cheap and easy tow hooks for WJ (writeup)
This is my first write up, but there seems to be alot of people looking for a way to get tow hooks for our WJ's.
first and foremost, i can NOT guarantee, that this method of mounting front tow hooks is safe, or long lasting. this is something i did to my own jeep due to lack of cash. like i said, i can not guarantee this, so if in the unlikely case it fails, please do not come crying to me. a lot of experienced wheelers think it is risky and weak, but ive used it myself to get VERY unstuck, and it worked, and didnt weaken or fail.
ok, now back to business.
first thing you will need is 2 universal 10k lb hooks you can pick up from pepboys, or advance (only places i could find them, and they still only stocked 1 each). i think they cost around $10.99 each. if you are impatient like me, you wont wait for the store to stock a new one, and you will go somewhere else and end up with a chrome hook, AND a black hook.
second, make sure all hardware is grade 8. this is probably the most expensive part.
you will need, 4 wide flat washers, 4 lock washers, and 4 normal sized washers.
as for the bolts, i honestly cant remember for the life of me, what size they are, or even what size drill bit i used, BUT each tow hook will come with bolts already. match up the size of those ones, with new grade 8 ones. obviously, you need 4 bolts.
and yes, even the nuts should be grade 8. 4 of them. or, if you are afraid of them loosening, you can get 8 nuts. tighten down 1, and then tighten down another on top of it. they wont go anywhere.
you will need a drill, a small powerful one. i say small because you are going to need to lay under the front end and drill from the bottom....a big drill....sucks. again cant remember drill bit size, but match one up with the bolt size. most guys at hardware stores are pretty good at that stuff. MAKE SURE, it is designed for metals.
last but not least, a strip of 1/8" (or thicker) steel. i went with 1/8" because i lacked a good drill, and i couldnt find anything thicker anyways. this is all ace hardware had. got a long roughly...5ft? strip of steel.
so, you want tow hooks, like this.
you will need to remove the bumper cover.
you will see a bolt/screw here
and here. i cant not tell you what you will need as mine was both a hex head bolt and torx head bolt on the other side. not sure what came factory. ill assume torx because jeep loves torx.
next, remove grille. you will find screws here
and here we are, grille is removed. cake right?
heres a quick picture of the hardware you need. note, i only removed 1 hook for this write up, so double what i have here in the picture for you.
notice the wide flat washers, and normal washers. you will want those wide ones, thats important. they need to be wider than the nuts are.
hopefully you can see the arrows. you need to drill holes here. you will need to lay under the front end and drill form the bottom. so i do not suggest a big utility drill like i had to use, and you will see in a picture soon. 1 speed, very heavy, very slow drilling....made for a very sore arm and an irritated derek (me)
i suppose if you have a .45 and live in the middle of nowhere you could just shoot the holes into the frame. though....if you know anything about ricochets...i dont suggest this.
i suggest, when drilling holding the hook on the frame the way you want it. that way you know the holes are lined up correctly. i didnt do this with my first hook, and it made it difficult getting the bolts in there right. another reason you want a lightweight drill.
make sure when drilling, you put 1 hole on each side of this small lip you see.
its where the bumper frame, and frame overlap each other, and in theory, this will give you the most strength. towards the front, the hole goes through the frame AND bumper frame (because they overlap) and the rear hole goes through just the frame.
now, time to drill holes in your strip of steel. make sure its cut short enough to fit the holes right, and on 1 end, cut it at an angle. because it will sit inside the bumper frame, which is not perfectly square towards the front. trust me, just cut a slight angle......and do NOT use a drill this big. i hope this picture properly illustrates my pain when drilling the frame.
now the easy stuff. note that the hooks unless mounted further forward (not recommended) will not mount upright. meaning the pointy end will be down. if trust me, just do it this way.
anyways, insert bolts, through holes! be sure to put your regular washers on the bolts before inserting them through the hook. basically, the washers should sit against the hook. you will see in later pictures.
put strip of steel, over bolts inside frame. (see the angle?)
put washers on bolts, followed by lock washers. NOTE: keep in mind, i now need to replace my lock washers. lock washers are useless after the bolt is loosened back up. so once their squashed, KEEP them squashed.
thread your bolts on! mine took a 19mm socket, and i needed an adjustable wrench on the other end to stop it from turning...that part is common sense.
get that thing TIGHT! use your cheater bar if you want....personally i didnt. i just muscled it with a 1/2" ratchet.
and voila! finished product.
now reinstall bumper and grille.
you MAY need to cut a small slot in the bumper cover for the passenger side hook. i did, and im not even sure why....probably error on my part when mounting.
this is a very easy mod. and pretty damn cheap too.
any questions feel free to ask! good luck!
The first good pull is gonna rip those right out of the frame.
ive had to pull on them several times now, and they were very hard pulls.
and their still there. like i said i cant guarentee this, but i can guarentee that they worked just fine for me.
i had full size diesel yanking on just one of these for about 2 hours. even had to hook up a snatch block to it and pull it to the side. and its still kicking.
How much did everything cost you? I saw $20 bucks for the hooks, but what about the steel and all the grade 8 hardware? I got my factory tow hooks on ebay for $60 shipped...
Doesn't seem like the little amount of money saved is worth it when you have no idea if they will handle the stresses they need to...
the hooks costed about 20 bucks, hardware i believe came out between 10-15.
the steel i really cant remember. but i do know it costed me less than factory hooks would have. i think the steel was 10 but you can get it cheaper.
like i said though, this has been battle tested by me, and by others who have done it before me. the only people ive seen say it will fail, havent actually done this.
im not saying these will hold up to every situation, but if you do light wheeling, and MIGHT get stuck, these are just fine. nowhere did i say this is good for hardcore wheeling.
also, they look better in my opinion than factory hooks, and i personally wouldnt trust the factory hooks, they look incredibly frail. and i dont know for sure, but i believe their rated under 10k lbs. these hooks are rated for 10k.
the only possible failure would be the mounting method, which can easily be corrected.
all these steps you follow here, can be done the same with a piece of angle iron to mount it like the factory hooks would be. angle iron was over my budget though.
and, if you have access to a welder, then this will shortly become stronger than the factory hooks.
well im trying your method, because i cant find any factory hooks, but i picked up my hooks at harbor freight for $6 each, there rated for 10k also per hook and came with bolts, only thing im changing is im gonna use 1/4" steel plate on the inside and make it slightly wider, ill post pix here when i get mine done, just to add to your thread
i would, but its more than i am willing to pay for tow hooks
Is it really worth the risk? Since Jeep put these on some models from the factory, I'm thinking they would have saved money on the mounting plates if it were safe to do so. $75 is not too much to pay when lives are at stake, not to mention potentially hundreds of dollars worth of damage to the Jeep.
yes i understand what your saying, but my buddy has the factory ones, and ive seen how they mount, and i dont see the difference in mounting them this way, strength wise... now yes, i think that 1/8" steel plate isnt thick enough on the backside thats why im going with 1/4", ill post pics of my set-up when i get it done, its a work-in-progress
That plate in the frame rail needs to be twice as wide, and twice as thick.
In my opinion, if your in an actual recovery situation, that's going to rip right through the sheet metal frame, since it's been weakened by the extra holes drilled into it. There's just not enough solid metal there.
all these people saying they LOOK like they will fail and rip right through yet ive commented twice now on how i yanked on these for 2 straight hours.
this was an actual rcovery situation, and they held up just fine. so its pretty clear that this method works.
did i ever once say that if you hook these things to a 5ft thick tree, and keep backing up at full speed and yanking on them, their going to hold? no, i didnt.
the only difference between these and the factory hooks, is 1 bolt.
if they didnt work, they wouldnt still be mounted on my jeep, and i wouldnt still trust them.
if your going to post on here just to bash on this idea to save a couple bucks for a LIGHT/MILD TRAIL RIG, then stop, stop thinking for a second, and remember, its been tested, and it worked. so, your THEORY, on how they wont work, just got put to the test, and proven wrong.
considering their mounted, almost the same minus 1 bolt, and add 1 weaker, thinner plate, id say their either both just as strong, or the mopar one is weaker.
since their mounted the SAME material, and the mopar one has a lower capacity, im going with my cheaper version. too easy to add a little extra security to my version if you are that concerned.
Yes, I'm sorry, I should have known that you are smarter than the collective of Chrysler engineers working on the problem.
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