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THE ROCKBOX GETS
BULLETPROOF XJ BUMPERS

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

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The rear bumper operation was similar to the front. Remove the original bumper and use existing holes to mount the new one. We had a hitch on our Cherokee previously so it needed to be removed first. The tricky part of the rear bumper was getting the hardware inside of the Jeep's frame. Once again, patience will pay off here, as it can really test your temper trying to line everything up in there.

Bulletproof Bumper
Underneath, you can see the two air fittings in the bumper (red). The standard bumper mounts only to the crossmember. We chose the additional undercarriage mount.
Bulletproof Bumper
Here you can see both the standard crossmember mount (top) and the optional undercarriage mounting (bracket with 5 bolts in it) that secure the bumper for towing and give it plenty of extra support.

Once the bumper is on, we were still left with another decision to make. The Cherokee came with plastic body cladding that extended back behind the rear wheel and met up with the original bumper in a very clean manner. With our new bumper on, however, one of several things had to be done.

  1. Cut the cladding down so it didn't interfere with the Bulletproof bumper
  2. Take the cladding off and be finished with the job
  3. Add Bulletproof's diamond plate guards for additional protection and a rock-ready look

We chose to go with option number three. The cladding comes off easily and was held on with a metal bracket, which was riveted to the body of the Jeep. Once you remove the bracket, there is pretty much no going back. We tried to pry the bracket off but decided that it would bend the sheet metal. We used our RotoZip to cut it off and smooth the left-over metal down.

Bulletproof Bumper
In order to put the diamond plate armor on the sides, you need to remove the cladding brackets. To do this cleanly, you'll need to cut them off and grind them down flat.
Bulletproof Bumper
Once the bracket is removed, file the rivet hole edges so they are nice and smooth. Then clean the area so your silicone will adhere nicely.

Once you have the bracket off, you have to be bold one more time. Using silicone, we stuck the diamond plate in place where we wanted it. We then drilled pilot holes in the Jeep's sheet metal through the holes already in the plate from Bulletproof. We then carefully put the provided self-tapping screws through and cinched up the diamond plate to the body. The trick here is to check that the diamond plate is straight then check again. We drilled holes and inserted screws a couple at a time to make sure nothing moved as we put them all in. Once the plates were in place, we used a black paint pen and blackened all of the shiny screw heads.

Bulletproof Bumper
Once the diamond plate is screwed on the back is finished.
Bulletproof Bumper
The diamond plate really completes the overall look.

The diamond plate guards add a nice, finished look and add a good bit of protection to the back of the Jeep. The diamon plate also reinforces the body by stiffeening it up. However, because of the complex shape of the sheet metal, it would be nearly impossible for them to be fabricated to perfectly match the curves of the body. Therefore, the lower-most area of the sheet metal is still exposed. In Moab, we did manage to get a little bit of body damage here but it's pretty much not noticeable at a glance and would probably work right out if we tried.

Bulletproof Bumper
Because of the curve of the sheetmetal, it would be nearly impossible to form the diamond plate perfectly. Going all the way to the bottom would not fit well and would look silly.
Bulletproof Bumper
The down-side to the guard not going all the way is the potential for some sheetmetal damage, as seen here. Nothing a little tugging probably won't pull back out.

Because the Cherokee is a much more finished-looking SUV than say a Wrangler, building bumpers that are not only functional, but that also look good is a tall order. Bulletproof has come about as close as we could expect anyone to come and we are quite happy with how everything looks.

Testing the Bumpers --->>>

 

 
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