Are Steel Bumpers Even Worth It?

The_Paper_Cut

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I currently have a 2020 2 Door Sport S and am trying my best to budget build. I have used rubicon suspension that I need to install which should get me at least 2” of lift (probably a little more). I want to throw a winch on ASAP, but I don’t know if the extra weight from a steel bumper is really worth it. It’ll cause the front end to drop and will probably create a rougher driving experience. This Jeep is my only vehicle so it’s also my daily driver. I’m thinking of just keeping the plastic bumper and modifying it to hold a winch. Any thoughts on one plastic vs steel? Money isn’t necessarily an issue, mostly just is the added weight of steel really worth it?





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danm

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Some steel bumpers don’t weigh much more than the plastic one. You’d be surprised how much the plastic on weighs. I think it’s over 70lbs for the front.
On the other hand, if you’re not doing much serious off roading, keep the plastic and save the $$.
 

Whiskey 13

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I prefer steel holding my winch. As for front end sag I have an LOD mid width bumper and a 12K winch and my sag is maybe I/4". Ride did not change at all. You can do the job with plastic but if you ever really need to pull you might wish you had steel.
 

limeade

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If you want to run a winch and wanna ditch the plastic bumper, get an aluminum bumper. Rockhard, Genright, New Venture, and others offer winch capable aluminum front bumpers.
 

RubiSc0tt

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I currently have a 2020 2 Door Sport S and am trying my best to budget build. I have used rubicon suspension that I need to install which should get me at least 2” of lift (probably a little more). I want to throw a winch on ASAP, but I don’t know if the extra weight from a steel bumper is really worth it. It’ll cause the front end to drop and will probably create a rougher driving experience. This Jeep is my only vehicle so it’s also my daily driver. I’m thinking of just keeping the plastic bumper and modifying it to hold a winch. Any thoughts on one plastic vs steel? Money isn’t necessarily an issue, mostly just is the added weight of steel really worth it?
Couple things:
First: A winch weighs more than a steel bumper.
Second: You can't just bolt a winch to the plastic bumper. You'd need to buy a steel winch plate that bolts on top of or between the front frame rails anyway to safely and securely bolt a winch onto the Jeep; then probably cut the bumper back. By the time you get done spending on this, you'd probably be pretty close to a stubby steel/aluminum bumper- which would ultimately be better for that application anyway. Rear Steel bumper? Not as necessary unless you're looking to get the tire weight off of the tailgate.
Third: Go with Synthetic rope if you're considering a winch and are concerned about weight savings. The side by side hand held comparison feels to be at least 50lbs Steel vs. Synthetic.

For reference: I've got a 2019 JLUR with a Steel Motobilt Crusher bumper and Warn VR-10 w/ Synthetic rope. My Jeep sags about an inch in the front. OEM suspension is prone to that. This is my 3rd Jeep, all of them have been daily drivers.

Do it once, do it right. Save the cash and buy quality. Especially if it is your only vehicle. Trust me, I come from experience on the last 2. It's ok to wait. Also: Plan your purchases around sales. You can save a bunch of money depending on what you're looking at.

If you want to run a winch and wanna ditch the plastic bumper, get an aluminum bumper. Rockhard, Genright, New Venture, and others offer winch capable aluminum front bumpers.
This is the way.... if you're concerned about weight on the front end.

Finally: If I may offer some unsolicited advice:
1). Get some skid plates. They'll protect the underside and ensure you get home.
2). Drive it stock. it'll make you a better driver. line choices mean more when you're closer to then ground.

Hope this helps.
 

BlackGenesis

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Some steel bumpers don’t weigh much more than the plastic one. You’d be surprised how much the plastic on weighs. I think it’s over 70lbs for the front.
On the other hand, if you’re not doing much serious off roading, keep the plastic and save the $$.
Front plastic lined bumper weight around 25-30lb
 

dchemphill1

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Plastic bumper with Rockhard4x4 winch plate and winch worked for me.
PXL_20201225_222054499.jpg
 

631_Islander

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I currently have a 2020 2 Door Sport S and am trying my best to budget build. I have used rubicon suspension that I need to install which should get me at least 2” of lift (probably a little more). I want to throw a winch on ASAP, but I don’t know if the extra weight from a steel bumper is really worth it. It’ll cause the front end to drop and will probably create a rougher driving experience. This Jeep is my only vehicle so it’s also my daily driver. I’m thinking of just keeping the plastic bumper and modifying it to hold a winch. Any thoughts on one plastic vs steel? Money isn’t necessarily an issue, mostly just is the added weight of steel really worth it?
For folks like me who rarely go off road and tend to stay factory stock, they are worth it only if factory installed as part of the Steel Bumper Group in a Rubicon. At the end of the day if (God Forbid) you are in a crash and need a replacement bumper your insurance may only cover steel bumpers if they were factory installed and therefore part of your VIN. If your Jeep came with Plastic bumpers and you changed to Steel after purchasing it, then insurance may only pay for plastic should your aftermarket Steel Bumper be damaged in a crash.

I think the Steel Bumpers are a good addition from a safety perspective. This forum has many drivers that did not see a lot of damage to their Jeep thanks to the Steel Bumpers. The same unfortunately cannot be said about the car that was hit by the Steel Bumpers as those things can be heavy!

Just my 2 cents and they should mainly apply to folks like me: those of us who almost never off road and keep their Jeeps Factory Stock. We buy more for looks and the doorless/topless experience than anything else!
 

blnewt

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I'm glad I went w/ the steel bumper, and having the recessed winch mount keeps the winch lower and not as restrictive w/ air flow through the radiator.

I too am on a budget build, I went w/ the Rubicon suspension swap but added a 3/4" Rugged Ridge spacer in front to get the suspension level again, worked out well!

IMG_0437.JPG
 

limeade

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For folks like me who rarely go off road and tend to stay factory stock, they are worth it only if factory installed as part of the Steel Bumper Group in a Rubicon. At the end of the day if (God Forbid) you are in a crash and need a replacement bumper your insurance may only cover steel bumpers if they were factory installed and therefore part of your VIN. If your Jeep came with Plastic bumpers and you changed to Steel after purchasing it, then insurance may only pay for plastic should your aftermarket Steel Bumper be damaged in a crash.
For anyone putting aftermarket parts on their Jeep, I recommend to speak with your insurance agent about coverage. I have State Farm and my agent told me as long as I have pictures of the parts installed and receipts/invoices/etc., then any aftermarket parts damaged in a covered incident would be repaired or replaced with same item(s).

Years ago I rolled my TJ on a Forest Service trail. My insurance company and body shop allowed me to replace damaged stock parts with aftermarket parts that were (a) same price or cheaper and (b) filled the same role as the damaged stock part(s).
 

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