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Hunter Grill Guard with Brush Guards

Make Your Own Upper Brackets

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Making Your own Upper brackets:

The most convenient location to place upper brackets on a Nissan Frontier is on the of the top of the vehicle's front cross-brace, which anchors the top of the radiator and front grill.  Conveniently, there are two unused weld-nuts for attaching the upper brackets to the vehicle, located under the white arrows in the picture below, holding on the brackets I made. 

The simplest upper bracket is a flat bar running from the vehicle's front cross brace to where the brush guard fastens to grill guard upright. 

Just how long a flat bar is needed depends on how far away from the vehicle body you place the grill guard.  I shimmed the brush guards over the headlights, so I was able to position the grill guard as close to the vehicle as possible, which gave a nice wrap-around look.  In that position the upper bracket required a flat bar not shorter thon 17-1/2", nor longer than 18". 

While I started off with a flat bar about 18" in length, when I finished with the necessary bends to match the underlying surfaces, the bar ended up about an inch shorter measured point to point.  This was due to forming three folds on it -- one nearly 60 degree bend to accommodate the near-vertical bolt point on the grill guard, and two small bends to follow the stepped geometry through the space under the latched hood to the vehicle attachment point.  In addition, the flat bar has to be slighted twisted to ensure it lies flat against the vehicle at the point the hood closes directly over it.  You will need two flat bars  -- one for the passenger side, and one for the driver's side. 

It is not difficult to do for someone handy with tools, and has a shop, but it is not something most buyer's would want to have to do.


Passenger Side Bracket Attach points Driver Side Bracket Attach Points
There are three bends necessary in each bracket -- each bracket being the mirror image of the other. 

The first bend, shown below,  creates the attachment flange to the grill guard's vertical upright. It is the most difficult bend to establish because the vertical upright is not really vertical - it bends outward from the vehicle's center.  In addition the horizontal part of the bar is not really in a horizontal plane - it lies in a plane that is a slopping to the front of the vehicle.  This makes the angle very difficult to calculate -- both the angle the bend makes with the the axis of the bar, and the angle that the flange makes with the plane of the bar so it lies flat against the grill guard's "vertical" upright.

The 2nd and 3rd bends form a step, as shown below.  This is necessary in order for the bracket to hug the cross brace, shroud, and grill surfaces it overlies - so the hood can close properly.  

In the step on the left, below, you can see a space below the step, so it does not lay flat against the underlying surface.  This gap interfered with closing the hood.  This bracket required a little adjustment to make it lie flat against the lower surface.

In the step on the tight, below, the lower part of the step lies flush against the surface, and there was no problem closing the hood -- that is what you want.

Well, now you got the idea of what to do, in general, though maybe not exactly and precisely.  I suggest the first phase be making a mock-up of each bracket -- after you have set the grill guard and brush guards exactly where you want them in relationship to the vehicle, including shimming the brush guards. 

The mock-up should be made of something stiff enough to hold its shape, yet weak enough so you can bend it fairly easily and accurately, and tough enough so it doesn't break when you bend it.  You might try try a heavy paper stock, such as heavy poster paper, sheet metal, or even a 1/16" aluminum bar.   Whatever material you choose for the mock-up, cut a one inch wide strip about 18" long or so.  If it proves to be too long, trim it.  If it proves not long enough, make a longer one.  make two mock-ups, one for the passenger side, and one for the driver side.  There will be enough differences in the two so that you will need to do each one separately.

The first thing to do with the mock-up bracket is to drill a hole in one end of the mock-up to just accommodate a M6x1.0 bolt (same size as the clamping bolt on a Honda motorcycle battery).  A 3/16" drill bit should do it. 

Then fasten the mockup to the vehicle's attachment point on the cross brace using a proper-sized bolt through the hole you just drilled.  Snug the bolt down, but not too tight -- and  swing the mock-up into close alignment with the grill guard attachment point.  

Make sure the mock-up is flat against the upper surface (between the bolt and the step), and then mark the two fold-lines from which you will create the step in the bracket.  Take the mock-up off the vehicle, and then make the step.  Put the mock up back on the vehicle and insure that the step is well formed and the mockup lies flat against the lower step surface all the way out past the top of the vehicle's grill. 

Once you are satisfied with the step, its time to form the flange that attaches the mockup bracket to the grill guard "upright."  This is tricky, because once you bend the flat bar to form the flange, the centerline of the flange moves off the centerline of the mockup, and the angles change because of it.  You might have to do some trial and error before you get it close enough.  You could also make some trial bends on a separate flange mockup, then fasten the two mock-ups together.

Once you are satisfied with the mock-up, it is time to make a bracket from it.  I bought a 1" by 1/8" by 36" stainless steel flat bar from Fastenall for about $13, and cut it in half.  You could us regular mild steel , or even aluminum. 

The actual bracket should be made in the reverse order of the steps used for the mock-up. 
1.  Drill a 5/16" hole for the bracket flange (the end that will attach to the grill guard "upright.)

2.  Bend the attachment flange for the bracket.  Use a vice and a hammer to make a clean angle.  Then fasten the bracket to the grill guard upright firmly and check that the bracket aligns with the attachment point on the vehicle's cross brace (pull or push on the bracket until it is properly aligned.)

3.  Remove the bracket from the grill guard upright and form the step.  This is the easier said than done because the two fold lines are so close together.  I used some rectangular tool steel cutting bits as spacers in a vice.  Check the step you made by fastening the flange to the grill guard upright, making sure the bracket lies flat against the underlying surfaces, particularly where the lip of the hood closes over the bracket.  Also insure that the bracket aligns with the weld-nut on the vehicle cross brace.  Use force to adjust the bracket as necessary.   

4.  With the bracket firmly attached at the flange, the step properly formed, and the bracket in alignment, it is now time to precisely locate where to drill the bracket to match the weld-nut on the cross brace.  mark precisely where the hole is to be drilled.  You can drill the hole with the bracket in place, but I took the bracket off and drilled it with a drill press. 

5.  It would be smart to wrap the part of the bracket that is directly under the lip of the hood with electrical tape to protect the surfaces of the hood lip and the underlying grill. 

Tighten up the two bolts on each bracket, and your grill guard should now have plenty of lateral strength, and no longer shimmy from side to side.   

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2012  Simon Revere Mouer III, PhD, PE, all rights reserved