Bigger isn’t always better, but cutting metal is always pretty fun. We’ll address both points in this article.By James Hodgson – November 16, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).
We are all about Jeep modifications, especially if it is a mod that is easy to install, good looking, and inexpensive. The VDP (Vertically Driven Products) Stubby End Cap kit ticks all those boxes with style, and that’s a pretty rare thing. Usually super cool mods mean a hefty toll on the old wallet, but this time we’re getting off easy at around $60 for the end caps. Let’s get those pups installed and do some wheeling with a stubby bumper!
- VDP Stubby End Cap kit
- Painter’s tape
- Sharpie or other marking device
- Tape measure
- Metal cutting device (e.g. Sawzall with metal blade, angle grinder with cutoff wheel)
- Touch-up paint to seal bare metal
- A helper/assistant
- Safety glasses
- Pair of gloves
A Sawzall is probably your best choice because you’ll be cutting plastic and metal at the same time. Also handy to have is a helper. Once you get part way through the bumper, it’s going to want to move around in a pretty annoying manner, so a brave helper with some safety glasses, a pair of gloves, and a keen eye will be key.
Step 1 – Mark the stock bumper where the cut will be
Using your stubby kit end caps as a guide, mark the stock bumper where you plan to make your cuts. You want enough room that the stubby end caps will be supported, but not so much that they don’t fit right. Let’s call it about 3 1/2 inches, measured outward from the crook of the hump in the bumper, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Measuring with tape.
Step 2 – Cut off the bumper ends
It goes without saying, but still, be careful not to cut yourself or your helper. It’s easy to forget sometimes that fingers on the back of a piece you’re working on are in danger, too
Figure 2. Now is when you want your helper to hold the end of the bumper so it doesn’t wiggle around too much.
Step 3 – Clean up the cut ends of the bumper
You will have some melted plastic and some bare metal on the end of the bumper. Clean the plastic up however you like, possibly with a carpet knife or other instrument, and then dab a little touch up paint on the bare metal.
It might not ever matter to protect the metal here, but it’s good practice to think about corrosion down the line whenever you expose a piece of metal to the elements. After all, Jeep ownership is all about exposing your truck to the elements.
Figure 3. Area to cover up/protect if desired.
Step 4 – Using your end caps as a guide, drill holes for the attachment points
With the ends of the bumper cleaned up you should be able to easily slip the end caps on. You can either mark the holes and then drill them, or just hold the end caps up and drill right through as shown in Figure 4. It’s probably a little better practice to mark and then drill, since you’re less likely to scratch up your end caps with the drill that way, but you’re a grownup and you can do what you want.
Figure 4. Have an assistant help you drill the holes.
Step 5 – Use the included doohickeys to install the end caps
Sorry to use industry jargon like “doohickeys” on you, but we think you’ll know what we mean, especially when you look at said doohickeys in the image below. Use those suckers to put on your new end caps.
Figure 5. Secure the end caps.
Step 6 – Step back and admire a job well done
You might want to call the neighbors over to admire your handiwork at this point, and if they don’t like it, you might want to talk to the HOA or neighborhood planning unit about getting them kicked out of the neighborhood.
Figure 6. Just look at this cool Stubby.
That’s it! Now just take your truck out and have some fun with it.
- VDP Stubby Bumper Conversion – Jk-forum.com