Stomp Out Body Abuse With AEV's New JK Bumper
Every now and then a company takes an old product and reinvents it in a way that just makes sense. Recently American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) did just that by presenting its new stamped front bumper for Jeep JK Wranglers. You might think that a bumper is a bumper, but what sets this one apart is that it is produced through a stamping technique. Stampings are done with a massive machine that pinches a sheet of flat steel between two molded dies, resulting in a three-dimensional piece. This is how many body panels for automobiles are made, and AEV simply applied this same procedure to some 1/8-inch-thick steel and formed a very fluid-shaped front winch bumper, which when stamped can be as strong as a 1/4-inch flat-plate bumper.
Don't think this is simply another glamour product for the all-show, no-go Jeeps. In addition to the stamped front section that has many of the same contours and accents of the factory body lines, AEV also added details such as a 3-inch tubular grilleguard, 1/4-inch-thick winch-mounting plate, tow hoops, and crush cans that protect against unwanted airbag deployment at low speeds. Unfortunately the process of stamping requires intensive engineering and then costly tooling when setting up the massive dies, which can result in premium pricing (roughly $1,300). However, the end product definitely is a top-shelf unit and makes other bent tube or folded plate bumpers seem a bit lackluster.