Sinking a Warn 8274 Short Cuts

By: Mike Stenson - 2/10/2000

Sinking a Warn 8274

The completed winch mount front view
This is the completed winch mount. There is still more than 50% of the grill uncovered.

One of the major problems with mounting a Warn 8274 winch on a jeep is that the winch and mounting plate will cover most of the grill. My particular install had other problems such as a non-stock power steering setup which stuck up too high for a winch plate to be bolted to the frame horns. To get around these obstacles I decided to sink my winch into my front bumper. Since my jeep is a pre-AMC CJ there was no additional crossmember behind the bumper and since I needed structural reinforcement up there when I did my outboard springs a piece of 1/4" C channel had been welded in. Since my power steering is an add-on there may be differences between my setup and one on a later model CJ.

To start with I measured my winch and then used a plasma cutter to cut the mounting plate to just slightly be wider than the winch itself. Once I had the plate trimmed down to fit in side to side I cut 4 inches off the bottom so that there was still some steel to protect the bottom of the winch, but not enough to interfere with the steering. To center the winch as much as possible I found the center point of the fairlead and then aligned that as closely as I could to the center of the bumper, in my case approximately 1 inch off center to clear the steering. Once that was complete I used the plate to mark lines for notching the C channel, this was done to ensure a snug fit. Then I cut along those lines and then across the front to remove the top of the C channel. I slid the plate in and marked the bottom and repeated the process.

Closer front view
Make sure none of the mounting interferes with the steering.

Once that was complete and I'd cleaned up the edges I placed the winch plate on front of the bumper, using the notch as a guide, then centered the fairlead hole on the plate on the bumper. I clamped the plate on then used that as a template to cut the hole for the fairlead and the bolt holes with the plasma cutter. After cleaning the cuts I slid the winch plate into the notch and then put the two bottom bolts through and tightened them down to hold the plate in place. Then I tacked the four corners and removed the bolts and welded the top, bottom, the inside vertical sections and then gussetted the open ends of the C channel to the winch plate. I also added clevis shackle mounts while I was at it as they allow for double line pulls and for vehicle recovery using straps.

Side view
The steering box has plenty of room.

When everything cooled I mounted the winch, and things turned out pretty much like I thought they would. The winch fits in there like it was made to go there, doesn't eat up any ground clearance, doesn't block the radiator and the steering box is still accessible. There also is no interference with the pitman arm or draglink. I went wheeling the next day to test it out. During the 5 or so hours of idling in 80 degree weather the temp didn't rise above where it normally would without the winch mounted. I also pulled out a stuck YJ and have since winched a mid-sized pickup sideways on pavement. In the end I'm pleased with the winch mount. It's certainly strong and has solved the problems I had mounting one. Doing this project involves a lot of structural welding and this should be performed by a competent weldor as it needs to function safely for vehicle recovery.

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