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Empowerment Part One: Warn Winch Rebuild

Posted in How To on June 1, 2012
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Stuck. It’s a word that’s chilling to the most experienced off-roaders, and it’s downright terrifying if you’re the type who frequently goes solo in the backcountry. Sure, there are ways to get un-stuck using rudimentary equipment and strokes of genius, but it’s better to equip yourself for self-recovery before you even leave your driveway.

As an adventurer who frequently flies solo in the dirt, I’d successfully relied on a combination of skill and dumb luck to keep myself un-stuck. At the same time, everyone’s got a creek crossing, a mudhole, or a high-center spot with his or her name on it, and it was merely a matter of time before I found mine.

All the while, there’s been a Warn 9.5 XP winch lying fallow in the garage. It was time to put it to use before my backcountry luck took a turn for the worse.

Even with a working winch, no self-recovery package is complete without a selection of key winching accessories. Warn Industries not only makes premium winches, but also offers a wide selection of winching accessories. Winching accessories make self-recovery safer, more successful, and can also eliminate damage to trees and other trailside features.

The Warn 9.5 XP was left over from a previous project vehicle, and was in generally good shape. Just to be safe, we shipped the winch back to Warn Industries for an inspection and some updates. It came back as a practically brand new Warn 9.5 XP-S. A sturdy shipping container is a must, so steel tubing and angle iron were pressed into service for the occasion. The container was then wrapped with clear shrink-wrap to keep the weather out. A steel container isn’t mandatory. A strong one is.

Let’s see: working winch? Check. Winching accessories? Check again. What’s missing? A winch bumper!

Even though there are ready-made winch bumpers available for my ’04 4Runner, I decided to take on the challenge of building my own. A Warn universal trailer mounting system was the perfect starting point for a home-brewed winch bumper.

This time, we’ll take a look at the winch itself, check out a selection of winching accessories, and start the winch bumper.

Next time, we’ll complete the bumper build.

Finally, we’ll take the whole system on the trail where it belongs and demonstrate safe and effective winching techniques.

Here’s part one of our three-step empowerment program.

PhotosView Slideshow
PhotosView Slideshow
The main tube will become the frame’s front crossmember, and the winch mount can be bolted on or detached as desired. The winch mount hasn’t been completely welded in these photos, but will be during the next fabrication session. More tubing and plate will be added to this assembly to make the complete bumper system.


Warn Industries
Clackamas, OR 97015

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