When building a vehicle to enter the backcountry alone, it is crucial to plan for the worst and, in the immortal words of the Boy Scouts, "Be Prepared." In this case, that means having the ability to self-extract if we get stuck because nothing can ruin your day as quickly as immobility. We wanted to install a Warn winch on the front of our 4Runner, but were faced with limited options until ARB informed us that they had a brand new Bull Bar application that was compatible with the fifth-generation 4Runner.
ARB's signature Bull Bars, recognizable on adventure rigs around the world, are designed to survive in the harsh environment of the Australian Outback. ARB engineered the Bull Bar for strength and reliability, and most Bull Bars are compatible with factory front airbag systems. Features of the Bull Bar include recessed fog lights and turn signal repeaters, tabs for antenna or flag mounting, reinforced winch mounting brackets that spread extreme winching loads across the chassis, and Hi-Lift lifting points. The ARB Bull Bar was the perfect product to provide us with a platform to mount our lighting and Warn winch, as well as protect the front end of the 4Runner.
The Warn winch we used for this buildup is the classic and proven XD9000. This 9,000-pound-rated winch has a 38-foot per minute line speed rating using a reliable 4.6hp Series Wound motor and three-stage planetary gearset with a 156.1:1 gear ratio. The remote-mount control pack and compact body make it perfect for tight spaces, like our ARB Bull Bar, and it only weighs 78 pounds with 100 feet of wire rope.
Because the bumper we used on Project 4Runner Backcountry was one of the very first to arrive in the States, ARB had a representative fly from their U.S. headquarters in Renton, Washington, to our installation location at Off Road Evolution in Fullerton, California, to walk us through the intricacies of the install. We found the 4Runner Bull Bar to be a complicated install that took us two days at a deliberate pace. This is one install that is best done by a professional, or a few strong friends in the know. Because of the complexities, we will show you an overview of the major points to this installation.