MOVE Bumpers DIY Rear Bumper Build and Install
Get A MOVE On: Fabricating and Installing a MOVE Rear Bumper
Bolt-on accessories are all the rage these days. The problem is many of these products are simply too far outside the average working person’s budget. MOVE Bumpers of Lewistown, Montana, recognizes this hole in the market and has a line of weld-it-yourself plate bumpers available for most pickups and SUVs. These kits are CAD designed and come in several pieces, requiring end users to assemble and finish-weld the bumpers themselves. This concept allows for sub-$400 front or rear bumpers, with features found on many higher-end complete units that command $2,000 and up—with the added bonus of some DIY pride. There are many options available, including light holes and corresponding LED lighting, as well as winch mount capabilities. Front bumper options also include different styles of tube grille protection, from a prerunner look ($495) to complete front end protection ($750).
For this project, MOVE Bumpers supplied a Standard rear bumper kit ($395) with optional single 3-inch square light openings for our Ford van off-road people mover. To fill the light openings, we opted for a set of Offroad LED Bars (OLB) 3-inch Flood LED Cubes, which we wired up as auxiliary reverse lights. Welding the bumper together lent itself nicely for testing out the latest offering from Miller Electric Mfg.—the Multimatic 215. We used this very impressive machine with 110-volt input for the entire build, using both MIG and TIG processes to get the finish we needed. Follow along as we show the step-by-step process for assembling and welding the bumper in the driveway of our house.
1. We take an inventory of the pieces that come in the ’92-to-’07 Ford E-350 Van kit. The main center piece ships pre-welded and seam-finished and serves as the base for the build.
2. The first step in the process is to tack the outer wings to the centersection. This is relatively straightforward, but wrestling the parts into location is a two-person job.
3. Once the outer wings are tacked and the frame mounts are bolted in place, the bumper assembly can be lifted into place, centered, and tacked to the frame mounts.
4. After double-checking the fit of the bumper to the body lines, the mounts are fully welded to the assembly while still bolted on. Using the vehicle as a jig helps keep warpage to a minimum and allows the fit to be checked after each step.
5. Before removing the bumper from the van, we tack on the inner and outer finishing plates to make certain their positioning is correct.
6. Once the bumper is off the vehicle, we weld up all the joints on the backside, making sure to move around to prevent warpage.
7. The mounts for the Offroad LED Bars reverse lights are welded into place behind the openings.
8. The outside joints are TIG-welded with the Miller Multimatic 215 for a clean appearance that needs very little cleanup.
9. After a final test-fit and a quick coat of rattle can paint, we install the bumper on the van. It will soon be treated to a durable powdercoat finish once a few other items are ready. Coating multiple pieces at the same time helps keep the costs down. The MOVE bumper offers a more aggressive look and increased clearance at the outside ends compared to the stock unit. We dig the look and increased off-road capabilities.