As you look a little deeper you will also notice, there is NO steering box either. Full hydro, again why it is marketed as a ROCK Crawler bumper. It's very similar to the BTF version. For the daily use of a TJ in the Wasteland sticking to a more conventional bumper may be the best option.
After lying down under Greta's nose for a bit, it's clear that the steering box is the biggest problem. Even if the swaybar mounts are moved/relocated/refabricated/re-whatevered and the front grill support is reworked, the steering box simply doesn't have anywhere to go. I can see a couple of ways to make everything fit, but each of those ways basically requires complete rework of the steering and either the relocation or removal of the box...and the worst part is that I really wouldn't be saving that much real estate on the front end; it would be a LOT of work for a couple of inches and those couple of inches simply aren't worth the effort. I think I'm in agreement with you; it's better to stay with a conventional bumper in the front, and maybe a low-profile winch hoop set back towards the grill to give me a protected light-mounting location.
Oh, and speaking of protected locations, I actually got some work done on my compressor relocation, just now. I mentioned some time back that I had chosen to use the ABS tray as a location for them - because, as we all know, it was just lying around and doing nothing productive with its life - so I decided to pull it out today and get it all drilled and pretty-fied and ready for the compressors to be bolted onto it. To do that, one only needs to remove the four easily-accessed 13mm bolts that affix it to the support brackets below.
Pictured: HOLY F***, THERE'S ACTUAL WORK BEING DONE.
The secondary caption, here, is "Holy f***, Greta's underhood areas need another bath"...and if you don't believe that, check out how grimy and greasy the ABS tray was when I pulled it out; look at the differences between the areas that I can reach when I scrub the engine bay and the part of the tray that I can't reach at all.
The horridly-soiled portions on the right are where a large bundle of wires is cabled-tied down in such a way as to prohibit cleaning under them...and since I'm pretty sure that the tray has never been pulled out for any reason at all, what we're seeing here is ten years of accumulated uncoolness and dirt. I got it all cleaned off with some degreaser and a scrubbing pad, but I was honestly surprised at how resilient the buildup was; I was also surprised at what I found underneath the tray...
Pictured: I don't think that bolt is holding much.
Somehow, someone got an ABS tray mounting bolt down underneath the tray itself...and when you think about it you'll realize how difficult that is to do, because all four of the bolts that secure the tray are put in from the top
. I can't even begin to figure out how this happened, but even so, the factory ineptitude really isn't the interesting part of this photo; what's more fascinating to me, personally, is how much empty space is underneath the tray. I can't quite figure out what could go in here, yet, but I'm thinking that it might be a prime location for the upcoming on-board shower's valve assembly or some other bit of non-standard equipment. I also thought about figuring out a way to place the compressors themselves in here - there's enough room - but I decided to proceed with marking out the ABS tray and getting them re-installed and working; to that end, I simply placed the compressors on top of the cleaned/degreased/sanded tray and created a rough arrangement that should easily fit back into place and be easy to plumb/wire.
Pictured: And they had BETTER fit, if they know what's good for 'em...
I could likely have spaced them futher apart, but I didn't see a reason to do so; I'm cutting and rewiring the plugs, anyway, so all I really have to do is make the four air line connections and leave enough room for the compressor pigtails to plug back into the relocated harness...and the central placement also makes for easy access to the tray bolts. Measuring and marking the holes for the rubber compressor mounts seemed like a pain, so instead of doing that I used the factory compressor bracket as a template and made a couple of quick reference marks on the tray to tell me where I needed to punch the holes.
Pictured: Semi-perfectly-centered marks...sort of.
Now, before any of the slow kids in the class get a nosebleed from pondering the issue: yes, I painted the factory bracket...mostly because I try not to miss opportunities to improve my seriously-lacking paint skillz. With that said, it's worth noting that you don't have to be 100% accurate when marking these holes; the factory rubber isolators are going to reused to mount the compressors and since they're rubber they'll tolerate a slight bit of misalignment. Still, it's good to try to get everything marked and drilled in the right location; here's a shot of the 1/4" pilot holes, before they were enlarged to fit the rubber isolators.
Pictured: If you connect the dots, you can draw an alien holding a truncheon.
Just to be entirely
accurate, I should say that I first drilled 1/8" pilot holes and then punched them out to 1/4" with a conventional drill bit; after that I checked the locations of the holes against the compressors themselves and found that I wasn't off in any location by more than 1/32" or so. To enlarge the 1/4" holes to the 9/16" diameter that will be required for mounting the rubber isolators I used a step drill chucked into a drill press and set on the slowest speed; it did a fine job with a bit of cutting fluid to ease the process. I really prefer the step drill for hole-enlarging, anymore...it does a MUCH better job than a conventional bit and leaves a perfectly-round, already-chamfered hole.
Pictured: And I love me some chamfered holes.
After a quick clean-up, I did a test-fit of an isolator; it took a bit more coaxing to get into place than would be necessary with the oblong holes of the factory bracket, but once it snaps into the hole it allows about 1/16" of movement in any direction. This is why you don't have to be uber-precise when drilling the holes themselves; the isolator will move in the hole - actually, it will move a bit more
than it could the factory holes, which aren't quite
9/16" in diameter - and create a perfect alignment when the compressors get bolted on. With that done I gave both the front and back of the tray a good sanding and deglossing in preparation for some paint.
Pictured: Don't act like you didn't expect me to sand and paint the underside of this.
I was going to replace the factory Stone White color, but that stuff is about $7.00 a can, now, and it doesn't have anywhere near
the coverage and hardness of the Rustoleum Hammered Black that I've been using lately...so I decided to go with the latter option. It's a great paint that continues to impress me; Muppet Labs may just have to start painting all
brackets and refinished parts in this stuff.
Pictured: Even though it looks like wet charcoal when first applied.
So, that's where we are at current; I've got the compressor
tray - it's not an ABS tray, anymore - drying and I'll hopefully get the compressors mounted on it later today...and I might even get the tray put back into its proper place, as well. After that I'll need to look back at my reference photos and figure out how I'm going to cut and modify the wiring harness. Stay tuned.