It's here, it's installed, it's beefy, and it's beautiful! This isn't meant to be a technical review, I'll leave that to those who are more knowledgeable about technical things. I just want to show some of my installation photos and give some general thoughts about this incredible piece of equipment.
For starters, I was totally impressed just with the box alone when I saw this on the outside. Sure enough, not only was everything there, but he included more than I expected (wheel well liner retainers, blue Loctite, detailed instructions including bumper removal). Those simple details make a difference.
Proudly made in the USA!
This was my first time removing the front bumper, very simple.
This picture of the driver's side shows the three holes that need to be drilled out, the two in front and then the second one on the left. His instructions make this more than clear.
I was nervous when his instructions said I would need a right angle drill. Lowes has a right angle attachment for $20 but I was able to skip that and reach it with no problems. Just make sure you go slow (max rpm, slow in applying pressure) because the tip can snag the openings and stop the bit.
You also have to hammer down this lip, which was quick and easy. As you lay on the ground under the front to do this, hammer from the side, not from the front.
After drilling, I not only sprayed some paint to stop rust, but I also sprayed some rubberized undercoating inside and out where the brackets would sandwich the frame rail. By installing the brackets with the rubber still wet, it squishes out and makes a great seal. (this picture is of the paint, no undercoating yet)
Brackets finger tight. When I unpacked the brackets I was totally impressed at how thick they are, and the textured powder coat is very
well done. Even after torquing all bolts to 120 ft/lbs it did not chip off!
As for the crossmember, this thing is just incredible. I cannot imagine a scenario where it could ever be damaged or fail during use.
I don't intend to ride around with the shackles swinging around, but it looks so great!
I need to paint my bumper again and wished I would have had the time while it was on the ground, but I did take the time to clean up my wheel well trim job and am very happy with how that turned out. I was able to pull the bottom of the liner up with some wire so that it is still in place and functional too.
It took about 1.5 hours from start to finish with no issues along the way. Very easy to install. I found and printed the installation instructions from his website because I've become used to not receiving them, so it was a pleasant surprise that they were included. They are extremely detailed as well and there was never a point that I was confused about how to proceed.
I know it's not a full bumper but I can't help but appreciate that my front end is now much stronger. I realize it is meant for recovery, but this thing could also go in the "armor" category. He is currently working on a bull bar that is actually strong and functional as opposed to the cheap Ebay/Westin/Chinese junk out there, so I can't wait to see what he comes up with.
I am very thorough when thinking my mods through and I'm happy with everything I've done, but this would run neck and neck with the long arms in terms of favorite mods.
Last, but certainly not least, I can't say thank you enough to Kris Fox, owner of Fawkes Offroad. The guy is simply fantastic and was extremely patient with me as I took my time deciding about my purchase. I was under the impression that his operation was a side business but it sure operates like a full time off-road shop and I wouldn't be surprised if he is able to do that someday (or hey, I might be wrong and he might be full-time now). I hope to give him more business in the future.
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