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Front Mount Hitch / Winch Mount       #: 441
 Moderated by: Mike69, MaDMaXX,
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 Posted: Mon Jan 1st, 2018 11:33 pm
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RiggerWings
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I am interested in throwing a winch on the front of my Ranger. I do not want to put a big 200 pound, $1000 bumper on though. 

I figure I could do a front mount hitch and have a cradle mounted winch and plug so I could use it front or rear. But, what hitches have you guys used that bolt up and put the receiver in the bumper opening? The old Hidden Hitch model is no longer produced. 

Next, I found this frame mount that goes behind the bumper, so it's unnoticeable from the front. That sounds the best to me. 

http://www.jcwhitney.com/1985-2011-ford-ranger/superwinch-winch-mount/p3071406d658y1985-2011j1.jcwx?year=2011&filterid=g80#ProductDetails

I know it says it's a hitch mount but it says it bolts directly to the frame. But there's no fairleads and on a plastic valence there's no place to mount fairleads. 

I've searched and found lots of pics and info, but it's all custom fab/welded stuff. 

I've seen a few where some guys mounted a hitch up front upside down and it works...but what's that hitch pat number or what vehicle is it meant for? Is it the Curt hitch referenced below?

A google search of new items only shows a front hitch (etrailer.com) where the receiver is below the bumper. A: That looks stupid and B: It's way to low and would hang up while off-roading. 

There has to be something made for our trucks to allow a winch mount or front hitch without welding and fabing it. 

I wouldn't mind learning to weld, but I don't want to spend more on tools to fab this than the whole system will cost anyway. 

Anyone have any information? 

Curt Hitch:
https://www.etrailer.com/Front-Hitch/Ford/Ranger/2011/C31063.html?vehicleid=20114894
Instructions:
https://assets.curtmfg.com/masterlibrary/31063/installsheet/CM_31063_INS.pdf




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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 12:21 am
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The JC Whitney receiver looks good. I had a front receiver on my 99 F-150. I had to cut a 2" hole in my front bumper to fit the receiver through. I fabbed a tag holder to fit there for daily use. I used some wire loom to cover the edges of the hole the receiver.

For my wench I had a 3/8 steel plate that I bolted a 1 & 1/8 bolt to a strait receiver. The wench bolted to the plate with 4 bolts and it had it's own attached fair lead. I drilled a 3/4" hole for a clevis at the front so I could run out the cable through a pulley and come strait back. It was heavy.

I could now pull up every small tree that I could reach from either end. Sorry I don't have any pictures. A front receiver also makes a good tow strap pulling point to snatch somebody out of a ditch.

Last edited on Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 12:24 am by Tsquare



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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 01:04 am
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It’s been a while since I looked into it, but I don’t remember being able to find a bolt on option that didn’t hang rediculously low.  


I ended up making my own receiver out of a class III for a full sized van. These can be found for under 100 bucks on Craigslist. There was some welding involved in getting it to fit in between the rangers frame rails and mount properly. But, you could have a shop weld it for you.  The modified receiver bolts to the rangers frame.   


Here’s a few pictures of my setup























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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 01:07 am
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I don't want to have to cut anything is my issue. I'd rather get one that fits between the tow hooks. I may have to look into getting one fabed for me, like yours Jimmy. That's exactly what I want. 

I could get numerous uses out of it, a winch was just one thought. I have seen cradles specifically meant for winches that can be hitch mounted. They already have fairleads as well. Hopefully I can find a hitch that will work.

I'll have to see if I have the front crossmember on my frame. I guess some of the hitches wont work if that crossmember is installed. Looks like theres no issue in the pics above though. 

I guess the last thing I need to know (besides the first post) is that if the normal Curt front hitch is what people are using, and just flipping it upside down?

Last edited on Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 01:11 am by RiggerWings



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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 03:23 am
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RiggerWings wrote: I don't want to have to cut anything is my issue. I'd rather get one that fits between the tow hooks. I may have to look into getting one fabed for me, like yours Jimmy. That's exactly what I want. 

I could get numerous uses out of it, a winch was just one thought. I have seen cradles specifically meant for winches that can be hitch mounted. They already have fairleads as well. Hopefully I can find a hitch that will work.

I'll have to see if I have the front crossmember on my frame. I guess some of the hitches wont work if that crossmember is installed. Looks like theres no issue in the pics above though. 

I guess the last thing I need to know (besides the first post) is that if the normal Curt front hitch is what people are using, and just flipping it upside down?



I didn’t cut anything on the truck, just the hitch. In fact, I was even able to use existing holes in the frame for the mounting bolts.  All of the cutting/grinding was done with a 15$ harbor freight grinder. It took me the better part of an afternoon to cut up the hitch, figure out how I wanted to make it fit, and get it welded back together. If you’re handy but don’t have a welder, you could do all the design/cutting/mock-up yourself and then just have a shop weld it up for you. 



My winch and cradle are both Badlands products and came from harbor freight. I’ve also got their wireless remote. 



If you’ve got front tow hooks, you’ve got that same front cross member. On a non-bodylifted truck, there’s enough room to tuck the receiver under that cross member and have it come out in the bumper cutout. 



The hitch I used was meant for a mid 90s econoline van. I went with this hitch because it was free to me and the receiver tube is in the same plane and the main body of the hitch (some hitches have a built in step to them where the receiver tube is below the main hitch body. Either style could be made to work, I just found one style to be easier)


If you’re going the custom route, I wouldn’t buy a new hitch. I’d look for a used class III meant for a full sized vehicle. This gives you a beefy platform you can cut down to size.   



This might be a better pic








Last edited on Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 03:29 am by Jimmyspy



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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 09:51 am
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If we may..

We haven't yet found or secured anyone making a specific front mounted hitch-receiver but that may look as though that's a niche part to consider. I'll have to get involved more with that thought process later.

Should you look or need an option for the other items to assist you with however:

Engo is a great "best for your dollar" winch that performs very well without having to go 'Big Name'. We can offer Warn too but not everyone wants a $500-800 winch. Here is a rather good article on the Engo and its competitors from FourWheeler Magazine which may provide some insight as well in your considerations.

Massive Multi-Winch Shootout






ENGO Industries has a winch for every need. With over 30 years of specialized experience, we know what it means to create a quality product that gets the job done. Our winches have world class features, innovative designs and the best warranty on the market. Whether you need hydraulic winches, electric winches, truck winches, ATV winches, or winch mounts, we’ve got you covered. By keeping you – the customer – at the heart of our business, we’ve developed a reputation for providing the right winch at the right price... The new ENGO SR Series winches provide all the best features you would want in a winch. Using state of the art Series Wound Motors, efficient 3-Stage planetary gear train, automatic load-holding brake, rugged hand remote, freespooling, power In and Out, stainless steel fasteners and a standard 4 Way Galvanized Roller Fairlead. The new SR Series offers the perfect balance of speed and power giving you the performance you need for your recovery applications. ENGO is proud to provide the SR Series winches for Jeep and Truck applications with a limited lifetime warranty on mechanical components with a 1-Year warranty on electrical components. ENGO has a SR Series recovery winch to handle every job imaginable and offers the best all around performance and value of any winch available.





To compliment that setup and make it easier than buying a welder at this point and fabbing up an adjustable winch plate with a built in fairlead mount, ENGO offers a receiver winch mount plate.








Offering easy connect/disconnect via Anderson plugs we also have a 90" front battery cable setup meant for the ENGO units and the Battery end of things as well as a rear mounting 24' ft kit too.


And we do carry Factor 55 fairleads should you want to dress that up a bit more and or change out to a synthetic line which is great for weight savings but in hotter climates seeing full sun all day, there are some trade offs to consider honestly.


If we can help further or if you'd like pricing quotes let us know if we can be more of help...


Last edited on Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 09:52 am by 12° North Industries



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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 11:40 am
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After reading the shootout and looking in my wallet, I'd buy one. Decent product at a decent price plus it's a startup meaning they have a lot to prove.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 2nd, 2018 03:28 pm
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12° North, good info on the wench.

I just read through the testing and can confirm the Harbor Freight model results as I had 2 that were bad. One out of the box and the second died within 30 days. I spent way too much on a replacement Warn.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 12:23 am
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Funny you mention a Harbor Freight angle grinder, I actually have one. I bought the "higher end" one and it's really solid. For the most part, I stay from Harbor Freight.

My issue would be the welding. I'm not even sure where I could take it here to town to get welded up. I do however have some vehicle maintenance guys in my squadron that can weld. I can probably have them weld it up for a 12 pack. Hell, I may even be able to get some grade 8 hardware from them as well.

I'll start my craigslist search for a hitch and see what I can find.

I was looking towards a Smittybuilt winch. They're much cheaper than Warn and seem to have a good following and good reviews. I can get a 9500lb winch for around $300. They also have a kit that comes with a bunch of stuff for like $349.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 3rd, 2018 02:36 am
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RiggerWings wrote: Funny you mention a Harbor Freight angle grinder, I actually have one. I bought the "higher end" one and it's really solid. For the most part, I stay from Harbor Freight.

My issue would be the welding. I'm not even sure where I could take it here to town to get welded up. I do however have some vehicle maintenance guys in my squadron that can weld. I can probably have them weld it up for a 12 pack. Hell, I may even be able to get some grade 8 hardware from them as well.

I'll start my craigslist search for a hitch and see what I can find.

I was looking towards a Smittybuilt winch. They're much cheaper than Warn and seem to have a good following and good reviews. I can get a 9500lb winch for around $300. They also have a kit that comes with a bunch of stuff for like $349.


They’re not bad for what they are.   I usually buy the cheapest one they have, get a couple projects out of it, and then buy another. Having a harbor freight 5 min from my house is both a blessing and a curse. Haha.  



I wish people would give me beer to weld stuff.  Lol.     I actually didn’t have the equipment to weld 1/4” when I built my front hitch, so I had to borrow some time on my grandads welder.  



I doubt you guys have this problem down there, but make sure the one you settle on is solid. Up here in the rust belt, trailer hitches are prone to rotting. 



Smittybuilt is a good brand (In fact, I think I’ll be looking at their 9,000lb model when my Current winch gives up). There’s a few guys I wheel with that run their winches and they seem pretty solid. I’ve been happy with my HF winch, but it’s heavy and the line speed is painfully slow.  





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RiggerWings wrote: My issue would be the welding. I'm not even sure where I could take it here to town to get welded up. I do however have some vehicle maintenance guys in my squadron that can weld. I can probably have them weld it up for a 12 pack. Hell, I may even be able to get some grade 8 hardware from them as well.
Moody doesn't have a Hobby Shop? The 12-pack idea is also a good idea.

Or go see Jerry at Brooks welding. It is a second generation family owned business on the south side of Valdosta. They do good work. I used them for some work a few years back. 



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Moody does have a tiny hobby shop. I'm not sure if they have a welder though. EVen if they did...I've only ever welded once and it wasn't the prettiest thing. Plus, I doubt it would hold much weight, haha.

Brooks welding hu? I'll keep that in mind if my 12-pack idea doesn't pan out.

I checked craigslist, no luck on a hitch just yet.



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JAMMAN wrote: After reading the shootout and looking in my wallet, I'd buy one. Decent product at a decent price plus it's a startup meaning they have a lot to prove.

Should I put one to the side or under the counter? And just for you btw, We'll gift wrap it too.. I think we still have some "Belated Self-Christmas" paper to compliment it along with a receipt stating whatever you tell your wife you paid. LOL


And T-Square, thank you Sir, We're really about trying to get the right products and information to people about making informed decisions. I don't like running a whack-a-mole business, we're after business relationships for growth factors not to be a fly by night operation so we try to be detailed. That article is even in our product description for the ENGO product line.

We carry Warn too but as I said, not everyone is willing to spend the money on one.

Smittybuilt is Owned and operated by 4Wheel parts as Trans America Parts [T.A.P.] which was just acquired 2 years ago by Polaris Industries.

Polaris acquires 4 Wheel Parts parent Transamerican Auto Parts


Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) (“Polaris” or the “Company”) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Transamerican Auto Parts Company (“TAP”), a privately held, vertically integrated manufacturer, distributor, retailer and installer of off-road Jeep and truck accessories, for an aggregate consideration of $665 million, subject to customary closing adjustments. After adjusting for the $115 million estimated net present value of future tax benefits, the purchase price implies a multiple of approximately 9.0 times TAP’s EBITDA for the 12 months ended September 30, 2016.

TAP is a leader in the highly fragmented and growing $10+ billion Jeep and truck accessory market. TAP sells and installs an extensive line of accessories for Jeep and truck enthusiasts, including products manufactured under its seven proprietary, industry-leading aftermarket brands: PRO COMP, RUBICON EXPRESS, SMITTYBILT, POISON SPYDER, G2, LRG and TRAIL MASTER. TAP is the largest retailer and installer in the North American market, selling through its own retail and on-line network while also supporting numerous independent accessory retailers/installers. For the last 12 months ended September 30, 2016, TAP generated approximately $740 million in sales, and from 2012 through 2015, achieved compound annual sales growth of 15 percent and compound annual EBITDA growth of 17 percent.
Rigid Lighting did something similar also 2 years ago selling out to a high bidder company. Same company that makes all the rubber set trailer lights for personal and commercial trailers bought out Rigid Lighting.






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We've been updating a bit of gear for the 2012-2017 Ford Ranger T6 for international use & sales. One of the products we came across while adding product information in was a winch component I thought you may take an interest in. It uses the stock bumper of course and although I don't think it fully fits your needs for being able to go from the front to back of the vehicle with a cradle option. It certainly may lend a fabrication concept for your needs.


Although the T6 model comes in at the 2011 year, I havent been able to compare the US and AU versions enough to say this would even fit properly or without heavy modifications. The good news is, I'm told it should fit the newer 2018+ US variant, which is good.




Some CAD type drawings.






But I thought it would be worth sharing for conceptual purposes of your own or future views from others.


Last edited on Thu Jan 11th, 2018 10:23 pm by 12° North Industries



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Thanks 12. I came across that as well and was wondering if it would fit. I'm sure everything behind the bumper is different on those T6s, but I'm not sure if the frame width is the same.

I'll likely just fab a front a hitch like others seem to be doing. That way, I can use it for a towing point or to mount a winch. No hurry on my end though.



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