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Crawler Conceptz Ultimate Series Aluminum JK Front Winch Bumper & Smittybilt X2O Winch Install

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i purchased a Ultimate Series Aluminum JK Front Bumper from Crawler Conceptz through Northridge4x4.com for $699, with free shipping.

 

i also grabbed a Smittybilt X2O-10K winch while it was on sale at Northridge.

 

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here are some of the others i considered before choosing this one:

 

- VKS Fabrication's line of front bumpers, specifically their Shorty V3 Winch Bumper.

 

- Genright's front bumpers.

 

- ones from Nemesis Industries.

 

- Rockhard 4x4's Patriot Series Grille Width Winch Bumper.

 

 

i was happy to see that Crawler Conceptz packaged the bumper very securely - quite a change from some parts i've ordered recently that came with just a shipping label stuck to them and no packaging at all!

 

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the UPS label said 32 pounds total! the mostly aluminum construction, along with the synthetic line on my new winch should help keep overall weight down on the JK and not cause the front end to sag much.

 

first order of business was a quick test fit of the main aluminum shell. soooo shiny!

 

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it was as tight fit at first and though i could bang it on, i decided to just open up the upper outer-most hole on each side of the OEM bumper mounts. this gave me just a little more wiggle room and then it slid on easily.

 

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the winch mounting portion is all steel and comes in 3 sections. there's the main tray which bolts to 4 of those OEM bumper mounting holes (along with the outer shell). then there are 2 "wings" that secure the tray in the back to each frame rail.

 

i found i needed to cut off the OEM vacuum pump bracket. this is a pretty common thing with front bumper installs - so much so that there are at least 6 different companies that make relocation brackets.

 

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i ordered a relocation bracket from Bulldog Winch as it includes several holes and tabs to mount in multiple ways. i think i can probably bolt it to the winch tray and keep the pump clear of everything.

 

 

i only ran into a couple minor issues so far...

 

- the hardware to hold the wings to the frame rails was missing.

 

- the inner front mounting bolts are about 1/4" too short to engage the nylon on the included lock nuts. there's no way to change out these bolts as they are hidden behind welded-up portions of the bumper.

 

i contacted Crawler Conceptz about these 2 issues and am waiting to see what they say. i may just replace those 4 locks nuts and washers with grade 8 Whiz nuts (i.e. serrated flanged nuts), which would give me full thread engagement and still resist loosening.

 

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i also had to cut some metal off the main tray to clear the OEM Rubicon electronic sway-bar disconnect motor, only because i have mine flipped.

 

the winch is a really tight fit with the motor rotated - but i think i can just make it all work without having to flip it back down. i forgot to take photos of how much i trimmed on the tray, i'll get some later today.

 

 

i hit all the parts with a sanding sponge quickly and then cleaned them well with a rag and acetone. then i was able to get one coat of self-etching primer applied before i called it quits for the day!

 

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final fitment notes and finished photos coming soon...

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Looking forward to seeing the finished product brother!

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It looks great!

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Is it me or does your test fit picture look like its further to the drivers side and maybe a little bit high? Or is it maybe because the winch opening is offset and makes it look weighted to that side.

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Is it me or does your test fit picture look like its further to the drivers side and maybe a little bit high? Or is it maybe because the winch opening is offset and makes it look weighted to that side.

 

it's centered - i think it's just the slight angle of the photo and even more that the winch opening isn't the same on both sides. i'm hoping the opening won't bother me once it's all black - otherwise i may have to trim it to be symmetrical.

 

no idea why that driver side cut-out is so much larger - it's much more than is necessary for the winch clutch lever... i'll have to ask them.

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Gadget looks like some kind of bug-eyed evil robot!

 

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i tied up the wiring harness that ran inside the factory bumper:

 

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while looking at how to mount the vacuum pump, i noticed these cracks in its hose. at first i thought they were just in the short section, but the longer piece running up into the engine bay is cracked too. every project is a can of worms!

 

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the first couple coats of black paint are finished and drying.

 

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That is a very clean looking design...and "uh hem" light weight vs. steel (my ARB fascination).

 

That said, could you provide education for painting instead of powder coating? Thank you.

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That is a very clean looking design...and "uh hem" light weight vs. steel (my ARB fascination).

 

That said, could you provide education for painting instead of powder coating? Thank you.

 

the manufacturer sells everything raw metal and i didn't really want to deal with taking it to a 3rd party or pay the price to have it powder coated.

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Saturday i got the winch tray put in place.

 

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i had to cut out a little bit to fit my flipped sway bar disconnect motor. that first notch on the left was already there, the second straight cut and long angle cut are mine.

 

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the winch sits very close to the disconnect motor, but i think it'll be ok.

 

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the Smittybilt winch comes with 2 different brackets to mount the solenoid box either centered or over the motor. instead of either, i'm going to try running it recessed down in the bumper in the space at the right end of the winch. i used the brackets for the left mounting option along with a little tab i made.

 

LEfBOn8w9Qcw_8YsxF-Jt7fJhIaEVwFoMjYYx_OEPlb55XqpaQ9yBtcWZlyUYE1qfG4xhU5R45WHeEYnve-b82uPwQnLyeLdg4fWLX9fzv01F2zN-htVZA6NSkl8124v5K8p1DGCEbvjGaFAjA1pMJ1ySQetZ9-c1STcdG0s0IHcLdEtSJAQRoe4r-OuCVdgDxcW1kohcX67CMyoOnnb0vVR8kZBtgmENmc2RlLpNaBKFQDgAt6XNtg0jOGdJWG4kU4VCAG5tD6a1rGlX_IBkfvUStRg87EfiwRMZcq4MAiN1xRUSU5N1PzxkM3JdvrXF_qDgNyG90psUa0FAOH0J042FiPTGVk0vzlT1Mof67iJV5nmCLyvJShCzd3R3-iOnFmLneyE9xhWPZqS-AiNgo1338MCO-ZTJTDpuwagd-EOe__CqOsza_2l1v36x1i3vYiceRqwJArwzo26fghGBXQT4rn2bhZiE00FKUWuyDydFyDnQlBDc-b2S2m6B9Pfu5loHaxYs9HW83QODk8dW-WFaD3Ccu0wFtSj-nw5JgcqFvT_bSvqwXUxcVEZAwOdU3vDVVObyddeuaCG6CBp2IIX3eoWOxkDyirS4PzKjOGw0CUTTetgVVo1CtU5mmLYnaaMzn-5cQ0tm78gwFv1sKVjkF7vsnvAeBvGKKqv8PQK1zxqEvU4KSJ1GDLSpB2ER9M8f6CggxjlvzJy1mzOiq93=s800

 

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the included cables are just a little too short for this position, so i have to make up some new ones still.

 

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i put the last coats of paint on Saturday as well, and i'm giving it a few days to cure while i wait for the vacuum pump relocation bracket to get here.

 

FYI, i first tried to put on the black with Rust-Oleum because the Home Depot right around the corner carries that... well i can't paint crap with that junk! if i put it on light enough to prevent sags/runs then it came out splotchy.

 

so i finally gave up on the Rust-Oleum, sanded down a few oops, and then went to Ace and got the Krylon DUAL that i usually use. i think the final finish came out pretty good in the end, all things considered.

 

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Lookin' good, K! Can't wait to see the finished results!

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