Ok everyone, I just finished my winch bumper for my 2012 JK Unlimited, and thought I would share my experience with all of you guys and gals. A little background, I weld and fabricate as a hobby a have a garage full of all the basic tools for such a job. However my job requires fabrication and fitting skills with sheetmetal. I did cheat a little and had a local steel shop do some of the basic bending for me using their press brake in order to speed things along. So here is the finished product:
Just I case you have a 2012 or later, you will need to address the vacuum pump and get it relocated to make room for the winch between the frame rails. I will go more into this at the end.
Here is what i started with, everything is 3/16 mild steel. I figure the overall sizes I would need for a winch mount, and bumper and had them cut and bent
First thing I did is remove the stock bumper, and mock up cardboard bumper (not pictured) with the winch to see is everything would fit, and to figure out the basic design I wanted. I did all of this long before I even thought about buying steel BTW.
Starting with the winch plate, I cut down the areas between the rails and mocked up. From this point, I just started cutting and welding without too much direction. I had this planned in my head for about 3 months, and when I went to build it, everything changed anyways.
I carefully figured out how much room I needed for the winch and made sure I could center it. I measured and drilled pilot holes for the frame bolts, WORD OF CAUTION, the bolt pattern on the end of the frame is not square, I think the top hole are spaced a 1/4" further apart than the bottom ones. Take your time on this step!
I added triangle gussets for the winch plate, and welded away. Notice the holes I left open for mud and water to drain out if I'm on a downhill.
Cut out and drilled shackle mounts out of some rusty 1x2 steel
I cut 1x2 holes centered between the bolt holes for frame mounting. I welded the shackle mounts flush with the back of the plate and ground off extra welds. Note I did not weld on the front side yet.
I decided to add an extra 3/16 plate over the frame mounting areas for a little more beefiness, and welded up solid
I used wheel studs which I got from les shwab tires. Do your homework on these, there are a lot of different sizes. I got ones with the correct threads and length, but the nurled press in shoulder was an odd metric size and I did not have the correct drill size. I ended up drilling with a 9/16 bit and they did not press as tight as I would have liked, so I welded them in place.
Here's what it looks like mocked up so far
Now on to the bumper itself, first carefully measured and cut holes for the shackle mounts and installed
Looks horrible right, it needs a little something
So I chopped up the ends a welded back in place at a better looking angle.
Now lets make room for the winch
And mock up again. I've installed this bumper about 10 times at this point
Removed and started cutting the hole for the cable fair lead. Make sure you make the hole big enough that the cable will not ever rub on the steel. I also marked and drilled mounting holes for the winch in the bottom plate
Determined to reuse the factory fogs, I centered and drilled holes. This was not fun, I managed to burn up a new hole saw in 1 shot, so drill SLOW.
I ground and sanded all welds and such, and also welded the back where I cut the bumper ends
Back to the lights, ugghhh. My perfect mounting solution for these was a failure, so nearing the project end I coughed up this idea like my dog coughed up dinner on the bed.
Some machine screws hold the lights in place.
Now for the fun part, the mating of the bumper
I welded them together with a 1/2" gap between the bumper the face of the with mount. I welded continuous across the top on the inside and around the shackle mounts. You'll notice that I cut out a hole to fit completely over the fair lead so it is recessed in a little.
And mocked up again. I drove it around a little at this point cause I couldn't wait.
I sanded, cleaned, and covered with duplicolor bed armor in a can(2)
I installed for the last time and wired up the winch. I had to re route and extend the wiring for the fog lights. Make sure to use waterproof wire connectors, it is a jeep after all and mine is prone to partial drownings.
Here it is lit up like Christmas!!
Now about that vacuum pump, I believe this is for the braking system and is no reason it can't be relocated to the engine bay where it belongs. Now I kind of copied OR FABS bracket because it was simple. I your considering working around this, don't. It's simple to relocate, and with a little macguyver it won't cost you anything. Besides, it will almost positively be in your way when you go to put a wrench on the bumper mounting hardware. As a matter of fact, cut the whole mount off
A little paint to prevent rust, and it like it was never there
Do a google search for how to re route the wiring and hoses, it's not hard.
Here's the mount I came up with, ugly but it works
Painted, re routed hoses, extended wires, and installed. Done.
That's it folks.
I realize its not very original, but its functional, it's strong, and its mine.
I weighed it and the bumper comes in at 71lbs, and the winch and fair lead are 74lbs. A total of 145lbs did drop the front stock suspension exactly 1". For this I have a TF 2.5" lift/leveling kit on its way. I will post before and after pics with the lift.
What cha guys think?