So you got your truck lifted and have the off-road tires of your choice, and now you want to give it an aggressive off-road look and function? The following is a breakdown of procedures for building a tube bumper and a couple of catchy clichés to assist you in building the best-looking bumper you can.
First and foremost, you will want to set aside at least two days of downtime for your truck for this project. One of the most important aspects of fabrication is patience. Even a simple bumper that is just a handful of tubes can end up taking a lot of time.
Second, a few basic tools are necessary. A grinder is almost like your right hand. A chop saw, a tube bender, and a tube notcher (tubes can be notched with a grinder or chop saw, but those do take practice to perfect) are invaluable. We used more tools than just these few since we had them at our disposal, but everything can be done with the basic set of tools.
The final point to consider is materials. There are numerous choices in steel plate, from 1018 hot-rolled steel to 4130 chromoly. Cold-rolled 0.120-inch plate is the material of choice for our project truck (any material thicker than the framerails does not add strength and becomes unnecessary weight). Tube has a similar set of choices. For the mild off-road truck, 1018 seamed tube is strong enough. Common tube sizes used in off-road motorsports are 2-inch, 1.75-inch, 1.5-inch, and 1-inch. All tubes described are 0.120-wall thickness for simplicity. We prefer the large-sized tube for main structures and complement that with smaller tube. For fullsize trucks, we start with 2-inch main structure and 1.5- or 1-inch additional. For midsize trucks, we’d suggest starting with 1.75-inch.