JB Custom Fabrication’s Heavy-Duty Winch Bumper For ’87-’96 Ford F-150 and BroncoPosted in How To: Body Chassis on December 12, 2016
Every once in a while when we are out wheeling, there’s something about a rig that catches our eye. It’s usually because it has a custom part on it that gets our attention because it serves a specific function and looks good doing its job. When such a part brings a sense of affordability into the picture, it’s even more attractive.
Such is the case of the winch bumper we recently saw on the fullsize Bronco of Jon Barricklow, owner of JB Custom Fabrication in Salem, Oregon. He couldn’t find any bumpers he liked, so he built a simple, yet cleanly designed, no-nonsense, low-profile heavy-duty unit made from 3/16-inch steel. The bumper received so many thumbs-up from other ’86-’96 Ford F-150/Bronco owners that Barricklow began offering it as a finish-it-yourself (FIY) kit for $399 (including basic shipping) at time of print. What’s cool about the FIY winch bumper is that it can save wheelers a considerable amount of money compared to bumpers that come ready to bolt on.
Weld And PaintBarricklow ships the raw steel laser-cut-and-bent bumper shell, which is predrilled to accept a Warn winch, with gussets and trim pieces so the buyer (or shop, if you choose) can do the welding and finish work. The inner support gussets are already tabbed so they fit smartly into place, making it easy to assemble and weld.
Two and a half hours is all that’s needed to be prepped for paint, spray-on bedliner, or powdercoating. At least that’s all the time it took Thomas Smalley when he welded one of JB’s bumpers to go on a ’91 Bronco at Mobile Diesel Services’ shop in Sutherlin, Oregon. (Your time may vary depending on the experience level of the person doing the welding) We chose to farm out the welding and powdercoating on this bumper, in part so we could document actual costs if a wheeler were to choose to have all the work done for them. We ended up having $799 invested in the bumper ($399 bumper cost, $150 labor for the welding, and $250 for the powdercoating), but if you have welding experience and choose to apply your own paint or finish, your cost would obviously be much lower.
When finished, the JB FIY winch bumper looked sharp and it bolted right up to the factory Ford bumper mounts. There’s no doubt it’ll provide the strength to handle a hard pull from whatever winch you might have mounted to it.
First Look: Warn VR-10S WinchInstalling the JB Custom Fabrication FIY winch bumper allowed us to get a closer look at the equally new and sleek Warn VR-10 heavy-duty winch that we mounted to it. Warn says the VR-10 is a hot-rodded version of the M8000. The VR uses Albright contactors, cone brake, a stronger redesigned tie-plate, and new clutch lever.
The Albright connectors are used by hardcore off-roaders because they are sealed and far more durable under heavy use than standard winch relays. Warn says the VR-10’s load-holding cone brake can hold a full-rated load in extreme winching scenarios including winching backwards.
We mounted a VR-10S (synthetic rope version; $669 at time of print) onto the JB bumper with a hawse-type fairlead. We chose the rope model to help keep weight down on the Bronco’s front suspension. Warn also offers the VR-series in steel rope models for $499 at time of print.