Custom ARB bumper
Here in Australia the standard ARB type bullbars are all that you see and heavy duty bumpers are nearly non existent. I also wanted that clean un-cluttered look as it makes it far easier to clean and saves a lot in weight too. I then looked around at the different styles that ARB make which was fairly easy as the factory is five minutes from my house. I even asked if I could have the prototype pieces out of the scrap bin but the engineers wouldn't allow it. So I decided on an 80 series Landcruiser as I like how it tapers up at the sides giving greater clearance and you see more of the front tyre. These are also very common and never a week goes by without seeing them for sale second hand. They range in price from one with damage at $30 to $300 usd. for ones in good nick. There are 30 - 40 bullbars being sold every week just in my city and metro area with around half being ARB and TJM bars. XJ stuff pretty rare though.
Above shows what I have collected covering the whole price range with the all alloy bar being what I was going to do first off a Ford Courier but didn't like the look of it because of my already chrome grille and white car, it was a bit much. The red one behind it is off a Hilux and the behind that is another 80 series bar. On the left is my old 3" alloy nudge bar which I am going to sell leaning on an XJ bar that has now had the same treatment as mine with a class 3 hitch added to it. You can see how that turned out here. Behind that is one off a GQ Nissan Patrol that I was thinking of using to make a matching rear bar. The guys I got most of these off I would like to thank for making this project possible.
The first thing to do is remove the bar work with an oxy which saved 14 kgs already and then removed the Land Cruiser mounts leaving 1/2" at the joins on the inside between the sections.
A trial fit was done to see if I liked what I saw and also to determine how much I had to narrow it by. I had to shorten it just under 6" to get it to the right width. I had earlier removed the lower portions of the flare and guards like the late model XJ's which is shown on page 5 to get the look I was after and more clearance for my tyres. The cut was made off centre as that's where most of the damage was and the lower centre section was cut out and 3" cut out each side of it and then welded back in the centre.
The wings were cut to the right length to follow the flare line and a plate welded in to give a neater appearance and more strength. After that I decided that I didn't like the indicators in the bar so I cut metal and welded it in to the mounts to give the clean lines I was after.
I used 1/4" plate to make the mounts and made them the same as the factory tow hook design which picks up an extra hole further down the frame. I then ran two lots of bracing off this to the original ARB tow eyes so I could use them. The weight after cutting it shorter and replacing the brackets ended up 19 kgs lighter at 26 kgs. The standard bumper weighs 14 kgs with brackets and there was no noticeable drop in suspension height between the two.
The bar was then completely stripped of all paint before being taken down to the spray painters to be hit with Two Pac enamel and than baked in the oven. The chrome tow hooks were tried on but swapped for black ones and bolted through the 8 mm thick plate that I had welded in underneath previously. I wish to thank Dave and Stuart of D & S Plose spray painting for the great paint job.
Another 'topless' XJ ARB bumper with hidden hitch