So, you’ve just bought yourself a brand-new Jeep JK outfitted a with Mopar Off-Road steel bumper with winch mount but you’re trying to figure out how to install your new Warn winch.
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Mopar suggests installing the winch prior to bumper installation. However, I, like many others, bought the bumper first and then acquired the winch at a later date. So to answer the questions of many: Yes, you can install the winch without removing the bumper. Other winches can also be installed this way, but depending on their size, may require some different steps. For example, the Warn M8000 may need to have the solenoid installed after the winch is in place.
So without further delay, here are the steps I followed:
1. Take a towel and wrap the bull bar to prevent scratching of the bumper, the winch, the grill and your hands as you work. I simply taped a towel in place.
2. remove grill (not required for installation, but it’s too easy not to do, and you can work without the worry of scratching it. You must reinstall the grill prior to bolting down the winch.)
a. To remove grill, first unplug the parking light wiring harness. Then remove the plastic retaining clips along the top of the grill. With all clips out, pull the grill forward, away from the Jeep separating the lower part of the grill at the lower retaining clips.
3. If you have a front skid plate (the ones that protect the sway bar disconnect motor) like I do, it must be removed to access the rear two bolts of the winch mount.
4. The Mopar bumper will need some slight modifications.
a. All four mounting bolts on the winch plate should be widened a bit. I used a ½” drill bit as it was the largest metal bit I had, and I wiggled it around while drilling to broaden the hole to my needs. Ideally, you should use a larger bit. Don’t go too large. I suggest first putting the winch on and test fit the bolts a few times. Each bumper is slightly different.