Let's define function: clearance, construction integrity, protection, able to perform extractions (both ways), able to care gear (fuel can, spare tire and rim, D-shackles, CB antenna, Hi-Lift Jack, license plate with illuminator); and to do so securely in typical off-roading scenarios.
Clearance remains a constant primarily because of how the bumper attaches to the frame and rear cross-member. The 8 upward bolts and the 4 cross-member bolts remain tightly in place since install. The angles and lines have not changed, thus the integrity of the overall construction remains intact, including the swing-out arm, which is hinged to the bumper via a solid post. Nathan Wright of CBI explains the mechanics as such: “The spindle is 1 ½” and the brass bushings fit inside a milled out hub. The bushings are oil-impregnated brass bushings.” The result is a swing-out that moves in a fluid fashion and shows no sign of wearing out.
CBI offers a jerry can carrier attachment that installs to pre-drilled holes on the swing-out arm. The lower part of the arm allows for the attachment of a Hi-Lift jack, license plate, and a light for illuminating the plate (light is included with the swing-out). The bulb eventually broke due to off-roading and could not be removed from the socket. I replaced the entire assembly with a LED, which should be able to better withstand bumpy travels.
Placement of the D-shackles is ideal. I’ve been extracted twice via the rear bumper, and have extracted a number of trucks, including a ¾ ton Dodge diesel quad-cab with engine failure out of a rocky riverbed, strapped to the rear bumper. The solid design has maintained rigidity. This is affirmed by the number of times the rear end has dropped to land on a ledge when crawling. The thud of the bumper landing on a hard surface is never a joyful moment, but knowing that my truck is able to continue intact is.
My biggest concern was the ability for the spare tire holder to withstand the up-and-downs of off-roading while holding a heavy 33” mud-terrain tire and rim. This component allows for flexure and thus reduces the opportunity for breakage, and has retained its original shape.
So is everything perfect? Almost. I experienced issues with two things. First, the spring-loaded pin, which is designed to prevent the arm from swinging into another lane should you forget to screw in the swing-out latch, failed recently. As the arm swings open, a small ramp attached to the hinge pushes the pin upward until the pin meets a hole and locks in place. The ramp bent the pin, preventing vertical movement. I was able to unthread the pin and remove it for continued use of the arm. I contacted CBI with a photo of the bent pin and they shipped me a replacement. Second, the small cable they sent with the bumper is designed to prevent the screw latch from falling to the ground and possibly disappearing should it become unscrewed while driving. The cable snapped during an off-road outing. An easy fix was made by replacing it with thicker cable.
While minor, these two infractions do affect the safety of the bumper. Therefore, I grant the bumper a grade of an A- for this long-term review. I feel confident that this bumper will continue to perform as expected for many years.
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