Introduction: Testosterone-Mocking Bull Bar
Do you like the aggressive look of steel tubing on your rig but your spouse has more important things to spend your money on? PVC is cheap, customizable, & nobody will be able to tell the difference. If they can, they won't say so because of how aggressive your car looks.
Step 1: Google & Plan
Browse some pictures & make a sketch. I was going for this look but without the brush guard underneath. And bigger, since this is mockery.
Step 2: Gather Up Your PVC, Supplies & Tools
I used 2" PVC; 3" is just huge, I guess because those measurements are inside diameter.
Weird thing is, I never see other giddy people in the plumbing aisle planning projects. Which is fine. I've laid a whole project out on the floor of Home Depot & nobody even noticed.
Generally, your choices of fittings are 90 degree, 60 & 45. It's pretty convenient that two 45s equal a 90 - degree corner. Not so with 60s, so I didn't use them.
I used two 45s at the horizontal top, two more 45s to get to vertical, two Tee fittings on the sides, and two 90s to turn it towards the underside of the car.
Other supplies you'll need are a stick of 2" PVC and PVC primer & cement.
The ultimate cutting tool would be a chop saw, another expenditure with zero priority in my household. I used to use a Sawzall, but then I discovered my Skil Saw makes straighter cuts.
Step 3: Crawl Under Car & Find Attachment Points
I bet every car has something solid to bolt the bull bar onto. Find it.
Step 4: Cut & Dry Fit
I thought it would be easiest to start building from the bottom. I measured how long a piece of PVC needed to be to extend from where I was bolting it underneath to in front of the grille.
I drilled a hole in the PVC pipe and just finger tightened the bolt through it and the metal with a hole that I found under the car.
Dry fit means you assemble without the cement.
Also, I made sure my creation wouldn't obstruct opening the hood. I didn't, however notice I was blocking the brights. Oh well, still got those fog lights below.
Step 5: Glue It
This is a little more challenging than it appears because the cement sets quickly - maybe 5 seconds - and sometimes the pipe doesn't want to go down in the fitting & seat. This problem is compounded when you're trying to glue a length of tubing between two fittings at once like across the top.
What I do is use a heavyish tool like a wrench to tap or bang frantically on the end before the glue sets. It works.
Ideally, you're supposed to slide the tubing in the fitting, turn it a quarter turn, & hold it for a second so it doesn't try to slide apart.
You know, it's not under water pressure. You might even be able to skip the glue altogether, & then you could scavenge the parts for another project later. Remember: PVC cement is forever (unless it wasn't seated properly).
Step 6: Paint & Secure in Place
I tried foil tape as a covering, but it didn't look like chrome. It looked like wrinkly foil.
I used "hammered" spray paint. Textures are good. To conceal those PVC joints. The not gently curving ones.
It was windy at my house, so I went to the car wash to paint it.
Then I secured it to the car's grille with zip ties.
Step 7: Done!
What I'm not happy with:
I didn't mean for it to be that wide, but that's where the securement points underneath were. But oh well, it looks like a combination between a bull bar & a grille guard.
I don't love how abruptly the 45-degree elbows turn. Same with the 90s that turn underneath.
Accidentally blocked my brights.
But it's a joke, not perfection, right?
What I do like is that I can see the top of it while I'm driving & it gives the illusion of having tight trail-like steering. No, really!
And what I do like is if I want to take it off (can't imagine that I would), it's held on by two bolts & two zip ties.