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Unread 10-02-2013, 12:03 AM   #1
mdrum93
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Wj More DIY Tow Hooks!!

This is a technical guide to my home-made tow hooks.

My jeep was born with a recovery point deficiency, so after getting stuck and having to tow my jeep in undesired ways (like attaching to the sway bar…not my smartest move), I decided to look into some tow hooks for my WJ.

Obviously the first hooks to look into were the OEM style and as I researched them, I came across some pics where they had bent forward from being pulled too hard but I can’t seem to re-find them for this write up.. I didn’t really like the way they are designed either, using the thin steel with 3 mounting points and a backing plate. I believe they have a 7000lb rating, which is probably enough for most recovery situations. I’m sure those of you that have the OEM hooks love them and they have never given you any trouble

At some point, I came across a Tow hook kit for the WJ on Rusty’s Off-Road .com. I liked this design better, looked like it had a much stronger foundation and greater forward strength than the OEM hooks. But there were two downfalls that I considered major, they did not have good lateral pulling strength and had a tendency to bend if stressed too much off center, and they turned the hooks sideways! Looks terrible in my honest opinion, kinda like the jaws of a bug or something haha I like the fang look. I love an OEM look on a Jeep, that’s just me.



After seeing these two designs, I decided that I would just attempt to build my own tow hooks that suited all I wanted design-wise. I love engineering and building things. I’m the kind of person that I like putting something on my WJ and not having to worry about it being problematic or unreliable. (gives yah off-roading confidence!)

SO basically I took the two designs, combined them, and corrected the issues that I mentioned earlier.

*BEFORE you say “just get some shackle tabs”, I don't want them because I like the look of hooks better and I don't really need them for the amount of off roading I do.


So here is the material list:
• 2-- 10-000lb 2 hole Tow hooks
• 1” x 1” x 10” Mild Steel Square Rod
• ” x 3” x 16” Mild Steel Flat Bar
• 2--1/2”x 3” Grade 8 bolts course thread
• 4—1/2”x 2.5” Grade 8 bolts course thread
• 2—1/2”x 1.5 Grade 8 bolts course thread
• 6—1/2” Nylon lock nuts course thread
• *1/8” welding electrodes or other welding material (optional)

And the minimum tools required for this job:
• A good hack saw with a couple of good Lenox blades (I actually only used one!)
• A Bench Vise
o (you could get by with a couple C-clamps secured to a table)
• Drill press (any size, as long as you can get a ” drill bit in the chuck)
• ”, and 27/64” metal drill bits
• ” SAE course thread tap
• WD-40 (which no household should be without)
• Heavy duty hand drill for reaming holes in unibody.

Tools that will make this job A LOT easier:
• Hardened Center punch for marking hole locations and preventing drill bit ‘walking’ (I used a masonry nail, works fine)
• Bench grinder/sander for smoothing out edges.
• Drill press vise
• Metal Band saw

Alright, to start, you need to get everything measured and cut out. Depending on brand of tow hooks you use, your measurements could vary from mine. I used these exact ones:

To cut the steel, I used a good ole’ hack saw and A LOT of elbow grease. You can expect an hour’s worth of cutting alone if you go this route, but this is the cheapest way unless you have a band saw. Use WD-40 to lube up your blade while cutting, it will make life easier. (jig-saw/recip-saw won’t work, I tried, trust me…blade wanders to much) Here’s a trick for cutting straight lines:



**Keep in mind that you will be making 2 brackets that will mirror each other.

On the 1”x1” bar, you need two 5” pieces like this:



On the ”x3” flat bar, you need four 4” pieces like this. The measurements for the ” holes are 2” width-wise, and 2.5” length-wise.



For the forward most hole on the 5” 1x1 bar, the hole needs to be drilled with a 27/64” drill bit so it can be tapped to accept a ” bolt. For the bolt that goes into this threaded hole, I used a ”x2.5” grade 8 bolt and cut about ” of the threads off the end so the shoulder of the bolt passes completely through the tow hook and into the 1x1” a little bit. You will have to drill into the threaded hole with a ” drill bit from the bottom to allow for the shoulder of the bolt to enter and the bolt head to sit flush against the tow hook when torqued down. The whole reason for cutting the bolt down is to get the maximum shear strength out of the bolt.

Once you have everything cut and drilled/tapped, that’s pretty much it, you will assemble and install the hooks all at once when you are ready to do so. If you want to further increase the strength of these brackets and have access to a welder, you can weld the bottom ” plate to the 1x1”, lay a bead down around all four edges to prevent water from getting between the two and causing rust. (which I chose to do, teaching myself how to arc weld in the process). I used a Hobart stickmate 230v with 1/8” electrodes on a power setting of about 110AC. Once you have all the components 100% complete, you need to paint them with Rustoleum to prevent rust. They should look something like this (I haven’t welded them yet in these pics)





You will have to remove the front bumper cover of your WJ in order to place the backing plates inside the unibody frame rails. The holes you drilled in the ” plate should line up fairly close to 3 holes in a matching L-shape in the end of the frame rails on either side of the front cross-member. These holes will have to be reamed out with a ” drill bit so the bolts can go through.



I didn’t see a reason to put washers under the nuts and bolt heads.

I know on my WJ and most others, there is a pinch seam that runs underneath the bolt holes in the frame rail. I choose to just flatten this pinch seam by torqueing the bolts down, starting with the front two bolts and then the 3rd bolt in the rear, allowing the pinch seam to fold backwards.





Once all the bolts are torqued down, re-install the bumper cover and feast your eyes. You now have extremely strong and reliable recovery points (or fangs!) on your beloved WJ. Now get out and hit the trails!

Here you can see the flattened Pinch seam:









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Unread 10-02-2013, 01:06 AM   #2
tuglife
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Looks great! My Overland came with the stock tow hooks but I never really trusted them or thought they were the best design. The bends in the bracket holding them literally in mid air instead of sandwiched flat seems like a aesthetic more than practical design. They were made to fit the bumper not vice versa. Also the comically thin steel I found to be suspect.
I made my own brush guard brackets or rather had them professionally made by a steel fabrication shop. Much heavier steel with a proper backing plate. Plan on mounting a similar hook inline with the brush guard bolts.

Good job man. they look marketable to me. That'll definitely pull the unibody apart before it ever bends or breaks.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 06:18 AM   #3
its-me-B
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Tuglife, would you be interested in making another set of brush guard brackets???
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Unread 10-02-2013, 06:52 AM   #4
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Why do people point their recovery point hooks down? In a recovery situation this makes it necessary for someone to hold the strap in place. When you are in a real recovery situation the person recovering you, or you are recovering, may need to get a head start before taking up the slack to get some extra momentum to start the pull. In this case hooks pointing downward are useless because the strap will fall off.

Now if they are just for show will then... they look nice.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 07:16 AM   #5
tuglife
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Sorry double post
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,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2004 WJ Overland ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
4.7 HO V8, K&N FIPK, Old Man Emu HD Springs, Bilstien 5100, 31" 255/70/17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2, Black JK Moabs, Overland Rock Sliders, Tow Hooks, Westin Brush Guard, GTP Hood Vents, Mopar iPod Integration Kit
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Unread 10-02-2013, 07:36 AM   #6
tuglife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by its-me-B
Tuglife, would you be interested in making another set of brush guard brackets???

I actually took my original Westin brackets to a metal Fab shop and asked them to make copies. Told them to make them strong enough that two SUVs couldn't possibly break them. They're already mounted now and cut up the original Westin ones to use as the backing plate.
Don't think it would be worth my time, or rather worth your money for how I value my time to pull the guard, bumper and brackets to do the whole process over.

Plus unless you have a Westin brush guard they won't match up properly anyway. If I were you I'd just do the same. Take your brackets and have a pro make heavy duty copies. Just remember that the thicker steel will cut into the original mounting width the brackets were supposed to be at. Mine was a tight squeeze to get the guard in and lined up.
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,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2004 WJ Overland ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
4.7 HO V8, K&N FIPK, Old Man Emu HD Springs, Bilstien 5100, 31" 255/70/17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2, Black JK Moabs, Overland Rock Sliders, Tow Hooks, Westin Brush Guard, GTP Hood Vents, Mopar iPod Integration Kit
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Unread 10-02-2013, 07:43 AM   #7
tuglife
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeepwagons
Why do people point their recovery point hooks down? In a recovery situation this makes it necessary for someone to hold the strap in place. When you are in a real recovery situation the person recovering you, or you are recovering, may need to get a head start before taking up the slack to get some extra momentum to start the pull. In this case hooks pointing downward are useless because the strap will fall off.

Now if they are just for show will then... they look nice.
I'm not really sure either. I think it's just due to mounting location restrictions. For the OEM hooks and the ones the op made they'd have to be sticking out pretty darn far for them to be able to point up. The longer they stick out the longer the torque arm created and the easier it is to bend or damage the mounts.
Mine will be sideways which is neither good nor bad except I generally thread my recover strap through itself on my hook and pull it tight which generally keeps it from going anywhere. Ideally I'd prefer to always use both hooks at the same time to allow even displacement of the load applied. Also helps keep it straight when pulling but it all depends on the specific situation.
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,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,2004 WJ Overland ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
4.7 HO V8, K&N FIPK, Old Man Emu HD Springs, Bilstien 5100, 31" 255/70/17 Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2, Black JK Moabs, Overland Rock Sliders, Tow Hooks, Westin Brush Guard, GTP Hood Vents, Mopar iPod Integration Kit
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Unread 10-02-2013, 09:53 AM   #8
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Awesome Job!
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Unread 10-02-2013, 10:38 AM   #9
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Those look great! I have OEM hooks I got from a member here but I've been dragging my feet on installing them cause I don't wanna take off the front facia. You made it look easy, well done.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 10:47 AM   #10
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The front fascia is really easy to remove...
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But ChrisHager makes me want to poor water on a burning bucket of gasoline now just out of curiosity.
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The latest lift kit from Rough Country? :D
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Your symptoms sounds just like what it does when it's not doing what it should because of how it is.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 10:51 AM   #11
KayCeeJeep
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I dunno I printed out the "how to" from WJ Jeeps and it about made me dizzy. Maybe they make it sound harder than it actually is.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:03 AM   #12
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Here ya go! This came from my writeup when I did my camshaft. Perhaps this will help someone with their tow hook project. These pictures show the factory tow hooks as well.


Start by disconnecting the battery. In the removal of the front end, you don’t want to accidentally set off your air bags…

I popped off the grill insert to start. It can be removed by releasing three tabs across the top then rolling it forward. Once that’s removed, the front fascia can be removed. Release the clips across the front (above the license plate):

And at the bottom of the fascia:

There are a couple of plastic rivets in the wheel wells that need removed. The best way to remove them is to cut the head off with some side cutters. A flat head screw driver may be handy here as well.

Now remove the bolt from the wheel well (it’s kind of hard to see but it is located in the slot at the top of the fascia):


Do this for both sides and the fascia should slide forward. If it does not, there are two white plastic clips, one on each side, up near the wheel well attaching the fascia to the body. The first time I removed the fascia, I tugged until the white clips gave up. The second time I removed the fascia, I just slid it forward as the clips allowed for the fascia to be released by sliding forward.
For those of you installing tow hooks or a front hitch receiver, this is the procedure to allow you access to the mounting points. Here are the hooks I had recently installed:


And the progress so far:
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ChrisHager's 'Grilled' Thread

WJ Torque Specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyooooooh View Post
But ChrisHager makes me want to poor water on a burning bucket of gasoline now just out of curiosity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
The latest lift kit from Rough Country? :D
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeeples View Post
Your symptoms sounds just like what it does when it's not doing what it should because of how it is.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #13
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Start by disconnecting the battery. In the removal of the front end, you don’t want to accidentally set off your air bags…
How would you set off the air bags. The sensors are in the cab of the jeep?


Great job on the hooks by the way.


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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:26 AM   #14
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At the time of writing that, I didn't know where the sensors were. I like to be cautious anyway when messing with front bumpers.
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WJ Torque Specs

Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyooooooh View Post
But ChrisHager makes me want to poor water on a burning bucket of gasoline now just out of curiosity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by billzcat1 View Post
The latest lift kit from Rough Country? :D
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeeples View Post
Your symptoms sounds just like what it does when it's not doing what it should because of how it is.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:33 AM   #15
mdrum93
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Thanks guys! I really love the way these things look.
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