Choosing and fitting a TJM Outback Bullbar, side bars & side steps.
Deciding on the right bullbar for your 4WD is perhaps the single most important aftermarket gear selection to be made when building up a touring 4WD.
Not only does your choice of bullbar determine the fate of your rig in the event of a collision, animal strike or accident on or offroad, it’s also the primary factor in creating the ‘look’ of your rig.
Your bullbar also provides the mounting platform for the other most used and useful aftermarket accessories that you’re likely to want to fit to your rig’s front end, including driving lights and LED lightbars, winch, UHF radio and cell phone repeater antennae.
QUALITY V COST
Love it or loathe it, we’re living in an age of massive competition when it comes to just about all consumer goods and this includes 4WD accessories.
In recent years the influx of cheaply made and marketed imitations of quality 4WD aftermarket and touring products have flooded the market.
It’s one thing to purchase a cheap swag or headtorch from a cut-rate online seller or eBay peddler. The worst outcome in the event of the gear failing being a bad night’s sleep or fumbling around your campsite in the dark.
Purchasing an accessory as structurally integral as a bullbar is another thing entirely. This is one item that you should only need to buy once for your vehicle.
The big offroad aftermarket brands that have been making bullbars for decades have stayed in business all this time because their products are high quality, safe and effective.
They pour a lot of resources into R&D in order to develop bullbar designs that are tailor-made to fit perfectly and attach safely to the chassis of specific vehicles. These designs are all ADR compliant and ensure that your vehicle’s airbags all work as intended by the manufacturer.
With the amount of 4WDs you see on the roads these days, it’s obvious that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to the style of bullbar you pick.
I’ll be doing plenty of touring in the ‘Lux, up and down the east coast with some occasional inland ventures and perhaps a ‘big lap’ on the cards in the next few years.
Roo collisions and other animal strikes are part and parcel of this kind of touring, so I absolutely wanted to go with a traditional full-hooped bullbar design to afford the maximum level of protection to the front of the vehicle.
If long range touring is not a big factor in your choice, then a single hooped design might be more practical, whereas comp style bar designs are a better choice for the hardcore rock crawling crowd that are more concerned with ideal approach and departure angles over all-out protection.
Of course there are some modern plastic designs on the market, but they’re not the best choice if your main priority is maximum protection.
Aluminium bars have their benefits including being lightweight and anti-corrosive, which can be handy if doing a lot of beach driving.
Steel bars are the most popular choice for dedicated touring rigs and going with a steel bar made the most sense for my needs. They’re the strongest possible bar type, are cheaper than alloy alternatives and they’re also simpler to repair in case of damage.
TJM OUTBACK BULLBAR
After working out exactly what I needed in terms of protection, aesthetic and overall functionality, I chose to have a TJM Outback Bullbar fitted up to the ‘Lux.
The Outback is TJM’s premier full-hooped bullbar design with full steel construction. The heart of the bar is a multi-fold channel that’s been strategically pressed to maximise impact strength.
The rock solid foundation is connected with 63mm tubing and 40mm upright cato straps which extend right through the bumper channel to provide a seriously impressive level of protection.
When driving with an Outback bar fitted up front, you just feel safe. The bar’s design accentuates the lines of the HiLux and I couldn’t be happier with how it looks.
The Outback bar is engineered to fit so well with the Lux’s chassis that it comes with dual 8000kg rated recovery points as standard. It’s also got a pair of reinforced T-slots for performing Hi-Lift jack recoveries.
It offers ultimate functionality with a sturdy winch housing and platform to mount driving lights. There’s plenty of space across the top of the centre hoop to fit a lightbar as well as dual mounting tabs for UHF and cell phone repeater antennae.
The Outback bullbars are also fully ADR compliant and compatible with airbags, parking sensors and other manufacturer’s safety systems.
SIDE BARS & STEPS
After settling on TJM Outback bullbar, I decided to match it with a set of their 50mm steel tube side bars and side steps in order to maximise door and quarter panel protection.
The side bars and steps are extensively engineered and fitted to the vehicle via heavy duty mounting system. They protect the wheel arches, flares and sills against flying rocks and any bumps and scrapes offroad.
They match seamlessly with the steel Outback bar and together provide a comprehensive protection package that allows for full confidence when racking up the miles offroad.