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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some of you probably know that Westin Bull Bars are available, but I had a hard time finding one on the net for sale. Finally ended up at Truck Specialties, the only one I could find that listed them on the website. They are available in both chrome and powder coated black. They have them in stock ready to ship. Unlike the Romik bull bar, Westin's is predrilled for installation of off road lights.

Their web site lists the correct code numbers, but it is not yet set up to be ordered on-line. I had to call them at 1-888-765-1711. They are bit expensive at $419.95 (US) + tax if applicable in your state. Shipping is free. I ordered one today, should be at my house on Tuesday. Too bad I will not have my Nitro for a couple of weeks yet.

Below, stock code numbers, parts list, installation instructions for anyone interested. As you can see from the instructions, this is good for holding off road lights, but little else. (That mounting isn't going to hold up to much of an impact.) Oh yeah, I think it looks good too, so it'll be adding chrome to the front of an otherwise monochrome R/T. In a day or so, I'll be ordering the Mopar rock rails also. The two should look great together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you say ARB? I agree, that would look awesome. But, there's always a BUT ya know, I had a Liberty with the ARB, with a winch. Added about 400 lbs. to the front end. I don't want to repeat that again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
The ARB + 8000 lb warn winch = approx. $1,000.00.
2 1/2" Lift which reused stock springs. Approx. $400.00.

I had tons of other add-ons, close to $8000.00 in aftermarket parts. No, I didn't change the front springs. In '03-'04, a lot the parts that are available today did not exist then. I just said enough is enough and stopped spending. The ride up front was pretty rough. I drove it close to two years that way, then decided I wanted a change.

Want to add one comment here. The front suspension is different now on the Nitro. If it wasn't, I would have never purchased one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Some of you probably know that Westin Bull Bars are available, but I had a hard time finding one on the net for sale. Finally ended up at Truck Specialties, the only one I could find that listed them on the website. They are available in both chrome and powder coated black. They have them in stock ready to ship. Unlike the Romik bull bar, Westin's is predrilled for installation of off road lights.

Their web site lists the correct code numbers, but it is not yet set up to be ordered on-line. I had to call them at 1-888-765-1711. They are bit expensive at $419.95 (US) + tax if applicable in your state. Shipping is free. I ordered one today, should be at my house on Tuesday. Too bad I will not have my Nitro for a couple of weeks yet.

Below, stock code numbers, parts list, installation instructions for anyone interested. As you can see from the instructions, this is good for holding off road lights, but little else. (That mounting isn't going to hold up to much of an impact.) Oh yeah, I think it looks good too, so it'll be adding chrome to the front of an otherwise monochrome R/T. In a day or so, I'll be ordering the Mopar rock rails also. The two should look great together.
Cool..... although it doesn't look terribly sturdy. Should look good. It would be nice to make it tough too. I'm thinking a full bumper skin replacement like they do on the Liberty.
AirJunky, I have been looking over the Westin Bull Bar and the mounting. I have come to the conclusion that all of the Westin parts exceed the strength of the location that it is mounted to the Nitro. If you take a look up under your front bumper, in front of the lower facia, you will see the collapsible bumper brace that is directly behind the plastic bumper. This bumper brace is very thin. You can almost flex this material between your thumb and index finger. The Westin parts sandwich the lower section of this brace between two much thicker pieces of steel, see the diagram. While the bull bar mounts with only one bolt on each side to this bracing, it is a 1/2" dia. bolt. I have not got the bull bar mounted yet, but I believe the collapsible bumper brace is the weakest point of this entire mounting. The Westin Bull Bar is a quality product. The limitation is the Nitro itself. The bull bar and two lights should weigh only about 20 lbs. I would not want to attempt to mount anything heavier to this location, as an example, a full grill guard. There would have to be better mounting location for something like that. I hope to get this mounted this weekend. For anyone that wants a really strong front bumper, you will have to replace the bumper with something like an ARB construction, just be prepared for the consequences of adding that much weight to this chassis. Yes, aluminum would be the preferred material, or as an alternative, heaven forbid, reinforced ABS plastic would be stronger than what is there now.:D
 

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AirJunky, I have been looking over the Westin Bull Bar and the mounting. I have come to the conclusion that all of the Westin parts exceed the strength of the location that it is mounted to the Nitro. If you take a look up under your front bumper, in front of the lower facia, you will see the collapsible bumper brace that is directly behind the plastic bumper. This bumper brace is very thin. You can almost flex this material between your thumb and index finger. The Westin parts sandwich the lower section of this brace between two much thicker pieces of steel, see the diagram. While the bull bar mounts with only one bolt on each side to this bracing, it is a 7/16" dia. bolt. I have not got the bull bar mounted yet, but I believe the collapsible bumper brace is the weakest point of this entire mounting. The Westin Bull Bar is a quality product. The limitation is the Nitro itself. The bull bar and two lights should weigh only about 20 lbs. I would not want to attempt to mount anything heavier to this location, as an example, a full grill guard. There would have to be better mounting location for something like that. I hope to get this mounted this weekend. For anyone that wants a really strong front bumper, you will have to replace the bumper with something like an ARB construction, just be prepared for the consequences of adding that much weight to this chassis. Yes, aluminum would be the preferred material, or as an alternative, heaven forbid, reinforced ABS plastic would be stronger than what is there now.:D
I am still waiting for my Nitro, but I also want to install a bull bar. I have not looked under the bumper, but is it possible to Weld or bolt some steel stock to these bumper braces to increase strenghth? 20-40 pounds of steel stock should add strength without changing to a 400 pound bumper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You can't get at this area to weld structural support. This is part of the energy absorbing barrier that limits injury to the driver in the event of a crash. Modifying this area also affects air bag deployment. ARB bumpers are manufactured to retain air bag functionality.

KenCary, I believe the brace is strong enough to support the 20 or so pounds of the Westin Bull Bar and two lights. Just don't expect the bull bar to offer any added front end protection. It can't do that on this vehicle with this type mounting. To get structural support for weight and strength, one would have to go back behind these braces and crumple zones and attach to the frame itself. To do that correctly, you would have to remove a lot of the front end pieces because they would be in the way. In other words, a complete new front bumper assembly like an ARB bumper.
 

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You can't get at this area to weld structural support. This is part of the energy absorbing barrier that limits injury to the driver in the event of a crash. Modifying this area also affects air bag deployment. ARB bumpers are manufactured to retain air bag functionality.

KenCary, I believe the brace is strong enough to support the 20 or so pounds of the Westin Bull Bar and two lights. Just don't expect the bull bar to offer any added front end protection. It can't do that on this vehicle with this type mounting. To get structural support for weight and strength, one would have to go back behind these braces and crumple zones and attach to the frame itself. To do that correctly, you would have to remove a lot of the front end pieces because they would be in the way. In other words, a complete new front bumper assembly like an ARB bumper.
Bummer. I was hoping that the bar and little skid plate would help prevent the front fascia from cracking when going through deep snow. I read of someone on this forum who cracked his in the snow. From the looks of the bar it looks like it would help push the snow under the bumper to reduce the "plowing force"

If this bull bar is sturdy in the Y plane, maybe it will help a little. Certainly it must be more rigid than the plastic.
 

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Great stuff, HV..... I haven't even gotten under mine to check this out yet, so this gives me a list of things to check out. Thanks for the heads up on it!

I'm one of the guys who cracked the front air dam in the snow. And while I didn't know it at the time, I think I know where it happened. I should have known better because the snow was over a foot deep & we all know the front end of the Nitro isn't very high at all. Live & learn. I was able to glue it from the back side anyway so you can barely tell.

I wish I had the design & welding skills to do up a bumper similar to the one I had for my old 4-Runner. It was steel & a couple hundred pounds, but had the same square jawed look as the Nitro. We need a guy who can weld aluminum to mock something like this up..... maybe a real Photoshopper or Freehand user to sketch this on a Nitro. I gotta dig up a picture of that thing.

Making it of ABS would be a first for aftermarket bumpers I think. Seems like it would be cheap at some point. But you'd have to make 10billion of them to make it.

So it sounds like your saying the Westin is going to be pretty stout........ lookin forward to seeing some pics.
 

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Just got a quote on doing an ARB style bumper and I was quote $1200 to do one custom fab from a local 4x4 shop. I thought this was a little high but it would be a complete new steel custom bumper designed how I wanted it to be. Going to check out another shop too in the area to see what they have for quotes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Westin Bull Bar Installed

Well it's done. It looks good and it's not going anywhere. I haven't got around to installing the lights yet. Ran out of time today.

I want anyone that is interested in this bar to have all the facts I can supply. You have to be patient, and give yourself 3 hours to install it. When the directions tell you to use tape to cover your front fascia, you had better do it. I used blue painters tape because it is less sticky. The directions tell you to use duct tape. I would still be trying to remove that! At any rate, you have to work in the confined space behind the front bumper while laying on your back, preferrable a creeper if you have one. Installing these six nuts on the bolts doesn't take all that much time, but deciding that you have them where you really want them for forever does. Since they are part of the alignment, you have to get them just so. See first photo below.



Second photo is the completed installation. When aligning the bar on the mounting brackets, you will have to enlist a second pair of hands. It is not possible to hold the bar and install bolts and nuts on you own.

When you receive the bull bar, this skid plate is attached. You have to remove it to install the bar, then reinstall the skid plate. The skid plate is about the thickness of the steel on a 55 gal drum. It is brushed stainless, so it looks terrific! But, if you were to run into snow of much depth at speed, I think you would fold it like tinfoil. A little, maybe up to a foot should be OK, but any deeper, it would be toast.

OK, so now the bad part that may turn a lot of people off to these items. When you reach over and bump this bar with your fist it will deflect, front to rear, about 3/8 of an inch. If you bump it and back away (think ringing a gong) it will oscillate back and forth, front to rear, for about 15 seconds. Think bobble head and you get the idea. If there was another way to secure this bar at the top, it would be rock solid. As it is, the steel mounting brackets allow it to flex like a spring.

Overall, I am pleased with the way it looks. Once I have my long range KC Hilites installed it will also be functional. The Westin Bull Bar coupled with the MOPAR rock rails looks really good together. See these items in my other posts or in the members gallery.

 

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Looks Great ! Glad to see someone on here finally got their feet wet on this mod. Still waiting to win the lottery and get the whole front bumper replaced. Are you going to go with one or two pairs of the KC lights? :pepper:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I sent the photo of the mounted bar to westinautomotive tech. department.

Got a reply from the Product Development Engineer today. He thanked me for the pic, and asked if there were any problems with the installation. He seemed pleased to see it was mounted on an R/T. I don't think they expected that!

My reply was basically the same things that I have in this thread about the installation and product quality.

However, while I had their attention, I took the time to ask for a Westin locking fuel door for our rides. They are about to release a new line of locking fuel doors, something I would really like to add. Hope they come through with that mod.
 
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