After installing the OR Fab front bumper on Project XJ, the next step was to address the rear bumper. As with the front, the OR Fab rear tube bumper is made from 2" diameter, .120 wall steel tube, and is tied into the uniframe with beefy 1/4" steel straps. Ours came with the standard black wrinkle finish, but a gloss black powder coat is available as an option. As an added bonus, it also came with a pair of D-ring shackles. Besides providing great protection at the rear, the wrap-around design of this bumper provides good protection for the rear quarter panels as well. That's an important selling point when you're 'wheeling a long wheelbase vehicle.
The main rear bumper, two wrap-around corner guards, and the brackets for attaching the bumper to the Cherokee.
Unsurprisingly, the first step is to remove the factory rear bumper. With my '97 Cherokee, the first thing to do is to remove the plastic corner section that runs from the bumper to the back of the rear fenders. But I had already done that part when I installed the Napier Fender Flares. So, for this particular project, I started by removing the bumper's bottom bolts.
Next, I had to remove the upper mounting bolts.
They were very hard to reach but since I wasn't planning on re-using the factory bumper, my instant-gratification solution was to bend the bumper's bottom edge away from the vehicle, so I could reach up from underneath.
With the bumper removed, the next step was to remove the factory bumper mounting brackets. Remove 4 bolts from each bracket and off they come.
Because Project XJ already had a Hidden Hitch receiver hitch mounted on it, we had to deviate from the OR Fab installation instructions. The Hidden Hitch already made use of a nut strip that was inserted into the end of the uniframe rail.
The OR Fab nut strip was better quality and had no rust, but we elected to retain the Hidden Hitch nut strip because it had additional nuts on it which were needed by the 2" receiver hitch.
Here's the OR Fab frame tie-in strap mounted in place. Due to clearance issues, we had to remove the rear-most bolt used in the receiver hitch. Given its location, we don't think it negatively affect the hitch strength to any significantly degree.
The OR Fab bumper frame tie-in straps were mounted below the Hidden Hitch's mounting flanges. Because of this, we had to use slightly longer bolts, as well as add some spacers in order to deal with the thickness of the Hidden Hitch flange. This also necessitated using a round file or die grinder to lengthen some holes in the frame tie-in strap. Here, you can see the frame tie-in strap bolted to the uniframe and the bumper mounting bracket.
Another view of the bumper mounting bracket. It uses the four original mounting bolts, as well as the frame tie-in strap. It's the frame tie-in strap that really adds the strength and makes the OR Fab tube bumper suitable for serious vehicle recovery pulling.
The factory mounting bracket for the bumper corner pieces can be left in place but we chose to remove it (all you have to do is drill out three rivets).
The wrap around corner guards attach the OR Fab bumper via some very beefy bolts as well as the tube sliding into a matching hole in the bumper. This adds tremendous strength.
Bumper corner guards installed.
Bumper is ready to bolt onto the mounting brackets. Unlike the front bumper installation, I ran into a slight fitment problem with the rear. Two of the holes didn't line up quite right, but that was quickly solved thanks to the die grinder.
Bumper mounted and ready for fourwheeling.
The corner guards provide a healthy degree of quarter panel protection.
The OR Fab tube bumper is very compact, and doesn't extend overall vehicle length by very much. I certainly don't notice it.
It also looks like it was specifically designed to fit my Hidden Hitch 2" receiver!
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