I shopped far and wide to find the front bumper I wanted to put on Clara. She has always been big and fat, so I wanted to go light. I am also one of those who likes to have maximum tire contact, so a stubby something was definitely in order. Protection of the sway bar motor is critical, so that was factored in as well. I also planned to install a winch in the bumper. Factory lights or hooks were not important to me. At an advertised weight of 28 pounds, and a great "curb appeal", the GenRight bumper appeared to fit the bill. http://www.genright.com/ProductInfo....ductid=FBB8240
I talked to Tony at GenRight some time ago, when he first started developing the aluminum front bumper. I have been very excited about aluminum in all of my JK stuff, as weight builds quickly when outfitting a Jeep for actual 4-wheeling. I finally ordered the bumper just before KOH (not a big deal for me, but a huge deal for Tony--do you have any idea what it takes to prepare and then actually place 2nd at KOH? Video of last year: YouTube - GenRight 805 KOH Buggy
Shipped fast and arrived in perfect condition--disappointing, since I can usually count on the first few scratches happening in shipping, not having to worry about putting the first scratch myself!
After unwrapping, my first impression was that the bumper had exquisite design and craftsmanship--beautiful welds, no boogers, no snags, just gorgeous to behold.
We tried it on my Clara and knew immediately some "modifications" would have to be made to the Jeep. The top of the bumper plates would have to be hammered down, and the bottom corners of the bumper made contact with the useless "stupid bar" aka front crossmember of my Jeep. Now, Clara is an '09, which, for the one and only convenient moment in her life, was an advantage in this case. The 09's have the least metal on the ends of the front crossmember, so just some minor bending remedied the contact points, whereas, with an 07-08 or 10-11, actually cutting of the ends of the crossmember would be required, something Tony explained was a decision they made to maintain the intent and design of the bumper.
I also decided I wanted it black, instead of satin aluminum, so we rattle-canned it with aluminum primer and hammered black spray paint from Home Despot.
One thing we didn't get was any form of written instructions. Apparently, Brad, with whom I have developed a humorous and sarcastic relationship, thought it would be more fun if I didn't have any working directions. Fine--I like a challenge.
Unfortunately, there really wasn't any challenge to getting it on--the installation and hardware was transparent and straightforward. To try to mix things up, Brad had seen to it that we didn't get the matching nuts for the winch box bolts. Ha-ha! Easily remedied. This is something we would expect for a new product sent out during KOH prep.
The attachment points all made good engineering sense, except maybe for the bolt holes we had to tap out of the top of the frame--those were so shallow, we didn't see how they really added anything, and there was already more than enough support in the right places with the rest of the hardware.
We found it easier to install the winch in the winch box first, then install the winch box in the bumper--something that would probably be mentioned in actual written instructions. For those of you with the Rubicon, you will have to loosen your sway bar motor mount, and swing it aside to install the winch box. It will be a close fit, but it will fit--something about which we weren't sure at first glance.
I have not had a chance to give it a serious pounding since the installation, but she has been on some winching and recover duty, and have had her on the road at 85 mph. Even with the winch, there are no dips or nose-heaviness in the front end--I can't even tell there is anything up there. No noises, rattles, perfect alignment, and looks AWESOME! So far, the only flaws apparent are in my questionable spray painting skills.
Bottom line: Great workmanship, great customer support, great product. If installing stuff isn't part of your everyday routine, make sure you get the directions, and expect to have to do a little trimming on the edges of your crossmember to get the bumper on. If light, tough, functional and gorgeous are your requirements, then this is the bumper for you. I eagerly anticipate their JK roll cage.
I can't wait to smash it on some rocks!