Review & Install Video
I'm Ryan from ExtremeTerrain.com, and this is my review of the Rugged Ridge XHD Modular Front Bumper Base without D-rings, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs. This is available as you see it here with a winch cutout or with a flat top that has no winch cutout, so you have the option. This is for those of you who are looking for a really simple base that will act as a platform to build off of.
You certainly can run this bumper as you see it here, but the whole modular idea is that you can take this bumper and add different ends, different bumper hoops, D-ring mounts, really have a lot of different options to make this a custom front bumper. So if you're somebody who hasn't found a front bumper that you like, either in terms of style or in terms of function, this can give you exactly what you're looking for.
Now, along with that customization does come a little bit higher price tag than some of those off-the-shelf bumpers. So if you can find what you need in something that's already pre-packaged and put together and save some money, that might make sense. But again, if you have the budget for it and you want something that's completely custom, this is a nice option.
This is a steel bumper base that comes with the end block off plates already installed on it, and it's covered in this textured black powder coating that you find on a lot of Jeep aftermarket products. It's designed to look rugged and tough, protect against rust and corrosion, and because a lot of different companies will use the same finish, it'll match a lot of the other accessories that you're gonna bolt onto your Jeep. Not to mention the fact that it goes pretty well with the factory plastic black accents that are already on your JK right from the factory.
Now, regardless of whether you choose the winch version or the non-winch version of this bumper, it'll accept your factory fog lights right up in the front. It's a feature that I really like because it means you don't have to buy additional lights, and you're also not taking perfectly good factory fog lights and setting them on a shelf somewhere. You can bolt them right into this bumper, plug them back into the factory harness, and they'll work perfectly fine.
The winch version of this bumper is ready for you to bolt in any traditional winch with the traditional bolt pattern and bolt a winch fairlead right up to it. The non-winch version of this is just flat across the top. Now, either one of the bumpers will accept any number of XHD accessories made by Rugged Ridge. And again, there are stubby ends, there are wider full-width ends, there are different styles of hoops and stingers and also D-ring mounts that you can put right up front that will bolt through the bumper into the frame horns, giving you plenty of strength for recoveries. If you decided to just run this bumper by itself, you could certainly do that right out of the box, and it makes a really nice stripdown, stubby simple bumper. But again, it is really designed to work with some of those accessories.
Now, the installation of this bumper is pretty easy because it's designed to be bolt-on, but if you do get the winch version of this bumper, you will have to relocate the vacuum pump if you have a 2012 or newer JK. The kit comes with a bracket in order to do so, but you do have to cut off the factory bracket before you can get the winch version of this bumper installed. If you're installing the non-winch version, there's plenty of room for the vacuum pump to stay in its factory location.
To get this bumper installed, like most others, the first step is to remove your factory front bumper. In order to do that, you'll want to first unclip the plugs from the back of the fog lights and then remove the fog light wiring harness from where it's clipped along the back of the bumper. After that, there are eight nuts that you'll have to remove from the back of the factory bumper, which will allow it to completely be removed.
Once that bumper is out of the way, if you are installing the winch version, you wanna make those modifications to the vacuum pump, and you'll also wanna bolt your winch right onto this bumper. It can be a little bit difficult to get to the bottom of the bumper to install the winch bolts after the bumper's on the Jeep, so it oftentimes makes sense to install the winch into the bumper and then install both as one piece onto the Jeep.
So once you get your winch bolted into the bumper and get your fog lights bolted into the new bumper, it's a simple matter of picking up the whole thing, setting it onto the frame horns, and using the included hardware to get it bolted on. Now, with a lot of bumpers, and the factory bumper included, the bumper will have studs that go through the frame holes. With this bumper, they're just straight through holes and you'll use nut and bolt hardware that you have to get to both sides of to be able to tighten it down. Now, without any ends on this, this is nice and short, and it's really easy to get to those nuts and bolts.
The whole process of the installation shouldn't take you more than an hour, but I would add a little bit of time if you're installing a winch and having to also modify the vacuum pump. You won't need any specialty tools to get this done, just some traditional hand tools. Although if you do have to do some cutting to relocate the vacuum pump, you'll wanna have a cutoff wheel or a Sawzall handy.
In my opinion, this is a really well-built base. It's gusseted, the welds look nice, the finish is nice. I mean, this thing weighs what some other mid-width bumpers weigh, just by itself without any accessories on it. It's beefy and it's well-built. It's also very expensive. This is going to run you what a lot of complete bumpers will run you, and that's before you add any of those accessories onto it. So by the time you accessorize this thing, especially if you get the winch version and you add a winch to it, you're gonna have a lot of money hanging off the front of your Jeep.
Again, if you have the budget for it, if you haven't found a bumper off the shelf that has everything you want, whether it's in style or in function, I think this makes sense. If you can find what you want off the shelf, you're probably going to save yourself a few dollars over what you could build with this kit. So if you've been searching for a front bumper and you haven't found exactly what you're looking for, a modular setup like this can be the answer, assuming you have the budget for it. This is something that's really well-built and gives you the ability to customize, but it is gonna be a little bit more costly than some of the other bumpers on the market.
So that's my review of the Rugged Ridge XHD Modular Front Bumper without D-rings, fitting all 2007 to 2016 JKs that you can find right here at ExtremeTerrain.com.