Jeep XJ

My Jeep
BPI Bumper

BPI Front bumper

The finished installation
The finished installation

My stated goals from the Step-Rail installation include the need for underbody armor. That includes replacing the stock stamped steel front bumper, which isn't known for its great strength. The bumper I have isn't in production anymore, at least not as a BPI bumper. Early in 2004 BPI stopped making bumpers for retail and sold their lineup to Poison Spyder Customs with minor redesigns as the Brawler bumper.

There are six bolts holding the bumper to the uniframe, three on each side. However, before removing those unbolt the two smaller bolts underneath the passenger side, holding the vacuum bottle in place. As you can see in the following photo, I left the vacuum bottle hanging in placewhile doing the rest of the work, just tuck the vacuum lines away from the hot sparks that will follow shortly.
Vacuum bottle moved out of the way.  One cut has been started already.
The Vacuum bottle and hose have been moved out of the way.
In the photo to the left, you can see the wire brush I wedged in between the fender and flare after cutting several inches off the lower edge. To remove the flares, there are a number of 10mm nuts that need to be loosened. They hold a light aluminum rail that sandwiches the flare against the fender, and the first 3-4 have to be loosened or removed in order to pull the flare out far enough to cut the metal underneath. The rubber mat under the horn and vacuum bottle are still in place although I later removed most of the rubber mat. Use a pencil to draw a line about 1/2" below the edge of the light assembly, and start cutting with an angle grinder or Sawzall.

The temperature sensor for the overhead console can be seen in the photo to the right. to the left, centered behind the bumper area. Again, the rubber mat behind the horn was removed after I realized there was no effectively easy way to keep it. The mat does help protect the horn and wiring from rock damage...depending on your driving style it might be a good idea to keep the horn.
Another view of the bumperless Jeep
Another view of the bumperless Jeep.

If you do bodywork for a living, don't read this paragraph. I didn't want to leave a raw metal edge so I planned to fold the cut metal edge under. Many writeups I've seen previously will tell you to use a leather-wrapped body hammer and wooden blocks to massage the metal into a bend...I actually tried that for about 2 minutes before I decided a pair of slipjoint pliers would do a fine job of making that bend. Granted, it might break the paint at the corner, but in my view a few shots of Krylon will take care of that.

Vacuum bottle moved out of the way.  One cut has been started already.
The Vacuum bottle and hose have been moved out of the way.
The BPI bumper has a pair of heavy-gauge nutserts (nuts welded to a plate) that fit into the pockets of the uniframe. You can see one of them in the above photo. When lifting the bumper into place these can be the easiest ones to thread a bolt into. I used a single bolt on one side to hold the bumper up, and then threaded the nutsert in to free my hands up to complete the rest.

After bolting it up, reinstall the cut fender flares, remount the vacuum bottle and sit back. The photo to the left shows the vacum bottle held in place against the diagonal brace; it is too large to fit inside the bumper like the stock one does. To the right of the photo you can see three of the bolts holding the bumper onto the frame, including the bolt through the nutsert at the bottom. The only shortcoming I would like to address in the future is that all of the mounting is done at the front of the uniframe. The Rusty's Towhooks I recently removed had a strap that ran back along the frame to the hole seen at the lower edge of the picture, just above and to the right of the swaybar.

The lines of the bumper complement the Jeep, and tuck up nicely to the body
The lines of the BPI Bumper and the Cherokee. I still need to trim the flares back a little in the front.
e-mail Jim
Installed: Sept 18, 2004
Modified October 30, 2004