Rear Bumper Design
A rear winch bumper with tire and tool racks
For my 1994 Ram expedition truck, I needed a rear winch bumper and a swinging
rack to mount the spare tire on the rear of the truck. Bill
Swails had a wonderful custom aluminum bumper fabricated by Denver OffRoad
but, it took considerable time to have it built and the price was frightening.
Unable to find a commercial supplier for a suitable utility bumper, I decided
to design one myself and have a local welding shop do the fabrication. The original
design was to feature storage inside the bumper, a Warn M12000 winch, and a
swing-away rack for the spare tire, hi-lift jack, water/fuel cans, and tools.
The rack would be hinged on the driver side of the truck. Weight for a steel
bumper system was estimated to be around 275 pounds plus the winch, tools, tires,
and cans - bringing the total load to about 630 pounds. After playing around
on paper, I made a full size cardboard model of the bumper to see how the mounting
and positioning would work. The rack design was put off while I worked on the
||The Diamond utility bumper that came with the utility bed
||Cardboard model of original bumper design
As time grew shorter before we were scheduled to leave for our Alaska vacation,
I continued work on the design details but discovered that the shop which usually
did my welding was completely covered up by a large construction contract and
would not be able to handle any additional work. I began looking for another
shop but, on the way to work one morning, I found a 6 1/2' long piece of 10"
channel iron laying in the road and the plans changed instantly. The channel
was a bumper which had broken free from its brackets (poor quality welding).
All it needed to become my bumper was a new set of brackets, which could be
attached with angle and bolts (no welding needed!). I had assorted pieces of
1/4", 5/15", and 3/8" plate, plus miscellaneous pieces of channel,
angle, and diamond plate laying around. If I was lucky, this thing could cost
|| Inspiration came from a HD
Bronco bumper on the Big
Bronco Tech page . This bumper was a piece of 5"x4" steel
I-beam, and the racks (including the hinge and latch) were completely home
|| More inspiration came from a home built Chevy front bumper
in the neighborhood. Gary's bumper used a 6'2" piece of 10" channel,
mounted a Warn M10000 winch, and included a fixed tire rack.
My bumper would be crude but serviceable for the trip.
If everything was bolted together, I could revise the design later. With only
four weeks to our departure date, I went to work with a band saw.
|| An off-the-shelf rack system made for Jeeps by Durango 4X4
looked as if it could be attached to any HD bumper with a minimum of work.
|Figuring it was much quicker and easier to buy
an engineered system than it would be to "hang stuff" on my bumper,
I ordered the Durango YJ tire rack, the optional Hi-lift jack/jerry can
rack, and the mountain rack. So much for costing little!