Every year around this time I clean up my garage with a garage floor cleaner and other stuff to get ready for the winter and what I will be working on through the season.
I stood there and looked at my Samurai and considered all the things I have going on with it. Right now, the engine is being built (I hope), the factory fender flares are off because I will be putting Bushwackers on (which will be covered in another article), the factory plastic rocker guards are off because I am in the middle of putting on Low Range Defiant Armor Rocker Mount Rock Sliders (also to be covered in another entry in the near future, after some minor body work is done), and then there is the Low Range Defiant Armor Modular Front Bumper kit that I ordered which is still in the boxes.
I wanted to wait until I had a good recovery winch picked out before I did the bumper kit install, but I got to thinking…
Since I now have a giveaway in process for a FREE Low Range Defiant Armor Suzuki Samurai Front Bumper kit, perhaps this would be a good time to mockup the install
… plus, I was dying to see what it looked like in person.
Before I knew it, I was under the rig with the Sawzall, struggling to cut through the hack job of a bumper extension that the previous owner(s) did before I bought the vehicle. You’ll see what I mean in a bit. The instructions that Low Range provides with the kit state that cutting the ends off the bumper mount tube is optional, but the way mine was already modified I had no real choice.
Speaking of the instructions, they are very concise and expertly written (you can check them out on the product page). Follow along with my exploration into making the front bumper go from something weak and useless to something strong and useful.
Shown is the factory bumper with a basic bar welded to it as it came to me when I bought it.
I removed the driving lights and turn signals from the bar and bumper.
Here is how the previous owner(s) extended the front bumper out to clear the 31″ tires. Have you ever seen a more shoddy weld job?
I have to admit, I have never used a Sawzall that much, but I removed the factory bumper without too much issue. I was very surprised at how light the factory Samurai bumper is. It barely offered any real protection at all compared to the Low Range kit.
After making the cuts, I shot the exposed areas with some flat black rust preventative spray paint to keep it corroding.
After removing the factory bumper, it is pretty simple from there. Just position the winch plate per the instructions…
… then bolt on the winch plate cover, the bumper ends (and you have a choice of them, I ordered the short version) and your choice of stinger bar. Then torque the supplied hardware to the specs provided in the instructions and you are good to go!
All in all, it took me around an hour not including cutting the bumper tube off. Makes a hell of a difference, doesn’t it? I think I am going to call up Low Range and place another order for the additional available stubby ends to widen it up a bit and offer more tire protection. Once I get a winch picked out, I’ll revisit this with the final installation. Until then, I am not sure what I am going to do with those Hella driving lights. Maybe I will figure something out by the time I figure out which winch I will go with.
Above all, this is a very high-quality kit made with precision and durability. It is designed very well and even packaged with care. I am thankful that Low Range made these for the old’ Samurai!