QUESTION:

I’d like to upgrade my Fortuner’s front and rear bumpers to aftermarket units, but can only afford to change one bumper for now. Which one should I start with, the front or the rear?

ANSWER:

Let’s start with the most important point first: if you regularly travel at night, or on rural roads, an aftermarket front bumper could save your life. It will also provide an ideal mounting point for auxiliary lights.

The downside to fitting a steel bull-bar is that some 4x4s with independent front suspension will “feel” the effects of the bumper’s weight, whereas a steel bumper fitted to the rear of a vehicle (over a solid axle) seldom has an impact.

Another important point to remember is that many vehicle manufacturers won’t honour a vehicle’s warranty once a front bumper is installed. In contrast, a rear bumper is scrutinised far less often.

We often have clients who can’t decide between two possible upgrades to their 4×4, and when this happens, we usually suggest the ‘knock-on’ approach. This is, in essence: find the modification that leads to other systematic improvements.

Ford Ranger Arctic Truck (123 of 211)

A terrific example of such a modification is in fact, a rear bumper. In many cases, an aftermarket rear bumper will also include a tow-bar, recovery points, high-lift jacking points, a landing step to access your roof rack, and the invaluable addition of a swing-arm spare-wheel carrier.

bumper

Many 4x4s have their spare wheel mounted under the chassis, but a swing-arm carrier allows you to relocate your spare wheel to a far more accessible location – an invaluable feature when the mercury’s touching on 40ºC, the road is baking hot, and there’s nothing but a bed of thorns to lie on. The knock-on effect in this instance is that the free space (newly created under the chassis) can then be used for the fitment of an auxiliary fuel / water tank. The bumper also creates additional packing space and mounting points for things like a braai grid, jerry cans and a high-lift jack.

BumperIn most cases, a rear bumper will provide more knock-on benefits than a front bumper; however, scorecards aren’t the only things that matter, and the importance (or advantage) of each feature is also critical. Obviously, the biggest benefit to fitting a steel bull-bar is the safety feature it provides, and, as we all know, there’s a very popular phrase that says, “Safety first”.

Rear bumper

FACTS TO CONSIDER
A Front Bumper…
• Protects against livestock
• Increases approach-angle
• Provides robust recovery points
• Provides a place to fit auxiliary lights
• Provides a place to mount a 4×4 winch
BUT
• May require a suspension upgrade
• Is not always airbag compliant
• May affect the vehicle warranty
Priced from R13 995

A REAR BUMPER…

• Includes a removable tow-bar
• Provides a small increase in departure angle
• Provides robust recovery points
• Makes the spare tyre more accessible
• Frees up underbody space for an auxiliary fuel / water tank
• Provides a step-up for roof-rack access
• Is seldom an issue with vehicle warranty
• Needs no airbag compliance
• In most cases, doesn’t require a suspension upgrade
• Provides additional space to mount other accessories: braai grid, jerry cans and high-lift jack
• Allows the option of carrying two spare tyres
Priced from R15 950

Contact Leon Collett on (012) 803 1040 for more information on off-road bumpers for your 4×4. Or call Peter at our JHB branch on (011) 791 3822. info@4wdtruckin.co.za 

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