Towing Shackles & D-Ring Fabrication and Installation on Jeep JK

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In the fall of 2009, I bought a Jeep Wrangler and joined the, “I Live, I Drive, I Am” crowd. The vehicle purposely has very few “bells and whistles” because I found that in order to buy one bell, I had to buy a package of six whistles which I really didn’t need.
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Among the first additions that I made was the installation of Nerf running boards which added to the custom look of the Jeep. They also hide the spot welds that run along the bottom of the rocker panels.

The second project was the addition of a light hoop and two KC running lights. This addition enhanced the overall beauty of the front end, and offers some protection from the herds of marauding deer that are so prevalent here at night in northern Ohio.

The third project was the installation of “D-Ring” shackles fastened under the stock Jeep front bumper. After looking through a pile of aftermarket magazines (none as good as JPFreek) and noting the prices of bumper kits, I decided to fabricate my own set of shackles using the stock bumper that came with the Wrangler.

As I began planning the project, I realized that the towing capacity of my homemade installation had to be strong enough to pull another vehicle out of the mud and snow as well as be an attractive addition to the vehicle. Although I can’t guarantee the actual pulling strength of this design, they certainly are an attractive addition, well placed and “fairly strong”. And, as you will see, the towing bars are in no way fastened to the plastic stock bumper.

I began by removing the bumped, just to see what was under all that black plastic.

You need to get down on your back, look up behind the bumper system and remove the plastic push screws that hold the skid plate/stone deflector to the bumper. Once that’s out of the way, you’ll find the four bolts that hold the plastic bumper to its steel frame. There are 2 on each side. Remove them.

Set the bumper aside and check out the two “crush zone cans” that are concealed under the plastic bumper. You’ll find that these two “soup cans” are not welded directly in the center of the two protruding “humps” formed into the plastic bumper. Instead they’re somewhat off-center and an adjustment in the center alignment of the two steel towing bars is essential to a finished appearance. Remove these two “cans” by grinding off the 3 spot welds that hold them to the front of the steel bumper frame. Discard them!

Now, replace the front plastic bumper.

I used my laser level kit and set it up in front of the right side of the bumper. I located and lightly marked the direct center of the protrusion on the plastic and aligned the laser with those marks. (Be sure to set up the laser back out of your work area and don’t move it!!

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