Chris Crompton's First Custom P38 Bumper
and his Lesson for us all in the Strength of Recovery Anchor Points

Chris Crompton of Abu Dhabi had a custom front bumper fitted on his 4.0SE which is outfitted for dune running. The bumper was adapted from one intended for a Toyota Land Cruiser. Chris kindly supplied the pictures of his setup below.

Chris's Bumper

Side View

Chris in desert

Chris Crompton's custom bumper

Side View of Chris's bumper

Chris's RR in its natural environment. Note recovery points built into the bumper.

During one of his desert forays, Chris recovered over 20 other vehicles in 38 degree C (about 100 degrees F) heat.  "The bumper parted from my car after I had to use a particularly violent snatch recovery on a Nissan Patrol that was buried up to his fenders in some of the softest sand I’ve seen for a while. The picture below is of the first time I recovered the Patrol, then he got stuck again and the second picture, (below left), is what happened after that, the third picture, (below right), is how I ran the rest of the day with a sand ladder strapped to front as a makeshift bumper to stop me trashing the radiator!!"

Recovery Operation

Bumper falling off

Bumper fell off

temporary bumper

Chris's bumper comes off (see towstrap at left)

Bumper off

Sand ladder used as temporary bumper to protect radiator on way home!

In analyzing afterwards what happened, Chris notes "One of the problems I’ve encountered with off-road driving here as compared to back in the UK and Europe,
is that the majority of recoveries here have to be snatch jobs.  Most of the driving is on sand and most of the “stucks” cannot be recovered just with a normal tow

because the towing vehicle just digs in and sinks.  These constant snatch recoveries put a huge amount of extra stress on the vehicle, and on that day that the bumper broke  I had already done approx 10-12 snatch recoveries with the front end! The bumper was welded and the recovery points welded and bolted.

The strength of the snatch actually tore holes in the chassis itself, the welds were still intact !! (See photos below).

Attachment Points

Recovery Points

Chris points out "As shown in the picture above at left, the bumper was bolted onto the ends of the chassis rails [ie forward of the airbag crush cans] with custom made brackets; it was these brackets that failed.  The recovery points were bolted onto the sub frame underneath, see second picture, but the mistake I made was to then fix the recovery points to the bumper so in essence they were all one combined unit. When the bolts on the recovery point gave way, the brackets attaching the bumper to the chassis failed before the joins from the recovery points to the bumper. The stock stuff stayed where it should be, just a little bit bent."

Chris comments on the fact that in his desert environment, the front bumper comes under extra strain because recovery by pulling backwards is the norm. "Recovering forward is ok a lot of the time, but there are times when I want to see what is going on, especially when recovering someone who is new to the desert and "snatch" techniques. If I'm watching them I can be talking to them on a radio at the same time so that they know what is going on. However there are times when a forward recovery is a life saver - we had one a couple of weeks ago, a guy was recovering a jeep and the recovery point on the jeep broke, the shackle flew through his rear window and hit the back of his headrest - if he had been facing the jeep he would now have a shackle where his face used to be!!"

After the lost bumper incident, Chris rapidly designed and had fabricated a new and stronger version illustrated on this page.






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Page revised February 10, 2012