I’ve had a Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited since 2008, but it wasn’t until December of 2013 when I traded my ’08 Wrangler in for a ’14 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon that I become interested in off-roading. Shortly after purchasing my Rubicon I had Happy Trails 4×4 in Jacksonville, Florida install a Smittybilt XRC front bumper with a 8500 lb Winch. I held off buying a rear bumper until I knew what I wanted.
After researching rear bumpers, I learned that I wanted a setup that had a tire carrier mounted on the bumper. The reason is that the stock tire is mounted to the tailgate and over time the weight of the tire will slowly damage the gate hinges when the Jeep bounces around on the trails. Moving the tire to a bumper mounted tire carrier saves the tail gate.
Last weekend a club member in the Matanzas Jeep Club received a trade-in offer that he couldn’t refuse. Luckily for me he had just replaced his e-AutoGrilles rear bumper and tire carrier with a Poison Spider bumper and tire carrier, but didn’t give it to the auto dealer. He put the bumper up on the forums for $200. I did some research and snatched up the deal.
Let me take a minute and talk about the e-AutoGrilles rear bumper. It is a knock-off Smittybilt XRC bumper with minor changes. It appears the company that makes the e-AutoGrilles bumper makes the Smittybilt bumper. I was leery at buying a knock-off product. I searched the numerous Jeep Wrangler forums and found that most people that purchased the knock-off brand had no problems. My other thought was that I was saving $350+ shipping on the deal. For $200 I could afford to take a chance on the bumper.
The installation went relatively smoothly. The first step was to remove the stock bumper. This is accomplished by remove two side bolts on each side and one top bolt on each side. The bumper slides right of. I also had to remove my trailer hitch I had installed when I purchased the Jeep. This was four bolts.
In the photo above you can see the frame with the stock tire carrier hanging down. I removed the stock tire carrier and install a replacement stop light that was given to me with the rear bumper. This allows me to extend the stop light above the tire up to a 37″ tire.
Next I slide the bumper on, with help from my in-laws. The new rear bumper had two “L” shaped plates that slide into the frame tubes. We used a jack to hold the bumper up and bolted in two of the sides bolts to help hold everything in place. From there the new bumper had four bolts where the trailer hitch was originally mounted. Those bolts were put in and lightly tightened down.
Everything was going great until we noticed that the passenger side of the bumper was rubbing on the body. The previous owner made sure that I understood the bumper can’t be allowed to rub or I’ll end up with a hole and start rusting the body.
We used the jack to position the proper pressure to even out the bumper so nothing was rubbing. Once we had everything in place we tightened down the bolts.
After some rewiring of the trailer lights, I put the tire on the new carrier and added my “Salt Life” tire cover. Everything looks good. We’ll see how well the bumper holds up over time.