Although I ran into a few minor problems with my install, it
was very easy. My problems were the result of my unfortunate
circumstance of living in the rustbelt of this great country.
I'll get into those minor problems a bit down the line.
Ben Smith came
by BAR Offroad on a Saturday afternoon to assist in the installation
of the tire carrier. Ben is a real asset to the 4x4 community,
in addition to making a fantastic product. You couldnt ask
for a nicer guy and you could consider it the icing on the cake
of a great product.
We started the
installation by opening the package to insure that all hardware
was included. Since my bumper was hand-delivered, I was confident
that everything would be included. However, my product was
no different than what the normal consumer would receive.
In fact, Ben had removed my bumper from inventory, so no special
packaging was included. He brought it to me as if it were being
delivered by a freight company. Speaking of which, as with
most tire carriers, the carrier is too large and heavy to be delivered
by conventional UPS or FedEx methods. All tire carriers are
shipped via truck freight from Runck Equipment.
Upon opening the hardware package, I found the following hardware
and instruction sheet. Here is the list of hardware that comes with
the bumper. It is important to note the reinforcement brackets,
as they are instrumental in the strength of this setup.
a list below that shows all of the hardware that was included with
the bumper/tire carrier combo. All of the hardware is Grade
8. Many manufacturers include Grade 5 hardware, which is not
as strong, and will break much easier than the more desired Grade
8 hardware. Just another selling point for using Runck Equipment.
Right Top Frame Bracket
7/16 x 1 ¼ bolts with installation tails
7/16 serrated nuts
7/16 x 4 Bolts
Left Top Frame Bracket
7/16 x 1 ¼ bolts
7/16 Flat Washers
7/16 Nuts with installation tails
I insured the instruction sheet included all that it was supposed
to, then Ben and I were on our way to the install. Click on
the instructions above to view them full-size in Adobe Acrobat.
by installing the support brackets. This procedure went very
quickly, with the only snafu being one tricky bolt per side that
must be slid through a hole in the frame (Figure 1).
Once the brackets were in place (Figures 2 - 5), it was time to
move onto the bumper. Total time to complete this initial
step was about 15 minutes, including the unpacking of the bumper
and all hardware.
the bumper support bracket mounting hardware
of the winged bolt in the frame for the bumper support bracket.
in place, hardware still loose.
of the top frame rail support bracket.
upper and bumper support brackets installed.
This particular bumper is built for a '97 and newer TJ with
no body lift. My Jeep had a 1" body lift and the swing
arm still cleared the rear tail lights. In the event that
you have a larger body lift, you may find it necessary to relocate
the rear tail lights. This can be done by drilling three holes
in the taillight itself, lowering the distance needed to clear the
swing arm, or you could upgrade to flush-mounted LED
It should be
noted that neither Ben nor I got out a drill during this entire
process. The Runck setup uses all existing holes in the frame
for ease of installation for the consumer. It is important
to leave all bolts loose until the bumper is fully installed to
ease the installation of the product. If you do not, you may have
trouble lining the bolt holes up correctly.
The swing arm
removes rather easily from the bumper by pulling up on the base
of the arm. By doing this, you remove some of the weight and
it makes it simpler to install just the bumper. Even after
removing the swing arm, you will want a friend around to help you
steady the bumper while you feed the bolts through the appropriate
holes and get nuts started on them.
Once the bumper
was installed by bolting it onto the cross member, we then attached
the top brackets and lower brackets to the bumper. Once all
of the attachments were made, we tightened all of the nuts and bolts
down. After the installation of the lower bumper, we installed
the swing arm to the tire carrier. You can see in Figure 6
what the unit looks like without the swing arm installed to the
bumper. Total time to complete this phase of the project was
about 15 minutes, bringing the total install time to 30 minutes
at this point.
After installing the swing arm to the bumper and tightening up all
of the bolts, I replaced the tail lights and lenses. Although
this step isn't necessary for all applications, I included this
procedure in the overall time it took to complete the install.
I removed the tail lights with the initial thought that the swing
arm would not clear them when installed. This was not the
case, and the lenses bolted back on with no problem after the swing
arm installation. This took about 5 minutes, bringing the
total time to 35 minutes.
The lower frame bolts which give support to the stock setup
were rusted in place. I ended up having to run to the hardware
store and spending $8.12 for a 7/16" die and a couple of stainless
steel 7/16" x 1" bolts and washers. The nut in the
frame was in pretty bad shape so I just used the die to turn it
out to a 7/16" size hole (from 10 mm) and then used new hardware.
won't occur on every Jeep, it is a common problem and is by no means
a fault of Runck's. The bolts in the frame of the Jeep are
often susceptible to mud and water getting trapped in the frame
rail. This damaging mound of earth and moisture eats away
at the nut in the frame, along with the bolt threaded into it. Over
time, the obvious occurs.
with Ben, he was already working on the issue. Ben is going
to start including these bolts in the hardware list. This way, all
you would have to do is possibly tap out the nutsert if it is rusted
too badly. This is just another example of Runck going the
extra mile to make it a snap to install their poduct.
I included this
step to show what problems may arise, and in doing so, have included
the time it took me to complete this step. The total time
for this procedure was 25 minutes, including the trip to the
hardware store. Total time invested in the install - one hour.
The last step I had to complete was to change the bolt pattern
from 5 on 4.5" to 5 on 5.5" and mount the tire.
I highly recommend to those that have to complete this step to do
so before you put the tire carrier on the bumper. It
is much easier to work on the tire carrier with the tools you need
to complete this step when the bumper is on the ground and not on
the back of your already-lifted Jeep.
With a simple
hammer, I had the wheel studs pressed out of the 4.5" bolt
circle holes, and pressed back into the 5.5" bolt circle holes.
Runck pre-drills for both bolt patterns for those that have upgraded
their axles. After getting the bolts pressed in, I mounted
the 38" tire on the carrier. I would be lying if I didn't
say that getting that 38" tire up to the tire carrier and mounted
was the hardest part of the whole install.
The total time
to complete this step was 30 minutes (5 minutes on bolt pattern
bolts, 10 minutes to mount the 38" tire, and 15 minutes to
recover from the pain exerted on my back from hoisting the 38"
tire on to the carrier by myself. Total time on the project
- 1 hour, 30 minutes.
This time figure
doesn't include the time that I spent taking the old bumper off
of the Jeep. Since it had failed and was in pieces when I
took it off, the old bumper was a snap to remove. I didn't
include this time because removal times of the old equipment will
vary depending on what type of bumper you currently have on your
Jeep, if any.
bumper with tirer carrier swing out removed.
bumper as it was when unpacked.
After the install, I cleaned up the Jeep and took it for a spin.
The 38" tire completely blocks the view of any traffic that
may be directly behind the Jeep. I didn't expect any other
result, and only fault myself for that. After all, I'm the one that
had to stick with the trend of going bigger.
I found the
hardware list to be complete with everything that you need to finalize
the install, short of the hand tools that you will need. I
used an 11/16" socket, 5/8" socket, 10mm socket, 7/16"
die, Phillips head screwdriver, and an air gun to complete the installation.
Total installation time was about 90 minutes, excluding the extra
45 minutes I spent looking for tools.
Overall, I really
like this bumper. Besides being able to carry the 38"
tire, which was my main concern, it has enhanced a weak part of
my Jeep in both the strength area and the protection area.
I would strongly urge those that are looking to add a heavy duty
rear tire carrier from a reputable company to their ride to consider
| All About It | Installation