Bumpers are a necessary evil. They protect your 4x4 from trail obstacles as well as road obstacles like deer, cars, and grocery carts. However, big aftermarket bumpers add weight over stock bumpers and in some cases reduce approach angles and add unwanted length. Nonetheless, the benefits often outweigh the disadvantages, especially when a new bumper offers solid mounting points for tow hooks, off-road lights, and a winch. Bumpers can also give the mundane 4x4 a more aggressive, adventurous look if that’s important to you.
Our ’79 F-150, BluFerd, worked just fine without any fancy bumpers, but night vision wasn’t great and we wanted to test some of the new KC HiLites LED lights. A simple light bar would have been sufficient, but a bumper ready to house one of the many new winches that are equipped with winch rope instead of steel cable, such as the MileMarker Sec8 Scout, would add a bit of security to our ranch Raptor. A quick search led us to the Proto Fab line of bumpers sold through Jeff’s Bronco Graveyard.
We opted for the prerunner-style winch bumper. Designed for early fullsize Broncos, they required slight adjustment to fit our F-150, but the result is a set of armor better suited to trail use and recovery than the classic chrome pieces we’re now storing in the shop rafters.