One of the most functional modifications you can do to any 4x4 is the addition of heavy-duty bumpers, a winch, and auxiliary lighting. We wanted a set of bumpers that would handle the rigors of off-pavement use, as well as a bumper-mounted spare-tire carrier that would relieve the tailgate hinges from the weight and stress of a spare tire. We spoke with the folks at Mopar, Jeep's accessory division, about some of their products we saw at last year's SEMA show. The clean design and integrated look of Jeep's Mopar bumpers got our attention. The fact that they were durability tested to the same standard as the Jeep itself, let us know we wouldn't have some rusted-through hulks hanging off our Jeep in a few years. Also, Mopar's bumpers were developed to work properly with the airbag sensors in the case of an accident and the fact that they were designed to work with Warn's line of recovery winches was an added bonus, considering we had our eye on the 9,500-pound-rated 9.5ti Thermometric bad boy. Mopar offered up its bumpers and told us that the company also had auxiliary lighting available for the JK that would work with the original wiring harness. Lastly, the Mopar products can be financed with the vehicle purchase, and if added after the new vehicle purchase, you get the balance of the new vehicle warranty or 12 months, whichever is greater ... a win-win for all. For the installation, we scheduled an appointment with the professionals at Huntington Beach Chrysler Jeep in Huntington Beach, California, where their service department installs accessories on a regular basis for vehicles on the showroom floor. They were happy to assist us with the install, and got our bumpers and accessories on the Jeep in time for Moab's annual Easter Jeep Safari. 1. Once Project 'Con Artist was secured on the rack, we began by removing the rear bumper. 2. Next, the new brackets and new Mopar rear bumper were lifted into place and shimmed and aligned before tightening.2. Next, the new brackets and new Mopar rear bumper were lifted into place and shimmed and 3. The Mopar rear-bumper kit removes the stock spare-tire mount and comes with a new third brakelight assembly, interestingly enough the same piece used on the TJ.3. The Mopar rear-bumper kit removes the stock spare-tire mount and comes with a new third 4. We then mounted the pivot post for the spare-tire carrier arm to the frame and through the bumper, lubricating it liberally with grease.4. We then mounted the pivot post for the spare-tire carrier arm to the frame and through 5. Before the carrier arm could be put into place, we had to insert the bushings. 6. Next, we slid the carrier arm over to the pivot post and torqued it down. 7. The latch is then aligned in order to mark and drill the holes for the latch ramp. 8. The latch ramp is then installed and tightened down. 9. The spare-tire mount itself must be drilled-the mounting hole being determined by your wheel-and-tire package-before being attached to the carrier arm.9. The spare-tire mount itself must be drilled-the mounting hole being determined by your 1 | 2 | » | View Full Article By Sean P. Holman Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!