Most DIY Steel Bumper Plans and Kits Are Garbage
We don't want to name names - and we're obviously a bit biased - but we think most DIY steel bumper plans and kits are garbage. Yes, garbage. Here's why:
- Most plans and kits have no internal bracing! This is insane. Building a steel bumper without adding internal bracing is a recipe for disaster. Bracing dramatically increases the strength of the bumper, which is important considering a bumper can save your bacon in a crash. To say nothing of the fact that unbraced bumpers can fall apart the first time you try and anchor a winch to one.
- Most plans and kits assume everyone knows how to weld. No offense, but most people don't know how to weld. Welding is an art. It takes years to get good at it. If only we had a nickel for every garbage weld we saw on a DIY bumper. NOTE: To be fair, a lot of mass-produced steel bumpers have garbage welds, too. Welding is hard, and it costs money to hire people that do it right. Cheap mass-produced bumpers often have garbage welds.
- Most kits and plans don't design for safety. We take bumper safety very seriously because the last thing we want is for one of our bumpers to get someone hurt. We design our bumpers with crashworthiness in mind. A lot of the kits and plans on the market are designed with looks in mind. And because the companies selling plans and kits can lay any responsibility on the consumer, they don't worry about making sure their designs are safe.
- Most kits and plans aren't precise enough to look factory spec. If you don't care about having a bumper that is crooked or that sticks out more on one side than the other, then this is no big deal. But if you want a factory fit, you're going to have a hard time with most DIY kits. And a lot of plans call for using shims or big washers to get the bumper positioned correctly...which is insane when you think about it.
If you're reading this and thinking, "These guys just want to sell me a bumper," you're half right.
- If you're not an experienced welder, we think buying a bumper is safer than building one.
- If you're buying a DIY kit or set of plans that don't include internal bracing, we think buying a bumper is safer than building one.
But this doesn't mean you have to buy one of our bumpers. We'd much rather see trucks with competitor's bumpers than DIY disasters waiting to happen. A bumper is a piece of safety equipment, America. Don't cut corners.