Ive been reading every thread about rear bumper and the smittybilt classic rear and I have come to a conclusion that some people have to remove the gas tank and some don't...
Why is that? The bumper is the same for each time they make it so I'm not sure why some people have to remove it and some don't. And if you did not have to remove the tank, what did you do to keep OU from having to remove the tank??
I have the Smitty Classic rear bumper. Bumper only, I would steer clear of the tire carrier version. Based from what I have seen with the problems my friend is having with his. I chose a Bestop tub mounted carrier to go with it.
I did not remove my tank to install it.....it was already out while I was doing some other stuff to the Jeep. Sure made it easy!
I think the problem is the lack of room to get all the bolts in correctly from behind the tank. I have heard of people unloosening their body bolts, jacking the rear of the tub up to gain access that way. But, I didn't have to go through all that.
I have both the front and back classics. The rear is a tire carrier. I would recommend the front to anyone, it's simple and it bumps stuff. The rear is hard to install, the templates for drilling don't line up exactly and the tire carrier has to be kept so tight on the hinge to prevent rattling that it becomes very difficult to open. I've got no qualms with smittybilt, just this bumper.
Odd that this would come up this week.... I went from the Smitty with the carrier to the one without, on Sat.
The one without is rated for towing, and not that I need it, wanted to have the ability to tow if I wanted to, and I have moved my spare inside the tub so didn't need the carrier.
I ran the tire carrier model for at least 4 years and I was able to keep it from rattling by using the rubber spacer on the bottom of the tailgate. This bumper was not mounted through the rear frame which requires the gas tank to be dropped.
The one without the tire carrier, since it is rated for towing, we mounted properly, dropped the tank drilled the holes etc. It took as long to unbolt the old bumper as it did to install the new one. Most of the bolts broke coming out.
But the template worked for us and I like the cleaner back end on LIL RED.
I have this Classic rear bumper w/o the tire carrier:
I wanted a rear bumper of this general design that had a tow rating, so I went with this one. I have been completely satisfied with it so far. It has withstood rock bashing as well as towing my Voyager across town in an emergency (long story).
As for the installation, I didn't have to drop the gas tank... but I wasn't able to install the two inner braces. I was planning to drop my tank soon in order to replace the fuel level sending unit and to upgrade my gas tank skid plate, so I waited and performed all three operations at once. Nothing like saving yourself some labor.
If you're just using it as a bumper, I suppose you could skip on installing those two remaining braces. But if you're gonna actually tow something, I highly recommend dropping the tank and installing them.
__________________ Dempsey Bowling
My fleet: 91 Miata, 98 Wrangler Sport, 06 Mustang GT, 01 Suburban 8.1L, 14 Forte EX
Jeep mods: 4" longarm + 1" BL, 35" KM2s, 4.56s with dual ARBs... and lots of scratched armor