|[an error occurred while processing this directive]||Short Cuts|
By: Joe Micciche - April 2005
|The Front Range Off-Road Fabrication heavy duty Tacoma rear bumper. Photo courtesy of Brian Ellinger, Front Range Off-Road.|
Owners of Toyota Tacomas are fortunate to have as rabid an aftermarket as those who own the older Toyota trucks. One company which has helped define the Tacoma aftermarket by offering serious parts and systems for the Tacoma enthusiast is Front Range Off-Road Fabrication (FROR). With a full range of functional products for the Tacoma - from stainless swaybar disconnects to custom 8" front axlehousings for solid axle swaps - FROR offers proven design and engineering that works.
When I began searching for a functional rear bumper for my 2004 Tacoma, the FROR heavy-duty rear bumper stood out for a variety of reasons - including construction, protection, and aesthetics. Not needing a full-on rockcrawling bumper with tube in every direction, I wanted a bumper that provided excellent protection on trail and road and one that would last for many years providing multiple uses.
The FROR rear Tacoma bumper is built on a massive base - the two mounting brackets bolt up to the stock bumpermount locations, and are made of massive 1/2" steel, with 1/2" steel mounting locations welded into the bumper. The center section of the bumper is also made of 1/2" steel, and provides a base for a tow ball or shackle (up to 1" shank), along with pre-drilled holes for tow hooks. This stout foundation assures the bumper will handle whatever the trail dishes out, and provides a secure location for vehicle recovery.
The bumper itself is constructed of 3/16" steel, again based around the 1/2" bracketry and center. The underside of the bumper channel has a turned up lip, which helps it slide over any obstacle one might encounter on the trail.
|The 1/2" steel mounting brackets.||The internal mounts are also 1/2" to provide a true heavy duty mounting system. Also notice the turned up lower lip.||The massive centersection is the anchor of the bumper.|
FROR has each bumper etched and powdercoated. Aside from a careless UPS driver throwing the bumper onto the street as I watched, the finish on the unit I received was flawless in coverage and texture.
Overall the bumper and brackets weigh in around 50 pounds, which doesn't constitute a significant weight penalty on the Tacoma. And due to thoughtful design, the bumper provides additional ground clearance and departure angle by being 3/4" closer to the body at it's outermost point (the centersection), and it provides 1/2" more clearance than the stock bumper to the ground.
FROR includes all mounting hardware with the bumper, and provides two openings for the license plate lights as well as predrilled and tapped holes for the plate itself.
Installing the FROR heavy duty rear bumper on a Tacoma is a simple and quick one-man operation requiring the most basic hand tools: a phillips screwdriver, a 19mm socket and ratchet, and a 19mm box wrench.
|Here you can see the stock mounting bolts which have to be removed.||The brackets are mounted to the frame, then the bumper is mounted to the brackets.||Another look at the centersection after mounting.|
Begin by removing the license plate lights from the inside of the stock bumper, then remove the phillips head screws retaining the light housings.
Use the 19mm box wrench to hold the head of the mounting bolts, and the socket to remove the nuts. I left the bolts in place until all nuts were removed and I was out from under the vehicle. Hold the stock bumper with one hand and pull out the bolts, then simply slide the stock bumper away from the truck and set aside.
Installation of the new bumper is made easy by the separate mounting brackets. Bolt them up to the frame with the stock hardware (medium threadlocker is a good idea here), then position the bumper channel into place and start the mounting bolts to hold it in place. Tighten the provided nylock nuts, install the factory plate light housings, reinstall the lamps, and it's all done! The fit was perfect - there was no enlarging or wallowing of mounting holes needed,and the bumper has remained in perfect position.
Brian Ellinger of Front Range Off-Road Fabrication has developed an excellent rear bumper solution for Tacomas used offroad, or desiring superb protection from rear-enders onroad. The FROR heavy duty rear bumper provides additional clearance over stock, offers significant protection, and serves as a solid base for vehicle recovery - along with an extremely pleasing and understated design. From the time I contacted FROR about the bumper to receiving it, all questions were answered in a timely manner and the bumper arrived exactly when promised!
|Rear and side views of the mounted bumper. The predrilled hole provides a great location for a 7/8" shackle.|