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SOG 12-07-2011 12:52 PM

SmittyBilt SRC Classic Rear Bumper (with Spare Tire Carrier) Installation Advice
Those of you planning to install the SmittyBilt SRC Classic rear bumper on your Jeep YJ you might be searching around to see if there are any pitfalls in the installation process. Well, let me begin by saying that if you plan to install it without dropping the gas tank, it can be done because that’s what I did. On the pain scale I would rank it just above stabbing yourself in the eye with a screwdriver and spraying brake cleaner into the open wound (which I would have preferred over this). I uttered so many expletives I ran out of words and began inventing them. I’m convinced my words remain suspended in space somewhere above my hometown to this day.
But enough about that—now to the installation…
The only hard part in the whole process is installing the bolts through the frame cross member from the inside out (the bumper has eight threaded holes in the back into which the bolts are secured). Out of the eight bolts, only four present a challenge. That would be the four innermost bolts (closest to the Jeep center). Those would be the ones that, in order to get to them, you must work through a small opening behind the cross-member with added interference from the gas tank skid plate, shackle, and (on the passenger side) the tail pipe heat shield. If I had the time, I would have bought and trained a pet monkey to do this because that’s the only hand that can fit in there. In hindsight, if you can take out the rear shackles, do so. Also, I would have removed the rear wheels to free up some extra space for maneuvering and to get your head in a position where you can see behind the cross-member while positioning the bolts.
Day One: To start, you must first insert a backing plate (there are four of these, each with two pre-drilled holes) and align it with the two preexisting holes (mine were preexisting from factory-installed bumperettes, but you may have to drill these as per the included instructions). Then you must find a way to get the bolts through the backing plate, through the hole in the frame cross member, then align it with the threaded hole in the back of the bumper—very tricky! I used a floor jack to preposition the bumper as close as possible and then my son maneuvered the bumper as directed by me from underneath with a flashlight and telescoping magnet tool to insert the bolt. The telescoping magnet tool worked with one bolt, but presents its own set of problems as the bolt and tool wants to stick to every metal part within a square mile except the part you’re trying to work with. I found a small mirror was helpful in the process, but I also found that I quickly ran out of hands, so had to abandon the mirror while trying to get the bolt in. One of the other bolts I managed to get in by hand (by feel alone after many attempts) and the other two went in by placing the bolt in a socket with attached universal and 6” extender bar. About two hours later I had three of the four bolts loosely threaded into the bumper and was on the last one.
Though the last bolt wasn’t as aligned as I would have preferred, I nonetheless began turning the bolt (attached to aforementioned socket, universal, extender bar, and ½ inch socket wrench) and low and behold, it cross-threaded! That’s when I really began to cheer up! My son tried to talk me into torqueing that bolt down and call it good. I started to do so, but after about five turns that bolt was not moving. I knew I did some damage so off came the bumper and I re-tapped the damaged threads (by the way, they’re metric threads).
Day Two: Well, I learned a few tricks in the school of hard knocks, so I was better prepared than yesterday. You’re probably thinking I removed the shackles and wheels to get better access. Nope! Not smart enough for that! Day two went much the same, except for one important thing. When I got to that same last bolt, I inserted a pointed pry bar through the attachment point on the bottom of the bumper and into the bottom bolt hole in the Jeep frame (easy to get to—right there on the bottom of the frame) and coaxed the bumper into alignment with the last hole. The last bolt finally went in. Once you get past that part (the four inside bolts), everything else is a cakewalk.
Oh, one other thing. If you have the spare tire carrier, you may want to attach it while the bolts are only loosely in the bumper because I found that I had no clearance to sleeve the gate onto the bumper post when everything was cinched down. There are a total of ten bolts that attach the bumper, eight from behind the frame cross member (two for each backing plate) and two through the bottom welded tabs that go into the Jeep frame.
So, alas, it can be done with patience, persistence, determination, and the right tools. In the end, it was worth it and the bumper is very strong and well secured to the Jeep. The spare tire carrier is toting a 33X12.5X15 spare with ease. My objective was to take all that weight off the tailgate, which is exactly what this does. I do recommend this product and the price-point is right (about $325 for bumper with shackle/D-rings and spare tire carrier – free shipping). I got this system because I didn’t want to lay out $600 plus for a similar setup.
Good luck!

SOG 12-09-2011 10:33 AM

Smittybilt SRC Bumper Installation Photos
3 Attachment(s)
I included some photos (PDF format) of the finished installation. I hope this helps anyone undertaking this project.

Tang87 12-09-2011 05:03 PM

good to know, and funny write up :thumb:

94impactyj 12-11-2011 05:56 AM

what site did you get this from?

SOG 12-11-2011 10:56 PM


SOG 12-11-2011 11:06 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Trail tested it pretty hard today. Very tight and no rattles. Also rechecked with level and nothing moved. Here are a few better photos I took today...

farmer_74 12-12-2011 10:24 AM

Nice looking Jeep. I just installed a similar bumper this weekend on my YJ. I had to use the smoke wrench to get the old bolts out!

SRH92YJ 12-12-2011 10:57 AM

looks pretty sweet. i hope to get my wrangler looking a little something like that by spring time.

SOG 12-12-2011 12:45 PM

My first stop was the bank, but it wasn't my last :)

So here's what you see in the picture above stock:

1" Shackle lift: $120
4" Rough Country Suspension Lift Kit: $450
Smittybilt SRC front bumper: $195
Smittybilt d-ring shackles for front bumper: $25
Smittybilt winch plate: $75
9000 lb Badlands Winch (I know - Harbor Frieght, but got good writeups and works well - already pulled an upside-down Jeep Cherokee out of a ditch with it): $279
Smittybilt SCR Classic rear bumper with tire carrier: $322
33X12.5X15 Dean Mud Snow Tires (used w/ 70% tread) $400
Ultra 15" alloy wheels: $250 (used)
15" Cragar Soft 8 chrome rim (for spare) $75
33X12.5X15 Wide Climber mud snow Tire (new, but got it at a used tire place): $70
KC Hilite Daylighters: $80 (Pre-owned, but never used)
Mounting kit for KC's: $35
Relay kit for KC's: $25
Labor: No cost but skinned knuckles, long days and late nights

Total: $2,401 - Ouch! That's the first time I tallied it all up! It will be a long while before I do anything but necessary maintenance.

Lee311 12-12-2011 12:54 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I've got the front bumper on my jku. What's up with smitty bilts idea of drilling a hole. 2 hours for drilling 1 hour to figure out how to lift the damn thing and two extra bolts later and after three days in bed with tweaked back and it's done. Ps loan me that monkey for the 2 remaining bolts

SOG 12-12-2011 01:37 PM

I can honestly say the front went on in 20 minutes or less. Everything lined up perfectly. I almost bought a lottery ticket because of the rare bit of good luck. Then came the back bumper and Murphy more than made up for it on that one!

Beach-Bum 03-22-2013 04:12 PM

great... picking this bumper up tomorrow used. they guy is having a hard time getting it off. hes dropping his gas tank

Mewing8 03-22-2013 06:18 PM

I was wondering if the SmittyBilt Classic rear bumper with the spare mounted rattles? I was debating on buying one myself and am concerned about rattles. Thank you.

jp2611 03-22-2013 06:27 PM


Originally Posted by Mewing8 (Post 3539702)
I was wondering if the SmittyBilt Classic rear bumper with the spare mounted rattles? I was debating on buying one myself and am concerned about rattles. Thank you.

I had no issues with mine ran it for about 5 years and traded it to another Jeep guy at work..only "hitch" he had to remove the old one and install the new one that is "sans" tire carrier since I moved the spare inside. He still likes it!! And I like mine!!

Mewing8 03-24-2013 07:03 AM

do you remember where you picked yours up at? It seems as if 4x4groupbuy has the best price.

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