Jump to content

The Freebie?


Recommended Posts

  • Platinum Member

Thought I'd share a couple of days "fun" I had with the Jeep

You've all seen it, love it, hate it, it's here and it's on my drive so for now it's the only jeep thing I have to talk about.

My back end [jeep] was lacking a bumper, it needed something, it just didn't look right, might add here it still doesn't with the 3" body lift but with perhaps some more 'stuff' bolted to it you might not notice that so much?

I was offered a tow bar, free of charge and only 50 miles away so one night after work I shot off to collect. It was dark when I arrived but I met a nice chap who had just installed a Chevi 5.0L V8 in his Wrangler! it was his first time doing an engine swap/upgrade and I have to admit being a bit of an American muscle motor nut that V8 did look great sitting in there, bright red/orange [still dark] with all that blinging chrome and HT leads, the word awesome comes to mind.

Sorry I've wandered away from my tow bar story, I had a quick look round the tow bar, seemed ok, owner said there were no bolts but wouldn't be hard to get some, so I thanked the owner and gave him a drink and left.

Now it was a couple of days before I got chance to have another look round the tow bar, condition, some surface rust, some pitting at exhaust end, does exhaust remove paint allowing corrosion to set in or had it been stored this end up in the garden? I had a quick look at fittings I'd need and it looked like three bolts through the chassis each end, slung the tape over the chassis, added a bit for thickness of tow bar end plates and obviously nuts and washers.

Following day was the start of my weekend [Wed/Thurs, I work real weekends], I set up my trusty workmate, fitted my wire brush mops in my drill and started removing the tow bar rust. After an hour or so the tow bar was looking ok baring the pitted end, it was only surface pitting but did spoil the appearance so instead of the planned spray job it was a couple of quick coats of Satin Hammerite and it was looking a whole lot better [even though I hate that stuff!].

While the paint was drying I had a look at where it fitted on the motor, funny two of the bolt holes didn't go all the way through, the third was oversize? I did ponder drilling the two smaller holes all the way through but thought, that's wrong, they wouldn't have designed it like that. Off indoors and 30 minutes later I'd found the same tow bar for sale on the internet from Germany, it appeared I needed two special plates with holes/nuts attached that slip up into the chassis through the larger hole on the underside, a special sleeve to reduce the diameter of the over sized hole and to stop you crushing the chassis box section when tightening.

Being an ex sheet metal fabrication engineer and welder little things like that weren't going to stop me! I had the nuts from the bolts I'd bought [wrongly], I had some 3mm plate and a welder! I measured the larger hole on the underside of the chassis and my max width for the plates was 30mm, I cut some strips of the 3mm plate, cut the correct angles so they sat right in the chassis, match drilled the holes from the tow bar end plates, drilled strips and bolted them to the tow bar end plates after cleaning all the plating off the nuts which I now needed to weld to the strips. Out came my trusty welder, welding mask, Co2 bottle and gauges, my fully unwound extension lead and I was ready to go, pulled the trigger and nothing, no bleeding mig wire!!!!

Being relatively remote the nearest town/shops are approximately a 20 mile round trip, off I went, Screwfix you now have to order mig wire for next day, Halfords didn't have any, fortunately I found a welding suppliers I didn't know was on the estate and they had wire in stock. My machine takes a 5kg roll of 0.8mm wire and they only had a 15kg roll, was this going to fit in my machine? I was going to have to take a chance as I needed the wire now. On a plus side here, 15kg of 0.8mm wire from a proper welding suppliers cost £24.00, the same price as 5kg from Screwfix!

Back home and obviously the 15kg roll didn't fit in my machine, I either started to hand roll the wire off onto my smaller empty 5kg roll or come up with another idea, I drilled a hole in the back of my welder, bolted through a brake pipe fitting as it had a hole down the middle, sat the 15kg roll on axle stands and used it outside the machine?

Right nuts welded, plates with nuts slid inside chassis, found metal tubing to cut and use for sleeves in top over sized holes, I was ready to bolt the tow bar on! Unfortunately I hadn't bought the right bolts, as I thought it bolted right through the chassis my bolts were all to long, shoulder bolts so I couldn't cut them down, gutted I gave up as I wasn't driving all the way back to town that day.


I had another job to do and that was to get rid of the ugly over sized number plate mounting bracket and make something new, I made a new bracket for the number plate light out of a bit of stainless I had laying around, then  wifey came out and said I had to take her shopping tomorrow [Ugh!!!] she doesn't drive and it's one of my jobs as a loyal dutiful partner?

My two days of fun? had now become a rush job, I quickly grabbed my brand new specially ordered smaller than supposed to be number plate, stuck the drill on it and the drill snagged snapping the number plate in three? £23.00 gone here.


Day two of my weekend [Thursday] I made up my shopping list to include new number plate, bolts etc and set out early before mrs grabbed me, I got back home and got stuck in explaining I needed to get this finished, I was given a reprieve and could stay home and play myself? I finished bolting on the tow bar with my new shorter bolts, I very carefully drilled the new number plate and managed not to crack this one [don't know why, but I don't like sticking them on and I bought the roll of tape for £7.99?].

I stood back and admired all my work, things did look better and I felt good that I'd achieved this saving myself £200 on a tow bar. Now the mrs came out and this is where she kicked me in the googlies "would have been cheaper to buy a new one she said" she was right. I still need bolts to hold the tow ball on, a bracket to mount the light socket on, the wiring harness for the lights if they make one, the light socket itself. I guess that ALL would have come in the £200 kit if I'd have bought new?


Now there is some sort of moral here, a message, something I should have learned from my experience, how can free be more expensive than new? obviously in this case it appears so. 

Really funny bit is I only did this temporary as I really want one of those heavy duty bumper type things with the built in receiver hitch. Not that I'm scared but I won't mention this to the wifey just yet?


Need to start a new shopping list for all the bits I still haven't got, reckon I've saved a small fortune here?







Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Platinum Member
Stew the Jeep

2 points Warn do a very good rear bumper 2 put sticking plaster round where you need to drill holes in number plates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Platinum Member
16 minutes ago, Stew the Jeep said:

2 points Warn do a very good rear bumper 2 put sticking plaster round where you need to drill holes in number plates


Cheers mate?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information