If you've never removed the stock rear bumper before, it can be a little intimidating. You have to tug quite hard to get the side plastic pieces off, so you may want to pop a screwdriver between the plastic and the truck to help you out. Once they’re free you’ll hear a distinct ‘pop’. Once you get the sides popped out and the rest of the screws out, the rear bumper comes off very easily.
The most tricky part of this (and virtually every other FJ Cruiser rear bumper install), is cutting the stock plastic that will be re-used. There is no good way to template what needs to be removed, so it’s a bit of a guessing game. LoD includes several pictures and instructions that are as exact as possible to make sure you get it right, so read and re-read these steps as many times as you need. We ended up leaving on more plastic than needed and then trimming as required just to make sure we didn’t cut off too much.
After 45 minutes of measuring, looking, and cutting we were able to re-mount the plastic portion of the OEM bumper. Some don’t like the fact that you retain this much plastic with a rear bumper, but I personally think it helps to maintain the lines of the FJ better. There are a few bumpers available that don’t re-use the rear plastic. See our rear bumper comparison (Jan 2011 issue) for details on all your bumper options.
The remainder of the install went fairly quick. The only task that took quite a bit of time was drilling through the frame. LoD specifies the holes to drill (there are four total), so review the instructions and make sure you have new, high quality drill bits to do the job right. Remember the key to drilling the frame is to use slow speed and to keep the bit well cooled/lubricated.
The bumper is attached to the FJ Cruiser with 12 bolts total. There are four in the center where the receiver hitch attaches, two underneath into the frame on each side (4 total), and four that you drill/tap yourself (although we chose to drill straight through the frame and use carriage bolts for these four). There is no doubt that this bumper will handle anything you throw at it.
Some of the design features we really like about the LoD Rear Bumper include the sloped corners, integrated lights, and two heavy duty recovery points. The receiver hitch doesn’t take away too much clearance (we’ll probably add an Outrider Bumper Saver for trail use), and the overall look compliments the FJ very well.
The swingout can support up to a 37” tire, and we’ll be adding the jerry can mounts and cargo rack as soon as they come in. The adjustable linkage on the swingout also makes it easy to fine-tune how everything lines up, so it’s easy to achieve a rattle free installation. We also really like the Zirk fitting on the swingout pin to help keep it well lubricated.
We’ll be hitting the trail a couple of times this fall to put this bumper through its paces. We’ll be sure to test every aspect of it from recovery to performance on tight trails, so look for that full review in the January 2011 issue of FJC Magazine.
LoD Off Road