By: R. Cade Powell for Western Hunter
Over a year ago I wrote a blog article about my Ranch Hand replacement bumper. I promised to write a follow-up and give some more details of my experiences. https://westernhunter.net/ranch-hand-replacement-bumper-review/
In response to that blog I received several questions from potential customers with questions they asked me to hit on.
#1) Did I notice any decrease in fuel economy with the added weight?
Nope! In fact, I drove to Billings a couple times this summer and my truck registered over 19 MPG’s (1000 miles round trip). I have a 2013 F-150 with the 5.0 V8 engine. I also put a leveling kit and a size bigger tires (LT275/70/18) on before I drove it off the lot. I consistently average 16 at home with more stop and go driving and 18 on the hiway. I haven’t seen any decrease in my MPG’s with the additional 182 pounds on my front end.
#2) Did I notice any increased wear to my tires due to the added weight?
Nope! I just replaced the BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires on my truck right before hunting season began. BFG’s typically are a softer tire that can wear faster than other tires. They had at 47,000 miles on the set when I changed them out. I did see a little wear on the outside of my tires last fall that made me wonder if it was increased wear due to the bumper. I then checked my records and had missed my rotation by 6,000 miles. Since then I have rotated them religiously at 5,000 miles and have had no issues.
#3) How does the powder coating hold up?
This question and reply may be a little subjective to where you live and how you drive your truck. I would say that over half my miles are on gravel and dirt roads. I have filled 3 rock chips on my windshield since I’ve put my bumper on so I’ll assume that equates to plenty of rock chips on the bumper. My kids and I washed the truck last week and I paid extra attention to the bumper as we were washing and drying. I couldn’t even find where the bumper had been hit by any rocks and definitely could find no flecks of paint missing. I’m not an engineer and don’t exactly understand the process Ranch Hand uses to powder coat, but it appears to be working. I also live at 7,000 feet elevation where we get a couple weeks a year that dip down to 30 degrees below zero. This summer in Billings it was 102 above. The bumper has been able to handle the weather extremes with no flaking/rusting/chipping.
#4) Any new crashes with animals?
Thankfully no! My teen-age daughter has driven the truck back and forth to school and sports this last year. She has had a couple really close calls – so close that she left marks on a couple of inanimate objects like the freezer in the garage and the entry into the garage. Freezer door still opens and seals. Siding was creased but didn’t displace the stone next to it. When she told me all I could do was grin as my minds-eye was picturing her grandpa laughing at me. My dad said there would be days like this!!!! I was REALLY grateful to have the bumper on as I’m sure she would have cracked the factory Ford bumper. The Ranch Hand has shown no signs of abuse. This fall she’ll get to drive a put-put to school. The put-put gets to serve 2 purposes. One is so the truck can have a break and the other is that nothing says stay away from my daughter like a wagon with wood paneling sides!
#5) Any issues with accessibility to change oil? Not really. It can be a little awkward climbing up on the bumper to get at the engine but I haven’t had any major concerns with climbing over and around the bumper.
#6) Any concerns with clearance or ‘draggin’ bumper? Clearance wasn’t an issue last fall but I didn’t have any tags in remote and wild country. This fall there were plenty of creek and badlands-type drainage crossings that tested the clearance. The bumper sticks out a foot further so I knew it would cause some minor issues. I drug the rear bumper on several drainage crossings. Most pronounced was after my daughter Paige harvested her Wyoming bull in the low country. But I never hit the front bumper this fall. I cashed in an old Toyota 4-Runner as my hunting rig when I bought the truck. That 4-Runner could go more places with better clearance than many of the Razor type UTV’s I see in the hills. I suspect I’ll just have to get used to driving a big truck with a bumper and learn what its limitations are. I had the privilege of towing a few people out of ditches and snow banks the last 2 winters and had no issues accessing my front tow hooks.
Above and Below: No issues with small creek and drainage crossings.
Below: Paige’s lowland Wyoming bull elk.
#7) Anything else that you can disclose? No negatives! I am still extremely pleased with my decision to go with Ranch Hand as my bumper of choice. I wasn’t much of a student in school but this time my homework paid off in spades. Do your homework and you’ll find the same answer that I did: Ranch Hand.