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.
04. The bolt mounts on the LED bars are in a Slide Trac mounting system so they can be moved along a track in order to match any light tab situation that may exist on a vehicle. This kind of mounting apparatus also allows the light bar itself to be tilted up (skyward) or down (toward the ground) without removing the bar from whatever it’s mounted to.
05. Here’s where we started having fun. We knew we wanted the Lazer Star 32-inch LED bar sitting on top of our bumper, but we also mounted their LX-2320-RS combo bar (allowing the driver to choose between white and amber spots) underneath the main bar of the bumper, sitting behind the skidplate. We may need to open up the holes in the skidplate for better amber light projection. Being able to choose white light (for normal applications) or amber light (for dusty or foggy situations) eliminated the need for additional lights at the front end of the Bronco.
06. Here are beams that the Bronco’s stock headlights throw out. Not very impressive, and
07. Here’s the amber light provided by the 12-inch 20-LED light that hides behind the ski
08. Here’s the white light spot of the Endeavour light. Lazer Star knows what they’re doi
09. Lazer Star even sent us this cool little Endeavour 3-watt, four-bulb LED pod that we can use as a reverse light. That’s great, because we always wished we had more light when we back up after dark. Plus, it’s dustproof and even waterproof (to 50 feet)! We’re having the rear bumper created next, and you’ll be able to read about it in the next article about the Juice Bronco.
10. Kibbetech had the bumper powdercoated with a semi-gloss black finish to match some of the highlights on the truck, and we couldn’t be happier. We had always wanted a low-profile bumper that closely followed the lines of the Bronco, and thanks to the shallow housings of the LED bars, that was possible. The LED bars themselves are only a few inches deep, negating the need for a bumper that protruded forward in order to make room for larger light cans. Form and function working together—what a concept!
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