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Former owner of Shadofax
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Ok, sorry for the delay, but here it is, happy reading :chili:

Winch Install write-up

The pics, etc. associated with this write-up document the install of a Warn 9000 electric winch on a 1995 Bronco XLT. This write-up will not address battery/alternator upgrades at this time.

What I’ve been wanting to do is purchase a winch that is adequate for recovery of a fullsize bronco, and that could work as a semi-hidden install behind the factory bumper (while still remaining fairly accessible).

This keeps cost down since no winch bumper is needed, and allows one to design their own mounting. I’ve broken the write-up into segments, so you can skip stuff you may not be interested in, or if interested in the whole sheeebang, get an idea of how it all went together.

Here are the progressive steps:

• Choosing Winch
• Choosing Mounting Channel
• Taking off bumper
• Cutting Channel to size, test mount with winch in channel, drilling mount holes, Fabricate added brackets
• Drill the channel holes for winch mount & fairlead
• Winch mount ready to go….time to primer and paint
• Bolt up channel including brackets (winch already mounted in channel)
• Bumper cutting, includes top access to winch, fairlead, bumper to frame bracket, and shackle to frame opening
• Wiring up the winch & solenoid, test operation
• Remount bumper
• Misc. (fabbing up shackle mounts, finishing items, etc)

Tools needed:
Large hammer
Punch
Good ½”drill (drill press also nice)
New bits (lots of drilling with this install, especially without a welder)
Some means of cutting thick steel (you decide, mine was done the hard way)
Sockets/wrenches for bolting up
Torque wrench
Skil saw or sawzall
Grinder
Eye protection


Choosing the winch
A lot of personal preference comes into play here. But as far as this install goes, there is only so much room to work with. A winch with integrated solenoid would have been very hard to mount in the same location, although after working with the detached solenoid, I now know why I would prefer integrated. The solenoid pack wire leads are so short, it was almost impossible to mount anywhere more than 6 inches from the center/top of the winch. As to appropriate capacity, Warn states 1.5x GVWR (on drivers door sticker), and Ramsey says +25%, which is roughly 9500lbs or 8000lbs. In my opinion, a 9k-9.5k winch is enough for a Bronco, given smart winching where possible (use of a snatch block, etc.).

A larger winch provides more pulling power, but also costs substantially more (I paid $689 from 4wheelonline.com, including roller fairlead, for a new Warn XD9000). I’m not going to get into all the details looking at pull by layer specs, amp draw, etc. Suffice to say, there are differences out there, and Warn is a well respected name for good reason. I considered a milemarker 10.5k hydraulic for some time as well, but in the end, the cost was a bit more, I had to integrate into my power steering system, the unit is slower, and most importantly, I did not like the complexity of two levers to operate the high/low, engaged/disengaged. Winching is serious/dangerous enough without having to mess around with this added complexity.

The XD9000 is 21.8” long, 6.3” wide, and 7.6” tall (to top of gear knob). She’s compact and strong. And, as I found out, lighter than anticipated. Per my trusty bathroom scale, the winch was 55lbs. (100ft. of 5/16ths cable included), with another 20 lbs in fairlead, solenoid/cables, and remote. 75lbs. total. That’s good news, since the next section details the final weight of the mounting channel (total weight of winch+channel apx. 101lbs). Add this against my previous deductions of my grilleguard (-33lbs), and the AC system (-25lbs.), and I am only adding apx. 43 lbs!!!!



Choosing the mounting channel
Anyone designing their own mount needs to think carefully. I am not one to overbuild something and add a bunch of needless weight, but a winch needs to be secure. Most “universal” mounts shown are of ¼” to 3/8” thick steel. There are usually a C channel, not structural, but just bent channel, wide enough to fit the winch. Here are pics of my structural C channel:







The channel needs to hold up, and the channel mount-to-frame needs to be sufficient. I began with a piece of 8” wide structural C channel that is 11.5lbs/foot, 37” in length to stretch frame rail to frame rail. Initial weight 34 lbs. Cost $22 from my local Steelco. You can see in the pics that the walls are 2” tall, and extremely thick at the corners (apx. ½” thick), with the base being roughly .25” (this is what the winch bolts into). This allowed me to cut down the back wall (down to apx. 1.25”), and a cutout for the fairlead, and some “fit” cutting out by frame rails, and still be confident this was a sturdy piece for a mount. The end result of the channel weight was about 26lbs, plus there was a pound or so of ¼” thick brackets that will be added (shown later).

Taking off Bumper
Self explanatory, there are 4 bolts holding the bumper brackets. Taking off the bumper allows one to see the frame rails and start measuring up the mounting channel for cutting, drilling, and eventual mounting to the frame. All along though, I kept in mind the need to fit the bumper back on/over the mounting, be able to access the winch, somehow mount the solenoid, and knowing that the bumper mounting brackets (not the frame mounted bumper bracket) would have to be cut (because the winch channel is 8” wide and will be in the way of these brackets that bolt from the top of the bumper to the bottom). See the Bumper Cutting section below for more on this.




Cutting Channel to size, drilling mount holes

Testing Channel Mount
Test fit winch in channel, while mounted
Raise up channel with winch to test fit:



These next pics shows the cutout for the fairlead (follow Warn instructions), but otherwise basically the fairlead cutout is 8.5” wide, almost to the bottom, I left a little lip for strength. Not much though because you don’t want the cable rubbing on anything.



Also note the cut down front wall out by the frame. This was to allow fitment of the 1” thick by 2” tall steel shackle mount to frame for each side. In the back, note the cut down wall the entire channel length


This next pic shows behind the bumper, looking down at the fairlead bolted to the channel mount, and the clearance needed for the winch:



Not in view behind the bumper brackets on the frame, I cut the channel mount to fit inside the accordion frame section.




Mounting holes. What I did was drill two 7/16” holes for each side of the channel to mount to the flat part of the frame (on the underside of the frame) in front of the accordion section.



Next, I cut 4 brackets made of ¼” angle, 2” wide, by 4” high, by 3” out onto the channel mount. Cost included in the C Channel. This allows 2 of these brackets to be mounted as shown (one for each frame rail). The other two attach the bumper bracket to the channel mount on the backside of the bumper bracket (note the bolt with the large washer in the bumper bracket.). All bolts are 7/16”, except that if you want to mount the 1” x 2” steel shackle mount to the frame, the top two side frame bolts going through the bracket are ½”. It would have been very nice to have a welder, much of this drilling/bolting would be unnecessary as I would have welded the brackets to the winch mount, and only had to bolt to the frame.

Drill the channel holes for winch mount & fairlead
This is per the instructions again. Be careful here, you should precisely locate the holes, so the bolts go into the winch easily and without bind. They are also torqued to a specific pressure. The two fairlead holes are not quite as critical, most importantly drill the holes to mount the fairlead such that the cable will pull through the fairlead as centered within the rollers (up and down) as possible.

Note that the supplied Grade 5 bolts for winch mounting are 3/8”. I used 7/16” bolts for all my mounting (probably overkill here) except these winch mount bolts. If you do this, don’t make a mistake by drilling the winch holes using the 7/16ths bit.



Ok, now that you have mounted the winch and fairlead and brackets to the channel, and bolted the channel up to the frame, it’s time to do some bumper cutting and thinking about how to wire it all up. I should mention that with this install, you have to mount the winch onto the channel first, then bolt it up. There is no way to get at the back two bolts/square nuts for the winch easily if the mount is already attached to the frame.

Bumper cutting, includes top access to winch, fairlead, bumper to frame bracket, and shackle to frame opening

In the last pic above, look carefully and you will see where I’ve taken the marker to outline where I need to cut the bumper for the fairlead. It’s basically ½”-1” larger in opening than the rectangular dimensions of the fairlead. You can try to get it more precise, but trying to mount the bumper back up requires a bit of latitude in movement. Cutting of the bumper was done with the skil saw.

For the top opening, I measured apx. 11” from center for each side (22” of total opening). Main concern here was to be able to get at the engaged/freespool control knob easily on the drivers side, and to be able to see the winch cable, and the wiring over on the passenger side in case of any problems. Not sure what folks do if they get their cable wrapped badly and they have a totally hidden winch. Fumbling around with fingers trying to free cable in a hidden winch mount does not sound like fun.

The Bumper to frame brackets. These are the black metal brackets bolted to the top and bottom of the bumper. There is one on each side, and they bolt to the frame bumper bracket using 4 bolts. Well, the winch mount is wide enough so that you can’t have these. However, I was able to cut these brackets roughly in half and only use the top bolt hole to attach to the frame bumper bracket. The plan was to attach the bottom of the bumper to the underside of the winch mount, but when all was said and done, the bumper is fine as is. In the following pic, the black bracket on left is the now cut factory bumper bracket, and only bolts to the frame bracket via that top bolt:




Wiring up the winch and solenoid

This is a pretty easy operation. The hard part was determining how to mount the solenoid since the wires are very short. I made the top cut in the bumper just wide enough so that the solenoid mounts just above and in front (to the passenger side) of the winch. It is attached around a painted body piece with zip ties. The cables run through here as well. None of this interferes with being able to unscrew and remove the Bronco plastic front grille fascia as you normally would. Test mounting the bumper is pretty much required at this point.



I’ve taken the grille off so you can see how the cables route:


Wiring is as follows (this is for a non-integrated solenoid with the little black box):
This is for a Warn XD 9000. Consult your instructions as this may vary among winches/manufacturers.

• First attach the (3) 2ga. Short black cables from the solenoid box to the winch motor. Warn has these clearly marked as to which cable goes where.
• Next, attach the small black wire from the solenoid box to the bottom bolt under the winch motor, this is ground
• There are (2) 72” 2ga. Cables, one black, one red. Attach the black cable to the bottom bolt under the winch motor, and to the (-) negative terminal of the battery. Attach the Red cable to the (+) positive terminal of the battery.

You’re done, and ready to test!

Since there were a lot of bolts involved, I took the time to tighten/retighten everything since I was up and running. Now you can also mount the bumper up one last time and tighten it down.

Misc. items

I took the opportunity to upgrade from my old tow hooks, sitting under the frame, to some custom shackle mounts that hold ¾” shackles. These are bolted to the frame using the ½” bolts described in an earlier section. The mounts are made from 1”thick x 2” tall steel. I bought a 1 foot piece and had Steelco cut it in half. Cost was $8. The two shackles run about $13 each. I drilled a 1” hole in each mount at one end, and (2) ½” holes in the other end. Careful measuring here, as this is thick material, you don’t want to make a mistake. If your ½” holes don’t match up with the holes in your frame, well, you’re in for lots of work. So, you end up with 3” of this mount bolted to the frame side at one end, and 3” roughly sticking out of the bumper with a 1” hole in it for the shackle.
You could probably go buy this stuff premade, but where’s the fun in that. I’ve also seen these shackle mounts made to go into a receiver hitch, but certain shops that shall not be named want $32 each for them.








To get a nice finished look, all the bumper cutting can be trimmed using black door trim. I also need to hit the J yard for a new black bumper strip to recut to match my new install and shackle mounts.

These pics can be found on my supermotors site:
http://www.supermotors.net/clubs/2bigbroncosnorthwest/registry/vehicles/detail.php?id=628&s=20175#content
 

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Screw the Jeep Thing
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Thats pretty tight. Nice installation.

IS that a remote mount solenoid pack? If so you probably could have saved some bumper my mounting it under the hood or even on top of the bumper.
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #4
Msuforeman said:
Very nice writeup Juice. I always thought you were dead set on a hydro winch though-- :shrug

Brian
Thanks a bunch guys. A few replies:

Brian....yep, I put a real hard look into the MM10.5 Hydro. But as I explained in the writeup, that has 2 speeds, and seperate controls for each. So, if you are not the one doing the controlling, you will need to educate someone on how to flip the levers to get engaged/disengaged, hi vs. low speed. When using the winch, I just don't like this complexity. I still have no doubt they are good units, and capable of pulling their stated weight.

Bronco85 "IS that a remote mount solenoid pack? If so you probably could have saved some bumper my mounting it under the hood or even on top of the bumper. "

yep. except, you would also have to go buy all new wiring. The supplied cables are very short. If you mount it under the hood, you will need to open your hood to attach your remote.

johnski "Do you have a degree in Tech. Communications? Impressive and VERY helpful writeup. You've turned your rig into one of the most capable non-SAS rigs on the board. "

Thanks. MBA. But in my real life I am a shadetree diehard Bronco wrenchead. It will be TTB a while longer, but am hoping to finish a deal on a '78 F250 ranger at month end, and well, you know what that's going to lead to. :thumbup
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #5
EvlErn69 said:
Juice.. very nice stock looking install.. can you comeover and do mine.. when i get one??
depends on how much beer you have. :beer

Norm, too funny, a carb!!!!!

NOT :chili:

You're totally right on the bumper. I've been cutting on the dang things for how many years now?

As a matter of fact, I really don't call them bumpers anymore. The real steel is behind them. They are mere "fascia"
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #6
XLTChris said:
Thats a nice setup. But aren't you scared about hitting something or someone and destroyng your winch?
nope. It can take a minor fender bender, straight on would likely destroy the fairlead and possibly damage the solenoid.

I doubt that scenario would occur offroad, and on road it would have to be someone hitting me, in which case their insurance will handle it for me.
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #7
91xlt said:
EXCELLENT!!!!!!!
love it have been tinkering with thoughts about modifying both front and rear stock bumpers for tow/recovery points. this is an awesome write up! i will be doing something very similar in near future. you definetly did your homework. if i may pick your brain how did you determine measurements for cuts and i am thinking how do you incorporate a jacking point on each side for hi lift? any thoughts?
Thanks.

On mine, I've cut the outer part of the bumpers for more approach angle, and then reinforced underneath them with some 1/4" plate that is visible in a couple of the pics. this is bolted to the frame with an angled brace up top, and is braced with some tube toward the corners. I have in the past many times placed the highlift under the 1/4" plate right where it bolts to the frame.

Cutting for the winch opening is basically just a centered cut in the bumper, I measured and made it wide enough so that i can easily get my hand in to move the engagement lever, and to be able to keep an eye on the winch line.
 

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Shadofax, thanks for posting your winch install. I printed it out and practically copied everything you did. I did make a few minor changes such as using a Hawes fairlead so that I could have a front receiver hitch and using a Ramsey winch but you deserve most of the credit because I don't have the ingenuity to come up with your design. Thanks



 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #10
Very good, glad it was of use. Those tech articles that keep coming back after a couple years are the ones you know are helpful to folks.

I will give you the same suggestion as I told someone else though....I know the clean look you have with the concealed winch is nice (and makes thieves less likely to get at it), but a concealed winch can be dangerous. If the line kinks up back behind there, you need to be extremely careful reaching around to try and free things up. without the opening up top, you are putting your hands at risk, so be very careful if that ever happens.

Are you required to have a license plate up front in your state? the roller fairlead is nice for this since I took 2 mag light plastic holders and screwed them to my plate, which then pushes onto the verticle rollers, works great, and pulls off easy.
 

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Thanks for the help Sewiv. I will buy one today.

As far as the front receiver, I just bought one at the local trailer supply house and welded it to the bottom of the channel iron. Here is a photo.

 

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Shadofax, thanks for the advice on keeping my hands out of the winch.

I am required to have a license up front but haven't had one on any of my vehicles for the last 2 or 3 years. If I get a ticket, I'm thinking of installing a license plate holder similar to the one I have on the rear of my 1973 Bronco. It is spring loaded and would cover the fairlead.
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #13
OK, never mind, I guess I missed that part. New question though: does having 2 bolts connecting the bumper to the frame vs. 8 before make the bumper weaker? Would it be better to mount the bottom of the bumper to the bottom of the channel? I kinda want to be able to push stuff.
If I recall correctly, before I did all this, the stock bumper only had 2 bolts each side attaching it to the frame.

I probably could still push something, but if it's high I have to be careful of the Hella lights. if it's a car, don't think I'd be pushing anything, as my bumper likely wouldn't be touching anything until my tire was rolling up on the back of the car. Plus the roller sits out as about the furthest thing forward. that, and the tow points which might damage whatever I'd be trying to push.
 

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Former owner of Shadofax
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Discussion Starter #14
:histerica :lolup

Those are good points, and yeah there are 4 bolts, I was looking at the wrong piece.

I guess what I meant to ask was really if the structural integrity of it was still there; I got in an accident a while ago which totaled a Rodeo and only scratched my bumper :)rockon ) I just dont want a small accident to happen again and mangle the front end and make the Bronco look like a weak POS.

Thanks for the quick help, Shadofax
There never really was any structural integrity with the stock bumper. sure you could push something with it, but if you get in an accident, it's maybe 1/8th thick steel (at best). Anything more than about 5mph it's not going to hold up well. at least now I have a large piece of structural C channel between the frame rails and some quarter inch plate and tube out on the ends. even then though a large accident is gonna make a mess of the front.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have yet to use a winch so dont geel the need to bash me haha... but from what I have seen I thought you were suppose to open your hood to protect you and your windshield if the line brakes?
I won't bash,....but you aren't on the same conversation....not understanding we are talking about the heavy gauge electrical wiring, has nothing to do with hood and safety if something breaks.
 

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I think what he means is "shouldn't the hood be open anyway when you winch to protect the windshield?"

If so then mounting the soleniod there wouldn't be a problem.
Thanky you ;) thats what I was trying to say... I probably wouldn't mount it under the hood because Yes you would need to buy new wire, and re wire it which might mess it up but I meant for saftey

I have always heard that too, if anyone is in the cab. Otherwise, I would much rather bust out a windsheild than have a flying cable hit my $600 hood.
well I dont think the flying cable would mess your hood up but shouldn't you ALSO be semi-behind it? you can predict where a Breaking cable is gonna Fly, and I would much rather have my windshield then a Tiny dent, if any, in my hood

eta. GT I just checked out your super ford page and for a guy who cares so much about their new cowl hood Im glad you dont care that much about anything else on your truck that you decided to take out a mailbox going 35...
 

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Thanky you ;) thats what I was trying to say... I probably wouldn't mount it under the hood because Yes you would need to buy new wire, and re wire it which might mess it up but I meant for saftey



well I dont think the flying cable would mess your hood up but shouldn't you ALSO be semi-behind it? you can predict where a Breaking cable is gonna Fly, and I would much rather have my windshield then a Tiny dent, if any, in my hood

eta. GT I just checked out your super ford page and for a guy who cares so much about their new cowl hood Im glad you dont care that much about anything else on your truck that you decided to take out a mailbox going 35...

Just read this, but felt the need for a reply.

First off, if you had been here when that incident took place you would have read the thread explaining what happened. I hit the mailbox to miss a deer on the other side. Pretty sure the deer would have done more damage. So the next time you want to be an asshole about something do a little reasearch first.:twak
 

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GTRider.. sorry bout that reply lol I musta said that on an OFF day... Deer woulda messed it up more your right... and good thing I have never had to deal with that... I just re read my reply and MAN I WAS A DICK! sorry bout that.

Back on Track... Does anyone have any info on the Warn Quick Dissconnect system? I am having an Off Brand winch put on a reciever plate and need a way to wire it... I can find the wiring for it but not the wiring coming off the winch anyone got a source? Advice? anything?
 

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Looks like I'll be coping a good part of Shadofax's winch install. Be interesting to see how my bumper works as I have the air-vent cut outs in mine.
 
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