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THE ROCKBOX GETS
BULLETPROOF XJ BUMPERS

By Mike "TXJEEPER" Cohn

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But the big question is how do they function, right? Well, as soon as we finished installing them, we loaded the Jeep up and headed to Moab. What better place to test a set of bumpers! Moab's trails are non-stop rockcrawling fun. With plenty of rocks, ledges, and near-vertical climbs and drops, we couldn't think of a better place to go abuse our new armor - and abuse it we did!

Both ends took quite a beating as we traversed the Golden Spike trail - especially when we took it across the Golden Crack. With the Cherokee's long front overhang, there was little choice but to drop the front end into the crack and let it fall until the bumper stopped it. Once it did, getting out the other side meant pushing the Jeep against the bumper and sliding it up the other side of the crack. Shoving the Jeep's front bumper against the crack did little to phase it, other than a little missing powder coat at the contact points. Around the corner at Double Whammy, we bounced the Jeep's rear bumper on the rocky ground a few times with the same result.

Bulletproof Bumper
Dropping into the Golden Crack
Bulletproof Bumper
Burying the front end and shoving it across

But perhaps the biggest tests would come the following day on the Hell's Revenge trail. The rear bumper would take the brunt of our efforts at the Dump Bump, where we slid off the slickrock and landed repeatedly on the rear bumper with all of our weight. Not a problem.

Bulletproof Bumper
Catching the rear on the Dump Bump
Bulletproof Bumper
Taking a nose-dive into Mickey's Hot Tub

The final big test was further into the trail, however, at Mickey's Hot Tub. We took the interesting way in and the Cherokee pretty much did a free-fall into the tub, stopping on its front bumper, while the rear wheels danced in the air above. A careful release of the brakes allowed the Jeep to force its way down into the tub, sliding the front bumper along the ground until it broke free and the Jeep leveled out on all fours. But we weren't finished yet. The other end of the hot tub is even steeper and is nearly straight-up. The Cherokee eased its way up the exit, scraping the ground behind it as we made our first run at getting out. Sliding back down into the tub, the Jeep came to rest on the back bumper again. We needed to back up and adjust our line but the rear bumper was wedged into the ground. Putting the Jeep into reverse, we pushed the bumper backward until it freed up. We then made our last run at the exit and climbed on out.

Bulletproof Bumper
Scrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaape
Bulletproof Bumper
Pausing on our rear bumper before exiting the tub

Looking back at the bottom of the hot tub revealed a nice scrape line where dragged the bumper through it. Looking at our bumpers, we found no damage whatsoever, other than scratched powder coating. Amazing. The bumpers passed our Moab test with flying colors. The scrapes are no big deal and can be touched up easily with some semi-gloss black Rust-Oleum.

Bulletproof Bumper
The results of our Moab abuse tests...
Bulletproof Bumper
...nothing a little Rust-Oleum won't fix right up.

 

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