I ended up going with the Army Green 2013. Exceptional just as it was described and advertised. I’m thrilled with it.
Congrats! I figured you had picked one, since your last post was a few days ago.
One question (I may need to search the forums): It has a full bolt-on front brush guard. The extra weight and protection I don’t need plus non preferred “look” equal a removal soon. Is there much of a used market for then? Also what are some of the best replacement options (bumpers and / or more of a bull guard - which one mechanic told me was, more or less, a “damage multiplier” in an accident for any vehicle they’re attached to)?
Less of a market here -- they're functionally useless, we typically opt for full bumpers and the shipping isn't cheap anyway -- and more so on Craigslist. My advice would be to price it aggressively locally and be happy when you're rid of it <img src="https://www.fjcruiserforums.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smile" class="inlineimg" />
I've helped to install most of the major bumpers made for the FJ, my top two picks:
ARB Bull Bumper
This is the battering ram of the FJ world. Comes in black or silver, these are (jokingly) built in Australia for running over Kangaroos (like deer to us). If you told me that my FJ had to hit a deer once in its life, I'd want this bumper over the rest. It is the most metal per dollar of any FJ bumper, it's also not the most stylish choice out there. The ARB also does something with the winch that I haven't seen on any other bumper: the mounting plate for the winch is vertical, putting the bottom of the winch pointing forward. This way your winch essentially pulls down, rather than sideways as the rest do. This requires specific types of winches -- the more barrel design that can be "clocked", i.e. the control / motor are turned to fit -- but you'll end up with probably the strongest winching platform out there as well.
Search around, the ARB's can be found new in the $1000-1100 range before options.
Expedition One Kodiak
This is the bumper I've had on both my FJ and now my new '18 4Runner. Their install process is easy, they sell the necessary related products -- washer bottle relocate -- and it's a large open design with plenty of room for different winches. The winching setup is standard flat bottom, I've recovered many trucks with mine and have no concerns over strength. It can surely take a deer hit, although probably not as well as the ARB. But it's a good looking bumper, bought from a great company. Expedition One frequently runs a big group-buy over the summers (@Expedition One you guys doing one this year?) which is typically when I've bought mine.
So the decision ^^^ here essentially comes down to form (Expedition One) or function (ARB). For me the Expedition One is enough physical protection and winching platform to be good enough for all the trail running I do, but it's far superior on looks. If you live in an area with a lot of deer, drive your FJ a lot at night and don't mind the looks of the ARB, it's hard to argue with the lower price as well.