Bumpers are bumpers are bumpers, right? That may be true in most respects, as many aftermarket bumpers for Jeeps have the same basic features. Winch-carrying compatibility, tube structures or “stingers” that can hold lights, and shackle loops are common fare on front bumpers. Swing-out tire carriers, hitch receivers, and shackle loops are found on many rear bumpers.
So what’s so special about these Rampage Recovery bumpers? Well, they are like many of the Jeep bumpers on the market. The front bumper has a tube grille loop made of 2.00x.0120-inch and 1.50x0.120-inch welded steel tubing that has two light-mount tabs on top, it accepts a winch, and it offers two shackle loops. In addition to that are 4-inch light perches built into the center section of bumper housing that better help illuminate the recovery work area, and tapered ends offer as much tire clearance for greater approach angle as possible while still providing some solid protection for the body.
Rampage Products created its Recovery series of bumpers with beefy eyelets for D-rings, integrated lights positioned low to illuminate the working area, and sturdy steel construction to help make your Jeep better at recovering other rigs as well as your own.
The rear Rampage Recovery bumper with swing-out tire carrier delivers the standard features such as shackle loops and a hitch receiver. It also goes on to offer tapered ends for maximum tire clearance and increased approach angle, integrated 4-inch light receptacles down low to help brighten up any sticky situation, and the receiver is integrated into the rear bumper’s superstructure rather than just tacked to its bottom.
Rampage Recovery bumpers are currently available for the 1976-and-up Jeep CJ, YJ, TJ, and JK. Keep your eyes peeled for more applications. Check out the following photos to see for yourself how easy it was to bolt up a set of the Rampage Recovery bumpers to a 1997 Jeep TJ Wrangler.
We removed the stock front bumper and saved the factory hardware for reuse. The C-channel design of the front Rampage Recovery bumper (PN 76510) made it easy to slide onto the frame horns so it could be secured up top with two of the stock Torx bolts on each end.
Of course, you left the top bolts just a little loose, right? The slotted shapes of the holes on top and bottom of the front Rampage Recovery bumper help align the bolts. One of the factory Torx bolts on each end of the new bumper’s bottom connected it to the frame horns.
Once all six factory Torx bolts (four up top, two down below) were back in place, we fully tightened all the hardware. That’s how easy it was to install the Rampage Recovery front bumper. The 4-inch lights had been installed prior to the front bumper being attached to the frame, and they will be wired up to separate accessory switches in the cab at the same time the rear bumper lights are wired.
Before we began installation of the rear Rampage Recovery bumper, the lights were put in place. Similarly to the front bumper, a couple of bolts fixed the positions of the 4-inch lamps inside receptacles specifically designed for them in the rear bumper.
This is where having some buddies around comes in handy. While the rear Rampage Recovery bumper was held in place, the six nut-and-bolt pairs (three on each side) were used to secure it to the rear bumper bracket and the frame.
Rear bumper install
With the rear bumper attachment hardware all tightened up, we then moved on to removing the factory spare tire carrier and the center-high-mounted-stoplight (CHMSL) stand. Rampage offers a universal rear brake light adapter (PN 86615) if you don’t already have another option planned.
Installation of the swing-out tire carrier for the rear bumper begins with sorting out and greasing the kit-supplied pivot bearings. The larger bearing set goes below and the smaller set goes on top. The bottom seal (to keep grease from seeping out) goes on the bottom (duh), and the flat washer goes on the top of the two bearings.
We are lucky enough to have a fully equipped shop with all the tools needed. In this case, we used a bearing race installation tool to set the bearings (large below, small above) in the tire carrier’s pivot tube.
The swing-out tire carrier, with bearings and bottom seal installed in the pivot tube, was hoisted onto the threaded pivot post. Then the kit-supplied castle nut was installed on the threaded pivot post (inside the pivot tube, and on top of the flat washer and stack of bearings) and tightened enough to allow it to swing with a slight bit of drag. If the arm binds, you have over-tightened the castle nut. The top dust cover (not seen here) included in the kit was then tapped into the top of the pivot tube.
A kit-supplied latch had been assembled and installed (including the rubber stop block on the bumper) onto the swing-out carrier. When properly installed and adjusted, the latch assembly will tightly hold the tire carrier closed to the rear Rampage Recovery bumper.
We slid the 8 1/2-inch by 1 1/4-inch tire mount bolt into the top tube of the swing-out carrier, and then installed the first 1 1/4 nut (counting from carrier outward) tightly. The second 1 1/4 nut and then the wheel plate were loosely run onto the bolt, and then adjusted so the distance between the Rampage wheel plate and tire carrier matched the distance from our wheel’s back pad to the outside of the tire’s sidewall. The second nut was then tightened to the back of the tire plate.
The rear Rampage Recovery bumper with tire carrier (PN 78615) was then outfitted with its D-rings. Its integrated 4-inch lights, shackle loops, tire carrier, and integrated hitch receiver make the new rear bumper a great addition to this Jeep TJ Wrangler.