Install summary of the Smittybilt XRC Atlas rear bumper (76896).
I am calling it done on the install of the rear bumper. Other than some shackles this was my first Smittybilt product for my Jeep. I am giving a thumbs up to the install and the bumper. There were a couple of issues (and mistakes on my part) and a couple of things I would have liked the bumper to have but overall the cost and quality are pretty good. I didn't realize the magnitude of impressions out there about Smittybilt products so I went into this project with no preconceived notions of what I was getting into but I was a little concerned based on other posts.
The Atlas was well packaged with no shipping damage, no missing parts, and good instructions. The finish appears to be of good quality. I have had a few past homemade projects powdercoated before and the finish on the Atlas is just as good.
The overall setup does not look as bulky in person as some pictures I have seen. The design is the minimum distances required to add the can storage racks which I hope you can see in some of the pics I have posted.
I think Smittybilt did a good job. The bumper looks good and will allow me to carry the spare as well as four 2 gallon Rotopax and my Hi-lift. I will follow-up after a while to see how it holds up.
I am planning a Jeep run in the next week or so and will report back trail usage as well as towing results.
Summary of Issues
1. Bumper to chassis: Hard to start driver's side bumper frame bolts (clanging against crossmember and hitch of bumper). - This may not be a "Smittybilt issue" with all the variation in JK frame specs. Might be nice to have a little more adjustment possible in the bumper mounting holes. The L brackets have lots of room to move around but the holes in the bumper are what limits adjustment (in my case anyway).
2. Swing Arm stainless steel washer under arm wouldn't fit. Powder coat needs to be sanded away for washer to fit. I should have done this but didn't. It would have been nice to have this already done before shipping but I can see the argument either way. I will check back in later as I will try to unmounts the swing arm later and get the washer in there.
3. Swing Arm latch bolt: had to add a couple additional washers than what was provided with the bumper so the latch would close properly. I am going to put this down as another very minor, part of install/fitment.
4. The swing arm tube blocks the last two digits on the license plate. I will take a couple of pics of this after I get the Jeep washed up.
Wish List (changes to design)
1. Zerk: Add a grease fitting to the swing arm pivot. Initial install has you coat the components with grease but I don't see any way to keep them lubed up after install. Of course adding a fitting would also require changes to allow the grease to flow where it needs to. I will keep my eye on this and report back after some time on how this is holding up.
2. Hold open stop: The swing arm can open well past the 90 degree mark. In off-camber or parking lot situations it would be nice to have a hold/lock open feature to prevent it slamming back into the Jeep, a person, or the car next to you. I already have plans to add a 1/2" spring pin stop I picked up on Saturday at some point.
3. Wiring routing: I have two rear lights as well as the 3rd brake light. The wiring has to be zip-tied to the swing arm. I am thinking about drilling some holes in the tubing and fishing the wire into the bumper at some point. this is a VERY picky wish item but I figured I would include it anyway.
Recommendations on install
1. Put the little bumpstop into the bumper BEFORE you do anything else. The instructions have you do this after the bumper is mounted to the Jeep. Problem is the stop required you to pull it from the backside of the bumper which you cannot get to once its on the Jeep. I may be not getting how to install this little rubber thingy but that is my advise.
2. Plan on and take plenty of time on the swing arm install to the bumper. Check the washer fitment as well as making sure the pivot pin is installed all the way into the bumper. And relax and spend some time zeroing in the swing arm adjustment it is worth the effort and will give you a nice smooth latching and release. I set mine up with just a hint of up tension.
After finishing up wiring up the 3rd brake light and the two LED rear flood lights I went over the setup and made some adjustments.
I didn't like the Hi-Lift sitting in a vertical position so I flipped the 3rd brake bracket (the base part) around and moved the jack mounts more horizontal. The nice thing is that you have a few options on how you mount your jack.
I also cut 1/4" of rubber off the stock bumpstops so they wouldn't push so hard into the Rotopax containers. This may not have been necessary but I did it anyway.
I kept my Rugged Ridge CB antenna mount on the tailgate. It just clears one of the Rotopax cans. I will watch this report back.
The BIG item for final adjustment was the swing arm pivot. Following the instructions I took my time to adjust the angle on the arm and it worked well. The arm now closes smoothly and latches very well. It also releases a lot smoother now that I dialed it in.
I hope this report is helpful!
Thanks for reading