The production of the Jeep TJ ended in 2006. Therefore, sourcing parts may be challenging if you still have one. For most cars, bumpers usually last for very long unless you get involved in an accident.
But for the Jeep TJ, if you still had the same bumper from the early 2000s, there is no doubt that it needs replacement.
Since stock JT bumpers are rare in the market, you may consider switching to a JK bumper. But there is only one big problem – will it fit?
A JK bumper won’t snugly fit on a TJ. It must be modified to fit because they bolt differently. JK bumpers are designed to bolt to the front of the car frame. On the other hand, TJ bumpers bolt to both the bottom and top of the frame.
The bolting difference is the first complication. There are several others. For instance, the JK has a broader body than the JT.
Chances are, the JK bumper has a bigger width than the JT. That also may lead to fitting issues. Also, even though there are some similarities between the JK and JT.
Parts made for a JK, such as the bumper, may not look very good when installed on your real Jeep. These are some of the issues you must be aware of before putting a JK bumper on a TJ.
Table of Contents
- Is It Possible to Put a JK Bumper on a TJ?
- Would a JK Bumper Look Good on a TJ?
- Is Fitting a JK Bumper on a TJ Labor Intensive?
- Is It Worth Installing a JK Bumper on a TJ?
- Where Can I Buy a TJ Bumper?
- Will a TJ Bumper Fit a JK?
- Should You Weld a JK Bumper on a TJ?
- Does the Location of the Fog Lights Affect the Installation of a JK Bumper on a TJ?
- Which Jeep Model Does the TJ Share Bumpers With?
Is It Possible to Put a JK Bumper on a TJ?
These days, the word impossible should be scraped off from the dictionary because everything is possible. You can install a JK bumper on a TJ.
But the bumper will have to be modified severally. It’s a project that you can embark on by yourself. Or, you can take it to a shop and let the experts do their job. The latter option will cost money, but you are assured of a well-done modification job.
In case you decide to tackle the modification on your own. Some of the things you will have to do are;
• Trim the JK bumper because it’s bigger so that it can snugly fit the space on the TJ. You must be very careful about measurements and the tools you use to trim the bumper. Any wrong move can significantly interfere with the aesthetics.
• Because the JK bumper bolts differently, you will have to identify where you need to drill new holes. Drilling new holes ensure that the bumper can easily be bolted over.
When making these modifications, it’s best to leave the frame untouched. Only work on the bumper and configure it to fit on a TJ frame.
Would a JK Bumper Look Good on a TJ?
The first difference you will realize is that a JK bumper will look big on a TJ. From the front view, people would be confused about whether it’s a JK or a TJ. It will attract some attention, especially from Jeep enthusiasts.
When it comes to aesthetics, it’s a personal thing. Some people find JK bumpers on a TJ attractive. Others find them hideous.
The best advice I would give you is to look at photographs of TJs with a JK bumper. If you like them, then you can proceed with this project. But if you don’t, keep on looking for a TJ bumper.
On the bright side, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to revamp the face of your TJ with a JK bumper.
Is Fitting a JK Bumper on a TJ Labor Intensive?
Earlier, we discussed the option of taking your TJ to an auto body shop if you want the bumper replaced with that of a JK.
Many Jeep owners are DIY enthusiasts, and you may attempt to take on this project by yourself. That’s a great idea because you will save up on costs. But this is a labor-intensive task.
To fit a JK bumper on a TJ, start by removing the old bumper. That’s the easiest part. What follows is placing the JK bumper where the stock one was and seeing whether it will fit. It won’t be a perfect fit.
So, you will have to mark where to drill holes and where you should trim off. To trim a bumper, you will need a grinder disc. If there is a cowl air dam next to the bumper, that will have to be trimmed to accommodate the bigger JK bumper.
The procedure of modifying a JK bumper on a TJ is pretty straightforward. The only heavy lifting that needs to be done is to drill holes and trim the bumper. But the rest is easy.
You will need some advanced tools to pull this project off. Make sure that you source these tools before beginning the project.
During installation, don’t forget about the fog lights. The JK bumper is designed to house the fog lights on the inside, not outside, as with the TJ.
This is something that you should keep in mind. This is a solo project, but if you could get an extra set of hands, that would be great and speed things up.
Is It Worth Installing a JK Bumper on a TJ?
For such a labor-intensive job, it needs to be worth spending money and time on. JK bumpers look good. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they look better.
If you are content with the look of your TJ bumper, there is no need to work yourself up with modifications for a JK bumper. Look for a TJ bumper and replace it without any hassle.
Unless you are really into JK bumpers and think it would look amazing on your TJ. It won’t be worth the money or effort to get a bumper that won’t improve aesthetics.
Before embarking on this project, it’s best to take some time and think things through. Also, look at several photographs of JTs with JK bumpers.
Where Can I Buy a TJ Bumper?
Even though the production of TJs was stopped more than a decade ago, it’s possible to find bumpers made explicitly for this car brand. There are several online stores, such as Quadratec, that stock TJ bumpers. You can order and have one delivered to your home.
You can also check your local auto parts seller. They may not have one lying around. But thanks to their connections, they can source one for you.
TJ bumpers on the market go for around $500 to $1000. There is no need to look for used bumpers in a junkyard because you won’t find any.
Your safest bet is to check on eBay and see if there is someone who is disposing of their TJ bumper. When you run out of options, only then can you consider installing JK bumpers.
Will a TJ Bumper Fit a JK?
It’s the same story, only that it has been reversed. A TJ bumper will not fit a JK without modifications. You will need to drill new holes.
Because a TJ bumper is smaller, trimming it may be unnecessary. Nonetheless, the difference in size can have an impact on aesthetics. JK bumpers on TJs is common. But vice versa isn’t.
Considering that there are many JK bumpers in the market, you do not need to look for TJ bumpers unless it’s the only option you have. You can find aftermarket JK bumpers. Also, you can get your hands on used JK bumpers from a nearby junkyard.
Should You Weld a JK Bumper on a TJ?
Welding is an option. But it can’t be compared to drilling holes in the bumper. Welding involves a lot of work and tools the average car owner may not have.
Drilling gets the job done much faster and securely holds the bumper in place. Drilling will be the best solution if you are installing a JK bumper on the TJ.
Does the Location of the Fog Lights Affect the Installation of a JK Bumper on a TJ?
Yes. If you have seen a TJ and a JK, you know that the fog lights are positioned differently. In the JK, the fog lights are inside the bumper. This gives it a much meaner look. On the TJ, the fog lights are mounted on the bumper.
When installing a JK bumper on the TJ, the custom fog lights will no longer be useful, which means that you will have to buy new fog lights to install on the JK bumper.
If the bumper comes with functional fog lights, that will save you some money. Nonetheless, that’s a waste of parts because your current fog lamps won’t have any use.
There are several Jeep models out there. The JK often shares bumpers with the JL. Regarding the TJ, it is more likely to share bumpers with a YJ.
So, if you want a bumper from another Jeep model, it’s best to go for one with the least number of modifications needed to make it fit.