New Front Winch Bumper - Benchmark Designs [Archive] - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum

: New Front Winch Bumper - Benchmark Designs


Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-24-2009, 11:21 PM
Hi Guys,

We're just getting into the first production run of these so I wanted to go ahead and show you what we're working on and see what you think.

This bumper is all 3/16" steel construction and fully MIG welded. The tow shackle tabs are a full 1" thick and go through the bumper and mount directly to the factory JK frame.

We added Hi-Lift slots on the underside of the bumper. The slots hold the lifting nose of the jack in position and keep it from sliding around when lifting.

We're planning on offering this bumper in narrow, mid, and full-width. We're also going to look at offering it with some optional tubework on top.

NorthGAX
03-25-2009, 06:51 AM
That looks very nice. I like the looks of it.

I would ask that if you are going to add a hoop for winch protection that you offer at least as an option tabs for additional fog lights. Just my 2 cents.

ejb17
03-25-2009, 07:15 AM
That looks great. You are making me re-think my choices on front bumpers. When will they be ready and is there a lower skid plate? I would head towards the full width and is there a cover for the winch spot as I do not need a winch?:):)

Alter Ego
03-25-2009, 07:45 AM
Here's a few of my thoughts

Make sure the light openings in the bumper fit the factory fogs.

The jack holes need to be symmetrical. Both inboard or both outboard of the shackle tabs. Reinforce the tops of the jack holes so jacking it up slightly off camber does not bend the 3/16 material.

Sandwiching 2 pieces of 3/16 plate together (for the winch mount) is asking for trouble. Road salt will find its way in there to the bare steel and rust it from the inside. You would be better off making the top of the bumper out of 1/4 inch material. That way, the winch load would be more evenly spread across the full width of the bumper and better distributed to the frame rails. You would still need to add a fairlead mount though. I didn't see the back of the bumper so I don't know what kind of reinforcing you have planned for there. You definitely need something at the back of the bumper, under the rear winch bolts, spanning the full width between the frame rails to resist the winch pulling upward on its back 2 bolts.

I think your endcaps still need a little work asthetically. I personally don't care for the way the end plate is beveled back towards the longitudinal centerline of the vehicle. Perpendicular to the bumper face just looks better. On the full width bumpers, you may wish to find a way to narrow the gap between the bumpers and the stock fender flairs. This can be accomplished by swooping the endcaps back and up. This gives improved approach angle while still protecting the fenders from trees.

I'm still waiting for some bumper manufacturer to offer a real hood loop that will protect the radiator in a roll. The difficulty here is that it must be structurally sound AND be removable for removing the grill for maintenance.

I'm glad you decided to attach the shackle tabs to the frame. Hopefully you're bolting it directly to the frame rails and not the plate welded to the frame rails.

Finally, please add a provision for adding tow hooks on top of the bumper. When a simple light tug from a snatch strap is needed, messing with a shackle is too much hassle. Especially if you're standing in 3 feet of 40 degree water.

Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-25-2009, 10:45 AM
That looks very nice. I like the looks of it.

I would ask that if you are going to add a hoop for winch protection that you offer at least as an option tabs for additional fog lights. Just my 2 cents.

Definitely!

Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-25-2009, 10:49 AM
That looks great. You are making me re-think my choices on front bumpers. When will they be ready and is there a lower skid plate? I would head towards the full width and is there a cover for the winch spot as I do not need a winch?:):)


We're about a month out. We bought a CNC Plasma table to be able to bring some work back in house and need to get that setup. We're working on ideas for a lower skid plate. One of the nice things about this bumper is it works well with or without a winch. If you're not going to run a winch initially, you don't need the fairlead plate and there are only 4 holes on the top of the bumper. Use the front 2 to mount some off-road lights.

Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-25-2009, 11:11 AM
Here's a few of my thoughts

Make sure the light openings in the bumper fit the factory fogs.

Definitely going to happen. The factory fogs will sit right inside the front edge of the bumper. They won't stick out where they would get broken.

[/QUOTE]
The jack holes need to be symmetrical. Both inboard or both outboard of the shackle tabs. Reinforce the tops of the jack holes so jacking it up slightly off camber does not bend the 3/16 material.[/QUOTE]

Initially, our thought was to make them symmetrical. However when you look at the mechanism of a Hi Lift, it's not symmetrical. The right side of the jack is a smooth plate, and the left side is where the large mechanism is. By putting the jack slots to the left of the shackle tabs, the Hi Lift mates securely in the slot and up against the shackle tab. The makes for a VERY secure jack location. The jack can't slide out or twist around. Much safer. The lift area inside of the jack slot is heavily reinforced and won't bend.


[/QUOTE]
Sandwiching 2 pieces of 3/16 plate together (for the winch mount) is asking for trouble. Road salt will find its way in there to the bare steel and rust it from the inside. You would still need to add a fairlead mount though.[/QUOTE]

The top plate only serves the purpose of mounting the fairlead. I've seen some Jeeps from the rustbelt and that stuff gets everywhere! We use an industrial powdercoat that is the toughest option available for fighting corrosion. A thin bead of black silicone around the fairlead plate would keep road salt and water out though.



[/QUOTE]
You would be better off making the top of the bumper out of 1/4 inch material. That way, the winch load would be more evenly spread across the full width of the bumper and better distributed to the frame rails. I didn't see the back of the bumper so I don't know what kind of reinforcing you have planned for there. You definitely need something at the back of the bumper, under the rear winch bolts, spanning the full width between the frame rails to resist the winch pulling upward on its back 2 bolts.[/QUOTE]

We're on the same page. There's a substantial amount of bracing and gussets underneath of there!


[/QUOTE]
I think your endcaps still need a little work asthetically. I personally don't care for the way the end plate is beveled back towards the longitudinal centerline of the vehicle. Perpendicular to the bumper face just looks better. On the full width bumpers, you may wish to find a way to narrow the gap between the bumpers and the stock fender flairs. This can be accomplished by swooping the endcaps back and up. This gives improved approach angle while still protecting the fenders from trees.[/QUOTE]

I'll take a look at this.

[/QUOTE]
I'm still waiting for some bumper manufacturer to offer a real hood loop that will protect the radiator in a roll. The difficulty here is that it must be structurally sound AND be removable for removing the grill for maintenance.
[/QUOTE]

I agree. Removable makes it cheaper to ship too.

[/QUOTE]
I'm glad you decided to attach the shackle tabs to the frame. Hopefully you're bolting it directly to the frame rails and not the plate welded to the frame rails. [/QUOTE]

We are using 8 bolts to mount to the frame end cap plates. Every bumper manufacturer I'm aware of uses this method and I've never seen this as a deficiency. Let me know what you think.

[/QUOTE]
Finally, please add a provision for adding tow hooks on top of the bumper. When a simple light tug from a snatch strap is needed, messing with a shackle is too much hassle. Especially if you're standing in 3 feet of 40 degree water.[/QUOTE]

I 100% agree. These will be on there. Thanks for the well thought out comments!

John @ Benchmark

spiritree
03-25-2009, 11:27 AM
Yes, looks good to me. Would like to buy front and back bumpers that match. Are you looking at the back end?

Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-25-2009, 11:38 AM
Working the design for the rear bumper now. It's going to have a swing-away tire carrier option. And we're looking at the possibility of mounting a winch in it.

Roxster
03-29-2009, 07:38 PM
Very nice. I'll be looking at the mid-width when it's available. Have you set a price for the base bumper and any options yet?

J.PIRY@COMCAST.NET
03-29-2009, 08:27 PM
well the first thing i would do is thank you then wait for it to come and install it :smokin:

ohana fab
03-29-2009, 08:44 PM
I like it - functional and simple.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the giant stealth fighter bumper designs and their added weight.

Best, Jon

Benchmark Designs Inc.
03-29-2009, 08:51 PM
I like it - functional and simple.

Personally, I'm not a fan of the giant stealth fighter bumper designs and their added weight.

Best, Jon


We think alike! Not all bumpers need to look like something out of the movie Transformers and cost a grand.

ejb17
03-31-2009, 06:37 AM
Do you folks have any pre production pictures of any of these new bumpers on a JK? Any deas of pricing and / or timeframes?

The Goob
04-01-2009, 07:10 PM
I've only had my JK for 3 weeks but the bumpers that appeal to me so far have the winch down in the bumper. I think they would interfere with cooling less and keep the weight lower. This is a nice bumper and I think most will appreciate the time and thought that went into it.

afoulk
04-01-2009, 09:13 PM
I was gonna suggest that too, maybe use a recessed mount for the winch to get out from infront of the radiator as much as possible.

Frenchie
04-01-2009, 10:43 PM
The bumper looks nice. I do prefer the full width bumper. I also like the idea of a inset winch mount for better cooling. I do a lot of trailer towing and overlanding.

I have found that for the use I give bumpers with my work the power coating is so thick that a flying rock will crack the power coating easier then paint. This then allows moisture to get in and rust not being seen until it starts to lift the power coating. The servicing is harder to repair the look of the thick power coating.

Alter Ego
04-02-2009, 06:15 AM
I 'm one of those that prefer winches on top of bumpers.


Easier to respool line to keep it tight.
Dries out faster.
Higher up out of the mud and water.
Protects radiator from deer strikes.
Easier to repair winch when the cable pulls off.
In Michigan, I don't need to worry about overheating. I have 4 different trailers I pull and none has caused overheating.

BADGER
04-07-2009, 04:57 PM
Is it done yet? How about now? Now?

Benchmark Designs Inc.
04-07-2009, 10:20 PM
It's coming along. I've made a few changes that we're working on now. I'll have to post some pictures soon. :smokin:

BADGER
04-22-2009, 03:34 PM
Now? Are we there yet?

Born2run
05-24-2009, 09:41 AM
What is the status of this bumper?

jeeperjkj
05-24-2009, 01:51 PM
Any chance of getting one with a winch guard and a stinger?

Tank29
06-21-2009, 02:10 PM
It's coming along. I've made a few changes that we're working on now. I'll have to post some pictures soon. :smokin:

Any news on this bumper?...:)

Benchmark Designs Inc.
06-21-2009, 08:50 PM
I have 10 of them cut out on the waterjet and 1 formed up, welded and out at powdercoat. I'll post some pictures as soon as it get's back!

Thanks,

John

Iron
06-21-2009, 08:55 PM
Looks good, any word on a price?