Custom Airlift Bumper Build

Carrera911

Member
127
10
18
Location
Cumming, Georgia
Picked up a NOS airlift bumper several months back and finally got around to getting it installed. The bumper was reasonably priced ($150) which is only slightly more than the tube of steel it is made of. However, the brackets to mount it are going for crazy money now. So I decided to make my own. Not being one to slap on a stock bumper, I decided to make it my own while I was at it.
Making the brackets themselves was probably the most tedious part of the project. The thought of having to make almost 30 holes through 3/16 and 1/4 steel and making them all line up is the reason I put this off for so long. :-D
Photo Aug 27, 5 26 46 PM.jpg Photo Aug 18, 7 15 41 PM.jpg
I don't like the look of the hollow bumper with the open ends so I trimmed and capped them for a more aggressive look.

Welded in a standard 2 inch receiver hitch since the pintle is basically useless to me. Gusseted front and rear and I capped the oval shaped hole on the back.
Photo Aug 09, 3 36 05 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 09, 3 36 18 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 08, 3 19 40 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 18, 5 11 57 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 08, 11 31 25 AM.jpg
Capped the trailer wiring hole and cut a smaller one out to fit a standard trailer cannon plug. Welded on 4 threaded bosses to space the tag above the mounting bolts. Tear drop shackles are cool but not as cool as the sellers on ebay think they are. roflI made some 3/4" shackle mounts to accept standard shackles. Cut out holes for flush mount LED lights.
Photo Aug 19, 9 41 19 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 19, 9 40 40 PM.jpg
Got it primered with Rust Oleum clean metal primer. Also pictured is the additional brace from the hitch to the old pintle mount. Probably overkill, as the bumper itself is stronger than even any class IV hitch I've seen but better overbuilt than under built.
Photo Aug 25, 4 43 30 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 25, 4 43 39 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 25, 4 43 45 PM.jpgPhoto Aug 27, 5 26 31 PM.jpg
Painted it with Rust Oleum flat black from a HVLP gun, same as everything else I do lol. Got it mounted with anti-seize on all the bolts (for when I never take this thing off). Installed the lights and sealed them with RTV. I'm trying to make it as water tight as possible but I also have two tapped 3/8" drain bolt holes on the bottom, under the shackles. Still need to wire the lights and trailer connector, put the stock shackles on the ends, paint the bolts and order some standard 3/4" shackles.

I also realize I used grade 5 hardware for the main mounting bolts. This is 1. because the hardware store didn't have that many grade 8 bolts, but 2. grade 8 is way overkill. The tensile / shear strengths of 1/2" X 13 grade 8 bolts are ( 21,300/ 17,870) while grade 5 are ( 17,000 / 14,730). Even grade 5 adds up to 272,000 pounds of pulling force and 235,000 pounds of downward force. This is excluding the fact the brackets are mounted to the frame using 8 bolts vs the 16 on the bumper.If there were only 4 bolts holding the bumper on then I would go with grade 8.
 
Last edited:

Carrera911

Member
127
10
18
Location
Cumming, Georgia
Appreciate all the compliments guys. Got it basically done last weekend. Installed the cannon plug, loomed and ran the wires to the battery box. Installed a relay and ran the power to my 12v fuse panel from my radio project. Added another switch to my radio box and also hard mounted the winch switch out of the remote.

Photo Sep 09, 4 46 36 PM (1).jpgPhoto Sep 09, 4 47 03 PM.jpgPhoto Sep 09, 4 49 46 PM (1).jpgPhoto Sep 09, 6 51 59 PM (1).jpg
Added a little blue Loctite to the shackles since I've heard they can have a tendency to evaporate otherwise. Only thing left is to get some cotter pins and mount the shackles on the ends.
 

bshupejr

New member
25
6
3
Location
Skagit CO Washington
Picked up a NOS airlift bumper several months back and finally got around to getting it installed. The bumper was reasonably priced ($150) which is only slightly more than the tube of steel it is made of. However, the brackets to mount it are going for crazy money now. So I decided to make my own. Not being one to slap on a stock bumper, I decided to make it my own while I was at it.
Making the brackets themselves was probably the most tedious part of the project. The thought of having to make almost 30 holes through 3/16 and 1/4 steel and making them all line up is the reason I put this off for so long. :-D
View attachment 739622 View attachment 739621
I don't like the look of the hollow bumper with the open ends so I trimmed and capped them for a more aggressive look.

Welded in a standard 2 inch receiver hitch since the pintle is basically useless to me. Gusseted front and rear and I capped the oval shaped hole on the back.
View attachment 739624View attachment 739625View attachment 739626View attachment 739623View attachment 739627
Capped the trailer wiring hole and cut a smaller one out to fit a standard trailer cannon plug. Welded on 4 threaded bosses to space the tag above the mounting bolts. Tear drop shackles are cool but not as cool as the sellers on ebay think they are. roflI made some 3/4" shackle mounts to accept standard shackles. Cut out holes for flush mount LED lights.
View attachment 739628View attachment 739629
Got it primered with Rust Oleum clean metal primer. Also pictured is the additional brace from the hitch to the old pintle mount. Probably overkill, as the bumper itself is stronger than even any class IV hitch I've seen but better overbuilt than under built.
View attachment 739630View attachment 739631View attachment 739632View attachment 739634
Painted it with Rust Oleum flat black from a HVLP gun, same as everything else I do lol. Got it mounted with anti-seize on all the bolts (for when I never take this thing off). Installed the lights and sealed them with RTV. I'm trying to make it as water tight as possible but I also have two tapped 3/8" drain bolt holes on the bottom, under the shackles. Still need to wire the lights and trailer connector, put the stock shackles on the ends, paint the bolts and order some standard 3/4" shackles.

I also realize I used grade 5 hardware for the main mounting bolts. This is 1. because the hardware store didn't have that many grade 8 bolts, but 2. grade 8 is way overkill. The tensile / shear strengths of 1/2" X 13 grade 8 bolts are ( 21,300/ 17,870) while grade 5 are ( 17,000 / 14,730). Even grade 5 adds up to 272,000 pounds of pulling force and 235,000 pounds of downward force. This is excluding the fact the brackets are mounted to the frame using 8 bolts vs the 16 on the bumper.If there were only 4 bolts holding the bumper on then I would go with grade 8.

Thanks for this post and the great photos. Im doing much the same but starting out fabbing the whole thing. I have not been able to locate any bumper in my area and while $120-150 is an ok deal for the bumper, add $150-175 for shipping and it doesnt make sense anymore.

All of that to say, I cant find any diagrams that have dimensions. Could you please tell me what the main box tube dimension is?

Thank you!
 

Carrera911

Member
127
10
18
Location
Cumming, Georgia
Sure I can get measurements tomorrow. I’m a diy guy, but I also consider time vs cost. Steel has gone up so much now, I bet just the section of tube that size is $100+. Plus you usually get the small guy ripoff price when you go to the steel yard and aren’t getting a truck load. Every bolt hole is sleeved with a piece of pipe to prevent the bolt from crushing the bumper. It’s not totally necessary, but it’s the proper way to do it and it would take a lot of time. Personally if I had to get the steel for $100+, and it would take 2 days to make the bumper itself, I would only consider it if I couldn’t buy one for $350 or less. I haven’t been paying attention to prices, but I imagine you can still get one for less than that. I only built the brackets because the material was cheap / already on hand and it would’ve cost around $3-500 iirc for just the stupid brackets.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

bshupejr

New member
25
6
3
Location
Skagit CO Washington
Sure I can get measurements tomorrow. I’m a diy guy, but I also consider time vs cost. Steel has gone up so much now, I bet just the section of tube that size is $100+. Plus you usually get the small guy ripoff price when you go to the steel yard and aren’t getting a truck load. Every bolt hole is sleeved with a piece of pipe to prevent the bolt from crushing the bumper. It’s not totally necessary, but it’s the proper way to do it and it would take a lot of time. Personally if I had to get the steel for $100+, and it would take 2 days to make the bumper itself, I would only consider it if I couldn’t buy one for $350 or less. I haven’t been paying attention to prices, but I imagine you can still get one for less than that. I only built the brackets because the material was cheap / already on hand and it would’ve cost around $3-500 iirc for just the stupid brackets.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thank you for that insightful input. The cheapest I’ve found so far is like $300. It’s either low price and highway robbery shipping or high price and reasonable shipping. $300 either way.

Here’s the kicker, I’m not building it for an HMMWV so it doesn’t need to be as long. If I bought an NOS unit I’d be cutting it up anyway. I think building what I need will end up less.
 
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website like our supporting vendors. Their ads help keep Steel Soldiers going. Please consider disabling your ad blockers for the site. Thanks!

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks