Many of you will know that I recently discovered my starter motor had broken off in a fairly dramatic way and I now urgenty need to address this before I can move on with any element of my build. It absolutely has to take priority as the car is completely undrivable until I sort it. I now have my replacement unit and all the tools to do it, I just need to get on with it.
...so I'm going to work on the ARB bullbar.
I bought this about 10 years ago when one came up, I've always loved the look but they ddn't seem to come up very often. This one was a bit crusty but solid, though not the winch-specific version I really wanted, it had been used with one and hadn't caused the previous owner any issues. Seeing that it was covered in surface rust, I had it shot blasted and powder coated as it seemed superficial, and ended up with this:
Not bad for having been stored many, many years ago, just a few light scratches in the coating.
Looks can be deceiving though.
Far from just minimal surface rust, the front face is quite pitted and the rear is far worse.
It's also pretty dented.
Three major dents in the driver side bar:
Here's the mountings for the winch, drilled into the top plate. Unsure how a fairlead was attached though:
The mountings are also bent all over the place. Either it was dropped at some point or hit a tree because both sides are like this and I won't be able to fit it with the lower plate kicked up like this - it's a smaller gap than the dumb iron will fit into.
All in all, it's a passable bumper from a distance but close up it's had a hard life. While I'm all for using the car properly and not tarting it up to make it unusable, I want to start it out with something fairly straight. I'm not worried about the physical structure, it's more than tough enough so any repair is cosmetic.
It's a shame as the coating is in good condition, but I'm going to have to rough it up, use metal filler on the pitted areas, prime and paint. I have a filler, I'm hoping I don't need to get it down to bare metal for it to stick properly. I have a plan for smoothing out the dents on the bar, too.
Clearly I need to fully address these significant cosmetic issues before I try to move on with fitting any of the extras/accessories to the bumper, which would be a distraction.
So naturally I started looking at how I could mount two spotlights.
I bought these in the group buy on here, also about 10 years ago. I'm sure newer generations will blow them out of the water for performance, but they will light up and weren't expensive, so meet my two main criteria. Here's the standard light mounts:
No good for me. The lights have two legs so can't mount like this. I neded to create a strap to mount each light to, bolting centrally through the bar's intended mounting hole.
The mounts are this annoying profile though, so I can't mount it below without some kind of spacer or it would bend upwards. I did have a plan for bending a strip of ali using two blocks of wood with this shape cut into the join between them and then use a vice to press it into that shape, extending each side to give the legs something to bolt to. Then I realised this was over complicated and boring. Another problem is the rotation that each light would be prone to - I would have to bolt them very tightly to stop side-to-side turning.
So I decided a top-mounted strap joining both sides together was simple and prevented individual light movements:
This provides a conduit to run the wire across as well, so invisible from most angles. Bolted loosely up, it looks a bit like this:
The lights sit nice and high so not obstructing the airflow to the radiator and they're forward enough as to not light up the bar and be visible from the interior. They're also set back to avoid any contact off road. As you can see though, it all is essential that I spend the time smartening it up, painting and correct sized bolts and washers before I can say it's a finished and move on to the next job.
So I started looking at the indicators.
Even these tabs are bent slightly to make fitting awkward and I'm not sure what the fittings for the lights are even meant to be. I have some indicators that were listed as suitable for VWs and ARB bumpers so must be generic. They have screws but undoing them takes out the whole unit rather than just the lens, which is pretty annoying. I took out the lokut things from the light fittings and pushed them into the tabs which seems to hold them in place but it doesn't seem right, yet googling shows nothing. Anyone know what's meant to be here?
Having smoked lenses and amber LED bulbs meant I could disepense with the amber lens insert so I think they fit in well and the bulbs are very bright so won't have any issues in the day. All assembled, the bumper looks something like this:
I'm interested in mounting the winch. It could sit on top as the holes suggest, but I'm wondering if I could do something different. Is there anything to stop a winch from being mounted upside down? So it would sit inside the section of the bumper with a fairlead cut in the middle, making it a hidden install. I understand it's better to be able to see the rope but not essential and this won't be a challenge truck, most of the time it won't even have the rope on the drum. Interested in thoughts on this.
I intend on updating this as I go, I don't know if anyone will really care but if nothing else it can serve as a 'lessons learned' for filling, sanding, priming and painting over an existing powder coated surface.