When I first
bought my '92 Samurai, I was afraid of the definite lack of protection from the front and
rear. My old Dodge Charger had huge bumpers to keep me out of trouble. The stock Suzuki
bumpers are a joke. One kick with a good boot will dent them. I immediately had a
"brush guard" built for the front end that could stand a good jolt. Figure 1
shows the brush guard and stock bumper after taking out an eight inch tree. With out the
additional protection of the bar, I wouldn't have been able to drive home that day. Now I
had two options, I could use a sticker that says "Place tree here", or get a new
by Bill Johnston
I chose to go with the Crawler Front Bumper from Summit Off-Road.
The company has just undergone a name change, so you will now find them as Rocky Road
Outfitters but the equipment still has the same famous "lifetime" warranty, You buy it for Life! The Crawler was a bolt on upgrade. We
had to grind off the aftermarket brush guard, but if you are still running just the stock
bumper, it should only take about 1.5 hours to install.
I had to borrow a grinder to take off the
aftermarket brush guard. What I didn't plan on was the interest my friend (the owner of
the grinder). He came by to drop it off, and ended up helping with the install. The brush
guard had been welded to the frame above and around the bumper to the factory tow hooks at
the front of the vehicle. These had to be removed anyway so no loss. The way the brush
guard was mounted made it easier to just grind it off instead of unbolting the hooks. For
those with the stock front bumper, all you have to do is remove the bolts at the ends of
the bumper where it attaches to the "ears" of the front tube (see figure 4). If
you follow the wiring behind the turn signals, you can disconnect the wiring harness under
the hood. It will all pull out to make it easier to install in the new bumper. Then remove
the factory tow hooks that are attached to the frame. Keep the bolts, these will be used
later to attach the bumper.
At this point you must remove the grill to make the front body
mounting bolts accessible. They are located right next to the headlights. Figure 9 shows
the difference between the stock body pad (right) and the new pad (left) included in the
kit. The new pad must be thinner to provide room for the bracket, giving the bumper
additional mounting points. These give the Crawler additional stability by using 6
mounting points instead of just four. The bumper bracket mounting points position vary
just a little from vehicle to vehicle. Years of use and abuse will flex your frame enough
to make pre-drilled holes a problem. Because of this, the bolt hole must be drilled
according to your vehicle. To make this easy, just bolt up the Crawler to
the mounting points shown in figure 8. Adjust the Crawler so that it is straight and
perpendicular to the ground. Then mark the upper bracket through the bolt hole shown in
figure 10 (both left and right sides). Remove the Crawler and drill the holes as marked.
Now you are ready for the final assembly. Bolt the
bumper back on loosely using the four frame bolts, then insert the front body mount bolts
using the thinner rubber pads. the bottom bolt on the passenger side is shown in figure
15. Make sure everything is straight, then tighten everything down. Plug the wiring
harness back in and check the lights to make sure everything works.
Now your ready to hit the trails!