RRO winch and front skid plate install on 2014 WK2
After reading through Txwest and Jackal01's thread about installing a winch:
I was interested in doing the same for my 2014. I followed their idea on
relocating the solenoid to the rear, next to the battery terminals and it came
out great. Couple of things I thought I'd share.
Take it easy on me as this is my first post of this sort...
I bought all three items from RRO, which included the winch mount frame,
winch, tow hooks, and front skid plate. Took a couple of weeks to come in.
The push-pins and rivet's where not as hard to remove as I expected. This tool made it much easier to get them out. It was like $5 at Pep Boys.
Don't forget to disconnect the fog lights before removing the bumper cover:
Bumper cover removed:
This is what those snaps look like that hold the cover in place on the top/front and side. Kinda scary listening to them pop. Felt like I had to remove and reinstall that bulky thing a million times to check for fit. I was sure at least on of those snaps would break, but everything held up.
Repositioned solenoid near positive battery terminal:
Area I cut out for the loomed wires leading to the winch (except the small negative) Brilliant idea, by the way, to relocate this thing. It doesn't get that hot here in VA, but I still didn't like the idea of something blocking my radiator. Plus, I think it looks better. Check the crimps on your wires. The negative lead from my solenoid to ground fell apart. The wire slid out of the terminal very easily. Same thing with the white plastic multi-connector for the remote. One of the crimped wires slid right out of the connector without hardly any effort, so I replaced it with my own connections. Hello heat shrink.
Mounted the solenoid (opposite side)directly to the plastic wall.
I enlarged a small notch out of the plastic wall which helped to support the harness. Seemed to do the job.
Wired up the winch:
During the test fit I noticed how odd the placement of the fairlead is. The bolts go right through the seam where the bumper cover attaches to the lower facia:
I guess I could have built up the winch by putting something under it, which would have raised the opening an inch or two higher? But knowing what kind of forces are put on these things, I didn't want to risk it.
So, it was time for some grinding:
The seam was a really difficult to get right. You'll want to grind away enough so that there is a flat surface to sandwich the winch mount to, but you don't won't to grind away too much.
As you can see, I went a little too far on the right side. Red lines are where the seam is / was. Luckily, the fairlead will cover these small holes once it's mounted. Still, it is what your bumper cover is mounting to, so you don't want yours to be this flimsy. If I were doing this again, I probably would have gone with a backing plate behind the fairlead cover.
I used these two attachments from my Dremel. I've had this tool for a while, so I'm not sure if these things are standard in every kit. The cutter went through the plastic fairly easily and the grinder did a good job cleaning up the cuts. Definitely wear eye protection.
Once installed, I noticed that the bumper cover sticks out almost a full inch from the winch mount. At this point, if I bolt on the fairlead, there is definitely going to be a noticeable inward dimple. So, I decided to fill the space with almost an inch worth of large washers. I think I ended up using about 18 washers per bolt to get the 7/8 I needed. The bolts were 3/8 x 2" to accommodate the Fairlead, bumber cover, 18 washers, and winch mount.
Getting each washer onto the fairlead bolts was tricky, but this method seemed to work pretty well. The angle on these pliers was just right so that once behind inside the hole, I was able to hook it on to the bolt.
Getting the nut on to the rear of the bolt for the fairlead was a challenge. After trying several methods, I settled on a flexible magnet. This thing is great... even has a small LED light at the tip for finding dropped pieces. This took a little time to get right. Once you thread the bolt, you need to work an open end cresent wrench through the fairlead hole to arrest the nut.
Now the bumper cover is installed, I was trying to figure out how to cut the lower facia around the skid plate. I wanted to keep as much of the trim as possible as to avoid any large gaps between the skid plate and facia. I think it turned out pretty well. The easiest way for me was to remove the lower grill and covers (where the tow hooks go) from the facia, cut off the bottom of the lower facia and mount the skid plate. Then you can get a better look at what fits where and what has to be trimed back.
This is where I made my cuts:
This is where I trimmed the wheel well liners:
I cut to the inside of the retaining knob, so I could save the attachment point. Still seems kinda flimsy down there now, and I notice some vibration when driving at high sppeds. It's not flapping around down there or anything, but I'd like to figure out a better way to secure that area.
I used this rivet gun (from Harbor Freight) to bundle up the wheel well liners. The rivets that came with the RRO kit were a little to big for some reason. Luckily, the rivet gun came with assorted sized pieces that worked fine.
I'll try to get more pics of the completed front end up soon. Many thanks to Txwest and Jackal01 for their writeups. Hope this helps someone so much as theirs did me.
I like the prerunner skid more on 2014 than 2011-2013.
The only thing that concerns me are the washers on the fairlead. How much of the bolt is going through to the back? I would be worried that if you are winching from the side it may put too much pressure on the fairlead because of it sticking out so much? Just a thought. I actually have no idea if that is a potential problem or not.
Regardless, if looks good. How are the BFGs? :cheers::highfive:
I'm pretty happy with the way it came out. It feels good to have something a little more substantial down there. I can definitely feel the extra weight up front.
Good point on the spacers. The bolts holding it together are 3/8 x 2" and just about all of those 2" are used, there's maybe a 1/4 " left over.
Maybe I could use a second fairlead and larger diameter bolts as an alternative to take up that space? I'd appreciate any other ideas.
Also, the tires are great. Not as comfortable on the highway... I wouldn't recommend them for a 12 hour trip from VA to NH, for example ;) But they're great in the snow and light off road use.
I'm curious how much the Chief (from AU) front skids would cost compared to the RRO one. I'm interested in the skids only but I would have to buy the winch mount from RRO to install their front skid.
Thanks for the writeup btw, good visuals for the wannabe diy'er like me.
Very nice job. Thanks for the post. It looks great.
looks great! I too am a tad worried about washers as a spacer. a quick tip too. i would use black door trim edging around the bumper cuts to clean it up a bit and not make the edges look so hard
The install looks fantastic.
I agree with the concerns on the wheel wells vibrating, and the large space between the fairlead and the mount. That aluminum isn't strong enough perched out there by itself. I would have to be standing in front of it to make any suggestions so I won't impose my opinion on it.
I am still surprised that the lower grill is that much taller on the '14 that it puts the seam directly into the mount. I guess I haven't seen the two year models close enough to tell the difference.
Again thank you for the props, and I am glad our knuckle busting and head scratching was able to help yall guys out with your own installs. :cheers:
So I spoke with someone from RRO regarding that gap...
There were actually some 1" spacers included in the kit that I was supposed to use. They seemed kind of narrow to me, and there were four of them, so I assumed they were meant for a brush bar or winch cover. I'm still not so sure these things are meant to take any serious weight.
I'm leaving the washers in there until I can think of a better alternative... or I break it :laugh:
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