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3rd Gen SSO Slimline Hybrid Bumper/WInch Install - Step by Step How-To Article with Pics and Tips.


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**Large high quality images...may load slowly on slower internet connections.

Here's a How-to guide with some tips on installing an SSO (Southern Style OffRoad) Slimline Hybrid bumper on a 3rd Gen Tacoma. The install process is pretty straight forward using basic tools.

We ordered this bumper without the front access ports and with the Baja Designs 30" S8 light cutout. We ordered a bare metal bumper and applied a 2K bare metal primer followed by two coats of U-Pol Raptor Liner that we sprayed on. We will be installing a WARN ZEON 10S winch (With a couple truck modifications required for proper fitment, more on that below).

Here's a photo of the SSO Slimline bumper on the truck.


And now on to the install...........

SSO has a well documented install guide with color photo's on their website, this How-To guide will show the steps I took to install the bumper and offer a couple tips I learned installing my father and I's bumpers.

Here's a link to the official SSO Install Instructions: https://www.southernstyleoffroad.com/support/

Preparing the Winch (If your not installing a winch you can skip this section).

Follow your winch manufactures instructions to prepare the winch for installation. You'll want to install the cable or rope onto the winch before mounting the bumper onto the truck. We will be installing a Warn Zeon 10S.

Here we are winding the rope onto the spool.



At this point install the winch fairlead onto the bumper.



Installing The LED Light Bar (If your not installing a light bar skip this section)

We will be installing a 30" Baja Designs S8 light bar. I love the light the BD lights put out, the daylight color spectrum is great...no blue or purple tint, just bright white light.


The light bar has a mounting stud located on each end of the bar, the studs will drop into tabs that are welded on the back side of the bumper. The light is a tight fit and you may have to bend the tabs out slightly (Red Arrow) to get the light bar installed. Even with the tabs spaced properly the bar is a tight fit to get installed, a little patience here is a good thing.



Light bar installed.



Winch and light bolted onto the bumper. All ready to install on the truck.


Preparing The Truck For The Bumper

Time to prep the truck.

NOTE: The SSO instructions call for removing the front bumper from the truck, this isn't necessary and adds a lot of extra work and complications. This article will document installing the SSO without removing the factory bumper.


NOTE: You can start with removing the grill or lower valance first. Here I'm removing the lower valance (The black portion of the bumper).

Lower Valance.


To remove the valance first remove the two 10mm bolts on the underside of the truck (Red Arrows), located towards the center of the valance.


The valance is held on with a series of plastic clips on the back side around the perimeter. Grab the bottom of the valance and pull out and upwards, the valance will pop right off. NOTE: Be careful and go slowly if you want to save the valance and don't want to bust any of the plastic tabs, if your going to toss it just give it a yank and it will pop right off. You won't re-use this piece.


Now that the valance is removed it's time to remove the inner plastic bumper. This piece removes easily without tools by releasing the clips (Red Arrows show a couple of the locations) around the outside and middle of bumper.




With the black inner bumper removed you can see the aluminum inner bumper that will be removed shortly. At this point I decided to remove the grill and then go back to dissembling the bumper (You can do this in any order).


To remove the grill first remove the two 10mm bolts holding the grill onto the truck (Red Arrows).


With the center two bolts removed now remove the side retaining fasteners, one on each side of the grill (Red Arrow showing drivers side).


To remove the grill retaining fasteners use a screwdriver and pry up the center portion of the fastener, then just pull the fastener out of the truck.




Now pull out and up on the top of the grill and the whole assembly will pop off the truck.



With the grill removed it's time to trim the plastic. This is the part that a lot of people fear but it's really not that bad. Take your time and it will turn out very nice.

Using 1" wide masking tape you will lay out your cut line. I tweaked my cut lines a bit further after my first install to ensure no gaps would be showing when completed. I'm cutting with a little more plastic left than the SSO instructions.

Place the front edge of the tape on the leading edge (Furthest front edge, or lowest edge) of the bumper. Your cut line will be the rear edge of the blue tape. Using a black pen mark the modified side cut lines. I tapered the line towards the front of the bumper on the sides using a marking pen, the indent is 3/8" forward of the rear tape edge at the point where the line bends and goes rearward. When cutting follow the rear tape edge across the top and then follow the black line on the sides. This will leave a little extra plastic on the sides and make sure no gaps show between the body and the plastic.




Time to cut. I'll be using a air powered end grinder with a cut off wheel. The wheel basically cuts/melts its way through but makes a clean line. CAUTION: Make sure and wear face protection as bits of hot melted plastic will be flying around, long sleeve shirt is recommended as well. Carefully follow the rear tape edge across the top of the bumper and then the previously marked black pen lines down the sides.




Now that the bumper is cut you can clean up the edges. Using a knife and a file knock off the pieces of melted plastic, you'll be left with a nice clean edge.






Now you can remove the inner aluminum bumper pieces. Remove three nuts on each side of the aluminum support (Red Arrows) and the one bolt on each side holding the lower painted fender to the brace on the end of the aluminum bar. (White Arrow on the lower right, bolt is just off the picture)



With the aluminum bar removed you can now remove the two aluminum supports that are located behind the bar. Remove the three nuts on each support (Red Arrows), the remaining studs will be the mounting points for the new SSO bumper.


Aluminum bits removed. Set them to the side, they won't be re-used.



Modifications For WARN ZEON Winch (If your installing a winch with a side or remote mounted solenoid pack you can skip this step, jump down to the "Preparing the truck for the bumper continued" section).

The ZEON winch has it's Solenoid/control pack mounted directly on top of the winch, this creates clearance issues with the factory bracing on the truck. If you want to run a ZEON winch You can either remote mount the control pack or trim the factory brace. Other winches such as the SmittyBilt X20 or the Warn M8000 have the option to mount the control pack on the side of the winch, these unit's will fit without any further modifications to the truck.

I didn't want to remote mount the control pack (Under my hood is already plenty full with other accessories) and I wanted to run the ZEON 10S winch...so that leaves me with modifying the factory brace.

This picture is looking down into the area that the winch will set, the T shaped brace in the center is the area that will interfere with the ZEON.


This brace holds the upper thin plastic portion of the bumper in place, not a lot of stress here. I will cut the center section out of the brace and build two new supports to go on either side of the original location. This will give support back to the plastic bumper and allow clearance for the winch.

Sensor wire disconnected and out of the way.


Center section of the brace cut out and a nice hole opened up for the Zeon.



We fabricated some 1/4" steel braces to replace the removed factory piece. Primed and painted.


Our braces use factory hole locations (Blue Arrow) on the rear and we drilled new holes for the front bolts in to the remaining factory brace (Red Arrows).


Bare edges primed/painted and new braces installed in place. Plenty of clearance now for the ZEON.




Preparing The Truck For The Bumper Continued....

Install the provided edge trim onto the factory bumpers cut edge. Install the trim by pushing the trim firmly onto the plastic. Once at the end use a pair of side cutters to trim to length.




Next remove the two bolts holding on the factory tow hook (Red Arrows) and remove the hook (This won't be re-used). Also remove the radiator crash protector bolt (Blue Arrow) from each side of the truck at this point. These bolts will be replaced with class 10.9 bolts provided with the bumper from SSO.


At this point all the factory bits that won't be re-used have been removed from the truck. Here's a picture of the bits that won't be going back on.


Using a couple people and a jack lift the bumper up into place. Once the bumper is started on the 6 studs reach in and hand start the upper nut on each side (Red Arrow) to hold the bumper in place. (New nuts provided in the kit from SSO). The bumper will be loose and hanging down a bit here.

DO NOT fully tighten the bumper bolts at this point or you won't be able to get the grill back on as the push bar sits very close to the grill once the bumper is fully tightened.



If your installing a winch you'll want to run the wiring now and get it secured before re-installing the grill. I drilled two holes for the winch wiring through the plastic radiator air deflector on the drivers side. The wires will run behind the drivers side headlight and up to the battery.


Winch wiring secured in place, factory sensor wire re-connected and secured.




Next re-install the grill. Place the lower edge of the grill in the slots and push down/in to get the grill to snap into place. A couple swift smacks with your hand will get it to pop in securely.

Once the grill is back on the truck tighten the two middle 10mm bolts and re-install the fasteners on the outer edges.



At this point fully tighten the 6 nuts holding the bumper onto the truck. The upper two nuts are a little more difficult to get to as you'll have to reach behind the grill, but there is plenty of room.

Once the 6 nuts are tight install the lower fender support brackets on each side of the bumper and tighten them up. There are two threaded holes on each side of the SSO that the SSO supplied support bracket bolts screw into (Red Arrows).

Here's a picture of the drivers side bracket in my hand and the passenger side bracket installed.



Next install the SSO Supplied M12 bolts (Blue Arrow) through the SSO bumper and into the radiator crash protector on each side. Fully tighten these bolts at this point.

Next install the SSO Supplied 3/8" bolts through the painted factory bumper (Red Arrow) and into the fender brace. Tighten them down.


At this point the bumper install is complete minus connecting the winch to the battery and wiring up the LED bar.

Ready to hit the road. This bumper looks great on the truck, very clean and factory looking! The winch controls are easily accessed by reaching down behind the grill or you can order the bumper with the front cut outs and reach up through the cutouts to access the winch.







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Nice write up, this is the bumper I plan to install. Can you tell me why you didn't go with the access ports for the winch?


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I'm prepping my SSO bumper for install and I'm glad I found your writeup Hodakaguy Hodakaguy I will skip removing the OEM bumper to hopefully save some time. One thing I had not realized is the interference of factory bumper bracing with the control pack on my Warn VS-10. Guess I will have to look into a remote mount, as I do not want to cut the bracing.

SDCementTacoTruck SDCementTacoTruck I like to call the winch access ports "mud catchers."


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I'm prepping my SSO bumper for install and I'm glad I found your writeup Hodakaguy Hodakaguy I will skip removing the OEM bumper to hopefully save some time. One thing I had not realized is the interference of factory bumper bracing with the control pack on my Warn VS-10. Guess I will have to look into a remote mount, as I do not want to cut the bracing.

SDCementTacoTruck SDCementTacoTruck I like to call the winch access ports "mud catchers."
Yeah thats why went with no cutouts, just to keep things a little cleaner around the winch!


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Just reading through this and I've already had my bumper installed for a while, but Hodakaguy Hodakaguy , you kept your plastic air flow ducts on either side of the radiator. The instructions say to remove them, but they don't call to reinstall them. Did I miss something? I'm just curious, mine won't back one because.... well, I sold them. haha.


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This is my solution for remote mounting of the winch control solenoid. It preserves use of the short lengths of cable to the electric motor. I took about 18" of aluminum U channel and fastened to an existing M6x1.0 threaded hole up high, and a thru hole in the frame down low. WARN makes a bracket for remote mounting and I fastened this to the U channel.



7️⃣ Connoisseur
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Just reading through this and I've already had my bumper installed for a while, but Hodakaguy Hodakaguy , you kept your plastic air flow ducts on either side of the radiator. The instructions say to remove them, but they don't call to reinstall them. Did I miss something? I'm just curious, mine won't back one because.... well, I sold them. haha.

If you could keep them in leave them. I don't remember doing anything with those ducts for the bumper install. I did removed them when I installed my hidden light bar mounts. I'm driving around without them now. I guess it fits because that's way above the bumper. You're not missing out on anything. Don't see any harm.

Also, if you're using a Dremel don't give it too much pressure, let it do the work or you'll burn it out. Ask me how I know... $100 Dremel RIP.
I grabbed these as I believe they worked out better for me than the cutting discs.

Deburring tool for cleaning up the edges if you care about detail under the trim.

Lastly you can cut it a little longer to cover more space. Then used a belt sander to get nice lines and clean it up. It gave nice clean edges when I went back to hit it with the belt sander.
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