Front Bumper Analysis Paralysis in 2021 (1 Viewer)

Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
105
Location
Colorado
Over the past few months I've spent countless hours researching and agonizing over which front bumper I want to upgrade to. I think I've gotten my selection narrowed down, but despite numerous searches I am still stuck and need some help.

My absolute must haves:
- Full coverage in the front to protect from animals
- Must accommodate a 12k winch

And that's it.

My top two choices right now are the offerings from ARB (DELUXE BUMPER - https://arbusa.com/toyota-land-cruiser-1990-1997/bumpers-protection-equipment/deluxe-bumper/) and Ironman (Classic Off Road Bumper Suited For Toyota 80 Series Land Cruiser/Lexus LX450)

They pretty much cost the same, are airbag compatible, and offer the deer-strike protection I'm looking for. I like that the ARB is tried and true, but I am skeptical as to if it'll easily fit the Warn VR Evo 12k winch (https://www.warn.com/vr-evo-12-103254) that I've been eyeballing. I can also pick up an ARB locally from Slee or 4WheelParts. I am leaning toward the Ironman due to the fact that it will fit a 12k winch, and from what I've been reading it should be easier to install. The integrated fogs are also a plus. On the downside, I hardly ever see people on IH8Mud running them, so I'm not sure if it's because there's something glaringly wrong with them that I'm unaware of, or if they're just newer and less common.

I also reached out to a local manufacturer - Bumpitoffroad - to see if they could modify one of their existing designs (80 Custom Tube Front Bumper for Toyota Land Cruiser) to include headlight protection, but the answer boiled down to "no", which is ok. They also do full custom work so I could reach back out if I wanted to. I also considered contacting Slee to see if they could make a custom variant of their Shortbus bumper (SLEE - "ShortBus" High Clearance front bumper - '91-'97 Land Cruiser / Lexus LX 450 - Slee Off Road) but decided not to due to the higher price relative to the ARB and Ironman. Then there's also the Dobinsons bumper (Dobinsons Classic Black Front Bullbar for Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series (BU59-3518)) which looks near identical to the ARB, is more expensive, but will accommodate the winch I want.

So here is my main question: Is there anything related to the the Ironman or Dobinsons bumpers that I should be aware of? Why am I not seeing them on the forums or out in the wild?

I'm open to hearing other suggestions as I love it when my decision making skills are paralyzed by options. Thank you in advance, any insights will be appreciated.
 

duggy

SILVER Star
Joined
Aug 15, 2011
Messages
2,659
Location
Houston, Texas
Keep in mind the mounting systems on the ARB and Ironman. The Ironman uses a winch cradle that bolts to the frame horns, which the bumper shell mounts onto afterwards. The bumper shell is locked in place by two holes that are drilled into the cradle and then secured with a bolt. The ARB is a single piece bumper that mounts directly to the frame horns. If you are looking for the best deer strike protection, the ARB is the way to go.
 
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
1,182
Location
KN4YJE LUGOFF, SC
Or there is my beast:

Got to find somebody to weld it for you...
 

leonard_nemoy

SILVER Star
Joined
Jan 19, 2005
Messages
2,197
Location
South west utah
Is your vehicle lifted. With 2 or 3 inches of lift you can actually get away with animals strikes and a bumper with no hoops above the headlights. This is assuming the deer are not jumping when you make contact or you aren't hitting elk, moose, or other larger animals. I am actually doubtful that any bumper would help with bigger animals like elk or moose if your going more than 40ish.

For instance I creamed a mature mule deer buck with my last rig. It had a 4x4 labs bumper and 4 inches of lift. The 4x4 labs bumper just pushed the deer under my truck instead of into the headlights and grill.

Here is a picture of the metal tech front bumper on my current rig. I really like how light weight this bumper is. I have 3 inches of lift on this 80 and I was still worried about hitting another mule deer so I added another set of bars that sit in between the signals and headlights. From my experience this modified bumper will protect my front end from mule deer strikes (these are the big concern in my area) as long as they aren't jumping when I contact them.

Before modification:
img_2021_01_08_12_10_07.jpg


After modification:

20210307_175223.jpg


I'm not saying you shouldn't get one of the bumpers you listed, just trying to give you food for thought based on my critter smashing experiences.

P.S. another big part of avoiding animal strikes is good auxillary lights for driving off the mtn right after sundown in the summer so you can spot the little buggers before they leap in front of you.
 

Road Apple

SILVER Star
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
892
Location
Santa Cruz, CA
Have you seen the Dissent front bumper? There is currently a group buy going. Costs more than the ARB and Ironman bumpers. The Dissent bumper starts at $1395 plus options...bullnose, stinger, lights.


9A3A4854-7640-4D38-9DD4-4CE18B410BA5.jpeg
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2019
Messages
280
Location
bozeman montana
Just a heads up, the ARBs for 80s were never crash tested. That started with 100s, overland bound likes to tell people they were but he needs to read more. With that in mind, I love mine and I think you can get them on Amazon with free shipping still. Plus they’re cheap enough you can cut them up into whatever you want

 
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
8,681
I like the look of the dobinson more than the iron man. The bull bar looks beefier. There has been some complaints about the quality of dobinson powder coat. Arb has decent powder coat.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
105
Location
Colorado
Thank you to everybody for the quick and informative responses!

Keep in mind the mounting systems on the ARB and Ironman. The Ironman uses a winch cradle that bolts to the frame horns, which the bumper shell mounts onto afterwards. The bumper shell is locked in place by two holes that are drilled into the cradle and then secured with a bolt. The ARB is a single piece bumper that mounts directly to the frame horns. If you are looking for the best deer strike protection, the ARB is the way to go.
This hadn't crossed my mind but it makes a lot of sense. This alone might have swayed me to the ARB.

Or there is my beast:

Got to find somebody to weld it for you...
I was hoping to find something turnkey/already assembled but these do look very nice.

Is your vehicle lifted. With 2 or 3 inches of lift you can actually get away with animals strikes and a bumper with no hoops above the headlights. This is assuming the deer are not jumping when you make contact or you aren't hitting elk, moose, or other larger animals. I am actually doubtful that any bumper would help with bigger animals like elk or moose if your going more than 40ish.

For instance I creamed a mature mule deer buck with my last rig. It had a 4x4 labs bumper and 4 inches of lift. The 4x4 labs bumper just pushed the deer under my truck instead of into the headlights and grill.

Here is a picture of the metal tech front bumper on my current rig. I really like how light weight this bumper is. I have 3 inches of lift on this 80 and I was still worried about hitting another mule deer so I added another set of bars that sit in between the signals and headlights. From my experience this modified bumper will protect my front end from mule deer strikes (these are the big concern in my area) as long as they aren't jumping when I contact them.

Before modification:
View attachment 2607669

After modification:

View attachment 2607670

I'm not saying you shouldn't get one of the bumpers you listed, just trying to give you food for thought based on my critter smashing experiences.

P.S. another big part of avoiding animal strikes is good auxillary lights for driving off the mtn right after sundown in the summer so you can spot the little buggers before they leap in front of you.
At this time I don't have plans for any major lift work. I'll be doing the OME stock height refresh to account for the added weight and my sagging rear end.

I do have a set of KC Hilites that I'll be mounting up and may consider other lights depending on how they perform.


Have you seen the Dissent front bumper? There is currently a group buy going. Costs more than the ARB and Ironman bumpers. The Dissent bumper starts at $1395 plus options...bullnose, stinger, lights.


View attachment 2607673
I have been following this and I do really like the appearance and function. My concern with this one is shipping logistics and how soon they'll be ready. In my mind I'd like to have the rig "done and ready for 2021 camping and wheeling season" by May.


I have on order a Delta VS front bumper.

It is probably the most expensive front bumper out of the bunch

Delta Vehicle Systems - FJ/FZJ80/LX450 Front Bumper

View attachment 2607702
I think this one would eat up my winch budget, but it does look very well made. Appreciate the suggestion!

Just a heads up, the ARBs for 80s were never crash tested. That started with 100s, overland bound likes to tell people they were but he needs to read more. With that in mind, I love mine and I think you can get them on Amazon with free shipping still. Plus they’re cheap enough you can cut them up into whatever you want

Good to know, thank you for sharing that thread.

I just installed that winch in a ARB. I used a spacer kit that was about 3/4".
View attachment 2608091
This was the exact thing I was hoping to hear. Did the spacer kit come from Warn or similar?

I like the look of the dobinson more than the iron man. The bull bar looks beefier. There has been some complaints about the quality of dobinson powder coat. Arb has decent powder coat.
I hadn't heard about the powder coating quality complaints, good to know.

Both my 80’s have ARB’s as well as my 85, 86 and 89 mini trucks. You can say I’m a fan.😁
They seem to be popular for a reason!



Again, I really appreciate all the help so far. It seems that the ARB is probably going to end up as my top pick, especially now that I know I can fit the winch I want with some spacers.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2019
Messages
105
Location
Colorado
So I pulled the trigger on the ARB, thank you for the advice everybody!

One final question - I opted for local pick up so that I can inspect it before accepting it. Will I be able to cram it into the back of my 80 or should I plan on bringing a trailer?
 

bencallaway

SILVER Star
Joined
Sep 28, 2018
Messages
597
Location
Atlanta
So I pulled the trigger on the ARB, thank you for the advice everybody!

One final question - I opted for local pick up so that I can inspect it before accepting it. Will I be able to cram it into the back of my 80 or should I plan on bringing a trailer?
I'd suggest pulling your original bumper off before you go. Take a buddy and your original bolts and slap that thing on for the drive home.

It may fit if you pull your back seats but it will be close. If the seats are in I'd say no chance.
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
Messages
875
Location
Clovis, CA
So I pulled the trigger on the ARB, thank you for the advice everybody!

One final question - I opted for local pick up so that I can inspect it before accepting it. Will I be able to cram it into the back of my 80 or should I plan on bringing a trailer?
It will fit in the back with the rear seats folded and nothing in the back. Bring a knife if you plan on inspecting. It will be wrapped up in cardboard, sheet styro and finally shrink wrapped in thick plastic.

It’s not super heavy if you are able to torque your crankshaft bolt to 305 ft/lbs.
 

lumbee1

Native American
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
3,598
Location
Holly Springs, NC
DO NOT TRUST THE CARDBOARD COVERING THE BUMPER!

I bought my ARB new from a seller on Craigslist that had never taken it out of the original cardboard wrapping. When I got it home, it had multiple scratches and both bumper wings were tweaked. The round bar on top had a huge dent from a forklift hitting it. I got it for cheap so I can't complain.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom