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So yesterday afternoon when I got home, I decided to tackle the winch mount. The Rock Hard mounting plate was on my front porch when I got home, but UPS had not delivered the winch yet. But they said it would be there by 7:00pm and they pretty much do what they say, so I figured by the time I got the mount on, the winch would be here.

The Rock Hard instruction sheet said remove the 4 nuts that hold the bumper on. I tried, really I did - the problem was I didn't have an 18mm socket or wrench; 17mm, 19mm, 22mm, but no 18mm. So off to ACE I go (about 1.2 miles away) to get a socket. I got a deep socket because the bolts stuck through the nuts quite a bit and I was afraid a regular socket would be too short.

Got the four nuts loose and then tugged worked and pulled and wiggled the bumper trying to get it off - nothing! It didn't budge. So I slide back under the Jeep, being careful not to put yet another ding on my head, and discovered there are two more nuts holding the bumper on - that makes six!

So I get them off and still nothin' - that bumper won't budge. Back under the Jeep I go and I get another ding on my head :redface: , but I find there are two more nuts which brings the total to eight!

One is quite difficult to reach because a little thingy (technical jargon) is in the way. I still have the two top outer bolts in to keep the bumper from falling should I ever find and remove all the fender bolts. Well, with some time, effort, and impatience, I got the bumper free - on to the next problem.

You have to disconnect the fog lights; that's easy but the fog light wiring is connected to the bumper with those little non-removable push in fasteners. So you can disconnect the fog lights, but you can't remove the bumper because the wiring is secured to it.

So I assess, again, and decide to tie the bumper to the frame so it's out of the way, doesn't strain the wiring, but still allows the mounting plate to be installed. On to the next problem...

I got the mounting plate tabs inserted into the bumper brackets and all I need to do is put the two half inch bolts in. I sounds so simple. It wasn't! I just about never got the bolt started. You have to lift the plate with one hand to get the threaded hole lined up with the frame holes and then start the bolt with the other hand. After dropping the flat washer and lock washer about a half dozen times and having to restart, I finally got it going.

Then the other side - this one is near impossible to start because of that little thingy that's on that side. Not only that, it was very difficult to keep the holes lined up and almost no way to get the bolt started without the mount moving. Plus I was suspicious that with the flat washer and lock washer on the short bolt, it may not be long enough to start. So off to ACE I go for a longer bolt. I had to get a grade 8 as they didn't have grade 5. Try as I may, I could not get the bolt started.

So I take the longer bolt to my shop and grind a bevel on the end, being careful to preserve the threads. So now I have this semi-cone shaped point and I had the bolt started in no time.

I called Rock Hard to ask them about something, told them I was waiting on the winch, and he said you know you have to mount the winch before you mount the plate? OH NO! I just got those two difficult bolts in. Now, that I've installed the winch, I believe it would be possible to attach the winch with the plate mounted. But then....

So off comes the bumper again, and I installed the winch on the plate. Now to get those screws started again - didn't take so long this time. And I got the bumper back on except for one two nuts, and a third one was difficult. The right top and lower left nuts on the inside are difficult because the plate arm is in the way of the top nut and that thingy is in the way of the lower, but somehow I got them started. My deep well socket was too long to tighten the top bolt and I didn't have an 18 mm wrench but I got it nice and snug with an American standard box wrench that was a close fit.

By now, it light was dimming and I discovered I had lost one nut. Don't know how that happened, but it did (I did find it the next morning, but haven't put it on yet).

So I'm cleaning up trying to beat darkness and that's when I see it - not the nut, the body color center part of the bumper that goes over the fog light area - I had forgot to put it back on and there is no way to install it with the winch plate in place. It really doesn't do anything but a little cosmetics, and when I get my hood latch, it looks like I'll have to remove the winch and winch plate in order to have assess to install the lock. I can put that bumper part on then.

So all in all, I crammed a 1-1/2 hour job into 5 hours. Some of it was a little aggravating but I actually enjoyed the install.

I installed the synthetic rope today so it's all set to use...now where can I go and get stuck???

A few notes:
The security of the winch is slim and none. I believe I could have it unbolted, unwired, and removed in 10 minutes. So now I'm thinking about some alternative deterrents. I might not can prevent the winch from being stolen by the most determined, but I can slow them down and make them work harder and that may be enough for both.

The Rock Hard plate:
Other than the security issue, this is an excellent mounting plate. It worked perfectly, as advertised with the stock bumper and tow hooks. Rock Hard connects with only two half inch bolts but its a far more robust mount than that suggests. The Rock Hard plate is cleverly designed to take advantage of the stock hooks. When properly installed, the plate mates with the bumper hooks to provide a much stronger mount. You would have to pull with a force strong enough to pull both hooks off the bumper before you could pull the plate off. A very impressive design.

It does however compromise the hooks as a connection point a bit, but looks to be quite useable.

The synthetic cable install:
Well.....I'm gonna give this a thread all to itself.
 

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That's pretty funny ! So all in all you had a great day right....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's pretty funny ! So all in all you had a great day right....
I said I enjoyed the install; didn't say I had a great day. In fact, a coffee maker I was transporting home to clean up fell over and dumped water (I hope just water) all over the cargo area of my Jeep and soaked all of my self-sticking targets, I wasn't too happy. Fortunately the rear 'mud mat' I had just put back there kept all the water on the rubber mat.

But yeah, I had a pretty great day. I have a new Jeep, I have a new Warn Zeon 10-s, I installed it myself - that's a pretty great day.
 

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hey I warned you about needing longer bolts :). you do not need to put the plastic valance piece back on as it really won't fit unless you curt the heck out of it and you will never notice it. You can put the winch on with the winch plate already installed. I did with no problem just need to put the front mounting bolts in place first or pry down on the plastic of your bumper to make room to get them in and then tighten with a open ended box wrench. That thingy is the vacuum pump.

Good job and let the mods begin.
 

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hey I warned you about needing longer bolts :).
LOL - you sure did. I didn't quite understand it then - I do now!

...you do not need to put the plastic valance piece back on as it really won't fit unless you curt the heck out of it and you will never notice it....
That's good news! The 'plastic valance' - that's the body color plastic piece that goes over the bumper?

What about that piece of plastic that goes under the Jeep; I can't see that it would do much other than flap and make noise???

...You can put the winch on with the winch plate already installed. I did with no problem just need to put the front mounting bolts in place first or pry down on the plastic of your bumper to make room to get them in and then tighten with a open ended box wrench.
Since the bolts holes are slotted, I wonder if you could position the bolts near horizontal aligned with the slots and just rock them upward into a vertical position?

But yeah, you can certainly do exactly what you described. And you can remove the winch the same way. Might not get the bolts out with the winch but who would care if someone were stealing the winch. I think I've got a cheap solution for that. I will give it a try.

...That thingy is the vacuum pump.
Ahhh...the ol vacuum pump!

...Good job and let the mods begin.
Awww man you would have to say that!
 

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yes the air dam just gets knocked off when off road. I replaced mine with a Mopar skid plate that mounts solid to the bumper and actually acts as a theft deterrent as it gets in the way of removing the back two bolts.
 
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