Incremental building can be a smart thing. Rather than inviting compromise and throwing a bunch of bargain-priced parts at our 2016 Cummins-powered Ram 2500 Megacab just so we could finish everything at once, we went with higher-quality components and waited until we could complete the whole enchilada.
A couple of years ago we equipped our Ram with an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 3-inch DualSport Suspension System, AEV Salta HD wheels, AEV bumpers, and Amp Research steps (“Big-Tire Ram Time,” Oct. 2016; bit.ly/2la9GJp). While it felt weird not filling the AEV bumper with a winch, our wallet was empty and compromise wasn’t an option.
So with a favorable tax return this year, we yanked out all the stops for the ultimate in big-truck winching power: a Warn 16.5ti-s winch with the optional Spydura synthetic winch cable. Because the winch installation requires the AEV bumper to be removed, the winch installed, and then the whole heavy shebang lifted into place, we relied on the capable crew at Off Road Warehouse in Escondido, California, to cleanly get the job done without bending our fenders or scratching any paint. We’ve had a few big jobs done at Off Road Warehouse, and the techs always take extra care to do a good job and get the install done the right way the first time. Here’s how we added over 8 tons of pulling power in the course of a morning.
The AEV Premium Front Bumper is in our opinion the finest bumper you can hang on the front of your Ram. Engineered to retain all the factory airbag and other sensors, it’s also tailor-made to house Warn’s big M-series of 12,000-, 15,000-, and 16,500-pound winches.
The 16.5ti-s is the elephant in the Warn room, with huge pulling power and build quality that will last a lifetime. The 250-pound bumper must be removed to install the winch, so the Off Road Warehouse crew joined in and lifted it off.
The solenoid pack mounts to the body, but it can easily be remote-mounted almost anywhere on the vehicle that is convenient with a longer cable kit. The AEV Premium Front Bumper easily accommodates the solenoid pack in Warn’s intended position, mounted to the driver-side of the winch.
Since our 16.5ti-s included Warn’s Spydura synthetic winch rope instead of steel cable, an aluminum hawse fairlead is included in lieu of the normal steel roller fairlead. The ORW tech bolted it in place and then called a couple buddies over to heft the 354-pound bumper and winch assembly back into place on the Ram’s framerails.
The Warn 16.5ti-s bolts to the AEV bumper with six mounting bolts: four in the face and two in the bottom. The bottom bolts must run an AEV spacer kit (PN 10308012AA) for proper indexing, but you could stack washers if you’re cheesy. The spacer kit is only $5, so we say just pop for the machined-steel parts from AEV and do it right. With the 354-pound bumper hoisted in place, the myriad mounting bolts can be reinstalled in the frame and the winch installation wrapped up.
With Warn’s 16.5ti-s, the s stands for synthetic. In this case, 80 feet of 3/8-inch Spydura synthetic winch rope with Warn’s 18,000-pound Epic hook. The synthetic is much safer to operate than steel cable and saves roughly 50 pounds over the heavy steel 7/16-inch wire rope that comes on the regular Warn 16.5ti.
The Off Road Warehouse techs did an impressive job cleanly routing the Warn 2-gauge battery leads through the Ram’s crowded Cummins engine compartment, hooking up the winch to the driver-side battery. With the winch hot, the Spydura synthetic winch rope can be installed.
The Spydura winch rope has a thimble loop that mounts to the side of the drum with the supplied retaining bolt. Run it down and then spool in the winch rope just as you would any steel cable, making sure to roll the rope onto the drum under light load and without spaces that can allow the rope to jam up when pulling under load.
With 80 feet of Spydura synthetic rope on its drum, an 18,000-pound Epic hook at the ready, and an incredibly strong 4.6hp series-wound 12-volt motor with a 315:1 gear reduction, the made-in-USA Warn 16.5ti-s winch on this truck is now ready to yank whatever—and we mean whatever—impediment may lie in front of us.
Clackamas, OR 97015