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Thread: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

  1. #1
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    Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Hi Guys,

    Building a custom front and rear bumper for my silverado. I've been wanting steel bumpers for years but I finally have the right tools to build one myself rather than buying one for $$$. Building it all out of 3/16" plate to keep down on the weight. Planning to add some auxiliary lights front and rear to help with hunting/fishing in early/late hours. I've only just finished the template and started cutting out the pieces to the puzzle. Mounts are tacked up as well...

    I'm thinking about a grill guard too out of 2 inch diameter 3/16" tubing (or similar). Gotta find someone to bend it for me because I don't think that's something I can take on at home. Let me know your thoughts, I'll keep you update along the way!
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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    So, how come you have the truck on jacks...just curious is there is a trick there?

  3. #3
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Only trick is it makes it easier to work on the truck with higher clearance. Plus I can sit while I work versus having to work on my knees.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Got the rear bumper off today. The mounting brackets I'm fabbing up has a bit more complicated geometry based on the way GM designed everything. Once I get the mounting brackets cut out, I'll start on making a cardboard template. I think I want to design the bumper to have recessed auxiliary lights to help me find the boat trailer in the dark when I go fishing. Wire them to the reverse lights is what I'm thinking.

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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  5. #5
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    I'll suggest removing the hitch receiver and incorporating the square tube into the new bumper.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Nice looking mock up! My thoughts on the front is, you are already going for the "miter'd" look, why not miter cut the pipe, weld, and sand the joints smooth? That would look nice I think. Just my $0.02...…..
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  7. #7
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    My plan was to leave the receiver hitch where it is and build the rear bumper around it. I don't know that I want the liability if anything were to happen while hauling a trailer. I'm confident in my welding but it works fine, it's one less thing to worry about, and I don't think it will affect the aesthetics.

    I was thinking about welding and sanding the joints smooth. I'm a bit nervous about warpage when I weld the whole thing out. I'm sure it's going to get quite hot as there will be a ton of welding.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  8. #8
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    just make sure you can easily remove the hitch for replacement if needed. Maybe you won't keep it that long. They do rot out though.

  9. #9
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Nice start

    Quote Originally Posted by WeldCrazyDude View Post
    Once I get the mounting brackets cut out, I'll start on making a cardboard template.
    No no no. It's CAD. Cardboard Aided Design.

    You'll never be able to put cardboard template on a resume.

  10. #10
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Hi Guys,

    So i got started on my rear bumper template and started welding on my front bumper. While I was welding on the front bumper, I think I put a bit too much heat into it and warped the top section where my light bar is going to poke through. Any advice on getting rid of the warpage? I'm pretty sure I recall you can heat straighten with oxy acetylene but I'm not sure if you heat on the peak side of the warpage or the underside of the warpage? I'd appreciate any advice...

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  11. #11
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    i just built one for my f150 i took that piece of crap hitch they had built into the bumper mount off bought an open box curt clss 4 off amazon for $40 which was a steal then reused and beefed up the old bumper mounts, made out of schedule 40 pipe and steel traed plate. total cost was around $100Name:  bumper2.jpg
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    Last edited by paulbuz; 04-11-2020 at 10:54 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Quote Originally Posted by WeldCrazyDude View Post
    Got the rear bumper off today. The mounting brackets I'm fabbing up has a bit more complicated geometry based on the way GM designed everything. Once I get the mounting brackets cut out, I'll start on making a cardboard template. I think I want to design the bumper to have recessed auxiliary lights to help me find the boat trailer in the dark when I go fishing. Wire them to the reverse lights is what I'm thinking.

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    very good idea using the cardboard for a mock up. i didn't realize how flimsy the factory hitch set up appears.
    i.u.o.e. # 15
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  13. #13
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

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    Cleaned up the factory hitch to help it last. Hopefully I get a lot longer use out of it. Finished up the template for the rear bumper and starting to tack things up on the front bumper. Couldn't heat straighten the front plate so I'm cutting that piece out again.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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  14. #14
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Welded up the mounting brackets to the front plate of the bumper. Used some square tubing to reinforce the front as you can see. Thinking about adding a little more square tubing at an angle to support the top of the front bumper plate as well. I learned the trick of welding the plate to the table to stop/limit warpage. Seems to have worked so far as long as it isn't warped when I cut it off the table. Should've put just a few more stitches on in areas that were close to the edges but live and learn. Going to try to fit up the rest of the pieces tomorrow and cut out the steel for the rear bumper. It's coming along slowly but surely as I'm seeing I still have quite a few tricks to learn.

    I really wish I had a plasma cutter. All you guys out there who have them are spoiled. The cut off wheels take forever and have covered the garage in piles and piles of dust. Just can't justify spending $2k yet on the Hypertherm 45 xp. Maybe someday...

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
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    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

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  16. #15
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Front bumper is pretty much done except for grinding down the welds, the front grill guard and paint. Looking to find some 3" diameter and 3/16" thick (if they make it, I know they go by "schedule") pipe and have someone bend it to my specs. Reinforced the frame of the bumper with 2"x2" and 2.5" x 2.5" 3/16" square tubing I had around. This thing is a BEAST but no more than ~150 lbs.

    As for paint, any advice on a primer? I have rustoleum rusty metal primer as well as the rustoleum rust reformer. Not sure which is better. Plan is to truck bed coat over top of my couple coats of primer. I know some people like to Line-X or powder coat but I want to be able to touch it up myself. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated! I learn a lot from you guys.

    On to the rear bumper now...

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  17. #16
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    As for paint, any advice on a primer? I have rustoleum rusty metal primer as well as the rustoleum rust reformer. Not sure which is better.
    I really like this front bumper. I still have the 2003 Si!verado front bumper which I would like to upgrade. Your design looks great. I went with a Ranch Hand fear bumper and it works good. Even though the welds are ugly On that Ranch Hand it is stout.
    On your primer question. That Rust Reformer is my go-to treatment. On a metal pipe carport I tabbed from oilfield pipe, 3 years of exposure to rain and snow (south west) it has held up super. As an experiment, some of the pipe I left the primer bare no top coat. Other pipe I used rattle-can zinc by CRC.over the rust reformer. Other pipe I used Rust-Oleum gloss black. Mind you I used flapdiscs to remove all the rust/scale from everything before treatment.
    CONCLUSION: All methods kept 95% of the pipe rust free��. The zinc didn't add any benefit so far. The 5% which shows any rust at all is at my welds. I welded angle to the tops of the pipe for purlins, that's were I have some rust showing. IMO that's because I can't grind out surface rust after welding. BTW I put one coat of reformer for full coverage multiple pass with rattle-cans. PITA. I suggest you buy liquid Rust Reformer and spray or roll it on.less need to mask et all. Hope this helps. One person's experience.
    Last edited by CPO_Dave; 04-20-2020 at 07:57 AM. Reason: Spelling

  18. #17
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Hi Guys,

    I'm looking to design a grill guard for the front bumper. I see most commercial bumpers are large diameter round tubing but I was wondering if I could use large diameter square tubing? Would a grill guard made from 2.5"x2.5" square tubing be weaker than 2.5" outer diameter round tubing of the same thickness? I've been checking online and it seems to suggest that round tubing is stronger in torsional stress and compressive stress but the square tubing is better at resisting bending. Is this true? If so, I would think a grill guard made from square tubing would be stronger...
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  19. #18
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Zoomed in on the pics, and it looks like you're wrapping your welds on the tubing Name:  tkqe4fh-smiley-two-thumbs-up175028_285604.gif
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  20. #19
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Hell, my welding days are coming to an end. Can barely walk across the yard without runnin' out of breath. Still like to look at what others are doin'.

  21. #20
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    Zoomed in on the pics, and it looks like you're wrapping your welds on the tubing Name:  tkqe4fh-smiley-two-thumbs-up175028_285604.gif
Views: 623
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    Yes sir! Trying to get max strength out of this design. There's a few things I'd change but that's always how it turns out looking back on projects. Spent the afternoon today making a template for my grill guard. Plan on moving forward making it out of square tubing unless somebody jumps in and tells me why that's dumb. I'm thinking of angling the guard forward slightly in case I hit a deer. That way it's more likely to be pushed under the truck rather than launch it up into the windshield.

    Still have to finish the grill guard, add on hangers for clevis bolts (plan on fabbing out of 1/2" plate) and add on a short bottom of the bumper (on top of grinding down welds, primer and paint). For the bottom of the bumper, I'm thinking of maybe 3" or 4" strips welded at a 45 degree angle. I think this will give the bumper a cleaner look and help in pushing whatever I hit under the truck.
    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  22. #21
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Main purpose to wrapping the welds is to keep moisture out. Moisture kills tubing.

    Open shapes are best for outdoor use. Channel, jr beams, angles, etc...……. But tubing is doable if you pay attention to sealing it.

  23. #22
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    When you start a bead, push that sucker on around the corner to close the corner up. It's like welding blind, but you get used to it.

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    Or, you can drag the bead on around the corner as you finish the weld to close off the corner.

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    Corners corners corners

  24. #23
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    One of my projects today was to cut out bumper mounts for my clevis bolts. 1-1/16" inch holes in 1/2" plate steel. Need to cut another two for the rear bumper as well. Any advice on welder settings trying to weld 1/2" plate to the 3/16" bumper? Is it worth pre-heating the 1/2"?

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

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  25. #24
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Spent the day grinding down all of the welds. Holy Sh#$ it was a lot of grinding. Went over the whole bumper with 36 grit, 80 grit and 120 grit to finish it off. Everything in my workspace is covered in metal dust. A little more work and I'll weld on the grill guard and mounts for the clevis bolts. Getting closer to finishing but so far to go.... Still have a long way to go on the rear bumper as well.

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

  26. #25
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    Re: Steel Bumper Build '12 Chevy Silverado

    Grill guard welded on and mounts for clevis bolts fabricated. All I need to do is weld on the mounts and do a final clean up before priming and painting...

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    I need to overthink how I'm going to overkill this project.

    Miller 211 (transformer)
    Trajan Q1400
    Crowbar for when $@&%* gets real

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