My Coastal Offroad (C.O.) 2005-2015 Front Bumper Build on my 2006 S model XTerra
2nd Gen Xterra High Clearance Plate Bumper Kit - Coastal Offroad
I searched for awhile for a custom bumper and was drawn to the C.O bumper for many reasons. I had trepidation about the welding aspect, but none of the pre-fabricated bumpers on the market were too appealing for me. With C.O. I liked the options of metal choice, bull bars, skid plate. You can really customize it for your budget. The shipping was pretty reasonable too coming in three smaller <70lbs packages.
C.O. has a quick response time, too. They sent me more pictures and information that is missing from the site. Great service and experience with C.O.
After my post to the forum: https://www.thenewx.org/threads/looking-for-welding-service.280902/#post-4345511 , I called up my cousin who is a certified experienced welder in Oregon, and he offered to do it himself. We spent 2.5 days tacking, cutting bull bars, finish welds, and grinding, and I did the paint a few days later.
This is our experience with the build.
Friday: 5hours of work today.
Ran around and bought gas, wire and disks for welding and grinding.
Secured new fasteners from the Bill of Materials list in the directions given from C.O. C.O doesn't include locking washers in their list, but we bought some for the skid plate since we wanted the piece of mind they wont rattle out. We also replaced many of the bolts since they are 15 years old and worth doing (to me) at this point in the X's life.
Purchased beer and snacks for moral purposes, ate lunch, made a game plan and went to work.
Time for the fun:
1. Remove the 40 to 60 fastners that keep the plastic covers, grill, skid plate, and other plastic junk.
2. I had a luggage scale and weighed 45 lbs of stock material removed.
3. When I received the parcel, a few weeks before, I opened it up and counted the pieces and numbered for easier install. I marked with tape and marker according to the blow up diagram C.O. provides in the instructions.
4. First plate placement is key for the whole build so we took our time getting an idea of how it would build from there.
4.A. Right off the bat the middle slot for the radiator line wasn't wide enough for my X. ( I'm not sure if C.O. used a newer or Canadian model Xterra for their CAD program). It was fine for the initial build and tack work, but we marked the "1" plate and the top plate "4" about 1/2" wider and cut with the angle grinder after everything was welded.
4.B. Be aware you'll have to "bevel" some of the plates--like the shackle reinforcement-- while you're building. My cousin had to teach me how to do this.
5. Using the welding corner magnets were a big help, too for this build.
6. Front plate install. I left the C.O in the front plate. I have seen some guys cut this out for light bar install.
7. The number "7" top plate also had to be modified for my grille. We notched out 1/4" so it wouldn't rub on the plastic grille cover. Later on we also used the grinder to make a little larger gap between the gap and top plate
7.A. We needed to put a few more tacks between the top plate and front plate. When we started welding it warped just enough the break the tacks and we had to use some vices to straighten things back out. (time and energy suck...)
8. When we built the wings we had something happen, I wasn't expecting. We built it so the wings were "flush" with the top fender on the outboard side, but when it was all welded it now sticks out 3/16" from the side of the fender. It is even on each side, and looks great, but if you're trying to keep your rig as narrow as possible, it is something to account for.
(photo is before welds are complete) This is as far as we got on Friday.
9. Plate"16" (The front plate holding your license plate) we welded some nuts on the back side of this to easily mount and remove the plate and you don't have to put your hand behind to hold the nut on. I also coated with some spray paint to protect from rust before doing the final top and bottom welds since you can't access this piece to paint well, later.
10. We spent a fair bit of time on the bull bar. I would have preferred if C.O. left the center bull bar longer and didn't pre cut it. How it comes from the shop it is cut flat so it would be vertical and sits flat on top of the "7" top plate. I would have liked to angle out the center bar more to protect against steep angle approaches, but there isn't much material there if you mess up a cut. There is plenty on the outboard guards to set it up the way you like.
11. The skid plate went on fairly well. Just make sure you double check the hole line up with the frame before tacking it. As many of you know, the stock radiator skid plate has an opening to access your oil filter, but this after market skid plate weighs 25 lbs (weighed it with that scale) and will need to be totally removed when you perform your oil change. For this reason I wanted to take my time with this piece since I'll be taking this on and off multiple times in the X's lifetime.
12. Before removing the bumper, to do the final welds, put a few more tacks on than you think.
13. It took time to set the light brackets up so they were even and angled the way I want. Pretty tedious and time consuming without good measuring tools. If you are planning on using your stock lights or ordering new fog lights and cubes do that before you start your project so you know where you want them.
14. My cousin laid welds on both the front and back of each seam. He wanted to be sure I can take anything head on if I ever needed to.
15. Grinded on her for a few hours and mounted her back up.
16. A good floor jack is helpful for the removal and install for two people. Three people would be good if you don't have a jack, have two people hold it in place while the third threads the bolts.
A week later...
Time to paint. I easily removed the 6 bolts holding the skid plate and the 8 bolts holding the bumper to the frame. Used the Dupli color steel spray primer (3 coats) was 2 cans, and Rustoleum "Desert storm" spray on bed liner paint (3 cans 3~4 coats). I thought about getting this painted professionally and perhaps powder coated, but my cousin suggested that driving around and thrashing through the woods it may be better to try painting it myself. Keep some spare bed liner around and I can touch it up when I need to.
The skid plate weighs 25lbs and I estimate the main bumper with bull bars is 65-70lbs. Adding only a total of 50 lbs to the front end.
Last winter I upgraded stock suspension to EMU HD coil overs on the front, and new EMU leaf packs and shocks on the rear. The added weight as really helped mellow out the stiff ride and I didn't lose any noticeable lift in the suspension.
I am really pleased how this build went. The directions are good, but it would be helpful if C.O. showed the edges to bevel in their diagrams, because some of the wording did get a little confusing at times. The approach angles are great and can't wait to get a winch. It's going to be even better out on the trail.
My fiance and I are planning on doing the timing chain job soon
I kept being told this is a "first" time welding project. It very well could be, but I am not a welder. I work on boats, I'm in a trade, and I really appreciate well-done craftsmanship. The number of times I've seen poor welds fail is too high to count, and I like when things are done right the first time. I'm so appreciative my cousin was stoked to take this on with me, even when he spends 40 hours a week welding for a living. He made his own pre-fabricated bumper for his last pickup, and when he hit black ice a few winters ago, his bumper kept him from getting severely injured. Just something to keep in mind with your own projects.
My cousin and I are going to be welding the read C.O. bumper this weekend and will make another post about it.
Thanks for reading, and I'll try to answer questions. See photos in the following thread for the final product.
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