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Smash and Grab: A Low-Profile Bumper and Winch Setup to Help Our New JK Take a Beating and Get Dragged Out Alive

Posted in How To: Body Chassis on October 10, 2017
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Plastic parts are made for toys, but when your playground is the rock garden, those parts just don’t last. The factory bumper on our ’17 Jeep JK Wrangler suffered from a mediocre approach angle, and subsequently took a few too many love taps from the local geology. We needed something that not only allowed the Jeep’s tires to touch the rock before the bumper, but also was lightweight enough to avoid overloading the stock springs on the front end.

GenRight Off Road had the solution. The company builds, abuses, and reengineers hard-core Jeep parts right here in the U.S. The owner, Tony Pellegrino, uses the King of the Hammers race as a proving ground, making sure everything built by GenRight can stand up to the toughest single-day off-road race in America. GenRight designed the Ultra Clearance Stubby aluminum bumper to protect the Jeep’s front end, while boosting the approach angle. The entire bumper kit weighs under 30 pounds, creates ample space for larger tires to contact the rocks, and the raw aluminum finish adds major style points.

The GenRight bumper also left us space for a Warn Zeon 10-S winch. The bumper let the winch sit down between the framerails, protecting the winch and letting air flow smoothly into the radiator. What’s in a name, you ask? The “10” in 10-S means we can yank 10,000 pounds of stuck Jeep out of the woods, and the “S” represents the synthetic winch cable; a perfect way to keep this Jeep out of trouble without tipping the scales. We rolled out to GenRight Off Road’s headquarters in Simi Valley, California, to get the Jeep ready for the trails.

We laid out the parts to make sure all the brackets and bolts were accounted for. GenRight supplies all necessary hardware including shackle mounts, winch tray, and a vacuum pump relocation bracket. The Warn winch came with 100 feet of synthetic cable, a wired remote, all the proper wiring, and a shiny hawse fairlead.
To expose the frame horns, all the factory plastic needed to be unbolted, unplugged, and removed—including the bumper, the plastic shroud beneath it, and the factory foglights. Some of the plastic fasteners put up more of a fight than the folks at GenRight were willing to admit.
With the bumper gone, the vacuum pump was exposed. To make space for the new hardware, the pump’s two mounting bolts were removed and the pump was temporarily tucked behind the framerails.
This is where GenRight cautions that the install does require some minor modifications. The vacuum pump bracket needed to be removed completely to make space for the winch tray. We broke out the reciprocating saw to un-weld the bracket from the frame, and after a bit of help from a prybar, the bracket came loose. The exposed metal was covered up with rattle-can black enamel.
Both frame horns had a small lip that was easily adjusted (read: pounded flat) with a sledgehammer.
GenRight includes the tap needed to add threads to the two existing frame holes; required to secure the bumper to the frame.
The last major modification was cutting the bash bar to accommodate the slim bumper. We marked with a paint marker before cutting to make sure the fitment was correct. The reciprocating saw once again made quick work of the task. Any exposed metal was painted black.
After all the invasive procedures were done, the winch tray slid easily into place from below.
Next up, the vacuum pump was relocated to behind the winch tray using the included bracket and hardware, making sure to reattach the factory clips, plugs, and hoses.
The winch tray is held to the frame using bolt tabs provided by GenRight. These can be tricky to reach depending on how large your hands are.
With the tray in place, the winch was attached with the four supplied mounting bolts, and the bumper was secured. The Warn winch is quite hefty, which forced us to get creative and “tape our nuts” to tighten the eight bumper mounting bolts.
After twisting on two more tight-fitting bolts holding the fairlead in place, the winch was connected to the battery. The cables provided were long enough to reach the battery with room to spare.
With the winch powered up, the only things left to do were to spool up the 100 feet of Spydura synthetic cable and go get stuck!
Warn makes the winch more useful with the Epic Recovery Kit. Warn packages a tree-saver strap, recovery strap, shackles, snatch block, and heavy-duty gloves in a rugged backpack carrying case, which is ready to go even when your rig isn’t.
PhotosView Slideshow


GenRight Off-Road
Simi Valley, CA 93063
Warn Industries
Clackamas, OR 97015

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