2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Expedition One Front Bumper
June 12, 2012
Our 2012 Jeep Wrangler has a new front bumper, and it's a beaut. It's made by Expedition One, an off-road bumper manufacturer doing business out of Ogden, Utah.
This is their Trail Series front bumper, and I decided to go with the hoopless look. A little more of the grille shows, a little less airflow gets blocked (theoretically, anyway,) and I generally like the way it looks. Of course they'll gladly make you one the other way, too, if that's your thing.
The installation preocess was very simple, and thanks to good engineering on Expedition One's part it fits pretty much perfectly with no horsing around to get the ten mounting bolts lined up. It went on centered and level with no adjustment necessary on my part.
And it's a good-looking piece behind the scenes, too. There are finger pockets built in where you can't see them that act as hand holds during installation. There are wrench cutouts that allow access to the back side of certain nuts. The main attachment nuts are paired up in dogbone brackets make it easy to tighten the bolts without the need of a backing wrench on the blind side. They really did their homework, and the result is a pretty staightforward DIY installation.
The only difficulty I ran into had little to do with the bumper itself and everything to do with changes made to the JK Wrangler for 2012. For some inexplicable reason Jeep relocated a vacuum pump to a spot right behind the stock bumper that is prized by aftermarket bumper and winch makers. It wasn't there pre-2012, and over the last few years quite a few parts makers have moved into that open space and made use of it.
I spent the bulk of my time cutting off a bracket and installing a relocation kit that Expedition One supplied along with their bumper. It's a non-issue on earlier JK Jeeps, but I can't help thinking this is something that should have never happened on the 2012 JK in the first place.
You'll be able to see all that was involved in the bumper installation and vacuum pump relocation in a few days because Scott Jacobs was peering over my shoulder with his trusty camera the whole time. Stay tuned.
And you know what comes after that, right? Yep, I now have a platform onto which I can bolt our waiting Superwinch.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 16,392 miles