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DIY Winch Mount: Building a High-Clearance Winch Bumper

DIY Recovery Mount

Ali MansourPhotography

If you're like us, you probably cringe at the thought of buying additional auto insurance. It's this necessary evil that sucks out your hard-earned money year after year, and rarely (if you're lucky) will you reap the benefits. In the off-road world, the best insurance you can buy is a self-recovery winch. For many organized wheeling events, it's a mandatory requirement. Unlike auto insurance, however, you can just about guarantee that your winch will get used.

For our '01 Chevy S-10 project, it was an item that we knew we needed, but we weren't in love with the small assortment of available winch bumpers offered for our generation's S-10. This was primarily due to the fact that we wanted as little bumper as possible. What was important to us was a secure place to hold our Warn M8-S winch and a modest section of metal to clean up the front of the pickup.

So, we opted to go the custom route. Starting off with little more than a universal winch mounting plate, a stick of 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing, and a few sections of plate steel, we implored the crew at Low Range 4x4 in Wilmington, North Carolina, to turn our bumper dreams into reality. As you can imagine, going the DIY route can have some challenges, but we're breaking down the process for you here so you too can craft your own mini-truck front bumper.

High and Tight!
While we could have made a more elaborate bumper, we think the less-is-more approach was the way to go. We wanted to preserve the look of the S-10 as much as possible and didn't need a bunch of unnecessary material and bulk strapped to our front end. We've still got plenty of odds and ends to wrap up on our truck, and we'll likely trim a few inches off of the ends of the bumper since the tires might make contact at full stuff.

Wireless Winching
To control the winch without needing to pop the hood, we'll be using a Warn wireless winch controller (PN 90287). This is a plug-and-play upgrade that gives you the ability to use a small fob to control the winch wirelessly. We still have the option to plug the controller in directly, but this will eliminate the need for routing any additional wires inside the cab.