2007 Jeep Wrangler AOE Bumper Install - Upfront Armor
Plastic Ain’t Fantastic For JK Front Bumpers
If you read our story, Rubiconized Rubicon, elsewhere in this issue, you may have caught a reference to AOE 4x4 Industries developing its own parts for the off-road and expedition 4x4 markets. Well, here’s one of the neat ones we really liked. In fact, we liked it so much we asked AOE 4x4’s owner, Alex Carvallo, to install one on the front of the ’07 Wrangler Unlimited we had in the shop.
The AOE 4x4 bumper for the JK Wrangler comes in two different versions. There’s the AOE JK Crawler, which leaves the front tires free to climb obstacles, or the JK Expedition, which is a full-length bumper that extends to the edge of the factory fender flares. The bumper comes with a host of nice features, from an integrated winch mount, D-ring mounts, aftermarket light mounts, integrated Hi-Lift recovery points, the ability to work with aftermarket or factory fog lights, and even a pair of 12V marine-grade power sockets right up front for when you’re in camp. The bumper is constructed from 3⁄16-inch cold-rolled steel and is given a black textured powdercoating.
We couldn’t leave the winch mount empty, so we ordered a Quadratec Q11500is winch. The powerful 4.8hp motor will deliver 11,500 pounds of pulling power with fast line speeds, and the Dyneema winch rope is 15 times stronger than steel and much lighter. The Q11500is includes the winch, battery cables, 90 feet of synthetic winch rope with 12 feet of ballistic nylon chafe guard, locking hook, aluminum hawse fairlead, controller, and all the mounting hardware. Even with an integrated solenoid pack, the submerged mount of the AOE JK Expedition bumper allows unblocked airflow through the radiator. It’s a great-looking, hard-working package that doesn’t break the bank.
AOE 4x4 Industries in Laguna Hills, California, handled the bumper and winch installation. The crew began by stripping the front down and carefully laying out all the parts of the new AOE JK Expedition bumper and Quadratec Q11500is winch. The install went smoothly with no drama to report.
The AOE JK Expedition bumper features nice D-ring mounts that bolt through the factory bumper mounting points on the frame. There’s no drilling required. The light holes will accept stock JK fog lamps, but this Jeep runs rectangular aftermarket LED units. Note the aluminum Quadratec fairlead for use with the Q11500is Dyneema synthetic winch rope.
After roughly 6 months of baking in the harsh Southwest sun, the yellow powdercoat of the winch hook is fading, but the bumper and winch finish (although dirty in this photo) is holding up great. Note the additional light mounts to which the flat-tow wiring is temporarily zip-tied. The AOE bumper will accept most standard winch designs.
Just one of the expedition-style features of the AOE JK Expedition bumper are these twin marine 12V power sockets that allow you to power your accessories while camping without needing to go inside the vehicle. It’s just one more thoughtful touch to a well-designed product.