Recently, we purchased for our 99 Grand Cherokee Limited, a Hunter brand "bull bar" (Safari Bar/City Bar).
After installing the bar with the supplied brackets, we were taken back by how LOW and flimsy it was.
So, flimsy I had to fab up a small bracket to stabilize it.
I hid the bracket behind a front license plate.
I posted on this forum and asked if there were any brackets to mount the bar HIGHER and give it a more "classic" pushbar look.
After finding a set of brackets, I was disappointed to find they only worked on a "front receiver" product that was too high priced for our liking.
We did not feel it was worth spending all that money just to get our bar up.
A fellow forum member stated the obvious: "Looks like its time to make some brackets of your own."
And thats just what I did.
Where the bar mounts ORIGINALLY. Where it should be mounted is marked with a red X
There are holes in the unibody structure at the front behind the bumper cover. To access them, well the cover has to come off.
What has to be done:
Undo plastic pushpins (3) undeneath.
Drill out plastic rivets inside wheelwell (3 per side)
Pull liner out enough to access cover-to-fender screws (1 per side) Use 10mm socket.
Pull cover straight forward. And IF equipped, unclip foglight wiring.
Place cover somewhere SAFE.
The holes in unibody
Took a piece of 4"x4"x 1/4" steel and ground one side at an angle until it rested flat inside.
The shorter edge measures just under 3 3/4"
The side with the square corners will go towards the outside and the 3 3/4" end will go towards the back.
The plate will have to be put in at an angle, pushed to one side then allowed to drop into place. There are raised areas on the sidewalls the plate will sit below.
I pulled the plate as far forward as it would go , then using a black Sharpie, I traced the 4 holes from underneath.
There is a lip that goes through the middle of the pattern. This needs to be flattened. (Highlighted in red below) I carefully hammered it flat as best as possible.
The brackets will flatten it the rest of the way during installation.
With my pattern on my top plate, I drilled the 4 holes to .437" (7/16")
Now its time for the nitty gritty.
The actual mounting brackets
Material I chose was 4" x 3 1/2" x 3/8" angle 9" long..
Why so thick? I was planning on tapping it AND eventually adding some recovery points.
Plus, it is not going to stay that size, it will be cut down.
C-clamping the angle in and carefully lining it up square to the body (basically, I eyeballed it.)
With it in place I can go ahead and draw my new profile; AND trace the mounting holes from INSIDE.
You will notice the "notch" at the top. This will allow the bracket to stick out and not interfere with the bumper cover.
It is basically, 3/4" down from the top and the sharp inside corner will be radiused to minimize stress cracks. (Pfff...stress cracks...its 3/8" thick!)
Also marked along the top against the body, so nothing will protrude out.
After trimming everything down and radiusing that inside corner, I drilled and tapped the mounting holes to 3/8" NC.
I cleaned up all the edges and ended up with this.
NOTE: There is a line on the inside of the angles. This is from the drill and tap. There would be no way to get a nut on a bolt that close to the wall, this is why I opted to tap the angles instead of drilling a clearance hole for a bolt.
Ready to install. I am using 3/8 x 1 Grade 5 hardware with heavy washers.
Everything went together perfectly
In the last pic you will see what I was saying about the bolt close to the sidewall.
I torqued the bolts down to "OMG, they're gonna snap" ft/lbs.
This also flattened out that lip underneath and makes everything..nice and tight.
One last pic before fitting the bumper cover.
I slipped the bumper cover on over the brackets.
It was a perfect fit. No interference at all.
(Gee... I wonder who'll be driving this when I'm done.)
After placing the Safari bar against the brackets, I discovered it would be sticking out too far and leaning out at the top.
So, while I held the bar "vertical", my assistant
marked a new line on the brackets.
The brackets will be trimmed to this line and the mounting tabs will rest against the new front edge to stand the bar upright.
Plus, it will bring the bar closer to the nose.
After the brackets have been trimmed
Now for the mounting TABS
The bar will bolt to these tabs and the tabs will bolt to the brackets.
Rather than going and making a new set of tabs, I decided to MODIFY the original ones that came with the bar.
I cut their brackets 3 1/2" back and trimmed off the one corner (marked with an X)
I then bolted the bar to the tabs using new Grade 8.8 (metric) bolts and heavy washers, and clamped it tight to the Jeep.
After a long time of getting it "just right"
I marked and drilled through both the brackets and the tabs with a 27/64" bit. I tapped the mounting brackets to 1/2"-13. Re-drilled the tabs to 9/16"
Mounted the tabs with more Grade 5 bolts and heavy washers.
And made final test fit of bar before assembly.
I removed the TABS.
Installed the bumper cover (Completely this time)
Re-installed the TABS and BAR.
A few minutes of aligning it.
Up high, vertical and close- the way they SHOULD be.
Finished just in time. It just started to rain.
I will be removing eveything for TEMPLATE making and final painting.
If you are interested in a set of templates hit me up.