Jeep Wrangler Tire Carrier Test - Big DaddyPosted in How To: Wheels Tires on July 20, 2007 Comment (0)
Big Daddy Off Road:
Model number(s): RB-304-TCC, RB-311-TCJM (hi lift mount)
Price As Tested: $599.00, 30.00 (Hi-Lift Mount)
Material (Bumper): 3/16-inch wall formed 3x3x3 plate boxed on the rear with plate
Material (Carrier): 1/4-inch wall 2x2 tube
Latch Type: screw style latch
Hinge Type: enclosed bearing style
Hinge Hold Open: Yes, automatic
Recovery Points: Yes, D-ring shackle points
Receiver Hitch: Yes
Hi Lift Mount: Optional
Frame Tie In: Yes
Max Tire Rating: unspecified
Available Optional Items: Hi-Lift Jack Mount
Finish: Gloss Black Powder Coat
Instruction Rating (1-5 high): 4
Installation Notes: Installed as stated in instructions, by and large. However, a heavy dead-blow mallet was needed to get both the hinge portion and the latch portion into the bumper. Also, directions fail to state that removal of taillight will be required. Fortunately, we didn't test this on a Jeep with stock tail lights. Flush mount lights, and Off Road Only's lite DOT worked just fine. We don't know if we didn't get a bag of hardware or if it was an oversight, but there were no washers included for the bolts through the rear crossmember. As delivered, this wouldn't put up with rescue operations. Also, no matter how tight we made the bolts holding the Hi-Lift and tire mount on, we couldn't keep it from having some play in it.
Tools Needed: Simple hand tools, big dead blow mallet.
Usage Rating: 3
Usage Notes: This bumper is a true love/hate relationship. On the TJs, the handle on the screw down latch interferes with the tailgate hinges. Also, the knurling on the angled portion acts as an effective file, removing finish from both Jeep and bumper in short order. We also managed in the first usage to over tighten the latch to the point where we needed assistance opening it. We since discovered that wiggling of the tire would allow loosening and tightening without needing the angled piece, so we just finally removed it. Getting into the back of the Jeep with the screw latches has never been easy, and this is possibly one of the most difficult. That said, the hold open is automatic, and no amount of just letting the tire go damaged it. Also, while it bugged us that the tire carrier opened the opposite way of the tailgate, it made good sense with the auto hold open. The hold open stops at 90 degrees, which would interfere with the tailgate. As a side note, this is one of two bumpers that showed up without some kind of damage. 13 bumpers tested, and thanks to being poorly packed, or man-handled only two bumpers weren't pre-scratched or dented.
Rattle Rating (1-5 [being rattle the least]): 5
Vibration Rating (1-5 [5 being vibrated none at all]): 4.5
Rattle and Vibration Notes: This is the love part of the relationship. Once we figured out the funky latch dance, and got used to the idea of taking just a bit longer to get into the "trunk" we really started to like this bumper. It doesn't rattle. And vibration was among the best we had. Sure, it still vibrated a bit over the really bad freeways, and washboard we shouldn't have been going that slow on to begin with, but any vibration noticed was minimal and among the best tested.
Perceived Durability Rating (1-5 high): 4.5
Perceived Durability Notes: We abused the hold open, beat on the goofy screw latch, and landed the spare tire on a few rocks but this thing just didn't seem to care. The hinge is bolted through the bumper in such a way that metal fatigue should never be a problem, and it's the same with the screw-latch. If this bumper kicks it, it will because the Jeep gave way. With only 6 bolts holding it on, no washers, and only two of those aforementioned bolts going into the frame, not the rip-prone cross member, there is room for improvement here.