Page created: 1-Feb-04
|Technical: Discovery I|
For some time now I've been looking for a decent replacement heavy duty rear bumper. I've found the standard unit to be a bit fragile in some off-road situations, particularly the plastic end caps, which I seem to knock off with depressing regularity. I also managed to bend the end of the standard bumper when the back of the vehicle came down hard off a rock step!
Unfortunately finding a replacement wasn't very easy. The Discovery rear bumper is quite a complicated unit and until recently few UK manufacturers have gone to the trouble of producing a suitable design, despite there being several available in the US. I eventually managed to track one down from a company called Discoparts - unfortunately no longer trading - and an order was duly placed.
This is the bare bumper as delivered. It's made of thick steel that's zinc plated and then powder coated, providing the best of both worlds in terms of protection. In addition to holes for the all important 300 Series bumper lights, it also has jacking tubes for use with a hi-lift jack and 90/110 adapter, and various fixing holes by which it's bolted to the back of the chassis.
As well as the bumper itself, there is a kit that contains all the necessary bolts and brackets to fit it. The large bracket gets bolted to the tow bar mounting in the centre of the rear cross member with the long bolts and captive nut plate. This then provides a solid mounting for the bumper itself, which is fixed to it with the four short 12mm bolts. In addition, the bumper is also fixed to the standard bumper mounting brackets with two further 12mm bolts and thick spreader plates. Finally, there are two large sticky back reflectors that have to be positioned on the ends of the new bumper.
It's worth noting that the four large bolts all have Allen key heads of a particularly large size!
This picture shows the large mounting bracket fixed in place on the rear cross member. It was necessary to remove and re-fit my Southdown tank guard to install the mounting bracket. I also re-used the bolts that came with the tank guard as the shape of its' drop plate mounting flanges mean it's not possible to get an Allen key into position to use the bumper kit bolts.
The bumper light units have to be removed from the old bumper and transferred to the new one. These lights are usually fixed in place with very coarse threaded bolts screwed in to the plastic casing but as they are so exposed they corrode very badly. I replaced them with four short lengths of 6mm studding, which I screwed into the fixing holes and secured with araldite.
The light units are a perfect fit in the new bumper and mine are now held in place with nuts screwed onto the studding that I've fixed into the lights. I've also covered the threads with thick waterproof duct tape in the hope that if I ever have to take a light unit out the nuts will come undone!
Fitting the bumper itself is quite straightforward, although it should be noted that it is heavy! Once it's in position, the four centre bolts are screwed into the central mounting bracket. Then the two outside bolts can be fed through the holes in the bumper face and secured to the standard bumper mounting brackets on the chassis, not forgetting the spreader plates that come with the kit.
Overall, the kit and bumper are very well thought out and the laser cut bumper component pieces make for a very neat piece of engineering. The new bumper doesn't protrude out as far from the back of the vehicle as the standard one, marginally increasing the departure angle, and the 'end caps' are also much slimmer than the original plastic units so shouldn't get caught or knocked so easily.