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Move Bumpers for Our Second-Gen Dodge

Part 2: We build for the front.

Odd ducks we might be, but for what may seem a strange reason, we started Part 1 of our Second-Gen Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 Move Bumper install with the rear bumper. And we did this for good reason. We figured we'd do the rear first so we could learn from the build and end up with a rear bumper that maybe wasn't perfect, but was close, and could apply everything we learned from the build of the rear bumper to the build of the front bumper. As stated here, in our Move Bumper Part 1, Move Bumpers, out of Lewistown, Montana, makes DIY builder bumper kits for most popular trucks and 4x4s. These kits give you what's needed to get a darn good start on a custom bumper for your rig.

Why Move Bumpers?

Our 1998 Dodge 2500 4x4 has been around the block a few times, and the factory bumpers— both front and rear—have seen better days, and unfortunately this gives the truck a bit of a dreary appearance. It mostly serves as a tow rig, but it occasionally gets used in the dirt. For that reason, we reached out to Move to test out their products and get a better feel for how a DIY bumper kit, like theirs, could work for us. In the end we hope to answer a few questions. Did the parts fit well? Is the kit easy to assemble? Is it strong enough to really use off-road? Well now we've built both front and rear bumpers and are impressed with the assembly and fitment. As for the strength, right out of the gate Move recommends a professional fabricator build the bumper, and it's a good idea to add parts to strengthen to the kit in certain areas if you plan on really using the bumper off-road. The fact is the kit will be as strong as the welds—quality welds matter—and Move wants someone who is familiar with the loads that the bumper will see to design additional structural parts to strengthen the bumper. We're up to the task, and here is how we built our front Move Bumper and added beef for some off-road use.

Here's what came in the box with our front Move Bumper. The box was heavy, and the bumper will be, too!
Our factory front bumper has seen better days. It's fairly straight (when compared to the factory rear bumper) but is barely held in place.
That was easy. About half of the original hardware was missing from the bumper mounts, so removal was a breeze.
First step is to install the Move bumper brackets to the truck and set them level to each other. We installed washers between the bumper brackets and the frame rails on both sides because as this thing gets welded together it will tend to draw in, and if you don't have some space there, you will have a hell of a time getting the bumper back on or off. We used these thin spacers, but could have used full sized SAE Grade 8 washers.
Next, the center of the bumper must be centered on the brackets and heavy-tack welded in place. We may never run a winch, but we opted for a bumper with a winch mount. The center is made out of 1/4-inch plate to help deal with the stress of having a winch inside it. Only issue is there isn't much space for a big winch, and this truck is heavy and would require a large winch—like 12,000 lbs. or 15,000 lbs.—and even if you could fit a winch that size in this bumper, the frame rails of the truck likely wouldn't survive any real pulls.
Then heavy-tack weld the "wings' onto the center.
Next heavy-tack weld the end caps onto the "wings"
One thing that we learned building the rear bumper first is that you want to clean all the edges that are going to be welded together. The plasma cutting process leaves a layer of slag that can cause imperfections in the welds. We used a flap wheel to clean off the surfaces that meet before the heavy-tack welds.

We then pulled the bumper added the winch mount and started finish welding the bumper from the inside.

We also cleaned the slag or residue off the d-ring shackle mounts.
Like on the rear bumper we are going to cut slots behind where these mounts rest so that we can add extra weld and ensure they stay with the bumper during any hard pulls.

We also added some 13/4-inch .120 wall DOM tubing to help strengthen the winch mount and the top of the bumper. We also added some more tabs to the bottom edge of the bumper so it could be tied into the frame via at least four more factory mounting points.

We also used some lengths of 1/4 x 1.5-inch strap to beef up the bottom of the supplied Move frame mounts. Truth is, the frame of this truck and the factory mounting points are the weak link, but the bumper needs added beef to help it transmit any forces from the winch to the frame.
We used a high quality black direct to metal epoxy primer on both the front and rear bumpers. That should be strong, and if we want to re-spray it or change the color of the bumpers, that will be as easy as roughing up the surface before paint.
Did we mention that this thing is heavy? Even with an extra set of hands, we decided to use the engine hoist to help hold the bumper in place. As said earlier, we should have increased the spacing between the bumper brackets and the frame rails on this truck. Rather than the bumper slipping into place we had to talk it into finding its new home using the floor jack, a large rubber dead blow, and more medieval torcher devices (like pry bars, and hole centering tools).

SourceS:

Move Bumpers
844.505.4044
www.movebumpers.com

Miller Electric
www.millerwelds.com