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Another 1st Gen Front Bumper Build


Well-Known Member
January 2, 2007
Reaction score
City, State
Denver Colorado
Year, Model & Trim Level
'93 Explorer XLT
Due to some minimal demand by others and my own desire to document my work before I accidentally destroy all the evidence, I'm going to finally toss this up on the forums. As much as I would love for this to be a 'how-to' so others could copy my design, I didn't take anywhere near enough pics/measurements; and I really don't think that anyone else would ever want to put this much effort into a build. :D

Some back-story, I had a Smittybuilt Grill/Brush Guard bolt together thing that I purchased not long after I got my X so I could mount my PIAA fogs, and protect my radiator... it corroded and fell apart amazingly fast, and so I decided that instead of buying another one, or starting from scratch, I could use the heavily corroded remains and some of the marginally intact components to make something more.... substantial.

The idea:
make something modular(in case of partial demolition due to impact)
capable of winch mounting
substantial(used 1/2" plate steel and some damned thick DOM tubing for the primary structures)
relatively light
leave space to mount shackles plus aux. driving and fog lights.

All of that said.... Here's what I came up with:

The Smittybuilt

The Finished Product

And some of the build pics:

As I mentioned above, the base plate for the winch is 1/2" thick, it was a giant PITA to shape too.

All the components come apart, and the vertical plates (at 1/4" thick) are located to the base plate at two mounting points, and to each other at two more, and affixed by welded washers that firmly locate the DOM Tubing.

Yes, the shackle mounts are hollow, but still damned strong.


Lexan holds up to the temps of the PIAA's surprisingly well.

By naasau at 2012-04-09

At some point I'm going to have to wire brush the Herculiner off of the lower DOM tube so that I can weld on a fairlead mounting plate, then attach the license plate to the fairlead.... but I just didn't care enough at the time. :rolleyes:

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That look's pretty tough.

I like the overall design of it, it's similar but different. Glad you added your own, design. Not many will go out of the way these days to fabricate something to have what they want.

I plan to have a locale fabrication shop draw up some designs for front and rear bumpers for my explorer. Not done this yet because I'm scared of the price tag, was also going to have my ex-employer fab up some leaf shackles going off the warrior design. I like theirs but there is always room for improvement. :)

Keep up the good work and keep us updated from now on ;)

I'll try. Still backloged with a bunch of stuff I've done but haven't posted. I'm trying to dig through it now so I can whip up a registry and use it as a hub for the build threads and collected thoughts, etc.

I know what you mean about cost, that's why I decided to build my own. I'm lucky enough that there is a steel mill in town that sells small order stuff for cheap, so instead of $1000+ for fabrications, I think it was around 150 in steel, 80ish in bolts, and 75 for the gallon of herculiner.

Nice and beefy, and I love those welds. You have skills dude.

Just get the new tires? What size and how do you like them?

Great looking refurb! Nice work!

Thanks guys!

The tires are 285/75r16 (the tire manufacturer site puts them at 33.1") and they are amazing! I've driven AT's that were louder, and when they're balanced there isn't any harmonic vibration. I always liked the old Goodyear MTR's that came on my wife's jeep, but they need to be balanced every 4k miles on the dot and still made a drone, which i didn't really mind, but they're still picky tires; but these BFG's just blow 'em out of the water.

Oh, it's on. Pics to follow.

Just for you, Wood.

Here we go!

I just grabbed a few shots quickly with my camera, so it's nothing great. What I should have done if I was a caring and considerate person is take some photo's of what the fair-lead plate looked like before I added the bed-liner and rollers, but I'm an ass. Sorry guys.


Also note that the winch feeds the cable under, and that the with the fact that the winch mounting plate is set down behind the front DOM tubing by about an inch, plus the lower roller, made it so that the cable would have one hell of a feeding time, so I made 5/8" thick 'feet' for the winch to stand on, that are solid chunks of steel that I drilled through, then welded on over the pre-drilled winch holes, then bed-lined for corrosion resistance. Again, I should'ove photoed the process, as well as some pics so that my design process is evident, but I'm still an ass. And I'm still sorry guys.


By naasau at 2012-06-25

Now, I do promise to get some more pics, that don't suck as much, and explain how I got everything wired, as well as how I have to PIAA driving lights mounted below the plate and so-forth. Hopefully to include a review of the new Harbor Freight line of of Badland Winches; from what I've heard, their supposed to be pretty good.

For all this, all I really have to say is 12000 lb WINCH Baby!!!!!! ###### YEAH!

Looking at my previous posts, I realized that I had to change my design slightly: The fairlead mounting plate is fully seam welded top and bottom, inside and outside, to both DOM tubes, and yes, the upper tube is in fact bent outward (long story). Now since the entire point of my design is that the assembly is bolt together for maintenance and replacement purposes, I was worried that the upper pipe would not be stable enough without the side plates, to that end, I did add triangulation support to either side on said upper pipe arcing forward, that fish-mouths the pipe and is also fully welded.

I know that it may be overkill to use 1/4" plate steel for the fairlead, and seam weld it to DOM tubing top and bottom, but I just couldn't bring myself to do anything less... after all, if it's worth doing, it's worth Overdoing. Right?

Ha ha, absolutely! You have it nice and low like mine. Very nice. I like the 12000, go big or go home.

My thoughts exactly! And I like the winch snuggled between the frame rails, greater protection, and as close as I can get it to the COG.