Jump to content
Advertise here

Winch and Steel Bumper: A Weighty Question


Recommended Posts

Notwithstanding Carnity’s very welcome approach of stock cars being entirely suitable in the early stages - I wanted to start a discussion on the merits of having a winch and aftermarket bumper. 
 

I’ve been conscious of power vs weight with my Jeep (the 3.8L engine is not blessed with much other than a thirst for oil), and having gone back to check the data sheets - I’ve discovered that my winch weighs 60lb and my steel bumper comes in at a whopping 140lb. That’s basically an adult sat ahead of the front axles…not great for balance or overall mass. On the upside however I have a bumper that is pretty rugged, unlikely to get damaged any time soon, has some solid tow points, and a winch that could scale the side of a mountain single-handedly. 
 

So…I’m curious to hear views on at what stage a winch is genuinely useful to have, the merits of stock vs near stock vs fully rugged bumpers, - and given the choice between lightness or resilience, which way our resident desert rats would run…

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow thats a solid bumper!

When I put a steel bumper on my pajero (mostly for clearance after i damaged the plastic one.. i had it made of thinner steel and came to around 20kg. I didnt notice it making much of a difference other than clearance + the few times it hit a dune there was no discernable marking/ damage.. 20kg vs ~80kg is a pretty big difference tho.

while i dont have a winch ive been dragged out of stucks a few times by those who have them. My view is that they are a great connivence to save time in the extreme heat on someone elses recovery instead of doing it the 'slow way' with kinetic ropes for those very very stuck situations.. but sometimes recovery is the fun part of the day and problem solving with the ropes is enjoyable.

TLDR; thats a super heavy front combo imho, dont think a winch is *really* needed if you driving in a big group with experienced leaders.

  • Like (+1) 1
  • Thanks (+1) 1
  • Totally Agree (+2) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, @Luke K P - that's a helpful perspective. The Jeep has fairly good clearance as is, however having something that won't easily be damaged (i.e. a lighter/smaller metal bumper) will give peace of mind.

 

I'm thinking the winch might be worth shelving for a while. Might take a look at taking mine off for now as a partial weight-saving step. Can always put it back on later.

  • Like (+1) 2
  • Totally Agree (+2) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris

I would go for lightness as far as possible for desert driving, as power to weight is very important. My car is an almost stock pajero only have rear bash plate, cut front bumper and AT tires in the stock size. Learning to self-recover your car from a refusal/stuck is really satisfying, almost as much as making your 1st long climb on the 1st attempt. 

  • Like (+1) 1
  • Totally Agree (+2) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Removing the winch is a good idea and also after that you can look at removing this extra heavy bumper. If it is same as your profile pic, it's an Australian-style metal bumper for avoiding Kangaroo hits, as they mostly drive on flat sand.

For dunes, you need the best power-to-weight ratio, being JK (slightly underpowered than JL), cutting the weight should be your top priority.

  • Like (+1) 1
  • Totally Agree (+2) 2

Let's root for each other & watch each other grow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on what you value in performance. My two cents are save on weight with the bumper but don't shy away from a winch. Steel bumpers are indeed popular for their durability and ability to serve as solid recovery points. However, modern aluminum bumpers, like the Genright low-profile for example, can offer impressive strength while significantly reducing weight/and adds to your clearance. 

While it's ideal for every vehicle in a group to have a winch for self-recovery, it's also common for a few equipped vehicles to act as primary recovery assets. It's essential to distribute the load and not overly rely on a single winch for repeated recoveries. In short, the winch is not the bad guy.

 

  • Like (+1) 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In sand, in general recovery goes per below split:

  • 75% self recovery with low gear, diff locks and driver skills.
  • 20% with second car tow rope pull out.
  • 5% winch.
  • Like (+1) 2
  • Thanks (+1) 2

Let's root for each other & watch each other grow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks all, some very helpful points to ponder. 
 

The consistent theme is of course that less weight (or improved power to weight ratio) will always be a good thing. On that basis I’m looking to swap the front end for something much lighter. I am sure there will be secondary benefits with respect to balance and front-end loading too. 
 

The bumper itself is a Smittybilt model out of the US, and I think optimised for rock crawling (…or maybe just bashing!) above all else. I can safely add myself to the long line of people who have added offroad mods ahead of actually knowing what they need (versus what the garage are happy to sell you!). 
 

The winch is an interesting one. Sounds like it’s useful one in twenty times as a last resort. Of course the thing about last resorts is that you might rarely use them, but you’re always pleased you had it to fall back on…

 

I think for me the approach will be lighter bumper with a winch plate, but save fitting the winch for much further down the road when I’m more experienced/driving with a less equipped group. 

  • Like (+1) 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Theres always the quick-release winch mount and QD(Quick Detach) wiring hookup.
Put the winch (strapped down) in the back, and if the 1-5% occasion occurs, stick it on in around 1 minute.

Plenty of kits out there if you go this route. 👍

  • Like (+1) 1
  • Thanks (+1) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Luke K P said:

Theres always the quick-release winch mount and QD(Quick Detach) wiring hookup.
Put the winch (strapped down) in the back, and if the 1-5% occasion occurs, stick it on in around 1 minute.

Plenty of kits out there if you go this route. 👍


Oh interesting, will look in to this…hadn’t been aware that was a thing…

  • Like (+1) 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of use