Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Belleville, Illinois
Thanked 22 Times in 17 Posts
The ZEN of making a winch mount
* * * See post from Farmjeep for pictures * * *
Every week or so there is a post about a winch mount. The usual discussion is about who sells what. Some day I’m going to write a post about the Zen of Jeep building, and try to encourage more making and less buying. In the mean time, here’s the winch mount chapter.
The attached pictures are of a mount I made about fifteen years ago for a Ramsey 246L 8000# PTO winch. It took an afternoon with a torch, Lincoln AC buzz box and 4” grinder. Of course, I had spent several days off and on mentally planning the design.
This mount replaced the one that came with the Jeep factory winch kit. I replaced it because this winch has a longer drum than the factory winch. Also the factory kit was a pretty bad design structurally. My recollection is that the materials for this cost about $15.00.
The basic design is two 1/4” vertical plates on the outside of the frame rails, a flat horizontal plate joining them, and a vertical plate behind the winch. This is all welded together, along with a couple of triangular gussets to resist side loads. Then there is a 2 X 2 X 3/8 angle bolted across the front.
This is excptionally strong because of the way the loads are carried and transferred from the winch to the frame. The pull is first applied to the 2 X 2 angle where the winch end caps are bolted to it. This transfer is in compression.
The angle carries the load to the side plates. The angle is in beam load, which is why I made it so stout. The force is transferred to the end plates by a friction joint with two 3/8” grade 8 bolts at each side. The load on the end plates is in line with the long dimension of the plate, where they are exceedingly strong.
The mount is bolted to the frame with a couple of 3/4” bolts at each side. In the course of the current project I am going to weld tubes into the holes through the frame so that the bolts can be tightened more without crushing the frame tubes.
The plate in back is there solely to locate the drum end caps. It contributes nothing significant to the pull strength of the assembly because the load is in beam, where the plate has very little strength. It does, however, augment the side-load strength and resist the torque of the drive gear.
Also note the plate bolted under the fairlead to protect it. Had I been paying more attention I would have made that integral with the base plate.
In use this mount is plenty strong to pop 5/16” cable, which it has done several times when I’ve gotten careless. My guess is that the frame rails might bend before the winch frame. However I have no desire to test this theory.
It is also the base for the snowplow lift frame. In addition it provides nicely protected nooks for the turn signals on either side of the fairlead.
The factory mount had a similar base plate, which was bent down at the sides to bolt to the frame, and up in back to bolt to the back of the winch. The pull strength came from a piece of angle that crossed the front of the drum and then turned down and was bolted to the base plate with two 3/8” bolts on each side. The load had about five inches of leverage acting against the bolts two inches apart on the base plate.
Under load one could see the winch being pulled forward and the base plate being distorted by those bolts. The base plate and the plates on the bottom of the angle were permanently bent in that area so that the angle sprang forward when it was unbolted from the winch.
I have wondered why the factory mount was made that way. The only answer I have is that it took a little less steel and a little less welding to make. My guess is that it was adapted from a design for a lighter-duty.