If you feel you need a winch mounted on your jeep wrangler then there are few considerations you should make before buying one. These considerations should be made in relevance to the winch you are going to buy and your Wrangler’s front bumper.
Attaching a winch on jeep wrangler stock bumper
Most Wrangler owners ask if it is possible to attach a winch to a stock wrangler bumper. Well, it’s possible but you’ll have a winch with a very low pulling capacity.
The pulling capacity of a winch is calculated by taking the gross vehicle weight and multiplying it by 1.5. Depending on your wrangler model, the winch should have more pulling capacity than the total gross weight of your vehicle. It’s recommended that a winch should have at least half more the weight of your wrangler as its pulling capacity
Since the winch pulling capacity has to be more, the stock wrangler bumper won’t withstand such massive weight if the winch is installed on the bumper.
You might try it but it will not work for long and you might end up with more repair costs since an accident can occur when using the winch. You’ll also need to replace the bumper which you should have done in the first place even before considering a winch to buy.
Using a winch mount on jeep wrangler stock bumper
A winch mount is a cheaper method or an alternative if you want to keep the stock wrangler bumper. If you’d like to keep the stock pumper then you can consider a winch mount.
But this has more disadvantages compared to using an aftermarket or custom bumper for winch installation. There are two types of winch mounts, a frame winch mount, and a bumper winch mount.
Frame winch mounts are better as they are firmer as compared to bumper mounts. The stock wrangler bumper cannot hold as much pulling weight that is why it is recommended to use a frame-mounted winch mount.
Advantage of using a winch mount on jeep wrangler
- Since winches on winch mounts can be easily removed and installed, they can be used on multiple wranglers especially when off roading and a fellow wrangler owner needs a winch, provided that he has a winch mount or any other feature that the winch can be installed on. The winch can also be removed to prevent it from getting damaged or stolen.
- Winch mounts decrease the weight exerted on the wrangler’s suspension thus you do not have to worry about your suspension’s durability or any extra mods to support extra weight.
- Winch mounts can be used on the front and rear if you’re wiring allows and you have a winch mount on the rear bumper. This ensures convenience depending on the tricky situation you get your wrangler into.
disadvantage of using a winch mount on jeep wrangler
- Winch mounts are hard to install since no provision is made for installing a winch mount on a wrangler. You also have to remove the stock bumper and modify a relocation provision for the brake pump and this is not easy. Frame mounted winch mounts are even more complicated to install as you’ll have to attach extensions that will hold the bumper outwards to create space for the winch.
- The winch provides some protection for your grill but there is nothing to protect the winch upon impact especially when off-roading as small twigs and rocks might find their way into the winch and causing damage to it. It is not also protected from impact collisions such as when you hit another vehicle from the back. It is recommended you remove the winch if you daily your jeep.
- If you leave your winch on in an unsecure place it is likely to get tampered with or even worse stolen. To prevent this, you can add a security feature such as an enclosure box that is lockable to protect the winch.
- Since a winch mount is attached in almost the same position as the stock bumper it has a higher pulling point as compared to being attached to an aftermarket bumper which has a lower pulling point. A high pulling point is most likely to get you stuck especially in muddy or swampy conditions as it does not have a good approach angle due to the higher pulling point.
- For perfectionists, having a winch on a winch mount does not look as good as having a winch mounted to an aftermarket bumper and most see that after-market bumpers look better than stock bumpers. Some even upgrade from stock to aftermarket bumpers just for the looks.
- Stock bumper mounted winches cannot hold as much pulling weight as compared to frame mounted winches and even winches on after-market bumper mounted winches.
Different winch mounts come with different setup procedures and configurations for winch attachment and you should strictly follow instructions given when installing both the winch and the winch mount. Some come as metallic plates and others come as bars, buy whichever you see fit but ensure it is made of strong metal.
Some winches are specifically made to be mounted on a winch mount and come with a specific mounting feature for installation. These are recommended as they are easier to install as compared to buying a winch mount and a winch separately. Here is OFF ROAD BOAR 13000-lb. Load Capacity Electric Winch Kit for jeep wrangler
Installing a winch on an aftermarket bumper, what can you expect?
Some wrangler aftermarket bumpers come with winch installation features, others you have to modify to install a winch and others come with a winch installed on the bumper.
The first option is the best as you just need to remove the old bumper and install the new bumper. The first option is not always a good idea as different winches have different methods of being attached to the bumper and you might find the winch you have or won’t fit.
The second option is a bargain since you can modify it to fit any winch you have, the work you have to do on it can be tiring sometimes.
Advantage Of Using A Winch On Aftermarket Bumper
- After market bumpers are made of stronger materials as compared to stock bumpers thus, they can hold more pulling weight depending on the winch pulling capacity. They are also more durable thus last longer than stock bumpers even when subjected to hardcore off roading.
- Most aftermarket bumpers have a lower pulling point which ensures that you get your wrangler out of tricky situations with ease. A lower pulling point has the ideal approach angle for a winch.
- Despite having a provision for attaching a winch, most aftermarket bumpers come with provisions for other accessories such as lights and parking sensors. They are more practical than equipping your wrangler with a winch mount which only allows for winch mounting.
- Aftermarket bumpers have that “mean” look that deep wrangler enthusiasts want. Some will even upgrade to an after-market bumper just for the looks.
Disadvantage Of Using A Winch On Aftermarket Bumper
- Aftermarket bumpers are usually made of heavy metals, mostly steel, thus they’re usually heavy and this results in difficulties when installing the new bumper. They also add to the total weight of the vehicle and this might affect your suspension depending on the weight and size of the bumper
- Also, you might need to upgrade your suspension or add modifications to hold the extra weight.
- These are highly-priced as compared to buying a winch mount, this is because of the versatility and durability but when you put these into considerations, the price does not really matter.
Why should you have a winch on your wrangler?
A winch comes in handy in getting your wrangler out of tricky conditions such as swampy or sandy terrains. Saves the driver the difficulty of using traction plates or asking for help from others to push the wrangler out.
Also, this is not applicable in most conditions especially when off-roading. A winch requires a tie-on point for it to work but it always helps when you have one on your wrangler.
What to look for when buying a winch?
There is a lot to consider when getting a winch but when it comes to getting a winch for your wrangler, the following are things you should look into.
Electric winch or hand winch
Here, it depends on how often you depend on the winch. If you go off-roading regularly then an electric winch is better as it’s more powerful than the hand winch which is entirely dependent on human power input.
The disadvantage with electric winches is that they drain battery power rapidly so you need to have an extra battery just in case your battery dies. Electric winches are more expensive than hand winches too.
Winch pulling capacity
A winch should have a higher pulling capacity which is more than the total gross weight of your wrangler. It is recommended that the maximum weight that the wrangler can pull be greater by more than half the weight of your wrangler. To determine this, you can multiply the weight of your wrangler by 1.5 and if the resulting answer is equal to or more than the wrangler’s weight then the winch is okay.
The position or method that you’ll use to mount your winch matters too as this is what will determine the durability and functionality of the winch. Lower mounted winches are better at getting you out of tricky situations and this can only be achieved by mounting the winch on an aftermarket bumper.
Winches have either steel or synthetic cables. Steed cables are more durable and can withstand more pulling weight than synthetic cables which wear out quickly and are likely to snap at any time during use.
Different bumper-mounted winches, just like winch mount mounted winches, have different ways of being positioned and you should follow the instruction or seller’s manual if you decide to do the installation by yourself
A winch is an accessory you should have on your wrangler, whether you’ll install it on a winch mount or an aftermarket bumper. Put into consideration how frequently you’ll use the winch to determine the winch you’ll get and the position at which you will install it.
For maximum winch efficiency, using an aftermarket bumper is recommended but if you won’t use the winch that much you can install the winch on the stock bumper.