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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Used my Smittybilt X20 winch this weekend and didn't notice that anything was off until last night when I went to pull the control box off to change out the wireless switch and noticed my winch was a little cockeyed. Upon closer inspection I found one of the default Smittybilt bolts used to fasten the winch to the bumper had sheared off. :jawdrop: The pull was not a difficult pull.

Some pictures of the bolts below. They are labeled as metric 10.9 which is approximately Grade 5 in SAE, but looking at the bolt that sheared it appears to be corroded inside. Very scary. Had this been a pull on some steep incline the result could have been very ugly. Why would Smittybilt use such bolts with their winch??? Seems like a liability issue to me.

I'll be replacing them all with Grade 8 bolts made in the USA!
 

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. Why would Smittybilt use such bolts with their winch?.
As much as i hate smittybilt,, this is not entirely their fault.

A brief explanation is in order.

First there were dinosaurs. Then there was a cool company called smittybilt in socal who designed and made cool off-road products in socal.

Eventually the dinosaurs died off and so did the people at smittybilt who started the business. The name was taken over by a group who figured out it was cheaper and more profitable to source crap in china than to develop and build original product in the USA.

Then smittybilt decided they needed a winch. So they found a manufacturer in china who built cheap winches and told them to slap this smittybilt label on it. They put together a spec sheet and agreed on a price and packaging. The spec sheet said metric 10.8 bolts.

Then one day the factorys owner's brother in law's cousin came over with a supply of bolts labeled 10.8 and offered them for sales for a penny less than they were paying now. They guaranteed they were genuine 10.8. Heck they even sent one out to be tested. So the manufacturer bought them.

Then these bolts that cost the manufacturer one cent less to buy made their way into your winch and your Jeep.

Ooopsie!!!! turned out these bolts were actually made out of low-grade shit instead of real graded steel because the manufacturer wanted to save a penny and the stupid round eyes can't tell the difference anyway and the check for the product has cleared before anyone will notice.

And even if they do notice, the manufacturer has a certificate for the one bolt that passed testing.


And that, my friends, is the rest of the story...
 

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Being an industrial mechanic turning lots of bolts.....I've seen lots of Taiwanese/Chinese bolts snap really easily. It's all about the mighty dollar.
 

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Where do you buy hardware so you know that it's quality?
Looking at the pics of the Smittybilt bolts I'd think they were good, correct head marks for the grade and nice cad plating.

I'm getting ready to build my bumpers, I hope I can find (and verify that I'm using) US made steel and quality hardware.
 

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The bolts are the "quality" side of Smittybilt fasteners...

For me, it was the captive square nut the bolts screw up into that stripped, both on one side, allowing my winch to pretzel on a hard pull. The bolts remained intact and in place, trapped by the winch mounting plate.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/revising-my-endorsement-of-smittybilt-xrc-winch-1696897.html

And another thread that just started up yesterday indicates the X2O remote switch isn't waterproof for numerous posters, and needs to be replaced on nearly brand new winches.

http://www.wranglerforum.com/f274/smittybilt-x20-wireless-switch-repair-1804017.html

I commented in that thread and wrapped it up with this:

In the final analysis, I believe with the Gen 2 XRC and all the X2Os SB has a decently engineered winch motor and contactor. For maybe $40 more (I'm totally making that number up) they could specify rigorous hardware and switches, test the hell out of them in real world conditions for months before release, and troubleshoot all the likely failure points. But as they stand now, I would be afraid to buy one, replace the mounting hardware, replace the remote switch, and then find out I'm the Guinea Pig who discovers the next tiny failure point that leaves me winchless when I need it most.

As they say, for want of a nail the shoe was lost...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Where do you buy hardware so you know that it's quality?
Looking at the pics of the Smittybilt bolts I'd think they were good, correct head marks for the grade and nice cad plating.

I'm getting ready to build my bumpers, I hope I can find (and verify that I'm using) US made steel and quality hardware.
In Raleigh, NC when I need to buy bolts and be sure of the quality I go to Wilder's Inc Bolts and Nuts. Top notch place. Everyone in the area goes here.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilders-Inc/145546435467303

If I don't feel like driving over to Wilder's (its about 30 minutes away) I will try my local ACE hardware store. They usually have a good inventory of US made grade 8 bolts and nuts.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And another thread that just started up yesterday indicates the X2O remote switch isn't waterproof for numerous posters, and needs to be replaced on nearly brand new winches.
This is actually the fix I intended to work on when I noticed my winch was cockeyed. My winch is almost two year's old, but the external wireless switch has been flaky for sometime now. Decided to replace the switch with a waterproof switch off of Amazon.
 

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Not trying to be a smart*** here, but you do realize you're not going to be able to just throw SAE grade 8 bolts in there to replace the Metric 10.9's unless your bolt guy also has the correct size captured square nuts.
Also, 10.9 actually is the metric equivalent to grade 8 in SAE. By the looks of it that broken bolt had been cracked for a while and so you probably did get a crappy bolt but I would just get some quality 10.9's to go back with. If you really want something heavier find some 12.9 grade metrics. Might want to look at getting heavy duty washers while you're at it as those look standard and pretty soft.
 

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Where do you buy hardware so you know that it's quality?
Looking at the pics of the Smittybilt bolts I'd think they were good, correct head marks for the grade and nice cad plating.

I'm getting ready to build my bumpers, I hope I can find (and verify that I'm using) US made steel and quality hardware.


I would try "Fastenal". Their main business is.......fasteners. I bought a couple of specialized metric set screws from them, and didn't rape me too bad. If you buy from Walmart lowes Home Depot you'll be getting cheap junk from overseas. I think they are a national company so you should be able to get the exact bolts you need. We've got one in our little redneck town,so you should have one close.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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I would try "Fastenal". Their main business is.......fasteners. I bought a couple of specialized metric set screws from them, and didn't rape me too bad. If you buy from Walmart lowes Home Depot you'll be getting cheap junk from overseas. I think they are a national company so you should be able to get the exact bolts you need. We've got one in our little redneck town,so you should have one close.


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Thanks.
I've bought from them before and just assumed it was the typical big box store selling the cheapest stuff they can find.

Turns out they do list US made hardware on their website.
 

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Was that the first time you used the winch in a real world application? It's possible that perhaps you damaged the bolt a little during the install. Either way, no you're going to make me want to change mine out this weekend. Dammit.
 

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Was that the first time you used the winch in a real world application? It's possible that perhaps you damaged the bolt a little during the install. Either way, no you're going to make me want to change mine out this weekend. Dammit.
Yep. If you over torqued the bolt it was damaged at install. I've followed behind mechanics that put too much ummph behind the ratchet and when I removed the bolt it took very little to snap it off the rest of the way. The fact that you may have sheared the bolt at install could be when the corrosion set in. I always preach torque wrench all major fasteners.
 

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In Raleigh, NC...
You're in my neck of the woods!

Try Fastenal - there's a couple around here and are fantastic to deal with. They have - or can get- anything you ever need in terms of bolts and fasteners.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Also, 10.9 actually is the metric equivalent to grade 8 in SAE
You are correct. I got it wrong when I looked it up. I went and bought new bolts and washers this morning and the guy at Wilders told me the same thing (that 10.9 is metric equivalent to grade 8), but he looked at my old bolts and didn't know what to say about the corroded center of the bolt.

Tried to also get 10.9 nuts, but they didn't have any square ones, so for the time being I'll have to stick with the ones provided by SB.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
You're in my neck of the woods!

Try Fastenal - there's a couple around here and are fantastic to deal with. They have - or can get- anything you ever need in terms of bolts and fasteners.
I'll give Fastenal a try and see if they can get me 10.9 square capture nuts to go with my new bolts. Thanks for the recommendation.
 

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That bolt was done with long before you noticed it. Looks like over torque. When a fastener is not hardened properly you will usually see the failure of the threads stripping or galling.

Somethings to take in consideration. Metric grade 10.9 is a SAE equivalent to grade 8. many winch manufactures will go with metric grade 8.8 or SAE grade 5 for winch mounting, i know warn did for years.

1. Mounting hole diameter on the winch plate should be a very tight tolerance, excessive oversized or oblong holes will allow the winch to flex during a pull.

2. Were the bolts ever re-torqued after the initial install? even though you used lock washers , bolts will stretch and loosen up over time. you cannot check bolt torque based on I did a winch pull earlier and it was fine.Pre-trip checks should include checking torque on all critical fasteners, winch, suspension, steering, bumpers. torque, back off, then re-torque. lubricated threads need about 25% less torque.

3. how thick was the winch plate? if the winch plate is too thin, you may have the bolts bottom out on the winch itself rather than providing the proper clamping force to secure the winch to the winch plate.

if you are really critical of your fasteners you can always check the hardness before you use them. You might see some variance but hardness will not always indicate strength. for example, I've tested some wheel fasteners , all were 37 HRC but ultimate tensile strength had a variance of 4k psi over 3 fasteners. But the middle one was the one that failed during max torque testing.

You can always upgrade to F-911 but as tensile strength goes up , the more brittle they become and will sheer rather then bend. One of the reasons leaf spring manufactures use a grade 5 center pin and not a grade 8. Just like a control arm bolt on my buggy is a grade 8 and not F-911. a good impact to a control arm and it will sheer the F-911 where a grade 8 will bend. higher grade bolts do not like sheer forces or vibration. Each grade bolt has its place and proper usage.


Be careful buying bolts locally, as i have found that some of the major hardware stores sell bolts that aren't the greatest. I will never buy a S/S bolt from ace hardware ever. check out bolts4u or coastfab. I've also had good luck with fasteners from mcmaster and fastenal, but i stay away from grainger due to price and inconstant quality.
 

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Failure of bolts is usually a case of shitty steel or hydrogen embrittlement which occurs due to electro-plating. If you are still in need of some hardware, shoot me a PM. I work for a distributor that supplies hardware and fasteners to Military, Aerospace and Aeronautical companies. I can get you what you need, in a DFAR compliant material with superior plating to what you can get at the local hardware store.
 

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I just bought a Gen 2 and will be mounting it soon, already bought a waterproof switch to replace the wireless switch. I plan to use my winch a fair amount, so I dont want to have it pretzel on me. What length/grade bolts did you guys use to replace the bolts if you have already done so?
 

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I just bought a Gen 2 and will be mounting it soon, already bought a waterproof switch to replace the wireless switch. I plan to use my winch a fair amount, so I dont want to have it pretzel on me. What length/grade bolts did you guys use to replace the bolts if you have already done so?

Check your winch, the last one i got had a waterproof switch cover on it.
Bolts are 32mm , but will vary depending on thickness of winch plate. You just want to make sure they are not too long and bottom out on the winch housing but still have an exposed thread or two past the nut. Remember, always use a hardened washer.
 
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