Installed Fab Fours Premium rear bumper
I was impressed with how thought out this was designed. It's normal for aftermarket bumpers to need more "massaging" to get to fit right than usually even the install instructions mention, so I was expecting this to be quite a job. Fortunately almost everything was really well thought out and for the most part this is about as close to a simple "remove and replace" as you can get.
I say almost because there are no recommended torque specs (this is normal for the aftermarket though) for the bumper to frame/hitch bolts and the instructions pretty much skip over telling you how to remove the spare tire winch cover/tube guide. They do tell you it needs to come off and go back on but make no mention or recommendation on how to make that happen (rant below, lol). There is no mention that you need to trim the license plate light bracket tabs for them to fit (not really a big deal, more on that below) in the new bracket design. There is no mention that if your license plate is kinda tall you may need to trim it down so that its top hole will line up the holes in the bumper. And if you're detail concerned you will be remounting the trailer wiring socket upside down (no idea why they did this)
but not a huge deal
Rant: To whomever designed the locking winch tube contraption your a
jerk and need to go back to engineering school. The trailer harness socket is cake and was well designed from Chevy and Fab Fours even came up with a great way to reinstall (though I didn't use it) it into their bumper given its additional thickness. Why the Chevy engineer that designed the winch tube the way he did, I have no clue it was literally retarded and you need to nearly destroy things to get it out. Why such and insignificant part got such a permanent "locking" type attachment I have no clue. smdh
/end rant about spare winch tube guide, lol
Ok on with the pics and notes
Here are the finished pics:
Toe Steps are good (at least for my tiny size 9s):
To reattach the trailer harness socket to the new bumper Fab Fours provides 4 small nuts and bolts. They recommend you drill holes in the surround around the socket flange, install the nuts and bolts through the holes, which fit though predefined cutouts in the rear bumper. They even went so far to make sure the end user couldn't screw this up by placing the cut outs (and thus the areas to drill) exactly where the OEM socket has casting dots in the plastic
. Talk about nicely planned. However I wanted to see if I could make the OEM clips that hold the socket into the factory bumper work and I was able too.
The OEM clips have a little bit of "slide" designed into them and I could see that if they had just a little more "give" then they should clip onto the Fab Fours bumper with its added thickness. I figured worst case if this didn't work for some reason I could always drill it later and bolt them in as suggested but the fit is great and I don't expect to need to do that.
Here is how I modified the OEM clips, OEM top, trimmed bottom:
And here is how they fit with the socket attached on Fab Fours:
Here is the license plate light tab and how they need to be taken down to fit the new bumper:
And now for the WORST part, the spare tire winch tube. The tube uses an outter ring that is held in to the OEM bumper from behind (no pics of it in the OEM bumper, sorry, I was too pissed figuring this thing out to stop and take a pic). The ring itself is a spring, that tension holds its locking tabs in place on the bumper and when held into place creates a cylinder on the inside of the bumper. This outter ring has internal clips to grab an internal piece that slides in from the back over the tube. This back piece slides over the tube and has "e-clip" or "star washer" like grippers that pinch into the placstic tube. When pressed over the tube and into the outter cylinder far enough, the outer cylinder's locking tabs and the grippers in the plastic hold it all together. To remove it you will need to pry at least half of the internal tube "grippers" up away from the plastic and then slide a screwdriver between the two cylinder pieces and force it out from the hind the outter rings tabs until the entire thing separates enough to come a part. It's a PITA to do and if your confused from my description hopefully you'll understand when you see it, lol so here's pics.
Oh you can remove the bumper from the truck before messing with this and I don't think it would even be plausible to try removing on the truck, so take the bumper off first so you have room to work with this
Here are all the parts removed in pretty much their original assembled order:
Here you can see the inner (with the "grippers") ring and outter ring together with the tube removed. Yes the tube is jacked from prying on it :(
Another devastated tube pic with the rings separated:
When I reinstalled this mess into the new bumper there was no way I could make the tabs on the outter ring that clip onto the bumper fit on the Fab Fours since it's so much thicker. I ended up adding extra foam tape to the back of the tube, flatting out the grippers (since you have to pry them back to loosen them) so that they could grab the plastic and then just using that to hold the assembly against the bumper. Like I said above this part is really pretty useless and is really just for aesthetics and assist getting the crank into the spare tire winch so there's not really any tension on this thing and it should hold fine with the added outter ring.
ZOMG that was long.
TL;DR : Fab Fours bumper is cool and straight forward to install, OEM spare tire winch tube guide sucks.