Custom adapted off-road bumper - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum



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Off-Road For suspension, wheel, and tire questions DIRECTLY related to Off-Roading.

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  #1  
Old 10-31-2007, 04:11 AM
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AlekG AlekG is offline
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Custom adapted off-road bumper

So here is the story of how I ended up with a Toyota FJ bumper on the front of my Trailblazer.

When The Roadie released the news that he was getting a custom front bumper made, I was all excited and ready to join in on the project (i.e. getting a Trailblazer version made). However, reality set in when I realized that shipping something that big and heavy to Canada was going to be a problem and/or very expensive. So I started to look for local alternatives.

I mentioned my plans to Ryan at National4WD, which had done previous excellent work, and he said he would be up for it. So I started looking around for bumper candidates. The main criteria was of course size and fit, with a winch mount being second in importance. Problem was that it was extremely difficult to get measurements from most of the bumper manufacturers.

Except for one company - FabFours. They have a great interactive tool on their web site that lets you rotate and zoom into a 3D cad drawing of their bumpers. And when I asked, they sent me a precise cad graphic of the bumper I was interested in, with measurements.

From that I was pretty certain that the Toyota FJ bumper could work on the Trailblazer:



And as luck would have it, National4WD was a FabFours dealer, and had a bumper in stock! Well, this was too good of an opportunity to let pass by so I left the vehicle with them for a test fitting. Ryan gave me the good news and I said "lets go for it!"

Here are some shots of the Trailblazer featuring the bumper. Click on them to get a zoomed in view:







Now to the technical aspects ...

AG
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2007, 05:03 AM
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42blazin 42blazin is offline
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2007 Chevy TrailBlazer LS
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Dude that looks so bdass i cant explain it. One question for u... What was the total cost including the bumper mounting and the winch. Also does that bumper make the front sit as los as it does or are you just not leveled out? I think in one of the threads you said it weighed 108 lbs. Looks heavier but oh well.
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  #3  
Old 10-31-2007, 06:35 AM
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It looks like you had to cut a piece out for the winch is this neccesary, or did you get a bigger winch? It looks huge in comparison to the one on the FJ cruiser. also on their web site they have another bumber with with a grill guard do you know if it will work with the TB's grill and headlights? it looks like it might only block the parking lamps. That is the coolest bumber I've seen so far, I'm very jelous
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  #4  
Old 11-01-2007, 06:20 PM
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That thing looks real good, My wife seems to think I need to order one of those Fab Four bumpers now..... So THANK YOU!!!!

Don't forget about the coilover thread...
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2007, 07:30 PM
Seven Seven is offline
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In for details on modification needed for proper fitment and info on pricing?

Thanks
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  #6  
Old 11-02-2007, 02:57 AM
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Technical - Winch

One of the side benefits of having the FabFours Toyota FJ bumper work with the Trailblazer is that it is a winch bumper. From the get-go I liked their design and how the winch tucks neatly into the bumper.

The winch I decided on is the Warn PowerPlant HP Dual Force. This model is the first winch that also has an integrated air compressor. This was an important aspect as I decided to start to lower my tire pressure when hitting the trails, specifically when driving through the Great Sand Dunes National Monument on my Colorado expedition. An additional side benefit of the PowerPlant design is that everything (control box, solenoids, etc.) is integrated into the design. There are no extra boxes or wiring to run, just a straight pos and neg to the battery.

Depth-wise, the winch fit perfectly. When positioned in the bumper's mounting holes, and the bumper tucked up against the frame rails, the winch sits perfectly close to the front grille, which can still be removed. The problem was with its width, and the openening design of the FabFours. The PowerPlant is much bigger than a standard winch and it just wouldn't fit into the opening and line up with the mounting holes. Additionally, 2 out of the 3 control switches (plug for hand control, switch for winch/compressor operation, and switch for winch clutch).

So the only way for it to work was to strategically cut the bumper. It was cut along the red lines:



I then painted the edges with POR-15 to make sure rust wouldn't start.

Although the bumper sat nicely against the frame rails and more or less followed the contours of the Trailblazer, there were 2 large gaps at the top just below the headlights. To solve that, my fab guy made 2 pieces out of aluminum diamond plate. I powder-coated them with a textured flat black, trying to match the bumper as close as possible.



The lights come with the bumper, one set for turn signals, and the others are Hella's used as driving lights. I ended up installing them but not without doing some cutting of their brackets as the mounting of the bumper got a bit in the way of the mounting location. The Hella's come with an H7 bulb, which I am going to change to a yellow (fog light) H7 bulb for better visibility in inclement weather.

AG
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  #7  
Old 11-02-2007, 03:06 AM
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acm223 acm223 is offline
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wow thats soo bad @$$. keep up the good work. i will be heading up to canada around nov 8th or so. maybe we can meet up so i can see that awsome trailblazer
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2007, 03:28 AM
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Technical - Mounting

Mounting the bumper is where Ryan at National4WD got his top marks. The stock mounting brackets were ditched and custom pieces were used. The rear of the bumper actually sits (touches) right up against the front of the Trailblazer's frame rails.

Each side of the bumper is mounted with 8 grade 5 bolts, 4 on the bumper and 4 on the frame rails. One of the bolts on the frame rails uses the stock "through-frame" hole and extends vertically all the way from the top of the frame rail to the bottom. The red lines show the bolt locations. The three additional bolts are used with the supporting steel plate and are perpendicular to the other bolts.




Here are some additional shots of the upper and lower mounting:




All this was tested out at the shop with some pulls on the Winch. I haven't had any "real world" tests though as I have yet to get stuck.

Overall I am extremely pleased with the products and the fabrication work. A couple of small items to point out.

The bumper did not wrap around the sides as much as I had hoped, so there is a bit of gap between the bumper and the body. Specifically around the area where the plastic bumper attached to a metal tab (straight down from the leading edge of the fender). One option was to cut this tab off but I decided to leave it on and to paint it black with anti-rust paint. Now it just blends into the rest of the black pieces.

There is also a bit of gap between the very bottom-back of the bumper and the metal radiator skid plate. Possibly large enough to wedge a large rock in between which could cause a problem. Some kind of skid plate tying the two together may be somwhere down the road.

AG
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2007, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 42blazin View Post
Dude that looks so bdass i cant explain it. One question for u... What was the total cost including the bumper mounting and the winch. Also does that bumper make the front sit as los as it does or are you just not leveled out? I think in one of the threads you said it weighed 108 lbs. Looks heavier but oh well.
What it cost me is kinda irrelevent for you as I bought it local for $CAN. It was $1500 by the way. As for the mounting and fabrication, that I can't specify as this was not the only work done to the vehicle. Because I left it at the shop for a couple of weeks (so they could work on it off-and-on), and several things were done, they gave me a sort of "volume discount".

The FabFours web site states that the bumper is 108 lbs. Warn states that the PowerPlant winch is 100 lbs. So I am over 200 lbs in the front.

The rake of the vehicle is due to the springs I am using in the rear. They give me 4 inches of lift. The front is at 2.5 inches of lift with adjustable coilovers. Can't really go higher than that or the front axle half-shaft will be toast.

But more on the suspension lift in another thread ...

AG
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2007, 03:40 AM
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AlekG AlekG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazr246 View Post
It looks like you had to cut a piece out for the winch is this neccesary, or did you get a bigger winch? It looks huge in comparison to the one on the FJ cruiser. also on their web site they have another bumber with with a grill guard do you know if it will work with the TB's grill and headlights? it looks like it might only block the parking lamps. That is the coolest bumber I've seen so far, I'm very jelous
I was considering the other bumper but in the end, I didn't really like the bar. Plus National4WD didn't have it in stock. I am working on a piece that would add 4 KC HiLites Titanium 6" lamps to the front. But that will wait for the spring ...

AG
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