Lifting the Rear Bumper, Rear Fuel Tank and Front Winch

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Improving the approach angle is primarilly the result of the 40" tires. While they are taller, which lifts the winch (on frame) and body, they also are more forward, to the point where they are exactly even with the fiberglass on the front of the hood. So whle the body lift only affects the body apporach angle, the larger tires affect the geometry related to the winch. The body lift will allow me to raise the winch 2-3", and will pick up more approach there as well. I did this on my '93, that is fabricated my own winch mounting brackets. It's some work, but there is a lot that can be picked up. I have too much time on my hands.

Lifting the rear auxiliary gas tank

In an effort to increase departure angle and close the 2" gap in the rear when the body was lifted I lifted the rear bumper and removed my trailer hitch. I'm not going reinstall my trailer hitch - it's too heavy and I don't use it. The rear bumper is now 28" off the ground. I then cut 6" off the exhaust. Definitely a good modification. I also had to cut and move the exhaust bracket where it attaches to the rear bumper.(See picture)

Using a piece of steel angle I lifted the gas tank almost 3" and got rid of any/all bracing that might get caught up. I removed and drilled new holes in the "rear bumper support bracket blocks" that attach to the frame rails that hold the bumper. They went up about 1.3/8". Since the lift blocks sit atop the blocks, they got cut shorter to a final height of about 5/8”. I attached angle iron to the top of the blocks and lifted the bumper.

A also added a step plate to make it easier to get into the trunk. (1/4 steel 4”x12”, Home Depot – about $10)

Lifting the front Winch Assembly

In an effort to increase approach angle, I had new front winch mounting hardware fabricated at a local metal shop – cost $81. This project required 6 hours labor and lifted the front winch about 3”. Roller fairlead ordered.

The ’99 had the standard factory sheet metal gas tank cover and has a bend 0.5” too early making the extended drive train difficult to install. You might be able to loosed the tank and move it, but I cut off the tail end of the guard so it wouldn’t push up against plastic tank.