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Product Review: CALMINI Winch Bumper.
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Front Winch Bumper for Second-Gen Isuzus Short Cuts

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By: Michael Wood - 11/2001

CALMINI Second-Gen Amigo/Rodeo Winch Bumper

CALIMINI's new winch bumper for late-model Amigo, Rodeo, and Rodeo Sport SUVs
CALMINI's new winch bumper adds serious strength to the front of late-model Amigo, Rodeo, and Rodeo Sport SUVs.

Self-recovery cannot be considered a luxury when alone in the wilderness. Self-reliance is paramount to making sure you get back alive. If your wheeling buddies drive late-model SUVs, you can't always count on them to be able to pull you out of a tough spot. Many modern vehicle bumpers have brush guards mounted up front -- and some of those won't even withstand a shopping cart impact... much less a strap tied to them to pull two-tons of vehicle. So what is a SUV driver to do? You could go to the nearby steel shop and buy a piece of steel to bolt to the frame up front, but you'd adequate skills to design a bumper that works as well as it looks. Thanks to CALMINI, those of us driving a late-model Isuzu or Honda don't have to worry about that anymore.



CALMINI Bumper Winch Tray CALMINI Bumper Improves Approach Angle
This bumper is obviously better than stock: from above, the winch tray; from below, the hugely improved approach angle.

Prototype

The CALMINI bumper shown is a prototype of their final design. My initial impression of this winch bumper, the style, and the design is that it is awesome. The bumper is stout and still looks great. The final product will have some minor and mostly cosmetic changes over this bumper. Even with a prototype, CALMINI's quality shows.

Changes to this prototyped design were made based on feedback supplied by the people of the 4x4Wire Isuzu forum. Some comments include:

These changes all made the final design. Note that this prototype was not powder-coated but that the final product will be.

CALMINI Bumper Subframe
The bumper subframe allows easy mounting.
Sturdy gussets strengthen the bumper
Stout gussets add to strength.
Stock sheet metal hangs low
Sheet metal hidden by low-hanging stock plastic bumper.

Installation

Installing the CALMINI winch bumper was a breeze. The bumper weighs about 80 pounds and bolts directly to the frame with a subframe support bracket. This subframe makes it easy to adapt your bumper to future or existing body lifts. Although the bumper can be installed with hand tools, an air impact wrench makes it easier to really crank down on the supplied hardware. You won't want this bumper coming loose while you winch out any of your friends or stranded vehicles.

Amigo nerfs into tall ledge
This picture shows the bumper taking on a large flat surface that is slightly larger than my 33-inch tires.
Sloped bumper bottom nerfs the nose upward
The sloped bumper bottom slides up and over obstacles I wouldn't have otherwise been able to clear.
Bumper allows climb
The bumper cleared the obstacle and allowed the Amigo to continue forward.

Construction of the bumper is solid, using thick plate and reinforcing gussets on the backside. I've gone as far as having the entire front weight of my two-ton Amigo resting on the bumper's front corners. Although the bumper flexes, as steel does, it bounces right back into shape.

I painted the body surfaces behind the prototype winch bumper flat black to hide some of the bodywork behind the bumper. I even elected to trim off some bodywork so that it would not get caught up on rocks and logs. On stock trucks, these pieces of metal are hidden by the bumper and fascia. These same pieces are slightly exposed with the CALMINI bumper, but approach angle is much improved. CALMINI's production version of this bumper covers the bodywork much better.

Appearance

The bumper's appearance complements the lines of the factory body and styling on late-model Isuzu or Honda trucks, without simply looking like a large hunk of steel randomly placed up front. The bumper's sweeping angles allow for functional beauty -- and protect the front end and fenders from whatever you want to put your vehicle through.

The bumper met my high expectations of CALMINI products. At its top, the bumper protrudes further from the front than the factory bumper to provide a winch well deep enough to fit virtually any modern winch. The Amigo's net approach angle is greatly improved if compared to the factory plastic bumper and fascia, and the slope on the bottom of the bumper allows you to slide up and over obstacles you can't quite clear.

CALMINI bumper cleans up the front lower side of the Amigo Bumper and winch strengthen the appearance of the front end Bumper sweeps sideways to protect the front sides of the fenders
The CALMINI bumper wraps around the nose, providing protection from almost every angle.

Conclusion

I am extremely pleased and impressed with this product. Folks have seen it in person want a bumper like this -- including my big dog wheeling buddies. I'm not sure if CALMINI has any plans to manufacture this for any other vehicles but quite a few other folks would like the style and function of this bumper on their vehicle. This bumper holds up well on the trail and looks good, too.


Contacts Related Links
CALMINI Manufacturing
Dept ORN
6951 McDivitt Dr.
Bakersfield Ca. 93313 U.S.A.
Phone 661-398-9585
Fax 661-398-9555
e-mail:sales@calmini.com





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