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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a '99 4wd F350 that I've been keeping clean while I decide how to upgrade it. I decided to start with the front. I like the bull bar/baja look, but I didn't have the money for a road armor or fabtech replacement bumper. Being in Texas, I'd seen alot of ranchhand bumpers but didn't like their legend series bull bar or cattle chaser type models. I got real excited when they came out with their new sport bullnose. Exactly what I wanted! Except....yeah, that's right....not for my truck; never would be, cuz I called and asked. I looked around some more and came across Bodyguard Truck Accesories. Still made in Texas; never heard of 'em or seen one of their bumpers, but I decided to take a shot on their Sport model because the price was right. Called in my order and sent the money, still a little uneasy because it's tough sending more than a $1k to a person you've never seen at a business that is just a page on the web. Well, the bumper showed up right when they said it would and in good shape. What follows is my experience installing it along with a Recon 17,500 Brute Force winch that I got. I figured it would help some of you who were like me, a little unsure of doing the whole ordeal myself but willing to try! Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

The bumper arrived well packed and not damaged.

The corners were wrapped with cardboard for extra protection.

The whole bumper seemed to be double-wrapped with plastic. Very well packed!

Finally get to see the goods. From the back

Serial number welded on inside
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Mounting bracket. Steel tube is notched above where winch will sit for clearance.


Front view


Mounting hardware was powdercoated as well. The mounting bolts were galvanized and welded in pairs to help with installing.
 

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Looks good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Recon Brute Force winch


Tow hook, joystick, snatch block and mounting hardware


17,500 lb winch with 92' of 7/16" steel cable
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
During my inspection of the bumper, I noticed the rear of the diamond top plate above where the winch goes seemed to be bent.



Yep, down a half inch in the middle.


I was concerned only because I noticed the bottom of the grill is strait, and with the bumper right below it, it would create an ugly reveal.


I decided to do what I could to fix it. As I was carefully jacking the steel I kept thinking 'how is this going to affect my warranty?' lol. I jacked it a half inch past straight but it would never stay straight. I figure the heat of welding deformed the metal. I think a stiffener bar under that plate (similar to the one seen below the jack wheel) would be a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I decided to go ahead with the install and see how the gap would turn out. Taking the old bumper off turned out to be fairly easy.


(Bumper is removed already for easy viewing.) First you need to remove the clips that hold the mud guard to the bottom of the bumper. There are two clips fastening the heater cord to the top and bottom edges of the bumper as well.


Remove two forward facing bolts on side of each tow hook.


Remove both tow hooks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
One concern with many people who are thinking about putting a replacement bumper and/or winch on front of their truck is added weight. I made sure to weigh each item as I went along.


OEM bumper - 68 lbs


Bodyguard Sport bumper - 190 lbs.


Recon winch - 122 lbs. Total weight added is 244 lbs. more than OEM. I'm not too worried with an F350 4x4 front end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The first step to putting this back together is install the winch in the bumper.


Square nuts fit in slots on the winch feet. The winch holes aligned perfectly with the holes in the Bodyguard mounting plate.


A concern I had was how the bumper would accomodate cooling for the diesel engine as well as for the winch motor in operation. I was relieved at all the openings provided for cooling as well as access for the winch; three underneath, two each side in front and two on top.



This is the only other issue I had with this bumper. The hole on the left was not big enough to accomodate the plug for the wired controller on this brand of winch. I had to drill it out bigger to allow for plug insertion (to be shown later.)



Fairlead roller assembly was installed through the mount plate and the bumper, so there were three holes that needed to be lined up for the bolt to pass through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Unit ready to install. A very difficult and awkward load; no flat bottom, wide, 300+ lbs, front-heavy and prone to tip forward. Need to hoist, align & stabilize bumper to insert the bolts.


With wedge blocks, clamps and car jack (and my wife's timely help!) I made the install without dropping it on myself.


I found the best way for me to insert the bolts were from the front (the blind side) and place the washer and nut on the rear. There were no instructions sent with the bumper and since it was the next day after the 4th of July, no one answered my phone call at Bodyguard. I had a fair amount of mounting hardware left over.


This is my mod for the plug on the winch controller.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Before and after pics of install. Notice I also changed out the corner lights with aftermarket LED lights


I didn't like how the grill looked, so I got a different one. Also installed 55w PIAA driving lights.


There is such a contrast between the bright chrome grille and the black bumper that the deflection in the top plate is not noticeable. Also, when it rains the water is shed to the back and out of sight instead of running over the front and streaking or sitting on the top in puddles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
More before and after views.



From the side..



Parting comments.... I am very glad to have finally done this to my truck. Next up is a lift kit and tires. I am pleased with this Bodyguard product and would recommend it to any Ford truck owner. This is my first winch so I can't say much about it except so far so good. For the money and capacity it seems like a good deal. This is also my first major new thread, so any comments are appreciated ! Thanks, Terry
 

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Do you like the new grill? I want to run a black one like that but was unsure of the quality of it
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was impressed with the mesh grille. Don't know about the quality of the chrome-plating, it'll hafta be wait and see. The outer border is plastic like the OEM version but the mesh in the middle is all metal. Terry
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I read the manual which stated new winches and/or new cables need to be spooled under a moderate load in order to tightly wind and seat the cables evenly so they retain their integrity (I paraphrase, of course). I unspooled 85' of cable and hooked the truck to an uphill tree on an asphalt drive. I must say that pulling out a 7/16" steel cable on a disengaged winch is work and that's with two people who are pulling on a smooth hard surface at a slight up grade. I imagine in muddy or wet conditions it will have to be unwound under power. I'll have to hook up the wireless remote for that to be a one man operation.


Winching about 8000 lbs. uphill


Red paint indicates 5-6 turns left on drum = maximum payout


Nice and tight first winding on the drum is the most important one. Maximum pulling power (17,500 lbs) is only at this layer of cable.
 

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Ah ok, most of the grills I had seen were plastic mesh.. Nice to see some metal ones.. Once again nice job With the install it looks great
 
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