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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still not 100% sold on permanently mounting my winch in my front bumper. It's a lot of weight to carry around when I'm not four-wheeling and it locks it into place, such that it's not available for other placement like something that mounts into a receiver.

On the other hand I'm not real wild about the front-mount receivers available for these trucks either. They hang down too low and would dramatically affect approach angle, and a winch couldn't really be placed in one for going four wheeling as the winch would strike everything, and a custom unit built to sit up high would still have the added problems of being a single tube, while it's pretty likely that a real winch pull would be offset at least some, possibly quite a bit depending on terrain.

So I've been thinking about some kind of system that would use two points as receivers, something that could then be built matching into a rear bumper, allowing a detachable winch cradle that would be higher up and could be mounted in back if/as needed. And I realized that those tow bar solutions for RVers wanting to drag a dinghy vehicle might work.

Roadmaster sells such a solution. It appears to use 1.5" receivers that get mounted to the frame, using holes through the frame side to side as well as one of the holes used to mount the crash bumper to the front flanges. The permanently attached part of both their XL and MX series appear to be the same, and with the towing bar removed from the vehicle ends up looking like this:

308296


Directions for the installation:

Roadmaster 344-1B Instructions

It looks straightforward enough. Pull the bumper cover, recovery hook and one of the crash bumper bolts. Install the back portions of the system, then install the front/receiver part, drill one hole through the crash bar for a fastener.

The only real downside I see is that they went with 1.5" square tube ID, not 1.25", so Class II parts won't fit. But they used 5/8" hitch pins so they're a little stronger than Class II receiver hitch pins too.

A couple of quality 1.5" thick-wall square tubes welded to that Harbor Freight winch plate and that might make for an easily-removed, lightweight mounting point that doesn't obstruct approach angle too badly, could be easily removed when not needed, or could be relocated to a rear bumper with these 1.5" ID square tubes added or to a trailer.
 

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It seems like it'd work, but it also looks like a lot of nuts and bolts, and many connections. If you upgraded all the fasteners to grade 8/10 I'd trust it more. Straight forward winching wouldn't be a problem, but if the truck suddenly slid sideways or came off of whatever obstacles and there was abrupt loading on the system is when I'd be concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If I were to pursue this, since none of the fasteners thread into welded-on bosses, I'd probably replace them with metric grade 8.8 or 10.9, just so that I keep the toolkit that travels with me simple.

Might even consider removing the paint, installing, then pulling it off in as close to a single piece as possible and welding that single piece together for added strength. Not really sure yet though.

It's not that I dislike the WAM winch carrier, I just don't relish carrying an extra 120lb when I don't need to, or if I switch to a synthetic line for lighter weight, having that synthetic line suffer degradation stored on the vehicle when I could just as easily keep it in a climate controlled, clean storage room and bring it out when hitting the trails.
 
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