Rear collision protection

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Apr 19, 2007
Boise, ID
With the rear swingout offerings of Slee, 4x4 Labs, ARB, Kaymar, Bump It, etc....

Does anybody have an idea or first hand knowledge about what bumper(s) provide legitimate rear protection? I've seen the pics of the Slee on the red 80, but looking for more info as to all bumpers.

Surely, there are guys who have been in accidents with a rear swingout. How did your bumper hold up and did it protect the truck?
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I have been rear ended three times now since putting in my IPOR rear bumper five years ago. All three were caused by driver distraction. BMW, Honda and Camry. One was "totaled". All three were undriveable mainly because the front end/hood folded up.

Each time they nailed the Slee trailer hitch I mounted on the bumper. Well my bumper doesn't look touched. My trailer hitch has been scratched to s*** but it's still there. Now I keep it in so that these cars don't muck with my bumper.
On the 80, the main span of the stock "bumper" is the frame cross member. Any bumper design that leaves that intact means that (by definition) an accident that was severe enough to bend the bumper, also bent part of the frame.
The big issue with enhanced after market bumpers isn't the bumper itself. All I've seen are superior to the factory bumper and most retain the rear cross member of the frame (I know a few designs clip out that x-member to gain a degree or two more of departure angle, but they seem to be as strong as it is or better with what they replace it with), which provides a pretty robust layer protection underneath it all. More on this in a moment.

The main issue is whatever is mounted to the bumper: tires, cans, etc on the swingouts. The bumper will probably be fine, but if the offending vehicle is high enough to push into them, it usually results in substantial damage to the rear hatch/tailgate area. And almost all aftermarket bumpers hang the swingout cargo in a way that projects backward past the plane of protection offered by the bumper they're mounted to. There is really no avoiding this problem without intruding on other areas, like departure angle, the weight of the bumper, etc. Swingouts are a very handy feature for a lot of reasons, but maybe a good idea to make provisions for in your insurance for extra equipment just so if the worst comes to pass and you get hit, your insurance adjuster has documentation it won't be a cheap fix. Of course, with older vehicles, it's vexing to maintain anything but what is basically auction value insurance.

I've not had the bad luck to be rearended in an 80. My FJ55 did take a substantial hit, with relatively little damage. My neck has never been the same. The design is essentially the same as the 80 and I suspect the 80 is even stronger. The rear x-member forms the inner part of the rear bumper, with a cosmetic overlay.


I was stopped at a light just past an underpass. The fellow who hit me had just got off work and was either daydreaming or perhaps had some sun in his eyes. The screech of the tires hopelessly clawing the road drew my attention and I just turned my head to see what was up in the rearview - BAM! - smacked his AMC suckwagon square into me, probably at 25 to 30 mph. It totaled his car, as the bumper went right under the 55's, shearing everything in the engine compartment off above that. The 55 basically had a few scratches in the middle part of the bumper. The bumper ends were somewhat mangled as you can see in the pic, but did their job of mostly protecting the lower corner of the body on each side. It amounted to about $500 damage in 1980 dollars. I didn't discover until later that it bent the bench seat mounts. My '76 55 didn't have headrests, apparently being among the last made without them, although it did have the mounts for them under the vinyl of the seat cover.

The set-up on the 80 is quite similar. Not much to worry about there, except your neck:eek:, unless someone bigger or faster hits you. Consider the utility of swingouts versus their status as blunt objects if you're worried about a rearender. I know I do, but it's more because my neck can't take another one of these; the truck will be OK.
I haven't been rear ended in my 80 but I was rear ended in a Jeep with aftermarket bumper. I was hit by a pickup going 30 while I was stopped at a red light. The impact threw me into the intersection. His Dakota was totaled and looked like he ran into a wall. My tub was a bit wrinkled and the swing out was bend but still usable once pulled somewhat straight. The tub was pulled back straight by a body shop. Jeep was very much still drivable after wreck.
Like already said the swing out is pretty much a damage escalator in a rear end crash if the rear ender is driving anything other than a car. I think most of the aftermarket bumpers would pay for themselves in your average rear end crash. With the present value of an 80 and cost of fixing it odds are it will save it from being totaled.
My swing outs are behind the plane of the bumper itself except if my spare and cargo basket if attached. The bottom of my spare is over 3 feet off the ground so unless I get hit by a full size truck it should be fine.
My swing outs are behind the plane of the bumper itself except if my spare and cargo basket if attached. The bottom of my spare is over 3 feet off the ground so unless I get hit by a full size truck it should be fine.

Which one are you running?

Thanks for the stories and info. I agree that a nice piece of steel is not going to be the weak point, but some of the rears with swingouts seem to sit really tucked in close (like 4x4 Labs). Less room for any potential swingout flex to avoid damaging the truck/hatch itself. I guess if the impact is enough to push in the swingarm, you're not going to be having a good day regardless.

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