Accessories Overlanding

Review: Shrockworks Ultralight Bumper

The latest project on the Gunship is the Shrockworks Ultralight Bumper. I decided on the Ultralight because I didn’t want an entire new front-end, and I actually like how the 4Runners look from the front and I didn’t want to disrupt its iconic look. The Ultralight does a great job of combining functionality with good looks.

I enlisted the help of my son, Brendon, and my brother-in-law Kevin who helped with connecting the winch to the battery. Not that it’s difficult, but he used to work on nuclear missiles for the Air Force; I figured he’d be much better at electrical stuff than I am.

Brendon taking a quick break to message a friend.

The first task to be completed was disassembly of the front end. We were able to get the front bumper cover off easily and the bumper assembly was actually quite easy to remove. Then came the bolting on of the new bumper/winch support.

This was possibly one of the most anti-climactic installs of anything we’d ever done to this point. Once the winch support was in place, we just needed to bolt the winch onto it, which was very easy.

Cutting on the bumper cover was probably the most nerve-wracking part, because cutting on an otherwise perfectly good piece of a car always makes me a little nervous, but once again, Brendon proved to be the expert and did an amazing job cutting out the portion that needed to be removed.

We put the bumper cover back onto the Gunship and everything fit nicely. At this point, everything is going really well.

We fit the bumper onto the winch support, and this is where things went slightly awry. First, we had a hard time getting everything to line up and fit in properly. It wasn’t due to the design of the bumper; it was due to how much plastic we left on the bumper cover. We could have removed the bumper and cut some more on the bumper cover, but we decided against it. We were able to make it fit, and eventually, once the bolts seated, everything looked good.

Second, it wasn’t very clear in the instructions which bolts we were supposed to use, and the bolts we had in the kit didn’t quite match the bolts in the photos with the instructions. We had to make a trip to Lowe’s to get some bolts, lock washers, and washers to finish the job properly.

We also put the small aluminum skid plate on, as Mark at Shrockworks said it would work with the TRD Pro skid plate. Well, it doesn’t. And that,s okay, quite frankly. At this point, since I don’t have full armor beneath the Gunship, the TRD Pro skid plate actually covers more and is more functional. Once I replace it with more steel under the vehicle, I might go back to this small aluminum piece, but for now, we decided to remove it and put the TRD Pro skid plate back on.

At this point, we were done. I put a bow shackle/D-Ring on the bumper and tightened up the winch to keep the hook stowed. I am quite happy with how it looks, and with how it functions.

What I like

I really like the functionality and looks of the Shrockworks Ultralight Bumper. While I was initially inclined to get the C4 Ultralight, I decided on Shrockworks due to my experience in the past with their products (my rock sliders, rear bumper, and my son’s rock sliders all came from there). The workmanship is really good on the steel parts.

What I don’t like

So, something that seems to be pretty common for Shrockworks is not having the right bolts/nuts for the job. With the exception of the rock sliders, the rear bumper project and now the front bumper project both needed a trip to Lowe’s to get the right hardware. I’ve seen this noted online elsewhere, and even though it’s not a great expense, it is annoying.

The finishing on the aluminum skid plate was pretty rough. Even though this part is not as visible as the bumper itself, it seemed like the part was rushed.

Why the Shrockworks Ultralight Bumper

Shrockworks is a local company here in Houston, Texas. While that’s not the main reason I chose this product, it is something I did consider. I like helping local businesses, and knowing that the company is right here, close to home, adds some peace of mind in the unlikely event I need support from them on this or any of their other products.

The reasons I chose the Ultralight are:

  • Functionality. The Ultralight fits every need I have: winch support, recovery points, and strong construction.
  • Price/Value. For me, the cost was similar to competing products, but I really liked the construction and looks of this bumper. For what I got for the money, I felt it was a good value.
  • Quality. The Shrockworks products are always well-made, and this bumper was no exception.
  • Durability. While I haven’t had this bumper for a long time, I have had Shrockworks rock sliders on my vehicle for over a year and a half, and the Shrockworks rear bumper on for over half a year, and both are holding up perfectly.

Final Thoughts

I really like the Shrockworks Ultralight Bumper, and I recommend anyone looking for quality add-ones for their off-road rigs give Shrockworks a try. The bumper is a good fit, looks great, and is a relatively easy mod that gives your rig a lot of utility and added security on the trails.

As a final note, I want to give some credit to Mark at Shrockworks, as he went above and beyond to ensure I received the front bumper before my last opportunity to mount it prior to an upcoming trip. He arranged for me to pick up the winch support and bumper from the powder coater, and everything went exactly as he said it would.

3D Printing Accessories

Molle Hooks for Rago Shelf

One of my favorite things about the Rago Fabrications shelf in the back of the Gunship is the ability to hang grocery bags from hooks attached to it. In the past, I used Niteize S-Hooks, but the little indentation on the inside of the hooks made it difficult to remove shopping bags from them. Since I’m also a 3D printer hobbyist, I decided to tackle the project and to create my own hooks for use with the Rago shelf.

Three version 3 hooks on my Rago Molle shelf.

My design concept was done on Tinkercad, and my goals were to have a hook design that would easily attach to the Molle of the shelf while also providing two hooks to attach shopping bags. I wanted the hooks to be open to allow bags to easily go on and off the hooks.

The first version was okay. It was a little small and admittedly ugly due to the lack of polish I put on it, but the item was a proof-of-concept, and once I fit it inside the Gunship, I knew I was onto something good.

Versions 1, 2, and 3 of the hook.

Version 2 was closer to the final vision with a longer body and a longer hook portion on the top mount, but I found it to be too thin. Version 2 was made thicker but was otherwise unchanged. I printed 4 Version 3’s out of PETG which is a polyester material that is strong with slight elasticity and these looked/worked great.

Version 3 on the left with the newer/final version 4 of the hook.

I did end up making a version 4, however, with rounded ends. I think the 4th version Molle Hooks are very nice looking, and I will likely swap out all 4 of the current version 3’s with version 4’s.

I call these Molle Hooks, but I’m thinking of alternatively naming them Mall Hooks (a play on the Mall Crawler moniker people ascribe to some 4Runners). I will likely post the .stl file here once I perfect the design. Right now, it’s still got some rough edges I’m hoping to clean up.