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sentinal02 03-21-2006 08:40 PM

Winch Plate (how to)
 
Well, since lately we've seen a few threads on making your own winch plate I thought I would chronicle my own adventure in fabbing my own, though really it's not exactly rocket science, lol. Here’s my progress thus far.

It started as most projects do with a trip to the steel yard. I was originally going to use some 1/4" plate, but while poking through the scrap/leavings pile I found a 5 foot piece of 4x7x3/8" angle. I'm sure 1/4" would work just as well and is what warn recommends, but I like overkill and it was in the scrap bin so... lol. Since I’m limited to a grinder and a sawzall I dropped the 5 bucks and let the yard cut it down to 3 feet for me and I was good to go. My wallet $32 lighter and the jeep 20 pounds heavier it was back to the shop with my prize.

First order of business was centering the winch so I don’t look stupid with a winch mounted all the way on the driver side or something, lol. Easy enough. Over all length of my new M8000 is about 21 inches so (36-21)/2 = 7.5”. There’s those higher mathematics again. With the winch centered side to side, I measured from the front face to the housing on either side of the drum to make sure it was even front to back. 3/8” was a nice round number for this measurement and seemed to put a good amount of material behind the back feet for support. (This is all on the 7” leg btw, not that the winch would fit on the 4). Next, I took my marker and traced the imprint of the back feet of the winch on the plate. Like so:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate001.jpg

That done, I could set the winch aside and start laying out the mounting holes. I found that the holes on the winch were 1/2” from the edge of the feet and are 3/8” in diameter. Measuring back 11/16” from one of my traces and centering it between the sides of feet gives you your first hole. Tap it now with the center punch to make it easy to find. Now, don’t try and layout the second one this way, chances are you’ll end up a little off and will have some filing to do. Most winches come standard with a 4 hole, 4.5x10” bolt pattern for the mounting holes. Since we have one hole marked already, the rest is easy. Be sure to lay out the holes square with the edge of the plate, but you knew that already. Mark the other three holes, but don’t punch them just yet. With the other holes marked, measure the diagonals of the resulting rectangle and make sure they’re equal to within 1/32”. This will ensure that your pattern is perfectly square. If they come up different, go back and check your measurement as you’re off somewhere. Once everything is nice and square, then you can go ahead and center punch the remaining holes. Time to drill. Be sure to use the right sized drill bit according to the bolt size recommended for your winch. Mine happens to be 3/8”. I do most of my drilling on my drill press, but a hand drill works fine as long as you’re careful. Be sure to keep the bit square while drilling or you’ll have a hard time bolting things up with angled holes.

By now you should have 4 neatly spaced holes on the bottom of the plate. Do a test fit to make sure things line up and while you’re at it mark the top of the 4” leg on either side of the drum. This will give you and idea of where to make the next cuts. The size of the cutout here will depend on what type and size fairlead you’re using. I’m using a hawse fairlead for my synthetic rope that is 12” long and 3” wide with 10” between the bolts, so I know my cutout has to be smaller than that. Since the plate is 3/8” thick, that left me with 3 5/8” on the 4” leg to center the fairlead on. That means it should be 5/16” from the top. Since the drum is just about 9” on the inside, I laid out the fairlead 1 1/2” to the right of one of the marks we made earlier to center it on the drum, and then made sure it was parallel with the top of the plate. I then clamped it in place temporarily and traced both the outside and the inside of the lead so I could be sure my cutout fell where I wanted it. Since the synthetic rope will break wear if it gets dragged over a rough or sharp edge, we want to make the hole in the plate larger than the one on the fairlead. This will make sure it only rides against the polished surface of the fairlead and not the steel of the plate, even if we are going to smooth out the opening as best we can. Since the opening on my lead is about 3/4x7” I decided to make my opening 1 3/4x8 to give the rope 1/2” all around. I think that will be sufficient to keep it out of harms way. So that means the first corner is 5/8” from the top and 2” from the side of the fairlead edge (now you see why I like to trace things in place). The rest is simple measuring. Since I’m using a grinder to do the cutting, I decided to drill holes in the corner of the cutout to keep the cut lines from going past the corners since the cutter is a disk and not a straight edge like a saw. So I came inside the rectangle by 5/32” to make room for a 5/16” hole just touching the edges of the rectangle in each corner. You can see two of them drilled here along with a bit of the fairlead layout that hasn’t rubbed off yet, lol:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate002.jpg

Once the holes are drilled, it was time to go to work with the grinder. Nothing fancy here, just a 4.5” x 1/16” slitter disk. Here you can see the two horizontal lines cut and the sides partway done. Since the vertical sides are so short, I couldn’t cut them all the way with the 4.5” disk without over-running the corners. So I simply flipped the plate over and cut as much as I could on both sides and then finished with a Dremel fitted with a cutting wheel. It took a little while but it worked fine with a little patience. You could also enlarge two of the corner holes enough to fit a sawzall or jigsaw blade through and use that. Here’s the finished product:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate005.jpg

Not exactly plasma cutter straight and clean, but it does the job. Here you can see fairlead in place on the outside. Notice how the opening in the plate leaves lots of room for the opening on the lead.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate006.jpg

Now, time to drill the mounting holes for the fairlead. By now you should be old hand at this. My spacing is 10” center to center and they’re centered vertically on the piece so from the top edge we come down 1 1/2” and over 1” from the end. Mark it, punch it, move over 10” along the same line, punch that one, and drill. Simple. Take everything back to the bench and do another test fit. You’ll need to install the fairlead first as there’s no way to thread the bolts through the holes from the back of the plate once the winch is bolted to it. Don’t forget the lock washers. The 3/8” spacing I left between the winch and the front face was just enough to get a wrench on the head of the fairlead bolts without any trouble so I can always remove the lead without disassembling the whole winch if I have to. Here’s a couple shots of how things look assembled:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate010.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate011.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate013.jpg

Starting to look like we know what we’re doing huh? This is as far as I’ve gotten so far. Tomorrow I plan to take the bumper off the jeep and get the spacing for the plate to frame bolt holes. I’ve also got to cut down the plate by about 2 inches. The frame rails are about 34” apart so I’d have an overhang if I don’t. Not that that is going to hurt anything, but 3/8” plate is heavy so I’d like to lose as much weight as I can spare. That’s why I plan on angling the corners of the plate as well along the white lines here.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate015.jpg

Nothing fancy, just something to keep the weight down (I did the calcs and losing those two triangles will save me about 4 pounds :eek: ). Then I have to take the die grinder and smooth out the edges on the fairlead cutout but all in all things are coming along nicely. Hopefully by the end of the day tomorrow I’ll be able to bolt everything together and start wiring it up so I can un-spool the cable and get the new rope on there. :thumbsup:

EaglesSJ 03-21-2006 10:39 PM

Awesome looks Great!!! Cant wait to see it finished, make sure to add gussets.

sentinal02 03-21-2006 10:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EaglesSJ
Awesome looks Great!!! Cant wait to see it finished, make sure to add gussets.

Thanks. I don't think i'll be needing gussets though. I've seen 1/4" plates without them hold up fine so 3/8" shouldn't need them. :thumbsup:

iismet 03-21-2006 11:02 PM

Warn 5687
 
Here is another, done for a "feet forward" winch. Couldn't find one to purchase so built a hybrid clone. Plate and laser cut was $99.00. I thought it would have been more.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249201

USAFCOP 03-21-2006 11:05 PM

looks awesome. I have a warn on it's way to my house...and wasnt looking forward to the cost to buy the plate...I can build that...woo hoo!...a few questions though. Im assuming with the additional 3/8 plate, The 4 stock bumper bolts won't be long enough...what do you get to replace them ( thread and size ). Also, I havent seen my winch yet but From your set up, it looks like the warn bolts go in through the bottom and thread into the winch...where do the heads of the bolts sit? Won't they rest on the bumper and make it uneven? Also how far back does it sit? does it interfer with the Sway bar? I ask so many questions because my spring break is in 3 weeks, and I have a relay box to make, some wiring to do, a Winch plate to make ( I think Im going to add light tabs ) and some aux wiring to do...so any info would be great...but it looks awesome..and I don't think youll need gussets with 3/8...strong stuff.

sentinal02 03-21-2006 11:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by USAFCOP
looks awesome. I have a warn on it's way to my house...and wasnt looking forward to the cost to buy the plate...I can build that...woo hoo!...a few questions though. Im assuming with the additional 3/8 plate, The 4 stock bumper bolts won't be long enough...what do you get to replace them ( thread and size ). Also, I havent seen my winch yet but From your set up, it looks like the warn bolts go in through the bottom and thread into the winch...where do the heads of the bolts sit? Won't they rest on the bumper and make it uneven? Also how far back does it sit? does it interfer with the Sway bar? I ask so many questions because my spring break is in 3 weeks, and I have a relay box to make, some wiring to do, a Winch plate to make ( I think Im going to add light tabs ) and some aux wiring to do...so any info would be great...but it looks awesome..and I don't think youll need gussets with 3/8...strong stuff.

ooo, lots of ?'s, lol. I'll have to get back to you on some of these since I haven't had the bumper off to do a test fit on the jeep yet. not sure what size the bumper bolts are yet but i'll let you know. also, this is being installed on my 88 YJ so your TJ is likely going to be a bit different. I know the sway bars are since the YJ bar doesn't come up above the frame the way the TJ's do. thus you won't see any cutouts on my plate to fit around them, lol. and yes, the mounting bolts for the winch do go up through the bottom of the plate. they actually thread into square nuts that fit into recesses built into the housing of the winch. I'm not overly impressed with this setup as the nuts they supply you with don't fit very tight in the holes and make aligning them a bit of a challange, but it's better than having the housing tapped since if you should somehow strip a nut you can replace it easily instead of having to do a costly repair on the housing. as for the bolt heads sticking past the plate and interfereing with the bumper, this plate is designed to sit behind the bumper and once you pull the cover off the front end, there's mostly empty space under there. I don't expect them to be a problem and if they are, I can always make a couple spacers to go under the plate and lift it up a bit, which i'll probably have to do to get it to sit flush once the new bumper is on there anyway. there's actually enough space up front to overlap the bumper by about an inch if i want, but we'll see.

you can also mount it "feet forward" similar to how iismet's is setup, but i prefer this style since it cuts down on the force applied to the "face" of the plate where the fairlead is mounted. feet forward puts all of the winches pulling power on that face so you better have some good welds on that face, or thick material to hold up to those forces. the face will want to fold forward when pulling. it does cut down on the wear and tear of your cable/rope though since it's not dragging it over the fairlead as much/hard. this setup has the forces on the flat of the plate and while you still need it to be strong you'll probably shear the bolts before you deform the plate very much, especially with the heavier material.

iismet, that's one bad a$$ looking plate. nice price for laser cutting too :thumbsup:

EaglesSJ 03-21-2006 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinal02
Thanks. I don't think i'll be needing gussets though. I've seen 1/4" plates without them hold up fine so 3/8" shouldn't need them. :thumbsup:

Didnt read the part about 3/8" sorry, that is more than sufficient enough!

BESRK 03-22-2006 06:06 AM

Great writeup!.... and Nick, you are sooooo in need of a plasma cutter. :rofl: Thinking about cutting 3/8" stuff with a grinding wheel makes me shudder. :D

CNY 03-22-2006 06:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EaglesSJ
....... make sure to add gussets.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EaglesSJ
Didnt read the part about 3/8" sorry, that is more than sufficient enough!

No matter what the thickness, what would be the point of gussets? The vertical side is only there to hold the fairlead on. While angled pulls will stress the area, I don't see the need for beefing it up.

sentinal02, that plate is looking good. Your write makes a great addition, and will probably be duplicated.

sentinal02 03-22-2006 09:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CNY
No matter what the thickness, what would be the point of gussets? The vertical side is only there to hold the fairlead on. While angled pulls will stress the area, I don't see the need for beefing it up.

sentinal02, that plate is looking good. Your write makes a great addition, and will probably be duplicated.

When the winch is mounted feet down like mine i agree that you really don't need gussets, but if you go feet forward then i definitely think you would need them. relying on the bend alone to hold back 8000 lbs of force or more in that orientation would be risky.

Besrk, a plasma cutter would definitely be sweet, but i've got a long way to go before i can justify that kind of purchase. I just don't do that much fab work to warrant one. gotta make friends with someone who already has one :D

iismet 03-22-2006 01:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sentinal02
you can also mount it "feet forward" similar to how iismet's is setup, but i prefer this style since it cuts down on the force applied to the "face" of the plate where the fairlead is mounted. feet forward puts all of the winches pulling power on that face so you better have some good welds on that face, or thick material to hold up to those forces. the face will want to fold forward when pulling.

I hear you. Feet down was not an option on this winch but it makes alot more since to me. With this mounting the lower tangency point of the drum is very near planar with the lower mounting bolts on the front plate. I believe the forces are tryng to tear the front plate off from bottom to top.

We butted the corners of the vertical plate and mounting plate wich gave us a 1/4 X 1/4 "V" groove for the front weld. We also welded the inside joint. It's definately on my mind (my hillbilly fabrication skills always cause me concern. :rolleyes: )

I would not add gussets either if I were building feet down.

For me - Angle iron and Jeeps go together very well. :)

Keep up the great work!

EaglesSJ 03-22-2006 08:35 PM

[QUOTE=CNY]No matter what the thickness, what would be the point of gussets? The vertical side is only there to hold the fairlead on. While angled pulls will stress the area, I don't see the need for beefing it up.[QUOTE]
tell that to warn, kilby, toys by troy, etc. because they all feel the need to add gussets for some strange reason.:brickwall

CNY 03-22-2006 08:50 PM

[QUOTE=EaglesSJ][QUOTE=CNY].........what would be the point of gussets?.......
Quote:

tell that to warn, kilby, toys by troy, etc. because they all feel the need to add gussets for some strange reason.....
Marketing, looks, and product differentiation?

fire521 03-22-2006 10:23 PM

I know this should go in the free forum but since it is a winch plate to , I work in a steel mill so i brought home a peice of 8x8x 1/2" angle to make a plate but havnt had a chance to redo the first one i made yet and probably won't either so anyone who would like to have it is welcome it is already cut for the fairlead on a warn 8274 all you need to do iis drill the holes, and also for USAFCOP when i put this plate on my yj i bought 1/2" SS bolts 1 1/2" long and they worked perfect. if anyone wants this plate let me warn you it is heavy but shipping is all it will cost as i am either giving it away or taking it to the dump, first come first served

sentinal02 03-22-2006 11:19 PM

Ok, on with the write up. Now that we have the winch bolted to the plate it’s time to do some drilling so we can bolt the plate to the jeep. These bolts are all 1/2”-13. Frame thickness is about 1/8” and the nuts they thread into are about 3/8” thick. Since our plate is also 3/8” thick, and as you’ll see in a bit we have a bit of a gap to span, say 1/4”, plus some lock washers, we can figure on bolts that are at least 1 1/8” long. There’s a good bit of room to over run the nut inside the frame, so 1.25” or 1.5” long bolts will be fine. I opted for 2” in case I decide to bolt something else there on top of the plate like light tabs etc. As always, ditch the Torx head bolts in favor of some standard hex heads of the grade 8 variety.

Since I’m planning on building a new front bumper to go with this plate that means I need to lose the old one. Even if you’re not replacing your bumper, you’ll at least have to take out the 2 top bolts to measure your spacing. So bust out your Torx bits and let’s get to work. I have two tow hooks mounted to the frame above the front bumper so I have 6 bolts to pull in order to get the old bumper off: two on each side up top and then 2 underneath just in front of the shackle. Sounds simple, but as always nothing ever goes the way we plan and of course I snapped the head off one of the top bolts.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate018.jpg

Notice the kink in the bumper near the frame? That’s pretty much all the damage I got in a fender bender with a bronco. The bronco received about $700 worth of damage, but all I ended up with was a bend bumper and some cracked paint on the fender. Chalk one up for the jeep. But that bronco is going to get a last laugh in a minute here. Anyway, getting this bolt out was fairly simple as broken bolts go. Once I had the rest of the bolts out I was able to hammer the bottom of the bumper out and off the frame enough to lift it off the broken stud. This revealed the welded nuts and the bottom thread of the stud still in the frame as seen here:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate020.jpg

As you can see I got lucky with that bottom nut. Had it broken totally free from the welds then I would have had to cut into the bumper to get at it with a wrench. Seems a body lift isn’t the only time these things can cause headaches. With the bumper off though it was a simple matter to clean up the bottom of the broken bolt with a wire wheel and then heat the nut with a torch directly, instead of trying to heat the head. After a few minutes I was able to back the stud out with a pair of vise grips. Crisis averted! A quick bead from the welder took care of that half broken nut and we're good to go again. Here’s a look at the whole front of the jeep with bumper and frame cover removed:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate019.jpg

Not much there huh? So let’s see how our plate is gonna look!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate021.jpg

Looking mean! Here we can see that our winch mounting bolts have lots of clearance under there so no worries with that.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate022.jpg

And here’s a look at the gap between the plate and the top of the frame due to the welded plate that is part of that tube cross member on the frame. Definitely going to need some kind of spacer under there, but some 1/8” flat should take care of that before we’re all done.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v6...chPlate023.jpg

Now, time to get the rulers out again and find out where we need to drill our mounting holes. You can do this a couple different ways depending on how you want your plate to sit. I was originally going to remove the little cross piece near the grill and put the plate as far back as I could and still hit the existing holes in the frame, but I forgot that the brake line for the pass side tire is clipped to it. I could probably get rid of it and just get some clips to attach to the winch plate, but looking at the fit with the plate right up against that piece I decided that that would be more work than it was worth. Where it sits with that piece in place will put it almost flush with the front of the new bumper when it’s done so I think it will look good there. Anyway, here’s how I measured for those holes. Off the back of the place come in 5” and over from the left edge 1 15/32. This is center of the front hole on the pass side. Move straight back 2 13/16 for the center of the back hole. The other side is 31 3/16 center to center. But here’s where that bronco is getting its revenge. I laid out these measurements on the plate and drilled them without making one critical check. I never verified that bolt pattern on the frame was square. The pattern I made on the plate was, but I never checked it on the jeep and it turns out that it wasn’t. So when I laid the plate up for a test fit I found that only 2 of the holes would line up at a time. I could hit either front holes, or either back holes together, but not all 4. The frames are off by about 1/16”, just enough to interfere with the bolts. So now I’m left with trying to elongate the back holes and let me tell you this is pretty tedious on 3/8” stock. I wore out the two die grinder stones I had on hand before the first hole was done so that’s where I sit now. Tomorrow I’ll run out and get some new stones to finish up the other hole. So take a lesson from my mistake and measure the diagonal of the frame holes as well when you’re taking your measurements. All in all it was a disappointing day since I didn’t get the plate cut down like I wanted or any of the wiring done, but oh well. I knew the first day went to smoothly. :brickwall:


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