Sooo... My bumper came in a few days ago. I couldn't wait so I laid out all the parts to look at what I would be working with.
brkeep: This might look familiar... I thought I was going to be the only one with this set-up. I did go for the alum base and upper shackle points, but everything seems the same to me.
Then I refused to wait any longer, and decided to remove my front bumper. The bottom two bolts were stock and came out in the normal way (a good tug to break it free and then smooth sailing). Trying to take the top bolts out was a different story. On the first page I think I mentioned that I got some tow hooks from Tractor Supply Company, I needed hardware to instal the hooks too, and they came with bolts, so I figured "sweet".... CHEAP BOLTS! every one of them broke! I do not have the skills, tools, or patience necessary, to get them out without destroying the threading in the frame (needed in order to mount the bumper). So for three days my jeep sat like this:
I talked to my old man, and he said he would help/teach me how to get the bolts out, but not much more (my dad is of the mindset of "Teach a man to fish" vs. "Give a man a fish"). So, many hours later, we got the front two bolts out through the heat/cool/heat/extractor bit/cool/twist method.... but we ended up needing to chisel the other two out while red hot. They were welded with rust so much that there was no way to separate them, even after we chisled them out with the nutserts still attached. We ended up welding two nuts together and using those in place of the nutserts we had to remove.
We then needed to remove the winch from the steel plate that came of the XJ (Warn M8000). Not too much of a problem, the previous owner welded one of the bolts to the plate on the underside. Not a problem, we just used a surface grinder and ground the bolt off, then got a replacement bolt.
Just a pic of the winch still on the plate:
The rest of the assembly and fitment of the bumper was perfect. If it weren't for my use of cheap bolts for my first tow hooks, this job would have been from box to completely installed in under two and a half hours, and I'm not mechanically inclined at all!
The bumper lined up with everything, and the instructions were easy enough that my wife understood them (she generally doesn't understand much about vehicular maintenance). All said and done, with eight bolts holding directly on to the frame, and everything tight and snug, this bumper is not going anywhere!
The finished product: