New bumper concept, Suspension and body armor ideas? - $5,000 in body and bumper damage...planning to have a bumpter fabricated -- Ideas? (1 Viewer)

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So after 19 months I have settled with Allstate and it's time to do some work, looking for some ideas and I have some questions. I live SUPER rural in the mountains of North Carolina, I have a small farm, and some of my ideas are based on experience with mud with my farm tractor.

I already put KM3 285 tires on the truck, which fit without a lift and have replaced the rear-lower hatch and tail lights so we are about to get to the fun stuff.

Total budget for EVERYTHING is $5,000 - Please note, I am not in a place to actually add ANYTHING into this so let's keep that off the table. I am hoping to actually come out lower on the total cost.

My concepts are based on my experiences around my property, where during certain rainy cycle years we have been flooded by torrential rain that has caused huge mud issues. I have gotten my tractor stuck more times then my truck, but consider what it takes to get a tractor with 18" of clearance buried to the frame?? In addition since EVERYTHING is so rocky, if you get buried and winch out your truck, something may get damaged. I have never really taken my truck off-road on adventures, but I am armoring up for exactly this so I can go hit local Jeep and Fire Road trails.

My main goal is to armor the truck from front bumper to back bumper with integrated bottom plates and sliders. The front bumper will be designed to allow me to push up onto the bank of a creek that is eroded (possibly via winch) and have the bottom like a sled so nothing catches.

BIG QUESTION: If I don't want to put a lift on it, how much do I need to worry about upgrading suspension for weight? (See suspension questions below)

1) The back bumper (Budget ($1,200)- The rear, driver side corner was hit so the bumper is toast. I am planning to have something fabricated locally. No one makes what I am really looking for and I can get it done nicely and locally for a song because I am SUPER rural. I have a shop with great sample work, a solid reputation and time to do it quoting ~$2,000 front and back.
Here are my criteria:
  • I want the bumper designed to allow the best approach possible, it will INTEGRATE with the bottom plate armor to avoid snags and such.
  • The read trailer hitch is being brought up and welded into the bumper to improve approach (my current hitch catches EVERYTHING)
  • The spare tire has been pulled and will go on a swing out.
  • The bumper has to cover that back corner, which means it will start just under the tail light (to cover the crunched bottom corner)
  • Wiring will be added for a hitch based rear winch - I got a 10,000lb badlands winch on a VERY well fabricated (overbuilt and heavy) conversion plate welded by a local farmer
2) Front Bumper (Budget $800)- I am putting a front bumper and winch on as part of the deal (I am looking at winches now) and this is going to also integrate with the bottom plate. Think of something like the dune buggy's where they have that ramp Baja plate up front.
  • I am wanting a small front stinger, that becomes a solid plate (with vents) that meets up with the full-length bottom plating. The reason is that I want at smooth a bottom as I can have and I want it kinda like a sled. The terrain here is rocky and if you winch out you are dragging on rocks.
  • Deer are a HUGE issue around here, I can't even drive home at night without stopping at least once as herds wander across in front of you. I am putting a rail around the front (to the sides of the Baja plate/stinger deal) to angle these down WHEN I hit them (last one was a few months ago).
3) Suspension (Budget Max $2,200)- I was originally going to put a 2" lift on the truck, but I don't think it's worth the impact on the daily driving side. I have an RV that I want t be able to tow, so improving the max weight if of concern, but I have read solid arguments of simply staying OE on suspension. However I am adding some serious weight between the Bottom plates and bumpers. I am undecided here...ideas are welcome...
  • With almost 300K I am thinking the shocks need replacing and this is part of the deal. My options are:
    • Stick with OE shocks and replace at like $50-80 each
    • Upgrade to Bilstein B8 5160 Shocks (hard to get and $280 each)
  • Upgrade the Upper Control Arms (this seem a weak point) ~$700 See Here
  • Possibly upgrade the rear coil springs (for towing and added weight)
  • Do I need to upgrade the torsion bars (current OE) to allow for additional weight?
4) Winch (Budget $600) - I will actually have TWO winches, I am planning on putting $600 into this. Locally everyone swears by Tractor Supply stuff, and these are guys that used them for all kinds of farm stuff also. I've seen them on tractors also. Of course there are some Warn affectionos, but it's simply not in the cards now.
 

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