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· '03 Disco SE
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573 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well - I needed a new front bumper but I just couldn't stomach paying $600 for an OEM replacement or $800+ for a steel upgrade, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try and build one myself.

Final design in CAD:



I decided on using 1/8" (3mm) A36 plate for the fascia laid over a 1x1x.125" angle frame to give it some rigidity. I don't really have the right gear to cut anything thicker, and I figured I could save some weight and cash.

However, the D-rings are functional - they're 1" thick and welded to a 1/4" (6mm) boxed cap that's bolted to the frame rails. I had one of our certified welders tackle this. The body of the bumper then slots over the d-ring brackets and is welded into place. Two additional mounting tabs then allow it to be bolted underneath each fender - I wanted to eliminate the possibility of rattles.

Frame with plates ready to weld.



It was a bit of a bear trying to get the two sides of the frame identical, but I managed to get it done. Both halves are cut from the same template.

All welded up.



I seal welded the front seams and stitched the back. Ran out of gas and had to switch to flux core wire so pardon my spatter. Also after a preliminary fit-up I saw there was a pretty big gap between the edge of the bumper and the body so I welded in some 2" bars to close it. Makes it look a lot more finished. It also feels really stout and rigid. Just a hair under 50lbs.

First fitting.



It fits well with even spacing all around. It does follow the body lines well enough. I think the proportions are a bit off and it came out too big, but I can live with it.

I still need to grind the welds, seal the backside, primer and paint, but the hard part's done. I'm finishing it off with some 4.5 ton shackles, a KC HiLites light bar and a pair of Hella 500s to make up for my removed fog lights.

In the end I spent about $150 in raw materials and another $50 or so in consumables such as welding wire and abrasive discs. I still have probably another $50 in paint and coatings to buy.

So is it doable? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably not. It's an immense amount of work getting everything cut, welded, and fit up properly. I've probably sunk at least 25 hours into it, so I can completely understand why the aftermarket guys charge so much for a bumper. But in the end I'm proud of the work and I had freedom of design which is always nice. I should be finishing it this weekend and I'll post some "after" pics - in daylight, I promise.
 

· Administrator
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2,424 Posts
Nice job Bosnian ,looks good. Would like to see it when finished and how you built the mounts
 

· Registered
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455 Posts
Very nice job, looks great.
 

· Joe Btfsplk
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86 Posts
Bosnian:
I like it too. If I groveled a bit, would you PM me the cad files?
 

· '03 Disco SE
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573 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the kind words, guys. I definitely put some effort into this so it's nice to see that it went over well.

Some additional photos:

Welds all ground down and ready for primer. @COSitsWORTHit - I hate grinding welds as it technically weakens the seam and makes it look like you're hiding something, but the amount of spatter that came off the flux cored wire made it necessary. Otherwise the paint wouldn't have been able to adhere properly.



Also I altered my mounting system for the D-ring (which is why you can't see it here). I decided to go with (4) 5/8" grade 8 bolts to hold the D-ring and plate to the "box" on the frame. Should make it quite strong, and facilitates easier removal. It's about the only thing I don't have photos of, since I didn't want to pester our fab shop guys.

Sanded the whole surface with 80-grit and sprayed with 3 coast of acid etch primer to give it some bite. It's quite tough and gives a nice, flat surface for the paint to adhere to.



Paint's finally on. For the back side I sprayed 3 coats of 3M undercoating to give it some serious chip resistance and to try to deaden any resonant noise and for the front I went with 4 coats of VHT wrinkle-plus to give it some toughness and texture. I sprayed it all in direct Florida sunlight. Laser thermometer gave a skin temp of 161F - how's that for a curing oven?



With the removal of the stock fogs I needed some extra light output. Went with Hella 500s on a KC 7400 light bar. The bar is designed for a Jeep but fit my bumper with only some minor issues.



Final Product:



The fitment of the bumper itself is excellent and the paint is a really nice match to the existing trim work. The shackles and riveted Yugoslav plates make it look very industrial, which is a nice change from the mall-crawler attitude it had before.

My only oversight was the light bar. With the narrow profile of the bumper it just can't coexist with the grille, so I'll have to either cut and recess the existing grille, or get the welder back out and build something custom. Either way, it'll stay like this for a while until the will (or necessity) to work on it comes back.
 

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35 Posts
looks good. nice job. when should I expect mine in the mail?
 
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