Selecting a Winch Mount

Selecting a Winch Mount System
Once you’ve taken the plunge and bought that winch you’ve always wanted you’ll have to mount it to your vehicle. You have several options here. Many winches come with a standard mounting plate that may or may not fit your vehicle. Some new winch users don’t realize that there is more to consider when mounting a winch than simply securing it to the vehicle’s frame. The way it is mounted can affect the performance of the winch.

First, if the winch sticks way out from the front of the vehicle you’ll make it more difficult to get an appropriate approach angle for your winching application. And the further the winch protrudes the more load it places on your vehicle’s springs. Another issue is how easily you can get at the wire or synthetic cable on the drum. Difficulty in accessing the drum leads to difficulty in respooling the cable as well as the increased possiblity of injury to the winch operator’s hands. For these reasons, it is highly recommended that you invest in winch mounts specifically designed to properly fit your winch to the make and model of your vehicle.

Most major winch manufacturers offer such special mounting systems in kit form. Also, if you are the handy-man type and you are thinking of configuring your own mounting system or even designing a special bumper, forget about it. Most winching experts agree that “do it yourself” mounting systems amount to nothing more than accidents waiting to happen.

It is possible to purchase portable mounting systems that allow you to remove your winch when you don’t need it and replace it when you do. Again, make sure the system you buy will properly fit your vehicle. Standard, or non-vehicle specific mounting systems are more likely to protrude out too far.

If you anticipate you will be using your winch frequently and for heavier pulls you might want to consider a mounting system that includes a specially designed bumper. Removing and replacing your vehicle’s original bumper may seem like a daunting task but for anyone who will be using their winch a lot it is something to consider. Some of these can be frightfully expensive, but you get what you pay for. For example, industry leader Warn Winch offers a heavy duty bumper mount system complete with a set of recessed stainless steel lights for anywhere between six hundred and twenty five hundred dollars, depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle. That sounds like a lot but it is powder coated and features one piece bolt on construction.

Some manufacturers like Mile Marker offer an “extreme” mount that includes a winch mount built into a heavy duty utility style grill guard. If you’re concerned about the “cosmetic look” of your winch as it sits on the front or rear of your vehicle, you may want to look into some of the “hidden” mounting systems now offered. Just remember that the performance of the winch should be your paramount concern so make sure your hidden mount doesn’t hide the cable drum as well!