The Mighty Merc – Front Winch Bumper

Being able to self-recover is something I try to strive for with my builds. In that vein, I make it a point to fit a winch to the front of my toys. I will admit that it doesn’t get used that often, but when it does, it’s a big help!

The goal was to tuck the winch in as tight to the body as I could in hopes that I could reuse the stock bumper cover for a cleaner look when I run this down the road. However, that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.

I sheared out a place and welded a brace to the underside of it:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

I then burned it onto the frame with a couple of small gussets. The plate is even with the bottom of the frame rails:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

The XRC-8 winch that I am using just tucks under the grill. I have to make a small cutout for the engagement lever though:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Pushing the winch back as far as I can allowed me to keep it from hanging out too far (I don’t like giant “Front Porch” bumpers):
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Pulling off the front grill showed that there was ample room to hide the winch control box behind it. So it went to where the stock transmission color used to live:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

And I knocked out some of the slats to be able to get to it:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

With the winch plate sorted, I went ahead and tacked up the rest of the bumper. At this point I was still hoping to be able reuse the stock bumper cover to clean up the look some:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

But after trimming the thing to fit, there just wasn’t going to be much left of the thing, and the winch made it stick out farther than I liked:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

So I moved onto plan “B” which was to build my typical minimalist front bumper:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

But I got guilted into trying to make something a little more fancy:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

So a little time with the plasma during lunch again:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

I wound up not rounding the corners as much as I originally wanted too. I’m not 100% sure that I won’t wind up with an exo on this thing, so I left the corner squared off to make it easier to land a tube if I needed to:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

I wound up painting the whole thing burgundy, but it turned out to be off in color from what I was expecting. Whatever, it works for now:
Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Sara L.: Build and Misc &emdash;

Now that it is legal, it is time to put some road miles on it!

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