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Discussion Starter #1
So I finally took delivery of my Aluminess front bumper and thought some of you might like to see some more detailed pictures and insight on the installation process.

Executive Summary: Looks great and is well made with a few minor QC issues and a PITA install process that is at the very extreme end of "bolt-on".

First thing I will note is that if you have any ability to pick it up direct from Aluminess you should. I had mine shipped to Colorado and it was damaged in shipment the first time around. Chris from Aluminess was really great about getting it repaired and turned back around, but it still created a big delay. (My roof rack has been damaged twice in shipping now...still waiting to get that one resolved.)

First thing you do is pull the front bumper cover and bumper beam off your car. At this point I will note that the instructions are pretty mediocre. If you are an experienced mechanic they will probably be fine, but if you are a novice you should get some help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Bumper Beam Removal

The first tricky part of the install is removing the factory front bumper beam. Ford spot welded it in place in two spots on each side after bolting it on. To remove the spot welds I cut the outer ones with a cut-off wheel, and drilled out the inner ones with a 12" long 5/16" drill bit. (That was trip to the hardware store #1 .) After some coaxing with a BFH it came right off!

Before moving forward I took a day to clean up the weld residue and cutting marks with a flapper wheel and then primed and painted the bare metal on the mounts. Not a good place to have it rust out on you!

Also, it helps if your friend's son is visiting from college so you can enlist him as an intern for this part of the process....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Fog Lights Wiring

While I was waiting for the paint to dry I worked on wiring up the fog lights. I used Hella 500 'Black Magic' for no other reason than they are cheap and because they matched the black/gray of the van nicely.

For getting power to the lights from the van, I tied into the Aux 1, up fitter switch by making a harness from the high speed interface connector to the up fitter pass through connector (located to the left of the center console), and then another plug from the engine bay to the lights themselves. The BEEM shows the location , pin out, and type of each of these connectors and was pretty critical for getting this part right.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Now it's time to start bolting the new bumper brackets on. I also opted for the optional washer fluid cover which I strongly recommend as it looks way nicer and offers some protection to that big ugly piece of white plastic! Aluminess was smart enough to spec longer bolts assuming most will opt for mounting this cover, but then managed to get the length wrong in my kit which meant they had too long a shank and were unusable. (Trip to the hardware store #2 .)

Also, the inner bolts on the driver side are very difficult to get to. I recommend using a socket and 12" extension so you can get around all the A/C stuff in the way. That is what worked for me anyway.

I also recommend keeping these mounts slightly loose at first so you can get the bumper centered after first mounting it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bumper Install

Next up you 'simply' slide the bumper in place and bolt it up. This is a two person job minimum.

A few notes:

1. There is a plastic shroud for routing air into the radiator that will interfere with the bumper. You could probably just push or bend it out of the way, but I chose to cut the lower portion out and then tie wrap it in place so it is more secure.

2. On my bumper the light tubes interfered with placement of the two upper bolt on both side. This is a bit of a design flaw in my mind, but perhaps Aluminess will see this and can comment further. I made it work by gluing the washers to the nuts ahead of time and bending the end of the light tube slightly out of the way for more clearance. Not ideal, but it isn't visible after installation is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Under Body Panel Mount

Next step is to bolt the Aluminess provided bracket for holding the underbody panel in place. Again Aluminess provided bolts that were too long here and they needed to be replaced with shorter ones (or at least bolts without a shank). This would have been trip to the hardware store #3 , but I had some sexy metric stainless ones in the bin that were the perfect size.

The underbody panel bolts right up to it and everything fits nice and tight. I kept the ducting for the intercooler in place on the underbody panel, but will need to monitor it as it it no longer has the additional mounting points holding it in place in the OEM installation.

The Aluminess bumper does have some generous cutouts on the bottom of the bumper so I don't think air flow to the intercooler will be impacted too negatively. If anything Ford blocks off part of it for condensation reasons anyway, so I could remove part of that if I see things getting too hot in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Final Details

Now it is just final details:

1. Trim the fender flares to your taste and reinstall.
2. Don't forget to reinstall the driver's side splash guard (took me forever to remember where it went!)
3. Front license plate mount. I modified the factory front place mount to work. It came out really nice, but I geeked out on it for way too long...
4. Fix the crooked sticker that Aluminess applied at the factory. (Did I mention I am a bit OCD!?)
 

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Looks awesome! Really appreciate the incredible detailed install and the "real world" perspective on getting through the instructions. You're right...definitely not for those without an array of tools and know how to tackle everything from wiring to cutting to mild fab.
 

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Great write up!

I still don't like how the sides of the Aluminess bumper look. Opens up too much below and in front of the front wheels. From the front it looks great.
I wish they had an option that goes up and around the head lights. I am afraid that the headlights are still deer or elk fodder
I worked some with a couple other bumper manufacturers to get them to make a Transit bumper, but they appear to have lost interest.

Question: Did you find any Air bag impact sensor switches in the front of the van when you took the cover off and cross member?
 

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Killer look, but a killer install, too! As you said, sort of pushing the definition of "bolt-on". If we were anticipating more backroad travel than just our one planned outing next spring, I'd go for it and include a winch. But it would be silly for a 99% highway cruiser.

It would go better with the black XL grille, however. Nothing a can of Krylon can't fix. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Great write up!

I still don't like how the sides of the Aluminess bumper look. Opens up too much below and in front of the front wheels. From the front it looks great.
I wish they had an option that goes up and around the head lights. I am afraid that the headlights are still deer or elk fodder
I worked some with a couple other bumper manufacturers to get them to make a Transit bumper, but they appear to have lost interest.

Question: Did you find any Air bag impact sensor switches in the front of the van when you took the cover off and cross member?
Thanks! The only sensor I had to relocate was what I am pretty sure is the outside temperature sensor. It clipped behind the fog light tube without too much fuss. You can see it in one of my pics in the wiring post.
 

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But it would be silly for a 99% highway cruiser.
Going back and forth on I-80, I see a lot of fresh red splotches on the pavement. And most of the semi's that pass me have bull bars for that purpose I assume. So I'd say the Aluminess would not be silly for a 99% highway cruiser.
 

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Great write up!

I still don't like how the sides of the Aluminess bumper look. Opens up too much below and in front of the front wheels. From the front it looks great.
I wish they had an option that goes up and around the head lights. I am afraid that the headlights are still deer or elk fodder
I worked some with a couple other bumper manufacturers to get them to make a Transit bumper, but they appear to have lost interest.

Question: Did you find any Air bag impact sensor switches in the front of the van when you took the cover off and cross member?
.

I think if you told Aluminess that you wanted a proper Deer Smasher they would be happy to help.

Maybe they thought the buyer just wanted to bump?

.
 

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Great write up!



I still don't like how the sides of the Aluminess bumper look. Opens up too much below and in front of the front wheels. From the front it looks great.

I wish they had an option that goes up and around the head lights. I am afraid that the headlights are still deer or elk fodder

I worked some with a couple other bumper manufacturers to get them to make a Transit bumper, but they appear to have lost interest.


?

This ^^^

First off, great install and it works great on your 4x van. Thanks for the informative post.

I don’t want to hijack the post but I totally agree with Joe. I think Aluminess has the market on these because no one else has tried. I absolutely love their products. I’ve had a few Aluminess goodies and will probably buy this bumper too if nothin else comes along.
Light weight is a big reason to go with Aluminess as well. They are about 1/4 the weight of a similarly built steel bumper, an important consideration for some.




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #16
.

I think if you told Aluminess that you wanted a proper Deer Smasher they would be happy to help.

Maybe they thought the buyer just wanted to bump?

.
I do know they will customize the brush guards and light cut outs as requested. However if you get too crazy with cross bars in front of the radiator you wouldn't be able to install a winch without pulling the bumper. I hope to never do that again!

(I think I also saw a photo of someone who had a removable additional cross bar installed, so that is an option as well I suppose.)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
This ^^^

First off, great install and it works great on your 4x van. Thanks for the informative post.

I don’t want to hijack the post but I totally agree with Joe. I think Aluminess has the market on these because no one else has tried. I absolutely love their products. I’ve had a few Aluminess goodies and will probably buy this bumper too if nothin else comes along.
Light weight is a big reason to go with Aluminess as well. They are about 1/4 the weight of a similarly built steel bumper, an important consideration for some.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Direct from Aluminess: "Our bumper weighs 90 pounds...but you end up removing about 25 pounds when you take off the factory bumper"

I didn't weigh anything, but that seems to be in the right ballpark to me.
 

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Great job on the install ! The only tip I would add for removing the spot welds is to use a reciprocating saw with long blade to cut the spot welds while you hammer a flat blade screwdriver to separate the bumper. Anyways this Brings back memories. They stole my design for the washer reservoir cover as it wasn’t available when they sold me my bumper.



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Did you adjust the bumper a bit as you put it on to allow for spacing between the bumper and the front panels (particularly around the headlights)? I'm curious what the smallest spacing is on your install. Mine is a bit less than 1mm on one side.
 
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