Part 9: Bumper Update
It was last year at the Off Road Expo in Pomona, California, where we came across one of the most innovative bumper designs we have seen for the popular JK, from an up-and-coming company called Expedition One out of Utah.
What caught our eye was not just the clean lines of the bumpers, but a trick tailgate linkage on its Trail Series rear bumper that allows the spare tire to be opened with the tailgate in one motion, while carrying the majority of the spare tire load on the bumper-keeping your tailgate hinges safe. Expedition One calls this its Smooth Motion STC (swinging tire carrier) system. For those of you living with the squeaks and rattles from an inferior tire-carrier system, this stout carrier is the solution for you. The Trail Series rear bumper is constructed from 3/16-inch steel and even has an integrated CB antenna mount.
The front Trail Series bumper is also packed full of features, from a dropped winch mount, to Hi-lift jack pockets for lifting the vehicle, to the ability to reuse (and aim) your factory foglights. For a full-width bumper, it still allows maximum capability and protection. It sits high on the frame and is shaped for maximum approach angle and ground clearance, while maintaining an integrated fit with the factory flares. Construction is 3/16-inch steel, and Expedition One says it is designed to fit 37-inch tires with a 4-inch lift.
Another option we added is the Expedition One Rubi Skid, which will work independently of the Expedition One bumpers-perfect for those of you who want a better approach angle but want to keep the stock bumpers. The Rubi Skid increases the approach angle through clocking of the sway-bar disconnect motor.
All of Expedition One's bumpers also come with beefy 1-inch shackle tabs and offer a limited lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.
For this fast and easy installation we headed back to see our friend Mel Wade at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, where once again his team of highly trained wrenches installed another round of project products for us. The install was straightforward and can easily be accomplished by anyone with an extra set of hands and moderate mechanical knowledge.