After finally pairing a Camburg long-travel kit with the 6-inch bulge McNeil Racing fiberglass fenders, we thought our ’93 Bronco, the Juice, looked pretty mean, and it certainly worked well. But no matter where we’d go, we’d hear catcalls: “Get a bumper buddy!” or “You guys really like the un-finished look, huh?”
C’mon folks! We’re building this Bronco step-by-step! We wouldn’t quit before outfitting the front of the vehicle with some proper gear. And to prove it, we humbly present the latest mods to our beloved project: a trick bumper from Kibbetech and some amazing LEDs from Lazer Star Lights.
Previously, we’d installed HID lighting in the Bronco’s headlight housings, thinking it would be cool to have all of those lumens at our disposal without adding auxiliary lights to the truck. Lousy idea. The HIDs were so bright that it made drivers of approaching vehicles regularly had to shield their eyes with their hands. If we pulled up behind someone at a stoplight, they’d usually give us the finger, thinking we were “brighting” them for no good reason. Plus, the fact that HID conversions aren’t technically legal on the streets gave the cops just one more reason to pull us over.
01. Kibbetech didn’t skimp on materials or labor when creating the Juice’s front bumper.
So there we were, without front-end protection or decent off-road visibility at night. To our rescue came Kibbetech, a fab shop in Simi Valley, California, headed up by Ryan Kibbe. We’ve seen his work before, and were impressed enough with it to feature one of his recently built trucks (an ’03 Chevy) on the cover of our May issue. Ryan built us a one-off bumper similar to what he makes for anyone who gives his shop a call.
To complement the prerunner bumper, we needed some new lighting. Lazer Star let us know that they had some new LED bars ready to go that housed both flood and spot lighting, as well as both amber and white bulbs. We were sold, and put in our order.
…And you know what? All those people who threw catcalls at us in the past were correct. This Bronco just wasn’t right without the front bumper and some proper lights. The Juice looks far better than it used to, we can see at night, and we’ve tied the front of the frame (which needed better lateral support since the stock bumper had been ditched).
02. Important to us is the fact that Kibbetech created the bumper to be a bolt-on modification (rather than weld-on). Grade 8 hardware connects the bumper brackets to the fabricated, plated ends at the end of the Bronco’s frame rails. We constantly (as you likely do) tinker with the front end of our vehicles, so being able to quickly remove the bumper in the future is a nice benefit.
03. Check out these LEDs! We have always known that LED lighting is good for floodlight applications, but it took receiving these lights from Lazer Star to convince us that LEDs can handle spot lighting as well. Here’s a close look at the 32-inch Discovery LED bar that Lazer Star provided. The two lights on the left are dedicated to flood (hence the numerous reflectors that split the light into all directions) and the lights on the right are spot-centric. The lights in this bar are extremely powerful—they’re rated at 1,000 lumens per bulb.