I’ve been wheeling for some time without a winch now, never really thought I needed one (probably still don’t). But the last time I rode along at Interlake gave me a new perspective. Long story short, it was very wet from melting snow, throw in a very sideways XJ (leaning in an alarming direction), and you have yourself the makings of a situation where using a Highlift/come-a-long to recover some one just isn’t a good answer. Thankfully, there was one winch there that saved the day.
After that experience, I didn’t really have to think twice about how useful a winch can be on occasion.
So from the very git-go, I made sure that there was a space for a winch in the front of the Ranger. While not a high zoot one, I’ve heard quite a few good things about the Smitty Built winches, and the people that run them out here don’t seem to have any problems with them. If it dies on me, I’ll just swap it out for something better as it has the standard winch mounting pattern.
Because of how I compacted everything together, I had to get creative on how to get a fairlead mount in there. While skimming through a magazine, there were ads for those receiver mounted winch plates. I took that idea (less the receiver mount) and applied it to my own application.
This project was way over due, I was getting very tired of moving that stupid winch all around the garage as I worked on things.