Yesterday as we closed up the shop and dimmed the lights we had mocked up the MetalCloak Long-Arm Frame Mount brackets to the TJ and had marked where we needed to drill and weld for the frame sleeve bungs. So, with the shop air compressors charged the build team of Jason Scudellari, Christian Arriero, and Christian Hazel attacked the frame. Jason used a 1-inch holesaw to drill out the four horizontal frame mount holes and welded in the 1-inch-diamter heavy wall bungs with Hazel following behind drilling the inside framerail to 9/16-inch. With the outside of the bungs ground smooth, we reinstalled the Long-Arm Frame Mount brackets, installed the Long-Arm Skidplate, and reattached the transmission mount. Then, it was a simple matter of adjusting the MetalCloak control arms to their baseline lengths and hanging them from the control arm mounts. With the front and rear arms dangling in anticipation of the crate axle arrival, we installed the front track bar drop bracket and then dropped the Jeep so we could turn our attention to the Rampage Recovery front and rear bumpers.
The Rampage Recovery bumpers feature 3/16-inch steel construction with a durable black powdercoated finish. They have provisions for 4-inch lights. Factory Wrangler fog lamps will fit in the holes, but we opted for some Rampage fog lamps front and rear, which come with all the requisite mounting hardware, wiring, and switches. The front bumper went on like a dream, but the rear of the TJ was sporting an aftermarket receiver hitch under the stock bumper that didn’t want to come off. Hazel busted out the saber saw and started going to town, getting a bit carried away and almost putting a hole in the factory plastic fuel tank. Thankfully, Arriero was his handler for the day and pulled back on the reigns right before the blade actually bit through. Whoopsie. With the factory rear bumper finally removed it was short work to install the Rampage Recovery rear bumper and then assemble the tire carrier, which can accept up to a 35-inch tire.
As fortune would have it, as we were assembling the rear tire carrier the new Method wheels arrived, so we were able to mock the tire carrier plate into a rough position we thought would work. We’ll know more after we get the Kenda 35x12.50R17 tires mounted up on Friday. Be sure to tune in to fourwheeler.com for daily updates all week, and check back tomorrow as we prep our new crate axles with EBC brakes and then sling them under the framerails to finish the MetalCloak RockSport Lock-N-Loaded Long-Arm suspension install!