OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Dash Accessories

Status: Dash mounted accessories complete as of 7/16/2020; dash cam started as of 8/5/2020

IMG_5613.JPG


I posted a write-up on my dash accessories project previously - but It really wasn't a great write-up. Too many words, not enough pictures. I left it intact for posterity's sake. But I wanted to add a better write-up to my build journal.

I completed my initial version of this project just a few days after buying my Wrangler. The rolling stone gathers no moss!

I started by dismantling the dash. Note that installing dash accessories doesn't require this much disassembly. I removed the dash panels as well to vinyl wrap them, and then again later to paint them instead.

IMG_5410.JPG


I'm not a big fan of the red dash in the Rubicons, so I opted to vinyl wrap mine in satin white. It turned out great initially. But after a few weeks, the wrap started to pull up in some of the more contoured areas around the A/C vents. So when I changed out my phone charger/cradle later on, I pulled of the wrap and painted them with white PlastiDip instead. The PlastiDip turned out fantastic. It has a matte finish with a rough texture - which keeps the white from creating a glare.

Dash Paint - Driver Side.png


Dash Paint - Passenger Side.png


The foundation of my dash accessories is the RAM Mounts Tough-Track for JL and JT. There are plenty of options out there - and I almost went with the 67Designs version. I chose the RAM Mounts version because it had features that would make it easier for me to hide my wiring.

RAM-DT-204-TRACK-A12U.jpg


I tapped power from the 12v "cigar lighter" socket on the dash using Quadratec's 12v power adapter. It's a bit unnecessary to use the adapter - you could easily splice a tap onto the power and ground wires that feed the power socket. But the Quadratec adapter makes it really simple. It plugs jumpers between the OEM wiring harness and the socket with matching plugs.

Quadratec-JL-APT-12-Volt-Power-Adapter-Jeep-Wrangler-JL_0.jpg


I wanted a fused circuit for each accessory I was adding, so I cut off the 10 amp in-line fuse on the Quadratec adapter and added a Littelfuse 3-circuit (6 position) fuse box behind the glove box.

Littelfuse PDM32004ZXM.png


I mounted the 3-circuit fuse box to the A/C recirculation vent behind the glove box. The holes in the fuse box bracket lined up perfectly with existing holes on the A/C housing. I used some 5/8" long nylon spacers and longer screws to mount the bracket.

IMG_5703.JPG


IMG_5706.JPG


IMG_5704_labeled.jpg


Two of the circuits feed accessories on the dash - the phone charger/cradle and the dual USB outlet. I originally used an iOttie Quick OneTouch v2. It's a great charger - really easy to get your phone in and out. But it just doesn't have the grip necessary for rough roads or off-roading. I subsequently swapped out to a RAM Mounts Quick-Grip unit. It's waterproof and has a Kung Fu grip. Seriously. This thing will hold your phone through the apocalypse.

RAM-HOL-UN14WB.jpg


The phone charger/cradle is powered by a hard-wired USB outlet. It's a quick charge version - which means it puts out as much as 4.2 amps.

USB hard wire.jpg


I mounted a dual USB outlet in the center of my dash dock. It's a QuickCharge 3.0 version, which means it supports all current forms of rapid charging across multiple manufacturers. I like having a USB outlet on the dash for accessories that I only use occasionally, such as my HAM radio, a GoPro, or any of my wife's electronics. I really don't like wires hanging down in front of my dash!

Dual USB outlet.jpg


I mounted the dual USB outlet using a housing that I designed myself and had 3D printed at Shapeways. It's specifically designed to work with the RAM Mounts Tough-Track. If you're interested, you can buy one here in your choice of colors. It's a bit expensive ... but I can't control Shapeways' prices.

Custom USB socket housing.jpg


On my dash dock I use use a CB and HAM radio mount from JeepUniq. This keeps everything nice and tidy. If I need to charge the battery on my HAM radio, I can simply plug it in to the USB outlet on the dash. That keeps the wires up and out of the way.

jeepuniq-ram-cobra-ham-combo-mount-1_cf85afc8-dd74-40bd-ac33-86720115489e_800x.jpg


The last circuit in the 3-circuit fuse box is for a USB rechargeable flashlight mounted in my glovebox. The flashlight has high / low / strobe modes as well as a lantern feature and a magnetic base. That's a really great feature for being able to use both hands when you need a little extra light.

Rechargeable Flashlight.jpg


I mounted another of the dual USB outlets inside the glove box. If you decide to do this, be sure to mount the USB outlet as close to the upper-left corner as possible. Otherwise, it will hit your A/C recirculator housing. I hold the flashlight in place using a single QuickFist.

IMG_5608.JPG


Still plenty of room for junk in the glovebox.

IMG_5609.JPG


Dash cam and auxiliary battery full write-up.

IMG_5868.JPG


Dash Cam Bracket.jpg


Here are the main components I used. Other parts aren't listed, such as hardware, RAM mounting balls and arms, wiring, etc.

:like: Littelfuse 3-circuit (6 position) waterproof fuse box with bracket - Littelfuse makes great electrical products, and this is no exception. Really solid. Using a fuse box keeps everything nice and clean.

:) Quadratec 12v power adapter - This made the project easier, but wasn't entirely necessary.

:like: RAM Mounts Tough-Track for JL and JT - This thing is rock solid and incredibly easy to install. I especially liked that I was able to route all of my wiring internally to keep it hidden.

:like: RAM Mounts Quick-Grip waterproof wireless charging cradle - Solid grip, waterproof, rapid charge... what's not to love?

:) Waterproof dual USB outlet - Does the job; nothing exceptional.

:) Hard-wired USB adapter, QuickCharge 3.0 (rapid charging) - Same as the USB outlet; does the job but nothing exceptional.

:like: CB and HAM radio mount - Nice integration of two different communication devices. JeepUniq offers a wide variety of combinations to fit your specific CB and / or HAM radio.

:like: USB rechargeable flashlight - I know it's just a flashlight, but I really like this thing. I use it all the time. The magnetic base and lantern mode are great for working under your vehicle. I liked it so much that I bought another one for my garage.

:like:Blackvue DR900X-2CH - Great picture quality, low-profile and inconspicuous. Mounts nicely beneath the adaptive cruise control housing.

:(Blackvue B-124X Power Magic Ultimate battery pack - Great functionality, but the complete lack of mounting hardware / brackets makes it a real pain to install.
Advertisement

 
Last edited:
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
is the fuse holder for blades? Do you have any additional pics or information on it. I see the link to waytek but maybe i am blind in term of what fuses it uses.
Correct - it uses the mini ATO/ATC style fuses. I added some better pictures to the write-up above, but here's another one that shows the fuses in the fuse box.

IMG_5707.JPG
 

stylett9

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 11, 2020
Messages
283
Reaction score
347
Location
Idaho
Vehicle(s)
Jeep
Curious to know when you ordered and received your JeepUniq Radio mount? I made a purchase July 31st and have had no luck getting in contact with them to confirm an ETA on my order.
 
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Curious to know when you ordered and received your JeepUniq Radio mount? I made a purchase July 31st and have had no luck getting in contact with them to confirm an ETA on my order.
I bought mine in late January and it arrived within a couple weeks if I recall correctly. I hope everything is alright with them and that you get your item(s) soon.
 

staindvans

Member
First Name
Travis
Joined
May 24, 2019
Messages
17
Reaction score
47
Location
WI
Vehicle(s)
2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon
Your installs are super clean, i applaud you. I'm going to follow your build as it's already giving me ideas for when I finally order and receive my jeep.

/Golf clap
 

herkdriver

Active Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
26
Reaction score
5
Location
Little Rock, AR
Vehicle(s)
2020 JLURD
Phase 3: Wheels

Status: Complete

Hutchinson Rock Monster DOT-approved beadlocks

IMG_5603.JPG


Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures while I was in the process of mounting these. But, installation is really straightforward. I started by taking all five wheels and tires to a tire shop to have the tires removed from the factory wheels. Most shops won't deal with a 2-piece wheel, so I had to mount them myself. Just as well - that's what I wanted to do anyway.

After that, the included instructions are very simple:
  1. Mount the TPMS monitors to the inner cuff using the supplied brackets and hardware.
  2. Insert the inner cuff into the tire
  3. Lay the tire face down and insert the back of the wheel into the tire.
  4. Apply petroleum jelly to the O-ring and install it on the back surface of wheel face
  5. Place the tire face up
  6. Carefully place the wheel face onto the bolts on the back of the wheel
  7. Gradually tighten all of the bolts in a triangle pattern until they're all torqued to specification.
Once I had them all installed and filled to 37PSI, I drove back to the tire shop to have them balanced. Done!

A few pointers I learned as I did this:
  • Use tire lube - it helps. I used "Bull Snot". Good stuff.
  • You can use some channel-lock pliers to push the OEM valve stem and TPMS sensor out of the factory wheels. Just be careful not to damage anything.
  • The dots on the sidewall of the tires indicate the heaviest portion of the tire. Try to offset the uneven weight of the tire with the weight of the TPMS monitor and the valve stem in the wheel. It's not crucial, but it makes balancing the wheels a bit easier.
  • Have a good work surface! I tightened all of the bolts with the wheels/tires on the floor. 18 bolts per wheel x 5 wheels. That's a lot of tire wrestling. I had to kneel on the tire to keep it from moving while I tightened the bolts. It would have been much easier if I was able to strap them down to a heavy workbench. Or, even mount each wheel to the spare tire mount and do it on there. Anything would have been better than doing it on the floor.
IMG_5606.JPG


IMG_5607.JPG


:) Review: I love these wheels. If I were using stars, I would give them 4 out of 5 just because of weight. But, if you want to secure both beads and you don't want your tires to leak, these are the way to go. If you want that assurance, you deal with the weight.
How did these balance out? I had a set on a TJ years ago and tried to balance with beads but had very bad results. I just about own a twin to your JLURD and am looking at wheels/tires.
 
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
How did these balance out? I had a set on a TJ years ago and tried to balance with beads but had very bad results. I just about own a twin to your JLURD and am looking at wheels/tires.
They balanced out ok. It took quite a bit of weights on 2 wheels, but they still balanced. For what they do, I think they're worth it.
 
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
I've been pretty quiet on my build for the past couple of months. For good reason.

I had a minor heart procedure in September, so I had to slow down for a while. Ironically, that's not the reason I've been quiet. The real reason is because I had to get a replacement engine for my Wrangler.

Yup. You read that right. ENGINE REPLACEMENT. I wrote a separate post on it, here:

https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/3-0l-ecodiesel-replacement-at-3300-miles.61397/

For now, I'm going to take a little break. I need to get this awful feeling out of my gut.
 

missionale

Well-Known Member
First Name
Ron
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Messages
81
Reaction score
116
Location
San Jose, CA
Vehicle(s)
2020 JLU
I've been pretty quiet on my build for the past couple of months. For good reason.

I had a minor heart procedure in September, so I had to slow down for a while. Ironically, that's not the reason I've been quiet. The real reason is because I had to get a replacement engine for my Wrangler.

Yup. You read that right. ENGINE REPLACEMENT. I wrote a separate post on it, here:

https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/3-0l-ecodiesel-replacement-at-3300-miles.61397/

For now, I'm going to take a little break. I need to get this awful feeling out of my gut.
possible to get your stl file to print the RAM Mount USB Outlet?
 
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Dash Cam Installation

Well, after a long hiatus, I'm back with more project updates. The whole engine swap debacle and poor dealership experience left me with a sour taste in my mouth. For months. But I'm back in the swing of things!

First up is my dash cam with an auxiliary battery. I looked at dozens of options. There's certainly no lack of dash cams to choose from. I wanted something that recorded in true 4K - to give me the best picture clarity for both safety / security and for recording my offroad adventures. I also wanted something I could mount to my adaptive cruise control (ACC) housing in the middle of my windshield. I wanted to be able to have the camera remain in-place even when I lay down my windshield.

After much consideration and even trying a couple out that just didn't work out for me, I opted for the Blackvue DR900X dual channel. It offers great picture quality, cell phone viewing, the ability to automatically upload to the cloud (for security), and the ability to use auxiliary batteries for 24/7 recording.

IMG_5868.JPG


My desired mounting method proved to be the biggest challenge. Most (i.e., all) dash cams mount to your windshield using a suction cup, or directly to your dash using adhesive tape or something similar. I tried other cameras that had a top clip bracket and tried to adapt them with a ball-and-socket type of mount, but I couldn't find one that had a B&S adapter available. To mount the Blackvue DR900X, I designed my own mounting bracket that attaches directly to the ACC housing on the rollbar frame. The camera mounts directly into the bracket exactly the way it mounts into its original included bracket. The bracket I made has mounting holes that line up with the trim screw holes in the ACC housing. I even included a little JL grille "Easter Egg".

Dash Cam Bracket.jpg


IMG_5872.JPG


I like that the camera is very low profile and barely hangs down below the rear view mirror. It's barely noticeable. It's also very inconspicuous from outside the vehicle, making it less tempting for would-be thieves.

IMG_5870.JPG


I routed the power wire under the A-pillar trim and across the header to the ACC housing, then out through the rear view mirror opening. The wiring is inconspicuous - just the way I like it.

IMG_5871.JPG


The camera view is about as optimal as I could hope for. There's quite a bit of hood visible, but I think that's to be expected for any mounting position. You can also see a bit of the black dots that are printed on the edge of the windshield. Still, there's plenty of visibility, and the picture clarity is great in both daylight and low light.

PICTURES COMING SOON

The camera has the ability to record 24/7 and use both motion detection and impact detection to log events. I wanted to use that feature. Doing so requires you to have an auxiliary battery so you don't drain your vehicle battery. They make an auxiliary battery specifically for that purpose, and you can even daisy-chain multiples together if your vehicle is idle for longer periods.

IMG_5844.JPG


The functionality of the battery is great, but the mounting solution is, well, non-existent. It's the worst form factor design ever. As you can see in the photo above, the battery has rounded sides and absolutely no mounting holes or brackets. Not even square edges to try to clamp onto. They include 2 strips of self-adhesive hook-and-loop strips. That might work for a Civic, but not a Wrangler.

IMG_5848.JPG


I wanted to mount the battery under my glove box, attached beneath the HVAC blower motor. The photo above shows the approximate position I wanted it to mount in. The blower is upside-down in this photo.

IMG_5853.JPG


I initially tried making some brackets out of aluminum L-channel, but it was just going to be too bulky and a pain to install. I also would have to get them welded up a bit, which seemed like way more effort than it was worth.

Dash Cam Battery Bracket.jpg


Battery Bracket Mounting Points.jpg


Additive manufacturing saves the day again. I designed a mounting bracket and had 2 of them printed. They mount using the 4 screw holes shown in the picture above. I used some longer screws to mount the battery brackets to the HVAC blower. The battery is held in place in the brackets using some small set screws in the side holes.

IMG_5873.JPG


IMG_5875.JPG


The battery mounted up under the glove box perfectly. Nice and solid. It barely hangs down and doesn't interfere with the passenger's foot space. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but Blackvue really needs to provide a better mounting solution for the battery.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the installation. The backup battery functionality is a great feature, but I think it should come with a more integrated mounting solution. Put a mounting flange or some holes on that battery, Blackvue!

:like: Blackvue DR900X dual channel dash cam

:(Blackvue B-124X Power Magic Ultra battery pack

:)Shapeways.com - for 3D printing
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Tire Carrier

I had a few requirements when selecting my tire carrier:
  • Ability to hold at least a 37" tire with a heavy beadlock wheel, plus other recovery accessories such as a Hi-Lift jack
  • Minimal rearward protrusion
  • Solid mounting - either to the frame through the bumper, or to the tub using a reinforced mounting system
  • Ability to move the license plate from the bumper to the center of the spare
  • Ability to adjust tire position based on diameter and backspacing
  • Spare tire support while aligning lugs
Obviously, there's no lack of tire carriers (and rear bumpers) on the market. In fact, this is probably one of the most popular mods within the Jeep community. Even so, I had a tough time finding a solution that allowed me to move my license plate but retain the OE backup camera.

I like Motobilt's camera relocation solution with their spare-mounted license plate bracket with integrated camera mount. But I found two problems with this solution:
  • The bracket does not include a solution for a third brake light. Additionally, the included license plate light is pretty cheap.
  • Disconnecting the wiring to remove the bracket requires reaching behind the plate to unplug harnesses from the camera. That means the license plate has to protrude more than necessary to allow room for your hands. Plus, repeated cycling of the bolts will eventually damage the finish, leading to rust.
Motobilt license plate relocation bracket.jpg


Motobilt spare tire license plate relocation kit with camera mount

I wasn't particularly fond of Motobilt's tire carrier itself though. While it certainly had many of the features I wanted, I prefer a "manufactured" product over a "fabricated" product. To me, they just look more refined.

Another shortcoming I found with every single tire carrier is that none of them have a method for supporting the tire's weight while allowing you to align the lug bolts with the holes. Sure, you can rest your tire on the camera post sticking through the center bore of the wheel, but it won't take long to chew up both the wheel and the carrier.

After much consideration, I decided to use Smittybilt's HD Pivot tire carrier. It met almost every single requirement I had, except the license plate relocation and the ability to support the weight of the tire without damage.

Smittybilt HD Pivot tire carrier.jpg


Smittybilt HD Pivot tire carrier

After quite a bit of research and planning, and with a pretty solid concept of how I'll modify both the tire carrier and the license relocation bracket, I took the plunge.

Installation was pretty straightforward. Smittybilt doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to both packaging and instructions, but I found both to be pretty good with their tire carrier.

IMG_5800.JPG


The packaging was fantastic. All of the components were flawless. Very pleased.

IMG_5809.JPG


There were a few discrepancies in the instructions, but they were easy to figure out. I suspect they're carry-over from the JK version of the tire carrier.

IMG_5813.JPG


There are plenty of installation videos available so I'm not going to go into great detail on that part. Be prepared to remove a lot of the interior panels in the cargo area!

IMG_5826.JPG


This carrier uses a very heavy duty reinforcement bracket where the hinges mount to the tub. This is essential. Without it the tailgate would become a structural component, eventually warping and sagging from the weight. Also, without reinforcement the tub would also likely be damaged and deformed from the weight of a heavy spare tire and recovery equipment.

IMG_5829.JPG


IMG_5830.JPG


For the time being, I'm using the backup camera solution that's integral to the Smittybilt tire carrier. But I have a plan to modify the tire carrier and the Motobilt license plate relocation bracket. Stay tuned!

:) Smittybilt HD Pivot tire carrier - Great fit and finish. Packaging top notch. Instructions are pretty good. I wish it had a better license plate solution.

:)Motobilt spare tire license plate relocation kit with camera mount - Comes unfinished - that's either good or bad depending on your perspective. Thoughtful integration of both license bracket and camera relocation. Not a very good mounting or wire integration solution though.
 
OP
OP
MCJA

MCJA

Well-Known Member
First Name
Matthew
Joined
Oct 12, 2019
Messages
249
Reaction score
479
Location
Olympia, WA
Vehicle(s)
2020 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon EcoDiesel
Front Bumper

Lift kits, bumpers and tire carriers... probably the most popular first mods for any Jeep. I've said in other projects that I prefer a manufactured look over fabricated. It just makes it look more polished and "OE." There are dozens of front bumper options out there, but only a few offer the look and features I wanted.

Features:
  • "Stubby" width - for better approach angles and obstacle clearance
  • Sunken winch mount with pass-through fairlead opening
  • Winch hoop with provision for a 12" LED light bar
  • Location for fog lights (OE or aftermarket)
There are only a few companies out there that offer manufactured bumpers, such as Teraflex, Rugged Ridge, Smittybilt, and - of course - MOPAR. I almost went with the MOPAR bumper, but I liked Smittybilt's integrated LED light bar mount in the winch hoop ("over rider"), so that's what I went with.

Smittybilt Stryker stubby front bumper.jpg


I like that it also has optional wing attachments to make it a full-width bumper if that's what you're interested in. It's very similar to the MOPAR bumper, but just a bit narrower, which is what I wanted.

Unlike Smittybilt's HD Pivot tire carrier (write-up), the packaging and instructions were not great. The packaging was inadequate for the weight, and the instructions are downright terrible. I was fortunate that there was no damage to any of the components during shipping, but several of the heavier components were protruding from the box. And the instructions require a lot of trial-and-error, guess work and removal + reinstallation to get everything done. It's a great bumper, and I recommend it. If you're considering it, hopefully you can learn from some of my frustrations.

IMG_5854.JPG


Removal of the OE front bumper is pretty easy. A few bolts and a fog light wiring harness. The instructions are helpful, but not particularly detailed. Still, it was easy to figure out.

IMG_5855.JPG


Next comes installation of the winch cradle. The instructions go into about this much detail: "Install the winch cradle using the supplied M12 hardware." Well, there are 3 different lengths of said hardware with a number of washers and nuts that don't match. No telling what goes to what. Also, it completely fails to mention that you need to use spacers between the cradle and the frame horns. If you don't, the bumper will contact the grille. I had to install the cradle twice.

Winch cradle spacers.jpg


The spacers are simply 1/4" thick plates that sandwich between the winch cradle and the frame. Use the longest M12 bolts with washers and lock nuts to install the cradle, but don't tighten the hardware yet. You'll use the shorter M12 bolts with washers and lock nuts to mount the lower support gussets. You can see one of the M12 bolt heads holding the driver's side gusset in place. There are also two small oval-shaped spacers that fit between the lower support brackets and the frame rails. No mention of those in the instructions. You'll need to sandwich them in there, or it will deform both the frame rail and the lower gusset.

IMG_5857.JPG


I used a couple of pieces of scrap 2x4 lumber on top of the frame rails when installing the bumper core. They kept the bumper from rocking back and contacting the grille. I'll be installing a winch later.

IMG_5860.JPG


I purchased some KC Hilites G4 Gravity amber fog lights to use with this bumper. Unfortunately, the KCs are about 1/8" inch deeper (front to back) than the OE fog lights. Doesn't seem like much, but it was just enough to contact the winch cradle. Bummer. I had to remove the bumper core to remove them and install the OE fog lights.

IMG_5864.JPG


Once the bumper core was in place, I positioned the over rider bar and installed the socket head bolts using the supplied nut plates. You'll use a total of 8 socket head bolts on front and 4 button head screws on top (2 on each side). You'll have 4 socket head bolts left - those are used to mount the lower skid plate to the bumper. Also note the long, skinny bracket on the floor in front of the bumper. There's no mention of that in the instructions, but that's used to secure the skid plate to the frame rail extensions (hanging down beneath the frame rails). I recommend you loosely install that skinny bracket onto the skid plate before bolting the skid plate to the bumper. Also, be sure to keep all of the hardware a bit loose until you get everything in, then tighten it all up.

IMG_5866.JPG


The bumper has license plate mounting holes - which is great for states like mine that require a front plate. The contour of the bumper around the fairlead opening is in the way though, so the plate won't seat flush against the bumper. You'll need to use some spacers or washers to stand the plate off of the bumper surface.

Once I had everything torqued to specification, I check the lights to make sure everything was working.

Next I attempted to install a Rough Country 12" Black Series single row LED light bar in the over-rider bar. The bar has two mounting tabs welded on the back surface specifically for mounting a light bar. The tabs are 13 3/4" apart - perfect for a 12" light bar. The problem is that the tabs are really short; they only protrude about 1 1/2". Also, they use an open-ended slot rather than a closed-end slot for mounting the light bar. The Rough Country light bar was too big (measured from the front face to the center of the mounting holes on the sides of the light bar). The center of the mounting holes was right at the end of the mounting tabs on the bumper over-rider. When I tried to tighten down the mounting hardware on the light bar, it would just pop off of the tabs. If the tabs were 2" long and used a closed slot, they would have been perfect.

I tried all kinds of different methods to mount the RC light bar using the mounting brackets that came with it as well as some extra mounting brackets that came with the bumper. No dice. I had to return the RC light bar.

Defeated, I looked for other options and found the Rigidhorse 12" single row LED light bar. The depth of this light bar (front to back) is much smaller than the Rough Country light bar. And, more specifically, the distance from the front face to the center of the side mounting holes was about 3/8" less. That allowed me to use the mounting tabs on the over-rider to mount the light bar.

But it still wasn't easy... the Rigidhorse bar is about 1/8" too wide to fit between the mounting tabs. I had to bend them outward just a bit to get it to fit. But it fit.

IMG_5885.JPG


Once it was installed, it looked as if it was a matched set. The contours inside the light bar bezel line up perfectly with the opening in the over-rider bar.

IMG_5886.JPG


Summary: If Smittybilt would update their instructions and packaging, I think this bumper would be a 5 star item. The bumper itself is great - it's high quality, looks and fits great, and has a lot of thoughtful design features. But the poor instructions and trial-and-error hardware really detract from the product - those get 1 star at best. I would give this 3 stars overall.

:) :( Smittybilt Stryker stubby front bumper

The Rigidhorse light bar seems solid. Time will tell how it holds up to moisture and off-road abuse. It's not as robust as other light bars I've used, and at the price point I'm not sure you're getting top quality. So far, so good.

:) Rigidhorse 12" single row LED light bar
 
Last edited:
Advertisement

Icon Vehicle Dynamics
 
Advertisement
Top