Dandeman Dan's Toy Page
Toyota 4Runner & Ham Radio Interests
The purpose of the following project was threefold, to provide a secure mount for the Thomas air compressor, a front 2" receiver mount strong enough for a suitable sized winch, and lastly to provide a level of skid protection & hi-lift jack point at lower outer edges of the front bumper. This project required some realistic assessment of what I was and was not going to do with this vehicle off road. Since many of the areas we really enjoy off roading are quite a long way from home and our most favorite of all areas, Colorado/Utah being about 1600 miles from home, that point alone is going to keep us pretty conservative and limit risk to the vehicle that far from home. I am quite happy for example, sticking to moderate trails such as from our two favorite Colorado areas, Engineer's Pass out from Ouray, and the Tincup and Hancock Pass trails west of Salida. The stock bumpers will stay on, but I wanted a level of protection to the lower leading edge which has essentially zero strength. The fact that this is an air bag equipped vehicle has also limited the degree of modification I felt comfortable in the frontal area.
The photos below start with end result and work backwards to show the construction detail.
The skid protection at each end of the bumper extends out slightly so they could be used to feel ones way along the line of approach if need be.
Care was taken to keep the skid bars tucked up high and out of the approach angle area.
One reason for the bracing back to the tow ring point was to add additional vertical strength so the corner could be jacked with a hi-lift if I ever drop a wheel in a hole. There's some additional pieces I plan to build for that purpose, but haven't found the materials for, so that will wait for future discussion.
Below is a quick sketch that hopefully clarifies what is difficult to see in the pictures with the black paint. Everything bolts on to the vehicle... No welding to vehicle parts other than the "bumper reinforcement" piece below which bolts to the vehicle and to the tow rings that also bolt on. The diagonal braces on the receiver mount are to prevent sideways twisting and also to the take the brunt of any forward jerking forces. The diagonal brace on the same side as the compressor doesn't go straight to the cross member as I've crudely drawn below since that would interfere with the compressor.
Additional tie in points were used to distribute forward pulling forces, such from a "snatch" or "tug" with an elastic recovery line. With the incredible forces that elastic recovery lines can develop, I think use of the factory tow hook bolted directly to the frame would still be a good idea. "Towing Basics" and "Tugging Basics" by Harry Lewellyn provides good insight on this subject. However as far as receiver mount winches are concerned, I think this design would hold up OK considering the additional tie in points. Time will tell.
Click on image below for additional construction detail.
Bottom Side showing all mounting points
The next mod will be to do the same type of skid protection on the back bumper as with the longer overhang, the back end also needs it more.