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DIY winch bumper 'builder' brackets


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#1 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 12:26 PM

I posted a teaser pic about this on the 'What did you do...' thread the other day, but time to shed more light on the project.

 

Long story short, I'm making a winch bumper for myself, but that idea has evolved into making a builder kit for others to build their own custom bumper around.  This is the progress...

 

67_ITv_WTu_RBW4_BCOCf_UKNJQ.jpg

 

IMG_5495.jpg

 

Wn_Qz_P9b_WSrm_E_h_YOZ01w_UA.jpg

 

YJ6xe_Pu_ZSZ2dwu_VHJQ4fd_A.jpg

 

O1_Az_MGLw_SQCGPRMw33sw_AA.jpg

 

457i_S2r7_SUa7_EXTb_FEe_SBw.jpg

 

Bumper_Bracket.png

 

I'm still iterating through some small tweaks, but here are the general features:

 

  • Uses an off-the-shelf winch channel, such as the Badlands (Harbor Freight) or GoPlus (Amazon)—inexpensive, universal, and the 36" width is perfect.
  • Weld-together kit, but entirely bolt-on to truck; no cutting, no drilling.  (Well...maybe a little trimming on the windshield washer bottle's plastic lower mount, but that's it so far.) 
  • 3/4" shackle mount (eyelet is 1-1/8" thick, or 3 layers of 3/8")
  • Retains factory tow hooks
  • Attachment plates for building any bumper style
  • By itself, a winch mount
  • Uses 3/8" steel for the bracket, and 3/16" for all attachment pieces.
  • Uses all existing tow hook and bumper attachment points, plus three existing unthreaded chassis holes (blue piece in sketch is a nut-strip that inserts into the chassis); 18 total chassis attachment points using M10 and 1/2" hardware.
  • 8" of vertical winch clearance.  A side plate (red piece in sketch) provides mounting surfaces for the control box.
  • Slotted channel on the main bracket that allows for attaching things.  Currently, working on a bracket that allows the 00-04 OE fog lights to be attached.

The bumper attachment plates (green and purple pieces) are what the rest of the bumper is built around.  This allows the bumper to be completely removable.  The upper plate's shape allows for using up to 1/4" plate on the top and front edges.  Of course, the plate can be cut, notched, or bored to use tubing, but is basically intended to be a blank canvas.  The lower plates (one inside, one outside the bracket) allow for additional mounting points.  The inner plates, in particular, can be used to build a receiver tube attachment, or mounting a skid plate (00-04 models have a power steering return line that is exposed).  I may incorporate use of carriage bolts (think single-tool tightening) and make it so the bumper can be rotated up for easy installation, or rotated down for service, winch access, even a step for engine bay access, by pivoting on the lowest attachment bolt.

 

I'm also designing new skid plates, and once that's done, I will be getting everything plasma cut.  Hoping to do all that very soon.

 

I guess the real question at this point is if anyone would be interested in something like this?  We obviously have very little aftermarket options between ARB (is this still even available?) and TAG (I can't stand the mounting setup).  There's been a bit more chat about using XJ bumpers lately, but I'm not convinced that's a better option.  While this isn't a complete bumper, I think this tackles the toughest problems about starting one.  Down the line, I might make some weld-it-yourself kits that use this as the backbone.  Even if you can't weld, this would grossly simplify the process for a local shop that could make you one.

 

Questions and feedback welcome!



#2 OFFLINE   Snowboarder12345

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 01:45 PM

Getting the mounts sorted out is the hardest part of making a bumper imo, I certainly agree with you there. I think this is a great idea, and I love the fact that you have figured out how to utilize as many of the bolt holes at the front of the frame as possible for mounting strength. Have you given any thoughts to pricing yet? Would you be plasma cutting the pieces yourself or getting that done by a local shop?

With this as a base I'd bet that you could offer many different styles of bumpers as bolt together kits even, let alone weld together. I think you are really on to something with this.

#3 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:50 PM

Thanks!

 

Mounting was something I went back and forth about.  I originally planned to use the original 6 points (4x M10 holes + 2x M10 studs), plus only 1 of the unthreaded holes behind the bracket, since the bracket covered that hole.  It was basically the bracket as shown in the 2nd pic.  After chatting with TowndawgR50 a bit about his XJ bumper that shifted (and how he only has 2+1 bolts for his tow hooks), he convinced me to add the extension tongue.  Although the metal in that area is only 2mm thick, it constructs part of the chassis "frame" tube, and is worth factoring in.

 

Pricewise, not sure yet, but surely affordable.  Right now, I don't have a remote idea on what material and labor/services will cost, and need to price out all the hardware as well.  I'd love to get a plasma table (I currently have a CNC router), but my local steel supply store offers the service.  I've limited the construction to only two metal thicknesses, and the LH and RH brackets assemble using the same parts, so I can give them two data files will all the parts tabbed together.  That should simplify things for them.  If the price is extraordinary for this shop, I'll surely shop around.



#4 OFFLINE   Saturn

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:05 PM

Absolutely interested, always wanted a simple cheap winch mount, even one that hid behind the factory bumper cover like Keelhaul's, but never could find anything for it and was scared to build one from scratch with my meager skills. If you can sell this for even half the price of the ARB you've got my money dude.



#5 OFFLINE   jyeager

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:06 PM

This is great!

 

There are so many ways to go with this.  Obviously, the plan you have is a good one.

You could also offer a bracket that is specifically designed to mount any XJ bumper, and from there you could add a couple more pieces to the kit which would be additional weld-on skirt pieces to cover the otherwise exposed parts.

Or holy grail!  Design it like you have, perhaps with just some tweaks to accomplish everything you are already thinking, plus just happens to bolt to an XJ bumper at the same time.  Two options for people from one set of brackets.  But without having the slightest clue as to what the XJ mount placement looks like, I may have just said something stupid.  ;)

 

Once you build your bumper that goes along with the mounts, you can at least make the CAD drawings available so others can take that to a local shop and get them made to stitch together.

 

Question regarding your new skid plate.  I have a front skid from KRFabs to go with my 4" SFD.  That skid doesn't bolt to a fender.  In your mind, would that skid be compatible with a new bumper built in this way?  Or would you think it necessary to have a new skid plate designed that ties to a new bumper?

 

 



#6 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:46 PM

Absolutely interested, always wanted a simple cheap winch mount, even one that hid behind the factory bumper cover like Keelhaul's, but never could find anything for it and was scared to build one from scratch with my meager skills. If you can sell this for even half the price of the ARB you've got my money dude.

 

I was going to try a hidden mount at first.  I want the winch more than the bumper.  Admittedly, I found myself reading through onespiritbrain's write-up (http://www.nissanpat...er-winch-mount/), which I particularly liked the results, and same approach of using an existing winch channel.  I had been considering that approach for a while, too, so I was really happy to see that build.

 

When mocking it up, the ideal channel height ended up being right under, or maybe a little overlap, of the crush can studs.  To benefit the most, the studs would need to be cut, or the channel notched.  However...the best mounting option I found for this would have actually been to mount the channel upside down, just below the bottom of the OE metal bumper.  This wouldn't impact approach angle, would fit nicely behind the bumper cover, would not require cutting the bumper, and put the fairlead out of the top-middle opening with minimal plastic cutting.  Of course, the winch would be upside, but that's not an issue.

 

I decided to not take this approach because eventually I will make a rear bumper, so I might as well pair them.  I still have the thought of kitting these for hidden bumper use, but there are too many subtle variations between the old and new R50s and QX4s.  The bumper and bumper covers are all different in appearance (but similar in shape), and I don't know what mounting impact that would have.  I don't think I could provide as universal of a solution without having all those vehicles and bumper variations handy.  That is not to say I won't return to this idea, as it would take minimal effort to redesign these brackets.

 

This is great!

 

There are so many ways to go with this.  Obviously, the plan you have is a good one.

You could also offer a bracket that is specifically designed to mount any XJ bumper, and from there you could add a couple more pieces to the kit which would be additional weld-on skirt pieces to cover the otherwise exposed parts.

Or holy grail!  Design it like you have, perhaps with just some tweaks to accomplish everything you are already thinking, plus just happens to bolt to an XJ bumper at the same time.  Two options for people from one set of brackets.  But without having the slightest clue as to what the XJ mount placement looks like, I may have just said something stupid.  ;)

 

Once you build your bumper that goes along with the mounts, you can at least make the CAD drawings available so others can take that to a local shop and get them made to stitch together.

 

Question regarding your new skid plate.  I have a front skid from KRFabs to go with my 4" SFD.  That skid doesn't bolt to a fender.  In your mind, would that skid be compatible with a new bumper built in this way?  Or would you think it necessary to have a new skid plate designed that ties to a new bumper?

 

 

 

It's funny how projects evolve.  My original original plan was to buy a weld-it-yourself bumper from Northwest Trail Innovations (http://nwtrailinnovations.com/) for a 3rd Gen 4Runner (96-02) or possibly 1st Gen Tacoma (96-04) and seeing if I could modify it to fit the R50.  The R50 bumper frame width is 34.25", while those come in at 39.5", so there's real estate to replicate the frame horns.  The fender-to-fender dimensions, including fender flares, and fender lead-in (I'm making up a term for that flat spot at the front of the fender between the headlight and the wheel arch) are basically identical to the R50 according to measurements I took at the JY for a 98 4Runner SR5 the other year.  Both trucks have flat-top bumpers under the grille and headlights, too.  I'd much rather go that direction than trying to adapt an XJ bumper.

 

Although I plan to build my own bumper at this point, I'm not ruling out this approach down the road.  It's just a costlier and riskier R&D process, but would open up a new level of aftermarket bumpers.

 

I need to think about sharing the CAD files further.  The thought has crossed my mind.  It's more about the personal investment and controlling some information gained from it.  I don't mind at all sharing content here, and it's great if someone sees my design and says, "man, that's how I'm going to do it!".  Totally cool.  You could even show a shop the pics and ask them to replicate it, that's fine.  But handing over the files for replication is a bit different, you know?

 

As for the skid, not sure what you mean by it bolting to a fender.  However, these brackets won't interfere with any skid mounting at all, as the leave the bottom of the radiator support untouched.    I'm redoing my skid plates because my front one is bashed up and dented, and because it's for non-SFD where I have a 3" SFD.   My front skid will likely incorporate an angled lip protruding in front of the radiator support to protect the exposed (and ugly) power steering line.  I hope to simplify the installation and removal process, too...kind of a pain getting mine down for oil changes.  My mid skid is in much better shape, but I plan to redesign it and the probably the missing link, too.  I'm exploring other options while I'm at it.  Not sure if these will see daylight as products, since they're specific to my 3" SFD kit (unless I start selling those...[insert evil laugh here]).



#7 OFFLINE   Snowboarder12345

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 06:53 PM

 

 

I need to think about sharing the CAD files further.  The thought has crossed my mind.  It's more about the personal investment and controlling some information gained from it.  I don't mind at all sharing content here, and it's great if someone sees my design and says, "man, that's how I'm going to do it!".  Totally cool.  You could even show a shop the pics and ask them to replicate it, that's fine.  But handing over the files for replication is a bit different, you know?

 

 

If this is a product you think you might ever sell I'd keep all the digital stuff under wraps. Last thing I'd want if I had put that much work into a product is for someone to rip it off and put it into production themselves.



#8 OFFLINE   RainGoat

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:10 AM

hawairish this looks great! Alternatives are sparse and not that well done (or somewhat dated, heavy & expensive like the Sahara Bar). I'm glad to hear you and TowndawgR50 have been conversing. He is unhappy with his modified XJ bumper and plans on making a new one. We were discussing it in October and he has a lot of really solid ideas based on both his professional knowledge and real world use and failures of his XJ bumper. 



#9 OFFLINE   Dlslaugh

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 07:56 AM

Pricewise, not sure yet, but surely affordable.  Right now, I don't have a remote idea on what material and labor/services will cost, and need to price out all the hardware as well.  I'd love to get a plasma table (I currently have a CNC router), but my local steel supply store offers the service.  I've limited the construction to only two metal thicknesses, and the LH and RH brackets assemble using the same parts, so I can give them two data files will all the parts tabbed together.  That should simplify things for them.  If the price is extraordinary for this shop, I'll surely shop around.


One option for getting the parts cut cheap or possibly free would be to go to your local community college or possibly high school with a welding shop that has a CNC plasma table. When I was in the welding program in college, we used our plasma table a lot. Most teachers won't mind cutting stuff out so the students can learn and get more experience with a machine. Or, you could enroll in a welding class and cut them yourself if you have the time to go to school.

Good luck

#10 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 10:28 AM

If this is a product you think you might ever sell I'd keep all the digital stuff under wraps. Last thing I'd want if I had put that much work into a product is for someone to rip it off and put it into production themselves.

 

Pretty much this.

 

hawairish this looks great! Alternatives are sparse and not that well done (or somewhat dated, heavy & expensive like the Sahara Bar). I'm glad to hear you and TowndawgR50 have been conversing. He is unhappy with his modified XJ bumper and plans on making a new one. We were discussing it in October and he has a lot of really solid ideas based on both his professional knowledge and real world use and failures of his XJ bumper. 

 

Thanks!  I already have a deal with him to exchange a set of these for some side graphics work, so I'm hopeful for these to work out perfectly for his application.

 

One option for getting the parts cut cheap or possibly free would be to go to your local community college or possibly high school with a welding shop that has a CNC plasma table. When I was in the welding program in college, we used our plasma table a lot. Most teachers won't mind cutting stuff out so the students can learn and get more experience with a machine. Or, you could enroll in a welding class and cut them yourself if you have the time to go to school.

Good luck

 

Good idea, but it might take some effort for me to branch out.  There's a large community college presence in the valley here, and one school in particular focuses on technical education.  But, they might be too structured for ad hoc work.  In the short term, I'll probably stick with my local steel supply since I'll need other stuff from them anyway.

 

I would love to take a welding class, but the same technical college wants almost $12K for the main course and a plate welding course.  Probably justified if I was making a career from it, but for that money I could buy a good welder and plasma table, and then wing it.  I did my first welding project the other month, a cargo rack for the truck, but am still green to the process.  I'll get there eventually.



#11 OFFLINE   Dlslaugh

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 01:06 PM

[quote name="hawairish" post="795757" timestamp="1515868095"

Good idea, but it might take some effort for me to branch out.  There's a large community college presence in the valley here, and one school in particular focuses on technical education.  But, they might be too structured for ad hoc work.  In the short term, I'll probably stick with my local steel supply since I'll need other stuff from them anyway.
 
I would love to take a welding class, but the same technical college wants almost $12K for the main course and a plate welding course.  Probably justified if I was making a career from it, but for that money I could buy a good welder and plasma table, and then wing it.  I did my first welding project the other month, a cargo rack for the truck, but am still green to the process.  I'll get there eventually.[/quote]

For that kind of money I would do the same. I thought you could just take a welding class for one term and "pay per credit" which would be a reasonable cost

Edited by Dlslaugh, 13 January 2018 - 01:07 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 02:01 PM

For that kind of money I would do the same. I thought you could just take a welding class for one term and "pay per credit" which would be a reasonable cost

 

Ah, I didn't realize they even did those pay-per-credit, vs. full curriculum, any more.  Looks like that would be closer to $500.  Something to consider!



#13 OFFLINE   Megaton

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:50 AM

This is great! I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. I bought a JCR DIY off-road bumper some time ago and haven't done anything with it yet. I would pay for a blueprint of this bracket. I know that's kind of old fashioned but it would work for me.

#14 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 12:18 PM

This is great! I've been waiting for something like this for a long time. I bought a JCR DIY off-road bumper some time ago and haven't done anything with it yet. I would pay for a blueprint of this bracket. I know that's kind of old fashioned but it would work for me.

 

I remember seeing the JCR options a while ago, and I liked them.  But that's the nice thing... could surely omit welding on the brackets, or perhaps modify them, and find a way to attach to these brackets.  I've hopefully taken enough "custom" part of this into consideration.  Still have to think about whether selling off the plans is viable for me, though.



#15 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 01:45 PM

Did a more complete mock-up yesterday, and here was that outcome:

 

B7508_D36-68_F6-42_C8-93_EB-6_DE9_B3_B3_

 

I haven't clocked the release lever yet, but that's what 8" of clearance looks like.  I struggled to find a good place for the control box, though; there just wasn't a good place above the channel, and I'm not going to try to squeeze it into the engine bay.  I will end up under-mounting it to the winch channel.  I'm not a huge fan of the look, but it saves me the trouble of extending lines, and it'll probably be concealed anyway once there's a bumper around it.

 

I made the following modifications, and I'm open to any feedback about them:

 

1. Removed the control box mounting plate.  Without having various control boxes on hand, it's hard to know what provisions if any will work for all (most).  I couldn't even get a suitable setup for mine.

 

2. Changed the upper and lower brackets to use four 1/2" hardware sets instead of six 3/8", and reduced the holes-per-plate to two. Less hardware, larger hardware, less material.

 

3. Changed the plate the winch attaches to by contouring a little closer to the mounting holes, and reverting to round holes instead of squares.  I think more contact area around the plate will be better, and this sheds a little weight.  I will have to eventually confirm if the GoPlus winch channel is identical to the Badlands one.

 

4. Removed square alignment holes from main bracket, and cleared out the opening where the control box mounting plate would have gone.  I got the idea of square holes from installing the R50 ARB bumper, and it was a rather nice feature during installation to close up gaps.  But, for this purpose, it makes mock-up a little more difficult because you can't center things up as easily.  I considered making the squares tighter to accommodate carriage bolts, but then it's one more type of hardware to factor in.

 

Current design:

 

image.jpg

 

Nissan was odd about the tow hooks.  I had only been mocking up on the LH side, figuring it mirrored RH, but not wanting to fuss with the washer bottle yet.  Well, the pattern is slightly different.  On top of that, my RH tow hook only has 3 holes, but it hides a 4th mounting position.  The older tow hooks used it.  Blows my mind why Nissan couldn't have been consistent on that one.

 

B97_A1_D94-53_A0-40_D2-8362-65359_A611_A



#16 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 02:26 PM

Here's how the nut plate that slips into the chassis will work, sorta:

 

0_A8_CB6_F8-_E775-4_F67-_A915-_A67_FBC9_

 

The finished piece will have weld-on nuts and a slight bend to avoid an indentation on the chassis.  The tab at the bottom and tongue shape allows the strip to rest in there near the correct height and depth; simple installation aide.

 

nut-strip.png



#17 OFFLINE   mjotrainbrain

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:17 PM

A little suggestion, on my bumper the parts that go into the unibody have a plate on the outside to distribute the load over a larger area.  Not sure if that makes any sense.  I'll see if I have a pic, if not, I can take one tomorrow if I remember.  It gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of the mounting.



#18 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:59 PM

A little suggestion, on my bumper the parts that go into the unibody have a plate on the outside to distribute the load over a larger area.  Not sure if that makes any sense.  I'll see if I have a pic, if not, I can take one tomorrow if I remember.  It gives me a lot of confidence in the strength of the mounting.

 

Makes sense, but I'll have to see how yours differs.  As shown, the outer plate is currently 2" wide, while the inner has 1.5" diameter pads where the weld nuts sit.  I will probably pair the inner and outer pieces to be 1.5" uniformly (they were previously paired before considering 1/2" hardware).  Adding material beyond that just adds weight that doesn't contribute significantly to clamping unless there's additional hardware.  As is, this adds a pretty substantial chunk of supplemental steel to the equation.

 

I intended to use 1/2" hardware there, but realized that's only achievable by enlarging the unthreaded holes...something I don't want to do to maintain a bolt-on/no-drill solution.  That puts me down to 3/8" hardware instead...7/16" and M12 fits but is uncommon and cost ineffective, while M10 is just cost ineffective.  For it's purpose, it's beyond adequate.



#19 OFFLINE   mjotrainbrain

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:20 PM

Oh, well what I was suggesting isn't bolt on without drilling and tapping new holes,nevermind then.

#20 OFFLINE   hawairish

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:01 PM

Gotcha.  Yes, a plate with more surface area and mounting holes would beef it up.  Perhaps I could provide an optional plate and nut strip for those willing to drill more holes.






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