If you've been following the buildup of our new Wrangler JK, we have to tell you that one thing hasn't changed in several months: The PureJeep bumpers we bolted to it back in September of '06 are still there. And even though they look pretty clean, we've put them through rigorous trail runs, including the Hammer Trails in Johnson Valley. Our little tour of Sledge Hammer was shown on the cover of the May '07 issue of 4WD&SU.
The first thing we definitely had to upgrade when we received our Jeep was the two large pieces of blown plastic bolted to the front and rear. We've been told that the rear bumper is actually the largest manufactured piece of blown plastic ever in automotive history, at least by Chrysler. These factory bumpers just wouldn't cut it out on the trail. They would have been ripped off the framehorns if we hadn't swapped them out as quickly as we had.
PureJeep is a newcomer to the aftermarket world of Jeep accessories but was created and is manned by long-time Jeep professionals and enthusiasts. The company's designs and craftsmanship evince top-shelf work. The front and rear bumpers and rocker guards have stood up to every type of terrain. The PureJeep bumpers nicely follow the body and contour lines of the JK, so not only do they protect the vehicle, they complement its looks.
Both the front and rear bumpers open up the wheelwells, allowing you to run larger-than-factory tire sizes. The bumpers are built from 3/16-inch, laser-cut, precision-bent steel with 1/4-inch-thick steel bumper brackets. The front and rear bumpers come in a semigloss black powdercoat, or they can be special-ordered in bare steel.
The rear bumper is constructed with inner braces that transfer the weight of the bumper on two planes when it flexes and twists on the trail. This feature reduces bumper movement and shifting. The spare-tire carrier can accommodate up to a 39-inch tire, and you can order the rear with or without the spare-tire carrier if you're running tire sizes less than 35 inches. Fully adjustable bumpers on the swing-away carrier match the factory tailgate bumpers and so far have been completely rattle-free.
The JK Crawler Stubby Front Winch Bumper has a narrow bumper design that provides more approach angle for the front tires when tackling large rocks on the trail. The Stubby bumper will accept most winches up to 9,500 pounds in capacity with either a roller or hawse fairlead. The bumper design drops the winch down between the framerails so that the winch cable pulls on the centerline of the vehicle's frame. The factory foglights cannot be used with the Stubby front bumper.
The protective Crawler Rock Rails you see bolted to the side of our JK are formed to match the curved sides of the Jeep. These are actually our second set: The first set we ran were prototypes. We beat them up pretty well on the Hammer Trails using them as pivot points and pushing our way along the canyon's walls. They were only replaced for cosmetic reasons because we had to display the Jeep at a trade show. They took an extremely hard beating yet protected perfectly. These Crawler Rails are made from 3/16-inch-wall steel tubing. They mount to the body with some minor drilling, and only a few existing holes need to be enlarged.
We can tell you that after some real-world testing the PureJeep bumpers and Rock Rails will stand up to just about any type of terrain and protect your new JK admirably.