Finally

Since I got the Jeep, I wanted a winch.  First off road trip I had to get pulled out and I was sold.  Oh the things I could do with 4 tons of pulling power.  Well I got one for Christmas.  From myself.  Actually kinda from my work ($100 gift card), rebates from my PC upgrades, and funds from my 42Solutions Etsy store and bracelet sales from two motorcycle swap meets.  But the important part is I got one. Smittybilt XRC 8K – 8,000lb vehicle recovery winch.  Thanks 4WHeel Parts!

So I let it sit on the floor of my living room for almost 2 months.   Yeah, I’m that guy.  I’d like to blame it on something, like “I tried, but I couldn’t’ get the bolts out of the bumper”, which is true, but I could have surmounted that obstacle, I wussed out.

But I finally got off my butt and decided to get ‘er done. First challenge was a mounting plate.  I got a $29 generic one on sale at Harbor Freight.  It didn’t’ fit.   Not a single hole lined up on my bumper mounts. Not to mention it was wider than the bumper hoop.  But this time I didn’t’ give up so easily.  I am better than a slab of metal.  Out came the grinder…

Grind

That took all day…..Broke 2 drill bits, a grinding wheel, and the saw horse you see pictured.  Lots of cursing and stomping.  Finally, after several hours, I got it to fit under the hoop and line up on bolt holes.  That’s when I broke the 3/4″ socket trying to loosen the bolts on the bumper. Exasperated, I gave up.

Flash forward to two weeks later.  It was a chilly winter Saturday, the boy was at his moms, and I was bored.  So I called in a buddy with an impact wrench.  “C’mon over” he said, we can “knock it out in an hour” he said.
—  Bolts that hold winch to mount plate hit bumper, had to buy 24 washers to space the plate 3/8″ off the bumper so it stayed flat.
—  With spacers bumper bolts were too short, had to get 4 new grade8 3/4″ x 3″ bolts to hold bumper on.
—  Winch Control box would not fit under hoop in either of the factory approved mounting locations
—  Needed new battery terminals with accessory bolt to attach wire leads.

Over 4 hours later, and some of the finest Southern Engineering I’ve ever witnessed, and most of a 12-pack,  I had a working winch.  Sure, the control box zip-tied to the light tab on the bumper.  Sure the wires were held on with a quarter mile of electrical tape.  But it worked, dammit.  Since darkness was looming I packed up and headed home.  Thanks G!

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The next day I resolved to fix the lingering issues.  Got new Battery terminals and wired it up properly.  Re-routed wiring and neatly and zip-tied it all securely.  And, using my drill press, some 3/4″ x 1/8″ steel bar stock from Home Depot, and a bunch of tiny bolts and nuts, I made some bracket extenders and mounted the control box.   I know it’s not centered, shut up.

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VICTORY IS MINE!

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