to mount three Hellas on mine, so I just got a piece of strap steel, cut it to length, drilled some holes, painted it, and viola, I had a place to mount 5 lights.
The bumper has two options for mounting tow hooks. There is a set of holes predrilled on the bottom of the bumper, or, the brush guard mounting holes can also be used as tow hook mounting holes. I decided to mount my tow hooks on the top of the bumper to keep the approach angle as great as possible and because I was tired of tow straps falling off my previously bottom mounted tow hooks.
Everyone at Camp Jeep seemed to like the bumper, and I’ve got numerous compliments on it around town. It’s been tested against the rocks and winching of Holy Cross and passed with flying colors, as did the rear bumper, though they could both use some touch up paint. The Custom 4×4 front bumper is designed around the Warn xd9000i winch, but mine will have to wait awhile before it gets one.
I’ve now got the shackles to go with the bumper, here’s what it looks like now. The shackle brackets cut down the approach angle a little, but they also work like little skid rails to protect the front bumper. I haven’t had the chance to use the shackles yet, but with winter here I imagine I’ll get a chance soon.
For more info check out Custom 4×4′s website: http://custom4x4.jeepin.com
Custom 4×4 Fabrication
11825 S.E. 109th
Oklahoma City, OK 73165