For anyone who is serious about going offroading, getting a winch installed is a must, but first you need something serious to mount it too. In my case it meant getting an upgraded bumper because the plastic one that came with the Jeep just wasn’t suitable.
So first I had to decide on a bumper that I liked out of literally hundreds of options available. I finally decided upon the very sleek looking Full Width Trail Bumper from Rough Country, that comes with lower light cubes, a built in light bar, and a couple D-Ring shackles.
Next was to choose a winch. Once again there are lots of choices from economy brands, to high end ones like Smittybilt and WARN. I knew I didn’t want a cheapo version so I focused on the quality manufactures and ended up ordering the Smittybilt X20 Gen3 12k model with a wireless controller (very handy feature) and synthetic rope.
Synthetic rope is largely replacing the use of steel cable which has always been dangerous to use. Although steel cable is still available on many winches, I decided on the synthetic rope because its easier to use, doesn’t rust, is lighter, and when it snaps it just falls to the ground instead of becoming an lethal airborne whip. It’s just better in pretty much every way so for me it was a no-brainer.
After waiting a of couple months for everything to arrive, and for an available installation date, it was time to bring the Jeep in for it’s big makeover.
Several hours later it was done. My mechanic Cody from Just Jeeps was able to retain the use of the factory LED fog lights and their functionality, and he wired the light bar into one of the AUX switches that I had in my Jeep. Wow are they bright! Looking directly at them will certainly mess up your vision for a short while.
*guess how I know*
So because my original fog lights were used, I was left the two cube lights that came with the bumper. I’ll find a use for those at a later date. Maybe I’ll mount them up on the A-Pillars in the future.
I was also left with a pile of parts in the back of my Jeep that made up my original bumper and all it’s various parts and mounting hardware.
Now because I live in Ontario, I am obligated by law to have a license plate properly displayed on both the front and the back of my vehicle. This meant also installing a flip mount that allows me to display my plate while still being able to access the winch. It’s not something I wanted but I didn’t want get a $110 ticket on regular basis.
In the end, once all was all said and done, I had one amazing looking face-lift and it’s fully functional in every way. It’s also an added 196pds (88.9kg) of heavy metal hanging off the front end of my Jeep. The winch is 76pds (34.5kg) and the bumper is 120pds (54.4kg). That’s a lot of weight and I can feel it while I’m driving. It’s subtle, but I notice it.
It also kinda resembles Darth Vaders helmet! Had I not already named the Jeep “Apollo”, then “Darth Jeep” would have made a good choices also.
The only thing left to do is hit the trails and get dirty. Once the trails firm up (they are still far too soft from the winter thaw), that’s exactly what I will do! Now I will have a lot less anxiety about getting stuck or having a member of my group getting stuck. Between these new upgrades and the recovery equipment I already have, I have no doubt that we can handle pretty much anything that we can get into.