I ditched the plan to use a winch in a cradle, for front and back winching. I just won't have enough cargo space to haul it around once you consider all of the other normal recovery gear, plus a dog, and maybe a few guns, and ice chest. So, instead, I decided to see if I could mount a winch behind the factory bumper. Once I started eyeballing the available space through the lower bumper vent, it looked like it could be done. So with grinder and welder in hand, I got to work!I already had this front hitch fabbed up. As it turns out, the top of this hitch, as it sits between the front frame rail ends, is the perfect height for the winch to sit on and line up with the vent opening.Next, I welded some 2" x 3" (3/16") angle iron to serve as tabs, on the front of the hitch. The winch bolts feed through the bottom of the tabs, through the winch tray, and into the bottom of the winch feet. I ended up drilling holes through the hitch for some grade 8 bolts to bolt the tray down in the back.The next step was to do a little cutting.
Cut the vent grate out.Cut some of the bumper reinforcement out to allow the top of the winch to clear.I had to extend the front of the winch tray so that the fairlead would sit flush with the front bumper opening.
Here the winch is sitting in it's new home. I replaced the steel cable with a synthetic rope. I also clocked the freespooling handle forward so I could reach it through the bumper opening.I had the perfect amount of space behind the bumper to mount the winch control box next to the winch. I had to drill a 1.25" hole in the bumper for fitting the winch remote cord. As it sits here, the plug connector almost touches the backside of the bumper (where the hole is drilled).
Here it is, all finished! I also ran in-cabin switches. The left switch turns on power to the toggle switch on the right.
It turned out exactly as I hoped. It took close to a week to get it done, putting in a few hours each day. All of the customizing really takes a lot of time!
Let me know what you think.