Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Goodyear Wrangler MTR/Kevlar

I recently acquired a set of Goodyear's newest version of their MTR off road tire. While this tire design is not brand new (it's been out a few years now) I have never tried them and I have seen many inquiries about them. So when I had an opportunity to grab a set, I did.

I had them mounted to a set of black American Racing Aluminum wheels and bolted them up to our 4Runner. Out of the gate I new these tires were going to murder my MPG's, not only because they are heavy (and the rims are heavier too) but because they definitely don't roll smoothly. They are not as bad as a Super Swamper but they are not as smooth or quiet as competitors like the BF Goodrich Mud Terrain KM2. They are also had to get balanced and despite the best efforts of the tire shop I still have a shimmy in the steering wheel as I hum down the road.
In my youth I used to love the manly hum of aggressive off road tires as I stormed down the tarmac but these days..........It's a bit annoying, but that may be due to the fact that with gas prices soaring to $4/gal and beyond, I am envisioning my dollars being wasted on that manly hum.
For comparison, my average MPG with my Duratrac's is about 15, and with the MTR's it's about 13.

But wait! These are OFF road tires right?
So let's just say these tires are only going to be used on a truck on the trail and pavement time is just going to and from, are they any good?

The first test I put them through was a challenge of fresh, wet and heavy PNW snow. The MTR's didn't like this test very well and were getting all squirrely about it in corners with only about an inch of snow. But sometimes a tire that performs poorly in shallow snow over a hard surface can redeem themselves when the snow gets deep and that is what I aimed to find out. I was already locked into 4WD as we began our ascent up the road to our test area. It was snowing heavily and the road had about 3-4 inches of snow over a nice bumpy uneven crust of stale snow melt. I was fighting to keep the 4Runner in a straight line as the MTR's clawed for traction, pulling me from side to side. As I looked up the road about 30 yrds I strained to make out the silhouette of what looked to be a stranded vehicle. As I squinted through my windshield I saw to faint figures move into the open, and just then the 4Runner slid off into the ditch. The few brief moments of distraction caused me to lose focus of my track, and in and instant we were stuck.
I do not lay blame on the MTR's for this, they were making forward progress, it was purely my inattentiveness that caused this.
i had just enough room to squeeze out of my door to get out and asses the situation. The MTR's were really going to have to hook up if they were going to pull me out of this, I surmised. After squeezing back into the truck I dropped it into low range and locked the rear differential. I backed up about 5 feet and gave steady throttle and we pulled forward. I was giving the wheel a slight feed to the right hoping the MTR's would bite in pull us up and out but they didn't, and I don't think any tire would have.

After about 20 minutes of digging and throttle jamming, we were out. We made contact with the 2 stranded souls who's Chevy Trailblazer had become stuck the night before. They had just returned from a hike up to higher ground to try and get a cell signal to call for help. It took us the better part of an hour winching, digging and pushing to get them free, but we finally got them on their way home.

After the road was clear we continued on to our destination, we continues on for about 100ft anyway, before the MTR's decided they were done going forward and found it easier to just dig themselves down. Locking the rear diff. was no help as the MTR's surrendered to just 5 inches of snow on a 6% grade.

I'm sure the MTR's would have continued on for a while maybe even reached our test area if we aired them down to about 12 psi. but that would have been like cheating because the couldn't even make it to the test area without chains or being aired down.
And for that I have to give them a Big FAT F Because they failed to even show up for the test.

Later that day we gave the MTR's a test in the mud following an old skidder road with pretty sloppy mud holes and deep ruts.

What I can't say is that the MTR's excelled here, because I have to grade on a curve and the other vehicles with other tires some with much less aggressive tread did just as well as the MTR's.
What I can say is that the MTR's were right at home in the greasy muck and chugged along without any protest.

So far it may sound like the MTR's are a tire without purpose, but that is not the case. These tires were designed for the rocks, and though my rock experience with them is minimal, the couple of times I had them in the rocks, they proved themselves to be one tough hombre. I did manage to inflict some very minor cosmetic damage to the silicone outer on one of the tires after wedging it and spinning my front tire against a sharp rock buried in the snow, the Kevlar carcass held true.

These tires are a compromise just about everywhere but rock, and a pretty severe compromise at that, with street manners, snow and ice performance getting the VERY short end of the stick.

I chose to divorce these tires because we wanted different things in life. I might like to live in MOAB but I don't. They are kind of a one trick pony and I need more from I tire, which is why I will stay with the Duratrac's

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thule MOAB Basket Extension

If you have a family and do a lot of remote camping, cargo capacity is something you are well aware of, and if you have a small SUV like our 4Runner it's a constant battle. We have a small trailer built to tackle tough terrain, originally built for trips down to Baja it's small, nimble and tough enough for our usual trips but sometimes I just don't want to pull a trailer. It's just another "thing" to have to worry about. Our solution to cramming everything we need to take without having to always pull our trailer was to add a rooftop cargo basket. Not long after purchasing our 4Runner and after much searching and researching we settled on the Thule MOAB (Mother Of All Baskets). It cost us $360 shipped to our door, which was less expensive than some other baskets that were at the top of my list. The ARB Defender basket was nice but it was 5 bills, and the Frontrunner Wind Cheetah was more and when I added the varying bits and pieces to make it work for us it was even more. So the MOAB was a compromise, but it was a sound one.

When I unpacked the rack and assembled it, it was easy and only took about 20 minutes, I was a bit concerned about how light it was. It felt like only a couple of pounds and felt a little flimsy, but I tossed it up on the roof and clamped it down to our factory load bars. The following weekend was it's big test, we hit the road with over 300lbs on top (more than it's rated for). Down the twisty highway, corrugated gravel roads and off camber two track. It was a 720 mile road test and the MOAB did more than it's share.

My only gripe about the MOAB was that it was too small. The other Baskets I'd considered had a third more usable space, and several times I had to hire a packing engineer to get everything in the car and on the roof. Joking, of course but it was somewhat irritating to have this thing and still not be able to get everything in that we wanted to take.
The solution was Thule's MOAB XT 18 inch extension piece. This was a $130 addition that fits between the 2 main sections of the basket. It takes about 30 minutes to install and adds, as expected, a very minimal amount of weight. It had to get creative with my load bar placement to get it mounted down with what I thought would be proper support. With the extension in there a good amount of space unsupported by a load bar, so trying to split the difference while maintaining good rack placement became and exercise in futility, but I eventually got it buckled down.

I'm impressed by how spacious the rack seems now. We now do have room for the kitchen sink if we want to take it. On a recent trip we had more that enough room on top and actually filled the free space with fire wood at our first camp location.

Where I feel the whole package suffers is: The price and the build quality.
With rack and extension both tallied, it approaches the $500 mark that other rack manufacturers of higher quality are priced at. I'm not saying that the Thule rack is built with toothpicks but it lacks the robust and sturdy feel of some other higher end racks.

The bottom line of my assessment is: The Thule MOAB is a good rack with good versatility but it's not a great one. It's better than Yakima with I've also tried but it's relatively high price for what you get makes me wish I'd just ponied up the bucks for the ARB Defender or the Frontrunner.
That said, the Thule is doing it's job and I'm not going to replace it any time soon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac Review

I have never spent so much time in deliberation before buying a set of tires as I did in the months before pulling the trigger on this set, and I must give a nod to Jason Roach at Advantage Tire in Medford, Oregon who was extremely helpful, and infinitely patient with me as I stared at tires in the weeks prior to decision day.
The issue(s) I was having had to do with bum Internet recommendations when buying my last set of tires, many new options for tires, and lastly price. And when you are going to be shelling out over a thousand clams you want to make certain, to the best of your ability, that you will be satisfied with your purchase.

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs were always on my list of options as were the BF Goodrich All Terrain KO's and Mud Terrain KM2's. Both of these are awesome tires that I have been extremely pleased with in the past, but they are spendy buggers.
Another issue I was having was trying to choose between an All Terrain (AT) or a Mud Terrain (MT). Most AT's I've used in the past are simply a compromised tire in all situations, essentially that means they are good at NOTHING. The BFG AT's are an exception and do well in just about everything but their mud performance is not what I would call "good". MT tires are designed to be good in the mud but they tend to make you suffer in all other categories but mud, and I am not a "mudder". However there are times when mud is an inevitable part of the trail, and since it is a fact that many of my treks are solo............you see my predicament.

I found myself lamenting, "Why can't someone just make an All Terrain that's not just ok on all terrain, but actually pretty good on all terrain. Maybe a more aggressive All Terrain. Why doesn't someone make that!"
Well someone has, and that someone is Goodyear. If you had seen this tire for the first time you may wonder, "Is it an AT or MT?", which is just the tire I was looking for.
So I bought a set. 265/75-16's load range E. Why "E" on a light 4Runner? Well for starters it gives you 3 ply sidewalls instead of 2 and you also get the benefit of an extra 2/32 of tread depth.
Here is my assessment:
The first thing I noticed is that these tires are quiet and roll quite smoothly. Not as quite as my Nitto's were but still much more quiet than you'd think they'd be. I'd say they are about the same as the BFG AT's.
They offer great wet braking and cornering manners, as good as any other tire I've tried. I had concerns about how they'd handle standing water at speed, and their ability to resist hydroplaning. No worries! In fact they do a great job of resisting hydroplaning, in fact the best I've experienced with a semi-aggressive light truck tire.
Packed snowy roads are a cake walk for these tires too. They've got lots of siping and carry the DOT's severe weather rating. Just for fun I decided to run them in 2wd on a drive up to Crater Lake National Park, and was simply amazed. These tires are brilliant in these conditions. I give them and A- for the roadways.

Off Road
Off of the highway is where we spend the least amount of time but a tires performance here may be more important than on the road (barring high speed blowouts). The reason why I make that point is that when you have a tire incident on the highway you are usually going to be near some services or some kind of help. On the flip side, when you are off road, especially when you are alone, a tire issue that leads to getting stuck can be a matter of life and death.
So how do they perform?
Straightaway I had them on the snow. The first thing I noticed is how far these tires will take you even in 2wd. I did this for the sake of the test however I do not recommend that practice when you are alone as I am a strong advocate of shifting into 4wd as soon as you hit the dirt if you anticipate the need for 4wd at anytime during your trek. I have several reasons for this, but that's another story.
When in 4wd I did notice that the front end does have a tendency to pull from side to side when you are following tracks in the snow. This is probably caused by the traction lugs that carry down the sidewall of the tire. In this respect it kind of acts more like an aggressive MT than an AT. I do not count this as too much of a deficit to the tires performance but it is something to expect. Other than that, I believe that these tires will get you further down the snowy trail than other tire especially of this size. AT tires generally have lots of siping which help mostly for slippery conditions but they are left lacking when it comes to clawing away snow because they pack up and don't clean out as well as a MT. The Duratrac has pretty open tread voids for clearing itself out and lots of siping so you get the best of both worlds. I give them an A+ for their snow performance.

Mud- These are not a mud tire but I feel they are better in the mud than any other AT tire I've had. I even had my 12 year old daughter driving up slick red clay logging roads in 2wd. They had minimal wheel spin, and cleaned out pretty quickly. I was impressed.
I'll grant them a B+ here.

No doubt that with the Duratrac's doing so well in these categories that they do well on packed dirt trails too.
One nit to pick though is their tendency to pick up gravel and blast your paint with it. I experienced the same with the BFG AT's but not so much with the more tame Nitto Terra Grappler.

While I have not logged many miles on these tires yet, I have to say that I have never had such great initial impressions with any tire I had. Maybe I have found the new gold standard in true ALL TERRAIN tires, and my personal forecast is that these are going to be my favorite and the "Trekker Standard", but I'll give a more updated report in the miles and terrain ahead.

*UPDATE* Just thought I'd post a little update here now that I'm over 5000 miles into my Duratracs. They are wearing very nicely and I'm just as impressed with them now as I was when I first give them a test last winter. Maybe even more impressed. Recently I had them in a patch of mud that nearly stranded me with my last tires, but some clever rock and branch stacking saved my biscuits. Earlier in the week I dared the same stretch of mud now even deeper at about 18 inches, due to a very wet spring and late start to our summery weather. The Duratracs churned through it without pause in 4wd and really had no problems in 2wd either, but the skinny pedal did need more pushing to sling the mud free.

Friday, March 4, 2011

High Lift Jack Mounting "On the cheap!"

Safe and secure High Lift Jack mounting is more of a necessity than luxury when you have an SUV. It's convenient to just 'throw it in there', but if you were to suddenly hit the brakes or were rear ended, it could become a lethal 50lb missile.
The options are few when tackling this, and the best route is to get it out of the vehicle all together. If you are fortunate enough to have an ARB bumper or something similar with unused light tabs on the top bar, you are in luck. You may not have to spend $100 dollars on the OH SO COOL but expensive machined aluminum jobbies that clamp to your bar.
A trip down to the local hardware store and less than $20 later, I found the parts I needed to get my jack securely stored and out of my interior.

What I used was two 1/2 inch by four inch shank bolts, four 1/2 inch lock washers, two 1/2 inch wing nuts, two 1/2 in x 5/8 x 1 in steel spacers along with two 1/2 in x 5/8 x 1 1/2 in steel spacer.

It would help to have some help with this to avoid scratching your ride if that scares you.
The first thing you need to do is find the position on the bumper that works best for your needs.
Something to keep in mind is retaining your hood access.
The kit I came up with works for my application on my '99 4Runner. Yours may be a little different and you may need to stray a bit from my formula.

Start by pushing the bolts up through the light tabs on the upper bar. Next slide on your spacers, washer, jack, washer and finally wing nut. Do this on both sides, and tighten them down as snug as you can.

Voila! It's done. Simple cheap and safe. Just don't be foolish and leave it on there for parading around town, and risk having your jack stolen.
It's for trail duty.

****UPDATE**** When I make mistakes I am not above admitting them, and while this may not be a "mistake" as such, it was something I did overlook. Okay, so it was a mistake. For all intents and purposes this little modification works well but one issue I ran into really fried me. I went to air up my tires after a trail run and realized that I could not open my hood with the jack on. So there it is. This may not be a big deal for me and sometimes I probably will still use this mounting method but I may just be looking for other options as well.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

4Runner/Tacoma Rear Differential Breather Extension (Hey! What's this thing for?)

Perhaps one of the most purposefully simple (and cheap!) modifications you can do to your 4Runner/Tacoma is extending the rear diff breather. For some this is not necessary, but having done more than a few creek/shallow river crossings it has been of benefit to me. Why is it necessary? As you drive, the friction of your axle gears=heat which=a build up of gas when the oil heats, which means your axle needs to breath or 'burp' if you will, to release the build up of gas. From the factory Toyota installed a breather cap on top of the rear differential to allow for this. The problem is that anything deeper than a puddle (mild exaggeration) could drown your axle and cause your rear differential to burp and take a 'breath' at the least opportune time. This would suck in water. Water and oil do not mix, and unless your change out your differential oil after every water crossing there is no sure way to tell if your diff did indeed ingest some water. If you want to prevent that kind of trouble here is how it is accomplished.

STEP 1. Source the parts- You will need Toyota part number 90404-51026 which is a union fitting. You will also need Toyota part number 90930-03136 which is the breather plug.

The following parts can be attained at any auto parts store. You will need at least 6 feet of 3/8 inch fuel line (high pressure fuel injection line is NOT needed). You will also need a couple screw type hose clamps.

STEP 2. Begin by removing the old breather plug from the top of the rear differential, and replacing it with the union fitting.

STEP 3. Extension hose placement is up to you. You have to be strategic here, so think about where and how high you want it. An easy place to use which keeps breather elevation high enough for all but the deepest rivers, is behind the fuel filler door. This is the place I used and is accomplished by cutting a small hole below the filler cap.
Then snake your fuel line down the filler neck which will exit just above the frame.

*REMEMBER* your axle moves and you don't want to pinch or damage your breather line, so it's a good idea to loosely zip tie it to the fuel filler neck where it runs along to the fuel tank. This is also why you should consider how much your axle moves and make sure you have enough line to allow for it as your suspension cycles.

Then slide a hose clamp onto the hose and slip the line onto the union fitting and secure it with the hose clamp.

STEP 4. Cut off any excess line you don't need. You can leave a couple of inches to work with, you can push the excess in when you are finished.

Slide a hose clamp on and then squeeze in the breather plug. Once you are finished tightening the clamp around the plug you are done.
An easy 20 minute mod that is cheap insurance.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hella 500FF Driving Light Installation

I picked up a set of driving lights to go on my ARB bumper and was more than a little miffed to discover that there were no installation instructions in the package.
After scouring the Internet for help and what I found was that 9 out of 10 people were confused by Hella's directions for wiring anyway.
I was able to find help here and there, and then set to wire them up.
Here is what I did and hopefully it can help you.

First of all, you should have on hand a basic electrical wiring kit with; strippers, cutters, crimpers, and an assortment of ends and unions, oh and electrical tape.

Mounting the lights was easy for me because my bumper has integrated mounting holes for lights.
If yours doesn't you may want to wait until you've wired your lights up so you can use the beams to assist your specific lamp placement. Also you may want to take this time to mock it up in such a way that you can identify which wires, if any, will need to be lengthened for your needs.

STEP 1- Visually map out your wiring route from your lamps to where you place the relay and the single wire from your switch to your relay. This will help you avoid or identify possible problems before you're elbow deep in the engine compartment. I like to try to keep things as hidden and clean as possible so there isn't a jungle of wires everywhere.

STEP-2 Ground the lamps
The Blue wire is the ground wire. Rather than finding to separate places to ground the lamps, I just connected the ground wires together and then tapped in a single ground wire (black) to run. It's helpful to have a soldering gun for this but I suppose it's not necessary.
You have varying options depending on your vehicle, where you could ground it to. On my 4Runner the hood latch bracket was convenient.

STEP 3- Run the "Power" wires (BLACK) to the lamps.
You will notice the black wire with the provided wiring loom has already been spliced into 2 for you.
Obviously the longer wire goes to the lamp furthest from the relay. Hella also provided some union fittings to crimp the lamp wires (black) to the power wires (also black).

STEP 4- Switch to relay wire: This is probably the more difficult part of the install because you must get the "switch to relay" (YELLOW) wire inside the cabin of you vehicle. For me it was not difficult because I had already run a wire for my CB and I just used the same routing through the rubber boot in the firewall.If you have to attack this for the first time, simply poke a hole in the boot with a sharp object. I started with a pocket knife for the the initial incision, and then used a coat hanger to punch the rest of the way through, taking care to not harm the other wires in there. Then attach the relay/switch wire to the hanger to thread the wire into the boot. Check underneath your dash to see where it comes through at and separate the wire from the hanger and pull it the rest of the way through.

STEP 5- Ground the relay

The ground wire is the BLUE wire. I chose to lengthen mine, that's why it's red in this picture. But you can see where I chose to ground it to. Pretty straight forward here.

STEP 6- Make your switch ground wire. (BLUE)
Hella provides this ground wire for the switch so there's nothing to do here except for finding a place to ground it to. You may have to lengthen yours if there is not place close enough for the length of wire Hella provided.
I chose to ground mine in the same place I ground the 4WD computer with I did the e-Locker mod
The Trekker's Journal: 4Runner "Gray Wire" Mod
which is right near the fuse block and near where I was going to mount my switch.

STEP 7-Make your switch power wire (GREEN)
Hella provides this wire in the kit and it is plenty long and has an in line fuse attached to it. All that is required of you is to determine how much of this wire you will need to run from the switch to "Hot" wire or tap into fuse block. Then you need only to crimp on the proper ends for the job. This is where it is nice to have a wiring kit with an assortment of ends to choose from.
Since I had some empty spots in my fuse block and the wire had an in line fuse in it, I crimped on an end that fit into the fuse place.

Now that you have all three wires in place that go to the switch you can hook them up but not before mounting the switch into your dash panel.

STEP 8- Install the switch. Hella's provided switch is an odd one, it's round and requires you drill a hole to fit it. I this is a "no go" for you you can simply buy another switch of your choice. For me it worked fine since my 4runner has several places to mount aftermarket switches.

Crimp on the ends (provided by Hella) and connect them to the back of the switch. The wiring sequence is (Top to bottom) Blue, Green, Yellow.

STEP 9- Connect to the relay power wire (RED) to the battery.

STEP10- Cleaning it up: As I stated before, I don't like having a mess of wires everywhere so there are a few things that you can do to keep it looking clean. The first as I covered before is to route the wires and zip tie them to factory wiring looms. The second is to cover the rest with some plastic wire conduit.

Not only does this clean up the appearance it also protects to wires from abrasions.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1999 4runner ARB Bumper Install: A Crash Course

For Christmas my wife got a new car and to continue with that spirit of giving I gave Buttercup a new bumper.
This is the 3rd ARB bumper I've installed, and each one is mounted a little differently from another which should be no surprise. The big difference for this install is that ARB never made a front bumper for the 3rd generation ('96-'01) 4runners. Because of this you must use the ARB bar for a Tacoma. I decided to do this write up so that it may be of some help to others who want to do the same but realize like I did that the mounting instructions are for a Tacoma and leave a number of questions.

Let it first be noted that you follow these directions and make these modifications at your own risk. The author will in no way be responsible for any ill effects, or your mistakes when you do your install.

*To make this work you have to make some modifications the end of your frame where the bumper mounts.* This is a "No Turning Back" procedure and once hack off the ends of your frame there is...........
But that comes later.

STEP 1- Using a 10mm socket disconnect the negative battery cable. When you are messing around with the front end you always want to do this because apparently the air bags may deploy, and I'm guessing that bumper mounting may just take a back seat if that happens.
After 2 minutes you may return to work. Seriously........wait 2 minutes!

STEP 2A- Unplug bumper mounted turn signals and fog lights.

STEP 2B- After a generous soaking with WD-40 it is time to start removing the front bumper. There are 3 14mm bolts on each side (6 total) that bolt the main crash bar to the frame ends. 2 on the bottom as you can see in the picture and one on top.
Also soak the bolts (4 total) that attach the tow hook on the passenger side, and anchor point on the driver side. These will come off later and need some time with WD or other penetrating oil.

2C- On the lower forward portion of the inner fender there is a hole with a 12mm bolt inside. You cannot see it but you can feel it. There is one on each side (2 total)
Use a deep well 12mm socket for these.

At this point the factory bumper should come free, and can be set aside and out of your way.

Now that the factory plastic is out of the way you can see the mounting feet at the ends of the frame.
These "feet" need to come off so that the ARB brackets can be fitted.

STEP 3A-You can use a Sawzall, hack saw or whatever you feel comfortable with.
I used an angle grinder with a 5 inch cutoff wheel. I went through 5 wheels doing this.

If you value your eyes you will protect them!

No pictures here, but it's pretty straight forward. You only want to cut off the feet, and they are only partially welded on, on 3 sides. Just focus on cutting those welds and you'll be just fine. Once the feet are off, grind down any of the welds that didn't get cut off. It's a good idea to slide the brackets in place to make sure that there are no other obstructions. There were a few other little welds that needed to be ground down on mine. I like using a flap disc for this kind of grinding. They don't gouge trenches like the hard discs do.
Once those are cleaned up go ahead and paint the ends to prevent rusting where you ground down.

STEP 4- Remove the Tow Hook and Anchor point on the bottom of the frame so the ARB brackets can slide into place. These can be very stubborn to loosen. My electric impact wrench could only loosen 2 of them. I had to slide a pipe over the end of a breaker bar to get the other 2 loose.
Here is the part of the install where you need to take the most care.

After positioning the ARB brackets onto the frame ends, secure the brackets on by reattaching the tow and anchor points. Now, a 1/2 hole must be drilled into the bottom of the frame ends via the hole in the bottom of the ARB bracket. You only get one crack at this so you want to make sure you get it right.
I like to use the graduating method for things like this.
I used the smallest drill bit I had to make a pilot hole. This aids in keeping the hole centered on the frame which is difficult in itself because of the way the frame overlaps itself, creating an uneven surface right where you need to drill.
After a pilot hole is drilled use larger and larger bits as you graduate up to the 1/2 you need in the end. I used 4 different sized bits before using the final 1/2 inch bit.
You don't have to do it this way but I wanted to be very careful.

Now that that part is done slide the long bolts into place using the appropriate nuts and washers but, only hand tighten at this point. I also loosed up the tow and anchor point bolts as well. This aids in the fine tuning process when positioning the bar into place.

STEP 5- Mount the turn signals provided by ARB into their place on the Bull Bar. There is no left or right here, they are the same. Also this is a good time to mount your license plate and rubber push pads, which would be nearly impossible if the bar was already mounted.

STEP 6- (A Little Help Please) If everything works out perfect for you in life you could probably do this by yourself, but things don't go that way for me.
Now is the time to call your assistant. The bar itself is not that heavy but it is an awkward beast when trying to put it into a very specific place. The mounting plates on the bar need to fit inside of the ARB brackets that are mounted to the frame. While the tops of mine fit well enough the bottom of my passenger side bracket was tilted inward by about 1/4 of an inch.

Luckily I wasn't surprised by this as I spotted the problem when I did the pre-drill mock up.
This problem was solved when I called to duty Mr. Hi-Lift. Placing a towel over each bracket so I wouldn't scratch up the powder coating, I put the foot of the jack and passenger side bracket and slid the lift jaw into place on the driver side bracket. I gave it a few good clicks and left in place for about an hour while I went and ate lunch.
The bumper easily slid into place after that. Thank you Mr. Hi-Lift!! When in place I had my assistant move the bumper as needed to align the bolt holes up while I started the threads on each one.
I only got a few turns on each one before moving to the next to make sure that they all would line up.
Once that is done you can go through and tighten them all down, and then double check everything afterward.

STEP 7- I never have liked the wiring taps that ARB gives. I always like to hard wire everything together for peace of mind. This is achieved with any basic wiring kit. Clip off the factory turn signal plugs and strip down about 3/8 of bare wire. With two set of matching male and female ends crimp them on accordingly. Whether it's the male end on the vehicle side or the female end on the vehicle side make no difference as long as the proper mating end is attached to the turn signal mounted in the bull bar. Once they are attached I always like to wrap them up separately with a few good wraps of electrical tape.

STEP 8-Go bask in the glory of 100lbs of black steel and hours of hard labor. You are finished.