ARB Bullbar

(Winchbar)

LandCruiser 200

Step-by-Step installation

Without a doubt, one of the most important accessories for any touring build is a bullbar.

Aside from providing vehicle protection, which is vital for safety in remote locations, they serve as a mounting point for other accessories such as a winch, driving/fog lights and radio antennas.

When it comes to selecting a bullbar, there are two major decisions you'll have to make: Material and Brand/Design.

Selecting a bullbar material

The first choice when deciding on a bar for your vehicle is the material: Aluminium, Plastic or Steel.

Aluminium bars are generally lighter than steel and they can be a good choice for a smaller 4WD or one that doesn't venture too far from civilisation. My first 4WD - a Suzuki Sierra - had an aluminium bar. It generally worked quite well, but ultimately failed when it was ripped off the front of the vehicle during a recovery. There are very few aluminium bars that will protect the vehicle from a serious animal strike, and the ones that will are pretty ugly.

Plastic bullbars are a niche product, marketed as being pedestrian-safe while still providing vehicle protection. I have little experience with them, but from what I've seen, plastic bars are similar in strength to aluminium bars, although they do offer some flexibility allowing them to return to shape after a moderate impact. They require a steel cradle for winch fitment, and as they are non-conductive can present problems when mounting lights or radio antennas.

Steel bullbars offer the best protection, but that protection comes at a cost of higher weight than aluminium or plastic bars. On a large vehicle like a 'Cruiser or Patrol though, that extra weight is worth it. There's not much point saving weight on a bar that won't do the job required of it - vehicle protection.

So for my needs, steel is the material of choice.

Choosing a brand and design

With the material decided, it's time to pick a brand and design. There's no shortage of different bars on the market these days, from both established brands and newcomers. As with the other products I'm fitting to the 200, the choice comes down to choosing a product that I know I can rely on for safety and reliability.

Over the past 20 years, I've owned four vehicles with ARB bullbars and over all that time, through touring, hard-core 4WDing, competition events, winching and recoveries, I have never had a failure from one of their bars.

On top of that record, their bars are engineered in Australia, and the design complements the vehicle very well. Because I plan to add a winch to the vehicle in the future, I've decided on the deluxe winch bar rather than the standard bullbar. For the small additional cost, it's well worth choosing the winch version even if you don't plan on adding a winch in the short term. It's easy to place the number plate over the 'hole' for the winch fairlead, masking any 'unfinished' look.




IMPORTANT

The "Installation" section should not be taken as instructions. It is simply a documenting of the procedure I followed for my own installation. No warranty is provided as to the accuracy of the information, and/or whether it applies in your situation or to your vehicle. If you're not qualified and/or don't have the correct equipment, get the bullbar fitted professionally.

  • There are potentially lethal dangers involved during the installation from falling components and/or component or equipment failures.
  • There are potentially lethal dangers resulting from failure due to improper installation.
  • There is the potential for expensive vehicle damage from improper installation.

If you undertake your own bullbar installation, you do so entirely at your own risk.

Tools and equipment required

For the Bullbar:

For the fog lights:

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Installation 

ARB supply comprehensive installation instructions with the bullbar. I followed these instructions in the video above and found them to be accurate, so I'll only add a few tips.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, I used loctite on ALL bolts during the installation, adding additional security to cope with vibration.

Installation Tips

The step numbers below correspond to the ARB instruction sheet steps:

Bullbar Installation tips: 

The step numbers below correspond to the ARB instruction sheet steps:

Step 4: The plastic nut can be either pried off, or undone using a 12mm socket.

Step 5: There are four bolts to be removed across the bottom of the bumper.

Step 6: The plastic clips are easily removed by pushing down in the centre, then levering the entire clip upwards. It's shown very clearly in the video. You can reuse the clip by pushing the centre back up, inserting the clip, then pushing down gently on the centre until it's flush with the outer ring.

Step 7: There are three bolts to remove across the top of the grille

Step 8: The upper corners of the grille should be pulled towards the front of the vehicle to release the plastic clips.

Steps 15-18: Except for the section covered by the outer wing template, the exact position and neatness of the bumper cut is not critical (a few mm either way doesn't matter), because the cut area is hidden under the bullbar.

Step 19: The plastic clips are easily removed by levering upwards with a flat-blade screwdriver

Step 24: Not mentioned in the ARB instructions, but you need to unclip the grille from the bumper for easier cutting. Lever the series of clips with a flat-blade screwdriver as shown in the video.

Because I didn't install a winch immediately, I skipped the winch prep/fitting instructions here. You can find the winch installation documented separately on this page

Step 60: Be very careful sliding the rubber buffers onto the bullbar. The screws in the buffer can easily scratch the paint, and leave a possible rust point hidden under the rubber. Hold the buffers in place while tightening the nuts, to avoid gaps between the bar and the buffers.

Step 62: Unfortunately it wasn't possible to get a clear shot of the clevis nut installation for the video. This is a very tricky part of the installation. You'll find the rectangular holes for the clevis nuts about 150mm back from the front face of the chassis. Insert from the inside face of each chassis rail, and carefully push them right through so they protrude from the hole on the outer face of the chassis rail. Be very careful not to let the clevis nuts fall down into the chassis rail, because it's almost impossible to get them back out!

Step 76: The ARB instructions have the wording reversed. It is the uprights on the bullbar that are already drilled, and you must use those holes as a guide to drill through the mounting brackets.

Step 78: I found it easier to install the surrounds before fitting the indicator assemblies to them.

Indicators/Blinkers: I decided to solder the connections rather than using the scotch clips.




Fog Light wiring:

As I had already partially wired for fog lights, and wanted to standardise my interior switches, I decided to completely wire the ARB foglights myself rather than use the available ARB loom. I used a Carling switch, but if you're looking for great switches for the 200, AOB now produce a series of push on/off switches that fit perfectly into the 200's blank switch plates and look factory-fitted.

Here's the steps I took for wiring the ARB 55w fog lights from scratch:

Step 1: I installed a standard 12volt, 30amp relay on the inner guard adjacent to the airbox, using a relay mounting base.

Step 2: I wired pin #30 of the relay to a 15A fuse on the battery side of the accessory fusebox using  12AWG (3mm2) cable.

Step 3: I wired pin #85 of the relay to earth (There are several factory earth points on the inner guard to choose from).

Step 4: I spliced into the + wire of the driver's side parking light (with the ARB loom's parking light splice), and ran a 18AWG (1mm2) cable to terminal #2 of the Carling dash switch.

Step 5: I ran a 18AWG wire from terminal #3 of the Carling switch to pin #86 of the relay.

Step 6: I connected terminal #7 of the Carling switch to earth.

Step 7: I connected terminal #8 of the Carling switch to a wire spliced into a dash light illumination circuit.

Step 8: I ran 12AWG cable from the fog lights to the relay. The + wire connects to pin #87 on the relay, while the - wire connects to earth.

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