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…
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!
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.
VICTORY IS MINE!