Jeep Winch: The Build Of
Having recently aquired a winch, I needed a way to make it work on the jeep. This project started out to be simple, and was supposed to be just a mounting plate to attach the winch to the vehicles frame. But it ended up turning into the fabrication of a whole new front bumper.
Anybody who buys parts from Jeep magazines, or offroad magazines in general, know how much of a markup some items have. A winch plate is one of those items; starting at $85+ dollars for a piece of steel with a couple of holes drilled in it.
One thing to remember when doing any project, and it is something you have heard a thousand times before, to measure twice and cut once. You will notice, had I not followed this rule then I wouldn't have the pretty zigzags, and multiple lines drawn on my piece metal! Once I had the holes drilled out and lined up with the frames mounting point, and the holes for the winch, I laid the piece of metal into place. It was then I realized that if you have a winch, you need a fairlead for it. My current bumper, although it had a small space notched out to make room for a winch, it was not adequate for a fairlead as well. I had come this far, I could not stop now. I really did not like my current bumper much in the first place, it was old and useless, serving only asthethic purpose. I unbolted it and threw it aside.
During the course of this build I got very involved in what I was doing and forgot to take alot of pictures, so you will have to use your imagination and fill in the gaps of missing pictures.
One issue that had to be addressed was providing power to the winch. I ran 2ga wire directly from the battery, and out from the body in a small opening under the radiator. I zip-tied the wires to the frame along the way to its destination. Since the winch wouldn't always be on the jeep, I decided to use plugs so I could easily disconnect the power when necassary. When the plug is not in use, it tucks nicely into the the frame (as seen in the pictures).
The winch did not have a remote with it, so one needed to be made. I used an old extension cord, it has the right guage of wire and the amount of wires (three) that I need. I cut a length long enough that would reach from the winch and into the cab of the jeep. For the actual remote portion I went to Radioshack and got a plastic casing, and 2 push button switches. As for the wiring, the white wire was connected to both switches and provided the 12v power. The black wire went to the available pin on one switch, and the green wire went to the other switch. It is not pictured, but I labeled the switches 'Push' and 'Pull'.
Now that some time has passed, I have noticed a few (minor) problems with the bumper.
1. There is a gap between the winch plate and the roller fairlead mount. This gap collects dirt and water, which will eventually cause rust.
2. This one isnt really my fault, but it still bothers me. Between the new bumper and the jeeps frame there is hardly any room for bolts and washers to fit. I have to use alot of force, and magic, to get bolts into that narrow opening. You can see in the picture that there is a washer frozen in time in that area.