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Unread 02-25-2012, 11:38 AM   #1
Howler_GT
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1994 XJ Cherokee 
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Schnecksville, PA
Posts: 66
High mount bull/safari bar revisited

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:
Remove grille.
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.)



BUT...
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.

And THIS:







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.

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Unread 02-25-2012, 11:44 AM   #2
joerizzo
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Very nicely done.
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Unread 02-25-2012, 11:58 AM   #3
FrankU
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Good job
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Unread 02-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #4
squire_wj
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Would love to be able to have a template of your bracket you made from the angle and plate.
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Unread 02-25-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
jeep04
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Awesome job man, I have the stainless hunter and everyday I look at it I say what were they thinking making it sit so low.

I will definitely be using your idea soon, thanks for posting it.
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Unread 02-25-2012, 04:38 PM   #6
4Tom
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Great write up
With a little modification could add recovery points at same time maybe even d shackles
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Unread 02-25-2012, 06:04 PM   #7
Poseidon
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Would you be willing to fab up a second set?
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Unread 02-26-2012, 10:27 AM   #8
heffercow
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looks to me like you need to either partner up with one or get your self a vendor account. these things would sell like crazy. especially if you fabbed em up to accommodate a shackle or some tow hooks. Im not sure how much room you have on the vertical piece of the mount but you could probably mount some tow hooks sideways on there. and not that you would need it, but just to make any doubters feel better, add some gussets towards the back in case of side pulling.

either way though if you do decide to make these for the masses, or if you want to work out a deal on the side, i would definitely be interested in some.

but good job it looks great
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Unread 02-26-2012, 12:40 PM   #9
Howler_GT
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Location: Schnecksville, PA
Posts: 66
I am no stranger with vendor accounts. I used to be a vendor on Cherokeeforums. CherokeeTalk and XJ Talk.

HCP Off-Road.
What we used to offer for XJ's:

2-3" lift coil spring spacer- STEEL
Aluminum diamond-plate door sills -POLISHED
Axle-mount rear brakeline extender brackets-STEEL
A-pillar light mounts
Rear swaybar spacers
Rear shock BPE
Aluminum TC drops up to 1"
And a few more odds and ends.

Had to step away for a while due to some personal issues.
So we just closed up shop.

NOTE to moderators: This is not an attempt to circumvent the Vendor requirements. I am not selling anything at this time. Just giving a bit of background info. IF and WHEN I start back up I will follow the Vendor procedures for this forum.

Back to the topic at hand:
I am currently waiting to get the Jeep back from "MARYANN" so I can remove the brackets and at the very least paint them. I also want to make a few templates of the pices for replication.

As for recovery: I do have plans to add some D-rings (shackles) with the appropiate gusseting.

Looking into pricing for (at the least) a small production batch.
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Unread 02-26-2012, 01:03 PM   #10
billzcat1
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2003 WJ 
 
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Very nicely made! You can always tell when people have legitimate fab skills vs "gooberweld some rusty hot-roll".
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Unread 02-26-2012, 03:45 PM   #11
JRobes
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Location: , SD
Posts: 327
I'm interested in some fabbed brackets too... keep us all updated on vendor status
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Unread 02-26-2012, 04:02 PM   #12
Poseidon
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Sorry you had to step away. I know EXACTLY that feeling, as I stepped away from Wedding work myself. However if you do get back into the game, please let me/us know as I was just about to order that very "bull bar".
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Unread 02-26-2012, 09:11 PM   #13
4Doors
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Wow, you've got the skills to pay the bills man. That's no redneck engineer work by any stretch and I imagine you would sell them easily.
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Unread 03-03-2012, 06:33 PM   #14
Howler_GT
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Okay, today I was able to get the WJ from Maryann's clutches and get some work on the mounts.

I fabbed up some plates to mount D-shackles.

Everything on the outside of the main bracket(s) stayed the same.

Inside I welded a gusset for strength. (Sorry- no pic)

But the D-shackle plate bolts to the outside of the bullbar brackets with LONG bolts. Why LONG bolts...you'll see why shortly.

The plate(s) are 3/4" thick Gr 50 steel with (2) 9/16" clearance holes for the bolts. It protrudes down low enough so there is no interference with the bullbar itself.



With a 5/8" D-shackle installed:



IF it looks low... Its not really. Its an illusion. It will look better AFTER the bumper cover's installed.

Bumper cover on and shackle hanging. This is kinda before/after shot. Or a with/without , if you prefer. I didn't have time (daylight) to finish up the other plate.



And now you find out why I opted for LONG bolts:



The bullbar tabs slide over the protruding hardware and fasten w/nuts and washers.

One last pic...the side view



I am going to put (2) 1/8" thick rubber washers on each side of the shackle-plate to quiet the shackle a bit and keep it a bit more stationary. Should keep any undue wear/rubbing at bay.

I am also trying to get the shop back up and running, so very soon HCP Off-Road will be back in business and offering everything we did before (with the exception of one item).
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Unread 03-04-2012, 09:56 AM   #15
heffercow
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looking awesome man. keep us posted when you are up and running.
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