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Barricade 3.0" Bull Bar w/Skid Plate

Old 04-18-2016, 01:39 PM
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Default Barricade 3.0" Bull Bar w/Skid Plate

Recently I ordered the Barricade 3.0" Bull Bar with skid plate. Some of you may or may not know that American Muscle is the exclusive retailer of Barricade products for the F-150. What was enticing about these products was the fact that American Muscle has always been a good vendor to work with. I used to use them for all my Mustang needs. I no longer have a Mustang so I was thrilled when they started carrying F-150 parts and accessories.

The Barricade stuff all seems to be very affordable and the reviews I've seen, although not numerous seem to be positive. Having some knowledge of how product reviews end up with some bias, I do take them with a grain of salt. Still you can infer some truths from such content and glean some useful information from even biased articles. At a price of $149.99 the Barricade bull bar seemed almost too good to be true. If the quality was decent it was a win/win choice as it's the cheapest one out there and looks good in all the photos. The bull bar arrived with a box shaped like a Tetris block. The box showed some definite shipping wear. I'd post pictures of that but I didn't take any. I also didn't get pics of the product sans being installed on the truck either. Oh well.

Some background on me: I'm 37 years old and do most of my own vehicle maintenance and modding. I've owned nearly 20 vehicles over the years. I've owned 4 F-150's including this one and even an Expedition along the way. Needless to say I'm familiar with the F-150 and working on them. I've installed bull bars, brush guards, step bars and the like on a lot of trucks for myself and friends. I've used products from the usual list of suspects such as Lund, Westin, etc.

I chose the black satin finished version of the product as I despise chrome. Aside from the emblems my truck came with none as it has the sport appearance package. I've even ditched the chrome emblems but that's another topic. The product packaging was sufficient to keep it safe and it arrived with no damage. It came with a ton of bolts, washers, nuts and lock washers. The thing also came with two mounting brackets.

Once aspect of the design I noticed right away is that the gauge of the metal used isn't particularly impressive. I don't think it will hold up to more than light strikes. I don't think it's much if any worse than some of the competing products I've seen. The skid plate is bolted on and is removable if desired. Like all non-total bumper replacement solutions designed to provide vehicle protection, the bull bar won't survive any major trauma, but is good for routine type bumps. It's also a good place to mount lighting accessories. To that end there are pre-drilled holes with rubber or plastic plugs in place to make this easier. According to the parts sheet, everything that was supposed to come with the bull bar came with it. Confident I had what I needed to complete the installation, I pulled the nose of the truck into the garage and got to work.

Because my truck is an 4x4 / FX4, I had front tow hooks. The instructions are clear about removing the tow hooks but don't cover the topic of removing the tow hook condoms that appear to be in place to either reduce aerodynamic drag or keep water out of the area. The latter doesn't seem important, but the former might. In any case I figured out how to remove the tow hook condoms in short order. I also pulled off the unsightly and ridiculously low hanging air dam.

The mounting brackets installed relatively easily. Due to the shape of the bumper and the holes for the tow hooks, using an impact driver wasn't really an option for the front bolts. The rear most bolts were easily removed. There is a mounting plate in the frame which has the ends sealed. Therefore you don't want to pull out both bolts. The instructions are clear about this as well. You only loses the rear bolt. This keeps the mounting plate for the tow in place. The instructions tell you to reuse the factory tow hook bolts, which I did. These bolts are 12mm threads with 15mm hex heads.

Once the brackets were in place I lined up the bull bar and went to put the supplied bolts through it only to find out that they pass through the mounting bracket, but not the bracket on the bull bar itself. The holes are about 2mm too small or so. Checking over the parts list again and again it seemed to me that the parts included are just not correct or that the holes for the bull bar's attached mounting bracket are insufficient in size. While I intend to follow up with American Muscle and potentially Barricade on this matter, I didn't let this stop me. I ran off to the local hardware store and picked up 10mm threads which were the same size as the U-Bolts included for sealed frame installs without tow hooks. I also picked bolts with a hex head that has the same size as the smaller hex head nuts included for use with the U-Bolts. The local hardware store had some matching bolts that were grade 8. So this is what I used to finish the install.

With that problem solved it was relatively easy to center the bull bar and put it into place. I put in the back bolts and hand tightened them. It was easy to tilt the bar into place and put in the rest of the bolts. The bar was light enough to support on my knee while I did this. I was able to complete the installation alone in a little over an hour. The time could be cut dramatically by virtue of now having done it before.

The instructions recommend waxing the product to protect the finish. This is a good idea as the finish scratches easily. I had a piece of cardboard to lay on while I did the work and while it was relatively clean, it had enough debris on it to scuff the bull bar when I dragged it into position. Some Meguires paint restorer took care of that, but it's something to watch out for. You can just leave the packing foam taped up around the bar until it's in place and ready to be centered.

Before Photos:

After Images:

End Results:

I have mixed feelings about this product. On one hand you can't beat the price or prompt shipping by American Muscle. On the other, the finish is very delicate and the right mounting hardware / bolt holes weren't included or weren't right. While my expectations weren't huge for something that was $149.99 with free shipping, I think having the correct bolts in the box was one reasonable expectation. The installation instructions were decent and easy enough to understand. The actual installation aside from my bolt problem was a good enough experience. I'd probably buy this product again as I don't think you can beat it for the price, but it's certainly not the best bull bar on the market for your F-150.

I am also eyeing Barricade's 5" oval step bars with 60 degree ends. I think that's one of the best looking step bars out there, but I do have some quality concerns despite the fact that those aren't necessarily cheap. I'm not a fan of running boards, and prefer the tubular steps. I'm not sure if I'll ultimately end up with another set of Barricade's given this mixed experience. I support that may come down to how the company addresses the issue I had, if at all.

Last edited by Spamfritter; 04-20-2016 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 11-13-2016, 05:58 PM
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Default Barricade bull bar

I installed this bar two days ago and I have some issues as well. You are right about the scratching I need to wax it and give it some protection.

I did not have the tow hooks so I had to cut the plastic below the bumper no template to go by I cut by the seat of my pants, I did well and it doesn't look to bad.

I then put it all together and found out that there is no torque specs and I tightened as much as I could and the bar would sink when I pushed down on it. I can see someone walking up to the truck and sitting on the bar and it drooping.

Here is a short video I did on it.
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:25 PM
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I did the Barracde 3.5" bull bar in chrome. I didn't have any issues with hardware fitting, but the bracket spacing was a little off, but nothing that required modification. I paid $120 shipped, so I wasn't expecting much. I'm pleased with the quality and the look. It was money well spent for me.

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Old 10-27-2018, 11:21 AM
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How did you remove the boot around the two hooks? Does the bumper have to come off?
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Old 10-27-2018, 12:11 PM
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No offense meant here more of a gripe about the terminology used. Bull bars are usually much bigger then this in Australia but in America compainies have called these light bars a bull bar. That wouldn’t do anything to stop an animal besides multiply the damage.
This company doesn’t make one for f150 but do make one for f250

Last edited by Montuckyf150; 10-27-2018 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:02 AM
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^^^^ Now thats a knife!!
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Old 10-29-2018, 04:09 AM
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What Montucky said. Those are light bars plain and simple. They will create more damage in a light crash than a stock bumper. I’d hate to see someone hit that “skid plate” off an actual rock. For the price I’d simply buy a 30” light bar and attach it to the stock bumper. If you want to protect the front from anything bigger than tumbleweed you must replace the bumper. Period.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:45 PM
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i doubt anyone spending under $200 is doing so for any reason other than looks. anyone who has ever gone offroading knows the difference between good and cheap i see these types of bars all over the parking lots...
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Old 11-17-2018, 12:25 PM
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Default Tow hook condoms?

Been struggling to figure out the removal of these on my 2018. Any tips?
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Old 02-06-2019, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Montuckyf150 View Post
No offense meant here more of a gripe about the terminology used. Bull bars are usually much bigger then this in Australia but in America compainies have called these light bars a bull bar. That wouldn’t do anything to stop an animal besides multiply the damage.
This company doesn’t make one for f150 but do make one for f250

Although we don't have any water buffs or roos we do have relatively puny little whitetails. Even those will cause more damage than a light bar can prevent. BTW, looks like a Ranger somewhere under there...
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