Expedition One Jeep Wrangler JL Trail Series 2 Bumper Install [Video]
Over the course of a year, we’ve had plenty of time to learn many of the good and bad points of our 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. We’ve shown you what it’s like living with the JL in stock form as well as exploring the ins and outs of running 35s with no lift. Now, we’re finally ready to move towards the modification phase of our project. Starting, quite literally, at the front of the vehicle.
One of the reasons we purchased this particular JL was the fact that we could save a little money out of the gate since it was fit with the plastic bumper group. We knew the aftermarket would be flooded with better looking and more functional bumper options, so we waited. After nearly a year of rolling with the stock setup, we ordered a more fitting Trail Series 2 stubby front bumper from Expedition One.
While the video above walks you through our entire install process, we’ll dive more into the details of our setup in the article below.
Expedition One offers a full-width and stubby version of the Trail Series 2 front bumper. Both are comprised of 3/16-inch steel and can be fit with an optional textured black powder coat finish. The lower skidplate you see is an option and is highly recommended unless you are planning on cutting off the stock frame horns that hang below the front bumper.
The Trail Series 2 bumper is rated to accept up to a 10,000-pound winch. While we’ll talk more about our winch choice later, the real benefit here is that Expedition One has designed the bumper in a way that the winch can sit between the framerails. This means less obstruction in front of the grille, thus not inhibiting critical airflow.
The two primary options on our front bumper are the openings for the aftermarket lights and center hoop grille guard. The 1-inch-thick clevis mounts, along with the dual Hi-Lift Jack lifting points come standard.
While we hope we don’t have to use it often, we opted for one of the most reliable recovery tools on the market—the Warn Zeon 10-S winch. Given that it has 10,000 pounds of pulling capacity, the Zeon 10-S is ideal for our JL. Couple the lightweight cast-aluminum housing design with a fast line speed and proven reliability, and the Zeon 10-S counties to be a go-to winch for our projects.
Since our Wrangler is still running the stock suspension, anything we can do to increase the approach angle is a plus. Opting for a stubby front bumper means we no longer have anything blocking the path in front of our 35x12.50R17 Nitto Ridge Grapplers. This opens up line options on the trail that would have previously destroyed the stock front bumper. This stubby series front bumper is also a solid long-term investment as down the line we won’t have any interference as our tire diameter increases.
It’s worth mentioning that all Expedition One bumpers are designed and made in the USA. Though our front end came down slightly due to the overall added weight of the winch and bumper, it wasn’t enough to warrant adding in a spacer to compensate for the drop. Since we have a rear bumper upgrade planned, we have a feeling the Jeep will likely even out a bit once we ditch the OE plastic setup out back.
Want to know more about the JL Rubicon? Check out our Trail Tested Video!