Part 4: Recovery Gear And Security
In the last installment of Project Colonel Mustard (May '08), we got to work fixing the suspension, as well as adding some wheels and tires to the old Jeep. Now that we are confident in the abilities of the flatfender to venture past the trailhead, we thought it would be important to make sure we could get ourselves out of trouble since we don't normally carry around four burly dudes to lift it out of difficult situations.
Our first instinct was to contact the winch experts at Warn to procure a winch for the Colonel. Much to our surprise, Warn still has the mounting plates for either the classic 8274-50 winch or the countless low-profile models that are now the standard. Being a legitimate old-schooler, we felt only the legendary 8274-50 would look right hanging off the front of our 3A. We also wanted to mount a spare tire on the tailgate of the Willys-without having to bolt the tailgate shut-mount our Hi-Lift extreme jack securely, and carry onboard air. With our heavy tool bags and recovery bag sitting in the cargo area, we also thought it would be smart to protect the cargo area from things sliding around and add some tie-downs to hold our gear in case the Colonel decided to see what life was like rubber-side up. Lastly we needed a secure place to store our winch controller and air hose, so we measured the space and contacted Tuffy Security Products. With our plan of attack laid out and a king's ransom of boxes, we once again talked Mel Wade, owner of Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, in to helping us tweak our Jeep
Believe it or not, at 73.4 feet per minute, the venerable 8,000-pound Warn 8274-50 is still the fastest no-load line-speed winch in Warn's self-recovery arsenal and comes with the most cable at 150 feet. It also has a unique spur gear setup that has endeared itself to wheelers over the years because of its smooth operation, excellent heat dissipation, and renowned reliability. Warn's available mounting plates make installation a breeze, although don't expect to install it yourself-it is a job for two people.
Hi-Lift Extreme Jack & Isolator
When the Hi-Lift Extreme came out a while back, Hi-Lift sent us one for our projects, but unfortunately we never had a place to mount it. Considering it a perfect match for the Willys, we had Mel fab up some brackets to hold the Hi-Lift Extreme securely behind the front seats by utilizing the stock top bow pockets.
We have had great experiences with Line-X in the past and we wanted to get the Willys sprayed, so we took the Colonel over to Line-X of Huntington Beach, in Huntington Beach, California, to have the cargo area sprayed. Not only does it look great, but also adds a non-slip surface, and because Line-X has a higher tensile strength than steel, it keeps loose gear from denting the body panels.