I have a Ranch Hand Legend Grille Guard that protects the front end of my truck, however, until now, the backend of my F-150 didn’t have any reinforcement and that was something I wanted to change. So, I recently installed a Ranch Hand Sport Back Bumper. Now, not only does my truck have more rear protection, but it also looks rugged and awesome.
Check out my step-by-step guide to ditching your factory bumper and upgrading it with a Ranch Hand Sport Back Bumper. I’ll walk you through all the steps. Then, we’ll talk about protection, function, durability, quality and all the reasons your truck or SUV should be protected on both ends by Ranch Hand.
Installation of Ranch Hand Sport Back Bumper
(NOTE: You don’t have to install your own Ranch Hand Truck Accessories like I’ve done here. Ranch Hand has an awesome network of dealers that are ready to install any of your purchases and they do a fantastic job.)
- TOOLS AND HARDWARE: Round up all the tools you’ll need first and put your hardware out so it’s easily accessible once you start the installation.
- 7/16” wrench and socket
- ¼” wrench
- REMOVE SENSORS: My 2017 F-150 is equipped with reverse sensors and those have to come out before you can remove your factory bumper. (No worries, this Ranch Hand back bumper is compatible with factory sensors, so you don’t have to ditch them.) Sensors like these are simple to remove but require a gentle touch, so don’t go yanking and banging on them. Reach around the back of your bumper to where the sensor is sitting. It is held in with small tabs on top and bottom, so you’ll need to push them outward in order to free them from the bumper and then push the lights in so they are hanging on the inside of the bumper.
- REMOVE TRAILER PLUG: On the back side of the bumper, reach in and pinch the clips on the trailer plug together and push the trailer plug assembly up thru the bumper. Then, make a quarter turn where the trailer plug and connection meet and pull them apart. Next, push the wiring connection back thru the bumper so it’s completely free when you remove the factory bumper, itself. Set the trailer plug aside because it’s needed for re-installation.
- UNPLUG LICENSE PLATE LIGHTS & REMOVE COVERS: Reaching around the backside of the factory bumper, now squeeze the clips on the license plate lights and push them forward to remove. Once removed, unplug the wiring for your license plate lights on each side. Then, push the wiring harnesses and light bulbs back thru the bumper. Set the covers aside, you’ll be re-using these so don’t misplace them.
- TAKE OFF LICENSE PLATE: Using a screwdriver, remove your license plate and the decorative plate surround, if one is present.
- TAKE OUT SPARE TIRE LOCK: Pull open the cover on your spare tire lock, insert your vehicle key and turn to unlock. Once unlocked, grab and pull the whole lock straight out. Set aside, you’ll be reinstalling this lock so don’t go losing it.
- REMOVE FACTORY BUMPER: Get ready to be disappointed if you thought your factory bumper was one nice solid piece. In actuality, if it’s like mine, it’s two individual metal bumper pieces capped off with a piece of plastic that visually connects the two sides together.
First, remove the plastic shroud. Start on a corner and reach around to the backside of the bumper, squeezing the plastic clips on the bottom of the shroud while pushing up. Once you get one corner lifted you can pull up and it will unclip as you move across the length of your factory bumper. Do this until the plastic is completely free. This will leave the mounting portion of bumper pieces exposed and accessible.
Next, remove the two metal bumper pieces from both sides of your vehicle. My F-150 had a total of 5 bolts per piece. Back those bolts out and remove the bumper pieces.
Note: You can set the plastic shroud, bumper pieces and bolts aside - you will not need the hardware for installation, all new hardware is provided.
- PREP FOR INSTALLATION: At this point everything from your factory bumper should be gone. All of your wiring is exposed and hanging but needs to be tucked in before you begin the installation, otherwise it will be in the way of the new bumper and inaccessible once you go to reinstall lights. Take the wiring and push it backward, underneath the vehicle. Some of the wiring for my sensors happened to be connected to the license plate light wiring with small clips so I had to take those apart in order to push it back behind.
- INSTALL RANCH HAND BUMPER: The actual physical removal of your factory bumper probably wasn’t very hard; a mixture of plastic and metal means it’s fairly lightweight and one person can remove it easily. On the contrary, your new Ranch Hand Back Bumper is hefty, making those flimsy factory plastic coverings a thing of the past. Get ready for real protection because this backend beauty is made from steel, which also makes it heavier. So, enlist the help of an extra set of hands for installation.
Lift the bumper on each side, line it up and slide it back toward the tailgate and into position, making sure bolt holes match up. There is no drilling or modification required, Ranch Hand engineers their products to fit seamlessly based on the Make, Model and Year of the part you purchase. It should fit like a well-made steel glove. Using the 7/16” bolts that come in the hardware package, put them through the holes and loosely fasten the nuts. Don’t tighten them completely yet.
- REINSTALL TRAILER PLUG & TIGHTEN BOLTS: Grab the trailer plug harness and fish it through the large hole in your Ranch Hand bumper. Reconnect the trailer plug assembly and the wiring harness and press it firmly until it clips back into place. Once the trailer plug has been reinstalled, all bolts can then be tightened completely.
- PUTTING THE PIECES BACK TOGETHER:
- Reinstall license plate with the ¼” bolts from the hardware package.
- Reinstall the spare tire lock in the provided hole next to the license plate.
- Reinstall sensors using the provided rubber grommets from the hardware package. If you don’t have rear sensors, rubber plugs are provided to fill the holes.
- Reinstall license plate lights by plugging them in and pressing the covers into place.
- INSTALLING LED LIGHTS: At this point your bumper is almost completely installed, all that’s left are the LED lights on either side of your trailer hitch. Vehicles of different makes and models are going to be wired a little differently, however this is how I installed mine.
- Unplug and remove the trailer lights again.
- Using a wire cutter, stripper, cut the blue/white striped power lead that provides power to your license plate lights.
- Connect the blue/white striped wire to the red wire on your LED lights provided by Ranch Hand.
- Ground your wire to the bumper, you may have to sand a small spot in order to get past the powder coat and get good contact. I sanded a small 1-inch square on my frame mounted hitch receiver, drilled it out and used a self-tapping screw. It was extremely easy to do.
- Turn the key and check your lights, test your sensors. Is everything working? It should be! Now, stand back and admire. Your new Ranch Hand Back Bumper is rough, tough and ready to meet the challenges of the open road, the backroads or even the grocery store parking lot.
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MAKING THE CASE FOR REAR PROTECTION ON YOUR TRUCK OR SUV:
Why would you want to replace your factory bumper with a steel Ranch Hand Back Bumper? Well, aside from looking great, it’s all about protection.
- Fact: There are about 1.7 million rear-end collisions in the United States each year.
- Fact: 87% of rear-end collisions are the result of drivers not paying attention to the road.
Despite all the new crash prevention systems being installed in new vehicles today, your rear end is still vulnerable. Front crash prevention systems alert you when you are getting too close to the vehicle in front of you, often using automatic braking, audible warning sounds and other cues to avoid collisions. Those systems aren’t foolproof so it’s important to have front end protection, as well, in the form of a Ranch Hand Front Bumper or Grille Guard. While rear parking sensors are fantastic for low speed reverse scenarios, like your driveway and parking lots, those systems do not alert you if someone is driving an unsafe distance behind you on the highway or interstate. While electronic systems are fantastic, I have them in my truck and use them often, the truth is that drivers have to be engaged and proactive in their own protection on the road.
In order to better protect your vehicle, you have to identify the weak points and places that will be the most susceptible to collisions, and then try to address those issues. Your bumpers, both front and back, are probably more prone to damage than any other part of your vehicle. Plastics, chrome, fiberglass and other common bumper materials today don’t hold up well in collisions and offer virtually no protection. What’s the solution? For me, it’s steel.
Ranch Hand is in the business of protecting vehicles with their steel Grille Guards, Bumpers (Front & Back) and Running Steps. Steel is a superior material and able to better handle impact than the materials you’ll find on factory bumpers. A Ranch Hand Back Bumper will make your truck or SUV stronger and better equipped to protect the vehicle and its occupants in the event of a collision.
It’s not just on the road collisions we’re talking about here. I don’t think you could even count the number of dust ups drivers have each year by backing into light poles, fence posts, buildings, signs, shopping carts, large rocks, other vehicles and more. These low speed accidents are really common, but the presence of a Ranch Hand back bumper makes it less likely that there will be any serious damage done to your vehicle as a result.
PICK YOUR PLEASURE:
Ranch Hand has several different options to choose from when it comes to Back Bumpers. Which one would you pick?
- Sport Back Bumper - available for ½+ ton trucks, built with 3/16” formed channel and diamond-plate steel. This is the rugged bumper that dresses up and protects the backend of my truck.
- Horizon Back Bumper - available for ½+ ton trucks, as well. If you’re into a sleek finish, then this will be right up your alley. The Horizon Back Bumper is built with 7-gauge matte black finished smooth steel.
- Legend Back Bumper - available for ¾+ ton trucks and with a construction of 4” schedule 40 pipe and diamond-plate steel it stands guard, ready to defend your truck.
Regardless of the back bumper you select, they are all designed with a host of features.
- Steps - Ranch Hand Horizon Series Back Bumpers and most Sport Series Back Bumpers are designed with built-in side steps that appear on both ends of the bumper. These steps give you a designated foothold that makes stepping up on the bumper and accessing the bed of your truck easier. In addition, the Horizon Series steps are illuminated with LEDs for low light situations.
- Sensor Compatibility - Parking/Reverse sensors are fantastic pieces of equipment to have on your vehicle and you don’t have to give them up in order to install a Ranch Hand Back Bumper. With holes that are precut in the bumpers, sensors can be quickly and easily re-installed.
- Towing - Function isn’t forgotten with Ranch Hand back bumpers. They are tested to 1,000 lbs tongue weight and 10,000 lbs towing capacity or 500 lbs tongue weight and 5,000 lbs towing capacity to give you plenty of towing confidence.
QUALITY & CONSTRUCTION:
Behind the craftsmanship of the bumpers, grille guards and running steps from Ranch Hand there are real, hardworking people, not robots. These steel artisans from Texas have their fingerprints on every product that leaves the Ranch Hand floor. They take pride in the highly engineered, sturdy and durable truck accessories they put out and the role they play in protecting your vehicle and all the people inside. Ranch Hand Truck Accessories are Made in the U.S.A., built by hand and trusted by drivers like me, for the protection they provide.
My truck is now outfitted from front to back, bumper to bumper, with good looking and hardworking truck accessories from Ranch Hand. I can rest a little easier when I’m on the road knowing that there is another layer of protection keeping me, my family and my truck safer.
Safe Travels, Steel and Sturdy Bumpers